Category Archives: Workouts

paleo sweet potato fries recipe

Sweet Potato Fries

One of the best parts about having a kitchen again is being able to make my own food.

There are so many awesome healthy recipes out there for foods most of would think of as vices.

For Tom’s birthday this month, he requested sweet potato fries.

I scoured the internet and found some great options, but ultimately tweaked the recipes I found and threw in my own touches.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsps cumin
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp cayenne

Prep:

Pre heat oven to 450°

Cut Sweet Potatoes in 1/4″ strips

Sweet potato friesShake with and Marinate with oil, garlic, cumin, basil, and cayenne for about 20 min.  I like to shake it in a gallon size zip lock baggie. Sweet potato fries
Sweet potato friesSpread Tin foil over a baking sheet Spread marinated sweet potatoes evenly over baking sheet making sure not to layer. Sweet potato fries

Cook 10 min each side or until desired crispness is reached.

Sweet potato fries

Serve with stuffed burgers for a yummy paleo dinner!

Yoga for athletes

Yoga For Athletes: 6 Reasons Why You Should Do Yoga to Enhance your Athletic Preformance


Yoga for athletes

One of my favorite viral images was this one to the right that started getting passed around about a year ago.

“I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible enough.”-The Many Athletes out there not doing yoga.

Athletes can do amazing physical feats but it’s so funny how often they shy away from the things that don’t come easy to them.

Many athletes snub their nose at yoga before they even try saying it’s too easy and not a good enough workout.

Sam says, that the irony in that is the ones who do try a class don’t continue because they can’t twist into a pretzel like the girl in the front row.

Most athletes are used to being naturally good at something.  Yes an athlete then works very hard to improve those natural skills, but it’s funny how quickly they quit something that doesn’t come naturally easy.

Very quickly major professional athletes are beginning to catch on yoga for athletes.

As an athlete if you can let go of your ego, you too will find that yoga can do amazing things to improve your athletic performance.

6 Reasons Why Yoga Will Improve Your Athletic Performance:

yoga for athletes

Evan Longoria

1: Flexibility

Most athletes have tight hips, shoulders, hamstrings, calves, feet the list goes on and on.  Some athletes take the time after a workout to do a regeneration session using foam rollers and/or trigger point massage therapy, but these sessions are usually hurried through so one can get home and get a good meal.

A yoga class sets aside time specifically to stretch.  A hot yoga class provides the heat necessary to prime your muscles for stretching helping increase flexibility even more.

As athletes know flexibility is important for proper range of motion, increased muscle recovery time, and injury prevention.  At least one yoga class a week provides time specifically for these benefits.

yoga for athletes

Pada Hastasana

2:  Isometric Strength Training without Breaking Down the Body

In order to actually improve your ability to do many yoga postures, you are  actually preforming an isomeric muscle contraction.

Take Pada Hastasana (Hands to feet Pose) for example you use your biceps, quadriceps,  latissimus dorsi, and abdominal strength to open up tight hamstrings.

While doing this posture, not only do you strengthen the muscles you are using, open up and stretch your tight hamstrings, but you also train the body to be able to use multiple muscle groups at once while relaxing other muscles groups gaining more body awareness a very important aspect of elite athletic performance.

Yoga not only increases your muscular strength and awareness, but it does it in a low impact way.  Many athletes don’t actually hurt themselves on the field, but rather in their training.  Yoga provides a low-impact cross training that will help an athlete get stronger without further breaking their body down.

Yoga for athletes

Standing Bow combines Balance with using your strong glutes and quads to open up hamstrings. A posture an athlete can quickly become better in when they focus their energy correctly.

3: Balance

Many yoga postures incorporate balance, improving ones ability to be stable on one leg.

The more stable you are on 1 leg, the better you will be on 2.

All sports involve balance in some way, yet many take the time in practice to improve it.

Working on your balance in a yoga class will give you an upper edge on the sports field. Here are some other practices that may help you work on your mental and physical balance.

4: Injury Prevention

We’ve already mentioned that yoga is good for increasing flexibility which also leads to decreased probability of tearing muscles.

Yoga can also help prevent common sports injuries such as torn ACLs, Minicuses, Rotator Cuffs, ankle strains and sprains.

When you do yoga, you learn to recruit the smaller supportive muscles that you don’t activate when doing tradition strength training.  These supportive muscles not only make you stronger, but also are the ones that will help protect your joints while your power muscles are performing athletic movements.

Russell Wilson

If it’s good enough for the 8-1 Seakhawks it might be good for you!

5: Focus and Concentration

It isn’t any secret that the more you focus on any particular task, the better the performance.

When you take a test, the teacher provides a quiet environment.  This isn’t the case when you’re on the field.  There are fans, coaches, and opponents creating constant distraction, yet few sports team take the time to train their athletes to focus.

Focus is a key component to yoga.  Not only will the focus learned in yoga help you have more body awareness and control improving balance and injury prevention, but it will also make your reflexes quicker allowing you to be one step a head of your opponent.

yoga for athletes

Most athletes quickly transition to shallow breathing as soon as their heart rate increases. Yoga trains you to use your full lung!

6: Breath

The first step of any yoga posture is breath.  A good instructor will tell you if you can not maintain normal breathing (long slow inhales and long slow exhales) you aren’t actually getting the benefit of the posture.

Controlled breathing reassures the brain that you are in control.  It also decreases circulating carbon dioxide a trigger that causes your heart rate to increase.  Controlled breathing naturally allows your heart rate  to decrease allowing you to actually work harder.

Yoga trains you to be comfortable maintaining normal breathing.

When you take longer inhales, you actually breathe into the deeper bronchial branches of the lung allow more surface area for your blood stream to take up oxygen (fuel for your muscles).  Your working muscles then utilize that fuel turning it into carbon dioxide.  When you take a longer slower exhale you are able to get all the metabolic waste out allowing a larger percentage of oxygenated air to get in with your next breath.

The physical presence of more oxygen to fuel your muscles with the mental perception that you aren’t working as hard when you heart rate decreases allows you to have a larger work output than you would otherwise.

Over time as you develop this skill in the yoga room, it transfers over to any other endeavors that increase your heart rate making you much more efficient at breathing and providing the oxygen your muscles need to function. If you are planning to workout at home with a recumbent bike, these are the things to consider when choosing a recumbent bike.

Now that I’ve convinced you need yoga as an Athlete, here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Go in with an open mind.  If you think yoga is a waste of time, it will be for you.
  • Breath.  The first step of every posture is normal breathing.  If you can’t maintain long slow inhalations and long slow exhalations your body isn’t relaxed and you won’t be able to get the full benefits of the posture.
  • Take it easy, Leave the win or lose mentality at the door.  As long as you are trying your best and breathing you will get benefits.  The first law of yoga is non-violence and that starts with yourself.  If you are forcing yourself into a posture you are liking to tear a muscle causing injury…the exact opposite of what you’re looking to achieve.
  • Enjoy the relaxation.  Don’t fight it.  Relaxation is built into yoga to help clear and focus the mind.
  • Make yoga a regular routine.  Treat your yoga practice the way you would treat any other aspect of your training.  If you don’t do it regularly you won’t get the benefits.
  • Listen.  Don’t take corrections from a teacher negatively.  Teachers are meant to help you.  If a teacher tells you to relax you probably aren’t following the first 2 bullet points.  This is often the case when athletes first start yoga.
  • Smile as you practice.  It makes the experience better.
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.)

Screenshot_2013-10-07-11-38-26

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! 🙂

 

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!

 

sitting in bikram yoga

To Sit or Not to Sit? What Sitting in Bikram Yoga Says About You

sitting in bikram yoga

Every day your practice is different.

Ok, you are no longer a beginner to this yoga thing.

Or, maybe you are, but you struggle every day to continue pushing through every posture.  

My question to you is, “Why are you struggling?”

The second you begin to struggle, you are forgetting the first step of every posture, which is normal breathing.  Yes, this breathing rate might be faster, but you should never feel like you can’t breathe.

Sitting in Bikram Yoga can actually deepen your practice.

“Bikram says to to ‘kill you self”” 

  • Killing your “self” means to kill the ego telling you to have the best posture.
  • Killing your “self” means you don’t care if you are the only one sitting.  Your body needs the break today.
  • Killing your “self” means to avoid reaching for the security blanket of your water.  Do you really need it?  (If you do, you should have drank more water before you came.  I know–it’s not always easy.  I reach for my water bottle too, but it’s always my goal not to!)
  • Killing your “self” means accepting the body you brought today.  You may be getting sick. You may not have drank enough water.  You may have drunk too much wine the night before.  Whatever the reason, listen to your body.
  • Killing your “self” means you can look into your own eyes for 90 minutes.  You spend the rest of your life trying to live up to the expectations and demands of others.  Take the time in yoga to see what you need.

Part of learning to kill the self is learning to focus only on yourself.

I realize it can be tempting to sneak a peak at the girl in front’s standing bow, to grab some water, to make faces to your friend.  (And there are days where this is part of my practice, but it isn’t what my practice should be.)

This is not being present.  There is so much going on within your own body that you are missing when you focus on anything other than yourself in the mirror.  In fact, you may be struggling because of your lack of focus.  Days when I am actually able to stay fully present I find that I work harder than I have ever worked, have a larger pool of sweat on my mat than normal, and yet I find I was able to keep my heart rate lower and a smile on my face.  

I am relaxed while also killing myself and my self!

 

Next time you start to feel uncomfortable in class, don’t reach for water.  Don’t wipe your sweat.  Don’t look to your feet.  Don’t make a face to friend asking if it’s hotter than normal.  If fact, don’t even ask yourself that question.  It doesn’t matter.  What you should do instead is look to yourself for answers.

sitting in bikram yoga

  • Stare into your own eyes.
  • Take a long slow inhale.
  • Take a longer slower exhale.
  • Give yourself a smile.  It’s hard to have negative or anxious thoughts with a smile on your face.
  • Repeat this process as much as you need.

Some days you may have to take it to the floor from here, but still work to look into your own eyes.

Part of the practice and part of the yoga is getting in touch and accepting yourself.  Your body.  Your thoughts.  Your actions.  Your Present.

Today’s present and practice might be harder than yesterdays   You don’t know what tomorrows will bring, but today you will get more out of your practice remaining calm.

 

cross fit style workout

Waterfall Workout (cross fit style workout) – Dynamax Ball Style

cross fit style workout

All you need for this cross fit style workout workout is a Dynamax Ball!

Pyramid Workouts work by doing 10 reps of everything 1x through.  Then 9, 8, etc. and so on until you hit 1 rep of each exercise.

1.  Ball Squats:  Squat all the way down until your bottom touches the ball

2. Ball Slams:  Bring the ball over head.  Slam it down.  Work to catch it on it’s bounce to conserve energy!

3.  Burpees: Place the ball on the floor.  Jump out into a push up position.  Touch your chest to the ball.  Stand back up and place the ball over your head.  Make sure your chest touches the ball teach time.

4.  Sit Up To Stand Up:  Lay down on the floor with the ball over your head.  Pull the ball over your body past your feet, rocking up onto your heels.  Stand up and press the ball over head.

5.  Squat to Press:  Squat down until your elbows touch your knees.  Stand up and press the ball over your head.

6.  Medball Slams:  Sit down, knees bent heels on the floor.  Lean back 45 degrees and slam ball side to side bringing the ball over your head between slams.  (10 reps to each side)

7.   Push Ups:  Do 10 push ups with one hand on the ball and 10 with the other hand on the ball.  Travel over the ball between each and every push up.

Time yourself and record your time below!

 

cross fit style workout

Beat Your Time Cross Fit Style Workout

Ok, here’s how this Beat Your Time Cross Fit Style Workout Works:cross fit style workout

  • Do the following exercises below as fast as possible performing each rep with the best form possible.
  • In between exercises do 10 pushups and 10 squat jumps (or 20 squats if you have knee issues)
  • After you complete the 7 exercises, record your time.
  • Work to beat your time the next round through!
  • Record your time below to push each other!

Beat your time Cross Fit Style Workout Exercises:

Neider to Push Press:  Do each movement 20x

Toe Taps:  20 to each side

Advanced Single Leg Squat:  10 Each Leg

Lifted Leg 1/2 V-Up

Toe Touches: 20 Per Leg

Split Jumps: 20 per Leg

Russian Twist: 20 to each side

 

Equipment Needed: Med BallWeights