Common Struggles S.O.S.

It’s a new year.

We are naturally excited to start fresh. This is the time of the year to reassess our goals in life and most of the goals revolve around health, weight loss, fitness, and diets. Trust me, I’ve done it more times than I can count too but I finally got frustrated with the “on again” “off again” pattern and decided to get real with myself on what I was going to stick to and what I was going to let go.

 

I took a few polls on what most of us may be struggling in, both now and in the past, and will share my best tips here on these subjects. I hope they can give you an extra push to get yourself on track…and stay on track! 😉

  • How to get started. Getting started is always one of the hardest things to do. We wonder where should we begin and when should we begin? We may be plagued with unhappy memories of plans that went awry and worry this will happen once again. Our confidence levels may be at an all time low. Here’s my tips on getting started, and staying on track, for good this time:
    1. Get 100% clear on WHY you are doing this now. What are your goals? If it’s to lose 10 lbs, then ask yourself WHY do you want to lose 10 lbs? Losing 10 lbs is not a strong enough reason when the going gets tough (as it will!) so really dive deep into your “why” and pinpoint the importance of your goals this time. It could come down to some scary health issues you may be worrying about, it might be a reunion you want to look good for, it might be a wedding (your own or a family/friend). Whatever it is, get clear on your deep reason so you are willing to fight for the results instead of half-assing it, yet again.
    2. Once you have your WHY worked out and written down (I suggest to post it somewhere you will see daily), you must pick a start date asap. It’s better to start sooner, even “IF” that doesn’t sound like it will fit into your current schedule. (*hint: if you are not willing to start within the next 1-2 days, then you aren’t that serious about your goals yet!) Choose to start today or tomorrow at the very latest. Trust me!
    3. Finally, you will start with something simple. Your first step should be so simple that it almost sounds silly, compared to what you’ve done in the past. Let’s be honest, when we usually start something, it’s an “all or nothing” approach, am I right? We have a pre-written diet plan (which I despise), a grueling exercise program and a goal that almost seems impossible to reach. This never works. We have lives to live, we have other obligations and people that we need to work around. Diving into a program that is extreme will only leave us burnt out and dropping the plan within 1-2 weeks. #guaranteed Start simple. Choose one thing and get really good at it this week. For example, start with the goal of drinking 8 oz of water as soon as you wake up in the morning. Then, set your phone alarm to remind you to drink another 8 oz every hour or two for the rest of the day. Yes, you’ll be using the bathroom more but you’ll also notice that you may not be as hungry in between meals, you may have some extra energy throughout your day and you will feel accomplished from this one simple step! Repeat the new habit for 7 days in a row before adding another simple step. You’ll find within a few months time, you’re able to maintain more consistency in these new habits and it won’t feel like you’re overhauling your entire life.
  • Making the time. When we are over-scheduled and overly busy with our lives, how the heck can we expect to make time to eat right and work out again? I’ll remind you to check out the first habit above on getting started and finding your reason “why”. If this reason is truly important to you, you will want to make it a priority. Once it’s a priority, you can then review your daily tasks and find something that isn’t as important to you and swap with your new priority. For example, are you needing to find time to exercise each day? I always suggest morning because there are less excuses that can get in our way and it’s amazing how that extra energy starts to add up in other areas of our day. Set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier and just wake up without hitting your snooze button (you must be intentional about NOT hitting snooze!). Don’t worry about what you do for your workout, just workout! It could be a video from YouTube, a walk or jog on your treadmill or around your neighborhood, it could be following a written plan of exercises from Pinterest or taking a class at your local gym. 20-30 minutes of exercise is enough and you’ll feel more accomplished the entire day! Making time to eat right is simple enough to do…but also simple enough NOT to do so decide if this is important to you first. 🙂 Each evening, write out your foods for the next day and if you need to prep some of your meals ahead of time, do it then. Don’t let anything you want to get done wait until the last minute, especially when you are making these new changes. If it’s ready to go, you have less excuses to not get it done right. Have breakfast every morning. It could be as simple as a protein shake or a yogurt with a piece of fruit. Don’t get overly picky about your choices yet, just start with the habit of eating good foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Write these out the night before and take the foods with you as needed. Eat snacks in between if you are waiting longer than 3 hours between meals. Also, don’t forget to add in time for rest and recovery, or you will risk overtraining and injuries. Sleep at least 7 hours each night. Turn off your tv, computer and put down your cell phones at night so that your brain can relax and you can sleep soundly and wake up more alert when the alarm rings in the morning.
  • Staying Motivated. Now that you have started your program (and figured out your why), and have made the time and commitment to workout and eat healthy foods…what happens when motivation wanes? (because it does) Once again, reassess your reasons “WHY’ to see if they are still important enough to you when motivation is low. If it is, you must find an accountability system. This is HUGE when it comes to improving your consistency and sticking to your plan. There will be times when your energy is low, when your motivation isn’t there and your willpower seems non-existent. You might now WHAT to do but for some reason, you just can’t get yourself to do it. That’s where accountability kicks in. Accountability is the acknowledgment of your responsibility for your actions with the obligation to report, explain and be responsible for the resulting consequences. In other words, having accountability keeps you consistent because you’re required to report back to someone what you’re doing – or not doing – with your diet and your exercise plan. This someone can be a friend, family member, a coach or a Facebook group. What makes accountability so powerful is that it doesn’t matter how little motivation you may have to do something. If you know there is someone – or multiple someones – expecting you to report back to them…you will get it done. Or go MIA…which will then mean your WHY didn’t mean as much after all. Need a support group on Facebook? I have one that you can join and just get accountability today: Join the Facebook Online Fitness Community HERE

That’s it for today’s tips. I will be sharing all week with you and hope that you take what you need and make it work for you this month. Shoot me any questions or comments and I’ll get right back to you as needed. Here’s to your best year yet!

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? 😀 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! 🙂

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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! 😀

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New week’s goals

It’s a new week and I’m making a commitment for the coming 2 weeks to post daily about my progress in all areas. I like to write my blog posts more often and it seems like I get on track for a bit and then off again. My goal is to share a bit of my world with you in the next 2 weeks so you can glimpse what I struggle with and where I succeed at. My hope is that this inspires you to keep going every day; week and month…even when things are going as “perfectly” as you hope they do. 🙂

I didn’t sleep very well last night due to my daughter’s recent bout with strep throat and now an abscess on her tonsil. You’d think by that last sentence that my daughter was a young girl, right? Well, honestly, she’s 20 years old and when my little girl is sick this momma is going to overdo it on worry, care and soup making. lol

Chicken Enchilada soup

I had also planned to train my bootcamp group of ladies this morning at 5am before our appointment at 9. Since I was waking up every hour on the hour, to check on my daughter (yes, I slept in her room!); I heard a strange dripping sound around 3am and wondered if our sprinklers were stuck or mis-programmed.

No sprinkler issues whatsoever…it was actually raining. 

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In Southern California? That is absurd! LOL So I messaged the bootcamp ladies and we agreed to postpone this morning’s workout for tomorrow since we’d be outdoors in the wet and slippery morning. I tried to go back to sleep but to no avail…so here I am, writing this blog and drinking my coffee before I get my 5:30 workout done in my living room. I’m also kicking off this week with a NO SUGAR challenge for 2 weeks.

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This is my 3rd round of the NO SUGAR challenge this year and I have to say that I’m actually looking forward to this more than ever. I realize that even though I’m a healthy eater who choose “clean” foods about 90% of the time, when I cut out all of the sugars completely; I feel lighter, more energetic and immediately drop any extra “bloat” or weight that can creep up at any time of day or night. You know what I’m talking about, right?

I may or may not go through withdrawals because I’ve done this more than once this past year and each time it gets easier to do. I’ll share with you why you should take on a challenge such as this soon too (even now!) and why sugar is one of the main reasons for our obesity epidemic and all of the health issues rising up in our lives.

I’m drinking my coffee with 1 Tbls of half and half. Yes, there is cream in it but no sugar! 🙂 My tip for you today is to cut out the crappy coffee creamers that are filled with awful preservatives, sugars and things that aren’t even in my vocabulary. Use cream, half and half or milk instead. You’ll thank me later.

My workout is going to be from Beachbody’s Master Hammer and Chisel. I’ll be doing Hammer Power today and you’ll have to see how it went in tomorrow’s post.

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Today’s big plans:

workout at 5:30am

Dr. appt at 9am

No sugar all day

Dinner plans: Mediterranean Chicken with pasta (for the family- I’ll stick to the chicken and veggies)

Want the recipe? Check out tomorrow’s post!

When you need to lose those last few pounds

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight before (and that would be 99.99% of us, right??) then you know it’s those last few pounds that seem like they are stuck like glue to our bodies!! What gives? It’s not like those 5 or so pounds are going to rock our worlds, or that our abs need to be shredded duuuude!…but then again it’s so much more rewarding to know we met our goals completely and can enjoy the results of  not giving up. There are times that we really want more results. Like for example, if you have a special event coming up; or training for an endurance event; or training to take the stage for a fitness competition or you want to rock your wedding gown! Whatever the reasons (and they are all important if they push you!), did you know that your best solution is what you would typically not do? It’s simply to EAT MORE FOOD!!!!

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and a gasp was heard!

No, I haven’t lost my mind. I’m not going crazy or trying to throw you off track. It’s when we change things up again that our bodies take notice and in return, change things up. You will drop weight again. I know most people think this type of thinking is completely nuts and many are too wired into the dieting mentality to give it a go (and just keep repeating the maddening deprivation and binge cycle) but if you trust me and take this challenge for yourself, you’ll be dancing into your next success phase.

In order to help you understand what I’m saying is legit, I’m going to share with you how and why your body won’t change within the last few pounds of our target weight loss.

I have to repeat that this is for those of you who need to lose the last few pounds and not starting out or following a current plan that is working. This helps those of us who have hit a weight loss plateau while already eating at a calorie deficit and still not happy with our results.

#1: Hormones can wreak havoc on us

Hormones are whack. Seriously, I wish I had a dime for every time my (or someone’s I’m working with) hormones are responsible for an issue or struggle. When our bodies are working hard to digest and metabolize our foods, hormones are involved. They are responsible for shifts in our results depending on how much and what we are eating. This becomes a bigger issue when we continue to cut more calories in order to lose weight. It sounds pretty simple that cutting calories will lead to more weight loss, YES? But I have to tell you that it’s not that simple. And hormones are responsible.
Logically, our brains may want to lose those last pounds of YUCK sitting on our bodies but our body actually does not. Our endocrine system (hormones) don’t understand that you’re not simply dying, and it’s main purpose is to help us not die! That’s really pretty cool that our body has our back (so to say). It helps to understand these basic principles so we can confidently change up what we are doing when it’s not working any longer. When we continue to restrict calories and nutrition, our body isn’t aware how long the starvation phase will continue. As we lower our caloric intake, the hormones can start to increase our appetites (hello BINGE FEST!) to help motivate us to EAT MORE (and the choices are usually not good!) and we wonder why we turn into the HANGRY monsters! #hormones As this is happening, you know what else is going on? Our body then slows down our metabolism (uh oh!) and promotes the breakdown of lean muscle tissue in order to conserve for the emergency of keeping our body fat supplies around longer.

It sounds like the drama scene in any action packed movie; everything is working to stop the good guys goal.

Let’s talk about the hormones responsible for appetite. The first one is called, “ghrelin” and is produced in our guts. (yayyy!) This hormone promotes hunger and can increase when we are in a fasting period. The second is called, “leptin” and is produced by adipose tissue (or FAT). This hormone decreases our hunger; it shows up in fewer amounts when you have less body fat available to produce it.

When energy levels are restricted, it puts more stress on our bodies. As this happens, it increases the hormone “cortisol”. This stress hormone helps us in tough situations. Think the “fight or flight” scenarios or when we are in actual danger. (cue horror movie type music). It becomes problematic, however, when we are constantly stressed out within our daily lives. What happens? It starts to suppress the hormone “leptin” (remember that one was helping to decrease our hunger) and it also saves more body fat stores by helping our bodies to break down more muscle protein as a source for fuel.

This is exactly what we don’t want. If we don’t know what’s going on within our bodies at these stages, we actually start to harm ourselves with what we believe is helping us “lose more weight”.

Not that we need one more areas to go wrong, but super low-calorie diets and super low body fats have been shown to reduce our blood sugar-regulating hormone, “insulin”. Insulin helps to metabolize and regulate our thyroid hormones and helps to prevent muscle protein breakdown.

So when you add this all up it equals chaos going on in our endocrine system. Any questions? Beuhler?

BLOGGING IS THE ONLY WAY!

 

#2: Metabolism slows down .

Let’s talk about our metabolism when we undereat. Like I said before, it seems pretty basic to think restricting more calories will simply result in more weight loss, right? WRONG! Our bodies require a specific amount of calories to just run efficiently to help in our bodily functions and in keeping us alive. #bonus This is referred to as our BASAL METABOLIC RATE, or “BMR”. It is basically like the fuel you put into your car or it won’t run. We know we burn calories when we are working out and being more active, but we also burn calories when doing anything, nothing and sleeping too!

It’s when we don’t eat enough, however, energy levels are lowered and our basal metabolic rate (BMR) does too. Why does this matter? Because it’s at this point that energy becomes less prevelant and our results slow down and eventually stall.

 

#3: You are not active

Your BMR is where most of your calories are burned (about 70%). The next is the daily stuff we do that seems almost boring; things like walking around, talking, crossing off tasks on your “to do” list. If you are low on calories, your body will then try to conserve energy and reduces this energy burn. Simply put; you burn less calories all the time.

running woman

Now that we know…what do we do??? 

As you know from above, just start to eat more. When we lower our deficit in calories, then these problems also lessen. Let’s talk about a study on women who were fed 1200 calories per day for 3 weeks.  This is nearly 600 calories less than the average intake for most women.  The study showed an increase in the hormone, cortisol in these women. Let’s compare another study on overweight men and women who were restricted just 200-300 calories a day less than the average daily intake. In this study, and combined with exercise, the results did not show an increase in cortisol (stress hormones). When we are eating enough to fuel our body’s needs throughout the dieting and exercise plans, we create less stress on our bodies and this makes it easier for us to maintain the caloric deficit without adding undue increases in cortisol levels.

It’s suggested at this point to increase your calories by 200-300 a day until you start to see results again. For example, if you’re following a plan that is 1,500 calories a day and not seeing the results you want, go up to about 1,700 calories and see if that creates better results. If that doesn’t work, then go up again to 1,800 calories and continue adding another 200 or so calories per week until your plateau is cracked.

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When you break it down, 200-300 extra calories are not much more foods but will give you better results in the long run. It may mean adding in a piece of fruit and some raw nuts into your day. Choose the right balance of foods to keep your macros balanced as you are adding the extra calories.

The focus should be on long term results at this point and not a temporary loss (and ultimately that dreaded gain soon after). Since what you’re currently doing is no longer working, you really don’t have much more to lose (or do you??) 🙂

Have you ever gone up in your calories when you hit a plateau? If so, please share with me below! I’d love to hear your story!

Recovery; What is it GOOD for?

Recovering takes work. Whether you are recovering from a hard workout, a surgery, an accident or race, an illness, etc – it’s usually something we view as a passive process. Almost like a non-event. Right? I have heard from so many clients who desire to workout 7 days of the week to their maximum capacity refuse to accept this concept. So I would like to break it down so you can understand why it is so crucial to work on your recovery periods. Stop assuming that this process is something that simply takes care of itself with time.

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The recovery phase starts as soon as the physical task ends. It doesn’t start 60 minutes later, later that night or in the morning when you roll out of bed. It begins while you still have sweat pouring down your face – and this is something I’ve been known to repeat when I was teaching group exercise classes and I’d see people who thought the “workout” was over, sneaking out of class.

The cool down and stretch is the beginning of your recovery period; do NOT skip this!

I’d repeat this so often and still see those who weren’t buying it anyway. I know how to recover because I had to recover. When I trained for my fitness competition, when I trained and ran my first full marathon, and when I’ve completed intense training plans in order to reach goals, I’d find my body ragged and in need of more than just some rest and time. I suffered through some adrenal fatigue, I’ve dealt with injuries, pains, and lack of desire to move my body any longer (which is weird for me because I am a high intensity loving junky – but you don’t have to be like I am in order to need recovery)

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Let’s understand what “RECOVERY” means: The very first step to having a better recovery is to simply understand what this means. Much like your car’s engine, the human body is constantly producing waste products from functions such as contracting muscles, absorbing external forces, digesting foods and cooling itself down. When our body’s are subject to higher activities with higher intensity levels; higher temperatures; longer durations, it produces higher levels of waste. (bet you didn’t know that!) This means that the body is always working to rid itself of these toxins, such as lactic acid, damaged blood cells, urea (within our urine) salts and elements of inflammation.

The next important part of the recovery period is the support of healthy, oxygen-rich blood into the body parts that have worked hard during the activity, or workouts. Carrying away the toxins (bad) and bringing in more blood, oxygen, sugar (good) is the simple process that we can visualize during our recovery. The bad stuff (toxins) are removed from the body by systems that include our skin, sweat, urine, lungs, rectum and even open wounds. The good stuff, like nutrients, fluids and oxygen are then delivered to the working muscles, the brain and the organs by the digestive, circulatory and respiratory systems. It’s like we have our own personal worker bees buzzing around inside our bodies doing damage control after we pummel ourselves with life, stress and workouts.

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Let’s talk about the right way to recover:

The recovery phase benefits that impacts our bodies can be broken down into several areas….

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1. Injury Prevention

In order to allow our body’s systems to work together effectively before the next tough workout, etc, our body must first restore key body abilities and functions. It’s important to regain this balance before we place additional demands and stress in order to prevent injuries. Pay attention to these:

  • muscle flexibility
  • joint range of motion
  • blood sugar levels
  • tendon flexibility
  • spine mobility
  • hand grip strength
  • bodily hydration levels
  • mental concentration

2. Better Performance
Most of us view recovery as “getting over” the tough workout and “getting back to normal”, right? Well that’s wrong! The truth is that vigorous workouts or challenges are more about creating an investment into higher performance. By changing how we think about recovery phases, we can speed up our recovery and allow ourselves to both overcome the challenge that’s passed and to perform better and stronger with higher levels of energy and balance to our body and minds in the future.

3. Badass Levels of Confidence

Imagine you are an amazing athlete (which you are) with a perfect recovery plan (which you may need some work on, most of us do). You’re enjoying the results of preventing injuries and better performance (score!). Would you be confident as you move into your next workout? Would you have more energy and fire to take on new and seemingly “scary” exercise challenges? I think you’re saying that you would and you may even be saying, “BOOOYAH”

What it takes to recover effectively:

1. Hydrate. This is something that’s quite easy to do and yet most of my clients admit skipping more often than they should. Did you know that your body is made up of 60% water – not sodas, not protein drinks, not energy drinks and not even Shakeology! 🙂 I repeat: 60 % WATER!! This means that at least 60% of our consumption must be pure water. It’s important to not that replacing lost fluids with water (and salt, electrolytes and calories) as soon as freaking possible after a workout is our top priority! (check out HYDRATE, I love it!)

2. Heat reduction.  When we exercise in a hot environment, it’s crucial to cool the body’s core (chest = heart, lungs and organs) so we stay alive. Getting cool water to our heads, getting out of direct sunlight, enjoying some cool air or a cool breeze and drinking cold drinks will all help to cool our elevated body core temperature. I know it’s what we want to do because being overheated feels miserably hot…but it’s important to also understand what to do and why we do it.

3. Getting rid of the waste (not what you think).  Getting your legs elevated, as well as some easy knee, ankle and toe motions in a cool environment will help to increase your body’s natural ability to get rid of the toxins in the muscles of your legs and hips. Do you even?

4. Refuel and replenish with nutrition.  Did you know that the 30-minute window after a hard workout is the best time to get in a high-carb (yum!) and low-protein snack? This helps the body restore muscle glycogen and blood sugar levels. Don’t miss this window!!!

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5. Restore muscle balance. It’s important to rebalance the chemicals, fluids, nutrients, sugars and flexibility within our bodies in order to help our muscles regain their functions. If not, this is when muscle contractions can occur because of complicated nerve and chemical reactions within these muscles.

6. Get some shut-eye (sleep). When we are busier than usual, one of the first areas to skimp on is sleep. But did you know that sleep affects every single cell inside of your body? Yes, every one of them! That’s a LOT of cells being affected. Sleep is the easiest, cheapest and yet, most important, part of your recovery. You’ll need at least 90 minutes to slow your brain and body down before your earlier bedtime. Stop using your smart phones, any and all electronics and loud music in this time frame in order to prepare your mind to embrace deeper sleep. A cool room with no light should be part of your nightly sleep pattern to master this critical step in your recovery plan.

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So, how can we recover properly?

Make recovery non-negotiable.

Make sure to plan your recovery into your daily routine just like tying your shoes before you jump into your workout or putting on your seatbelt before heading out onto the road. Don’t wait for soreness or pain to be your reminder to do so.

Examples:

  1. Morning stretch with coffee
  2. Arriving at morning workout with an ice pack and ace wrap in cooler for the drive to work
  3. Ride your bike to/from gym workouts
  4. Stretch for 3 songs after every workout

Don’t underestimate the power of the right foods and drinks.

Your body works freaking hard for you so it totally deserves to get the energy it needs from the best sources that are available: whole foods and not processed and man-made crap! Choose dark colored veggies, fruits, fresh, fish/chicken/beef and water are all perfect sources to replenish your body during it’s recovery phases. I like to use RECOVER and SHAKEOLOGY to help my body recover and run at it’s best.

Examples:

  • Post-workout berry/kale/veggie shakes or my shakeology 🙂
  • Fish and veggies dinners 3x/week
  • Drink 3 bottles of water before lunch at work every day

Do more of what made you sore.

The day after a very hard workout is the perfect time to do a similar “Mini-Me” workout. Most people shy away from doing this because they assume it’s too soon and too uncomfortable. But when did “comfortable” help us achieve new levels of success? Just make it a small workout though, and not the same exact workout you did the day before. For example, the total workload, weight, intensity, or distance should be no more than 10% of the previous day’s brutal workout. Does that make you feel better now? 🙂 The goal here is to get the muscles and joints to repeat the motions of the tough workout. This helps to restore healthy joint range of motion and muscle mobility while also helps to restore normal blood flow into the sore and fatigued muscles.

Example:

The day after your grueling workout:

  • Barefoot walk half a mile on level grass or sand while drinking water
  • Run ½ mile on level grass or sand with running shoes
  • 2 burpees + sideshuffle 20 yards each way
  • 5 air squats
  • 2 pullups
  • Walk backwards 40 yards
  • Aggressive roller on legs, lats and back for 10 mins
  • Full-body stretch and an easy bike or swim for 10-30 minutes

Start sooner.

The sooner you start your recovery, the quicker you will make a full recovery. Don’t wait until after the soreness sets in to start because this will only delay the total recovery period. (and I don’t like to wait! LOL) Practice doing some “old school” style cool downs while the blood flow is still higher and the body is working hard to remove those high levels of toxins lingering in your muscles, blood and tissues.

Examples:

  • After every workout: 15-30 minutes of non-running cardio
  • Roller and stretch within 15 minutes after a workout
  • Have a pre-made recovery carbohydrate-heavy drink waiting for you after every workout (Shakeology and Recover are my go-to’s)

Listen to your inner warrior—your body.

Our body has a natural and awesome ability to know what it needs to feel better and to heal itself. It always needs some TLC, so give it some. ❤ Sometimes it may be tough love that isn’t as comfortable or as fun but if it helps your body to do it’s job quicker and with less effort, you will be happier long term. Examples: If you’re sore, ice your muscles. If you’re feeling tight, then stretch! If you find yourself feeling like your legs feel dead or you have zero energy stores then cancel your run and do a yoga routine or intense stretch with some core work and schedule in a massage. 

Ice is your BFF.

Forget the ridiculous saying: 72 hours after an injury, switch to heat. It’s a lie because it only applies to a small percentage of injuries for high-level athletes. Injury Management rule of thumb:

If a body part is warm, red or swollen, ICE it.

Ice is an athlete’s best friend because it reduces pain and decreases inflammation.  Use an ice pack or bag for 15 minutes MAX.

 

Here are some more examples:

  1. Sitting in a cold shower, cold mountain stream or ice bath is a great way to use ice to reduce body inflammation, pain and—let’s be honest—toughen your mind.
  2. Using 1-minute ice/1-minute heat/repeat 3-6 times contrast therapy is an easy way to decrease swelling for a chronic injury that is not red or warm.
  3. For acute and chronic injuries, ice should be applied to the site of the injury.

Embrace massage, rollers, yoga and stretching…PUH-LEEZE~

I use a hard roller every night before I go to bed and as soon as I wake up in the morning. Too many people skip this and the effects add up sooner or later and I’d rather you not suffer the pains from something as simple as this step. As you age, flexibility and mobility become a higher priority. The use of rollers, massage, yoga, flexibility exercises, Pilates, and stretching is crucial for keeping your muscles pliable and your joints limber.

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Examples:

  1. Roller on legs and shoulders every morning and night
  2. Regularly scheduled massages
  3. Easy stretching with deep breathing should be comfortable and relaxing. If it’s painful, you’re being too aggressive and, therefore, not effective.

Changing the way you think about recovery. This is the first step to embrace the benefits of mastering these critical recovery skills. Learn more by educating yourself, listening to your body, ask others for recovery tips, learn from your mistakes and put your recovery plan in place by planning it out like your workout. This will ensure you continue to handle yesterdays’ workout challenges and be ready to take on today’s.

Eating takes the cake

Okay, time to let it all out and share what’s truly holding most of us back from reaching our goals. The women I talk with most days are crushing it in their workouts. They are doing so well, in fact, that they are doing more than they should be. The problem is; their goals are still not being met. They still feel “soft” around their middles and they are not able to lose that extra layer of fat that seems to just stick to their bodies. So what’s a girl to do?

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What’s more important to reaching our goals; eating habits or exercise?

“Exercise!” Did you not read the paragraph above? I totally gave away the answer.

“Oh. I skipped that. Can I change my answer?” Sure. “Eating!” You’re right. What you eat is more important than exercise. Like, way more important. Way way.

And that includes what you drink. Unless you’re a legit professional athlete (which would make it strange that you’re reading my blog on what’s more important…LOL) , I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet”…and that is the absolute TRUTH!

Some women would say, “great news! I can skip working out now?” Not so fast! Exercise def helps get that body revved up and burning calories faster and helps to tighten and tone the areas we want lifted, without having to go under the knife! ;). Also, it’s great for our overall health.

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I was never good in math…were you?  

Most people majorly overestimate how many calories they burn working out and majorly underestimate how many calories they eat and drink. No bueno. This is why a lot of us who work out regularly don’t lose weight — or worse, gain weight. And I’m not talking about “muscle weight”, I’m talking about fat. Yes, many people who work out consistently continue to gain fat. Maybe you’ve noticed this happen to you, or maybe it’s happening to you right now. That is exactly what I fought over for many many many years and finally learned what works and what needed to stop. Can I help you to stop repeating old and unsuccessful patterns too?

So let’s see if you’ve ever experienced a situation like this one… say you are trying to get fit and lose some weight, Ok? So you decide to go on a morning run for at least 30 minutes and you feel amazing. You’re so proud of yourself for pushing yourself in your run and feel like a rockstar by getting in your workout before 8am. Dude! Well done.

It’s only normal to stop by Starbucks on your way to work and pick up a double caramel coffee frap with just a litte whipped cream right? Cuz you ran. Totally legit to treat yourself to a “small” coffee treat, right?

Not so fast! Here’s the problem with the above story (and I’m sure you’re feeling a bit like I have been watching you, right? cuz so many of us have done this a few more times than we’d like to admit!)

Anyway, that run you hypothetically ran burned about 350 calories and the drink you ordered was more than a “small” treat; as it weighed in at 400 calories.

What? I knoooooow! So instead of moving the scale downward, that scale will start creeping upwards from just this one “coffee” treat. Imagine doing this daily for a month…that’s an extra 50 calories a day and over time that will add up to pounds and fat added to your body. (but that’s just with the coffee…I’m sure it doesn’t just stop there every day, am I right?)

We overestimate our treats for our hard earned workouts. I know, I’ve done it many times before too and it’s a sneaky thing that is so hard to figure out. It’s also less apparent when we are drinking those extra calories versus eating them, right? Seems less problematic for some reason. We feel like we worked so hard to run and workout and that is totally the case…but it’s also the case that it’s more time-consuming and more challenging to burn off calories than it is to eat or drink them, right? We can totally scarf down over 600 calories of french fries in about 5-10 minutes but it will take us over an hour of hard exercise to burn those same calories off. Where’s the fairness? Not here!

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Let’s focus on a better way! I’d like to ask you to swap out all of your fast food choices, coffee house orders and processed food purchases with healthy foods that are either grown from the ground or close to the ground…as in the meats, plants, veggies, grains and fruits we consume. Do this and let’s talk about Clean Eating next! Do you want some support in my next FREE Clean Eating group? I run these on the very first Monday of every month and they are totally FREE!! Just drop me an email saying you are interested in joining next month’s group to: http://www.spazzykay@gmail.com

Who’s ready to take this to the next level?

Why Diets Make Us Fatter

Diets do not work.

They are simply temporary fixes – or bandaids – to a deeper issue. There is always a deeper reason that we overeat, undereat and deal with our emotions with foods. It has nothing to do with the foods; except that it helps us deal with certain issues. It’s really just our “drug of choice”.

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The problem only grows worse because the diet industry feeds (pun intended) on this fact. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that is counting on our emotional eating issues and confidence struggles in keeping us caught in the yo-yo dieting cycle. It all starts because we want to reach a desired weight or body image (for me, it was always about having abs, after giving birth to 3 kids). So we find the latest diet craze and decide that this time, we are going to achieve our life long goals and begin our new crash diet.

Sound familiar? There are about 54% of the U.S. population who are trying to lose weight at any given time…like right now. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that includes diet supplements, diet books, packaged and processed foods that promote the desired weight loss.

But the weight loss results usually don’t stick around long enough for us to enjoy. We will usually regain the weight (and sometimes more) and repeat the process again and again. The typical “dieter” tries at least 4 new plans each year. The mentality we share is to get on and get off of any diet as quickly and as painlessly as possible, right? I know this totally describes my past issues and struggles as a self-proclaimed “dieter”. The only way for lasting success to happen, is to follow a sensible plan that we can sustain as a new lifestyle plan.

So I repeat again, diets do not work. They are not meant to stick. There is another way. It’s called “balance”.

Here are the steps to finding your own balance:

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1. Stop finding comfort in foods

This one was a biggie for me. I’d get stressed out, for any reason at all, and turn to food for comfort. It was my drug of choice. And the biggest problem with using foods as a drug is that we can’t just quit “cold turkey”…we need food to live so how to get past this problem? Find out what the root of the issues are first. Where did the stress start; and how do you usually deal with that feeling of stress? Once this has been established, we can then create a plan of action to work on instead of diving into the pantry and refrigerator. I like to make a list of strategies I can turn to instead of foods. I can then find one of the items on my list and enjoy this time of distraction instead of eating my way through the kitchen cabinets. My favorites? Spending time with my family; going for a walk (even just 10 minutes outside can change our outlook) and checking in with my challenge group on Facebook. I know when I surround myself with those who struggle too and who are working on similar good health habits; I tend to feel less isolated and can move forward with more confidence.

2. Reset your goals

Life is full of events and needing to “look our best”, am I right? Summer vacations, weddings, and reunions are just a few examples of why we would typically start a new “diet” to slim down for. But again, once the event has passed, we return to our old habits of eating whatever and whenever and turning again to foods for comfort and solace. When we are focusing on quick weight loss again and again; our bodies become less interested in responding because it’s not quite sure when it’s going to get more foods and quality calories again. Remember, our bodies do not want to die. (and that’s pretty cool, in my opinion!) If short term goals are your problem, create longer term goals instead. Create milestones of smaller achievements like joining a walking club, or signing up for your first 5k and then looking for a new challenge once that is achieved. This keeps life more interesting and we take the focus off of the scale and put it into our successes and long term journey.

3. Ditch that scale!

I know that when we begin a new diet, the whole point is to weigh less on the scale. We focus all of our success on what that silly scale registers at on any given day and time. I’ve been guilty of feeling absolutely ecstatic about my success when I was eating close to nothing and working out most hours of my day; only to fall to pieces if the scale registered just a half a pound more than the previous “weigh in”. That’s unacceptable to me now. I have since gotten rid of my scale and I do not measure my success in that device any longer. I find that taking weekly or monthly pictures of myself is a great way to see actual shifts in my body. I enjoy the simple act of seeing my inches shrink as I measure my body’s results every month too. (and bonus; as this difference equals less body fat too!) Just learning that our body can fluctuate on the scale in more ways than we can predict. Some examples are, how much water we are retaining; how hydrated we are; what time of day we are weighing in; what time of the month it is…and so on. Research actually shows that women who focus their success solely on counting calories and restricting their foods are more stressed out and have higher levels of cortisol, which only leads to more overeating. I like to empower myself in choosing a plan that makes me feel my best and eating the foods I enjoy without feeling deprived or ravenous. This makes it easier to stick to the plans and see results longer term.

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4. Don’t be afraid to share with others

Tracking what you eat every day can help you lose up to 2X the amount of weight as people who just guesstimate it. But I’m not just talking about writing it down on paper. Social networking and challenge groups that I run every month, gives us something we can’t get from just a food diary. We get that virtual support of others who are dealing with their own struggles alongside of us. It’s so much easier for me to pass up my weekend treats when I know that there are a group of other women who are staying strong with me. I know this is the #1 reason I can stay accountable to my goals in the past few years.

5. Pick up the pace on your motivation

Our motivation can also yo-yo along the way. It’s at these times that we need to refocus on our goals and long term results when we contemplate skipping our workout or decide we aren’t as excited about our progress as before. Have you ever heard how endorphin highs can help us feel like we took a “happy pill”? It’s true and can be realized wether we jump into an activity or surround ourself with positive energy.

These are some basic areas to get started on ditching the nasty diet syndrome for good. Like I mentioned above, the monthly support groups that we hold are responsible for motivating me (and many others) and keeping me on track without the previous up and down yo-yos that would occur without any fun and structure.

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If you are interested in some info on joining our next group, fill in the info below and I’ll contact you shortly: