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

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

Fitness for Your Skin

While skin may not be the sexiest topic in the fitness world, it is certainly one of the most important in my personal opinion. It’s also something I get asked about quite a bit, so let’s dive in shall we?

Can you tighten loose skin after weight loss?

Real answer: NO.

Keep reading! I say no if you are trying to tighten up loose skin after significant weight loss. The skin tightening process MUST be performed DURING weight loss in order to be most effective. That’s why I harbor hatred (yeah, I said it!) for “fat doctors” that inject patients and minimize workouts. Did they lose weight? You bet! Mostly muscle. Then they’re left with a floppy mess of skin that they expect me to tighten up like a skin wizard. No can do. So IF you are one that is serious about HEALTH and not just WEIGHT, read on….

Your skin can be worked (so to speak) just like any other body part. I have even recently fallen for face yoga. This stuff works! But that’s another post. Tightening the skin and ensuring it stays tight depends of different factors in your life:

  1. AGE. As we grow wiser ;) we produce less collagen naturally. So, if you have  a considerable amount of weight to lose and you’re still young (under 35 for a guideline age) then stop putting it off and do it right.
  2. WORKOUT. Weight training, utilizing both small and large muscle groups as well as a variety of workouts, helps the body to make more of its own collagen.
  3. DIET. OK, when it comes to skin, diet plays a 90% role and I try to stick to a clean, green diet 90% of the time. This means LOTS of fresh veggies, with the fruit to veggie ratio being 1:5 respectively. Your lean meats are also important and 4-5 meals should include fish (fatty salmon is great for the skin). The more colorful the veggies, the better the health of the skin will be overall.
  4. HYDRATION. Yes, I’m bringing this up again. Drink your water if you want tight skin. If you want to see the definition you work so hard for, drink your water. Want your skin to be clearer and glowing? Drink water. Got it?
  5. SLEEP. The body needs 7-9 hours of good rest (that does NOT include TV and couch time) every night. This enables a steady environment for repair and the release of our own HGH (human growth hormone) which keeps the lean muscles burning and the skin tight.

So, if you’re 50 and have over 150 pounds to lose should you give up? NO. You can still lose the weight and tighten the skin. Your diet will simply need to be tighter. We get what we put the work in for, so it’s imperative to know your true goals. Do you want to strut around in a string bikini? Don’t answer out loud…. OR do you simply want your arm to stop waving when you do? Set realistic goals and work towards that.

What needs to happen to begin bringing the skin in?

  1. Eliminate sugar from your diet. Bid it farewell and let it go! Sugar feeds loose skin, so lose it.
  2. Up your water intake. One. Gallon. A. Day. Seriously.
  3. Add more veggies to your diet. Consider juicing or smoothies to get them in.
  4. Add variety to your workouts. Don’t stay with just cardio! Cardio alone will not draw the skin inward. Add in weight training to target both big (high weight/low rep) muscles and small (low weight/high rep) muscles.
  5. Get a good night’s sleep. Try some herbal tea at night and start shutting down electronics by 9 p.m.

All of this will begin to make small changes. Small changes lead to big results. Oh, and if you want nice arms……HIT SOMETHING!

Have a healthy day!

Michelle

The Essential Tight Skin Diet Smoothie

Good Monday Morning!

So, you know that I am a big fan of the kitchen right? I love to play around and come up with clean recipes and tasty treats, but these won’t do me a lot of good unless they fuel my body and help propel me towards my goals. So, I wanted to share with you a Tight Skin Diet staple for my mornings. Yep, I blend this beauty up and drink it every single morning. It’s great for those of you who are dealing with weight loss plateaus as well as skin issues. The nutrition in this smoothies gives you 5-7 servings of your fruits and veggies for the day! You read that right. And it’s great for all you veggie haters out there (you know who you are!). The fruit is what you taste and I’ll even give you some tips to make it more palatable if need be. I drink an ENTIRE blenderful every day and it has even replaced my daily multi-vitamin. This shake is great if you’re just starting out on whole foods or trying to incorporate some more veggies into your diet. It helps increase fat burning, decrease free radicals and amp up that healthy skin glow. Think of it as your beauty shake, from the inside out. :)

20120823-091040.jpg     20120823-091050.jpg

Ingredients:

8 oz pure, clean water

1/4 cup low-fat yogurt, plain

1 handful spinach

3 romaine lettuce leaves

2 celery stalks

1 small green apple

1 small green pear

1 banana

1/4-1/2 small avocado

2 carrots (I suggest these ONLY if you have a Vitamix or high-powered blender)

small handful of berries (I usually use blueberries as they are a TSD staple)

Ice to desired consistency

Stevia or raw honey to taste if necessary

If you are the happy owner of a Vitamix, throw it all in and blend on high. If you another blender, start with the water and cruciferous veggies (spinach, lettuce, celery) then add the fruits with the avocado and banana being last. Make sure all fruits and veggies are washed!

Like I said before, this is a big blender full and I personally drink the whole thing every morning :)

If you aren’t in the mood, I suggest placing the rest in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and place in the fridge. It will stay fresh for up to 48 hours after making it. You can feel free to drink some in the morning as well as the afternoon if you like and play around with your fruits and veggies! Be playful in the kitchen. Some fruits/veggies to try:

  • Swiss Chard
  • Kale
  • Mint leaves (a little goes a LONG way)
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Tomatoes
  • Melons
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Papaya
  • Kiwi

There really isn’t an end. Pineapple has a stronger flavor and can mask veggie taste if you desire that, although growing up and getting over it is another option for you ;)

Be adventurous in your own kitchen! Don’t have time to whip this up every morning? Do it at night and have your jar ready to go as you walk out the door.

It takes me less than 4 minutes from fridge to cup for this bad boy and I reap the benefits of going green daily.

Let me know what you come up with!

 

Michelle

 

NEW SERIES: Flat Abs Diet and Exercise Program

Hey guys!

Today I am starting my 3 weeks to flat abs series. I’ll be posting pics ALL DAY on my instagram feed (michellecfitness) so hop over and follow for all the goods :)

This is the beginning:

flat abs before

These are my self-professed squishy abs and I’m embarking upon a 3 week journey to see a difference. Why? Um, because I want to! LOL, no really I have noticed some back pain as well and aches and pains popping up, which generally means my core has gotten a bit lazy. So, what’s my plan? It’s easy enough:

Every morning starts with a mug of hot water, apple cider vinegar and cinnamon. This is followed by a Shakeology shake right before my workout.

My workouts are 6 day splits with 2-3 days focused on glutes and shoulders and the rest covering everything else. Here’s the schedule for this week:

Monday: Butt, shoulders, abs, cardio

Tuesday: Arms, boxing, HIITS

Wednesday: yoga

Thursday: Butt, shoulders, abs, cardio

Friday: Arms, Boxing, HIITS

Saturday: 100′s, lower body focus

Sunday: rest and recover

Now, the number 1 rule of flat abs is NEVER SKIP BREAKFAST!

flat abs breakfast

I have cut my breads out and opted for oats, cut the creamers or milk from coffee and eliminated ALL sugars. Yeast feeds on sugar and yeast can build in the abdomen causing that bloated feeling.

My goal is to lift heavier and not have any treats or cheats for 3 full weeks. I’ll be out of town for a few days so this should be fun :)

In order to avoid cravings, I plan my meals and snacks ahead of time as preparation is key.

flat abs snack

Herbal teas are my friend, especially green tea and a sweet cinnamon tea that helps quiet the sugar monster.

So, check out the pics on Instagram! If you don’t have it, I’ll be trying to throw some on Twitter or Facebook as well.

Feel free to follow along and let me know what YOU accomplish in 3 weeks :)

Live Loud, Live Fit,

Michelle

Weight Loss Secrets Day 12

Weight Loss Secrets: Day 10

Day 1: The Beginning of Your Transformation!

Fun Friday! New Weight Loss Series

Monday, January 21, I will be launching a new series that deals with goal setting and weight loss.

The skills that you will learn during the following 20 days will enable you to set goals that are not only attainable, but bigger than you’ve ever dared to dream.

Everything you learn in these next few weeks will help you lose that first and last pound, and these skills can be taken into others areas of life to make you more successful overall.

Get ready, get set…GOAL!!!!

 

Tight Skin Essentials

Hello Fit Lifers!

Welcome to the end of your week! Or at least close enough to it to do some booty shakin happy dances :)

Everybody’s favorite subject is on tap today: SKIN!!!!! Mind out of the gutter….not showing skin, but tightening it up. Once it’s tight, feel free to do what you wish ;)

After losing 100+ pounds (with NO tucks mind you), you get asked how to tighten skin in regards to weight loss…..you get asked that a lot. Today, we’re going over some essentials.

Tight Skin Essentials 101

  • Water. Drink it all day, everyday. You need a gallon per day (shush!) and you can count some herbal teas. Steer clear of elixirs and for goodness sake, put down the Crystal Light! It is so NOT helping.
  • Strength training. I hate to burst your flirty bubble, but Zumba will NOT tighten your skin. Interesting fact: I know the girl on the infomercial that has had 6 kids and they try to make you believe she flattened her tummy with Zumba (her name is Julie and she really is a superstar). Yeah, she has a personal trainer who puts her through rigorous weight sessions and super focused ab workouts, PLUS she’s a runner. We have the freedom of speech, but that doesn’t mean the commercials always tell the truth….
  • Protein. All that strength training needs a solid base of protein to build lean muscle. The more lean muscle you have the tighter the skin. Why? Well, for starters you’ll be burning calories all day and not blowing up in size and shrinking back down, which makes the skin lose its elasticity. Also, the more muscle you have the more collagen your skin will produce. Collagen is a natural product produced in the skin (the ones you rub on are NOT THE SAME) and helps keep the skin’s tight, youthful appearance. Last, you can build muscle where the skin is a little looser to “fill out”. Think about the back of your arms for example…. Yeah, you’re eating protein now right?!?! Good sources include: eggs and egg whites, chicken, lean beef, lean game, fish, whey and casein powders, etc.
  • EAT YOUR VEGGIES! I shouldn’t have to keep repeating this…… A diet high in vegetables has been proven to be more heart healthy AND it fights off free radicals. Those nasty little boogers are no good for tight skin. I don’t care if you like veggies or not! You’re no longer a toddler, so suck it up and eat your veggies!
  • Avoid SOY! OK, I don’t want to cause a riot, but here’s the deal. Weight loss has gone beyond a mere numbers game and into a hormone game. Soy increases estrogen levels as it contains natural estrogens. Estrogen makes us hold on to body fat. Now, read that carefully. It does not cause body fat, but it does make our bodies hang on to it. Even though soy is an acceptable source of protein, if you’re battling loose skin get it out of your diet! If you cannot tolerate dairy (which is NOT necessary for tight skin) you can use almond or coconut milk.
  • Use oil. Coconut oil to be exact. Yes, I get that you are probably tired of hearing about how awesome coconut oil is, but stay with me. You can run this wonder oil on the skin and it has actually been proven to help. How? It naturally fights free radicals (which break down collagen) and keeps the skin hydrated. Hydrated skin will stay tighter, so keep it happy! Rub it on at night after a warm shower. It will absorb quickly and you don’t need much at all.
  • Take your vitamins! A good multivitamin will help with your energy levels. I also recommend a good oil such as fish oil or Omega 3 capsules. Obtain them from reputable companies. I get all of my supplements from Bodybuilding.com
  • The extras: regular massage also helps to tone the skin (it does NOT take the place of regular strength training people!), but I rarely get massages so I consider it an extra :) . You can invest in some good creams and lotions. Most have high amounts of caffeine, which temporarily dehydrate the skin to give it a tighter, smoother appearance. Ones I like are Bliss Fat Girl Slim and Nivea CoQ10. You can also consider using a coffee scrub to rub into areas that may have a little cellulite hanging on. This creates the same dehydrating effect and can be coupled with the creams. Works great for bikini season, but again…it does NOT take the place of a healthy diet and exercise! Tanning is a great cover up for any lingering issues we see as well. AVOID THE BEDS!!!!! Overexposer to UVA/UVB can break down collagen, leaving your skin ragged and lifeless.

Those are my basic secrets to tight skin. I’ll be sharing more and keeping you up to date as always!

Live out loud this year!

Michelle