Elements of Fitness – A Mother's Memoir

Overweight Becomes a Lean and Mean Mom of 3

I may not have introduced myself.  Some of you know me, some of you don’t…  some of you I have been friends with for YEARS and some we’ve never met but have only connected online.  I don’t like to post pictures of the kiddos and I’m not all about the selfies as much as others, but you may be able to relate better knowing that I’m a single Mom of 3 and they are my world.  We are just as busy as you and we still make the time to work out.  I keep the kids in sports to make sure they stay busy and aren’t home creating unhealthy habits.  I post a lot about fitness and nutrition but have you ever wondered why I do what I do?

Examples

Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, AZ

Have you ever wondered what exactly I do as a fitness coach?  Have you wondered how I got here?  Have I always been  shape?  (uhhhh no – I haven’t.)  How did a stay at home Mom turn working Mom with a fitness business?

I haven’t always been into fitness.  But I have always been an athlete.  I lived and breathed gymnastics until I was about 14, then I wanted to do team sports for my school (soccer, tennis, volleyball).   I was in shape but working out was not the fun part of my day.   I used to hate running.  I would do it because a lot of sports needed the cardio conditioning but I didn’t like it, and I didn’t eat right, etc.

Before kids, I could eat whatever I wanted just like when I was a teenager and not gain a pound!  But now, that’s not so much the case.  Once I had my first child, Kaitlyn (with whom I gained 64 pounds!), I could not lose that weight.  I tried every diet under the sun, got a gym membership thinking that would help, etc.

Pregnant but still overweight

Pregnant but still overweight

But I didn’t stick with it.  My husband at the time could still eat whatever he wanted and the scale would not be affected so I would gradually go back to eating like he and I always did.  Then 7 months after giving birth we were pregnant again.  It was what we wanted because I always wanted to have my kids close in age and we knew we weren’t done, HOWEVER, I never got back to my pre-pregnancy weight first.

With baby #2, I was determined not to gain another 64 lbs!  (BTW, this before pic ——–>      was really hard to post!) I did a little working out while I was pregnant with her and I ate a lot better.  Not good, like I do now but better.  I only gained 24 lbs with Britney.

After she was born was right around the time that low carb diets were the thing.  And I was sold when I read that I didn’t need to work out, I could just eat low carb.  HA!  I dropped all the baby weight and then some!  Then it became that the only time I would work out was when I ate really bad the day before.  So now that I knew I could just eat low carb whenever I had some weight to lose I went back to eating atrociously!  Then I would work out twice a week if that.

Well as the girls were getting older, I decided to start cooking and making more home cooked meals at home.  I was a huge advocate for nursing since formulas were getting so much criticism for their ingredients and I was reading more and more about baby foods and how easy it was to make at home AND this way you knew what was going in to your child’s mouth.

That lead me to start watching and learning about the foods I was eating.  All the crap sold in the supermarket were 90% chemicals!  I started trading in the commercialized grocery stores for farmers markets and Trader Joe’s (Whole Foods wasn’t in Phoenix yet).  I also started buying organic whenever we could afford to.  I started with vegetables that grew in the ground and then meats was next.

After seeing and FEELING the results of just eating right it motivated me to want to get toned and in shape especially since I knew how to eat now!  Food was fuel now, not comfort.

Now comes the year 2007, I was in better shape then I was when I was a teenager, even had more energy then I did then.  We were running, biking, I had a gym membership where I would do spin class 2- 3 times a week, my girls and my ex and I all belonged to a dojo where we were all there at least 3 times a week.  I even taught yoga there for a while for some of the moms that had kids in the karate classes.  In June I found out that I was 4 1/2 months pregnant with Baby # 3, my son Frankie!  He was due in December!   So I had 4 short months to plan to have a baby!  But I didn’t want to stop working out.  I was mostly doing cardio anyways:  running, hiking, rollerblading, spin class, kickboxing and yoga at the dojo.

Frankie was born and I ended up only gaining 22 lbs.  My doctor towards the end was concerned that I hadn’t gained enough weight.

Then I started to want to help other Moms!  My girls started cheer and would have regular practices in a park, their Coach asked me if I would be the squad’s conditioning coach so now I started doing that every Tuesday and Thursday.  Soon after, some of the Moms of the girls recommended I do a fitness bootcamp where they could come work out.  We did and soon more and more moms showed up.  I would get the girls warmed up for cheer and then I would move over to the Moms!  It was fun.  We all created a close bond and I even helped some of them get ready to run their first marathons.

I started a blog, THIS ONE, hence why its name is Mom-related and not fitness related.  🙂  When I first created it, I started talking about tips to help breastfeeding Moms and nutrition was one of the most common posts because the questions were all closely related to the Mom being able to produce enough milk for a growing baby, etc. and then it started connecting me with women who were likeminded all across the country.

2008It was about this time that my neighbor introduced me to P90X.  Frankie was not even 2, Britney was 7 and Kaitlyn was 8 1/2.  My hands were full.  I was in shape but not getting toned.  I was still doing a ton of cardio.  P90X had weights and I knew I had to add that in.  I was always afraid of weights, always thought I would like a man, etc.  I was ready for a change.  I always wanted a personal trainer and now I had my own in MY HOUSE!!  It was amazing.

1st round of P90X

1st round of P90X

 

This was me in Cabo after the 1st round P90X.  I did the lean program and I refused to eat the P90X way.  I thought I knew more about what my body needed than this nutrition ‘guide’ telling me to eat 100 carbs a day!  At that point, I would barely eat 100 carbs in 4 days!!  I thought I had this whole fitness thing down and all I needed was to add weights.  HAHA.  I would be exhausted half way into the workout, or getting really bad headaches right after.  So I knew something was wrong.

 

 

90 days later 2nd Round P90X results

90 days later 2nd Round P90X results

The lack of carbs is why my first round didn’t get me the results I anticipated.   I added a little muscle but nowhere near everyone else’s 90 day results.  This got me so mad!  So then right away, I started the classic program and I ate exactly how it told me to, even bought Shakeology.  I was posting my results pics on Facebook and friends and family were the first to notice.  Then I started helping other people get through their first round of P90X.

After 3 rounds of P90X, I decided to switch it up with Insanity.  I loved Insanity because it was a more intense version of P90X’s cardio days and guess what I started thinking P90X was too EASY!!  On the P90X cardio days, (Tuesdays and Saturdays) I would do the Max Cardio Circuit from Insanity instead of PlyoX.

I started connecting with people on the Facebook P90X message boards and through my blog.  I was helping people get through the programs but not getting paid for it!  And then Tony Horton shared my blog post of How you know You’re Addicted to P90X.

I knew I could help other Moms too… and realize everyone can do this too.   Being a Coach has been one of the greatest blessings in my life.  It got me in the best shape of my life, I have a healthy relationship with food, I have spent more time learning about myself, learning about others, and learning ways to better help YOU.

You do not have to be a fitness expert or nutritionist to be a successful Coach.  All you need is the desire in your heart to help others.  Beachbody is all about helping others.  They provide the tools you need to change your body, the nutrition your body is craving, a Coach who is always there for you… (ME!) and the network of likeminded people that you can connect with on Team Beachbody.

If you are interested on learning more please contact me.   We do a very brief 15-20 min webinar once a week and you will see how it easy it is to do the same thing I do!

Let’s get in touch and work on You together!  What do you have to lose??  You never know, it could be supplemental income for you too OR even become your main source of income!

 

Send me an email:  at CoachChristysElementsofFitness@gmail.com

OR an Instagram:  @FitnessElements4Life

November 16, 2014 Posted by | About Me, Being a Mom, Children, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Divorce, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Family, Insanity, Me, My Low Carb Recipes, Nursing, Nutrition, P90X, P90X Recipes, P90X2, P90X3, Phoenix AZ, Pregnancy, Products That Work, Shakeology, Women Today, Women's Health, Working Moms | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Slow Cooker Thai Beef and Linguine

I wish Smell-O’vision existed… because if you walked into my house right now and smelled this Thai Beef cooking you’d probably pay me for this recipe!   I love my slow cooker.  I enjoy it so much I’ve considered buying 1 more!  I needed an extra one today because I also made Black Bean Soup at the same time as this recipe.   I will post that recipe next’ish.

Anyways, when someone talks about using their slow cooker or crock pot we usually think of pot roast, variations of chili or stews.  But this Thai Beef is to die for and its SO EASY!

Thai Beef and Linguine

thai beef slow cooker recipe1 large white onion
1-2lbs flank steak, fat trimmed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Stevia, (Truvia brand cooking/baking sugar alternative)
1/4 cup + 4 tsp low sodium soy sauce
the juice of 3 limes
2 TBL fresh ginger, finely chopped (reserving 1 tsp of juice)
1 TBL toasted sesame oil
1 pkg shitake mushroom linguine
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
4 tsp thai sweet chili sauce
Optional — 1/4 cup cilantro
Optional — 1 head of butter lettucce (Romaine lettuce will work as well)
Optional — chopped peanuts

If your slow cooker is not non-stick, spray with cooking spray.  Slice onion into rings and lay flat in the cooker.  Pat meat dry and cut shallow horizontal slits against grain on the top.  Place meat on top of onions.

In a med size bowl, combine garlic, stevia, 1/4 cup of the soy sauce, 3 TBL of the lime juice, ginger and oil.  Season with freshly ground black pepper.  Pour sauce over steak to coat.

Cover.  Cook on low for 4 1/2 to 6 hours.  While meat is cooking, mix reserved ginger juice, vinegar, chili sauce and remaining soy sauce and lime juice in medium bowl.  Cover and refrigerate. 

Cook pasta according to package instructions. 

Toss pasta into bowl of ginger dressing.  Remove meat from cooker, cover in foil and let stand for 10 minutes.  Cut steak into 1/2″ thick slices.  Serve pasta over optional lettuce and then place meat on top.  Garnish with cilantro and peanuts, if so desired. 

 

Please try it and let me know what you and your family think.  I bet it will be asked for often once they taste it!

For more recipes, click here!

Follow me on Instagram:  @FitnessElements4Life

And of course I’m on Facebook.  Connect with me here!

November 12, 2014 Posted by | Being a Mom, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, Low Fat Recipes, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, P90X Recipes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken

Want a delicious dinner that practically makes itself?   Wow your friends at your next party or bring this dish over to the next football party you’re invited to.  Just a warning though – it will disappear and they will ask you to make it each and every time you come back.

1415572554957LEMON CHICKEN

1 3-4lb whole chicken, fat trimmed, giblets removed, rinsed and dried
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 lemon, halved
1/4 tsp paprika
2-3 rosemary sprigs (optional)
3 TBL parsley, finely chopped
1 large onion, cut into wedges
2-3 garlic cloves
2 TBL reduced sodium soy sauce
8-10 small red potatoes

Place 1 bouillon cube inside chicken.  Squeeze lemon, reserving juice and put rinds and 1 garlic clove inside chicken.

Place chicken, breast-side up, in slow cooker.  Sprinkle paprika and parsley.  Add onions and remaining garlic, then pour soy sauce and lemon juice over chicken.  Crumble remaining bouillon cube over chicken and line the sides of the cooker with potatoes.

Cook on high 3-4 1/2 hours.  Discard lemon rinds, skin and bones.

Half potatoes and serve.

 

fitness screenshotFor more low carb recipes, click here.

Follow me on Instagram:  @FitnessElements4Life

Or on Facebook!

November 9, 2014 Posted by | Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, Family, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, P90X Recipes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zucchini Lasagne with a Twist

 

This new version of my vegetarian lasagna recipe has a layer of quinoa to make it even healthier and adds a good amount of protein to each serving.   I’m not a big fan of quinoa by itself just like I’m not crazy about kale either, so if you don’t know anything about what I do, I take ordinarily unhealthy recipes and make them into metabolism boosting, healthy, fat burning recipes such as my much-loved, delicious, lean turkey chili.

Try them out.  You won’t be disappointed!

ZUCCHINI QUINOA LASAGNE

It tastes like comfort food but its not heavy.  And to save time, you can use your favorite jarred tomato sauce (just make sure there’s no hidden sugars or unwanted ingredients).

lasagneINGREDIENTS

2 cups water

1 cup quinoa (Easy Quinoa brand basil and garlic flavored)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups tomato sauce or prepared pasta sauce

2 cups no-salt-added low-fat cottage cheese

1 large egg, beaten

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 cups sliced zucchini

2 cups packed fresh spinach, tough stems removed

1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

 

PREPARATION

Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Evenly spread the quinoa in the prepared dish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wipe out the saucepan, then add oil and heat over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, until transparent and starting to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are softened and very little moisture is left in the pan, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauce. Stir until hot. Remove from heat.

Combine cottage cheese and egg in a medium bowl; mix well. Stir in Parmesan, basil and oregano.

Spread one-third of the sauce over the quinoa. Make a layer of all the zucchini, then all the cottage cheese mixture, then half the remaining sauce, then all the spinach. Finish with the remaining sauce and spread mozzarella on top.

Bake the lasagna until it is hot and the cheese is melted, bubbling and slightly browned around the edges, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

NUTRITION

Per serving:  267 calories; 11 g fat; 23 g carbohydrates; 19 g protein; 3 g fiber.

 

June 1, 2014 Posted by | Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Low Fat Recipes, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, P90X Recipes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Summer! Are You Bikini Ready?

This used to be a dreaded time of year for me.  It starts to get warm and you don’t realize how out of shape you are until you go try on bathing suits!  You start to remember all the holiday parties, Super Bowl parties, St Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, food you ate off your kids’ plate because they were full (I’m guilty!!), and every other party that put those extra pounds on.  If that sounds like where you’re at it’s not too late to make a change.

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The first day of summer is June 21st!   The only motivation you need is knowing that being fit feels better than any piece of junk food or soda you’re craving!!  Do you want to look better?  Are you tired of feeling sick and tired??

For me, this is the 4th year in a row I have been able to buy a bikini for the summer season… and I’ve had 3 children so that’s a huge accomplishment for me.   I also gained 60 lbs with my first and didnt lose it til after my 2nd was born so… there’s no excuse!  You can do it too.  Women tend to believe their bodies deteriorate after giving birth and that’s JUST NOT THE CASE!    It can… but ONLY if you let it happen!

If you are overweight or even if you’re just struggling with 10-15 pounds I highly recommend The Shakeology 3 Day Cleanse along with P90x, Insanity or any other program you can stick to at least 3-4 times a week.

I’ve done both P90X and Insanity and now instead of P90X cardio days I do Insanity workouts.  The hybrid of the two give phenomenal results.

Your 6 pack is there too!  It’s just hiding.   It’s 70% nutrition and 30% exercise.  Staying away from white sugar, white flour, junk food, dairy products, carbonated drinks and alcohol all help get you those abs.  If you want more ways to do that look the right and click on Nutrition for my Recipes or you can visit me at Team Beachbody, Facebook or Instagram (@FitnessElements4Life).  I share tips, tricks and new recipes for stuffed peppers or this delicious “pot roast” made with turkey instead of beef!!

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I also write daily meal plans for those that have a hard time putting together grocery lists, let alone their meals.  Contact me today  for more information.  The meal plans I write are customized to you and your taste buds and they are only $25-$40 depending on how much guidance you need.  We also will have you keep a food diary and they adjust your meal plans each month.

It all takes time and hard work, just as any venture does.   Holler at me and lets get moving!

 

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Come check out my blog:  www.amothersmemoir.com

or Instagram at @FitnessElements4Life

 

 

 

 

May 28, 2014 Posted by | About Me, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Eating Clean, Exercise, Insanity, P90X, Products That Work, Women Today, Women's Health, Working Moms | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stuffed Peppers

frankie

It’s a classic recipe that’s very simple to make healthy!   See here for more of your favorite recipes I’ve made healthy (like chicken parmesan, lasagne, and chicken Dijon).

 

 

With a couple changes (i.e. replace ground beef, white rice), you can eat clean and have a delicious meal.  Even sneak a few bites to the kids, that is if you want to share.   😉

 

peppers cooking

 

Fat Burning Stuffed Peppers

1-1.5 pounds ground turkey

1/2 cup of Uncle Ben’s brown rice (or u can use long grain wild)

6 green bell peppers

2 (8 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon fresh minced garlic

1 -1/2 cup diced onion

sea salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Avocado and shredded cheddar cheese to top, if desired.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F .
  2. Saute ground fresh garlic and onions in 1 TBL of olive oil until onions are clear.  Add in ground turkey and cook over medium heat, cook until evenly browned.
  3. Remove and discard the tops, seeds, and membranes of the bell peppers. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward. (A LITTLE SECRET:  Slice the bottoms of the peppers if necessary so that they will stand upright.)
  4. Add the cooked rice, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to the turkey and onions.  Stir.   Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each hollowed pepper. Mix the remaining tomato sauce and Italian seasoning in a bowl, and pour over the stuffed peppers.
  5. Bake 45 min to 1 hour, basting with sauce every 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender.

peppers IG

 

April 7, 2014 Posted by | Being a Mom, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Discipline, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Low Fat Recipes, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, P90X Recipes, P90X3, Products That Work, Working Moms | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Clean Eating – Parmesan Crusted Chicken

You’re not going to believe how easy this is to make and how GOOOOOD it turns out until you make it – and it’s HEALTHY!   The chicken comes out so tender and juicy!

Parmesan Crusted Chicken:

  • 3/4 cup grated and/or shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Greek plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Mix the first 5 ingredients and then spread mixture over chicken on both sides.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes

parmesan crusted chicken

January 13, 2014 Posted by | Being a Mom, Children, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Discipline, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, P90X Recipes, P90X2, P90X3, Products That Work, Women's Health, Working Moms | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Control Your Blood Sugar

appleYou probably already know that controlling your blood sugar levels with the foods that you eat is VERY important for controlling your ability to burn fat, balance your hormones, and also prevent diabetes.    Society has become dependent on fast foods, pre-packaged and/or quick meals that they can grab on the go.  Problem is, these foods are the last thing we should be putting in our bodies. 

I tell my clients, especially the ones who own luxury vehicles:  “you pay for premium fuel for your car because you know it performs better on better quality ingredients, yet the fuel you put in your body is garbage!”  Guess what?  Your body needs to outlive your car!!  So give it what it needs.  Every system in our bodies (from neurological to circulatory)  relies so heavily on the food we fuel it with.

 

Stay away from white rice, white bread, white sugar, soda, red meat, fast food, whole milk and any processed foods.  Think about it like this:  stay away from the inner aisles of the grocery store.  That’s where all these foods are sitting.  They have a shelf life of about 3-6 months.  Red meat is ok just try to limit it to once or twice a month. 

Foods that help control blood sugar are going to be the opposite of the foods above.  They are the nutritious whole foods, vegetables, fruits, lean meats and nuts.  Buy fresh foods whenever you can.   There are also some other nutritious ingredients that you can add to your meals that naturally control blood sugar and insulin response!  One is cocoa powder with no added sugars.  Pure cocoa – not hot chocolate!   Pure cocoa contains flavanols which are powerful antioxidants that can help improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.  You can add it to your favorite protein shake or smoothie for an added benefit.   I actually add a heaping spoonful of cocoa powder to my Vanilla Shakeology with some frozen berries.    You can even add a spoonful to the milk of your choice and add a little Stevia for a sweet treat.  You can even heat it to make a healthy, low in sugar, and high in fiber hot chocolate.  🙂

The second thing that helps control blood sugar is green tea.   Green tea and oolong tea can help to control the blood sugar response from a meal due to their unique antioxidants.  According to a study I reviewed, animals given the green-tea based antioxidant, EGCG, had a 50% lower blood sugar after eating starch than the animals that didn’t get the EGCG but ate the same amount of starch.  You can even add lemon and honey to it to create a powerful antioxidant trifecta!   Drink this at the same time you eat carbs and you can protect yourself from the blood sugar spike.

Another thing you can start adding to your diet is apple cider vinegar.  It may not be the most appealing choice, however, apple cider vinegar, when taken with a meal can slow the digestion of carbohydrates in that meal, therefore slowing the rate of absorption of sugar into the blood.  Since the idea of drinking this with water doesn’t sound very tantalizing to the taste buds, what I do is add it to my olive oil and red wine vinegar combo and then poor over my salad.  You don’t even taste the difference!  And don’t think you can substitute balsamic or white vinegar… it has to be the apple cider vinegar!    

Lastly, Shakeology is a delicious choice and has been certified low-glycemic.  Meaning it will not spike your blood sugar.  It truly is the Healthiest Meal of the Day.    Are you ready to try a sample?  SImply comment below if interested or contact me through my contact page

If you are ready to buy click here. 

 

As always, stay tuned for more Lean Body secrets from me!

 

 

August 8, 2013 Posted by | Diet and Exercise, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, Organic, Products That Work, Shakeology, Things To Do, Women's Health | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are Morning Workouts More Effective?

I have to say this is one of the most frequently asked questions I get.

  • Should you workout in the morning in a fasted state?
  • Should you workout in the morning after eating something to have more energy?
  • Or should you workout later in the day for the best results?
  • What about for different goals… fat loss vs muscle, for example?

insta back picMy answer?  ‘IT DEPENDS’.  Why the vague answer?  Because there is no ONE way that works for everyone.   As with anything, it’s about weighing the PROS and CONS and using common sense.

You’ve probably heard many times that morning workouts on an empty stomach is the fastest and most effective way to lose weight.  And while it IS true, that training first thing in the morning on an empty stomach has been shown to increase fat burning by 300%, the problem is, you also increase the potential for burning up muscle at the same time.

The reason fat loss is increased at that time of day is due to blood sugar.  Your blood sugar is at it’s very lowest (after fasting all night), the theory is training at this time will force your body to rely more on bodyfat than on blood sugar to fuel activity.

This is true, but the problem is protein (as is found in muscles) can be converted into glucose to fuel activity as well. So the question then becomes, is the extra fat burning you get worth the potential loss of muscle protein?

CONFUSED YET?  Because another thing to consider is Growth Hormone. When you train on low-blood sugar conditions, your body releases increased amounts of GH. It sees these conditions as an emergency and responds with GH and GH is not secreted in response to low-intensity activity – it’s only significantly released by high intensity activity.

So, in theory, training with high intensity on an empty stomach first thing in the morning can result in increased GH secretion, which means greater fat loss and reduced loss of muscle mass. This directly contradicts the theory of training burning up your muscle tissue if you don’t eat.

READY FOR ANOTHER VARIABLE?  Cortisol.  Your cortisol levels are generally higher in the morning, simply because you’ve
been fasting during the whole time you’ve been sleeping.  Cortisol burns up muscle tissue and promotes fat storage.

And lastly, it’s really hard to get an intense workout first thing in the morning!   Being a fitness trainer I always encourage people to do high intensity INTERVAL TRAINING and if you’re not a morning person (which I AM NOT!) it will be TOUGH to do cardio with enough intensity to take full advantage of the GH release!

SOLUTION:

If your primary goal is fat loss and you aren’t too worried about losing a
little muscle, go with empty stomach, moderate-to-high-intensity cardio training
first thing in the morning. You will probably see increased fat loss, though you
may lose a little muscle from it. Train with weights, and it probably won’t be
much muscle loss at all.

If your goal is fat loss while preserving muscle as much as possible, take a small protein shake right after you wake up (a low-carb protein shake so you don’t increase blood sugar too much) and THEN go do your cardio training. The protein will help spare your muscle tissue while not raising your blood sugar significantly enough to cause a
problem.

AND

If you can’t do your cardio with intensity first thing in the morning, do it later in the day.

side profileBecause truly, the absolute best time to do cardio is when you’re energetic enough and alert enough to give it your best effort.  THAT is when you’ll really see results. Doesn’t really matter what time of day that is.
When you get right down to it, getting the most from your training, whether it be cardio or weights, is not about worry about the details that won’t make a difference in the long run. It’s about digging in with intensity and consistency.

Now, if you’re interested in a fat-loss program that has a primary goal of preserving muscle mass while dropping fat, I’d definitely recommend trying out my CHALLENGE GROUP!  Right now we are getting ready to start Shaun T’s FocusT25 in combination with Shakeology.   We are all excited.  We keep each other motivated, and share recipes, or ideas on how we modify exercises if they can’t do the higher intensity ones right away.

group photo

FocusT25 is just like Insanity except its only 25 minutes for 5 days a week!  So more people are wanting to do it over Insanity to save time!   It also comes with a workout calendar, nutrition guide and then I have also been writing people a daily meal plan for people if they want it.  Here’s a short clip on T25!

If you want to join us – get YOURS today here!  And then send me a message on Facebook so I can add you to our group!

SEE YOU SOON!

July 13, 2013 Posted by | About Me, Body Beast, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, Insanity, Products That Work, Shakeology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

52 Easy Ways To Shred Inches Off Your Belly With Very Little Effort

Woman standing pulling measuring tape around waist.

With 52 different ideas to try, you can implement one a week, and I guarantee you will look healthier and be shredding inches before the end of the year without even realizing it!  You may already be doing some of these small things.   But put them all together and they will work wonders!

 

 

 

BREAKFAST

ADD CHEESE TO BREAKFAST

Grate hard, flavorful cheese, such as fresh parmesan, on eggs and oatmeal for added protein and flavor.  The key is to add protein to all meals, as it fills you up faster and helps you burn more calories.  Fresh parmesan cheese is almost fat free, has more protein and very little calories.  Mozzarella made with skim milk is also a good substitute instead of cheddar.

GIVE YOUR PANCAKES A NUTRITIONAL BOOST

Next time you make pancakes, replace 1⁄4 cup of whole wheat flour with 1⁄4 cup of vanilla whey protein powder.  I even tried this idea with mixing my Vanilla Shakeology with this trick this morning and my little guy was mad that I didnt make more!!  Just this one little substitute adds lots of protein, fiber, along with great texture to an otherwise nutritionally vacant breakfast.

MAKE COWS HAPPY

Try milk alternatives.  It took a while but my kids don’t even miss cow’s milk anymore.  I buy almond milk.   Unsweetened for the kids and for my protein shakes and Whole Foods also carries the chocolate almond milk which can hardly last a day in our fridge!   Almond milk has less calories than cow’s milk and its more easily digestible.  It’s also good for protein shakes and makes cereal a bit healthier!  And we all love a bowl of cereal from time to time.   To get all the vitamins out of your cereal, drink the milk left in the bowl. You’ve admirably resisted the Frosted Flakes in favor of a less sugary breakfast cereal that’s fortified with vitamins, but that doesn’t mean you’re actually getting all the nutrients listed on the side of the box. Up to 40 percent of the vitamins in your cereal dissolve into that orphaned puddle of milk.

FREEZE YOUR BANANAS

That way they will always be on hand for use in a smoothie. And because they are naturally sweet, you won’t need any sugar.

SNACKS and SIDES

MAKE LEANER BUFFALO WINGS

Cook up some spicy low-fat buffalo wings. Instead of using chicken wings, make them with skinless chicken-breast tenders. Marinate them overnight in a mixture of Louisiana hot sauce or sriracha, olive oil, lots of garlic powder, and red wine vinegar. (Experiment with the amounts to suit your taste.) Then roast the chicken “wings” at 400°F for 15 minutes.

GIVE IN TO CHOCOLATE CRAVINGS

You don’t have to deprive yourself of the sweet stuff.  Every day I “indulge” in a dark chocolatey treat.  It’s dark chocolate peanutPeanut-Butter-And-Co-Dark-Chocolate-Dreams-851087000069 butter.  OR if that doesn’t sound appetizing, try shaving dark chocolate into savory dishes like chili and barbecue sauces—you’ll add a rich flavor along with anti-oxidants. They can lower your risk of heart disease and keep your cholesterol in check. And shaving ensures you don’t go overboard on the dark. Or try this for a nighttime snack: Melt 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips in the microwave and swirl that into 4 ounces of plain greek vanilla yogurt. Top with a tablespoon of slivered almonds.

CREATE YOUR OWN DIPS

Make dips healthier by using fat-free sour cream or greek plain yogurt. Mix in an equal part of salsa, the hotter the better. Jazz it up with lemon, dried herbs, etc.

CHOOSE THE BLUES

Use blue corn tortillas in your next batch of nachos, fajitas, or quesadillas for more effective weight loss.  Tortillas made from blue corn have a lower glycemic load than white corn tortillas do, so they won’t raise your blood sugar as quickly. The blue variety also has more protein and less starch.

SHELL YOUR NUTS

Buy nuts in their shells. More time shelling equals less time shoveling handfuls into your mouth.

…BUT TRY BOILING THEM FIRST

Boil your peanuts (in their shells) for about 3 hours. Researchers at Alabama A&M University found that boiled peanuts—a popular snack food in China, Southeast Asia, Australia, and the southern United States—have up to four times more antioxidants than raw, dry, or roasted peanuts.

TOP A TATER

If you love baked potatoes, you don’t have to give them up just because of their high glycemic load rating. Keep your blood sugar levels balanced by adding a topping, such as Cheddar cheese, mushrooms, broccoli, or spinach.   Try to exchange the red or brown potatoes for sweet potatoes.  They’re healthier and you can top them too with your faves to make them just as delicious too.

RINSE YOUR BEANS

Canned beans—kidney, black, cannellini, chickpeas—are a quick and easy way to add protein and fiber to your meals. But they can also spike your daily sodium intake, increasing your risk of stomach cancer and high blood pressure. Simply rinsing them, however, will shed one-third of their sodium.

CREATE THE BEST STEAM ROOM FOR YOUR BROCCOLI

For perfectly cooked and nutrient-rich vegetables, rinse them first and then throw them in a sealed container, and microwave for 3 or 4 minutes. Boiling, blanching, or oversteaming zaps vegetables of their nutrients—the only water you need is the drops that cling after rinsing.

 SPICE YOUR RICE

Don’t buy white rice.  Buy brown rice.  And to add a ton of flavor to brown rice, just add a can of black beans or dark red kidney beans and some fresh cilantro.  If you like spicy then mix in some hot sauce.  The beans will lessen the effect that the starchy rice will have on your blood sugar and the hot sauce increases your metabolism.

THICKEN YOUR SIDE DISHES

Replace the milk in your mashed potatoes with evaporated fat-free milk (or almond milk).  It’s lower in fat and higher in calcium per cup, and still manages to add richness to your mash.

AT WORK DURING THE DAY

START A MEAL WITH A WATER APPETIZER

Drink two glasses of water before every meal. This will keep you hydrated and make you feel less hungry, while reducing your food intake and aiding weight loss.

GO HALFSIES

Here’s a simple rule for buffet eating at a party that’ll help you keep your meal balanced for weight loss: Fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruit. Fill the rest of your plate with equal amounts of whole grains and other high-fiber carbs, and lean protein.

SHAKE ON OREGANO

One tablespoon of fresh oregano has the same antioxidant power as an entire apple!  Mexican oregano has the highest count, but Italian oregano and Greek mountain oregano trail closely behind. One of the most versatile herbs, oregano can be added to anything from noodles to meats to salad dressings.

BRING THE HEAT

Scientists at the University of Tasmania Australia found that overweight people are more likely to slim down after consuming a meal that contains chile peppers than after one that isn’t on fire. Capsaicin, the chemical that makes chiles hot, may help the liver clear insulin—the hormone that tells your body to store fat—from the bloodstream after a meal.

KEEP YOUR ABS HARD WITH SOFT CHEESE

Use softer cheeses like goat, feta, and ricotta on pizzas and sandwiches because they’re naturally about a third lower in fat and calories than harder cheeses. And when you need the full-fat cheeses, go for strong flavors like Parmesan, blue, and extra-sharp Cheddar—you’ll get the same great taste with less cheese.

PREVENT BLOOD SUGAR SPIKES WITH VINEGAR

Start a meal with a salad or vegetables drizzled with a vinaigrette dressing. Arizona State University nutritionists believe that the acetic acid in vinegar interferes with enzymes that break down carbohydrates. A few teaspoons of vinegar per meal can keep blood sugar levels from rising quickly.

KEEP A LITTLE SHRIMP ON HAND

For an easy way to add lean protein to your meals, stock up on frozen shrimp. It defrosts in just 15 minutes under cold running water. And with the cooked variety, you have an instant healthy snack. If uncooked, throw it into your pasta sauces, stir-fries, or noodle soups in the last 5 minutes.

PUT THE SODA DOWN 

Eliminate SODA including ALL caffeinated beverages like energy drinks from your diet.  They bloat your stomach with all that carbonation (AIR!) and soda literally depletes your bones of the ability to absorb calcium, not to mention they have NO nutritional value whatsoever.  Drink ice cold water and add sliced cucumbers or lemons.

DINNER

STOP ADDING BUTTER

Instead of sauteeing with butter, try flavored olive oils.   Specialty stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts carry these delicious olive oils such as garlic and chile or cilantro lime.  They are a great way to add some flavor from the get go and there’s no need for the fattening butter!

STIR FRY RIGHT

With the idea above, if you don’t have those flavored oils yet, you can add a few drops of regular extra virgin olive oil to start, and then use water rather than more oil as you’re stir-frying.

WARM UP YOUR OIL

Remember to heat your skillet before adding oil.  This way, less fat will be absorbed by the food.  Warm oil cooks more efficiently; cold oil tends to soak into meats and vegetables.

SLICE YOUR STEAK, EAT LESS

Slicing thinly will make your portions seem bigger and more satisfying.   When you believe you’re eating a larger portion of food, you may trick yourself into feeling more satisfied with fewer calories.

EMBARGO THE OIL

When grilling chicken, try this oil-free marinade: Combine 3 cups of apple juice and two cloves of pressed garlic with 1 cup of reduced-sodium soy sauce.

STUFF YOUR BURGERS

Scoop a hole in the middle of your burger before grilling, and fill it with olives, mushrooms, or any vegetable you like. This makes the recommended serving of beef (3 ounces) look and feel like a massive hunk of burger, when it’s much leaner than that.

CATCH UP ON YOUR LYCOPENE

Squirt some organic ketchup on that bun.  Organic ketchups have about twice as much cancer-fighting lycopene as the regular varieties. A simple visual clue you’ve got the correct ketchup? Organic ones are a slightly darker shade of red than regular ketchups.

CURRY FAVOR WITH YOGURT

Replace the high-fat coconut milk in your curries with low-fat plain yogurt. The yogurt adds that creamy texture without the extra fat from the coconut.

BUILD A BETTER PIZZA

Can’t resist pepperoni?  Go for it, but help offset the damage by ordering two or more vegetable toppings for every meat topping. Since the carcinogens in processed meats such as pepperoni and sausage increase your cancer risk with every serving, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, load on a variety of vegetables–green peppers, onions–that can help protect against cancer.

BULK UP YOUR MEATBALLS

Grate carrots, squash, or zucchini into any meatball mixture. They add bulk, moisture, and vitamins but don’t alter that meaty flavor you’re after.

SWAP RED MEAT FOR RED LENTILS

To make a low-fat, antioxidant-packed lasagna, use half the usual amount of ground meat and make up the difference with red lentils. They’re still protein packed, but lentils are fat-free and high in fiber, making them more filling, too. And since red lentils have a neutral taste, they’ll simply soak up the flavors in your sauce. You won’t even notice them. Promise.

TRADE CRACKERS FOR OATS

In any meat recipe that calls for crackers or bread crumbs, use an equal amount of rolled oats instead. This ramps up your soluble fiber intake, which can help lower your cholesterol. Use the quick-cooking variety of oatmeal, because it retains moisture well and doesn’t alter the meaty taste.

GO FRY A COD

Buy fillets or loins of white fish such as haddock or cod, and cut into strips.  Make a light tempura-like batter by mixing iced sparkling water with self-rising flour.  Dust the fish strips with self-rising flour and roll in the tempura batter.   Shallow fry the strips in hot canola oil, which is loaded with good fats.   Fill one-third of your pan with oil and heat it to about 350 degrees F. (Use a thermometer!) and fry the fish until crispy.   For chips with your fish: Cut sweet potatoes into your preferred size and toss them in to the remaining oil in the pan.  If no remaining oil, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of canola oil with salt, herbs, garlic—anything you want, really.  Then put them on a cookie sheet and bake them at 450 degrees F for about 30 minutes.

EAT THE CRUMBS

If you’re baking something with a topping of grated cheese, cut fat by halving the cheese and replacing it with whole-wheat bread crumbs. This mimics the crispy texture of baked cheese and adds fiber.

KNOW YOUR DELI MEATS

Sandwiches are the architecture of the common lunch-eater, but you need to start with a solid foundation.

  1. – The hierarchy of health, in descending order:
  2. – Turkey and chicken
  3. – Roast beef- Ham
  4. – Weird processed things like salami and olive loaf

For example, instead of an Italian submarine sandwich with cheese and mixed cold cuts like salami and bologna, choose turkey or even roast beef and you can trim your fat intake by up to 30 percent.

DON’T RUIN A TUNA

Mayonnaise will turn your tuna sandwich into a fatty disaster. Instead of mixing in a lot of mayo, add balsamic vinaigrette, cracked pepper, hot sauce, and some fresh lemon juice to your tuna. It tastes great.

GET GRATER TASTE FROM LESS CHEESE

Buy yourself a good grater. Use it to grate a piece of Parmesan or other hard cheese on your sandwich, and you’ll save a lot of calories of fat compared with standard sliced fare, as long as you add a sprinkling for flavor rather than an avalanche of grated cheese.

MAKE IT MEATLESS

Next time you’re hankering for a spicy italian sandwich with all the fixins, try this vegetarian hot Italian sub. Brown some cubed eggplant pieces under a broiler with a little olive oil. Then mix with tomato sauce and capers. Place in a kaiser roll. Top with grated Parmesan. Fat serving SAVINGS: 28 grams!!!

SQUASH THE FAT

Replace half of the Cheddar in quesadillas, mac ‘n’ cheese, or grilled cheese sandwiches with pureed butternut squash. This significantly lowers the fat and calorie counts, won’t compromise the taste, and gives you a slew of added vitamins and heart-healthy potassium.

PACK A PITA

Add extra vegetables to your next sandwich by packing them in a whole-wheat pita pocket rather than between conventional slices of bread. Pitas simply hold more.

WRAP MEATS IN GREENS

To cut carbs, ditch the sandwich bread and do as the Koreans do: Wrap spicy cooked beef or chicken with leafy greens. Try Chinese cabbage, bok choy, or romaine lettuce. Replacing two slices of bread with one large lettuce leaf saves you about 30 grams of carbohydrate.

BE SLICK WITH YOUR OIL

Who knew there was so much behind oil?!   Avoid splashing ‘light’ olive oils over your salads—light varieties have fewer cancer-fighting antioxidants than the extra-virgin kind, plus they have a less intense flavor. Not sure if your oil’s up to snuff?  Good-quality extra-virgin olive oil should have a fruity, peppery, slightly bitter taste and leave a faint burning sensation on the throat.

TURN YOUR SANDWICHES GREEN

Replace mayo with a spread of ripe avocado to moisten a dry sandwich. Avocados are packed with monounsaturated (good) fat to help lower your cholesterol. Plus, avocados are said to prevent a variety of cancers.

TRY THIS SPIN ON A GYRO

For a low-fat gyro, mix some fat-free yogurt with chopped or sliced cucumbers, add a squeeze of lemon juice, and pour over a pita stuffed with grilled chicken or beef strips.

REVISE YOUR REUBEN

Simulate a cheese Reuben by replacing fatty corned beef with turkey and topping it with low-fat mozzarella, mustard, spicy shredded cabbage, and pickles. Slap all that on traditional rye bread and broil until the cheese melts. Fat savings: 10 grams.

SLIM YOUR CHICKEN SALAD

Use thick, Greek-style plain yogurt to cut down on the amount of mayo you need to make chicken, tuna, or egg salad sandwiches.

Woman standing pulling measuring tape around waist.

We all have different ideas on how to prepare cook things… but following these tricks will make some of your traditional meals healthier and shred inches without you even realizing it!   It may even make you realize one small step in your preparation of meals that you didn’t think of like rinsing canned beans before cooking them… read more below.

July 4, 2013 Posted by | About Me, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, Low Fat Recipes, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, Organic, P90X Recipes, Pregnancy, Products That Work, Shakeology, Women's Health | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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