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

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? 😉

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 – Body Barre class (which I lead) and 30 minute upper body workout 

Wednesday, Day 3: 1699 – Yoga and Pilates 

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

Friday, Day 5: 1749 – 30 minute circuit training workout 

Saturday, Day 6: 2616 – Cycle 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!

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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? 😀 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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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! 😉 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 🙂

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!

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. 

IMG_4769

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.