Fun Friday: weekend warrior circuit

Happy Friday fit peeps!

I have a treat for you today…..a quick, do anywhere circuit and some awesome travel foods. I know my weekend is jam-packed with activities, so it’s always best to be prepared :)

Weekend Warrior full body circuit

What you need: some space, a timer (I LOVE the TABATA pro app), dumbbells, water and towel

Start by warming up dynamically, putting the body through its full range of motion.

Light jog for 2 minutes to complete warm up.

NOTE: if any muscles seem overly tight, take a minute to stretch and/or foam roll them!

The Circuit: 10 moves, 40 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, 30 seconds to prepare, repeat a total of 3 times

  1. Squat
  2. Pushup
  3. Alternating back lunges
  4. Alternating side lunge, tapping opposite hand to the floor
  5. Imaginary (or real) jump rope
  6. Squat thrust with weights: squat to floor, put weights under shoulders and jump/step back, return back to squat and stand while squeezing glutes
  7. Sumo squat with a narrow bicep curl (elbows in front of rib cage, weights touching)
  8. Plank hold
  9. Stiff legged dead lift with wide (zotman) bicep curl
  10. Squat with overhead press

You’ll notice that we work MULTIPLE body parts in this workout and hit the legs quite a bit. The reason is because you want to BURN serious calories. Work hard during your 40 seconds and attack each move with intensity. The bonus? Awesome, cellulite-free thighs for you :)

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Travel Friendly Foods:

You’ll find me with any combination of these on the weekend.

  • sliced cucumber
  • low-sodium lunch meats
  • tuna packets (flavored is fine)
  • fruits
  • celery, carrots, cherry tomatoes, etc.
  • baby foods in pouches (yes! they come in handy and you get your greens)
  • pre-grilled chicken, fish or steak
  • protein bars (Quest bars and the new MetRX bars are best)
  • Kind bars

Be prepared for hunger and crazy cravings while you’re out! Don’t depend on willpower when the Starbuck’s sweets case is staring you down :)

Hopefully, that helps you with your weekend!

Make sure you sign up for the newsletter to receive the recipe for this week ———–>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

In health,

Michelle

Abs on the ball

It’s National Nutrition Month!

Welcome to National Nutrition Month (and a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to you as well!).

This month I will be highlighting what I love most: FOOD!

I’ll be working to get you back into the kitchen with easy recipes and meal prep, as well as chats about proper nutrition and all the nutrition tricks needed to get the most health out of your body. I’ll focus on education and fun as well. Food shouldn’t be boring, even if you’re trying to lose weight! You’ll get the insider track on eliminating digestive disorders and meal prepping like a pro so dinner can be on the table in less time than it takes hitting a drive through.

Remember, it’s NUTRITION, not exercise, that can make or break your health and wellness goals.

Be on the lookout for more and sign up over to the RIGHT ==========> to make sure you’re in on all the goods (even some freebies and sales THIS MONTH ONLY).

See you tomorrow!

Michelle

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Fad Diets, Detox, Elimination Diets and Your Skin

Good Monday Morning!

Today, I’m tackling a LOT of questions all at once, so buckle up and grab some water….

Your skin. You literally live your life in it. It is your greatest accessory as well as your first line of defense against disease and parasites. It also takes the most beating and can be the cause of many sighs and begrudging thoughts. Your skin may be clear as crystal, though that is highly unlikely. Since we live in an imperfect world, our skin tends to take the brunt of the abuse. Pimples, wrinkles, blotches, moles, skin tags, loose skin, stretch marks, varicose veins, cellulite….these all have a common bond with the skin. How we live will inevitably reflect on the skin we wear, and many times wear-down, daily. Aside from our daily environment, there are a few other factors that contribute to skin health or breakdown. Stress (actually our response to stress), fad diets, exercise, detox and elimination diets all play a vital role in the health of your nearest companion. Let’s take a look at a few of them in a little more detail:

FAD DIETS:

You know where I stand on these, but let’s review. If it seems too good to be true, it is. All meat diets get you nowhere (except in the high blood pressure and a possible heart attack catagorie…but at least you’ll die skinny? Not worth it.) and eliminating ANY macronutrient (don’t confuse this with elimination diets, which we’ll get to) sets the metabolism up for failure. Extemely low-calorie diets also strip the body of weight yes, but they also take lean muscle tissue. This means that as you age, and lose muscle which is normal, your metabolism slows down even more. Think about this…..is it getting harder and harder to lose weight? Yeah, it’s not in your head, it’s in your dead metabolism.

Programs such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and even Medifast have left clients with no idea of how to actually eat. If it doesn’t come pre-packaged and pre-portioned, we feel clueless. HELLO! It’s food, it’s your body and it’s your job to nourish your body with said food. Eating brownies fortified with vitamins for breakfast is NOT nourishing your body!!!!! It’s a vat of crazy that you’ve been sucked into because the marketing geniuses know how to phrase things to grab your attention. When I tell people to get off of these programs, here is the MOST common phrase I get:

“But, it worked for me the last time I did it.”

Um, yeah, let’s discuss this. Did you lose weight? Yes, about 20 pounds. Good for you. Did it stay off? No, it came back with a few more pounds.

People….it DID NOT WORK! What works is creating a lifestyle that you can work with, not being told you can have a brownie and lose weight simply because it’s on your meal plan! I’ve lost 104 pounds and haven’t found it again in 5 years…..I know a couple of things and these fad diets don’t work. It’s not you failing at the diet, it’s tha diet failing you! Put the book down, chunk the unrealistic meal plan and start thinking in terms of actual nutrition. Real food = real results.

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DETOX:

This is a great buzz word right now. It’s cool to detox now. It’s an easy way to forgo non-meal-plan-related foods because you’re cool and detoxing darling. I don’t believe in hardcore detox diets (see above). I do believe that many of our diets can eliminate some harmful nutrients to reset the body and work far more efficiently (see below). Detoxing in and of itself can make many people sick, especially if they are prone to ulcers and migraines. I am a far bigger fan of elimination diets and steer clear of crazy detox plans. I advise you to do the same…

Elimination Diets:

This phrase became really big when Gwyneth Paltrow said she was doing Dr. Junger’s Elimination Diet a couple of years ago. First, I think Gwyneth is gorgeous and a great advocate for a healthy lifestyle. Second, I have the greatest respect for Dr. Junger and his research and willingness to continually learn. An elimination diet can sound harsh, but in reality it is quite easy and very beneficial to your health. This diet (Dr. Junger’s is by far the easiest and cheapest!) works with the basic research in human anatomy in relation to the digestive system and beyond. In other words, it works with our own natural biology instead of against it ( like crazy fads and detox diets). It’s a way to reset our internal organs to function more optimally and it also increases our immune response, therefore making us healthier all over. It’s also a guided way to get the junk food out of your system. Elimination diets usually rid the pantry (and your system) of sugar, gluten, caffeine (ok, I still drink coffee on it, shhh), and dairy, all of which have been shown to have detrimental effects on the body. If you’re sitting there going “But what do I eat?!?!?!” then your diet is admittedly crap and you need to eliminate stuff. Tough to hear, but you needed it.

Elimination diets consist of lean proteins, from plants and animals, as well as LOADS of vegetables and grains (sans the gluten). Why are these diets superior to fad diets? Well, nutritionists have used them for centuries to diagnose food allergies and intolerance. Also, our Western world has access to so MUCH food, even when it’s not in season, that we have developed food intolerance over the years that were not always there. We’re also becoming pretty proficient at making new diseases such as metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance….go us, we’re such entrepreneurs in our own health! I kid because I care. Elimination diets should focus on getting plenty of water, which most of us don’t, and plenty of vegetables (ahem, we don’t). Most elimination diets work in phases for about 21 days. Then you can re-add foods into your diet to ensure you don’t have any adverse reactions. Most people will be able to eat gluten and dairy again while assimilating food at a much higher rate. This means that you actually USE the food you eat, which turns you into a fat burning machine ALL THE TIME. Some will find that they function much better without certain things such as gluten or dairy. It really is an individual response.

Personally, I function better without gluten, sugar or dairy (especially cheese, BUT I LOVE IT!). I can have these things in moderation in my diet without complications. What are some complications of a food intolerance?

  • Constant fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Inflammation
  • Headaches
  • Forgetfulness
  • Constant confusion
  • Sleepiness after eating
  • Restless sleep at night
  • Insomnia
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • GI disorders such as constipation or diarrhea

I know, I totally just diagnosed you right? Chill out! Honestly, most of us have fallen prey to a poor diet simply because it seems convenient. Contact a nutritionist about setting up your plan to get the most out of it. Sometimes you may be able to find an intolerance, other times your pipes just need cleaning and everything will return to normal within a few weeks. More energy, less fatigue and far less pain are all in the cards for you. By the way…there happens to be a nutritionist on this very site that can help you with all that…

So, what have we learned here today? Fad diets have to go! Honor your body and what it does for you with nutrition. Consider setting yourself up for an elimination diet (BTW: your whole fam can do it and benefit!) and reset your energy in a just a few weeks. Remember that you are special and identical diets don’t work for everyone. Oh and….drink your water and eat your veggies!!!!

Have a healthy day!

Michelle

 

Bikini Body Daily Meal Plan

It’s Thirsty Thursday!

Welcome to your day in the life of a bikini body meal plan :)

Now, not everybody reading this is planning on donning a bikini and I totally understand that! This meal plan is a staple in my home to keep me ready for trips and pictures. It is designed to keep the belly flat, skin tight and complexion glowing. Throw away the old calorie counter and just focus on the nutrients! You’ll be glad you did :)

There are a couple of high-tech kitchen gadgets I do LOVE: a Vitamix and a juicer. If you do not own either, I’ll give you options. Pretty much EVERYBODY has a blender, so make use of it!

Upon waking (for me that’s about 4:30 a.m.): 1 mug hot water with the juice of 1 lemon

First Breakfast (we’re speaking hobbit now): Get GLOwing Juice

Turn your juicer on and start dropping them in! If you use a blender, simply blend and strain. If you don’t have either, have 3 celery stalks, 1 small apple or pear

Ingredients:

  • about 1 cup spinach
  • 3 celery stalks, washed and chopped
  • 4-5 carrots, washed and chopped
  • 1 small tart green apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • Fresh ginger, peeled. I use about 2 inches which is strong
  • 1 kiwi, washed and chopped, skin on
  • 1 cucumber, washed and chopped
  • Optional: wheat grass

Run it through and pour over ice if desired.

Second Breakfast (this is usually about 7:30)

Avocado Toast:

Toast 1 piece Ezekiel bread OR whole grain bread of choice. I use Vegannaise (instead of mayo since it’s whole foods based). Spread that on top and top with 1/2 sliced avocado. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Don’t say no to healthy fats! You need these for tight, clear skin. Steer clear of mayo and if you want you can omit the spread altogether or use low-fat Greek yogurt.

Lunch. My favorite protein packed humus and salmon salad

  • 1-2 cups arugula (or greens of choice. I like the spice in these)
  • 1 tablespoon humus
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 ounces salmon (I do use canned salmon a lot for this one)
  • veggies of choice: cucumber, tomato, cabbage, squash, etc. Make it colorful!

Place ALL ingredients in large bowl and toss. Honestly, the sheer size of this salad is enough for 2 people, but I polish it off by myself :)

Snack Time Smoothie. Mango, Kale Miracle Shake

  • Flesh of 1 ripe mango, peeled
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 3-4 kale, leaves removed from ribs
  • 1/2 banana
  • 6-8 ounces water OR coconut milk for creamier texture

Blend all ingredients together and add ice/water to suit your texture. If you’re seeking extra protein and calories (for a heavy training day perhaps) add some yogurt.

DINNER. Stir Fry Quinoa and Veggies

I do prepare my quinoa in advance in the rice cooker, but you can cook it on the stove top in about 20 minutes.

In a large frying pan:

  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil, unrefined
  • 1/2 to 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • veggies of choice. I use frozen veggies that contain peppers, yellow and orange carrots, green beans, etc.

Once coconut oil melts, add onion and let simmer until almost clear. Then add quinoa and veggies and cook through. If you need more protein, add chickpeas to the oil/onion mix and brown. Delicious!

That’s my day of good eats. The foods have all the nutrients needed to keep the abs flat and the skin tight and clear. Not to mention the fact that the healthy fats help improve brain function.

Keep it clean, keep it lean and have a healthy day!

Michelle

Top Fit Tips for Reaching YOUR Goals

Happy Monday!

I hope everybody had a great weekend and is looking forward to a fit and healthy week :)

Monday is usually synonymous with starting anew: we start new diet, workout programs, lifestyle changes, etc. First off, you really don’t have to start over every Monday! If you find yourself seeking some lasting lifestyle changes, here are a few tried and true tricks to kick it into gear:

  1. PLAN AHEAD. How many times have you heard me say this? It’s only because it’s true. Take the time each weekend (it takes about 3-5 minutes) and plan out your workouts and meals. This way, you have them set. If you say “I’m going to try…” life will get in the way. If you make a date to workout, it will get done. Why? We all love to mark things off the to-do list. :)
  2. Set your workout clothes out the night before. Nobody wants to dig through their bundle of clothes each morning. Inevitably, your alarm will go off late or the kids will need a ride and those clothes will have to wait. So, set your clothes out the night before so you are ready for ALL the day may bring.
  3. Put your workout shoes in your way. Place your shoes where you’ll literally trip over them. This sounds silly, but it’s a great trick to get moving. Those shoes will taunt you until you get up and get it.
  4. Place reminders around the house. My half marathon training schedule hangs over my coffee pot. I put it there because it is a prominent place in my kitchen and I see it all day. This is where determination and dedication are grown into habit.
  5. Set reminders on your phone. Set a reminder every hour for drinking your water and set one once a day for your workout. It will get on your nerves, but it WILL change your daily habits.
  6. NEVER, and I mean never, underestimate a great playlist! Good music will get you up for and through any workout. I have a few songs that rotate freely, but right now I am really digging songs by Lacrae, Toby Mac, Britt Nicole, Newsboys, Third Day, Chris Tomlin, Saul Williams and of course, all my 80′s classics! LOL
  7. Pack your food the night before. You won’t have time in the morning and good intentions will not make time move faster. Pack the night before and feel better about yourself in the morning.
  8. Have snacks on hand at all times. Almonds can stay sealed in your car for a while and are great in a pinch, like traffic. You can also keep sliced veggies in your purse (just remember to take them out if you haven’t eaten them!) and THIS is where protein bars, or cereal bars such as Kashi, are a huge help. Think like a boy scout and always be prepared.
  9. Slash calories by ordering a-la-cart at lunch. Pre-prepared meals at common fast food places usually have the cheapest and less nutritious foods. Order your chicken and a side salad. Nix the bread from the sandwich and have them cut the chicken into the salad. As long as you ask nicely, most places are happy to comply.
  10. Keep your goals handy. PLace your goals where you can see them. In your house, in your car, on your back porch, etc. Make sure you are clear with your goals and that you have set SMART ones. Whether you want to drop 20 pounds or cut 20 second off your run time, YOU CAN DO IT if you put in the work on a consistent basis.

I hope these 10 tips get you started towards better health and wellness TODAY!

Until next time, have a healthy day :)

Michelle

Thirsty Thursday Energy and Beauty Boosting Smoothie

Happy Thirsty Thursday!!!!

This simple smoothie recipe tastes great and offers up 3 of your veggie servings for the whole day! Drink it in the morning for a great big energy boost and you’re already ahead of the nutrition game :)

Ingredients:

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6 oz water

splash of OJ (if you like it sweet use up to 3 oz)

splash of unsweetened almond milk (this makes it creamy)

2 handfuls of baby spinach

1/2 frozen banana

1 kiwi, skin off

1/3 cucumber

small handful blueberries

splash of coconut water (optional)

1/8 avocado

1 scoop Protein Powder (I use Shakeology Greenberry in this shake BUT you can probably use any protein powder)

L-Glutamine (optional)

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ALWAYS place liquids into blender first, then dump everything else in, puree for a few seconds and then either pulse or set to the smoothie setting.

I know this looks like a lot of ingredients, but it literally only took me 2.5 minutes from start to finish! Why? Because I spend a little time prepping my foods when I get home from the grocery store :) It pays off!

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The coconut water help[s to replenish lost electrolytes and is great for those who workout on a regular basis or who literally work out in the heat all day.

L-Glutamine is a must in all of my shakes as it helps to feed the joints and keeps my arthritis at bay and under control so I can enjoy life a little bit better.

Check in with me again to hear more about nutritional supplements, exercise tips and all things health!

Here’s to you! Have a healthy day,

Michelle

 

 

 

Thirsty Thursday!

Can you believe we are so close to the weekend already? Hello Summer!

As we enter into the warmer months, it is important to stay hydrated and what better way than with luscious drinks that also increase your beauty and radiance? Yeah, I thought you’d like that! Read on for a few of my current favorite indulgences :)

Infused Ice Cubes

Water is great in and of itself, but I find it’s much more fun to drink if it has a little personality.

Simply crush fruits of your choice and place them into old school ice trays (about 1/3 of the cube), then cover with water and freeze. Need an extra nutrient and skin hydrating boost? Use coconut water!

Some fruits to choose from and mix are:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe melon
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Watermelon

You can mix and match too. Have fun with it and get the kids involved!

Fruit Flavored Water Pitcher

OK, I keep this in a large glass pitcher right in my fridge. We can all dig into it any time we need something a little extra refreshing.

  • 1 lemon, finely sliced
  • 1 lime, finely sliced
  • 1 cucumber, finely sliced
  • A few mint sprigs

Place into pitcher then cover with pure water OR coconut water if you’re in the mood for more hydration.

TAZO Passion Iced Tea

You can totally get this at the Starbuck’s drive through for less than the coffees! PLUS, it’s packed with antioxidants for glowing skin. Another benefit is the hydration factor. Most of the time when we reach for caffeine, we really need water, or in this case, tea. Skip the sweetening syrup though, it will take fluids out of the body. You can also buy Tazo Iced Teas at your local grocer and make it by the pitcher. :)

Slimming Berry Smoothie

You know how you wash your berries and then they tend to start molding as soon as you bat your eyelashes? Yeah, embrace that they are in full season and at the peak of antioxidant perfection! Just don’t eat the mold ;) . I place mine in freezer bags once I start to notice them moving into adolescence, then I can use them for a super slimming smoothie. Plus, I saved money by using the food I bought.

  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt (for protein)
  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk (I prefer the almond/coconut milk blend on the market now)
  • 1 handful blueberries
  • 1 handful blackberries
  • 1 handful raspberries
  • 2-3 large frozen strawberries
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • Stevia to taste (you can opt out of this one and leave it plain. At their freshest, berries are very sweet)

You can have a 24 oz glass (whoa! That’s huge) for about 150 calories. Hello slimmer you! The health benefits of this smoothie are a better running digestive system, clearer skin and even a boost in metabolism. If you’re drinking it post workout feel free to add a banana for extra potassium.

I hope you enjoy your slimming sips this Summer! Get creative and make sure you stop by to share your recipes.

Have a healthy day!

Michelle

Thirsty Thursday!

Welcome to the end of the week!

I have 2 awesome Summer inspired smoothies for you today. Make them up and share with a friend! :)

Watermelon Chiller

Perfect for those steamy Summer days at the beach or the water park. You can make this up to 2 days in advance and store in an air tight container.

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh watermelon

1 cup coconut water (I used unflavored but you may choose to use a flavored variety)

Fresh mint ( I use about 10-12 whole leaves as mint cools the body and stimulates digestion, but you may want more or less)

1/2 cup no sugar added not from concentrate orange juice

A couple handfuls of ice

Blend together until smooth and feel free to garnish with mint and serve in chilled martini glasses ;)

Antioxidant Pick Me Up

This smoothie delivers more bang for your buck since it has loads of antioxidants and some protein as well. This is a perfect recovery smoothie for late Summer nights as well.

Ingredients:

1 cup unflavored coconut water

1 cup low-fat natural vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup each, frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries, frozen raspberries

1 handful of baby spinach

Mint to taste

1 teaspoon ground flax (optional)

Blend ingredients till smooth. This makes a thick smoothie, so feel free to thin it out with extra water.

 

Now that you have your smoothie recipes and are ready to enjoy your hot Summer, I have a few tips for keeping your produce fresh and not wasting money:

  1. Wash and chop veggies when you get them home from the store.
  2. Place all produce where you can see it so you’re more apt to grab it AND you know what you have to work with for meals.
  3. When your produce begins to show signs of ripening too quickly, feel free to freeze it! Bananas that are turning brown are great for smoothies, just take the peel off and place in a freezer bag. Another inventive way to save the fruits are to finely chop berries and place them in ice-cube trays with some water. Freeze through and you can add any flavor you like to your water, tea, or lemonade. My personal favorite is strawberries chopped with fresh mint and made into ice cubes. Delicious, and the kids will love them too!
  4. Make sure your veggies can breathe. During the colder months you can get away with leaving them in the bag, but now they tend to ripen too quickly. Make in investment in veggie bags that help keep them fresh so you don’t lose veggies or money.
  5. During the warm months, plan on buying fresh veg and fruits 2x per week. This way you are ensured to have the best nutrition. Be wary of overbuying.
  6. When all else seems to fail, make soup! Vegetable soup is great for nutrition and can be frozen for later use.

Now that you have what you need, get out there and stock up on health! Remember, you and your family are worth a little planning effort and a lot of love, so invest today!

Keep Living FIT!

Michelle