The Do’s & Don’ts of Ab Training for Women

Yesterday, I attending a mini quarterly fitness training for my group exercise education and credentials. I absolutely love taking these trainings because I am able to see new techniques and get new ideas from the master trainers as well as the fellow trainees.

It was an interesting thing though. I took 2, hour long master classes and they were hard core, but I was still able to do more once they were done. This, of course, due to the fact that I’ve been an avid exerciser for umpteen years and my body can just do more than when I began.

But then, I took a HIIT cycle class which is sweetly referred to as “Sprint”. Sounds harmless enough, right?

WRONG!! It was 30 minutes of freaking HELL on stationary wheels!!! ūüė¶

One. Thirty. Minute. Class.

My body wouldn’t stop shaking. I was worn out and had to find my breath and focus throughout the workout. This is HIIT. This is AWESOMENESS!!!!!!

Why am I sharing this when today’s topic is clearly related to ab training? Because, my dear, you ALREADY have amazing abs! You just have some gorgeous fat covering your awesome abs. So what do we do to expose those gorgeous midsections? I’m here to help!

Before we get to some focused ab exercises to follow – and to avoid; let’s share why HIIT Training is the secret to amazing abs.¬†

  • Don’t have time to spend on working out; either at home or the gym? No problem with HIIT! It’s the ideal workout for busy schedules. You can squeeze in a quick workout just before you jump into the shower in the morning, or during your lunch break or even after you get the kids to bed at night. Seriously, there are NO excuses with time when it comes to HIIT workouts. Research has shown that you can achieve more progress in just 15 minutes of HIIT workouts (done 3X a week) than jogging on the treadmill for an hour. (boring!) ¬†Want more good research info? According to a study presented in 2011 at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, just 2 weeks of high intensity intervals improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6-8 weeks of endurance training. Whaaaat?????
  • You’ll not only have better results during your HIIT workout, you’ll also be burning more calories after your workout for 24-48 hours! This is commonly referred to as “EPOC”; or exercise post oxygen consumption. (you had me at burning more calories at rest, right?)
  • You’ll build a healthier heart! Let’s be honest, most of us aren’t used to pushing into the anaerobic (or “without oxygen”) zone. This is pretty much how you feel when you can’t breathe and you feel like your heart is trying to jump out of your chest. But when we are consistent and do our very best every sweat session, we receive extreme results. One study done in 2006 found that after 8 weeks of doing HIIT workouts, the subjects could bicycle twice as long as they could before the study, while maintaining the same pace. See? Heart = Happy! ‚̧
  • It’s also pretty awesome because you don’t even need equipment to get these results! You can choose running, biking, jump roping, and rowing when doing HIIT workouts but the greatest thing is that you don’t need any equipment to get it done! High knees, fast feet, or anything plyometric like jumping lunges work just as well to get your heart rate up. Fast. In fact, some equipment, like dumbbells can make HIIT less effective because of the fact that you aren’t focusing primarily on getting the heart rate up…you tend to split that with the weight training aspect.
  • Weight and fat loss “secret”! Anyone who has been on a diet knows that it’s hard to not lose muscle mass along with fat. While steady state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss, studies show that both weight training and HIIT workouts allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles while ensuring most of the weight lost comes from fat stores. Win/win!
  • Your metabolism becomes more efficient at rest (what we talked about above). In addition to increased fat burning and more muscle preserved, HIIT stimulates production of your human growth hormone (HGH)¬†by up to 450 percent¬†during the 24 hours after you finish your workout. This is great news since HGH is not only responsible for increased caloric burn but also slows down the aging process, making you younger both inside and out!
  • Get sexier leg definition and strength! The largest muscle group in your body is seriously taxed during HIIT training and the effects are to be proud of! Who doesn’t want lean, sexier legs as you’re losing body fat all over and shedding those extra pounds?
  • You can do it anywhere so no more excuses on where to workout anymore either. You can workout at home, the gym, outside, in a lobby, in your hallway…anywhere!!! Since it’s such a simple concept‚ÄĒgo at maximum effort for a short period of time followed by a recovery period and repeat‚ÄĒyou can adapt it to whatever time and space constraints you have.
  • Beat the boredom workout blues! I don’t know if you’re like me but I HAAATE to be bored!! If I feel bored in my workouts, my mind starts to wander and guess what happens to the intensity of my workout? It suffers because my mind is thinking of things other than what I’m doing at the moment and this seriously messes with our results! Solution? HIIT workouts! This is not a workout you can do while reading a magazine or chatting with your friend. Because it’s so short, you will be working hard the whole time. The trade-off is this format offers seasoned exercisers a new challenge and new exercisers a quick way to see results. You may be in pain, you may be sucking wind, but you definitely won’t be bored!

Now back to our main topic; AB workout do’s and don’ts!¬†

If you’re like most women, we tend to wish for abs and want for abs so badly that we hope that our random sit-ups, crunches and plank challenges will do the trick. But let me share how you can get better results and stay away from moves that will actually make you look thicker around the middle! (no good!) Following these tips (as well as adding HIIT training to your routines) will help you get those rock hard abs – or at least tighter abs if you prefer. Bikini and tank top season is always just around the corner!

Ab exercises you should NEVER do! 

I’ll go out on a limb and guess that although you want tighter, leaner abs, you also don’t want a thicker waist.

Am I right? I knew it!! ūüėÄ

Then you’ll definitely want to stay away from weighted side bends.

Stay away from these!

 

The problem with this exercise is that it directly targets the oblique muscles with large amounts of resistance. The reason this is a “negative” exercise for lean abs, let’s talk about how the abs and obliques function. The obliques are two different muscle groups that originate from the lateral (aka: side) part of your lower ribs and insert into the front portion of your iliac crest. The obliques wrap around your sides and help you turn and bend your torso which helps your spine stability.

 

Normally, the obliques are visible only when you start getting rid of body fat layers. But when you target these muscles with extra resistance (such as dumbbells and weights) it makes them look bigger. This is because the obliques are positioned along the sides of your torso, and the effect is to actually thicken your waist. I don’t think this was your focus if you’ve done this move before, right?

It’s important to mention that the weighted side bend isn’t a bad exercise; in fact, many people like it because it strengthens your core, and some lifters actually want to increase the size of their waist. But if you’re looking for that hourglass figure, you’re better off skipping this move on ab day.

Exercises to help tighten your midsection

  • Add resistance to your main ab muscles (such as the rectus abdominis or “six pack muscles”) themselves. You can also still target your obliques (in fact, you’ll want to hit all the areas) but eliminate the added weight in this area and stick to higher reps instead. Want to start with some great moves today? ¬†Here are some of the best to get started with:

 

1. Lying Leg Raise                                             

2. Decline sit ups with twist (no weights) 

 

3. Hanging Leg Raise                                       

 

 

4. Stir the Pot                                                       

 

How Often Should You Work Your Abs?

If you regularly do compound movements like lunges, squats, and deadlifts, you’re most of the way there. These exercises involve a lot of core work and stabilization so you’re getting a good ab workout without doing any specific “ab /core” exercises. But if you’re looking for better (and faster results), consider adding a HIIT workout 1-2 times per week and 1-2 of these ab moves above about 2-3 days per week. Perform 3-5 sets of each exercise for at least 10-20 reps per move. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets.

There’s no reason that you need to spend a full day on “core work” this way. If you start now by working these tips into your regular program (and avoiding those side bends), you’ll have a more toned core and your body will be summer ready all year long!

Let me know if you have any questions or comments and I’d love to get you into a transformation challenge if you’re up to it! Shoot me an email and let’s chat! www.kathyprofitness@gmail.com¬†

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Stressed, Overwhelmed and Anxious? Oh MY!

I’m going to be honest with you today!

I’m growing tired of talking about fitness, health and eating all the time.

You probably didn’t expect that from me, did you? Well, honestly, neither did I! But the last few years have been quite interesting and brought me to a realization this past year that I wanted to share with you.

I know that it’s important to take care of our health and I know you already understand that too. The truth of the matter is, I always figured that the more I talked about my journey and tips on these health and weight loss goals, then others would eventually start to live the life too.

But I started to notice a rather common pattern, instead. Many people would be excited to start a healthy plan – only to fall short somewhere along the line.

Was it their fault? Was it mine? What were the missing links between starting on a said goal and actually achieving (not to mention, maintaining) that said goal?

I then began to research what was different from where I am today versus who I was when I began this crazy ride 25+ years ago. What had changed from then to now?

Or a more realistic question would like be, what HASN’T changed since then?

There seems to be one underlying common issue for our ups and downs throughout life. It’s called, “LIFE”…
Or more accurately, STRESSES OF LIFE.

So why would I continue to push health and fitness tips and plans with those who continue to come up against another one of life’s roadblocks, time and again? No, I would need to restructure the way I work with my clients and customers based on their personal stress levels, struggles and common barriers instead.

The result? My own personal plan for eliminating our stress levels and finally getting to the core of our best selves.

Are you ready to cut the crap and start to live your life, once and for all? Stop second guessing if you should be doing more of “this” or less of “that”. Stop putting all of your focus on one area and then being frustrated when that doesn’t turn out exactly as you’d planned.

Are you currently dealing with any of the following:

  • caring too much about what others think of you
  • dealing with toxic people daily
  • procrastinating on things you know you ‘should’ do
  • feeling overwhelmed with all that needs to be done
  • wishing you could just fast forward until the next weekend or vacation
  • not knowing what you really enjoy anymore
  • feeling as though the person you used to be is “lost”
  • feeling like a failure when you continue to sabotage yourself in any goal you set
  • too embarrassed to share your true thoughts and shortcomings because you think that nobody else will understand
  • thinking that success and happiness is only for those who “earn” it

The thing about life is that,¬†nothing¬†will ever truly turn out exactly as we planned. We can either accept that fact and find another way; or just give up and throw our hands up as we look for the next magical solution. (which doesn’t exist) But before you decide to give up completely; there is another solution…and it’s so much simpler than we have been making it out to be!

Are you ready? The 5-Day Back to Basics challenge starts next week!

 

I’ve put together an amazing program that will not only help you lessen your stress levels, but it will also help you to succeed more than before. Sounds crazy, right? I know! I thought the same thing at first, until I started to implement these strategies into my life.

I cannot imagine living and thinking the way I used to because it brought me anxiety, unhappiness and lots and lots of stress.

No thank you!

I’m inviting you to join me for this first official launch next week! It’s FREE, it’s only 5 days and it’s easy – what is there to lose? (except stress and doing too much with less than stellar results!)

You can sign up right here (it takes less than a minute!)
JOIN THE 5-DAY FREE BACK TO BASICS CHALLENGE!!!

As a THANK YOU, I will send you my first video and assignment starting Monday, March 6th that will help you find your own success formula. There are no “one size fits all” ways to succeed but these little tips will show you how you can start now.

Ready? I’m so excited for this! I know it will be worth the few daily check-ins as it sets the tone for the rest of our lives! ¬†Just click HERE and get the info you need to see what’s in store for this challenge and sign up in less than 30 seconds!

Enjoy your day and looking forward to helping you succeed more in the coming year than ever before!

Your friend,

Kathy P.
http://www.kathyprofitness@gmail.com

Month 1 Results!

My month 1 picture results! They say a picture is worth a thousand words so this should really say a lot!
My month 1 picture results! They say a picture is worth a thousand words so this should really say a lot!

I can’t believe it’s already been a full month on this program! I can honestly say that I feel like I just started and the fact that you are following my journey is helping me to stay on track and continue to post and push forward.

Week 1 seemed like a breeze. But isn’t everything exciting when it’s new again? The workouts were fresh and eating my meals and tracking them on MFP seemed like a fun game.

Week 2 wasn’t so fun. First of all, there were those nasty hormones to deal with :p and cravings were out of control! I remember a few times indulging in foods not on my plan and just saying (out loud too) “Who the heck cares?” Cuz I know I didn’t! Have you ever had a craving that was so powerful that nothing else mattered in that moment? While I’m not as easily thrown off my plan as I was in the beginning stages of this lifestyle journey (and that was like a hundred million years ago!), I still find myself overwhelmed with an emotional craving along the way.

You know what’s kinda cool about this, though? I realize that in that moment when I’m feeling defiant and needing a quick “fix”, giving in isn’t always the end of the world. As a trainer and someone who’s been working in the fitness field forever, I understand that a change of any kind is sometimes helpful to our bodies’ results. But what’s more important to understand about that crazy moment, is that giving in to a quick “fix” is most definitely more beneficial to our lives than jumping out of a window.

Just saying ūüėČ

I also had a small weight gain in week 2 but knowing what I know, I let it blow over (and was happy it wasn’t any bigger of a gain with the extra eating I did!). I had a better week 3 in results but I realized my eating needed to get back on track.

For example, I’d start every day with the best of intentions (sound familiar? LOL) and then by mid-afternoon, I’d just tell myself that I’d “update my meal log-ins when I had more time”…

ya, right! That doesn’t ever happen so by this last week, I was definitely more mindful of tracking and listening to my body’s cues. For example, most of us start a “diet plan” (which I despise but this is an example) and once a few days passes, we realize that our bodies are screaming for MORE FOOD!

Right?

So what do we do? We buckle down and decide that we are going to have “more willpower”…

How well did that work for us? haha

So we finally give in and eat the entire refrigerator and freezer, only to feel like a ginormous blob of a failure after. Sound familiar? It is cuz WE ALL HAVE DONE IT!

and probably will do it again for sure! This is no secret so let’s stop acting like we are the “only” person in the whole entire world to ever struggle like this and feel like a failure.

What would have happened if we decided to change the previous scenario? (aka: what I decided to implement in this last week)

For example, you’re humming along on days 1 and 2 on your new “diet” and then all of a sudden (like it’s a surprise we hadn’t anticipated…) we are hit with this overpowering desire and hunger to EAT ALL THE FOOD!

So we say, NO! I am strong and I have willpower and my goals are more important to me than this instant glorification.

B.S.

Seriously, that won’t work and you know it. It never did and it never will. There are only 2 other ways to handle this situation so you can continue to succeed and move forward;

#1) Eat more food! Duh! Although this sounds simple to do, it’s not! Most of us are stuck in the “DIET” mode that we berate ourselves for even contemplate more calories. For crying out loud! Our bodies are only trying to LIVE. It has needs and works hard for us every minute of every day so if we can’t just fathom that some days (and times of the month), we will require a bit more or less, then so be it. One word of caution though, I don’t mean to just go out and eat whatever and however you want. In order to succeed, imagine taking care of a brand new car that cost you $100,000. Would you just fill it up with whatever type of crap you could come across because it was low on fuel? Or would you plan to invest in the most precious fuel (with the octanes and stuff…I know nothing about cars so that’s all you get for this analogy) so that your car could last forever and run smoothly?

I’m thinking you chose the latter option and you’d feel confident it was the right choice. That being said, why on earth would we think it’s okay to shove ding dongs and crusty week old pizza down our pieholes when we’re hungry and have waited too long to eat something better for us? Next time you feel hungry, understand that your body might need it and choose wisely. Heck, even if you have an extra apple and a handful of almonds, you’re not going to harm your body OR your results. Trust me.

#2) Have a cheat if you must but have dignity and use a fork! I’m not kidding; many times when we’re hit with the starving body and have put off eating for way too long, we get to the point of just eating whatever is in arms length and looking like a complete lunatic. (and not to mention a bit disgusting) Right? So in case you aren’t up to “fueling your car” with quality nutrition in that heated moment, then pick up a plate and a utensil and eat in front of people so that you look less crazy and more like you love your food! Why wouldn’t you want to anyway?

I’m now winding down on week #4 and will begin my 2nd month on Monday. I have to say that this past week was my “recovery” week and it has given me more oomph to kick start another month and not feel like I’m killing my body with new challenges in these quick and effective workouts. If you haven’t taken a week to recover in awhile, may I recommend you do that now? Go do some yoga, pilates and use a foam roller for crying out loud! Your body totally deserves this! (or you risk some bad stuff and that’s not going to be fun if you get injured)

I’m sharing my results with you but realize that I most likely won’t lose much more weight on the scale in the coming 2 months, but I know the changes will show up in the pictures, measurements and body fat testing. I am 5’6″ and my weight never goes below 145. Even when I drove myself to the leanest point of my life at age 40, and took on the stage in a bikini no less! GASP! I stopped having my periods for 6 months because my body fat was way too low and I felt so bad and suffered from burnout and adrenal failure.

Fun times!

And throughout that time period, the freaking scale still stared at me with that stubborn “1-4-5” and nothing less. Crazy how our body’s work, right?

I’m super pumped for the new month and hope you are taking some of these tips into your own life for better results if you need them! Please leave me a comment or shoot me a message if you need some tips that I have not addressed yet.

Here are my measurements and weight updates from week 1 to week 4:

Day 1 weight/end of month 1: 150.1/ 147.2

Waist: Day 1 Р28.5   End of month 1 Р28.25

Hips: Day 1- 38.5      End of month 1 Р38

Thigh: Day 1 Р19.5   End of month 1 Р19

All in all, I am down almost 3 inches and over 2 lbs. From my pictures though, I am really happy with my month 1 results!

One of my "emotional" days...I actually cried in my workout because so many things were going wrong and I felt absolutely NO energy or desire to complete the workout. Still think other people don't struggle too?
One of my “emotional” days…I actually cried in my workout because so many things were going wrong and I felt absolutely NO energy or desire to complete the workout. Still think other people don’t struggle too?

Week 1 Wrap-Up

I made it through week 1 with limited struggles and hunger cravings!

I’m actually a little surprised because I usually struggle mentally in my first week of a new plan only because my calories are being cut back a little.

But that all stems from diets and feeling deprived of what I love to eat. In the past week, I’ve counted every food and macronutrient that I ingested. Even those “small tiny bites” that most of us usually discount as “too small to count”…unh uh. It’s all getting counted and I’m sharing it all with you, me dear reader. Aren’t you feeling fab? ūüėČ

So let me start with each day’s workouts and calorie breakdowns (I am set at 1800 calories a day):

Monday, Day 1: 1684 – Total Body Synergistics 30 minute workout

Tuesday, Day 2: 1842 РBody Barre class (which I lead) and 30 minute upper body workout 

Wednesday, Day 3: 1699 РYoga and Pilates 

Thursday, Day 4: 2176 – Body Pump and Pilates classes (which I lead) and 30 minute workout

Friday, Day 5: 1749 Р30 minute circuit training workout 

Saturday, Day 6: 2616 РCycle and Body Pump classes (which I lead) and 30 minute body weight training 

You could see that my calories fluctuated up and down depending on the activity I did that specific day. It helped me to listen to my body’s hunger cues and eat as needed. I’m tracking my protein, carbs and fats so I know how to break them down each day to give the best results. If you’ve never heard of this before, it’s basically called “macro counting”. My daily goal is to get in 40% of my calories from carbs and 30% from fats and proteins. This allows me to get the best quality nutrition and best results as I progress through the coming 3 months.

A calorie is not just a calorie. Our body uses the nutrients we eat and if it’s empty calories (aka: sugar and processed adds) or too many of one nutrient; our bodies are forced to store the extra calories to fat storages if they can’t be used efficiently at that specific time. That’s why it’s so important to find out how many calories our body’s require (and it’s going to change along the way), how we should break down our meals (in terms of macronutrients and timing of meals) and what to do when we get hungry or start to crave the foods that our body’s are used to eating.

I’ll talk more about how I handle these areas along the way as they come into play. What I’d like to leave you with today is that when we follow what our body’s need to survive and thrive and change the habits that are pulling us into the land of unhealthy and illnesses; we have no options but to succeed. The scale is one small area to show changes but it’s definitely the least accurate along the way as it can only show a number and not what that number means in a specific time period.

If you want to learn more about the scale and how it can hinder us if we give it too much credit, please check out this post from last year: How to understand the scale 

 

Results in the first week on the scale.
Results in the first week on the scale.
Getting my 30 minute workouts done at home.
Getting my 30 minute workouts done at home.
Ready for my Super Burpee!
Ready for my Super Burpee!

16403215_10212099685358281_311586366256099582_o

Made sure my nutrition was met with daily Shakeology!
  Made sure my nutrition was met with daily Shakeology!
My favorite breakfast choice!
  My favorite breakfast choice!                            

 

Day 3: Cravings can kiss my booty!

I’m seriously stubborn and competitive by nature. I don’t like being told what to do and I don’t like feeling like I’m letting myself down from being and doing my best. (and better than everybody else…just being honest!)

Crazy? Maybe…but I figure if we focus on our strengths and weaknesses and work on creating new strengths out of our weaknesses; the sky is the limit on what we can achieve.

What the heck is Kathy talking about? ūüėÄ LOL

Let me explain how this relates to my cravings blog. I’m on day #3 of my 90 day program. I need to be this accountable to you so that I stay on track (remember the competitive nature? well I also don’t like looking like a failure or a liar..yes, I have issues!). My competitive nature makes it easy for me to stick to and push forward in my fitness plans. Although there are days that I don’t want to work out or workouts that I don’t want to do; I won’t be satisfied unless I just do it.

Take yesterday for instance; it was agility training day. That means lots of cardio stuff. I hate cardio. It is awful and evil and makes me want to cry.

But I do it anyway because I need to beat my inner negative voice. I need to persevere when my mind is telling me not to. I’m sharing this with you in case you wonder how I love fitness so much. I just love weights. Heavy lifting is my BFF and now that I’m better at stretching; so is yoga. Yoga used to be my nemesis though too because it made me cry and hurt and keep looking at the clock hoping the practice was done. But I kept at it and it’s not as hard and I found that I actually do better with everything else when I continue to do yoga.

So, moral of that last paragraph is to do yoga. Or stretch. Don’t neglect this or you will be sorry one day.

Anyway, my challenge for the next 3 months isn’t going to be sticking to my workouts…it’s going to be sticking to my meal plans and calorie range and macros. We are not BFFs but I know we will soon be.

You see, I relate following meal plans with diets 

BWAHHHHHAAAAHHHAAAA

And diets are bad words and bad, evil practices. They rob us of happy stuff and results and basically; success. So I fight the battle against diets because it ruined my younger years and made me a hostage of feeling bad about myself. Although I now understand that following a meal plan is healthy; heck, I get 1800 calories a day right now and that’s no joke….but it still reminds me of feeling deprived of¬†more.¬†

More food, Kathy? Why thank you! I don’t mind if I do! I love eating!

I digress, back to my point…since food plans usually challenge me more than anything else in the whole entire world; I decided to share with you, my dear reader friend, the good the bad and the ridiculously ugly stuff to help keep me accountable.

So far, so good. But that’s not going to last forever once my body decides that it wants something¬†off¬†my healthy food plan. I know that one day soon (and it can happen in the blink of an eye), I’ll be sitting there all happy and feeling all badass about myself sticking to my plan…

and then BLAM!

“Let’s go have some chocolate stuff, Kathy” (says my mind) but I counter with my strong self and say, “but that’s not on plan let’s eat brussel sprouts instead”…

And off point again but I have been treating myself with brussel sprouts to get my mind off food with a filled tummy and low calories…

Back to point:

My mind will allow me to eat the veggies and act like it allowed me to “win” this time but then it will hit me up again at a low point or a stressful time or a busier period and say, “Pssst! Kathy! You’ve been doing so good so far…you totally deserve that carb, sugar and greasy loaded truckload of food you’ve been missing”…

And if I don’t share this with you, I will look like a lying ass liar.

I’m not a lying ass liar and I’m not weak and I’m going to kick butt…

Just wait and see!

(my competitive streak there…)

So here are my foods from today. I’m kind of stupidly proud so far cuz on day 1, I ate about 150 calories¬†below¬†my goal range (which isn’t good but makes me feel stronger than going that much over!) and then on day 2, I was just 42 calories over (which basically means nothing after day 1) and today here are my macros so far…before dinner and my evening snack. (I NEED a snack!) I’m kind of proud…what do you think?

Ridiculously proud of this pie chart that I'm sharing with you today!
Ridiculously proud of this pie chart that I’m sharing with you today!

 

And today was not agility training so I was happy…it was blissful yoga day. Here is how happy I feel after yoga day…and no cardio day! ūüôā

16402691_10212073057532602_2195778731680809733_o

and yes, I drank my shake before making dinner so I didn’t take “B.L.T’s” or “bites licks and tastes as I cooked! ūüėÄ

16403386_10212073057492601_6695778135809060071_o

Day 1: We need to start somewhere

I begin at day #1…

We all get excited on “day 1” of something new, don’t we? Think about New Year’s day and the millions of promises that are made in the excitement of a new year and a new opportunity to reach goals that we’ve only hoped for in the past. The success, however, does not come from our giddy energy on day 1…but the true and unending desire to push for new heights in our quest for these said goals.

I’ve worked with hundreds of one-on-one clients and I’ve¬†lead¬†thousands of classes over the past 20+ years in the fitness field. I’ve believed that through my sheer excitement and leadership, I could inspire anyone to follow through in their promises and quest to reach health and fitness goals that had seemed nearly impossible.

But it doesn’t work that way.

Not to say that I haven’t helped many people transform their bodies, minds and lives in ways that they had only dreamed about; but what what happens when the trainer stops working with you? What happens if you move away from your favorite gym or bootcamp instructor and you are left to find something else that works for you? What if you are the one and only person who is responsible for your success – or lack of it?

Guess what, guys? Whether you know it now or not…you¬†are the only person who is 100% responsible for your life. So what to do now? What workout should you do? How many calories should you eat each day? What types of foods are the best for you? Who is going to cheer you on when you are struggling? How will you know when you are making progress in your goals? How will you keep going when you just don’t believe you have what it takes…or you stumble along the way?

While these are all good questions (and ones I hear every day), let me start by saying we need to get clear on what our goals are. We need to have a plan B when we get thrown off our path. We need to know we aren’t the only person in the world to feel like we do.

That’s what this transformation is about. The next 90 days are meant to show you what it looks like to fight for what we want most. The next 3 months are going to be a bit uncomfortable for me (and most likely downright ugly at times!) but I’m willing to put myself out on a limb and share with you, me dear reader, like a reality tv show (but without the drama and screaming matches).

I start today. This is my day 1…

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Day 1 begins with stats. This is not any different than if we were working together as trainer-client. I’d measure you and have you take your “before pictures” so that we have a baseline to compare as we move forward. Above, are my day 1 pictures and while I don’t have much weight to lose (I just have some “softer” parts of me to tone up), I have goals to add more lean muscle and look like a shredded fitness model in 90 days. Think I can? So do I! ūüėČ No matter the goals, the struggles are pretty common and typical whenever starting something new (or restarting again).

Here’s how I measure my stats:

Body weight: 150.1

Chest: 36.5

Waist: 28.5 & 30.75

Hips: 38.5

Right thigh: 19.5 / Left Thigh: 19.5

Right arm: 10 / Left arm: 10.5

What about my meals? I calculate my daily needs on my new fitness program and will be eating 1,800 calories a day. I also like to focus on quality nutrition and breaking down my macronutrients to fit my body’s needs to feel my best and reach my set goals. I’ve set a 40/30/30 split and will be getting in 40% of my daily calories from carbohydrates; 40% from healthy fats and 30% from lean protein sources.

I will be sharing my foods too so don’t think this will be a secret ūüôā

So far today:

Breakfast:

Coffee with 3 Tbls half and half (don’t take away my cream!)

2 whole eggs + 1 egg white

Post workout snack:

Cafe Latte Shakeology made with 1 cup almond milk and 1 cup ice

Pink lady apple sprinkled with cinnamon

Lunch:

1 cup oven roasted brussel sprouts (my son and I are obsessed!)

1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese mixed with 1/2 cup whole grain cereal

I’ve had 3 water bottles of water and my goal is to drink 6 each day (which totals a gallon of water)

I worked out to my total body core conditioning and some practiced some power yoga to get an extra stretch.

I’ll be planning to drink water, herbal tea and maybe some lowfat hot chocolate (to curb my hunger and cravings today). I’m making a turkey based dinner with salad and enjoy some Greek yogurt with berries for another snack today.

I feel good so far but please follow me on IG @KathyProFitness and Snapchat @spazzykay to get all the daily ups and downs along with the daily blog posts.

If you are interested in starting NOW and need a place to begin, I’m hosting a 28-Day workout + meal plan challenge and looking for 10 serious people to join our team! This program will challenge you with strength and conditioning training and I’m going to reward those who commit and reach new goals with a gift basket of fitness goodies plus a FREE month of one-on-one training with me before summer season.

Are you IN? Then fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch asap!

How to stop struggling and eat healthy already!

Eating healthy can feel overwhelming and complicated and challenging. I found an article on the Team Beachbody Blog that pinpoints the 7 most common struggles when it comes to eating healthier and I wanted to share with you today. Hope it helps!

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We are inundated with options on how to eat; low carb, organic, whole grains, Paleo, vegan, keto, body type…and so many more it can make you give up before you begin. Which is the best option and why are there so many? You’re only interested in what works and you want results sooner than later, right?

Let’s first understand that it isn’t going to be a “quick fix” or temporary change; it’s going to take some effort but once you get over some of the struggles and create your own balance…you’ll be surprised at how much easier it becomes!

Let’s start from the beginning and keep it simple, ok? First of all, we are going to visit the¬†7 most common issues when it comes to healthy eating and how you can¬†make it simpler to start now.

Issue #1: How do I eat healthy anyway?? 

I know it can seem overwhelming to start the healthy eating lifestyle if it’s something you’ve never done before. Which foods are healthy? How do you cook these foods?

First of all, take a deep breath and relax. You are definitely not alone in this area. When you start eating healthy, it’s normal to feel a bit unsure about some of the food choices and how they will taste. Will you like them? Will it be difficult to do? Where do you get the best products and how do you eat healthy when you’re eating out? It’s about starting slowly and taking it one step at a time. This is always the best practice to long term habits; as you have time to learn as you go and lessen the feelings that can overwhelm us when we are in a rush to do it all at once.

Start with a basic list of foods you can stock up on. (For my FREE 7 day Slim-Down grocery list and meal plan, click HERE) Then, each week, just add one new item or try one or two new healthy recipes until you start to find your groove.¬†You’ll notice that you gravitate towards certain choices and once you eliminate (or cut back) on processed foods and sugary foods, your taste buds will be more interested in the natural flavors that healthy foods provide. I like to watch the cooking channel to gain some new ideas and browse through Pinterest or google for new recipes. The secret is to never get bored with your food selections so you don’t start to crave the unhealthy foods that you used to turn to.

Issue #2: But healthy eating costs so much more!! 

I know you’ve probably heard it before, or even said it yourself, “Fresh fruits and veggies spoil so quickly. Buying organic foods costs so much more. It’s just so expensive!”

Right? If you can’t afford to buy all organic foods, that’s totally fine! Be picky about the ones you spend more on. ¬†Check out¬†the clean/dirty produce list to help guide you to the best options. If you can’t afford to buy organic at all, choose the produce from the clean list instead.

Buying produce in-season can always help save money; and it tastes so much better too! Frozen fruits and veggies can also be easier on your budget and are just as healthy fresh choices (they are flash frozen at their peak of ripeness). Instead of using crushed ice cubes in your Shakeology or smoothies, use the frozen fruits instead. If you are tired of dealing with wilting raw spinach or kale leaves; add them to soups or use frozen spinach or chopped frozen kale instead.

I have a client who lives in Alaska and struggles getting in enough fruits and veggies because they have to wait for shipments to come to their area and purchase the foods before they are all gone from other shoppers! Talk about¬†real¬†struggles! But she gets it done with the frozen options and on a really bad period of low or no veggies/fruits, as long as she gets her Shakeology in – she is certain she is feeding her body the right nutrients to stay balanced. When there is a will, there is always a way! ūüėČ

Issue #3: I hate grocery shopping! 

I totally understand this issue but have since come to terms with it as I’m a crazy coupon lady now! ūüėČ But for those of you who really do hate shopping, you have many options now! There’s online help to the rescue. Grocery stores deliver more frequently now and it’s easy as choosing the items from the online website. Amazon now provides a service with Prime Now and you can order on your phone or computer and schedule your groceries to be delivered at a time that’s best for you. Need I say more?

Issue #4: Unhealthy food marketing is everywhere now!! 

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All you have to do it scroll through Instagram or Pinterest and you’ll see crazy food recipes and pictures of double stuffed cookie dough pie dipped in chocolate or slutty brownie bars oozing with marshmallows – and so much more. The temptations can almost hypnotize us into feeling as though we need¬†these items. There is never a shortage of candy, doughnuts or cookies at the office either. So what to do?

Why not start a new trend in your circle? Be the change you want to see in others. I find it so ridiculous the choices we continue feeding ourselves and the ones we love and yet, complain about our lack of control or our growing waist lines. We can take back control and provide healthier solutions in the office, home or at events. You can find healthy baked items online to take with you to the next birthday celebration, that next early morning meeting or during special get togethers. It gives you the option to eat better and not feel like you’re depriving yourself; and it also helps someone else make a better choice along with you.

Issue #5: I don’t have the time to eat healthy!¬†

This one is one I hear so often that I’m surprised it isn’t listed as #1! I know the thought of driving through the fast food chain drive-thru seems so much simpler than coming home and figuring out what to eat and how to make it. But can I share how much easier my life is (for me and my family) now that I’m meal prepping for the week on Saturday or Sunday? I even save so much money because I have all of the items I need on hand for the week in my weekly grocery store visit; instead of rushing back and forth when I realize I need one of this or that. All it takes is an hour or two on the weekend to meal prep and it saves you hours of time during the week. No more rushing around trying to figure out what to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner all week.

I create my weekly meals and write out the recipes, ingredients and head to the store. This all takes me about 2 hours max. I then spend time putting the foods away and posting my weekly menu on the refrigerator so I (and my family) know ahead of time what’s available and what’s being served. Need more help?¬†Healthy meal planning is easier than you may think. In order to get started, Beachbody has some meal plans here to provide some great ideas.

Click here: Meal Plan Ideas

Or here: 90 minutes meal prep from start to finish

Issue #6: What if you make a recipe that¬†doesn’t work for your¬†family?¬†

This has happened more times than I’d like to admit but it’s true. I’ve made a recipe that I was sure was going to be a hit with the family; and even though I might love it, either the hubby or kids (or both) said otherwise. First of all, the ego is hurt but what about the food that’s left? It’s tempting to just go back to the choices they prefer and forget about cooking healthy forever! (melodramatic music, playing in the background)

But I have to tell you to stay strong and keep going. Try different foods or cook the foods in different methods. If you find you (or your family) won’t eat steamed broccoli, then try roasting it with some olive oil and salt sprinkled over. Just making some simple changes can do wonders for your taste buds.. and theirs!

Issue #7: You are fearful of missing out on the the decadent foods you love! 

When we feel deprived of foods (or anything, really), it makes us want those things more than ever. I recommend allowing your favorite foods every once in awhile; or at least a few times each month. If we focus on the feeling of being restricted, we cannot enjoy the healthy habits we are gaining. Eating healthy does not mean being absolutely perfect. That’s not possible. Choosing to eat healthy 80% of the time – allows us to enjoy some treats and “cheats” 20% of the time.

You can eat your pizza and brownies and cookies…just not every day!

What is your favorite treat that you don’t want to live without?