Bye Bye Sugar

 

I decided to say goodbye to one of my favorite things to eat…sugar. I know what you’re thinking… ‘you’re crazy, there’s no way I could do that, I’d crave it too much.’ Well, that was the main reason I decided to give it a try. It’s like being an addict… you eat something that has sugar or artificial sweeteners or additives in them and then what does your body do? You guessed it, makes you want more. I’ve read about this topic and watched documentaries about the scary food world we live in today and they put it perfectly for all of us sugar addicts out there… everything is laced with sugar of some kind by the food industry. So the question is, how do you overcome this addiction when we live in a world where it’s nearly impossible to do? If I can take steps in the right direction, you can too. Trust me, I lead a healthy, active lifestyle and most people would say to me that I work out a lot so I can pretty much eat whatever I want. I agree to a point because one small reason out of the many reasons I lead the life I do is so I can enjoy life and not restrict myself on special occasions. But I don’t always have the willpower people think I do.

Here’s a little story about why I decided to end my toxic relationship with sugar. On my birthday this year I got the most delicious 11×14 pan of cookie butter bars from a client. What are those you ask? Well let me tell you… they are a layer of cake mix, a stick of butter and an egg, followed by a layer of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter (which is cookies ground up into a peanut butter consistency… eat-it-with-a-spoon good) mixed with a can of condensed milk to make it seem almost like caramel… but better. Then it is topped off with three kinds of chips… chocolate, butterscotch and white chocolate. I mean these puppies are dense, rich and absolutely delicious and in moderation during my birthday week they would’ve been totally fine. Well, I came to realize that moderation does not mean eating three quarters of the pan in four days. If that didn’t slap me in the face as a sugar addiction problem, I’m not sure that anything would.

So I bought a book a coworker recommended with the catchy and appropriate title of  ‘I Quit Sugar’ and off I went on my quest to be bigger than my addiction. How many times do we tell ourselves that we can’t do something? Is it because we can’t do it or we don’t want to? I always said I could never give up sugar and the truth of it was I didn’t want to. So I decided to stop being a victim of the ‘I can’t’ and move forward with the ‘Why can’t I?’ attitude.

It’s hasn’t been easy, I’ll admit that but I went into it knowing it most definitely wouldn’t be. I knew I’d be hungry, cranky and want to quit and go back to my old ways but since I went into it knowing this would happen I was able to push through and stay strong. Now I feel like I should pay it forward and help others tackle this addiction once and for all. I should preface all of this by saying that I won’t go the rest of my life without sugar. There will be parties and holidays and happy times that I want to celebrate and enjoy but what I will be able to do is find moderation with my sugar servings and know that I can stop eating it after that appropriate portion size and feel satisfied instead of feeling like I want more. I will be bigger than my circumstances because I am in control instead of the addiction taking control.

So how did I go about all of these eating habit changes?

1. Take an honest look at your daily sugar intake.  It’s amazing how much we consume without even knowing it.  Right now, according to the documentary Hungry For Change, an adult consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar per day on average. Can you imagine eating 22 spoonfuls of sugar a day? Of course there are natural sugars in foods that are good for you on a daily basis but even too much of a good thing can be bad. It’s important to take into account ALL sugar… good and bad.

2. Start to read food labels more carefully.  Sugar is disguised on many food labels and a lot of times it’s in the form of something we can’t pronounce. The heavy hitter when it comes to sugar is fructose.Your body doesn’t acknowledge it when it is in your system so instead of metabolizing it, it holds onto it and eventually turns into fat. Also, one thing to know when looking at a dairy product label is that the first 12 grams of sugar is in the form of lactose which your body can use and can also recognize it and in turn use it to help your body. So in general, awareness is the first step to ‘recovery’… recognize the problem and slowly learn how to be proactive about doing something about it.

 

3. Give yourself some time to slowly start eliminating the ‘bad sugars’ first and start incorporating more healthy fats. Keep natural sugar in your diet such as fruits or plain whole fat yogurt but start saying goodbye to the artificial and processed sugars. Start adding in more healthy fats such as avocado, meat and cheese. These food ideas should all be full fat as opposed to low fat because low fat just means they had to alter the food somehow to take some of it out. Fat will curb your hunger faster and satisfy you enough to curb your sugar cravings.

 

4. Give your body time to get used to the change.  The women who wrote the book I read did an 8 week detox from sugar including natural sugar as well to get it completely out of her body and then she could reintroduce it and her body would react differently to it. I’m not saying you have to do an 8 week no-sugar diet but find what works for you. If having an apple or some full fat yogurt will help get you through the day, have those types of snacks in moderation.

 

This is a lot for your body to take on depending on how much sugar you intake in a day but allow your body to function without it and just see how you feel. There are a lot of great sugar free recipes out there made of natural ingredients and will give you the sweet taste that you need but won’t be harmful to your body. Be bigger than your cravings and addictions and test your willpower. Like I said before, in order to do something you have to want to do it for yourself. Take care of your body and fuel with it real food and tackle that sweet tooth once and for all.

 

 

Nothing Like a Good Snack

 

Happy Belated Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. I’m so lucky to have such wonderful women in my life, especially my mom. I wouldn’t be the healthy and active person I am today without her in my life. What better gift than a yoga mat for her on this beautiful day 🙂

 

After a wonderful day celebrating, I spent quite a while in the kitchen preparing meals for the week. There’s nothing better than having that all done and just having to worry about grabbing and going. If I don’t take the time to do this, I tend to spend a lot of extra money buying food on the fly when I already spent plenty on groceries that would last me the whole week.

 

Good wholesome snacks are what get me through days where I don’t have much time for anything but work. I try to pack ‘real food’ snacks for myself to ensure I’m making healthy choices throughout the day. When I say real foods, I mean foods in which I know every ingredient in them… I can spell them, pronounce them etc. The more processed the food, the more likely you’re going to see more ingredients that are hard if not impossible to pronounce. How do you know what is actually in something and how it affects you if you don’t even know what it is. So many aisles in the grocery store are stocked up with food that is processed with additives, preservatives and artificial sweeteners that are not good for your body.

 

So I’ve compiled a list of good snacks ideas to help you stay full and keep you fueled throughout your busy days.

 

  • banana or apple with 2 tbsp. natural peanut butter (peanut butter should have two ingredients, peanuts and salt.)
  • 1 serving of carrots and cucumbers with 2 tbsp. hummus.
  • 1/4 c. mixed nuts and 1/4 c. raisins (make sure the only ingredients are salt and the different kinds of nuts in the package)
  • Larabar (only if you’re in a hurry.  I like the cashew cookie or peanut butter cookie… the only ingredients being dates and the nuts)
  • hard boiled eggs
  • 2 rice cakes with 2 tbsp. peanut butter… if you have a sweet tooth, you can add some honey
  • 1 serving cooked edamame.

Now get in the kitchen and get those meals prepared for the week. I promise you a smoother, less stressful week if you decide to do so.  Besides my lovely snacks, I have baked cod, salsa chicken made in the crockpot, tabouli and portabella mushrooms mixed in spaghetti sauce with quinoa or bulgur instead of pasta on my menu. Be creative, mix it up and be a food label reader this week 🙂

 

Nutritional Baby Steps

 

Well, January is more than halfway over.  New routines should be starting to fall into place and some lifestyle changes you’ve always wanted to make should be in the process of being accomplished.  With that said, I know that there have more than likely been both good days and bad.  Your ducks might not always feel like they are in a row but positive baby steps through all of this is what matters the most.

The ducks I’m talking about are all the aspects of your journey that need to be in place and on point (most of the time) in order for you to see the results you want to see.  When I talk to new clients, I always touch on the three components that I think are the most important: nutrition, cardio respiratory exercise and resistance training.  Over the next couple of posts I will break these down for you and give you some nutrition advice, effective cardio workout suggestions and resistance training programs.  I know I have touched on all of these before but I have a lot of ideas in my think tank to keep you motivated and keep your workouts fresh and fun.

Hands down the most important part of your journey is your nutrition.  I have learned first hand that I can workout five to six days a week and still gain weight because of what I’m consuming. This is by far the hardest part of the whole process.  I think most people can learn to tolerate the physical exercise, it’s the eating part that is tied so closely to your highs and lows in life.  Some people eat to live, most people live to eat.

So let’s just go back to the baby step concept.  Let’s break it all down and then build it back up into happy healthy changes that you can stick to long term.  So here’s a few questions to ask yourself and the most important thing is to accept your current eating for what it is and be honest with yourself.

1. Do you track your food? It’s important to have a starting point.  I don’t think calorie counting is necessary forever but I do think it gives you an idea of what you’re consuming.  It’s amazing how many people have tracked their food for a week and realized they were eating way too much.  Calories aren’t always the most important because there are good foods that are high in calories but are actually quite good for you.  So give yourself a week to track EVERYTHING you’re eating.  Like I said, be honest with it all and know that the bad habits you may currently have are going to be changing for good.

2. Where are your calories coming from?  Are you a carb junkie or is sugar your kryptonite?  Do you avoid all green foods or do you hate the sweet taste of fruit?  There are a lot of people that probably stay under their caloric daily goal but they still can’t seem to lose weight… chances are it’s the foods you’re consuming or not consuming depending on what it is.  Remember, veggies are pretty much free foods…if you’re hungry, they are great foods to turn to, not crackers or cheese.

3. When do you find yourself eating?  There are so many emotions that people tie to food.  When we are sad, we eat, when we are stressed we eat and when we are happy, we eat. Become aware of your triggers and what your biggest temptations are.  I am not asking you to change all of these at once but simply be aware of them.  Awareness and acceptance, like any addiction, are the first part of the whole healing process.  If you drink four sodas a day, try to cut it back to one.  If you tend to be a late night snacker, try to make a good choice and eat a healthy snack.  Little changes in habits are better than no changes at all.

4. How often do you eat?  Do you eat three larger meals a day or are you more of a grazer?  You kind of have to figure out what works best for you.  The latest is five smaller meals throughout the day so you don’t ever feel too hungry which typically leads to binge eating.  Portion control is typically one of the harder things to get control of.  How much are you eating? Do you feel satisfied or absolutely stuffed when you’re done with a meal?  Just some thought provoking questions to asks yourself.  Whatever answers you come up with, try to come up with some possible solutions.

So start with those questions and start making a list of all the things you’d like to change.  I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again, it is a process, it will all take time.  Crash diets will only temporarily fix the problem.  Fix the problem for good by doing it the right way.

Next up: how to get the most out of your cardio sessions.  Until then, happy eating!

Health & Fitness Tips for 2014!

 

A guest post from our customer Ashley

 

Happy New Year everyone! This always seems to be the time for ‘out with the old and in with the new’…new goals, new changes, making new habits and breaking old ones. Though I strongly believe there’s no better time than the present to set goals and reach them, I’m always happy to see new faces at the gym trying to make changes in their life at the start of a new year.  What I don’t love to see is those faces disappearing after a month or two because they didn’t get the results they wanted as quickly as they thought they would.  Remember, weight gain doesn’t happen overnight…for most, it has probably taken months or even years.  Weight loss works the same way.  It’s not a quick fix and it takes time, conscious thinking and energy to see the results you want.  So buckle up and get ready for the long journey ahead…it won’t be easy but you will be so happy you stuck with it and made changes that will affect you for the rest of your life.

 

I guess I would like to start off 2014 with a few tips to help you stay on track for the long haul.  I am just like everyone else…the holidays come, the parties start and the cookies are constantly tempting me.  I am ready to start the year off on the right foot and not allow these unusual habits in my life to continue.  Here are some of the things that have helped me along the way with setting new goals and getting motivated again.

 

1. Set both short term AND long term goals.  I find it easiest to stay in the present moment.  Weekly goal setting is very important.  There is never a week that goes by that I don’t know what I’m going to be doing when…workouts included. If I set ‘appointments’ for everywhere I have to be during the week, I’m more likely to go because I do what I say I’m going to do when I say I’m going to do it.  Plan ahead for yourself.  Figure out what works for you and your schedule and be realistic about it.  I have come to learn that there is always time in your life for the things you want to make time for.  If the gym is somewhere you want to be at some point during each day, then figure out when that is and make it happen. 

 

Long term goals are the prize.  The weekly goal setting helps you keep your eye on that prize.  Make sure you know exactly what you want out of all your hard work.  Goals are made without worrying about being judged by someone else because they are your own.  You are the only one that can live the life you want.  Sit down and take time to figure out what kind of life that ideally is.  It’s an exciting process and I highly recommend writing these goals down and showing them to your biggest support systems.  They will help give you an extra push to stay on track and cheer you on along the way.

 

2. Tackle one eating habit you’d like to change at a time.  If you don’t hydrate yourself enough, work on getting more water in one week.  Do you have trouble with too much snacking?  After getting on track with drinking more water, try to incorporate snacking less throughout the day.  Are you a carb or sugar junkie?  Hydrate, snack less and try to fill up on good carbs and less sugar.  It’s really easy to get overwhelmed by all the changes you need to make with your eating habits.  There’s no point in trying to take them all on at once knowing full well you’re not going to be able to be successful with each one at the same time.  This is a process remember? 

 

 Make eating changes that are going to last a lifetime not just be a temporary fix.  What’s the point of eating a certain way knowing full well this is not a forever way of life.  With that said remember there are always going to be holiday parties and birthday parties to pull you away from the proper eating habits you’ve grown accustom to…that is okay.  If you have the proper groundwork in place already, those days aren’t going to phase you long term. 

 

3. Variety is a good friend to have.  No one wants to be a one trick pony.  It is great to try and do a lot of different things to keep your body guessing.  Throughout my week there are at least four different kinds of workouts I enjoy.  Weight lifting, boxing and kickboxing, yoga and usually some kind of pilates or barre class.  I love being able to switch things up and have new activities to do each day.  The same old routine will become just that…old.  Find activities you enjoy and find a way to incorporate them into your week. 

 

4.  Find accountability.  Whether it may be a personal trainer or a workout buddy, do what you have to do in order to keep yourself on track.  I am a personal trainer and I have personal trainers that I work with each week to keep me going.  I always used to think that personal trainers were a luxury when in fact, they are an investment that are worth far more than the money you spend to see them each week.  I find them motivating, inspiring and they always push me outside of my comfort zone.  I would not be where I am today without them.

 

 I also have workout buddies that I love to sweat with…it’s fun, gives me one more reason to show up and make the commitment and it’s pretty cool to have people in your life that are after the same things. 

 

I can’t wait to start this new year off with a bang.  I’m going to bring the workouts, the recipes and the fun to help you with your goals and aspirations.  I can’t wait to see what the year has in store for me…time to work hard, play hard and continue to grow into the person I want to be.  I’ll leave you with you one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies…  ‘It’s supposed to be hard, if it wasn’t hard everyone would do it, the hard is what makes it great.’  It’s not always going to be easy but the hard will be what makes it all worth it in the end.

Ashley’s Take on Making Good Choices During the Holidays

 

Here is a guest post from our customer Ashley!  Ashley is a fitness trainer and has some tips to share on making good choices during the holidays! 

The holiday season is just around the corner and parties and celebrations are in full swing…with that comes drinking and eating and life getting pretty chaotic.  The Christmas season is my favorite time of year.  There’s nothing better than spending time with family and friends.  Let’s be honest though, It can be pretty stressful…financial burdens, so little time so much to do and on top of that work keeps on keeping on and then exercising has to find its place sometime in the day as well.

I want to give you a few tips that have helped me be able to enjoy the holiday instead of constantly feeling overwhelmed by all the things packed into my schedule and the temptations I have and will be faced with.

1. Set holiday goals.  Do you want to get your Christmas shopping done by a certain time? Does your busy schedule make it hard to keep the fridge stocked and you need to make a point to keep meals on hand to just grab and go?  Do you need to plan out your schedule for your workouts before the week begins?  Do you find yourself saying yes and over booking your schedule to please others instead of saying no when you know you’ll be jumping through hoops to make it actually work? Whatever your goals may be, write them down and give yourself a date you want to complete then by.  This will keep you on track and alleviate a lot of potential stresses.

2. It’s not “if”, it’s “when”.  Busy or not busy, that is always my attitude but I know for a lot of people that is not the case when it comes to exercise.  It tends to be the first activity to take a backseat when in reality it should be the one thing to keep you going through it all.  It’s so important to take some time for yourself, alleviate some stress and keep those endorphins flowing.  Find a workout buddy and hit up some good classes to get you in and out in an hour.  There is always time for the things you make time for.

3. Eat as much real food as possible.  When you’re at all your holiday parties and you’re worried about putting on that winter weight, take the time to scan all the food.  Eat as much real food (real as in not processed) as you can and only a little of the unhealthy choices.  You’re always safe with the protein and veggie and fruit trays.  Fill up the majority of your plate with those kind of choices and then pick a few of your favorite holiday dishes and treats.  Watching your alcohol consumption is always a plus too.

4. Enjoy your time.  Focus on the people and things that matter and push all the other stresses out of your life.  This really should be a rule of thumb all year long but especially during the holidays.  Sometimes we lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas, it’s important to keep yourself in check and know this time is about giving, family, friends and togetherness.

Less than two weeks before Christmas and I couldn’t be more excited…set some goals get your workouts planned and just enjoy your holiday.

Meal Prep During Busy Times

 

A guest post from our customer Ashley:

I have been on the go a lot lately.  I feel like I have just enough time between work or exercise or a social activity to change and get ready for the next.  I’m sure a lot of you feel the same way…especially during the holiday season.  The saying ‘so little time so much to do’ really rings true for me.  

The first thing to take a backseat when I get super busy is my meal preparation.  I try every night to get my day organized.  I lay out my clothes, I pack my snacks and I try to think ahead so if I can’t go home, I don’t have to take a pit stop somewhere for a meal.  On occasion I do and I make good choices but if I’m going to spend a decent amount of money at the grocery store every week, that is the food that I don’t want to go to waste.  So to keep my life on track and not feel like my nutrition struggles, I am going to attempt to follow these tips. 

1.  Pick a couple hours a week to spend preparing meals for the week.  Typically for me this would be Sunday sometime.  I usually have something going in the crockpot.  I will make rice or quinoa in a bigger quantity to last me the whole week.  I also like to try new recipes now and again.  Last week was taco salad with seasoned ground chicken. I keep in mind what I have going on that week so I can figure out how many meals I need to pack into separate containers to grab and go. If you’re okay with leftovers,  plans some meals that are large enough that they can last you a few days.  

2.  Cut up fruits and veggies right after you get home from the store.  I have much better success eating a balance of fruits and veggies if they are washed, cut up and put in containers on my busy days.  They are good fillers and you can consume as many veggies as you want throughout the day.  What better snack is there than that?  Fruits are great too, you just have to watch your sugar consumption.  

3. Pack food for the day the night before.  Most of the time I’m pretty good at doing this though I tend to struggle when it’s getting towards the end of the week.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches usually become a meal and sometimes days just get thrown together with whatever I have left.  I don’t like hodge podge days so I am going to try to be better about preparing my grocery list as well as making sure I have enough food to last me the whole week.

 4. Remember to hydrate all day.  I like water and I have good intentions each day to drink enough and then some depending on what my workout is but sometimes it gets away from me.  A good rule of thumb is to drink a glass of water before and with every meal.  It is so important to stay hydrated especially if you work out almost every day like I do. 

5. Have snacks available when you’re on a tight schedule.  I’m not a huge fan of most granola or protein bars because they are high in calories, they typically have a lot of fillers you don’t need to consume and I don’t feel full very long after I eat one.  With that said, it’s better than nothing especially if you are on the move all day long.  There are a few granola bar choices that only have five or six ingredients and they taste good.  The more natural ingredients, the better.  

There is always time to get your week organized just like there is always time to get a workout in…you just have to plan for it and stick to your plan.  My best feeling weeks are the ones that start and end with good meals and proper hydration.  Good nutrition is so important when it comes to a busy lifestyle.  The better you feel, the easier it is going to be to wake up each morning and tackle the day.

Pre-Workout Snack Ideas

 

A guest post from fitness blogger Ashley:

 

It’s very important to properly fuel your body before every workout.  Almost all cases when a client starts to feels nauseous or light headed during a session came down to the simple fact that they didn’t eat anything or they didn’t eat enough to get them through the workout.  Once they feel better, they usually admit to the fact that they didn’t want to feel sick from eating too much so they didn’t eat anything.

 

With that said, it is important to try to eat 30 minutes to an hour before your workout. There is a range for this because every body is different.  Some feel sick if they eat too close to workouts and others can eat right before they start and not be effected by it at all.   A good rule of thumb is it is always better to eat something rather than nothing.  Not eating enough can affect the intensity and duration of your workout as well as how much energy you sustain throughout.

 

So here is a list of ideas for pre workout snacks.  They are all easy to prepare and they will give you just what you need to work hard and feel energized the whole time.  It is also important to eat foods that are easy for the body to digest.  Depending on how long your workout is, you may need to eat another small snack, especially endurance workouts such as running.

 

Pre Workout Snack Ideas:

  • 1 tbsp. Peanut/Almond Butter and Banana
  • 1 Waffle and 1 tbsp. Peanut Butter
  • 1 serving Rolled Oats and 1 serving of Berries
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich on Whole Wheat Bread
  • Greek Yogurt with 1 serving of Fruit (watch the sugar content in the yogurt)
  • String Cheese and 1 serving Whole Wheat Pretzels
  • Protein Shake (if you are into taking supplements, your body will absorb these pretty quickly.  Make sure you look at the nutrition facts of these types of supplements.)
  • Scrambled Eggs/Egg Whites with Toast/Bagel

Your body is an amazing machine.  It will do whatever it has to do to get you through whatever you’re doing even if it doesn’t have all the right fuel.  That is why it is important to get the most out of your workout and eat right depending on what your exercise of choice is for that day.  If you have to eat closer to your workout than you would’ve liked just eat a smaller snack.  Listen to your body, it usually does a good job telling you when it needs something.  Have a great week and drink a lot of water 🙂

Chia Seeds, Kefir and Functional Exercises

 

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve become really interested in expanding my food horizons.  There are so many foods and superfoods out there that are just waiting to be eaten.  Here are a couple of my new favorites…

 

Chia Seeds:  chia seeds

The first superfood that I mentioned in my last entry are chia seeds. Chia seeds are a gelatinous food because of the gel like substance they become when they get wet.  This helps with the digestive process and clearing out the digestive tract.  They have 27 vitamins, minerals and amino acids as well as fatty acids. They also have 42% of our daily fiber intake.  A good place to check them out and get more information is Nutiva.com.  I’m sure after you read all of this, you have to be wondering how to incorporate these magical seeds into your diet.  Well, you can pretty much mix them into anything.  I usually mix it into my kefir or yogurt but I’ve also just put a serving into water and let them set a bit and just drank them down.  You can put them in your juice or smoothies too.  They are tasteless so the sky is the limit when it comes to consuming them.

Kefir:  kefir

I’ve had a bunch of people that have read my blog say to me that they haven’t heard of many of the foods that I eat.  I’m going to go ahead and assume that Kefir is one of those.

Kefir is a fermented probiotic milk product.  Probiotics are beneficial in helping with GI functions as well as pushing the bad bacteria out of the small intestines during the digestive process. I tend to just treat it like yogurt even though it’s thinner and drinkable and mix in muesli (whole grain granola), chia seeds and hemp seeds. 

I also try to avoid a lot of sugar so I buy the plain and just add stevia or truvia to it.  Add it to your smoothies or I suppose you could mix it in your juices or simply drink it to reap the benefits of this fast absorbing food (faster than yogurt). Check out Lifeway.net for more information.

Functional Exercises:

I’d like to switch gears a bit and get into a little fitness talk because I feel like its been a while.  I hope you have been incorporating stretching in your exercise routines like I mentioned a few entries ago.  The next thing I suggest adding into your workouts if you don’t already do them are some functional exercises.  They are called functional because they are motions that are used in everyday life. It can be something as simple as walking up stairs or sitting down and getting up from a chair.  The two exercises I’m going to introduce today are both just using body weight.  To challenge yourself you can always add weight as long as you are using proper form. 

The squat incorporates all lower body muscle groups such as quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes.  When doing a squat, it’s very important to protect your knees so technique is essential.  ashley wo

Let me take a moment and preface the photos…first of all, I never, I repeat, never work out with my hair down.  I’d pass out of heat exhaustion or drown in my sweat.  I just couldn’t find my ponytail holder.  Lastly, fitness photos where people are smiling are unrealistic and look pretty silly though for this photo of showing where your feet should start would be super awkward if I just mean mugged the camera hence the cheesy smile.  So here we go, let’s squat.  Start with your feet shoulder width apart with both feet facing forward. Weight should be evenly distributed through toes to heels.

To perform the exercise, pretend you have a chair behind you…sit your butt back first as you start to bend your knees.  The weight should shift into your heels and you should be able to lift up your toes at the bottom of the exercise.  The reason for this is to make sure your knees are protected.  The rule of thumb is your knees should never cross the plane of your toes.  You can start by putting a chair behind you and lightly touching down just to get a feel for sitting back and allowing your weight to shift.  Lastly, always keep your chest up and shoulders back.  Good posture is alway key for any exercise you do.

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The Food Diary of a Personal Trainer

 

Fitness trainer Ashley gets asked a lot by her clients what she eats.  Here she gives us a day in the life:

 

A couple days ago, I was talking to a client about nutrition and after about five minutes of healthy chatter, she asked me, “Well what do you eat every day?” I realized then that I’m asked that question quite often. Then the little light bulb went on as I had just figured out what my next blog would be about.

I try to take a realistic approach when dealing with clients and nutrition. I know I’ve said it before but I’m not a perfect eater. Some clients think it’s just easier for me to keep my diet on track because I live the life of a personal trainer. I feel like one of my jobs is to let my clients in on a little secret…that if there’s a birthday party, I have cake and ice cream and if I go to a movie, I always eat popcorn.

In the same breath, there aren’t all that many times when I make unhealthy choices and one of the many reasons I work out six days a week is so I can enjoy special occasions once in a while and not feel guilty about it. A healthy lifestyle requires consistency and discipline and just finding healthy choices that you actually like and can stick with. There are so many fad diets out there that work temporarily until it’s too hard to keep up and you quit. The best diet to go on is the one where it doesn’t feel like a diet.

Exercise is very important and there are so many health benefits that come along with it. My body has changed dramatically over the last four years because of the hard work I have put in and the amazing trainers that I work with at least three days a week.

**Side Note: Even trainers need trainers for that extra push and accountability. I wouldn’t be where I am today physically if it weren’t for their knowledge, support and motivation. With that said, my body did the most changing when my diet (that didn’t feel like a diet) was on point along with my exercise habits. It all comes down to what you’re consuming and how you’re fueling your body. From my experiences with clients, it seems to be the hardest part of the equation, resistance training + nutrition + cardio = success.

So enough babble…here’s a day in the eating life of me.

Breakfast:
12-16 oz juice containing carrots, apples and lemon
1/2 cup 100% whole grain rolled oats – I mix in a tablespoon of peanut butter (go chunky!) and a spoonful of coconut oil. I also add chia seeds sometimes. Superfood #2…I’ll get into these little guys next time.

Snack:
Handful of Walnuts or Pumpkin Seeds
Banana
12-16oz green juice containing celery, kale, spinach, lemon, apples, cucumber and one teaspoon of spirulina.

Lunch:
Spinach salad with tomato, mushroom, 1/2 avocado, asparagus
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing

Snack:
1/2 cup Kefir – perhaps a better choice than yogurt that i’ll also talk about next entry.
1/3 whole grain Muesli

Sometimes I’ll have more green juice depending on hunger level as well as activity level that day.

Dinner:
Homemade Black Bean Burger
1 slice Ezekiel bread
1 tablespoon organic Ketchup
1/2 avocado

I always feel full and some days I’m hungrier than others so I just add in some other healthy foods and of course drink lots of water. Many of my clients have grown accustomed to food journaling which is super helpful to monitor where your calories are at throughout the day. I suggest that as a starting place just to see what you’re consuming…many are surprised by the amount of calories in. Then you can figure out where you can start making some changes.

Well, it’s a perfect day to grill out and use the great zucchini, potatoes and onions I got in my order this week and last. Enjoy the sun but make sure you wear sunscreen.