Why Pulling These Two C’s Will Get You Your Best RESULTS

the dream and the hustle

Happy Tuesday People!

I’ve been MIA for a while, and though I’d like you to think it’s because I was doing super cool stuff, I was actually having a rather in depth surgery on my plagued hip. As with anything life gives us, we can learn, we can grow, and we can most certainly write about it.

Prior to surgery I went to get my physical therapy sessions set up and meet my therapist (Kim, in Baytown….she’s the bomb). She explained how the following week would progress and what to expect in the first few sessions of therapist. My surgeon (Dr. Harris, in Houston…the bomb.com) repeatedly reminded me that I would lose muscle and that I needed to be OK with all that. The day I went into surgery I was ready to be resilient. The week that followed was worse than childbirth, but I’ll spare you.

Around week 3 of therapy, a young lady came in for her therapy. She was half heartedly doing her lunges and barely putting effort into the sled pull….I was on the stationary bike clocking a whopping 2 miles in 20 minutes. Recovery is a slow process. My therapist reminded me that recovery would take longer if I veered off the path. This could not be more true.

Present day, I am 6 weeks post surgery. I am one-crutching short distances, and I’m doing a few baby squats. Yesterday, Kim congratulated me and said as soon as I’m off the crutches we can move on to more challenging things. Admittedly, almost everything is challenging at this stage, but I digress.

How does this story help you?

In my years of training, coaching, and attempted to help people with nutrition, I have noticed that everybody seems to lack the 2 C’s that breed results when brought together.

CONSISTENCY and COMPLIANCE

Consistency.

I have to remind clients all the time that this is not a sprint. We do not start a new program working out 2 hours a day 7 days a week. “But, what if I need to lose 30 pounds in 6 weeks?!?!?!” You should have noticed that a few months ago….

Most new clients are put onto a walking protocol, walking 20-45 minutes a day, depending on their current fitness level and their personal goal. Why walking? Well, walking is actually the most underrated fat burning exercise AND it can be done practically anywhere. You can walk around your neighborhood, at local parks, in the mall, around the grocery store (I have had clients who walk in Walmart), downtown, the treadmill, in your local fitness center, and the list goes on and on.

Walking is also something most people find they can be consistent with as well. You see, I want to jump ahead to what I see as the fun stuff in therapy, but you have to crawl before you can walk. Taking on too much at the beginning of your program can cause injury, leave you feeling less than capable, and end your short-lived attempt at fitness. Changing behaviors (those pesky things that got you wherever you may be) takes time and consistency. Stick with it.

Compliance.

The #1 reason I have fired clients (yes, it happens) is due to non-compliance. Let me clear, compliance doesn’t mean that you don’t ask why you are doing certain things, it means that you trust the process and trust your guide. Programs work because they are designed to work. If you get a good trainer or coach, they take everything about you into consideration as they map out your program. If you take on the personality of a squirrel and dart after every new diet and fitness trend and fad, then you will NEVER actually see results. By the way, any trainer worth their salt should welcome questions! Any opportunity I have to further educate clients is one I will not pass up.

So, get to work cultivating your 2 C’s that will equal big results!

Pinpoint any issues that keep you away from these things.

  • Does your trainer not listen to you?
  • Do you feel your not getting a personalized program?
  • Are you uncomfortable in your environment?
  • Do you get distracted by fads because maybe you read too many magazines?
  • Are you allowing those who are not fitness or nutrition professionals lead you?
  • Have you found the behaviors you need to change?

Now, It’s your turn to take matters into your own hands. Consistency and Compliance are things only YOU can cultivate. So, what will it be today?

Skin Savers

Hello People!

Today’s post will be short and sweet, but extremely helpful.

Winter has been hitting hard this side of the world, and since I’m not so used to it my skin has suffered greatly!

Well, there is a great tool you can use to get your skin (and even your hair) into shape during the cold months…or if you  happen to live in a low-humidity climate.

So, without wasting too much time, here’s what you need:

Coconut oil (preferably organic)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Peppermint oil (or the scent of your choice)

Boar’s head bristle brush (optional)

Here’s what I do to get my skin back in check…and if you’re wanting to keep/get your skin tight, this is a GREAT regimen to have for beauty purposes.

Dry brushing. Basically, you get all kinds of naked, start with short strokes of the bristle brush from the feet up the legs completely. Then from the fingers into the arms. Torso is last and the brush moves in a clockwise motion at the abdomen. You can skip this step, but I highly recommend it. Dry brushing helps to remove toxins, get the lymphatic system roaring like it should, and tighten the skin by stimulating collagen production.

Warm the oils in a coffee cup (or bowl, if you’re anti-cup).

Grab some oil with your hands and apply to the whole body, starting with the feet. You can even get your scalp and it feels AWESOME! This is safe for the face as well.

You can sit on a towel and read a magazine for a few minutes, or do some stretches (that’s what I do) to further stimulate the lymph flow. Then, hop in a warm (not super hot) shower and rinse away. Don’t scrub with a washcloth or use loads of chemical laden soap here! Allow some of the oil to adhere to the skin to help provide moisture and protection.

You can do this everyday if you want. I do it a couple of times a week now. During the winter, I prefer doing it during the day, but when it gets warm I do it right before bed. Your skin will be ever so grateful, and will even tighten up some for you (like always, THAT takes time).

So, feel free to go get the quick results of oil bathing for pennies per use. Have fun and enjoy your super soft skin :)

Michelle

A Day in the Life: How I Eat to Keep Skin Tight

Skin can be a major concern for many people, especially those seeking a tighter physique. The wear and tear of cardio and fad diets will leave the skin less than spectacular. Collagen in the skin is broken down and lost not only with age, but with every false step we take towards finding our inner skinny. This is why focusing on health and fitness is of the utmost importance. If you’re suffering from a little loose skin (or want to avoid it) take a peek at a normal daily meal plan for me*.

Upon waking: juice of 1 lemon in 6 oz hot water

Meal #1: A SHAKE (I have a slight obsessions with these shakes) :)

Meal #2: 1/3 cup oats cooked in 2/3 cup water, handful of berries and 1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein

Meal #3: 2 cups baby spinach, 5 oz tuna mixed with a spoon of relish some green onion and a little mustard (don’t knock it till you try it!)

Meal #4: 1 whole grain rice cake with 2 TBSP low-fat cottage cheese and a few raisins

Meal #5: 1 scoop whey protein in 8 oz water, 1 fruit (post workout)

Meal #6: 4 oz chicken breast, 2 cups steamed or roasted veggies, 1/4 cup brown rice (optional)

Meal #7: 1 scoop casein protein blended with 6-8 oz almond milk (this is usually ONLY when I’m still hungry or on a heavy leg day)

All meals are manageable and small. You should be eating every few hours for energy as research has not conclusively found that it makes you burn more. I do still drink 1-2 cups of coffee (with cream!) a day and I cannot stress the water enough. Aim for a minimum of 1 gallon per day. Yeah, be that person.

A word of caution: I love sugar. I mean like real sugar, candy and all that. Sugar wreaks havoc on your skin though and will demolish collagen, so it’s best to treat with natural sweets (like fruits) and save the man-made sugary treats for every once in a while.

*As of this post, I am following a competition prep diet. This diet emphasizes a bit more protein and fewer carbs and will tighten skin as well. It is not, however, how I would eat all the time :)

Until next time, keep living fit!

Michelle

After 2

Top 10 Nutrition Lies That STOP You from Losing Weight: Part 2

Welcome back as we finish out this segment on nutrition lies that STOP you from reaching your weight loss goals. Remember, if you’ve fallen for some of these lies there is still hope! It’s not your fault, it’s just good marketing :)

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6. Heart healthy whole wheat is for EVERYBODY.

Ask your best friend about that. Now, I in NO WAY want to perpetuate this gluten-free cycle we have been running around with just to lose weight, SO we’re going to discuss good old-fashioned facts.

Gluten is quickly catching up to dairy (lactose) in the areas of sensitivity and allergies.

Whole wheat is the largest source of gluten.

Signs of gluten sensitivity are CHRONIC digestive issues, abdominal pain, extreme fatigue, chronic bloating (ahem, weight gain and bloating are 2 very different things), constipation, diarrhea, etc.

Best option to find out if you have a gluten sensitivity: YOUR DOCTOR! Don’t go gluten-free until your doctor says this is your only option. Whole wheat settles well with over 85% of the population and helps keep cholesterol in check as well as provide a preferred source of energy. Gluten does not make you fat or cause weight gain….stop trying that excuse.

Realize that what works for your friends will most likely not work for you, so pay attention to your body. Wheat products, just like EVERYTHING else, require moderation.

7. Meat is BAD.

This is crazy. Why? We are steadily blaming new problems on old foods! Go tell your great-grandfather (the one that lived to be 100+ and ate bacon and eggs for breakfast every morning) that meat is the enemy and the reason why you can’t lose weight. Let me know how that conversation goes for you. The PROBLEM is our butts have gotten lazier, not that we’re suddenly failing in our carnivorous approach…but that’s for another day.

While meat itself is not the culprit, what we have done to it is appalling. If your meat comes out of a pop top can, you can totally blame that (though don’t call it meat please). The over-processing of foods has “convenienced” us into the health crisis we are now fighting.

What about the statements that meat causes cancer? Well, they aren’t scientifically backed. The tests that have been done conclude that it is the CHARRING of meat (crisp it UP!) not the meat itself. Your best defense? Stop burning your meat.

Studies DO support that unprocessed red meat does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

What to do? About 4% of people on this planet can get EVERYTHING they need from a strictly vegetarian diet. If you are the other 96%, remember that moderation (that word again) and portion control are key. Learn how to properly cook your meat and stay within your recommended portions to reap the benefits.

8. Low carb Diets are dangerous and ineffective.

Before it gets confusing, I’m not talking about Atkins here. The diet I am referring to is a lifestyle where lower carb intake is required based on the life you live. For example, a 3x per week fitness class taker needs far fewer carbs than an Olympic Gold Medalist specializing in endurance sports. For our purposes here, we’re looking at the 40/30/30 split of macronutrients (proteins, carbs, fats, respectively). Over 20 randomized controlled trials around the world since 2002 have found the following about this particular diet:

  • decreased blood pressure
  • increased weight loss compared to low-fat diets
  • increased HDL and decreased triglycerides
  • changed the pattern of LDL cholesterol from small and dense LDL to large LDL (easier for the body to utilize and dispose).
  • decreased blood sugar and reduced the need for medication in Type 2 diabetics.
  • Easier to stick to most likely due to increased satiety as opposed to low-fat diets.
  • Useful to fight obesity, metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes.

What can you do to jump on the health train? Look into healthy protein sources and figure out how much you need per day to follow the 40/30/30 plan. This is the same plan that I give clients seeking weight loss as well as performance enhancement and overall health and wellbeing.

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9. “Healthiest” diets are low-fat, high-carb.

Interesting enough, the low-fat, high-carb movement came in around 1977…about this time is when obesity is charted. The irony is not lost people.

Bottom line: a low-fat, high-carb diet is hard to stick to for life, therefore it is not a lifestyle change. Once you deviate from the diet, BOOM, the pounds are back and they brought friends. This diet is also proven to be dangerous for those suffering from diabetes, metabolic syndrome and/or obesity. Ditch it. Moving on…

10. Sugar is BAD…due to “empty calories”.

False. You’re excited now right? Hang on: sugar is bad for MANY other reasons…oh, sad face :( Keep reading anyways.

Sugar contains absolutely ZERO essential nutrients.

Excessive, regular sugar intake can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Sugar can increase insulin resistance, elevate blood sugars, elevate triglycerides, increase small, dense LDL, and increase abdominal obesity.

Added sugars in foods (check your labels!) have been associated with diabetes, obesity, heart disease and some cancers.

Important note: This does NOT include natural sugars found in fruits and even some vegetables. This sugar is processed and used differently, so hit up that fruit bowl people!

Second important note: PLEASE DITCH FAKE SUGAR! Splenda, Sweet n Low, etc. these are not recognized as a useable fuel source in your body. They are therefore stored in the nearest storage bin, AKA your belly fat, where they sit and play havoc all around. Diet Coke drinkers, step away, take a deep breath, go for a walk and remind yourself that just one calorie isn’t worth your mental and physical health.

So there you have the truth to the top 10 nutrition lies. If you have fallen prey to one or more, have NO FEAR! Information can be obtained to help you reach past the bull and into the light of what actually works. At the end of this year, I’m launching a system to help you reach your goals once and for all. It’s not a silver bullet or a magic pill BUT it will have you feeling magically well in no time. Stick around for more news and until then…

Peace, Love and Lunges,

Michelle

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Top 10 Nutrition Lies that STOP You from Losing Weight: Part 1

In the age of the internet and information, we are undoubtedly on OVERLOAD.

It is this very same platform that most rely on to get their message to the world that is destroying the freedom of thought. In short: there is just TOO much information out there. The worst part is that most of this information is a basic opinion. We believe it because somebody famous said it…so it’s obviously true right? HERE are the top 10 nutrition lies that could be major deterrents in reaching your weight loss goals:

  1. FAT MAKES YOU FAT:

I remember the crazy buzzed lady on a PBS special in the 80′s screaming that fat is why we were fat. Two short days later I was living off of low-fat, processed diet foods and nearly forgetting my own name. Fat does NOT make you fat. Fat is a macronutrient that serves a purpose. Actually, it serves many. Let’s check them out shall we?

  • Fat has more calories per gram than protein, carbohydrates and even alcohol. Weighing in at 9 calories per gram, fat aids in satiety. This means we are actually satisfied with our food.
  • Due to increased satiety, fat has been shown to decrease cravings for sweets and salts.
  • Fat nourishes the skin and hair, which is why it is noted as a beautifying macronutrient.
  • Fat is THE macronutrient that your brain needs to function, hence the forgetfulness on a low-fat diet.
  • Recommended intake is 30% of your diet and you should find it from whole sources such as olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, coconut oil, and even natural peanut and nut butters.

2. EGGS ARE BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH:

In spite of the fact that eggs themselves have higher cholesterol, they have yet to be PROVEN to raise cholesterol in the blood. Eggs have been proven to raise the levels of GOOD cholesterol (or HDL) and they also promote weight loss compared to a higher carbohydrate diet. Couple that with the healthy amount of fat in eggs and you’ll see why many people prefer a heartier egg breakfast and stay full longer. Two eggs per day is also great for increasing protein intake and maintaining lean muscle mass. Eggs are also the basis of research and replication for modern-day protein powders. Incredible and edible indeed!

 

3. ALL CALORIES ARE THE SAME:

Weight loss is just numbers right? Calories in=calories out. Well, sort of. In addition to simply being aware of calories, you must educate yourself on where your calories come from and what they do inside your body. For example, protein calories can boost your metabolic rate and reduce your appetite as compared to calories from fats and carbohydrates. Protein has also been stated to increase muscle mass, though this is still debated. Another example is the sugars glucose and fructose. Glucose is broken down and stored as glucagon in the muscles. This is what gives you energy for your lunchtime workout OR stores as fat if you sit around like a lump. Fructose can be used for quick energy OR simply be stored as fat if you sit around. Bottom line: know what your calories DO and for goodness sake, get off your butt.

4. EATING A LOT OF PROTEIN IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH:

In my experience, it’s usually the dreamers that make this remark to the dedicated, but we’ll tackle it anyway. A high protein diet (not a fad diet like South Beach or Atkins, as actual lifestyle that simply takes in more protein) has been proven to increase bone density and lower the risk factor of breaks in old age. A protein-focused diet (with protein taking up about 40% of your daily food intake) has also been show to increase lean muscle, decrease body fat and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Side note: this is lean protein people! PUT THE BACON DOWN AND WALK AWAY. A protein friendly diet also reduces the 2 main risk factors for kidney disease in healthy individuals: diabetes and high blood pressure. The argument that high protein diets cause kidney failure is irrelevant since kidney problems have been cited as already being a factor for individuals who suffered. The conclusion is that higher protein diets (40% is more than sufficient) are healthy for healthy individuals.

5. COFFEE IS BAD FOR YOU:

This is usually told to me by somebody holding a dairy fat laden smoothie with extra whip…really? Coffee is one of the most tested beverages on the market. Why? Probably because we love it. Now, if you don’t like coffee, don’t feel like you need to go drink it! Tea can have similar benefits. Here are a few of the benefits coffee offers us:

  • Coffee contains more antioxidants than fruits and vegetables
  • Coffee can increase exercise output and recovery
  • Coffee has been shown to improve mood, memory, reaction time and overall brain function.
  • Individuals who took in 2 cups of coffee per day* were said to have a 67% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
  • These same individuals also had a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well as an 80% lower risk of liver disease.

*Word to the wise: if you find you can ONLY drink coffee when it is mixed with syrups, sugars, dairy and (the worst!) flavored creamers, you will NOT get the benefits listed above. The tests on coffee conclude the benefits of coffee cannot outdo the dangers of sugars and processed creamers. You are better of with black coffee, or a splash of organic cream if you really want to reap the benefits.

 

Well, there are your first 5 truths to combat the lies you may be trapped into believing. Remind yourself that we didn’t really have a weight problem UNTIL processed foods and the diet industry came onto the scene. Arm yourself with education for a better shot at your goals.

Peace, love and lunges,

Michelle

Info on trials and tests can be found at www.ideafit.com and www.businessinsider.com

 

Tis the Season! Pumpkin Pancakes and Leg Work

Breakfast can be a tricky time for some people, but with the right ingredients and a little planning you can make it through with flying colors and bright energy.

These pure protein pancakes are SUPER for carb cycling days (low carb days) and are ready in under 5 minutes. BONUS: you can make them in bulk ahead of time, store them in serving sizes in the fridge and be enjoying them within 1 minute.

PURE PUMPKIN AND PROTEIN PANCAKES

Ingredients (just 3!):

1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree, not the pumpkin pie mix

1/2 cup pure egg whites

1 scoop low sugar whey protein (I dig MetRX Vanilla whey OR BSN Lean Dessert Cinnamon for this recipe)

Mix together and cook on non-stick griddle. These will start your day in a filling way and eliminate some carbs as well as excess fat. The protein gives them sweetness BUT if you must have them sweeter try a little drizzle of local honey. Serving size is 3 pancakes.

pumpkin pancakes

LEG WORK:

Your legs offer a vehicle on which you stand your ground AND move forward in life…so make your leg workouts count! Here is a shorter leg workout I use when time is of the essence OR I just feel like I need an extra burn for the day. It’s great to do for those who enjoy running, but don’t want to overwhelm the legs that work so very hard for them.

NOTE; ALWAYS WARM UP

20 kettlebell swings (no KB, no problem! Use a dumbbell or a gallon of milk, just make it work)

50 alternating step ups (I use 20 pounds dumbbells in each hand, you may choose the weight)

20 pop squats (feet on either side of a step with no risers, squat then explode up and land on step. No step? Do it on the floor)

100 walking lunges….you read that right and you can do it!

10-15 Sumo Squats (wide stance, toes out slightly, send butt back and down)

10-15 stiff-legged dead lifts

Make sure the weight you choose for each exercise challenges you and up it after a while. Do 3 total rounds of the circuit and add this workout to your weekly routine 2-3 times to help rid the thighs of cellulite and garner more strength than you thought you had :)

leg work

Peace, love and lunges!

Michelle

 

Tight Skin Thursday: The TSD Principles

As many probably know, the questions I get asked the most when it comes to weight loss is about keeping the skin tight. Let me rephrase that: it’s about getting skin tight post-weightloss. So, today I’m focusing on my speciality….keeping it TIGHT!

TSD PRINCIPLES:

  1. First and foremost, it’s important to lose weight the right way….like the tortoise, slow and steady wins the race and has more skin elasticity (that was left out of your beloved children’s tale). Fad diets, quick weight loss promises and surgeries (though I DO believe they have their place) can lead to loose skin and lacklustre complexions. Know that it will take time, but you will also come out the victor. It took me over 6 years….you can put the time in to reap the rewards.
  2. Resistance training is key. Whether you prefer to lift super heavy (me! me!) or lighter with heavier sets and reps, make sure you are getting 4-5 resistance training sessions per week. Yep, you need more the more you have to lose. Resistance training helps to stimulate collagen production as well as testosterone, which keep the skin tight.
  3. WATER! I know I keep beating this dead horse, but water is really important for your skin. Drink upwards of 100 ounces per day, and remember that vegetables, fruits and herbal teas can contribute to that number as well.
  4. Green is good. Up your vegetables, seriously. Add them to smoothies, make a glowing green smoothie and drink it every morning, opt for salads at lunch and dinner….whatever it takes, get them in your body.
  5. Lean protein is important. Choose chicken, turkey, lean game meats, lean beef, LOTS OF FISH (seriously, I can’t stress that enough), protein powders, etc. Lean protein is the building block for the lean muscle you need to burn more calories, drop fat and keep skin tight.
  6. Ditch the breads, but keep some carbs. Carbohydrates are important for healthy, glowing skin. Over processed breads and pastas can pack on pounds and stress out your gut though….so ditch them. Whole grains like oats, rice, quinoa, etc. are better bets.
  7. Limit alcohol and sweets. Both can break down collagen if overused. You don’t have to avoid them like the plague, just utilize them as treats which are earned.
  8. Break a good sweat every day. Learn to dig the sweat people. Sweating helps clear the pores and it helps to tighten the skin through detoxification….so sweat on.
  9. Love the life you live NOW. Happy people reach goals faster because they aren’t always looking back at past failures. Know your goals, make a plan of attack and live each day to the fullest.
  10. Have SEX…a lot of it. Sex increases testosterone which helps build lean muscle AND it’s good for your skin, so there you have it! Headache be darned, do it. And for you husbands seeking validation, simply tell your wife that you are really just contributing to her goals :)

 

So, there you have the principles that will get and keep you fit and healthy.

Have a healthy day,

Michelle

Benefits of Proper Training: Knowing HOW TO Reach Your Goals

“Why do you train?”

It’s a common, yet confusing question. Each of us have slightly different goals when it comes to training. This is why we must approach training (and choosing a trainer) with a glass slipper approach: one size most definitely does NOT fit all….

COMMON TRAINING QUESTIONS:

What’s more important, cardio or weights? Honestly, there is a scientific theory based on how the body works and then there is one’s own knowledge of how their own body works. The muscles of the body are particularly designed to move the skeleton of the body. If the muscles atrophy and are no longer used, we can no longer move, period. While some of us may think the muscles are designed to help us look good in bikinis or fill out our jeans….they actually serve a more functional purpose. In order to gain strength (I’m not talking size at this point) we must place a certain amount of pressure upon the muscles in order to force them to adapt. The absolute GREATEST thing about being human is that we have been created to adapt. In order to create the needed pressure for the aforementioned adaptation we need some resistance training. Here is where it can go haywire for some: resistance training and body building are NOT the same thing. Training for muscle growth is vastly different (in both training and nutrition) from training for fitness, overall health and better strength. What would I consider resistance training for our purposes?

  • Weight training (obviously)
  • Resistance Bands
  • Exercise ball
  • Body weight exercise
  • TRX/suspension training
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Barre
  • Dance
  • Kickboxing
  • Boxing
  • Martial Arts

Honestly, I’m sure there is more but these examples will suffice for our purposes. These activities all help to build lean muscle and therefore allow the body to burn at a more efficient rate, meaning you’ll have a higher metabolism. Various workouts, such as kickboxing, dancing, body weight, etc. can actually help with cardiovascular health as well as maintaining and building lean muscle and are favored among those strapped for time and seeking more efficient workouts. So, where does all the confusion come in? In my opinion, it’s due to far too many opinions being thrown out there…..

One thing that is always remarked upon is weight training and women. I hope at some point we will get over this, but alas, we have not. Weight training will not make you BULKY. Women lack the needed testosterone to get super big. As a matter of fact, the women who compete in body building (the huge muscles) have to work far harder at gaining and maintaining muscle growth of that capacity. Nutrition and supplementation have to be spot on 24/7 and these athletes devote their lives to growth. Which is why people like me tend to lean towards bikini comps :) Case in point:

flat abs before                      weight training abs

So, the pic on top was taken at the tail end of a cardio rush, where I was simply doing cardio (running, kbox, etc) with no weights. The pics on bottom were 4 weeks later(2 weeks and 2 more weeks) after I picked up heavy weights again. See the point? Now, here’s the rub: weight work brilliant FOR ME. They happen to be my go-to and when I’m prepping for pictures, a show or even just the water park, I stick to weights and have minimal cardio. This is my gig nad by challenging and listening to my body I have found what truly works. It’s backed by the exercise science and my routines are pretty old school. I don’t throw in all this super crazy stuff….I lift things up and put them down LOL!

THE WEIGHT LOSS FIX:

What I always try to remind my clients is that our goals are not the same. My goal at times is to put on muscle and drastically cut fat. Theirs can be that the doctor told them they have to lose 50 pounds stat! These are 2 very different goals and should be approached differently. When you are just beginning a weight loss journey consider this: just move it. I really don’t care the type of cardio weight loss clients choose, it just has to be done consistently. I know Fitness Magazine had an article about how HIIT training can cut body fat faster, but I also know from experience that jumping repeatedly with over 200 pounds on your frame is not an activity you will keep up with! So, when you’re at the very beginning, JUST MOVE! Now, once you start to get your footing and you’re very focused on nutrition (water and greens will get you anywhere you want to go), start adding resistance training in order to bump up the metabolism and keep the skin tight.

MOTIVATION:

Here’s the deal with the M word…it is short-lived, but necessary. Where do I find motivation? EVERYWHERE! I can find it in past pictures (I mean, if my body did it once it can do it again!), old pics (AH!, I don’t want to go back THERE!), YouTube videos, magazine articles, movies, etc. I also keep plenty of fit friends in my circle and all up on my social media. When I decided competing would be in my future, I started gaining friends who were already doing what I wanted to do. That’s a key component to constant motivation right there. So think of your life a little different. I may not get paid big bucks to keep my booty in shape for a movie, BUT I train like I do…..so I’m ready when the call comes ;) Change your perception and make good choices on who you surround yourself with on a daily basis.

Now we’re moving forward, but I warn you not to get distracted and lose momentum! Think like a freight train, not a kitty cat….

Much fit love,

Michelle

The Ultimate Flat Belly Drink

Most belly bloat is due to a lack of digestive enzymes and belly fat burning acids in the stomach. This is one of my favorite drinks for flattening the abs and keeping the skin healthy, hydrated and tight.

Sip this belly trimming drink as often as you like, particularly upon waking and before bed. If you suffer bloating post meals, try this drink as a post meal tummy tamer.

Flat Belly Tea

In a tall coffee mug:

2 Tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar (you can usually find this at grocers or a health food store. RAW is important!)

1 tablespoon raw/local honey (raw honey actually helps with belly bloat. If you can’t get any, try local honey for help with allergens)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pour hot water and stir

If you need it less strong, consider using a larger cup and adding more water. If the ACV bothers you at first, drop it down to 1 TBSP as you build your taste up.

Sip this drink at least 2-3 times per day for the next 3-4 weeks and note the changes!

Have a healthy day!

Michelle

 

Fit Diet, Fit Body, Fit Skin

There is a recipe for everything! Although I hardly ever follow recipes, I do believe the recipe for fitness success lies within the walls of your very own kitchen. Whether you shimmy into an alley style kitchen or dance around a large kitchen with an island (my dream kitchen!), you can find everything you need to win the war on weight loss, increase your energy levels and reveal tight, youthful skin with a radiant glow. All it takes is a plan….

Step 1: REAL FOOD!

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Your first mission is to look around your kitchen and identify all sources of real food. This basically means it should have a mother or grow in the ground and Chester Cheeto is father to nobody! Throw out processed foods such as crackers (yes, even those fancy gluten-free ones you got suckered into buying), chips, breads, candy (really?? What is that doing in there?!?), sugar, flour, cereal and cereal bars, protein bars, etc. Don’t freak out on me now! You’ll be without these beloved processed foods for about 3 weeks, then you can slowly start to inch them back into your diet. Well, except sugar…we don’t need that. Replace these foods with oats, rice (brown, black, wild, basmati), quinoa, and so on. You can use sliced cucumber in place of crackers. Don’t scoff! Try it with tuna, it’s quite good plus you get extra hydration. After a FULL 21 days eating whole foods, you’ll notice a difference in your energy level AND on the dreaded scale.

Step 2: SHOPPING!

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Make a list. This will save you time, money and headaches. On the left side of the paper write the meals you are planning for the week. On the right side, write the corresponding ingredients needed. This is the simplest form of prepared list making. Search your pantry and fridge for signs that you need some staples and make sure to write those on the list as well. Remember that the cheaper the produce, the more in-season it will be. Try not to bog yourself down with fancy recipes. My goal is usually to try out 1 new recipe a week and vary dinners throughout what I know everybody like and what the season calls for. Lunches here are typically tuna or salmon and lots of salads or soups.

Step 3: PREPARE YOURSELF!

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The second step is bringing these whole foods mentioned above and prepping them for consumption. Let’s face it, if it’s not ready to go, we won’t reach for it! Upon returning from the market, set aside about 30 minutes to wash your produce and chop what needs chopping. Typically, I’ll wash apples, pears cucumbers, carrots, celery and all when I return. Cucumber and celery are then chopped and placed into containers at EYE LEVEL in the fridge. I’ll also wash berries and place them in bowls at eye level in the fridge. The clean apples and other fruits go into produce bowls directly beside the sink. I also have a bowl for onions, garlic and potatoes as well. My grocery days are usually on the weekend, so I carve a little extra time to prep what needs to be prepped. If chicken is on the menu, I pound it tender and throw it into a bowl, covering it with milk. This ensures the chicken will not dry out as it cooks. The chicken can stay like this, covered in the fridge, for up to 24 hours prior to cooking. If we’re having beans and rice (a staple in this household!), I’ll soak the beans and make a couple batches of rice in the rice cooker. Meal prep does not need to eat up the majority of your day and you should be able to get most prep work finished within an hour at most. Don’t be disheartened if it takes you a little longer on your first couple of tries…practice will make for greater efficiency!

Step 4: MAKE SOME SPACE!

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This is in regards to your workout. Since food plays the largest role in how we look and feel, I think it is important to make sure our workouts help in this process without overwhelming us. Make sure you have proper space for your workouts. Some people rather enjoy a gym setting and if you’re going to pay for a gym membership, by all means please use it! Just don’t get stuck on the treadmill. Branch out a bit. Try the free weights or maybe even check out a class. If home workouts work best for you, consider clearing some space in your garage or basement. This is why I like yoga so much, you can literally do it anywhere with a small amount of space and a mat (or towel!). When I was in Moldova, I worked out in the bathroom :) Just make sure that your space is special to you. Make sure that it is safe and you won’t bang your knuckles on the ceiling fan should you be jumping!

These 4 steps will get you started on a lifestyle that reaps BIG results. You’ll notice that your nerves will calm as your food is already prepared for the week. You’ll find that happy space for your workouts and be able to release more stress. Remember that this lifestyle isn’t about waiting for everything to be perfect, it’s about making it work for you.

Have a healthy day!

Michelle