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

Bikini Comp Meal Plan and Workout Split

Whether you’re planning on strutting your stuff in a glittery suit on-stage, walking the beach with your loved one, or simply sliding into your fave Summer shorts with no hassle, this meal plan and workout split will cover the bases! Remember that your food is your #1 source of fuel and calories give you energy! You can’t starve your way to a sleek physique people. Eat the proper foods at the proper time and you will see results! Tighter, clearer skin and leaner, stronger muscles take a little time, but can totally be obtained through a little practice, patience and what I like to call gusto! If you’re in comp season, this is your gig for the next 8-12 weeks. If you just want to feel and look better, treat your food and workouts like a job, Monday though Friday keep it tight and leave a little room for treats in the weekend….just don’t get crazy :) Gentlemen, you can make this plan your own by adding to the portion sizes so you get enough calories to fuel the muscle your growing! So grab a partner and let’s go!

Bikini Comp Meal Plan:

Upon waking: 6 ounces hot water with the juice of 1/2-1 whole lemon. 16 oz pure water.

Breakfast: 1/3 cup dry oats (quick cooking), 6 egg whites, 1 scoop Vanilla whey protein (I love BSN Lean Dessert). Mix it all together for some Bikini Comp pancakes, top with berries and enjoy a cup of coffee, skip the cream and sugar.

Mid-Morning: Juice 5 carrots, 1 small green apple and a 2 inch piece of ginger. Drink cold and have a handful of almonds.

Lunch: 2 cups mixed greens, 5 ounces salmon (either grilled or from the can), cherry tomatoes, cucumber, peppers all drizzled with 1 tablespoon olive oil and the juice of 1 lemon. Serve with 1/2 baked sweet potato, spiced up with salt-free spices (like Ms. Dash)

Afternoon Snack: the ultimate beauty smoothie :) In a powerful blender combine 6 ounces water, 1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt, 1 handful spinach, 2 celery stalks, 1 kiwi, 1 small green apple, juice of 1 lemon and 1/4 (OK, I usually do 1/2) avocado. Optional: add 1 tablespoon chai seed and ice to taste, stevia if you like it sweet!

Dinner: Slim soup. This gives you muscle repairing protein and more veggies to help combat bloat. Find the recipe HERE.

Bedtime Snack: 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese with about 20 crushed walnuts. Option 2: 1 scoop whey protein in water. Finish it off with some herbal tea and rest well!

Bikini Comp Workout Plan:

I adhere to a 6 day regimen, with Sundays being my active rest days.

Monday Wake up: 15-20 minute HIIT

Monday Weights: Glutes and Legs, particularly hamstrings

Tuesday Wake Up: 15-20 minute HIIT

Tuesday Weights: Biceps, Back and Boxing drills

Wednesday Wake Up: 3040 minutes yoga

Wednesday Weights: Heavy Shoulders and Abs

Thursday Wake Up: 15-20 minutes HIIT

Thursday Weights: 2nd Glutes day with a focus on light weights/heavy reps and plyo

Friday Wake Up: 15-20 minutes HIIT

Friday Weights: MMA Strength Conditioning

Saturday Wake Up: YOGA

Saturday Weights: for this workout I’ll either do 100′s (which I do about every 4 weeks) or a track workout

Sunday: YOGA

Now, it’s a great week if I get ALL of this in. Some days I may wake up super sore, or have had a bad night’s sleep. On those day I may opt for yoga or barre. I simply try to never STOP moving, even if my schedule or circumstances change. If competing isn’t on your radar, try a 3 day split with weight work M/W/F and some cardio of choice T/Th. You’ll see results and feel better in no time.

Just remember to always honor your body and that the MOST results are found in the kitchen! So stay clean to get lean and as always, have a healthy day!

Michelle

After 2

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. :)

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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

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

Ready. Set. GOAL!

I had promised that I would share my goals for the new year with you, and I hate to break promises :)

Ambitious goals are what keep life quite interesting in my opinion. These are the goals that begin as just a fleeting thought in the corner of one’s mind, but over time the thought becomes bigger and , in my case, flashier. I do love sparkle and believe everybody’s life could benefit from a bit more.

So, in the spirit of keeping it flashy I will share some of my 2013 GOALS with you:

  1. I am working towards a physical space of my very own. A gym to call my own :) THIS will actually not be as flashy as one may expect since I truly LOVE the feel of a good old garage gym.
  2. I do have physical goals to accomplish this year, but most fall in the realm of strength and endurance, not jean size or numbers.
  3. I have entered and will COMPETE in my very first fitness show this May! I’ll be sharing that journey with you as well.
  4. I will travel to Moldova this month, but have set a goal to travel to Africa this year as well…as often as I can :) I am partnered with Hopechest ministries and will continue to go where I am called, without questioning.
  5. I will finish 2 books this year: 1 is on weight loss and my specific specialty (keeping the skin tight!) and the other will cover my mission trips and tell the stories of the girls who have been caught up in sex trafficking. I will give a voice to those who feel as though theirs has been taken.
  6. In light of #5, one of my final goals is a publishing deal. Why? Publishers get the words to more people.

So, there are the majority of my goals. I always set goals for my personal life as well, working on relationships and growing in my faith daily.

The question I pose to you is “How big are your goals?” Do you stick to the “safe” goals? Maybe you hang around the ones that are a bit easier. Or perhaps you park over the same ones you’ve had for years, knowing if you don’t make it all will not be lost. Friends, those kind of goals keep you simply existing. What would happen if you believed that great things can happen through you? What if you set out to leave a few footprints through this life? What would happen if you decided to stop existing and truly LIVE life as loud as you could? Who might be affected? I’ll be honest, once you change your mindset to make a change, YOU will be the one to benefit the most.

Live out loud this year!

Michelle

Tabata Thursday

Every day seems to have some significance to it now right? I kind of dig that though :)

There’s been a lot of talk about tabata training and how adding it to your regular training can enhance fat loss and sports performance. This is very true, but I think there are far too many of us who are unclear as to what Tabata training really is. Buckle up, here we go…..

Tabata is based on time. 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest, 8 cycles through. Can anybody break out the calculator and tell me how long that is? I’ll wait………………….2 minutes is correct and YOU ARE A GENIUS!  :) Now, some people just bust out the timer (you can totally score a free app for your smart phone and it ROCKS!) and time moves. THAT is not Tabata. This style of training is meant to be intense. In other words, crunches for 20 seconds on and 10 seconds of rest is using a Tabata method, but not really the training. During your work period, you should be pushing an 8-9 on the RPE scale (rate of perceived exertion). That’s a hair away from barfing for me personally…..

So, in order to make it more doable, I put together a Tabata training sequence mixed with core work. REMEMBER, during those 20 seconds you’re giving everything you have! If you feel like it’s easy, it is. Easy doesn’t cut it around here. So, clear some space and about 20 minutes from your calendar and get ready to burn some major calories all day long!

Tabata and Core

ALWAYS warm up for 3-5 minutes (more if it’s colder)

Opposite arm/leg reach (bird dogs) for 20 reps

Tabata 1: wide jump, low skaters (it will take 2 minutes)

Reverse Crunches and Bicycle crunches: 3 sets of 20 reps each

Tabata 2: BURPEES! Always add the jump at the top, it’s only 20 seconds :)

Plank dips and toe taps for 3 sets, 20 reps each

Tabata 3: Jump sumo Dorothy—from sumo squat, jump straight up and click your heels together

Side plank pulse and butterfly crunches: 3 sets of 20 reps each

Tabata 4: Pop squats—squat low, explode up and hop feet together and back out

All Tabatas are performed for 2 minutes and it should be killer! If it’s not, push harder or add light weights :)

Let me know how you do! I’m feeling the soreness from this morning :)

Have a healthy day!

Michelle

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Tough Love Tuesday: December 4th