Who Wants ABS? (or maybe I should just ask who doesn’t to weed out the non-committed folks!) :)

IMG_0953This is for all the beautiful people who have been dreaming and wishing and hoping to one day have a sexy midsection! Is that YOU?? I am pretty sure it’s most of the population! LOL

When it comes to creating incredible abs, even the most effective workout programs can only bring you so far. That’s because you can’t get a flat, hard midsection without losing body fat. No matter how much effort you put into creating a six-pack, no one’s going to see it if it’s covered by a layer of flab.

Seriously, I know! I’ve worked out so intensely and so often that if this was a proven method, I’d have had a six pack for most of you reading this today! 😉  But, alas, foods are the KEY to getting those abs to POP!

If you’re following the dietary guidelines of a fitness program, you’ll automatically be eating the right foods to lose fat as you get in shape. But the following seven principles can give you an extra edge, and will help ensure that the effort you’re putting into your abs will bring you the results you want.

1. Get plenty of protein
Eating enough lean protein promotes fat loss and muscle gain, the two most important elements for developing great abs. It also helps keep you from getting hungry while you’re eating right. You don’t have to gobble down 12-ounce steaks—just eat a normal portion of lean meat, fish, low-fat dairy, or vegetarian protein with every meal, and make sure your snacks contain some protein, too. If you still have a hard time getting enough in your diet, a daily Shakeology shake can be a perfect addition.

By the way, protein is especially important in the morning, when a lot of people don’t get as much as they should. A protein-rich breakfast will help keep your blood sugar steady for hours, preventing the dips that can lead to cravings later in the day. (Try some low-fat chicken sausage, or an omelet with one whole egg and three egg whites, along with fruit or whole-grain toast.) Tell me how much protein do YOU get each day? I see and talk with so many women who DON’T bcuz they think it will “bulk” them up….

NOT! Get that protein in yo face asap! 😉

2.Reconsider your carbs.
Despite the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets, the average American meal is still too high in sugar and fast-burning starches to bring body fat down to ab-baring levels. It’s time to say goodbye to sweetened soda, ditch the Doritos, and save the cake for your birthday. DUH!  If your fitness plan calls for a sports drink before a long cardio workout, or a carb-and-protein recovery drink after resistance training, that’s fine. But the rest of the time, stick with foods that are on the low end of the glycemic index (refer to GlycemicIndex.com for more information)—these foods burn more slowly, so they won’t spike your blood sugar and insulin levels.

3. Have fun with fiber.
Something about the word “fiber” just doesn’t sound appetizing. But high-fiber foods can actually be quite delicious: fresh berries and other fruits, salads loaded with colorful produce, your favorite steamed vegetables or vegetable soup, stews or chili made with beans, chewy whole-grain breads and cereals…You get the picture. (These foods just happen to be loaded with nutrients as well.) High-fiber foods keep you fuller with fewer calories, and they help keep your digestive system working at its best—a double-whammy for getting rid of belly bulge. And “double-whammy” is such a fun word to use that I encourage you to try it out a few times this week!

4. Enjoy some yogurt.
Probiotics, the healthful bacteria found in yogurt and other fermented foods, have been proven to help reduce belly fat. In a recent study in Finland, new mothers who took probiotic supplements averaged smaller waist circumferences—and lower body fat in general—than those who didn’t take probiotic supplements. And while the topic is still controversial, studies have found that eating lots of calcium-rich dairy foods like yogurt may increase overall weight loss. It’s why I eat Greek yogurt and drink my Shakeology DAILY!!

5. Don’t forget to eat.
Tempted to lower your daily calorie count by skipping meals? Don’t. Seriously, I cannot tell you how many women tell me that they don’t know why they aren’t losing weight; since they only eat maybe 1 time a day!!! EXCUSE MOI??????

Going hungry can raise your levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol, which research has found can increase belly fat even in otherwise thin women. And eating too infrequently can lower your metabolism and energy levels, while increasing the chance that you’ll get too hungry and decide to chuck your meal plan entirely. If you’re eating the right foods, regular meals and snacks will keep your body fueled while you’re working toward that strong core. You MUST eat!!! It’s the ONLY way! 😉

6. Drink more fluids. Hydration is important when you’re on a fitness plan, but drinking plenty of water has particular benefits for your midsection. It helps keep your stomach full, so you don’t overeat, and it helps flush out excess sodium to prevent belly bloating. (Eating more potassium-rich foods, such as tomatoes and bananas, will also help in this area.) Plain ol’ H20 can’t be beat, but you can also switch it up with flavored waters, iced tea, and anything else you like to drink that isn’t full of sweeteners. How much do you need? The old rule of 8 glasses a day is a good start, but everyone is different: drink more if you’re exercising or it’s hot out, and drink less if you’re running to the bathroom every 5 minutes.  I will challenge you to drink the recommended amount for fit individuals; 1/2 your body weight in ounces!! So for someone who is 150 lbs; they would need to drink at least 75 oz of water every day! Or a gallon if you are really up to the challenge!

7. …With two exceptions.
It’s time to cut down on those mood-altering substances, coffee and alcohol. Too much caffeine raises your cortisol levels and can impair your sleep, which can lower the production of fitness-promoting hormones. Meanwhile, the proverbial “beer belly” isn’t just the result of extra calories—alcohol actually makes it more difficult for your body to metabolize carbs and fat. Booze also stimulates your appetite and lowers your inhibitions, which can lead to bingeing. The best road to flat abs is no alcohol at all, but if you really like a drink now and then, just have one at a time (and no more than a few a week), and stay away from higher-calorie beers and sugary mixed drinks. Something to seriously consider especially over the weekends, am I right or am I right? (you are SO smart! lol)

If you add these rules to your fitness plan, you’re sure to see faster improvements in your midsection. Of course, there’s an added bonus to eating this way: it’ll keep you healthier, too. That may not be as big an inducement as great abs, but that’s just  for free.

Do you need an added incentive? I have a BUSY MOM’S support group starting first of the month and welcome you to message me today for info on joining. You can succeed and have time for your family AND save money along the way! All thrown in for extra bonus!! 😉

Email me at: http://www.spazzykay@gmail.com

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Everything Happens for a Reason…

What  a day.

Do you ever wake up and want to just throw the covers over your head and go back to sleep; or at least, hide from the day?

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Well, that’s how today started and for most of the day; I felt as though I should have done just that.

But I woke up and got straight to my tasks, workouts, and more. Feeling a bit tired; I decided to take it easier and this thought made me feel better…

For awhile…

Then, I checked my bank statements and noticed some charges that I didn’t recognize.  In looking a bit more closely, I noticed they were three separate charges; from the same company; on the same day; with different amounts.

Huh?

I checked the company name and looked at their website..it turned out to be a survey page.

Uh-oh…

Scrambling, I called the bank and asked about it and they went through the usual questions to find out if I had indeed authorized these payments and forgot…but after some questions and answers, it was clear that this was fraud.

Yes, the fun of that issue.  I went into the bank branch and found out all the steps I must take but good news overall; it will be reimbursed and we will file a claim.

I also had some minor technicalities with some work and management issues but I said what needed to be said and moved on.

Why did I still want to just hide from the world?  Why do we struggle?  It sucks, it hurts and we have to find the strength to carry on.

Then we overcome and become better.  Kind of like when you break down muscles and they rebuild stronger and larger than before.

So instead of chalking today up to a “terrible” and “difficult” day; I am now going to stand tall and know that I overcame and will only be better tomorrow.

What issues are you currently dealing with?  Is there anything you can do to change the circumstances or the outcomes?  If so, do it.  If not, let it go.  Don’t waste time allowing the negativity to suck you in and into the downward spiral.  Decide to push agains the current and come out better.  You will shine and others will look to you when they need strength.

Now, where’s my blankie and cocoa?

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In Honor of Boston 2013….

I am a runner.

running woman

I recently ran my very first marathon in February of this year in Huntington Beach, CA and although I had attempted to qualify for the Boston Marathon; I finished well behind the qualification time.

The Boston Marathon was held today.

At about 4 hours and 10 minutes; three explosions erupted and sent shock waves and terror through the country.  There were confirmed deaths; one an innocent 8 year old girl.  There were countless injuries.  There was complete panic throughout a tight-knit community.

Runners have an advantage of being able to “leave it all behind” once we lace on our shoes and head out the door.  The hard work and determination to continue on; mile after mile becomes quite an addictive pattern that only fellow runners can understand.

Today, that peace and freedom feeling was shaken for all of us.  My heart goes out to every runner who took part in the marathon this year.  I pray for the victims and the families who were struck by this hideous and appalling instance.

In honor of the victims, we ask if you have ever  run a race during your life; to wear your shirt tomorrow to show we are a strong community who will not fear the idiotic practices of those who have no conscience or human compassion.  Evil and hate will not win out.  Running is such a metaphor for any challenge in life; and I believe that in doing something to help bring us all together tomorrow; will show that we can rise above anything and win.

Here’s to everyone who ran today; and who will continue to run in the coming months and years.

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Carb-Loading; Not What it’s Cracked Up to BE!

bread

So, Carb loading….

It was supposed to be magical.  I imagined awesome days, filled with pastas, breads and so much wonderful CARBS….

It’s not as fun as I thought.  Why, you may ask?  Well, obviously, carbs are the “fun” food group that helps to curb our deepest cravings and satisfy the hormonal shifts that tend to make us cranky and short on energy.  It’s supposed to make us feel all cozy and happy and FULL…

Well, apparently, eating carbs pre-marathon means JUST carbs.  No fats and no proteins with it.

screeeeech….Excuse me???  What does that leave me with?

Here’s the food list that I was “enjoying” (but not really that much) the 2 days before my race:

*plain “white” pasta (blech!! I don’t eat “white” anymore!! and here I had to break my clean eating for plain white pasta)

*plain white bagels

*oatmeal (probably the best choice of all!)

*plain white potatoes

*bananas/apples

*lots and lots and lots of water (kind of the complete opposite of my bikini comp pre-week “Peak Week”)

Oh, sure, you’re most likely rolling your eyes and thinking that Kathy has NO reason to complain about that amazing list of foods…but really??? Who wants to eat plain everything?  I want my peanut butter or avocado atop my bagels and toasts.  I like to have some veggie omelet scramble and protein pancakes for some of my “fun” breakfasts…

In any case, (and all of my silly complaining aside) it DID help!  I ate as plain as possible the 2 days before and drank at least 4 liters of water each day (hello, where is your restroom???) and had so much energy to spare!! I think some of the pre-race crazy excitement may be solely blamed on this meal plan.

For the day of the race, I woke up at 3am (it is NOT morning yet!!) and drank my coffee (cuz that’s what I do every other morning) and ate my oatmeal with banana and almond milk.  I took bananas and snacks and more water with me to have again about an hour before the race.

The actual race plan was to drink water or electrolytes at every water station on my run.  (I dehydrate easy due to how much I sweat…wanna bet??? I’ll totally win!)  I brought 8 packets of “gu” (again, it’s what I had been using on all of my long training runs for the previous 16 weeks so no way I’d change that up now!) and burned a playlist to my iphone, wisely titled “Marathon”…(I know, I come up with some good ones!)

We arrived and parked early enough to be relaxed and walk the area in the still-dark-morning!  Ben (hubby) stated that he would accompany us to the marathon; although I “warned” him he’d be waiting for over 4 hours for us to run!  (I think he was worried I’d collapse from exhaustion since he cannot wrap his mind around 26.2 miles…but neither can I so I am happy he came!)  He had to put up with crazy energy from both Grace and myself.  We met with a few other runner “friends” took pics and shared our excitement with each other.

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We visited the restrooms more than once.

Then, it was time.  We headed out to our section to start; amongst the crowds in the dark and cold beachy morning.

I heard the first group begin; I became a bit more excited with anticipation.

Then the second group went out; Grace was amongst this group and I yelled out to her, “Go, Grace!!”

Finally, it was our turn to run (there were 6 or 7 groups, I think) and I remember being filled with an overwhelming emotion of pride, gratitude, nerves, calm and everything in between.  I felt almost as though I was bawling my eyes out; but not really crying at all.  It was a rush of all the past 4 months of training and planning and doubts…

Then we passed a man standing on a ladder.  He was holding a sign that said “You are almost there” and then he turned his sign around and it read “just 26 miles left!”….

Apparently, 0.2 miles were officially done.  The woman running alongside of me, turned to me and said, “should we kill him now?”

and so it began….

My First-Marathon (what does that mean?)

It seems a bit unreal that my marathon training and actual marathon race; have been completed.  I remember deciding (albeit hesitantly) to take on my first marathon (which for those of you who are unclear; is 26.2 miles!! And yes, there seemed to be MANY people unclear on this fact)

and the schedule that laid out ahead of me.

IMG_1459My tracking had me running over 10o training “runs” and that alone, scared the heck out of me!

I am not a “natural-born” runner.  I remember having to run for P.E. class and just hating it with a passion.  I was lazy.  It hurt.  I couldn’t breathe…

On and on, the excuses went.  They never changed either; since I hadn’t changed the way I thought about running.  It always makes me think of how powerful our minds are.  We put so much emphasis on how much “strength” or “endurance” we have within us; when it’s simply just the mind’s capacity and ability to get over the hurdles.

My humorous complaints regarding the marathon itself; the amount of training I needed to overcome; and the fact that Grace (my running partner) was trying to “kill” me with these challenges, were only said in jest.  I knew in my heart and in my mind; that I was determined, one way or another, to get to the finish line and be able to stand (in a semi-proud posture) and enjoy the accomplishment after.

I found it amazing how I went through the training phases in a pyramid like fashion; which meant increasing my long runs each week until 20 miles and then gradually tapering back down for recovery.

Those 20 milers sure took a toll on my body!  It took every bit of strength to walk the rest of that day; and don’t get me started on lifting up my legs to walk upstairs! :-/

All in all, the day following my super long runs were surprisingly good days!  I was told it would be worse the “day after” but my body didn’t follow along the basic guidelines, I’m sure!  (not too surprising since I don’t really follow along “normal” guidelines in anything! ha)

The week leading up to our marathon was more or less a “restful” running week.  Runs were shorter and a few quick bursts of speed and that was it.  I didn’t complain one bit.  It seemed to be more of a “mental” training week; in preparing ourselves for the upcoming race.  How would this be possible? I wondered.  What if I had to quit? I feared.  I know that these are all normal thoughts and feelings that newbies have; and maybe even veteran marathoners at times.  It didn’t slow me up or make me fear enough to back away…NEVER!!!

The weekend of the marathon, Grace and I went to the Expo along Huntington Beach Pacific Coast Highway in order to pick up our race packets and receive all of the important info for our race.  I have to say that we just became giddier with excitement and it was then that I knew I would do well.  No matter what happened; I would finish.  No matter my pace; I would finish.

All in all; we would finish.

I will write more in the next few blogs regarding the specifics of our nutrition prior to race day; (yes, carb-loading to the max!! NOT as fun as I thought) planning for the big day; during the run itself; and post marathon.

Aren’t you excited already?

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