What Separates the DOS from the DO NOTS?

When it comes to the world of health and fitness, why is it that some people seem to “get it” while others are left to restart over and over again? Have you been one who has had a success story? I guess the better question is, did you remain a success story?

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not trying to bring you down. That’s never my intention here :) . I am here to build you up and help point you to those next hand and footholds on your climb to ultimate success.

About 5 years ago I reached my 100 pound weight loss. It was in the middle of 2 boot camps and loads of stress, so it kind of just passed. I didn’t consider myself a real success story until this year. You see, studies show when you lose that kind of weight you must maintain your weight loss for 5 years in order for your body to accept it as the new normal. That truly is what we are trying to do: create a new normal.

So, how do we find this elusive motivation for sticking with it? One day at a time, one meal at a time, one workout at a time…that’s really and truly IT. This whole things about “cheat weekends” has got to leave your psyche is real weight loss and true fitness is what you seek. One meal. Take it one at a time and nix this idea of instant gratification. Your are not going to be able to run 5 miles straight if you simply will it. You have to get up and WORK for it. Those push ups only get easier as YOU get stronger. And those extra inches? They never leave on their own. Be willing to do the work. Every. Day.

You see, after about 24 days of solid work, people will start to notice a difference. Heck, after 14 days of work I have had clients losing upwards of 7 inches! That’s 2 weeks. If you can do that kind of work in 2 weeks, what could you be capable of in 2 months? Or how about 2 years?

I always get asked the same 2 questions when people hear how much weight I’ve lost:

How long did it take?

What did you have done?

A very close third is “what pills did you take?”

I’ll be totally transparent with you: it took over 6 years (that was with all my mistakes) and the only work I had done was replacing the boobs that could be origamied into and A cup.

Was it frustrating to work that hard for so long? Yes.

Were there times I wanted to quit? Um, there were times I DID quit.

Did I always know I would make it? No. I had hope and belief.

People who DO are not afraid to look their goal square in the eye.

People who DO are not victims of circumstance, but more than conquerors.

People who DO are committed to a fault and don’t base their worth on what others think or say.

People who DO are not genetically blessed or physically stronger….they simply stop quitting and resolve to keep going.

This is not an exclusive club that you have to be invited into people! This is yours for the taking.

So, are you someone who DOES or not?

Stay healthy,

Michelle

FREE Workout Wednesday!

Add pep in your step and try a little something new :)

Cancer Fighting Foods and Spices

For many of us, we do not need the pink colors or ribbons at the market place to remind us of the devastating effects of breast cancer. October is National breast cancer awareness month and I urge all of us to pause and pray. Remember those in your life who have been affected and more importantly make a commitment. Commit to health. Commit to actively engage in life. Commit to never forget. There is no guaranteed way to avoid cancer, but research shows that an overall (that’s more than 5 days of healthy meals and a few trips to the gym) healthy lifestyle has been shown to help in prevention. Commit to health, commit to life, and commit to your loved ones today.

Cancer Fighting Foods and Spices

  • Avocados
  • Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Chili Peppers and jalapeno
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Figs
  • Flax
  • Garlic
  • Grapefruits
  • Grapes, red

Studies show that consumption of green and yellow leafy vegetables has been associated with lower levels of stomach cancer.

  • Kale
  • Licorice Root
  • Mushrooms
  • Oranges and Lemons
  • Papayas
  • Raspberries
  • Red Wine
  • Rosemary
  • Seaweed and other sea vegetables
  • Soy products like tofu
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Teas: Green and Black
  • Tomatoes
  • Turmeric

Consumption of fruits and vegetables has been associated with decreased risk of cancers of the colon and rectum.

 

 

 

Easy Recipes

Kale chips: Make sure that when you purchase your kale it is crisp and never limp. Wash Kale thoroughly and dry between paper towel sheets. Tear leafy parts into sections and drizzle 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil and season with 1 tsp sea salt and pepper to taste. Place in oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-14 minutes or until crisp. Enjoy!

Morning Mushroom Omelet: In a bowl mix 1 egg + 2 egg whites with 1 TBSP non fat milk. In non stick skillet (on medium heat) place 1 cup spinach and cook down, then add ½ cup prewashed, chopped mushrooms: cook for 1 minute then add egg mixture and pepper to taste. Once eggs are cooked through, top with chopped green onion and 1 TBSP hot sauce for a spicy start to your day.

Avocado Smash: Take 2 medium ripe avocados and mash them in a bowl. Add 2 heaping spoons non fat Greek yogurt, juice and zest of 1 small lemon, ½ tsp sea salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste. Stir and use as a dip for veggies or a topping for chili.

Lemon Rosemary Chicken: When dealing with chicken there are 2 things I ALWAYS do. 1) Soak chicken breasts or tenders in non fat yogurt for 2 hours. This keeps the chicken from drying out. 2) I mix it all in a large plastic bag to incorporate flavors and make sure I can easily pound it into even pieces. Place 4-6 chicken breasts into a large Ziploc bag with about ½ cup non fat yogurt, 1 lemon (zest it and juice it, then throw the whole thing in! When dealing with citrus marinades, the acids will begin to cook the chicken, so do not leave in overnight), 3 rosemary sprigs from a plant OR 2 tsp rosemary seasoning, 1 tsp sea salt, pepper, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp oregano, and 1 tsp thyme. Close bag and mix well then allow it to settle for a couple of hours. You can either grill the breasts or broil them in the oven, cooking the meat through. Pair with a salad with light vinaigrette and some green tea for a great tasting immunity boosting meal.

When Enough is Enough….

I must warn you that this particular post is not for the faint of heart….

As I sit here, tears flow freely down my cheeks. I have yet to determine if I am simply sad, or if it is a much deeper hurt than I can put words to. Frustration has left me feeling quite helpless this morning and is urging me to change paths entirely. My decision lies in wait at the turn of my thoughts…

I work in a vain industry. Say what you will about health, but much of this industry revolves around vanity. I am constantly bombarded by those who “want” to lose the weight, but quickly lose nothing but that elusive seductress called motivation. Why does this burn me to my core today?

Today is October 1st. On the 29th of this month, it will be 17 years since my mother passed away from breast cancer, marking the turn at which I live the majority of life without her. Two years ago my dad battled cancer and through aggressive treatment and a strict diet, he is cancer free. My father in law battles it still. Within 2 weeks, 2 of my friends have gone under the knife for a double mastectomy due to breast cancer diagnosis. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are children who have never seen the outside of a hospital room. There are girls in Moldova who are grateful everyday they wake that they no longer have to endure the pain and hopelessness of being a slave in the sex trafficking industry. There are millions who will go without food today…again. And yet, we wonder if we should have a piece of bread or not and debate over the validity of going gluten-free just because Dr. Oz said so. My world is shaken today and my soul wants to scream ENOUGH!

The science of weight loss truly is common sense. I am no great thinker, nor do I believe I can come up with the next big thing. It truly is common sense and for those who will follow it, I am just a memory jogger. Eat smaller portions and move more…A LOT MORE for most. I think my approach is so simple it throws most people off. It should be harder right? If it were harder than we would have better excuses as to why we have not yet accomplished our goal. It was never meant to be harder. While we focus on our narrow world of weight loss, people die daily from lack of food.

I do not mean to be the bearer of horrible news here, but I NEED somebody to open their eyes. Find something bigger! It will revolutionize your goals when you actually start working for others. In light of this fact, I though I’d share something with you:

I’m no runner, but I would like to one day fancy myself as one :) So, I have embarked on a journey to make myself a runner. Why? I believe it is the simplest form of fitness and requires very little equipment, meaning habit is all that must be formed. One thing most think is that since I have been in the health and fitness field for so long that this is easy for me. That would be a lie! Running is hard work, whether it’s 1 mile or 20! The more seasoned a runner gets, the more efficient the runs. However, I don’t think you’ll ever catch one saying that it is “easy”. With knee injuries and arthritis being my toppers to each run, it can get overwhelming and seem undoable. So, I think about WHY….

Why I Run

I run for every child that can do nothing but stare at the hospital wall.

I run for every mother who feels in over her head raising her kids.

I run for every soldier who laid his or her life down for my freedom…to run.

I run for those women who are forbidden to do such things.

I run for those who run for their lives.

I run for those whose time has run out.

I run for those who face giants I will never know.

I run for the future generations that will grow up without knowing what it means to persevere.

I run for the elderly who can run no more, but so desperately long to.

I run for those who have lost everything.

I run for those who are a slave to fear.

I run for the child in Africa who wakes every morning to run 3 miles in hopes that today there may be food.

I run for those whose depression keeps them bound.

I run for freedom.

I run for my son, that he may know what it means to finish.

I run for my daughter, that she may know strength.

I run for my husband, that he may know he is my partner in this race.

I run for those whose parents ran out.

I run for those who feel like hope is lost.

I run for the girls across the globe that fear for their lives.

I run for those who think the world would be better off without them.

I run to prove that God can use a life after tragedy.

I run to show others that God is still able to heal.

I run in spite of the pain,  in spite of the aches, in spite of the voices screaming to stop because my GOD has given me the health to run.

And I will not stop until the day He tells me it is over.

Calories, weight, fat, jean size…. It all counts as futile to me in light of what I think about when I run.

My charge to you? Think outside of yourself, and see how far you can actually go.

Money Matters: Getting Your Waistline and Your Wallet in Shape

 

Hello Fit peeps!!!

This will be a great day for those who think fitness must be bought! I have a secret for you….it’s FREE!!!!! It’s true, the best things in life really ARE free!

You may ask, “How can this be?” I understand the confusion. We are inundated with infomercials about weight loss products (hello??? BeachBody, though they have great products, are the #1 infomercials), weight loss supplements, weight loss food sprinkles, and even weight loss perfume. SERIOUSLY!?!?!?!? And have you ever noticed that these blast out right when you are feeling your most helpless? Like late at night when you just polished off the ice cream, or in the car as you’re pulling away from the drive through? It’s not you sister (or brother), these ads make up over 60% of ad space.

So, what’s a fitness seeker with a tight budget to do? Here are a few easy tips to help get you started off in the right direction:

  • Water is FREE!!! And super important.
  • Eat simple. Pick foods in the produce section that are in season. you’ll know they are in season because they are the CHEAPEST.
  • Stay away from the dollar menu. Just don’t. You may think it’s cheaper, but studies show that people usually end up spending MORE than they would if they brown bagged lunch.
  • Buy sale items in bulk. When bread is on sale, buy 2-3 loaves and freeze them. Frozen veg is great to have on hand for quick meals as well and tuna is always cheap.
  • Take up walking or running around your neighborhood or at the local park. You can find suitable shoes without breaking the bank, just be willing to try on many pair and check out local sales.
  • Love workout DVDs? Have your girlfriends over for a DVD swap. Have everybody bring a fitness DVD to the house then people can pick which one they’ll use. Do it again every 4-6 weeks so workouts are always changing. Even better, have a recipe swap too!
  • If you’re a class person, just about every gym offers 5-7 day class passes. You simply download the pass at their website and take it in. You can try out new classes and meet new fit friends.
  • Check out local health and fitness expos. These will usually be full of local vendors and they ALWAYS have discounts for services.
  • Learn to love YouTube. Most fitness professionals have a YouTube channel. If free workouts aren’t available, you can at least glean some massive amounts of knowledge.
  • Host a healthy cooking class. I offer these locally and the hostess always gets to share in the fun for free. Most nutritionists will do the same. Your participants usually between $10-$15 to cover foods used, plus everybody gets to eat AND take home any leftovers.
  • Look to your local community center for free information classes on nutrition, exercise, weight loss, family health, etc. Most centers are always open to trainers, nutritionists and fitness experts sharing knowledge PLUS they usually give discounts on their next class just for attending.
  • Consider group training. Training with a friend is more fun honestly AND you can split the cost of training.
  • Check out your local fitness clothing stores (Athleta and Lululemon for example) for totally free classes offered WEEKLY at the least.
  • ALWAYS ask if you can try one class for free.
  • Consider gathering a group of friends to make a menu and trade-off making dinner for each others families. This can lower your overall grocery bill by 40% and open you up to new recipes.
  • Give Hulu a try. Type in health and fitness and you’ll find a whole channel full of goodies.
  • Check out these sites for fitness tips AND free workouts!
  1. www.toneitup.com
  2. www.peak313.com
  3. www.yogatoday.com

Oh! And don’t forget to sign up for the Drop 10 with a Friend challenge too!

Whew! How’s that for a start? Fitness IS affordable and well within your reach, so the money excuse is no longer going to fly with you because you’re better than that ;)

One last trick: if you are already a workout DVD babe and believe that is the BEST way to fitness for you, you can check programs, such as Team Beach Body, where you can get paid to get results. Be very mindful that all of these programs do require an investment and work like a business so do your research and think about if it really is right for you.

Keep checking in for more Fit Tips and have a healthy day!

Michelle

Thirsty Thursday: Healthy Eats when You Travel

IN light of the vacation I am embarking upon this week, I though it would be fun to discuss healthy eating when traveling. We do not all have the luxury of packing our food, so here are some tips whether you’re on the road or in the air.

  1. Drink up. Remember to stay hydrated with pour water while traveling. The stress of travel can easily dehydrate us, making us appear older! Grab that water bottle now.
  2. Avoid salty foods. Pass on in flight peanuts and opt for the raw ones you totally remembered to pack in your purse. They’ll fill you up with protein, fat and fiber PLUS they’ll boost your brain power.
  3. Don’t overeat while traveling. We sit en route to our destination and mostly eat out of boredom. Lack of movement means the body doesn’t need as many calories. PLan ahead and take a few fruits and veggies. Both are low-calorie, high nutrition and again, help with hydration.
  4. Pick nutrition every time. When at the drive through think about how you want to fuel your body. Opt for a wrap if you’re driving as salads can be cumbersome. Try to get protein, carbs and fats in every meal to keep you satisfied and energized.
  5. Opt for tea. Afternoon tea is quite a lovely tradition and a great way to refresh mid-travel. If you’re at the nearest Starbucks or in the airport terminal, try an herbal tea. Need a quick pick me up? Make sure it’s iced. Feeling bloated? Get it warm to increase digestion.

These are just a few little tips to keep your nutrition and health in check as you’re traveling. Once you reach your destination, take a walking tour of your surroundings. This will immediately reset the body back to its natural state and make your trip more enjoyable.

Be sure to stay tuned as I blog through my road trip next week and check out the video tomorrow on healthy travel beauty!

Have a healthy day!

Michelle

Fun Friday! Start your Summer off in Season, AND How to SHUSH those negative thoughts

Workout Wednesday: Get your SMART phone fitter!

A couple of tips to keep you moving during hectic days and a review of some of my favorite smart phone fit and foodie apps :)

My HONEST Opinion (review) for P90X and P90X2

Hello guys!

I hope all of you are rocking your day to the best of you.:-)

Today I am going to give you my professional review of BeachBody Programs: P90X and P90X 2. If you’re a devoted Xer, just simma down!

Let’s dive in shall we?

I have done both P90X and P90X2 (my hubs joined me for the latter) and both have their ups and downs. First and foremost, both are more advanced programs so they are not for those just coming off the couch. The truth is that Tony Horton never really intended for these to be weight loss programs, but rather conditioning programs. So, for those just beginning who state “WOW this is hard!” You would be correct.

Now this does not mean that you need to put the DVD away and return to the couch. Rather, I advise steps towards developing more functional fitness platform before embarking on the P90 revolution. Beach Body wants to end the trend of obesity, yes, but they are also a company that makes profits. They focus on the weight loss side because that is what sells.

There are a few things I do not care for with these programs. One is that the instruction revolves around Tony’s large personality. It’s either love it or hate it. I’ve been instructing and training for a decade, so I know that it really matters what people get from the personality in order to stay committed to the workouts. The sequencing of the exercises is fair. Sequencing is a large key in injury prevention. The pace can be a bit much for those just starting AND it seems a bit slow for those more used to a group environment. Now, onto the moves themselves. Professionally, they are showy. There are a variety of moves that can be more effective when coming from the base rather than focused on how awesome you can make the body look. This is a problem for me because I come from a different training style. I train functionally and focus on things from the ground up and the inside out.

All in all, this is not one that I reach for nor do I use any of the fancy moves with clients. For those who are committed to the person behind the screen (and a large part of the Beach Body brand) you will probably force enjoyment and reap some results. My largest problem thus far is the number of injuries that have been reported from those doing the program. Now, are the injuries due to poor sequencing and lack of clear instruction or are they the result of NOT having hands on training for such a difficult program? Really it could swing either way.

Beach Body has some other, lower impact, programs that offer great results as well. They have also recently began certifying instructors for P90X. Keep in mind the majority of these instructors have NO other certification, so proceed with caution.

If you are able to get your hands on a certified personal trainer that can help you set a solid foundation, then the X may work a whole lot better for you. My ranking of this program is about a 2 out of 5 simply for the injuries.

Have a Healthy Day!

Michelle

For strength training that delivers, sans injuries, check out Les Mill’s Pump and Chalean Extreme.

Athleta Houston Trip, Cute Workout Clothes, Athleta Training Review, AND the Latest on Bob Harper’s Website

Wow! A lot to pack in to the post today, but you’ll enjoy every second :)

Athleta Shopping Haul.

Aside from the fabulous modeling above (hahahahaha!), Athleta is a company worth looking into. So, when they asked me to look into things, I did just that. It was my extreme pleasure. First off, I visited the newest Athleta Store in Houston, located at 600 West Sam Houston Parkway North, and I was very pleased with the experience. The employees were helpful without being overbearing. There was a wait for the fitting rooms (which are spacious!), but it was a pleasant wait. They even had Luna bars placed in baskets and seats for your co-shoppers (for me, my husband and kids). I ended up with a nice haul from the store, complete with an everyday dress and what are now my absolute favorite pants ever.

Athleta Training Guides.

Aside from making very high quality athletic and lounge wear, Athleta is fully committed to female athletes. Just take a look at the swim wear line. The tops and bottoms stay put, no matter the sport :) . Athleta also has a comprehensive training guide available for athletes as well as those of us who just wish we were athletes! This guide is available for download on their Chi site HERE. This training guide is one of the best I have seen and is compact enough to put in your bag and read at work (you know you do!). This guide has training for 5K, 10K, Half Marathons, Sprint and Intermediate Distance Triathlons. As an added bonus, you get nutrition guidelines to prepare you for your race and to take you all the way through race day and recovery. Athleta doesn’t stop there. They also give you packing lists for both running and triathlons. It’s a small packet full of information to get you to your health and fitness goals. I encourage you to check it out and get started! Yeah, you can get it now. Like I said before, Athleta is committed to female athletes.

Athleta MVP’s

To wrap a beautiful bow on all that Athleta is offering, they have selected some of their most valuable performers for both form and function within your fitness wardrobe. These consist of six pieces of athletic wear that can withstand the most rigorous of activities and still look great while keeping you intact. These styles can be found in Athleta’s 2012 Summer Look Book on Athleta.com. I tried on the running shorts yesterday and decided on the spot that those are a must have for my next trip. They easily beat out Nike and Under Armour for fit, feel and function. Big words, I know, but they do deliver!

Mytrainerbob.com

We all know that Bob Harper has become one of the most loved “tough love” trainers out there. AND, if you read my DVD reviews, then you know his videos are among my most favorites (even for yoga, which is a hard category!). Now, he has gone above and beyond the call of duty with the newest section to his site HERE. Bobharper.com is the newest addition to Bob’s fight against fat and it offers challenging classes to help you reach your hotness goals. Not only do you get classes lead by Bob, but you also get personal training from Bob’s trainer as you follow Bob through a workout. These are not for the faint of heart. Beginners beware, some of these courses are a bit more advanced, but modifications are just about always offered. In conjunction with the classes, you also get food and nutrition advice from the Quaker Oatmeal Advocate himself. All of this is $9.95 per month and worth at least looking into.

 

The world of health and fitness is constantly changing. I try to keep you as up to date as I am and will continue to do so :) If you are not already signed up for the newsletter, head over to the side and get your name on my list! No selling, just information to get you to your healthiest self.

Until next time, keep living the Fit Life!

Michelle

POWER TO THE SHE

 

**Please note: though the word “swag” was used to describe the above items, all were purchased and not gifted.