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

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

Fun Friday! New Weight Loss Series

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

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

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

Get ready, get set…GOAL!!!!

 

Tight Skin Essentials

Hello Fit Lifers!

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

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

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

Tight Skin Essentials 101

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

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

Live out loud this year!

Michelle

Workout Wednesday!

Slim without the Gym

Loads of people want ot lose weight and live a healthier life, but not everybody wants to drop money on a gym. I have a great workout you can do while enjoying one of the easiest ways to get fit: WALKING. So strap up your laces and let’s get to it :)

Walk Fit

Start with a brisk walk, pumping your arms to warm the body, 5-10 minutes.

Perform 10 walking lunges forward.

Double the pace of your warm up walk and punch arms in front for 4 minutes.

Stop and perform 20 jumping jacks.

Take a deep breath and do 10 push ups (if there is a park bench, place hands there. If not, use the grass or trail)

Walk at your double pace again, punching arms overhead for 3-5 minutes.

Perform 10 walking lunges backward.

Walk as fast as you can, pumping arms briskly for 3-5 minutes.

Perform 20 alternating forward lunges.

Do 10 jumping jacks.

Do 10 push ups.

Perform 20 alternating back lunges.

Sprint walk (where it would be more comfortable to run) for 2 minutes.

Cool down by walking back.

You can perform this whole routine outside at a park, trail or even the streets of your neighborhood (watch for cars!) or on a treadmill.

I know some of you are thinking about all the weird looks you may get while doing this: DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT! Weird looks now=envious looks later:)

Have a healthy day!

Michelle

What is going on with my skin?

OK, so this could imply so many different things….but for today’s blog, we’ll be talking about loose skin. It seems to be an overwhelming concern among fitness enthusiasts.

Loose skin is not your lot! You can do some preventative exercises to prevent loose skin. Here are a few of the basics:

  1. Focus on resistance training. Cardio queens, step off the elliptical machine! Cardio alone will not help rebuild collagen in the skin which is essential to skin elasticity.
  2. Get your diet right. Make sure you’re getting enough protein. If you think your aren’t, chances are…you aren’t. Think lean protein and get it at every meal.
  3. Ditch the sugar. Cellulite and loose skin have 1 common denominator: they both LOVE sugar. Simple sugar such as candy, baked goods, white breads and pastas all contribute to lower collagen and saggier skin, PLUS they feed those lovely little dimples on your backside.
  4. HYDRATE! Just like protein, if you think you aren’t getting enough water…you aren’t! Chug a minimum of 3 liters throughout the day and add in some herbal teas to boost immunity and cell health :)

Is it easy to keep the skin tight? No. Is it easy to tighten loose skin? Absolutely not! BUT, it is doable and totally worth it in the end…..get the pun there ;)

Seriously, put in maximum effort and you will reap maximum results!

Have a healthy day!

Michelle

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

How Do I Tighten Up Loose Skin?

WOW! I get asked this question ALL THE TIME! Actually, when people see my before/after shots I get 2 questions:

  1. How long did it take?
  2. What surgery did you do?

LOL! Seriously, NO SURGERY! In answer to question #1, it took FOREVER, but that is because I went back and forth and made tons of mistakes. The good news for you is that you are here and can learn from my stupid mistakes so you don’t make you own. Yes, it was all just for you and you are welcome :)

Loose skin can be a nightmare for people who have dreamed about achieving a beautiful physique. I do have to give a disclaimer here that some folks are probably not going to like: Nutrition and Exercise, when done consistently are the ONLY way to a lean, TIGHT body. Although I do believe that weight loss surgery has a purpose (I specialize in post bariatric nutrition and exercise) it is highly unlikely to get the skin as tight as is needs to be when weight is dropped that quickly. I’ll get back on track now…

OK, so diet (meaning your overall lifestyle nutrition choices) is the BIG KEY here. Your water intake must be on point since even the slightest bit of dehydration will result in loose skin. Remember, that thirsty feeling is the LAST sign you need a drink. So, I recommend to my clients and patients that they start out with 90-120 ounces of pure water a day. Now, I don’t care if it is tap water, bottled water, or well water people: just not sodas and crystal light flavored junk. Yes, I totally just told you NOT to flavor your water. Suck it up, you’ll live and have awesome abs too :) Now, if you are like me and love coffee, then you add a few more ounces of water to compensate for the diuretic effect. Vegetables (those brightly colored things in the corner of the grocery store) are a great friend in tightening up skin and ridding the body of excess junk (in the trunk!). Make sure you are eating in-season veggies when you buy fresh (they’ll be the cheaper ones) and you can also keep a bag or 10 of frozen veggies on hand to throw into anything. I limit my carbohydrates to ONLY whole grain and try to get most anything processed (read: carb NOT from veggies, such as rice and pasta) in before 4 in the afternoon. That is what works best for me.

EXERCISE! Favorite part right? You have to lift weight/resistance bands in order to keep the skin tight. Why? Because as we age, our body will slow the production of collagen, which is what tightens the skin all over. Just like you lift weight to increase your metabolism (which also slows as we age), resistance training also boosts the production of collagen. More collagen equals tighter skin. THIS step really cannot be skipped. Even though I lost my weight years back, I still do resistance training 4-6 times per week (either through circuits or on a split) to keep my collagen production high. This is part of your new lifestyle, so you can totally handle it. Now, how to lift? Low reps with big weights/heavy bands has been proven to work best for increasing collagen. A rep range of 10-12 for beginners and 6-8 for more advanced is best. This means that is you are doing 1 set of an exercise and performing 12 reps, then you should feel fatigue in that muscle group by rep 10-11. If you feel like you can crank out 20 more, please up your resistance. Heavier functional training (meaning you are focused on your form, NOT just the weight) has also been shown to help decrease overall inflammation and joint pain. Rock on.

Creams and lotions to tighten the skin serve a small purpose: surface hydration. they do help the skin look more supple and I do recommend them. For ALL my recommended products AND my top toning exercises check out The Little Fit Book

Always feel free to contact me with comments or questions!

Live healthy and GET HAPPY!!!

Michelle

Oh, and for those of you in the process of losing weight OR helping others do so, YOU MUST INCORPORATE RESISTANCE TRAINING DURING THE WEIGHT LOSS PROCESS! This whole, “I’ll tone up after I lose the weight” will only lead to flabby frustration I promise! YOU CAN DO THIS! Pick up a weight, do your reps, strut your stuff! :)