Author Archives: Courtney

skinny fat

Working to Avoid the Skinny Fat

skinny fatFor those that follow me on my and my husband’s blog Far Away Reasons, you know that we’ve hit New Zealand and were immediately shocked to discover how ridiculously high the cost of living in Aucklund is.

Keeping with the theme of my post last week, I have since become my own worst client having every excuse in the book not to follow my own healthy eating plan.

In trying to stick to my budget, I’ve found it nearly impossible to eat as frequently as I would like, nor maintain the food quality nor macro nutrient consistency I would like.  That being said, here are my solutions to eating cheap and sticking to plan.  

skinny fatThe first night we were in town we strayed away from restaurants, not because of the food quality, but because of the cost.

Thinking we would do better buying our own food and cooking in the hostel, we headed to the grocery store.

We quickly discovered the options weren’t much better there.  Produce and Proteins were scarce.

Feeling discouraged about our ability to stick to budget and feed ourselves for the next couple months, we settled for some cheap Ramon ($5.99 for 5 bags) and splurged for some steak ($12 for 1/2 a lb) –the only protein we could find.

This was obviously an attempt to stick to our 1:1 or 1:2 protein to carbohydrate ratios,  and while we were successful, I normally wouldn’t recommend eating Ramon noodles.  The sodium content is much too high and Ramon noodles are far from the healthy types of carbohydrates that I normally like to consume.

We quickly learned our lesson from our poor eating choice, when my husband got food poisoning after this meal.  We cleaned up our cooking by instead making a stir fry of eggs, frozen veggies, and steak.  This may not sound like the most glamorous meal, but our bellies thanked us.

Another solution I’ve found to sticking to my budget is to eat the local meal deals, filling up on one to two large meals a day.   I’ve found $4 pizzas and $10 Indian Meal combos.  These deals, however, do come at a cost–THEY ARE NOT ON PLAN.  Both meals are run heavy in carbs and either lack or contain very little protein.

I’ve found the days that I eat out, my calories are actually pretty low.  Remember though, maintaining a too-low calorie diet isn’t good.  The body needs fuel to function.  If you don’t provide the body the fuel it needs, it begins to break down your muscle for fuel since muscle costs more calories to maintain than fat.

I’ve found low calorie/bad nutrient diets to be the general trend here in Aucklund which would explain the very large population of “skinny-fat” I’ve noticed.

skinny fatFor those of you who haven’t heard the term “skinny-fat” before, urban dictionary defines it as:

“1. When someone is thin and looks great in clothes, but is all flabby underneath

2. A physique, while not overweight (and possibly underweight), lacks any visible lean, striated tissue. The term is often NOT used or understood by the uneducated, untrained eye. To the uneducated, untrained eye, a skinny fat female may appear to have a physique of the same caliber as an individual who is comprised of significantly more lean tissue. The term is particularly relevant  while eating at Denny’s and discussing how unappealing the waitress is. You can always resort to getting traditional weight loss surgery mexico, but going out and using the gym is the best alternative to avoid the issue.

skinny fat

Miley Cyrus at the VMA’s: another example of skinny fat

3.  A person who is not overweight and have skinny look but still have a high fat percentage and low muscular mass. Usually those people have a low caloric diet, that’s why they are skinny, but are not involved in any sports activities or trainings and that’s why they don’t have any muscle. Since between the bone and the skin those people only have fat, the skin can be deformed easily because the skin layer is located on an unstable matter (fat).
Skinny fat woman look sexy from a certain distance but they have soft jelly skin and still have some cellulite even if they are in there early 20.”

Skinny Fat does have an official medical term, metabolically obese normal weight or MONW, but according to the dr grawe reviews it is not easy to change, specially if the person decides to undergo surgery.

Besides the physical appearance ramifications one runs risk of by becoming skinny fat, being such is also one step away from Type II diabetes.  (I realize there is a comical air to what I’m writing, but this is a serious topic.  Check out Mark Hyman, MD’s post.)

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Besides diet, one way to combat the skinny fat is exercise.

Since arriving in Aucklund, I have been able to stay on track with my exercise, averaging over 20,000 steps a day.  There are gorgeous parks all over the city, but the trick is to taking advantage of these parks and getting outside.

I’ve loved having access to so many trails to run, but even walking around these areas is good for combating skinny fat. I recommend getting a fitbit so you can start monitoring your daily activity!  You should aim to have at least 5,000 steps a day, even if you exercise regularly and 10,000 a day if you don’t.

20131006_172448[1]Unfortunately, I’ve noticed most people choose to drive around the parks and craters we’ve visited rather than explore them on foot.  Once again explaining the skinny fat population here in Aucklund.

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In a more optimistic light, I can gladly report that Bikram Yoga East West in Aucklund has a very large population of regular practicing yogis.  I saw by far the largest population of fit people that I had seen in the city dropping in to take yoga classes at their studio!

Luckily for me, I’m leaving Aucklund tomorrow and heading up North.  I’ve been told that once out of the city, fresh veggies are much more abundant.  I’m hoping there will also be a better selection of protein, but even if there isn’t we could eat better just with some more fresh vegetables.

Regardless, the good news is a couple days of poor diet won’t kill me, especially since I’ve kept my exercise up!

It can be very easy to allow yourself to become skinny fat, but if you follow these simple rules you can quickly avoid this.

Simple Rules to Avoid the Skinny Fat:

  • Eat Protein as much as possible!–Remember, if you are traveling, a couple of days of a poor diet won’t kill you, but do the best you can to pick nutrient rich options.  If you can’t eat healthy one meal, don’t use that as an excuse to eat poorly the next.  Each meal is an opportunity to fuel the body to be strong!

    photo travel workout card

    Click here to get a workout for home or travel!

  • Maintain your exercise!  Hit up local classes such as yoga, crossfit, and cycling!  If you can’t afford them or the times don’t work with your schedule do a workout you can do in your own home or in a hotel room if you’re traveling!
  • If you still can’t find the time to workout, make sure you maintain a high level of activity.  Track this with a pedometer, or Fitbit.  This is a great tool to keep you on track in your daily life, especially if you travel frequently.
  • Eat frequently so your body relies on healthy food to fuel itself so it can build muscle, not eat away at it!  If you don’t know how to do that, here is a meal plan you can follow!

What’s your favorite way to avoid the skinny fat?

 

health and fitness while traveling

Health and Fitness While Traveling

One of the hardest things about personally training is countering my clients  excuses.

Now, it must be said some people just don’t have the intention to EVER get healthy and fit.  They find eating a pizza they saw on the way to the check out with their lean steak and veggies, after canceling their session with me because they are tired  a valid excuse.–It’s obviously not, but hey at least they are making an effort to change by hiring the personal trainer.

And in all fairness that’s fine.  They are in the contemplation/preparation stage.  I’m happy if I can push them into the action phase.

The ones that are harder to answer are the ones who actually have legitimate excuses:

  • Traveling 5 nights a week so all meals are eaten out.
  • Hosting clients and having to “entertain” 3-4 nights a week.
  • No access to a gym while traveling.
  • Getting 15,000 steps daily except for the days they are on planes for over 20+ hours up to 2x a week.

My job as a trainer is to counter all of your excuses giving you no reason to veer off your health and fitness plan.

I figured since I know every trick in the book, I should have no problem maintaining my health and fitness while Tom and I travel for a year.

I’m quickly finding, however, despite my best efforts staying health and fit on the go is turning out to be a little tougher than I originally thought.  Here are some challenges I’ve encountered during the past week and what I’ve doing to keep up with my health and fitness while traveling.

health and fitness while traveling

Use Your Jet Lag

When Tom and I flew to Hawaii we gained 3 hours. Getting up at 5am feels like 8am right now for us.   We could have chosen to sleep those extra hours, but rather we’ve decided as we travel west,  we’ll continue to keep our  internal “clocks” set to wake up early.  When we finally get to our resting point we hope that early bird clock stays set.

These hours have bought us time to get work in saving the afternoons for workouts and site seeing.

They have also bought us a couple sunrise morning runs! Get food crated delivered to your house before you even land. Think ahead and plan this out well If youre going to the uk for travel then itl be easy to find a Crate Hire UK.

If you are traveling east, hit the gym at night.  Don’t lay there trying to fall asleep, do something productive with those restless hours. And don’t forget to get a brazilian wax, you’re on vacation after all!

health and fitness while traveling

Make Your Workout Your Activity for the Day

One of those cool sites that we have gotten so see is the stairway to heaven hike.    We climbed up 3,922 metal steps to get a an amazing experience and a spectacular view!

Make sure when you travel that you take advantage of the natural sites there are to see where you go.  Not only are you burning calories, (aka adding to the beers you can consume later) but you are also saving money.

Remember, Outside is free!

health and fitness while travelingGet Creative with Your Lifting

Those that follow my blog probably know all ready how much I love my mini bands!  They are the perfect workout tool for anyone who travels frequently.

I created a body weight/mini band workout that you can do on the go in any hotel room.

The one exercise that I do miss, however, is squats.

I have always loved doing squats at the gym.  I pride myself in being good at them and I hate that I don’t have access to a gym to do them, so Tom and I got creative and have started doing partner squats a couple times a week as part of our workout!

health and fitness while travelingEat In Whenever Possible

Obviously when you travel eating in isn’t always possible, however, that is why it is very important to take every measure to eat in when you can.

Since we’ve been traveling Tom and I have tried to keep up with our normal breakfast of Bacon and Eggs.  We eat dinner in whenever possible, making stir frys, burgers sans bun over veggies, and steak dinners.  This has helped save us calories and carbs for when we inevitably end up at a bar.

Make it your goal to find hotels that have kitchenettes.  If you know there will be times you won’t able to stick to your diet, build in as many opportunities to stick to your diet plan as possible.

When You Do Eat Out, Pick the Right Options

Since we’ve been on the road there have been times I’ve just had to eat out.  I try to use these times not as an excuse to go off my diet plan, but rather search for new ways to prepare proteins and veggies. Being on the road is one of the best time to research on new supplements such as mk2866, as the more you’ll be able to research and study on additional supplements, the better food source you’ll be able to provide your body. (Get inspiration for your own cooking from what you eat out!  Soon you’ll start to realize you prefer to make it at home!) Magnesium is a BIG one I recommend for health on the road. Surprisingly there are actually many different forms of magnesium. I prefer to take magnesium blends to get the benefits of them all.

I’ve been very successful sticking to plan with Appetizer menus.

Even if you order protein on a menu, it is often served with carb and most often served with way too many carbs.  Even if you just eat the protein, you are left either full or still hungry but either way with temptation sitting on a plate right in front of you.  If it’s hard enough to say no when it’s an option on a menu, don’t let the option become a physical item in front of you.  It’s near impossible to not eat something that appeals to you when it’s sitting right in front of you.

The nice thing about Appetizer menus is you can often find proteins like steak bites, poke bowls, or Ahi Sashimi.  I recommend going at Happy Hours because then these items are discounted.  If you are still hungry, 2 orders of an all protein and veggie app Typically allow you to stick your diet plan better than 1 normal entree.

(Related: Consider the Clenbuterol cycle for fatloss if you are looking for quicker ways to shed those extra kilos)

Have Go To Options at Popular Chains

For Breakfast I like to hit up Starbucks.  Their Spinach and Feta Egg White Wrap only has 290 calories and 33g carbs and it also packs in 19g of protein.

If I’m eating lunch on the go.  I like to get burrito bowls from Chipotle or similar burrito joints or Salad bowls from Subway.  Often times in cities you can find similar options at alternatives to the popular chain, but when you are stuck these are great go to options.

Dinner time can be more difficult especially when traveling for work, because the location of dining can often be out of your control.  Where ever your dinner is scheduled, Google the menu of the restaurant before you go.  Have the healthiest meal option in mind before you sit down starving and get tempted by the Fettuccine Alfredo, which has 1200 calories, 99 carbs, and only 36g protein.  (36g seems like a lot, but that meals ratios are close to 3:1)  A better option at Olive Garden would be the Parmesan Crusted Tilapia with only 590 Calories, 40g Carbs, and 50g of Protein–still very much on plan.

Be creative or go with what you know, but don’t say you can’t stick to your ratios on the go.

health and fitness while traveling

 Whatever You Do Eat, Track Your Calories

Whatever nutrition choices you do end up making, make sure you track your calories.  My favorite app to use is Lose It, because it also keeps track of your overall macro nutrient ratios.

All my clients meal track.  I love meal tracking, because it is the best way to become educated about what you put in your mouth.

The number one mistake people make, however, is they don’t track when they know they’ve eaten poorly.  This is the worst thing you can do.  Without logging the poor choices, you allow yourself to be in denial about how your eating is affecting your weight.

I will never tell you, “You can’t eat something.”  Rather just track it.  See for yourself how the foods you choose to eat affect your health and fitness.  Over time you’ll start to realize better and better which decisions at restaurants keep you on plan and which decisions do not.

You number one goal should be to make healthy eating decisions, but when that fails at least track what you did eat.  Keep yourself honest.

health and fitness while travelingUse the Road as an Excuse to Try a Class You’ve Been Wanting to Take

By now you’ve probably had a friend tell you about how amazing crossfit, or Bikram Yoga, or Barre.  In fact, you’ve probably been meaning to check one of those classes out yourself.

Use the road as an excuse to do that.  Google the local studios in the area you are going.  Find a class that fits your schedule and try it out.

If you love it, you might have just found something new to try in your hometown.  If already are addicted, see what other studios are like.  Try new instructors.  Change is good.  You will pick up tips that you haven’t heard before making your practice or workout even better when you do return home.

Contact the gym ahead of time and see if they have any specials for new drop ins.  Most Bikram studios have $20-30 intro weeks.  If you make it a priority to go the entire time you are away that price is very affordable.

While we were in Oahu we found out that Cross Fit Oahu does a free drop in beach session!  We got our booties kick by Ian right on the beach for free!

To Wrap This Up

The point of this post is to remind you, we all face obstacles when it comes to living a fit and healthy life, especially when on the road.  You can choose to allow those obstacles to get in your way, or you can creatively find solutions to get around them.

I hope this post has given you a couple of solutions to some of the obstacles I’ve encountered. If you want more great health and fitness articles just follow me! 🙂

Is There Something I missed?

What’s your biggest obstacle that you face when you travel?

Do you have the same challenges I’ve  hit?

If I didn’t touch on your challenge this week, I’d love to help you come up with a solution.  Make sure you leave a comment and let me know! 🙂

 

 

fitness lessons

Fitness Lessons You Can Learn from a Traveling Bikram Yoga Instructor/Personal Trainer

I’ve officially been in the road now for over a week now.  So far my quest to maintain a healthy fit lifestyle is working out pretty well.

I’ve gone on some awesome runs.

I’ve run around the Marina with views of the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco.

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I’ve run along rolling hills of vineyards in Napa.

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I ran the famous Dipsea trail among giant Redwoods in Muir woods.

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I’ve also made time to practice at some awesome Bikram Yoga studios.

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I sweated along side the colorful Frankenstein cartons at the funky door studio on Polk Street in San Francisco

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I sweat out my “pour” decisions in my college town studio in Davis.

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I received some excellent, disciplined instruction on a beautiful cork floor in Napa.

 

 

From the sweat and steps I’ve also learned a few fitness lessons and those are what I want to share with you today.

 

Fitness Lessons Learned:

Lesson #1: The more you workout the more you can enjoy your travels.

As most of my clients always report, with travel comes the temptation to eat out frequently, try local foods and treats, (which unfortunately never seem to be on the diet plan!) and to drink an abundance of alcohol.

Now if I was on vacation, I would gladly rationalize that I deserve a break from my normally fit and healthy life, however, since travel has now become a lifestyle I have to make sure I earn the luxury of gluttony.

The same goes for anyone else who travels a lot for work or pleasure. If you keep yourself disciplined to get your exercise in first thing, you buy yourself budge room to enjoy a treat our two in the evening. Make sure to consume supplements such as lgd 4033 daily cause even if you manage to skip food after your exercise the supplements protein and other minerals will still help develop your body while also providing your energy to perform other tasks.

daily Lesson #2: Drink water.

My favorite type of water bottle is my hydro flask. It will keep water cold for days even in a hot Bikram Torture Chamber!

My favorite type of water bottle is my hydro flask. It will keep water cold for days even in a hot Bikram Torture Chamber!

Making sure you stay hydrated is very important to maintaining fit lifestyle on the road.

Travel in general makes you dehydrated.  The first step to making sure you stay ahead on the hydration curve is to bring an empty water bottle through security and then fill it up before you get on the plane, it would be great if you could also bring h2 tablets along with it.

Most people mistake thirst for hunger making it very likely to binge eat at meals if you aren’t drinking enough water.  Before ordering food or an alcoholic drink order a glass of water and down it every time before you eat.  A glass or two of water will make you feel full sooner.

Finally make sure your alcohol:water ratio stays in favor of water. (See above where I mention being a sweaty out “pour” decisions on my mat in Davis. Aka lying in the fetal position counting down postures until class is over.)

Not only does being dehydrated make your workout less effective, but it also makes it harder to stick to lesson number one: get your exercise in!  If you are hung over there is a much larger chance you will skip your workout the next day.

Lesson #3 When in doubt eat at a Mexican restaurant.

20130828_113146When eating out, it can become very hard to stick to your diet ratios. The good news is you can find a Mexican restaurant almost anywhere you go.

Obviously there are plenty of restaurants where you can eat lean, but every menu is different.  Mexican restaurants are nice because every single one should have a burrito on the menu.  As long as you unwrap the burrito and eat around the tortilla you should be able to find a good meal full of protein, veggies, and beans.   (Just be careful of the tortilla chips before the meal!)

Lesson #4: Carry Deodorant

The bad news about squeezing workouts into your travel is often times you really do have to squeeze it in.  Make sure you that bring some deodorant to avoid the post workout sweat that tends to come no matter how cold of a shower you take!

Lesson #5:  Don’t Underestimate the Calorie Burning Potential of Walking

Product DetailsThe final lesson I would like to touch on is the caloric burn potential of just walking.  If you are in a foreign city, the chances are you probably don’t have a car.  Rather than spending money on a taxi see if you can walk somewhere.  Not only will you see more traveling by foot, but you will also burn calories without even trying.  Every mile traveled by foot is an extra beer you can enjoy at dinner or a cookie you can eat guilt free.

A heavy day of walking around a city can burn just as many calories if not more than a short morning workout and if you do both then you have even more room to give into culinary temptation.  If you are going to be traveling a lot, I highly suggest investing in a fitbit.

Today rather than driving to yoga, I walked the 2.4 miles.  It only took me 35 min each way, my fitbit showed me I accumulated 13,000 steps, and bought myself an extra 400 calorie deficit.  (That’s 3 beers!)

The point of these lessons is it isn’t too hard to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle on the go.  If you stick to a workout plan and are conscious about balancing out your physical activity with what you put in your mouth being healthy doesn’t have to be a sacrifice.

What are your favorite activities to do on the go?

What are your go to meal options when you travel?

personality

The Psychology of Personality: How Knowing Yourself Better Can Keep Your Fitness Goals On Track

personality

Gretchen Rubin

I recently attended The World Domination Summit (WDS) in Portland, Oregon.  The conference was 3 days jam-packed, full of lectures and workshops all led by entrepreneurs, writers, and artists.  One of the of the many great speakers I heard was Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project.  

In her lecture, Gretchen pointed out that in order to be happy you must first learned key features of your nature.  You have to learn about yourself and the systems your brain by default uses to function before you can actually identify the things that make you happy.  So, rather than search for what makes you happy, Gretchen has identified a way for us to evaluate our own personalities so we can better structure our actions to live a happy life.

In her blog, Gretchen writes about different avenues of getting to know yourself better that can improve your life.  For example in What’s Your Personality Type for Play Gretchen explains how she was able to develop a career for herself based on her interests as a child.

More along the lines of fitness and exercise Gretchen’s work can help you better understand if you are an Abstainer or a Moderater.  A very important distinction to understand about yourself especially when trying to stick to a diet.

Gretchen says,

“You’re a moderator if you…

– find that occasional indulgence heightens your pleasure – and strengthens your resolve
– get panicky at the thought of “never” getting or doing something

You’re an abstainer if you…
– have trouble stopping something once you’ve started
– aren’t tempted by things that you’ve decided are off-limits”

When starting a diet it is very important to identify what type of personality you have.

If you are a moderator it can be important to allow yourself some treats, as long as those treats keep you within your diet ratios and calories!  Without the wiggle room to cheat every now and then a moderator will give up on a diet altogether.

personality

An abstainer can eat just one!

An abstainer on the other hand needs to make sure all temptations are out of the house.  An abstainer needs the black and white to stay on plan.

Whether or not one chooses to follow through with their fitness plan is also based upon personality type.

Gretchen divides all humans personality archetypes into 4 categories:

  • Upholders
  • Questioners
  • Rebels
  • Obligers

Each role describes the most basic ways in which people put priority into their actions.  Knowing your personality is great for learning how to best meet deadlines and accomplish goals including how to stick to your fitness and health goals.

Upholders:

An upholder loves rules.

It doesn’t matter who creates them, upholders will live by them.  If this is your personality type, you probably don’t have a hard time sticking to your diet and exercise plan, because it is a plan.  You have been given the rules.  If you are an upholder; I bet you get in your exercise 5-6 times a week, meal track like you are supposed to, and like following a specific meal plan for  your health. For the most part you are good as long as you follow that routine and keep your health in check. If you ever need to store things like smoothies or healthy beverages I recommend these guys for storage needs

The one drawback to being an upholder, however, is that you can often find it tough to question which exercise program is the best because you want to do them all.

You may try following too many workout plans and find you never actually stick to just one.  Upholders can also find that because they never allow themselves budge room to cheat, an exercise routine can become exhausting.  Rather than not stick to the rules 100% many of my upholder clients tend to be all or nothing.  At the times they commit to exercise and healthy living they do great, but when work or life doesn’t allow them to fulfill their goals 100% they stop altogether so they don’t have to admit they didn’t follow through.

If you are an upholder give yourself some budge room when it comes to exercise.  Even small movements accrued throughout the day are better than nothing.  Don’t allow the guilt of an incomplete workout week keep you from getting any exercise at all.

Questioners:

If you are a Questioner you need to know why you are doing something.

It isn’t enough for someone to tell you what to do, you need to know the reasoning behind what you are doing and then you will have no problem following through.

The best bet for a questioner is to hire a personal trainer.  You can constantly be reading books to reinforce your knowledge and desire to exercise, however, if you are looking for a reason not to hit the gym I’m guessing you don’t want to spend your reading time on that topic.  A good personal trainer should have the knowledge to convince your questioning mind to make exercise a priority.

If you don’t have the financial means to hire a personal trainer, a webinar I recommend is The Smarter Science of Slim.  It used to be available in book format, but has been taken off of amazon until The Calorie Myth comes out in January of 2014.

Rebels:

A rebel personality tends to think (and go) against the grain.

If someone tells you to do something, you are likely to do the opposite.  Obviously you won’t respond well to someone telling you to exercise.

If I was training a rebel, I would encourage them to try something everyone else thinks they can’t do.  For example I might plant the seed to a rebel that they couldn’t run a half marathon.  The idea that they couldn’t do something is the exact motivation a rebel mind needs to inspire them to train for one.

If endurance training isn’t your thing, try looking into another extreme sport such as snowboarding, mountain climbing, MMA, or mountain biking.  The extreme nature of the sport might be what initially attracts you, but you will soon find that in order participate at all or well you need a consistent workout routine to maintain the physical ability to do your activity.

Obligers:

An obliger tends to put others expectations before their own goals.

If you are an obliger, your biggest excuse for not exercising is probably your family, job, or social commitments.  You may have been a star athlete in high school when you HAD to be at practice, but probably find it very difficult to make yourself go out for a run on your own.

An obliger is best off building external motivation.  Find a running buddy.  Join a parks and rec team.  Hire a personal trainer.  Do something to hold yourself accountable to your exercise because if you are an obliger you won’t get it done on your own.

So What Are You?

Obviously not every category is 100% perfect, but there is a good chance that you identify with one of the four.

Once you figure out where you fall, don’t try to fight your personality.  Your nature is out of your control.  Stop fighting the way your brain best functions, but rather use it to your advantage.   If you would prefer to be another way you can use the knowledge of you nature to build systems around it, don’t try to change it.

I for example am an upholder, however am I am also very drawn to pleasing others so I have a heavy obliger nature as well.  I often commit myself to too many things (classic symptoms of an upholder) so I have learned to build external motivation into the things that I know I need to get done.

Exercise and fitness is very important to me, but between all the other commitments I set up for myself often times it can get pushed aside.  Rather than set up coffee or lunch dates with people, I often set up an exercise dates.  (A good system for obligers to use)  That way I can kill two birds with one stone.

What personality type do you identify with the most?  Have you set up any systems in your world to better use your personality to accomplish your goals?  Please share below! 🙂

 

Getting Back On Track: What You Can Expect From Mastering Health and Fitness in the Upcoming Year

Missing my Nashville studio and Yogis!

Missing my Nashville studio and Yogis!

Hi Fitness Friends!

I apologize for my hiatus from posting.  It has been a crazy couple months.

My then fiancee Tom Morkes and I packed up all our belongings at the end of June and road tripped back to Washington State where we just got married 2 weeks ago on August 3rd.

I’ve spent the past couple months since I posted planning our wedding, keeping up with my own training to stay in shape for the wedding, and teaching classes at Bikram Yoga at The Yoga Element in Bellevue, WA and Bikram Yoga Redmond in Redmond, WA.

Wedding workout plan was successful!

Wedding workout plan was successful!

Now that all the wedding craziness is over, it’s time to get back to work and one of my number one priorities is getting my blog back on track.  I’m looking to really revamp it within the next couple months and would love some feedback on what type of information my readers find helpful!

Working as a personal trainer I’ve realized many people are very capable of establishing a routine.  The problem is many of us don’t have lives that are the same every day.  We have obligations at all hours with work, kids schedules to build our own routines around, and business or personal travel that throw even the best intentions out the window sti testing since its always good to be on the safe side and have that done every once in a while for you health.

Starting August 21st, my husband Tom and I will be setting out on an adventure to travel the world!  We just purchased tickets to visit San Francisco, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, and Belize in the next 11 months.

My goal for our travel along with seeing and experiencing as much as possible is to research and share with you how to stay fit on the road.  This includes:

  • Eating out in restaurants
  • Finding cheap gyms
  • Workouts you can do in hotel rooms
  • Eating local fare while sticking to your ratios

This is a short list of the challenges I expect to encounter, but I will be blogging, vlogging, and facebooking on the obstacles that come up and how you can tackle them.

Fitness can happen anywhere!

Fitness can happen anywhere!

What I’m planning to do:

  • I still plan to write about a blog per week on a fitness topic I find interesting.  However that being said, I love having topics to research.  If you have an inquiry about fitness please send it my way!
  • I’m looking to revamp my youtube channel!  (Subscribe!  You’ll get notifications when I post new videos!)  So far it’s mostly been a medium where I posted the exercise of the day.  I plan to start posting those again by next week, but I also have some other cool ideas to make the channel a resource for anyone looking to stay fit, especially those who spend a lot of time on the road.
  • I’ll be posting full length workouts!  I miss teaching group fitness so I’m going to start posting workouts!  You can stay in shape with me from all the places I travel!
  • I’m going to start the exercise of the day back up!  Many of us have an all or nothing mentality when it comes to fitness.  We either do our full workout or nothing at all.  This attitude can quickly lead to weight gain.  Even on the days when you are traveling you have a couple minutes before you shower to whip out 100 squats, or 15 toes touches, or  15 frog jumps.  Check out the exercise of the day to mix things up and get in some activity even on your busiest days!

These are just a few of the ideas that I’m starting to work on.  My goal is to create a resource for you.  So feel free to give me feedback!  Ask questions.  No question is dumb.  If you struggle with a certain aspect of your fitness I’m sure others do too.  Send me your fitness questions to cjdought@gmail.com!

Last but not least Tom and I also plan to keep a travel blog.  I don’t want to clog this site with my personal travel accounts (especially the ones non fitness related.)  Our new site Far Away Reasons will showcase what life is like on the road.  Topics will include, but aren’t limited to:

  • How we travel between locations
  • How we continue to do our work despite location
  • Really cool pictures of sites around the world
  • Adventures and Stories of the cool things we encounter.

Hopefully some of my upcoming work interests you!  Remember reach out to me!  I’m here to answer your fitness questions!  🙂

benefits exercise has on the skin

3 Benefits Exercise Has on the Skin

Hi All!  Today’s post is by Mbenefits exercise has on the skinicheala Connolly.  Micheala is an avid exerciser and works as a dermatologist in the UK.  I hope you all enjoy her post.  I know all of you never need a reason to go to the gym, but just in case you are lacking motivation, here are 3 reasons why hitting the gym will not only make you more fit, but also help you have clearer skin! If you wish to make your skin smooth and beautiful, learn more here.

3 Benefits Exercise Has on the Skin

Exercise obviously has its own benefits to our health; it’s great for our heart, for burning fat, and for creating muscle. In particular, the loose flabs of skin are hard to loose, and would require meticulous efforts in trying to shedding them. On the foresight, one always has the option of Body Contouring in the Tri-Cities of the States. However, many have failed to overlook the ways in which it can vastly improve our overall skin tone and reduce the number of break-outs.

This article is intended for those who are particularly interested in reading about health benefits exercise has on overall skin health. For example, exercise promotes proper blood flow circulation, reduces stress and ensures we get a better night’s sleep! For more information regarding the relative importance of skin, simply click here.

1.  Increases blood flow

Exercise is great for pumping blood around the body, particularly cardiovascular activities. Running, swimming and skiing are great ways to propel oxygen around your body as they’re faced paced and create more energy.

As increased blood flow occurs around the body, due to the heightened production of oxygen, the skin becomes nourished. Increasing blood flow to skin cells helps to remove free radicals from the skin. This means that the skin is less likely to become clogged and is provided with the correct amount of nutrients in order for it to thrive and glow.

2.      Eases stress

Hormone levels are the primary drivers of skin health.

  • It is widely documented that the detection of stress causes the overproduction of the adrenal glands.
  • The adrenal glands are responsible for the production of hormones, which includes cortisol.
  • This hormone pushes our hair follicles to create sebum.
  • Sebum is great for our skin in small quantities.
  •  However, over excess leads to the clogging of the skins pores.
  • This in turn leads to what we know as acne break-outs.

Exercise is vital to reducing stress as it not only reduces the levels of cortisol but it also boosts endorphin production. Endorphins are also known as the ‘happy hormones’, and also improves the body and reduce fat, although for people with more serious overweight problems, there are other methods to reduce fat, like using a laser fat removal treatment that could really help with this.

3.      More sleep

Those who suffer from a lack of a proper night’s sleep often find that their skin appears dull, with persistent dark circles residing under the eyes. Previous scientific research has suggested that regular exercise leads us to feel tired and require more sleep for proper recovery time.

Sleeping also provides a number of benefits, leaving the skin looking and feeling fresh. It reduces the appearance of lines and reduces the dreaded cortisol levels.

Stress levels, which also impact on sleep, ensure that the levels of cortisol are constantly present, which also makes us feel unhappy and permanently wound up. It is imperative that if you’re suffering from chronic stress that you visit your health practitioner. Stress is detrimental to whole body health. It increases the chances of heart disease, reduces sex drive and promotes unhealthy weight loss.

So, there you have it, exercise has many benefits, particularly for the skin. Other ways to improve overall skin health includes: healthy eating, drinking plenty of water and regularly moisturizing.

More about what exercise to go for: San Diego MMA.

 

 

 

summer for your health benefit

8 Ways to Get Outside and Use Summer for Your Health Benefit

summer for your health benefitSummer has arrived.  Here in Tennessee, the heat is in full swing and I’ve noticed all my friends around the country have begun posting pictures of their adventures in the sun.

Hop on the summer train and join in the fun with these 8 ways  to get outside and use summer for your health benefit!

1.  Walk:  

The weather is gorgeous, why sit in your car.  Where can you walk to that you normally drive to?

Can you walk to ___________?  

Fill in the blank, maybe it’s work, the grocery store, around the block after dinner, during your lunch break.

Maybe it’s all the above!  Whatever works for you, incorporate more walking into your day.  In fact, even make it a competition!   Get a Fitbit!  Compete with your family and friends.  Be my friend.  Having a Fitbit is like playing a video game that improves your health and the only way to win is to get outside and get walking!

2. Run:

After you try that walking thing, start running.

You don’t have to go far, just go around the block.

Maybe the next time try running a mile.

You don’t have to go far, but give it a try.  It in’t so bad.  Try doing it first thing in the morning!  Getting your heart rate up can wake you up better than drinking a cup of coffee.

Many people talk about running one day.  Make this summer the time that you start.  The hardest part is putting your shoes on and stepping outside!

3.  Yardwork:

IMG_20130610_121513The number one excuse I get as a personal trainer is not having enough time to exercise.

During the summer you can kill 2 birds with one stone.  Household chores like washing the car and mowing the lawn burn calories!  Spend an afternoon in the yard and you can burn over 500 calories while getting a tan at the same time!

Raking: 225 calories/ 30 min

Mowing the Lawn: 173 calories/ 30 min

Washing the Car: 150 calories/ 30 min

Weeding:  115 calories/ 30 min (add some squats into this one and the calorie burn goes up!)

4. Work

summer for your health benefit
Take your work outside!

Answer emails with your mobile.

Write that presentation on your laptop.

Head to a local park, find a quiet spot in the shade.  Get some work done outside.  Get some fresh air.

It’s good for your brain.  It will help you think clearer and more efficiently.

5. Swimming

Swimming is great exercise!

Find a pool and start doing laps!

If you’ve never really learned how to swim, take a swimming lesson!

Swimming is a great way to burn some killer calories, without pounding your joints.

Find an outdoor pool and you can burn fat, tone your muscles, and get a great tan all at once!

6. Yoga

summer for your health benefitIf you live in most areas of the country, being outside is like stepping into a hot yoga studio.

Take advantage of one of your local parks.

Set up your Yoga Mat.

Play around with the yoga postures you know.

If you do Bikram you know what you need to do.

If you practice vinyasa or power yoga, play around with whatever feels good to your body.

Every yoga teacher says, “you are your own best teacher.”  Give this a try.  Your body will steer you into the postures you need to do.

If you aren’t familar with yoga just sit down and focus on breathing deeply.

Listen to the world around you.  Listen to your breath.  Feel your lungs expanding and contracting

Even 15-30 min clearing your mind can make the rest of your day better!

7. Read

Find a book that will help you improve your fitness.

Then read it this summer.

In fact take it outside, lay in the sun for 15 min once a day and work your way through your book.

There are all kinds of books on fitness.

If you never tried yoga pick up Women’s Health Big Book of Yoga.  It has some great step by step tips to develop a beginning yoga practice and understanding.

Get motivated for your run with I run, Therefore I am–NUTS!

Learn more about the food you put in your mouth with the Smarter Science of Slim.

Get motivated to deepen your yoga practice with Hell Bent  Benjamin Lorr’s personal account through Jedi Fight Club and Bikram Yoga Teacher Training.

Take some time each sunny day to learn how to keep yourself healthier year round!

Reading about fitness makes your more motivated to make fit decisions and be active!

8. Go to a Farmer’s Market

Venture outside of your normal grocery store and visit your city’s local farmer market.

You can’t get produce any more fresh than what’s found at Farmer’s Markets.

You will see produce you don’t normally see.

Pick a veggie you’ve never eaten before and experiment with a new recipe.

Just like it’s important to vary your physical activity, mixing up the food you eat keeps your body burning fuel more efficiently.  Different veggies pack different nutrient loads.  If you always stick to the same ones, you may be missing out on some important vitamins and minerals!

Being healthy starts with spending more time outside.  Take advantage of the sun and warm weather.  Try to get outside and use the summer for your health benefit in one way or another each day!

 

how to do a juice cleanse

How to do a Juice Cleanse: My First Experience with Juicing!

how to do a juice cleanse

A 3 day supply of Juice!

This past weekend I did my first Juice Cleanse.

I have always been skeptical of “cleanses” but I figured I can’t judge something I’ve never tried.

I decided to do Doctor Oz’s Juice Cleanse, but first I did some research to figure out why Juicing is becoming such a trend.  My research not only taught me how to do a juice cleanse, but also how many health benefits there actually are to juicing!

Why Do a Juice Cleanse?

Juice Cleanses are a way of detoxing the body to improve your overall health one of the benefits being weight loss.

Other benefits include:

  • Increased Energy
  • Mental Clarity
  • Enhanced Immunity
  • A Healthy Glow
  • Elevated Mood
  • Restorative Sleep
  • Fewer Unhealthy Cravings
  • Healthy Hair and Nails, see here the detailed explanation from doctor
  • A Feeling of Lightness

All of these side effects come from a decrease in toxins in the blood stream.

Scientists studying weight loss are finding people with high levels of toxins in their blood samples have a much harder time losing weight then those who have detoxed, try with Detoxic Ulasan.

Most toxins in the body come from Pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, preservatives and are stored in our fat cells because they are fat soluble.  Scientists are finding that when our fat cells store these toxins they begin to multiply; storing more fat, as well as becoming resistant to letting fat go, making weight loss difficult.

Having more fat cells isn’t just a cosmetic problem.  As the number of fat cells increases, our bodies release more lepton into the  bloodstream.  Lepton is the hormone that aids in the body’s ability to burn stored fat.  You would think increased lepton is a good thing, however, your body can become lepton-resistant, (just as Type II Diabetics who become insulin-resistant) making nearly impossible to burn fat, but with lysine supplement applied it can be a little easier.

It is also important to note every time you make new fat cells, you have those fat cells for life. You can only shrink fat cells, which is why weight yo-yo’ing or cycling can be very common.   Juicing is one way to detox allowing your body to not only be in prime condition to lose weight, but also just be overall healthier.

Juicing detoxes the body through 2 phases.  The first phase involves enzymes that actually makes a toxin more toxic, however, the second phase changes the chemistry of the toxin from being fat soluble to water soluble so that you can excrete toxins through your urine eliminating them from the body.

That was a lot of science, however, it is becoming increasingly more obvious that weight loss isn’t quite as simple as calories in/calories out.  I’ve addressed this issue before when I’ve talk about our eating ratios, but from my research I’ve discovered every now and then it’s important to give your system a reset.

How To Do a Juice Cleanse

It is important to make sure you are getting appropriate nutrients, so I recommend either buying juice from a reputable company in your area or online, (One good company is JuiceRX.) or following recipes such as the  Doctor Oz’s Juice Cleanse.

I really liked the ease of Doctor Oz’s Juice Cleanse.  It even provides a print out with recipes and shopping lists, which is awesome because you do buy a lot of produce and the math can be a little mind boggling if you are a juicing novice!

how to do a juice cleanse

how to do a juice cleanse

Produce enough to make 30 juices (enough for 2 to do a 3 days cleanse!)

If you are going to be making your own juices, I highly recommend using the Omega Vert 350.  It may not look like much, but it is easy to clean, hard to clog, and allows you to save the pulp which can be used to make veggie burgers for your one meal!

how to do a juice cleanse

Ideally you would want to make  your juices on the spot, but I borrowed a friend’s juicer so I had to make all 15 juices at once.  The process while very easy, was time consuming.  It took 3 1/2 hours to make 30 juices.  (I was juicing for 2)  I also produced a trash can full of pulp!

Once you have your juices ready, there isn’t really much to the cleanse.

Doctor Oz recommends doing a ramp a couple days leading up to your cleanse help ease the system.

The ramp up includes eliminating caffeine, sugar, red meat, dairy and processed foods from your diet and primarily eating fruit, vegetables and lean protein.  You should also make sure to drink 16oz of hot water with lemon and ginger in the morning and 1 cup of hot herbal tea at night.

(I didn’t do the ramp up and was fine.)

What You Can Expect While on the Cleanse

The first day I felt great in the morning, but started to get a headache by mid afternoon.  That evening, I felt a little light headed with a slight “out of body.” feeling.  I had the sensation that I was standing outside of my body observing what was happening rather than being an active participant.  Others have also described this feeling as having heightened senses and some report this being much more intense than I experienced.

Needless to say, I scarfed my one meal of veggies down the first evening.  I made a broccoli slaw, onion, and edamame stir fry with sweet potato fries.  Interestingly enough I found that my body craved the veggie stir fry more than the sweet potato fries, yet my fiancee craved the sweet potato fries more.  I can only assume our bodies needed different nutrients.

The next 2 nights, I made the same meals rather than mixing it up because all 3 days our cravings stayed the same.  I highly recommend going to the store to pick out your veggies early afternoon each day.  When you cleanse your system, cravings become less and less about what tastes good and more about what your body actually needs.  It’s crazy how in-tune your body can with it’s needs when you take care of it!

The next two days, I actually felt more energetic than normal, but I was ALWAYS ready for my one meal!

Words of Caution

  • Juice cleanses are not low calorie.  They may flush your system with a high concentration of vitamins and minerals, but those nutrients do have calories behind them.  Each day on the cleanse, I consumed about 1,600-1,800 calories.  This is the perfect amount of calories to sustain energy while on your cleanse, but I would caution people when it comes to juicing on a normal diet.  Depending on what you juice, one recipe could contain 200-500 calories.
  • Always keep the option to go off the cleanse open.  It is normal to get headaches or feel nausea, your body is breaking up toxins and part of this process is having an elevated toxin level at first.  If this becomes unbearable though don’t be stubborn, you can always try another shorter cleanse in a couple days.

Can I workout on the a Juice cleanse?

Yes you can workout while doing a juice cleanse!  It is important, however, to add two extra drinks that are specially designed to fill pre- and post-workout needs.

For your pre-workout drink you want to use veggies that aid workouts.  Examples are beets that increase oxygen uptake and celery that is rich in sodium to maintain your electrolyte balance.

Your post-workout drink should assist the body in recovery.  Good ingredients include: Agave with natural glycogen restoring carbohydrates, almonds which contain muscle building proteins and fats, and cinnamon containing nature’s most powerful blood sugar stabilizer

Summary

Overall, I was actually pleasantly surprised.  I loved the energy the juices gave me and would be willing to do it again!  I don’t necessarily think you need to cleanse the full 3 days.  A 3 day cleanse is a great way to restart the system, but I would recommend doing a 1 day cleanse once a week or every other week.  Especially if you like to maintain your normal workout schedule, the body needs more protein than a juice cleanse provides.

Comment Below:  Have you ever done a juice cleanse?  How did you feel?  Would you do it again?

savory green

Savory Green

This Savory Green smoothie is a bomb treat on a rainy day. image

Add a little more lemon juice though and it is perfect treat any day!

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces Aloe Vera Water
  • 6 baby carrots
  • 1 persian cucumber
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 10 cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup pineapple chunks
  • 6 chunks frozen mango
  • 1 handful of kale
  • 1 scoop Met-Rx Protein Vanilla
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp. cloves

Combine all Ingredients in a blender.  I have a ninja blender and love it!!   Juicers are bomb, but so is all the good fiber you get from the pulp!

Calories: 330 Carbs: 35g Fiber: 7.1g Protein 39g Fat 9g

 

If you save old kombucha containers, you have a nice glass jar to drink your smoothie from!!

cashew chicken salad

Cashew Chicken Salad

cashew chicken salad

There are plenty of yummy things you can eat while still maintaining protein and carb ratios for maintenance or weight loss.   The problem is they all contain veggies and lean protein and preparing these items mid day can be a challenge.

That’s why a big batch of Cashew Chicken Salad is a great idea for weekday lunches!

If you take the time on Sunday to combine a bunch of yummy healthy flavors you can have a whole foods quality grab-and-go lunch in your own fridge!

Saves money and calories if you do it yourself!

Ingredients:

  • 5 Chicken Breasts
  • 3/4 Cup Quinoa
  • 2 cups cabbage
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onion
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

dressing:

  • 1 tsbp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tsps shaved ginger
  • 6 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Prep:

  • Coat chicken in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Bake chicken for 40 min at 350 degrees, set aside let cool then chop into fine bite size pieces.
  • Cook Quinoa (usually has 15 min cooking time).  Set aside and cool.
  • Chop and combine cabbage, carrots, red onion, green onion, and pepper.
  • Add Chicken and Quinoa
  • Prepare dressing by sauteeing sesame oil, peanut butter, ginger  soy sauce, and apple cider vinegar over low heat.  Add water for desire consistency.
  • Pour dressing into mixture stirring until evenly distributed.

Makes 8 Servings

Calories 388 Fat: 23,3g Carbs: 20.3g Fiber: 4g Protein 29g