TRAINERS: They could actually be the problem instead of the solution……

Warning…..this may get controversial.

So, before I go on, let me say that I DO honestly believe there are some great trainers and coaches in the world….but I do encourage you to shop carefully.

personal-trainer

 

“Over 300 reps and I won’t be able to walk tomorrow, but I’m sure it will be worth it”….these words greeted my newsfeed as I opened my Facebook page. I simultaneously cringed and gagged. Is this what we have become?

Is pain the only way to progress?

NO-PAIN-NO-ux201w

I’ve been a professional personal trainer for a decade now (I’m knocking on 40′s door) and currently hold 7 personal training certifications and specializations. I value knowledge and know beyond all doubt that I still have more to learn. I’ve personally lost over 100 pounds, but still need to learn about proper weight loss practices. I competed in a figure show, but will not call myself a competition coach. Doing doesn’t make anybody an expert….becoming an expert makes you an expert!

All over the internet I see the same thing spat out from fitness “professionals” time after time:

  • no pain, no gain
  • it’s supposed to hurt
  • train past the pain
  • you have to want it
  • go hard or go home
  • get up and train
  • train hard

It all reminds me of a TV persona (yes, that’s pretty much all I think she is) that crashed onto the gym floor with little more than a local cert many years ago…

JM meme Cause it’s THAT feeling that makes me want to continue working out…

Where did this overdoing it come from?

Well, there are a few theories.

First, when obesity hit new highs in the States, people usually saw one of 2 things: this was a scary epidemic, and it was also a great opportunity to make some money. So trainers and coaches came out in droves with little more than a single certification and a bad attitude…because that’s how we get things done. The Biggest Loser isn’t to blame, but you can read the latest about past contestants HERE.

As jobs in health and fitness rose, so did obesity. In other words, the demand was there and the workers showed up, but the crisis kept growing.

What gives?

I think it’s a bit more complicated than may meet the eye; however, if we can all attempt to turn to the same page, we might start getting somewhere.

  1. Personal Trainer is a relative term to me now. ANYBODY can call themselves a trainer, just like your kids football coach probably doesn’t have more than an English degree and memories of glory days on the team.
  2. People are SUPER impatient. Those who seek out trainers want results and they want them yesterday. So, trainers try to make results faster by amping up the plan before they should.
  3. Trainers have a weird “Anything I can do I’ll force you to do” mentality. If your trainer did an awesome high rep workout yesterday, you may be subject to the same brutality even if you’ve only been training for a month.
  4. We equate PAIN with results. Constantly breaking the body down and not focusing on recovery will not only stall results, but could possibly make it IMPOSSIBLE to reach your results.
  5. Most don’t have a clue how to accomplish certain goals, so they employ a technique designed to continually change the routine and keep the body “confused” because that has become a cool term.

MOSTLY, this phenomenon derives from unrealistic expectations and overpromising from trainers.

muscle soreness

So, is there a way to get on track and get what you want?

YES!

And it’s not as complicated as you think.

Here are 3 quick tips to reach your goal, sans the pain (because , no , it is NOT supposed to hurt):

  1. Set realistic goals for both short term and long term. Loads of goal setting help is HERE.
  2. Consistency is KING!!!!! In order to reach any goal, you must be consistent. If you cannot walk, potty, drive or use a phone after a workout, something is dead wrong.
  3. Focus on proper warm ups and recovery. ALL trainers should make sure their clients know how to properly warm up and how to recover from exercise.

Very last I would like to give you some encouragement: if you are seeking a trainer, don’t be shy to ask for credentials AND have them explain their training philosophy. If you are a trainer, have some pride in your craft and invest in education that will enable you to specialize. Also, seek out other trainers who can help build you up and hold you accountable.

Remember, nobody is impressed by an injury. Instead of posting gut wrenching workouts that tear us up, try staying consistent in your work ethic and letting a pain-free body speak volumes for yourself and your client….I dare you :)

 

Get the Challenge Started!!!!!

Hello Fit Peeps!

Today has been a whirlwind of adventure AND I’m not sure it’s slowing down anytime soon :)

January seems to be THE time for fitness challenges, and why shouldn’t it be? The energy is fresh and vibrant, the coaches and resources are ready, and your own motivation is probably higher than it was when you were finishing off Christmas candy a few weeks ago.

Before I let you in on my personal challenges AND tips to conquering yours, just remember that all you really need is some self love and appreciation to reach your goals ;) Deal? So let’s get started.

I have TWO (count em) challenges I am participating in this season. You can follow my INSTA for inspiration and what not on keeping your sanity while trying these challenges.

The 2 I have chosen is the Bodybuilding.com Transformation Challenge and the Labrada Lean Body Challenge.

Now, the BB.com is closed for entry BUT you can still participate :) The Labrada challenge is open until January 25th and I highly recommend it.

I’m going to give you a very brief rundown of my plan and then highlight some pretty good plans you can find at Bodybuilding.com

Step 1 in reaching any goal: HAVE A PLAN.

plan

You MUST plan in order to succeed or else you’ll end up simply going in circles.

Here’s mine (your WILL vary……)

Nutrition: I am counting NOTHING!!!! I am practicing intuitive eating and listening to my body intently. I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m satiated, not stuffed. I allow treats, BUT I am trying to limit the wine for this challenge ;)

My menu for this week includes:

  • Pablano/avocado pasta
  • Spaghetti squash and meat sauce
  • Black eyed peas and deer sausage
  • Breakfast tacos with game meat
  • Protein pancakes with various fillings (including dark chocolate!)
  • Roasted veggies and salads

Simple and mostly prepped on Sunday.

My workouts are ever changing due to injury and treatment. As of now it looks a little something like this:

Monday-total body strength training

Tuesday-cardio training (was kickboxing, but will change to boxing/mma training)

Wednesday-total body strength training focused on glute med and low back rehab

Thursday-YOGA baby!

Friday-total body strength training

Saturday-short cardio training

Sunday-OFF

I try to do yoga for 20-30 minutes every day AND I try to walk for at least 30 minutes a day if time allows. I don’t sweat it if that doesn’t happen.

Planning-like-a-boss-meme

PLANS FOR YOU!!!!

Below are a few BB.com plans I really am digging. For beginners, it’s best to pick one and follow it (that’s less than 3 years weight training proficiency) and advanced can pick and choose from a few if you like.

Dymatize Transformed

Live Fit Trainer

Lean Body Trainer

Clutch Life Trainer

Built by Science

Rewired

These will cover the basics from beginner to advanced. Remember, when starting a new challenge DON’T do the same old thing you’ve always done! Now is the time to try something new and give your system a little bit of room to adapt and grow with the challenge.

It’s not about winning……it’s about thriving.

See you soon,

Michelle

OH and you may want to get on the mailing list as I’ll be sending a special bonus out this week, just because :)

 

How to Avoid Overeating This Christmas

Hello Lovely :)

It’s a rainy Wednesday on my side of the world, but I am enjoying it none the less. I’m finishing off a little protein and some pre-workout pretzels (cause DIETS don’t jive with me)

on-a-diet A little perspective helps ;)

As I’m doing my daily thing, I am reminded of the plague that can entrench all of us this time of year: overeating. It seems to be the bane of our existence on this side of the world (and in other well developed countries), and I get the HOW-TO question with every major holiday.

So, as an early Christmas present to YOU I present my top tips to avoid overeating:

1. Stop overdoing. This may seem odd, but most of our overeating comes from a severely packed schedule. We over commit, rush ourselves and our families from place to place, and leave precious little time for anything other than shopping, errands, cards and wrapping. In my personal opinion that very thing can skew our perception of Christmas altogether and leave us empty and wanting. Now, we are hungry, tired, emotionally drawn out and vulnerable to poor food decisions. The FIX: monitor your time and give yourself permission to not do EVERYTHING. My friend Pamela wrote a fantastic article to help you out here.

stress-free-christmas

2. Make some time to MOVE…..but don’t set crazy expectations. Getting 30 minutes of movement in each day will help to lower cortisol, level blood sugar and improve your outlook on life BUT it needs to be something you enjoy and something that makes you feel good. If your particular brand of workout is more like punishment, then your stress hormones will actually shift into overdrive and you’ll be more likely to over consume the sweets.

3. Realize some treats are OK and expected. Don’t take a one way trip to overindulgence by setting the NO SUGAR standard for the Christmas season. Be realistic and know that there are some treats that you will allow yourself to ENJOY <<<<<<<< the key word there. No guilt, no stress, no punishment.

harry potter sugar Don’t be that person…….

4. Make some alternatives. If you’re in the market for baking goodies or making treats this Christmas, try creating healthier version of the same thing. I adore Lori Harder and she has some awesome Holiday menu items that keep the flavor but in a healthier version. This way you can indulge and enjoy, guilt free.

lori harder

5. Try a little damage control up front. My personal favorite tips are to make sure you get enough protein in the tank, so focus on the turkey OR consider having a whole foods protein shake before a party or get together. Also, I love starting each day with a super simple green shake that packs a serious nutritional punch. I take 8 oz coconut water, 2 oz aloe, a couple handfuls of mixed greens, 1/2 a lemon (juice), 1/2 cucumber and a touch of honey. This sets you up for success first thing.

6. Final thing here, so hang with me! Try to avoid an ONGOING intake of trigger foods. The best way to do this is to not allow it in the house OR use my personal fave and don’t open the bag until Christmas! Treats are cool, but mindless eating doesn’t help anybody. Sugar tends to trigger cravings for more sugar, so try to plan ahead when you know you will indulge.  A great way to squash the sugar bug is with herbal teas. You can try any variety you like, but I prefer peppermint or chocolate hazelnut tea to give my sweet tooth a break.

Christmas sweet tooth

With those tips you should be able to enjoy your Christmas festivities without the ever looming guilt some carry around this time of year. Food should NEVER have that effect on you. Remember, there’s nothing you can do in one day, one week, or even a season that can derail you for good.

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!!!!!

Michelle

Carlson-7825

 

 

Tips for the New Year

Is it too soon for this????

Ok, hear me out. Right now my news feed is bombarded by well-meaning fitpros telling me how many jumping jacks I have to do to burn off that Reese’s peanut butter cup I just ate (totally joking! I never eat just one…) and how to stay lean during the holidays and so on and so forth. It’s enough to make me feel as though my accomplishments over the year just weren’t enough and now I have to be an overachiever through Christmas too. So, I thought about how helpful a look back can be to determine your next step forward.

resolution

All too often I see goals and resolutions based upon what people feel they didn’t accomplish in the past year. In my line of work, I lot of people resolve (yet again) to lose weight….without many specifics other than that. Sometimes we resolve to eat better, workout more or be more mindful with our finances. While none of these are actually BAD, they don’t give you a clear target where you can aim your focus and energy. PLUS, they can leave you feeling a bit like you failed in the process.

Unlike the weight room, this is not a place for failure.

What’s the solution? It’s pretty simple and only requires a few minutes of your time.

You’re going to make a gratitude list.

You’ll put pen to paper and write out the things you accomplished this year and are truly grateful for. See, the problem with resolutions (I honestly never set any) is that they don’t take into account the ebb and flow of life. Your life can vary widely from one day to the next right? Sometimes a wrench is thrown into even the best of plans and we have to alter some things. You can be the most consistent person on the planet, but I promise not every day goes your way. BUT there have been good moments right? I bet some have even been great or at least bordering greatness. Think outside the box a little bit and get personal. I’ll share a few of mine with you (don’t steal them!) to give you an example of what I mean.

In 2015 I…

  • Discovered my discipline was stronger than I thought by prepping for a figure show.
  • Overcame my absolute biggest fear (judgement) by walking onstage at a figure show…and I didn’t come in last :)
  • Made it to almost all of my kids functions (that’s big since I work evenings.
  • Grew in my daily quiet time and Bible reading.
  • Started writing a book I felt called to write over 3 years ago.
  • Was pretty consistent with date nights with Alan.
  • Tackled reverse dieting like a boss.
  • Learned to give my body a break….sometimes.

There’s more to it, but it spans pretty much everything in life. I’ve also kept up with coffee dates with my dad, which has had a tremendous effect on my own life.

How does this help with your goal setting?

Think of it this way, nothing good can come from a negative place. So, if you’re only looking at what you didn’t accomplish then you won’t start 2016 looking forward to anything. It will be the same grind all over again. By looking at what you have been able to do and what you have been blessed with, you can set more mindful intentions to your year.

Now, I do have a little suggestion about the weight loss/workout/eating goals: make them non-scale related . (I wrote a whole post about that HERE). Setting a physical goal or the goal to try different foods or cooking techniques will be far more rewarding in the end.

I encourage you to sit down and try this today. I know it’s not even Christmas yet, but now is the perfect time to look back and be grateful.

Merry Christmas,

Michelle

P.S. If having more fun with your workout sounds like a goal for you AND you are in my area (Houston, Baytown, La Porte, Deer Park, Pasadena, etc.) the 2016 boot camp is coming! Sign up for the newsletter to hear all the details :)

What’s in a number?

As I sit here trying to get my first meal of the day down (it’s 10 a.m. and was a long night) I am full of certain wonderings….

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, and the fact that I have been forced to slow down has only made that worse. My health has taken a bit of a hit, but that’s not the point of this particular post.

What I have noticed is an extreme fascination with numbers. People who contact me are on a quest for a certain number. It is ALWAYS the scale…..and once I bring up the fact that the scale weight can actually be a bit subjective (you’d be hard pressed to find 2 scales that actually gave the same weight), most women will change the scale number to a clothing size number. Insert eye roll.

Did you know that there is no longer a discernible sizing system? True story. My own closet is full of different sizes and none of them tell me a lick about who I am as a person. You see, the size of the garment depends on who the designer is selling to AND where the garment will be sold. So it’s not your body that determines the size, but rather the designer, store and ultimately consumer. Before you get down on designers, I beg you to put several of the same size women in a lineup…..no 2 will look the same. And that goes for weight as well.

women and weight

Now, I totally get it if you are hefting around 100 extra pounds and feel the NEED to drop some just to be healthy. I have been there! And you’ll get it, just don’t stop moving :)

No, this is more for those obsessed with taking off some poundage. I mean, I have met more women who voice concerns over weight than women who are concerned if they are raising their children to survive in the world….no lie. Women who think if they could just reach that goal weight that life will somehow be magically delicious, to quote a popular leprechaun. Women who are so busy bouncing to the next thing that they don’t realize what they are missing right now. This is a disease of the mind that has to stop.

If my weight can differ by 2-4 pounds on any given scale, then what is it anyway? Is there even a need for weight? Well, certainly. I was weighed yesterday and I’m glad they did. It makes prescribing medications much easier. PLUS. if there is a large spike OR drop in weight it can indicate an illness. On a side note: a sudden drop in weight is almost always worse in the health department. The saddest thing is I also know women who are actually envious of others who have dropped massive amounts of weight due to illness. A diseased mind knows no bounds….

Am I telling you to give up on reaching your elusive weight loss goals?

Well, yes….and no.

There is a better way to see progress. SO, if you can hang with me for just a moment more, I’m giving you the top tips to tracking progress :) and some freebies at the end (WOOHOO!)

  1. Set a physical goal that has nothing to do with numbers. Don’t say you want to lose 20 pounds because then every upscale will send you into a pit. Instead, set some physical goals that have nothing to do with numbers (including lifting!). Stuck doing “girlie” pushups all the time? Aim to do your pushups with great form on your toes, then reverse engineer your way to that goal. You can do the same thing with pull ups, running, squats, lunges, cardio training, etc. Maybe there is an advanced class at your gym you want to try, but realize you could get injured in your current state. Make a plan to increase strength and cardiovascular efficiency. The same can be done for mud runs and adventure races. The options for non-scale goals are truly endless, so pick one.
  2. Take pictures, not measurements. I stopped doing weight and body fat this year. I’m still weaning some clients off of it, but the 2 can both be very subjective to your stress levels as well as water and salt intake. So, I prefer to use tape for clients and I truly encourage everybody to take pictures. I know this can seem like a horrifying suggestion. Even I struggled during my contest prep and that was the leanest I had been in a while. I promise, you will start to see the changes before you even move the scale or have baggy clothes. I use a photo collage app on my phone to place pictures side by side so I can actually see changes…..and I love it! I do this with clients as well and send them the collage while pointing out what I see. It works! And pictures are more honest than a scale will ever be. Try to get your pic in the same place, same lighting, and same clothes each time. How often? Once per month should do it ;) Consider enlisting a trainer (I do this with ALL online clients since I don’t see them very often) to help you out and take a peek at your pics.
  3. Aim to change ONE thing about your nutrition per week. We tend to be all or nothing when trying to reach a goal. The problem with this approach is it is more shocking to our system than anything else. And systems don’t like to be shocked. So, instead of throwing everything out and dieting down the hard way, make one nutrition change per week. This has been shown to help you KEEP those changes for life. I usually have everybody start with water. Then, most of my girls are told to focus on getting protein in since we tend to dig the carbs. Then, we start a food journal and pay attention to what we’re eating. After that, we can start to eliminate what doesn’t serve us and make healthier choices more naturally.

See? All 3 of these things will help you get to your goal without ever having to step on a scale outside of the doctor’s office.

Now, here are a few of my PERSONAL tips for fat loss (especially during the holidays). Take what you like, leave the rest :)

  1. Stop snacking. I know this seems crazy BUT I am totally starting to notice that more and more people are struggling to lose weight (I mean, it’s hard, but it seems like it’s gotten harder). We can trace a lot of this back to the snacking sensation that started heavily in the early 80′s. Your metabolism does NOT burn hotter if you keep eating. Contrary to popular opinion, science doesn’t back this one up. So, set your meal times and enjoy them. Three per day with a post-workout snack has been shown to suffice AND you don’t feel deprived.
  2. Consider closing your eating window. I too am a reforming snack-a-holic (we meet around the clock by the chocolate) and I have had to retrain my brain and body about fuel. One thing that helps is a smaller eating window (referred to as intermittent fasting). I choose to eat for about 8 hours per day and pack my 3 meals into that time. The meals are larger and more satisfying than scrawny snack meals. It’s not for everybody, so check into it first.
  3. Make your workouts count. Don’t be an all or nothing, 2 hours a day in the gym person. This time of year that is just piling unrealistic expectations on yourself and you don’t need any more of those. Opt for circuit training and full body workouts that are about 30 minutes in length. If you were a part of the Slimmer Summer challenge, those circuits are PERFECT for the busy holidays! You can also try YouTube for some ideas or check out some of the streaming workouts offered by Beach Body and the Daily Burn.
  4. Get some sleep. Cortisol levels can get way out of whack this time of year, so commit to a bed time and aim for 7-9 hours per night.
  5. Plan down time. You need a hobby that doesn’t tear you down. Try a new yoga class, have coffee with the girls, check out a book store, take a walk, meander through the mall, etc. Whatever YOU find rejuvenating, plan it into this month.

Have a very Happy Holiday season and I’ll be seeing you with some Christmas cheer very soon!

Michelle

Holiday Fat Loss NOW!

A few weeks ago I stated that I would be losing a bit of fat on Instagram…..and it’s in full swing.

SO, I thought it would be helpful for you to see how I go about this and for me to drop some educational bombs on fat loss fundamentals.

Let’s get down to business……

fat-loss_2 She looks thrilled with her apple doesn’t she?

OK, fundamentals FIRST.

  • You MUST obtain a muscle base before fat loss can occur. Don’t try to fast forward this part ok? If you have not been strength training regularly, then earmark what I’m doing here and come back to it in a few months.
  • You still have to eat.
  • Your workouts MUST be intense….not long.
  • Train thoughtfully and recover well.

My own personal goals are pretty easy and pretty cheesy…….I want to fit into jeans :) that’s one of them. Plus, I want to side step the inflammation I deal with and I want to increase my mobility since I have lost quite a bit. The majority of my workouts are based in my home gym, but I’ll give you some workout recommendations at the end of the post. PLUS, I post one of my workouts each week too, so you’re golden.

rockin abs This was  couple of years ago when I was intermittent fasting regularly. I have since put on about 11 pounds of MUSCLE (cue flex) :)

Eating.

I love food. Not in an unhealthy way mind you, I simply love what can happen when you marry the food that works with you and the eating style that works with you.

DISCLAIMER: I am about to tell you the eating style I choose. This is because it has always worked in the past to help me shed unwanted fat (not to be confused with weight) and squashed my inflammation. This is NOT a way of saying everybody should eat this way. Always do your homework before you embark on dietary change. If you have any chronic medical conditions, consult with your physician.

I am a happy intermittent faster. I’ll post more about the ins and outs of that later, but for the purposes of THIS blog I am simply telling you what I do.

I prefer a 16/8 fast, meaning that I fast for 16 hours and feast for 8. Pretty simple. I break my fast at 10 a.m. which is usually when my workout ends, and I have my final meal about 6 p.m. This works really well with my client schedules and responsibilities as well.

What does it mean to fast and feast?

I still drink coffee in the morning with a splash of non-dairy creamer, but stay below 50 calories. I drink 10 grams of BCAA’s while taking Debbie to school and 10 more during my workout. My workout duration is MUCH shorter now, but also more intense. I am using MMA conditioning training to help address imbalances and really tighten up my body. My workout ends around 10 a.m. and I will break my fast with a post-workout meal. That is usually a scoop of whey protein, 1/2 scoop of casein protein, and a piece of fruit. Then I’ll have a larger meal about an hour or so later. Depending on the day, I may have 2-4 more meals varied in size. I am eating intuitively and making sure I am getting my micronutrients in as well as my macronutrients. A breakdown of most meals is on my INSTA account.

More details on all the surrounds IF will be talked about soon.

Wrap a bow on it:

  • Fat loss requires a muscle base and I have spent the last 2 years piling muscle on.
  • I am EATING using intermittent fasting 16/8 protocol and choosing healthy foods even while some treats sneak in.
  • My workouts are shorter and more intense, really focusing on core.
  • I am also recovering smarter, utilizing nutrients as well as foam rolling, trigger point therapy and daily doses of yoga.

Hang with me and watch things change :)

Michelle

OH, side note: I have also ditched dairy and alcohol (during the holidays!!!!) due to the fact that they have been causing slight allergic issues. How can you tell? Pay attention to your food and how you feel!

 

Legs for DAYS workout write up PLUS upcoming challenges

Oh hey!!!!!!!

So, if you follow along on INSTA then you likely know that my regularly scheduled leg day was derailed a bit. I got to think outside the box and play around a bit :)

Before the workout, I feel it is best to explain WHY I do certain things…..you see, I got LEGS. I have big legs and have had them all my life. They gain easily and in order to keep them lean, I have to workout in a specific manner.

legs and glutes leg work Musclemania LEGS Insert leg song of choice here…….

This is the last year of leg changes. My quads are over excited little boogers, so I work the heck out of hammies and glutes, leaving quads alone for the most part. That’s just what works for me!

This workout is minimal equipment and was done in my garage. You can feel free to add a bit to it if you like. You will need a timer of some sort at the end (I prefer Tabata Pro App).

First, warming up is CRITICAL! I use a variety of moves to warm up my hips, hams, glutes, lower AND upper back as well as core work. This will make sure your work environment is safe.

Now, the fun part :) This workout contained 3 distinctive parts.

Round 1: loop or therapy band (a regular exercise band can work, or body weight is you have nothing).

Perform each move 30x with no rest between sets

Lateral walking

Banded squat

Monster Walk

Round 2: you need a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell, bench or raised surface and a band for upper thighs

Perform in a circuit, 4 sets of 15-20 reps each (I used kettlebells, 25-44 pounds)

Sumo squat (4×15)

KB Squat on bench (4×15, butt touches bench)

Banded hip thrust (4×20)

Round 3: the Cinnamon Bun Burner :) You can do this with NO weight, but I used a 25 lb KB

Set timer for 30 seconds of work and 5 seconds of rest, 6 cycles, 5 Tabatas (if you have the app; otherwise you are simply going through the whole thing 5x)

There is NO resting here.

Single leg hip thrust Right

Single leg hip thrust Left

Alternating side to side lunge (sometimes called a sliding lunge)

Single stiff leg dead lift Right

Single stiff leg dead lift Left

Reverse hyperextensions

Do this 30 seconds per move, 5x through for roasty-toasty buns :)

Make sure to refuel afterward (I chose a Len and Larry’s Cookie and some protein) and drink plenty of water.

CHALLENGES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you’re tired of starting over all the time, try the Fall Eating Challenge HERE.

 

Also, follow me on INSTAGRAM and take part in a totally FREE fat loss challenge for the holidays.

I’ve been working tirelessly to pack on muscle and the holidays seem like a great time to lose fat right?????

Really, we all get tight on time during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season….soooooooo, I’ve decided to try something a little out of my box of comfort and see where it can take me. I’ll be experimenting with Intermittent Fasting (which I already do a form of) and HIIT training each day. This will cut my workout time down and allow me to focus on other fun things about the season, like making and eating cookies. Wait, that went south……but we all know I do it. So, you can follow me on INSTA to get my daily workouts, my eating philosophy, my cheater cheater pumpkin eater recipes, AND my world famous, not-spending-my-time-on-this-and-always-in-bad-lighting-PHOTOS!!!!!!

You’re sold right?

The cool thing is we’re all just along for the ride here. Wanna learn the HOW TO of succeeding? Try the eating challenge. Wanna see pics and follow HIITs? Do the INSTA challenge. Wanna be a bad A? Do both :)

Got it?

Let’s get it together!!!!!!!!!

Michelle

2015 Holiday Eating Challenge!!!!!!!! Sign up here

I’m so pumped about this particular challenge ya’ll!

We all know that no matter the health/fitness goal, nutrition is 80% of our results. So why aren’t we ALL seeing results when there is loads of nutrition info????

Because, eating.

Our viewpoint of food and eating in general is askew and I am here to help YOU get your eating mojo back. Fact: you CAN make food work for you instead of you always working for your food.

Check out the video to see BO ;) and some lady talking about the challenge….

 

OK, now that you’ve seen that, let’s recap.

Who needs this challenge?

Check out the following and if you answer YES to any, sign up pronto:

  • You jump on new diets all the time
  • You want to know what friends are eating (or not eating) to see results
  • You’ve tried diets before and always feel like you fail
  • You feel like you NEED somebody to tell you what to eat (or not eat)
  • You can stay focused for a while, but will binge eventually
  • You seriously feel as though you are always working out just to earn food or burn off food
  • You are always away from your goal
  • You consider yourself an emotional eater (eating when happy, sad, bored, depressed, anxious, etc.).
  • You have a “GOOD” foods and “BAD” foods list
  • You feel guilty when you eat an indulgent food
  • You eat differently based on who you are around OR the time of year…..or both
  • You feel as though you have NO clue when it comes to feeding your body and fueling your goals
  • You are a frequent dieter
  • You feel as though you have to take away food in order to see results
  • You sometimes binge eat and feel you cannot control yourself around certain foods
  • You struggle with cravings

Did I miss anybody? :)

I get it, because I’ve been there…….

before1

New mom to a baby and toddler. I was 23 and felt 80. I had recently taken on vegetarianism because the vegetarians I read about were skinny and all I wanted to do was SHRINK. I was sick all the time, tired all the time and severely depressed…….and I ate far less then than I do now.

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OK….so I get some of you may think this is OK, and so did I. But I’m going to get real. I fought EXTREMELY hard for this body. I would avoid eating out at all costs for fear of overeating and I would NEVER indulge in birthday cake or ice cream. I did a couple hours of cardio a day and tried to “tone” anything that looked off to me. I was weak and tired. I had a long list of foods I couldn’t eat and became upset if my family brought them into the house. I would often binge and then rely on laxatives and unhealthy hours of heavy duty cardio to “work it off”. I achieved getting smaller at a large price. My joints still suffer from the deprivation and impact, but more importantly it nearly destroyed my family.

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Musclemania 2015 Front Side Pose

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These are the very beginning of eating to fuel and overcoming eating disorders and disordered and emotional eating, followed by the “meaty” part of contest prep (before we started to beat the fat off), to competition day and what is really more normal look (sans makeup though!).

This is strong. I eat when I am hungry and I eat what my body REQUIRES. I expect a lot from my body and deal with the injuries I inflicted by being a bit kinder in turn. I have birthday cake, chocolate, wine, ice cream and gummy bears (YAY!) in my diet and stay strong. I eat for goals, not for size (except muscle is a goal of mine).

The point is, I have been on both ends of the spectrum and I know not only what it’s like, but what it takes.

Make this Christmas the one you give your healthiest self to others. Unwrap the ties that bind and step up to a new food world where you are in control.

Remember! The limit to class is 10-12 MAX (no exceptions). This is due to the fact that I’m trying to keep it small enough to be personal.

Cost is $100 and covers everything you need to succeed.

Professional trainers welcome and encouraged as well :)

SIGN ME UP!

 

 

 

FREEKEH Foods Review and Recipe

Over the past few weeks, I have had the chance to review (meaning cook and eat!!!!) the fabulous Freekeh Foods.

Curious as to what Freekeh really is? I’m glad you asked :) Read on for this info straight from the source:

What is Freekeh?

So glad you asked! Freekeh is a process which means “to rub” in Arabic. Freekeh was created by accident nearly 2,000 years ago when a Middle Eastern village was attacked and their crop of young green wheat was set ablaze. Most folks would sulk over their misfortune, but the crafty villagers rubbed off the chaff, cooked it up and “Eureka!” Freekeh was created. We’re proud to offer you this tasty, nutritious ancient grain with a funny name.

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So what do you do with Freekeh?

The question should be… what can’t you do with it? We love it in soups, pilafs, salads, you name it! There really is no wrong way to Freekeh! So go ahead — unleash your imagination and make it your own. Adopt it, fall in love with it.

 

Freekeh truly is one of the most versatile grains I have worked with AND the texture is amazing. I tried two different types (regular and rosemary sage) and was able to find LOADS of recipes on their site.

The family favorite was the Freekeh Jambalaya. We had this after returning from a trip to New Orleans, where we tasted the real deal. The Freekeh Jambalaya was a winner and hit the spot :)

Freekeh is a nutritionist approved way to add more healthy grains to your diet and reap the benefits from fiber, carbs and all natural goodness.

 

The pros and cons of a home gym vs. a big daddy gym

Good morning and welcome to a new week!

This is back to school week for us, but I realize some of you have already gotten into the school flow.

Did you know that back-to-school season is the second busiest season of the year? It’s second to the new year as back-to-school comes with a new schedule and new challenges as well as fresh goals (or refreshing the old ones).

So, today we are tackling a question that I am asked very often: Should I get a gym membership or can I get fit at home?

The answer can be a bit complicated since it really lies in your personal goals and what you have available to you to propel you toward that physical goal.

I have personally been working out at home since I was a teenager and first learned all about what working out can do for your body, mind and spirit. Here is MY take on the pros and cons of both home gyms and big gyms…….I like to make you laugh, so lighten up and enjoy.

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Pros and cons of a home gym.

Now, just as a disclosure I feel I need to tell you that I have an actual gym at home. We renovated the garage into a gym and I have quite a bit of space to move around. Over the years I have gathered weights, bars, suspension trainers, ropes, trampolines, kettle bells, etc. so I’m not hurting for equipment. Keep in mind, you really can get fit in a small space with limited equipment (even just your body) if you have the right guidance :) Click HERE for necessary guidance (shameless plug).

  1. You don’t have to have fancy gym clothes. You don’t have to match. Heck, you can work out naked if you want, but I wouldn’t advise that cause eeeewwwww. With a home gym you can literally workout in your pajamas. Some people may say this is a con……but we all know it’s a total pro!
  2. You don’t have to wear shoes. I was having a bunch of foot problems a few months ago and then I started lifting barefoot (you pay closer attention and use good form!) which enables the body to distribute weight more evenly in the feet instead of our fancy shoes overcompensating for imbalances.
  3. You can get stuff done in sweaty workout clothes…….OK, this falls into both the pro and con. As I type I have JUST finished a sweet back workout and I haven’t showered. I did change though! The con of sweaty gym clothes is that’s gross.
  4. Working out at home increases compliance. Most people find excuses to skip the gym. Who wants to throw on tights when they are super bloated? Who wants to dead lift when they have gas? Who wants to drive to the gym at 4 in the morning?!?!?!!? Being able to walk from kitchen to gym without running into anybody looking at your bloated belly is a big pro and increases compliance to any workout program :)
  5. I tend to work harder at home. I can feel free to yell, grunt, spit, cry…whatever it takes. I don’t have to reel in my inner beast lady to make others feel comfortable. Extra bonus: I don’t catch glimpses of my awful facial expressions :/
  6. You don’t have to wait for equipment. Seriously dude, if you need to return a text or brag about your warm up set on Facebook, do it by the water fountain! Working out at home eliminates the stress other gym goers may cause.
  7. If something breaks you can either fix it or replace it (or pretend you never had it) instead of having to tell the front desk, who tells maintenance, who has to wait for the OK, and then it’s fixed 2 years after you cancel your gym membership.
  8. Your gym stays open in just about any weather….BONUS: you don’t have to drive in nasty weather to get there.
  9. Your dog is totally welcome…..that may just be me.
  10. Perhaps most important: you have your pick of post-workout food just steps away :)

Now, a few cons:

  1. You may need specialized equipment that your family is unwilling to give up precious living room space to hold (focus on the cause people!).
  2. You still need to schedule your workouts. Simply having a gym within walking distance is not enough to get your booty there.
  3. If you’re a social butterfly (or feel you need to be seen in order for your workouts to count), home gyms won’t work for you.

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Big daddy gyms….and boxes, warehouse gyms, etc.

First, boxes and warehouse gyms have actually gained in popularity because they offer a better “feel” than big chain gyms. The premise is almost the same though, you pay for some type of membership to use space and equipment.

  1. Con: creepers. These are the people who just watch you workout. They have no other goal than to watch others. Not all creepers are nasty, some are just watchers. Either way, creeping is not cool.
  2. These places do have equipment in a space and your family doesn’t complain that they can’t see the TV around your squat rack.
  3. These places also have trainers and floor staff. Now, some (a rare few) are good. MOST are untrained or brand spanking new and want to tell you how to workout without knowing your current level of fitness or your goal.  They also can’t answer questions like, “How do I adjust the leg press?”…..these people should be avoided.
  4. You’re on show whether you want to be or not. You can give the speech that your crew is too cool to watch others, but we’re all human…..you’re being watched and ultimately compared by others. So, embrace that.
  5. If you dig working out around others then  gym is a safe bet to get results. If you like a “team” feel, a box would be better suited to your needs. If you’re a hermit…..stay home cause you won’t like either.
  6. Biggest con: it’s a hot bed of bad form. One person performing a move with bad form and confidence will result in many more doing the same thing (see #4). So, get the right guidance and you’ll be golden.

No matter how you choose to get fit, your biggest limitation may just be the voice between your own 2 ears. Figure out your goals, set up a plan of attack…..and make like Nike and just do it!

Stay safe and healthy,

Michelle