Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Why The Scale Stopped Going Down

Summer has hit and you bought your new gym membership. You're going twice a week and thinking you're looking fine. You've lost a few pounds and are sure this trend will continue. But after a month, the scale has come to a slow...and stop. What's up? What happened? I thought those trainer sessions were going great! WTH?!

Let me let you in on a little secret: you're eating the same things you were before you started working out. You thought it didn't matter what you eat, as long as you're cranking out those reps. WRONG!

Of course you lost weight when you started moving more. Your body had to expend extra calories, but it's used to it now. Adaptation, isn't it a bitch?

Your body adapts to whatever you give it. That's why P90x was made so famous. It changes up the workout every day, every week, and every month. Your body has to keep burning more and more calories to try and keep up the changing need of energy. More and different muscles get used when you introduce variety into your workout. Don't do the same thing everyday, and don't eat the same thing everyday. Mix it up! Variety is the spice of life.

Back to food. You're not an olympic athlete, so you must eat healthy. You can't out-exercise a bad diet, no matter what you think. You must eat your fruits and veggies and I'm here to make them tasty. Stay tuned for Recipes of the Month.

It's not hard to change your diet. And it's not a 14 day, lose 7lbs diet. It's the food you eat daily diet. The food you will continue to eat the rest of your life. No, not egg whites for breakfast, salad for lunch, and grilled salmon for dinner diet - although that sounds yummy to me! But a style of eating that will keep you naturally thin. 

3 Easy Rules to Live By
  1. Close to Nature: Eat as close to nature as possible. No, I don't mean go outside and have a picnic. I mean eat foods that are straight from the ground, tree, or animal. Forget the preservatives, chemicals, "natural" added flavors and colors.
  2. Forget Health Claims: If it makes a claim, it's not healthy for you. Low Fat. Low Sugar. No Sugar Added. Does lettuce have this written on it leaves? No. Because everyone knows lettuce is healthy. It doesn't need to make a claim. If it's healthy for you, it most likely already has low fat and low sugar. If not, then eat a small portion. Don't deprive yourself, just have a little serving. ;) And that means a few bites! Not a bowlful.
  3. Eat Produce-Organic If Possible: Got high cholesterol? Eat more plants. Got high triglycerides (fat in your blood)? Eat more plants. 
    1. Hint: Plants raise your HDL (H for Healthy) and lower your LDL (L for Lousy). HDL and LDL are types of cholesterol. The HDL goes around your body and cleans out the bad junk in your arteries. Ever heard of good fats? Those are especially good at doing this job, like olive oil and avocados.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Getting There

Whoever told you being fit was easy lied.  Recipes for healthy food can be easy. Working out can be fun. But getting from Point A of "I don't like how I look" to Point B of "Wow, I'm proud of this body." is a hard journey. I'm still on it.

After 3 months of working out in various ways, trying multiple workouts, I wasn't getting the results I wanted. My arms and legs were responding, but my mid section was not. I started to cut my calorie intake to about 800 calories and burning about 600 calories a day. I figured I would get skinny and fit in a sinch...WRONG. Over-stressing your body will make it hold on so strong that you'll cry in frustration and wonder how the HECK is it not whittling away.

Well, I gave in. I let up. I stopped working SO hard (burning 400-600 calories per day) and started eating more (1500-1800 calories per day). And guess what happened!? My pooch started disappearing. My confidence started going up. I realized, like all things in life, you have to balance hard work and good food. Eat lots of grilled veggies, drink lots of water, and indulge in a bagel before doing super hard cardio. I'm on my way to an after picture for you, even though I don't like the title "After Picture." I think it should be called "Current Picture" because if you name something after it gives you the idea you've stopped. I'm not stopping. I'm forming a daily habit. Even on my upcoming getaway, I plan on working out at least an hour a day.

It's officially like sleeping; I need it or else I don't feel right.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Touring the Good Ol' USA

I'm going on a trip. Not just any trip, but a huge, long, discovery-filled, bucket-list, type of trip. I'm driving from California to New Hampshire with my lovely man and dog! We're moving to New Hampshire for work opportunities and to start our life on the East Coast. I'm stoked! 
Welcome to my new playground

You get the best part: experiencing our trip by reading my rants and seeing photos of all the fun places to go - without all the driving and expenses.  We're starting to book hotels now as we stress and freak over how much this is all going to cost. Luckily, I'm good with my mu-lah and have been saving for a rainy day... or should I say sunny summer trip. =]

I've got my certification to be a personal trainer under my belt and am working on my Fitness Nutrition Specialist certificate. I gotta say, I'm pumped to be working for a new gym/studio in a quaint little town. Growing up in Cali is not all that its cracked up to be. I've had my run with you California, but I'm ready to break new sand. See sunrises instead of sets. Venture into historical place instead of seeing construction and traffic.

Of course I'll miss being close to my immediate family, but everyone has to grow up and move away sometime, right? Well enjoy the written ride across the country with me, because I know I would love to read this adventure I'm about to embark on. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Motivation Monday: Body Biased Fat Loss

Don't get discouraged when you realize you've been working out super hard, but still don't see a major difference in your six pack area. Every body responds differently exercise and stress.

Personally, my belly is the last to go...like most people. But why? First I notice my face thinning out, then in the following order: arms, legs, butt, boobs, stomach. My stomach, where I hold my stress, worries, insecurities, and waistband, insists on holding onto every last ounce of fat before letting go. My arms are toned. My calves are poppin'. My butt is smaller. And my breasts are firmer. My stomach is finally flatter, and gaining some tone on the top half, but the pooch refuses to surrender it's insulation. This is understandable to me because I know about cortisol, but I think most people exercising will wonder, "What the heck is going on?"

When we stress, cortisol (a stress hormone) is released, keeping us from losing that bottom layer of fat. The best we can do is eat 4-6 meals a day, keep our anxiety to a minimum, take rest days after hard sessions, and focus on the positive. Focus on how toned your other parts are becoming, and your tummy will follow suit soon. The most important thing to focus on is your diet

As I'm sure you've heard; abs are made in the kitchen. Get skinny with healthy food, get fit with the gym. So eat smaller meals more often to keep that fire kindling in your body. 

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) (Insanity, sprinting, etc.) also helps burn fat faster. The upside to the rest of your body getting toned is that your body composition is changing. The more muscle you have elsewhere, the more calories you are burning. So even though I don't have ridges down my front, the ridges down my back are helping them come out. 

Last Monday I challenged you with a 30 second plank. Today I challenge you mentally to look at the good, and believe the "bad" will be the good soon. Check out your guns, your calves, your face, whatever part(s) of you is the best, and savor all the hard work you put in.  

Hello Bicep :) 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Journey to Your Pot of Gold

There are specific skills one needs to live a healthy life; knowledge of quick and healthy recipes, an exercise routine, a stress-reducer, a motivator, social support, emotional support, etc.You might think it's just diet and exercise, and most of the time it is, but it takes a whole lot more to lead a happy life than simply losing weight and feeling sexy.

We all have boundaries and road blocks that keep us from living the life we truly want. 

Do you even know the life you truly want? Do you know your goals? A part of you might, but you may not fully be aware of it as you should be. That's why someone or something that comes along always wakes us up from the wool that has been over our eyes. We need to be autonomous of ourselves to really take charge and live our life. The one we see in our dreams. The one we draw in our doodles. The one we cut out of magazines. The one we pin on pinterest. The one we falsely update in our status message. The one we portray in our Facebook photos. But what's happening behind the scenes? Behind the social media screen?

My goal is to be that clout that slaps people awake and makes them achieve what they've always wanted. Let it be a healthier body, a happier soul, a dream job, or so on; I want to help you get there.
Of course, I'm on my own journey as well riding the colors of a very long double rainbow, but by helping others jump on their yellow brick road will help me reach my pot of gold.

What does your metaphorical "pot of gold" look like right now? Is it empty...?

Or are you jumping in head first?

Today I want you to think about what your dreams are. Truly think about it. Don't just pin it. Don't just Facebook it. Think about it away from your computer, Iphone, and Ipad. Look up at the sky, the sun, the moon, wherever you are. And start trying to make it happen. If you put the positive thoughts out there and set that world into motion, your goal will be closer than you ever imagined.

"I Can Do This!"

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

12 Quick, Easy, Cheap and Healthy Meals

Many of these recipes will be semi-homemade and include products from Trader Joe's. I find TJ's to be one of the cheapest and best grocery stores around. And I'm sorry if you don't have one near. Many of these are made with a George Foreman grill (GF), toaster oven, and/or microwave. So grab one from Wal-mart and get cookin' healthy! *denotes vegan/vegan option.

  1. Chick(e)n PizzaDilla (dee-yah)*
    1. Heat a nonstick pan with 1 Tbsp Earth Balance. Place one whole wheat tortilla down. Cover with grilled chick(e)n and Daiya/light cheese. Spice up with oregano, garlic, and onion. Place second tortilla on top and press down with spatula. Once cheese is starting to melt, flip the dilla. It's done when crispy and melty. Cut into 6 pieces. Place a 1/2 cup of marinara on a plate and dip that hot thang!  Enjoy with a cup of spinach/fresh veggies on the side (cold or cooked).
  2. Chick(e)n PitaDilla*
    1. Cook up some Gardein chik'n scallopini or regular chicken on your GF grill. When that's done, heat up your Mediterranean Pita (90 calories each) until pliable. Place chick(e)n, 3 Tbsp hummus, a handful of spinach, and handful of Daiya or light cheese on one side of the pita. Fold in half and press down grill. It's done when the cheese is melting out and there are grill marks on your bread. 
        1.  I make many versions of this, using whatever I have on hand. If I don't have one thing, I switch it out for another. No chicken? Use tofu/tempeh/mushrooms. No spinach? Use romaine/kale. No hummus? Use light mayo/sauce.
  3. Veggies and Hummus*
    1.  Heat up 4 mini-whole wheat pita pockets (TJ's) in toaster oven or GF grill for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, chop up: 1 bell pepper, 1 cucumber, & a handful of organic baby carrots. Enjoy with a 1/2 cup of organic hummus.
  4. Miso Soup and Brown Rice*
    1. Microwave a frozen rice packet (Trader Joe's has brown and wild mixed rice) for 3 minutes. Set aside. Place a cereal bowl in the microwave filled 3/4 of purified water for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, chop a green onion stalk into small rings. Square a half cup of tofu (preferably silken soft). Drop a tablespoon of miso paste in hot water and stir. Add in  tofu and green onions. Enjoy 1 cup of rice on the side with 1 Tbsp Earth Balance or mix it into the soup if you like it that way. 
  5. Tofu Scramble*
    1. Place chopped veggies such as bell peppers, green onions, tomatos, and mushrooms on a heated nonstick pan. Saute with a tsp of Earth Balance until soft. Spice up with garlic, onion, and paprika. Add in one box of silken soft tofu. Add one handful of Daiya cheese or light mozzarella/cheddar. Stir until cheese is melted throughout. Enjoy with a banana or chopped strawberries on the side. This meal is good anytime of the day! 
  6. Tofu Edamame Nuggets
    1. Buy frozen from Trader Joe's. Cook one serving in the toaster oven, on a small foil-lined pan for 5-8 minutes (or until cooked through). You will see them start to brown, and you'll know they're done. You could also cook these on the GF grill for less time. Enjoy with honey, ketchup, or your favorite "nugget" sauce. Have a salad on the side with a low-fat dressing. 
  7. Spicy Arrabatia Pasta*
    1. Buy frozen from Trader Joe's. Cook on stove top for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, toast up some fresh sourdough bread. Cover with 1 tsp organic Earth Balance, and a dash of each: garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.  
  8. Chick(e)n Spinach Salad*
    1. Grill up/heat up some Gardein/grilled chicken on a George Foreman or stove top. Place 2 cups organic spinach in a bowl. Top with chopped cucumber, bell pepper, and dried cranberries. Place cooked chick(e)n on top. Drizzle with favorite low-cal dressing. I use brown rice vinegar and miso paste, plus S+P. 
  9. Wheat-Free Waffle Breakfast*
    1. Buy frozen from Trader Joe's. Toast. Cover bottom one with a layer of sliced bananas.  Cover top one with organic Earth Balance and agave/maple syrup. Have yogurt and fresh fruit on the side. 
  10. Black Bean Enchilada*
    1. Buy frozen from Trader Joe's. Microwave for 4 minutes. Have a salad on the side.
  11. Vegan Chick'n Parm*
    1. Grill/heat 3 crispy chick'n strips. (I use my George Foreman grill) After crispy, but not cooked all the way through, take out and put on a plate. Cover with a handful of Daiya/light mozzarella and some organic tomato basil marinara. Cover with paper plate and microwave for 1 minute (or until cheese is melted). 
  12. Thai Gyoza Miso Soup
    1. Microwave a bowl of purified water and 3 Veggie Thai Gyoza for 3 minutes. When done, take out carefully with rag/oven mitt and place a Tbsp of miso paste. Stir. Optional: Add chopped tofu.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Motivational Monday

I'm taking my test next week to become a Certified Personal Trainer. I've been studying since last December and am really excited to finally take this exam. The knowledge has accumulated in my brain and I'm ready to start sharing it with you, if that's okay.  

What is Motivational Monday? I want to motivate you to get up and do something. Move your body. Dance. Lift. Squat. Sit. No wait, don't sit unless it's a wall sit! I know you're sitting now reading this, but when you're done, try something with your body. 

Today's challenge is a:
 30 Second Low Plank
Looks easy enough right? 
Once you lift up, count 30 potatoes and rest by placing your knees down. Make sure to tighten your butt and pull your belly button towards your back (drawing in). If this is too easy, try raising one arm or one leg. Then try raising the opposite arm and leg at the same time! 

This exercise targets your local core stabilization muscles. These control posture and balance, along with the rest of your core. Best of all facts is that this exercise beats crunches. You are drawing in and tightening your whole body, challenging your balance, and activating 66% more muscle fibers. 

If you're truly motivated now, get up and go work out. Turn on some music and start moving your toosh. Have a great week!