RECIPE: Chia Pudding

 

Chia Pudding

Easy, make-ahead breakfast for busy people on the go.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Course Breakfast
Servings 1
Calories 325 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 glass jar Ball canning jars for jam work nicely!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 scoop whey protein (vanilla or chocolate work best)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp hemp hearts
  • 1 tsp cacao nibs
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 - 1 1/2 c milk of choice I use vanilla almond milk

Instructions
 

  • Mix all dry ingredients in the jar.
  • Add one to one and a half cups milk of choice and mix well. It will start to thicken.
  • Cover and refrigerate up to 5 days.

Notes

Protein - 31g; Carbs - 15g; Fats - 15g
Keyword breakfast, high protein, meal prep, no cook, whey protein

Why Women Should Lift Weights

I preach this a lot on my blog but it can’t be stated enough–the best way to lose weight and look great is to lift weights. Cardio strengthens your heart. Resistance training strengthens your entire body. Women have long been encouraged to do HIIT training or circuit training or aerobics, but lifting weights is where it’s at if you want to look amazing. Here are 7 reasons why women should lift weights:

  1. You’ll burn more calories. Muscle is your body’s furnace. It burns calories just by being there. That means you’ll not only burn calories during your workout, but 24 hours afterward, too!
  2. It increases your bone density. As women age, their bone density decreases causing osteoporosis and making them more susceptible to fractures. Building muscle is insurance against that inevitable decline in bone density.
  3. You will look better. The “toned” look every woman craves doesn’t come from hours on the elliptical or running, it comes from resistance training. Building muscle builds curves.
  4. Prevents muscle loss. As women age they start to lose muscle and it’s harder for them to keep the muscle they have. Losing muscle leads to a host of health issues, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hormone imbalances, obesity, high cholesterol and blood pressure, and more. Weight training slows down that muscle loss and keeps you healthy.
  5. You will lose more fat. When you lose weight from dieting roughly 75 percent is body fat loss and the rest is muscle. When you preserve muscle and/or build it, not only will you keep the “bad” weight off, you will look better and your body will function better. Maintaining muscle burns calories and keeps the fat off.
  6. You will feel better. Research shows people who perform strength workouts have better overall moods and tend to handle stressful situations better.
  7. You will stay strong and independent. Not only will you be able to carry the groceries in with just one or two trips, but you will be able to lift your luggage into the overhead compartment without help. Plus, you’ll have more stamina for household chores and everyday life. It keeps you healthy and able to do whatever you want to do!

Resistance training is the way to better health. Cardio has its place, too, but muscle building will always be the superior way for women to age healthfully. Happy lifting!

Why You Shouldn’t Weigh Yourself Every Day

This is going to be a hard message for many of you to hear especially if this is something you do daily. I’m talking about stepping on the scale. So many of us are preoccupied with that number. Our weight. Doctors use an age old formula to determine who is a healthy weight and who isn’t. It’s an artificial number that doesn’t take into account body composition or body structure, yet it’s become that Holy Grail that everyone aspires to attain. If you’re not in the range, you can become compulsive about checking the scale until you are.

Maybe you have a weight number in mind that you think you need to be. Maybe it’s the weight you were in high school. Maybe it’s 5 pounds less than where you are now and you think you’ll look better if you lose those pounds. Whatever it is that motivates you, STOP. No good can come out of weighing yourself too much.

First of all, it’s normal for our weight to fluctuate. Particularly if you’re a woman, your weight can change one to three pounds per day. That’s right. Hormones, water, bloating, or whether you’ve gone to the bathroom can affect how much you weigh. If it’s your time of month, you can go up as many as five pounds! This is enough to make you crazy. Honestly, what are you really after when you step on the scale? You could lose weight and still not look the way you want to look. What if you took a different approach altogether? What if you tried circumference measurements and photos instead? Now, hear me out.

Many of the body fat scales now have apps that incorporate measurements into the formula. This is because it’s super important to pay attention not only to weight but also body composition. Muscle weighs more than fat and it takes up less space. This is why it’s entirely possible for you not to lose any weight when you first start a resistance training program. In fact, some people gain a little bit before they lose. It’s complicated!

So, if you shouldn’t weigh yourself every day, how do you know if you’re making progress?

  • Weigh yourself once a month, same time of day.
  • Take your measurements on that same day every month.
  • If you have a body fat scale, watch the trend over time; again, only once a month!
  • Take photos when you first start a new program. These are only for you (but you might be proud enough to share them later!). Take one from the front and from each side. Take the same photos again one month later, preferably wearing the same clothing. Ladies, consider a two piece swim suit or underwear. Men, just underwear. You want to see your body clearly.

I know it might be hard to avoid the temptation to weigh yourself each day, but you need to resist! Try removing the scale from your bathroom. Hide it someplace where it’s not easy to get to. Instead of weighing yourself, take inventory of how you feel each day. Are you overtired? Sore? Hungry? Not hungry? What’s your skin look like? How’s your mood? Those are all great markers to pay attention to when you’re trying to make progress toward a health and fitness goal.

Scales are helpful, but they’re not the only tool we have to assess our health. In moderation, people! Happy health and fitness!

RECIPE: Cafe au Lait Smoothie

Morning Pick-Me-Up Smoothie

A perfect pick-me-up breakfast smoothie that tastes like your favorite coffee.
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Breakfast
Servings 1 serving
Calories 357 kcal

Equipment

  • Blender or Nutribullet

Ingredients
  

  • 1 scoop whey protein powder (vanilla)
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cacao nibs
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1 cup coconut, almond, or cashew milk, unsweetened
  • 1 cup water/ice, depending on desired consistency

Instructions
 

  • Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend at high speed until smooth.

Notes

Protein: 34.3g; Carb: 17.2g; Fat: 17.8g; Fiber: 7.5g; Sugar: 3.7g
Keyword beverage, breakfast, high protein, smoothie

Weekly FitTip: How to Relax

This week, I’m going to start offering a weekly FitTip, something short and sweet to help you achieve your health and wellness goals. To start off, I want to focus on something that should come naturally but seldom does for busy people, relaxing.

If you’re like me, relaxing is SO hard. I try to meditate and all I can think about is what I have to do. I try to listen to a podcast and my mind wanders. I attempt to sit on the couch for a few minutes and I either get antsy about the things I should be doing or I just crash completely. I try to pray and suddenly I’m thinking about the most random thing in the world, and it’s not Jesus! Do any of these sound familiar?

If relaxing is hard for you, here’s a tip: start small. Do one thing for 15 minutes each day that relaxes you. Whether it be sitting in your car when you get to work or home from work and just being in the moment, or praying, or sitting on the couch watching your kids play, just try doing it for 15 minutes each day. After two weeks, increase it to 20 minutes. By the end of your first month, you should be able to relax for at least a half hour every single day.

What you pick as your relaxation activity is up to you. I’m challenging you to make the time to do it, incrementally. Baby steps. It’s a FitTip you can try starting today.

Should You Purchase a Workout Program Online?

There are a lot of social media influencers out there selling workout programs and packages online. It can be tempting to buy, especially if you can’t afford a personal trainer. But, are they legit? Actually, yes, they can be! Here are some tips on how to tell, if a program is worth the money.

1. Check the credentials of the trainer. If they are certified, then they probably know at least a thing or two about training. The best known certifications are NASM, ACE, and ISSA. So, if they have any of those, you’re good.

2. Review testimonials from their clients. This one is a bit controversial because you don’t really know if the testimonials are real but I’d like to think if they are a personal trainer, they’re not going to be unethical about this point! Seriously, though, if you can review them and then somehow find a few of those people on social media, you can DM them and ask questions. Or another way to find reviews is to do a Google search. If they are a well-known trainer, they may even have a Reddit focused entirely on them. Smaller trainers probably won’t but you can still usually find someone who has tried their programs.

3. Find a sample workout. Lots of times online trainers will give away free workouts or post them frequently on their social media. This gives you some insight into how they program. You want to see that they are including the whole body without too much volume, meaning you want three to five solid lifting days. If it’s more than that, unless you are a bodybuilder, stay away!

4. Follow them on social media. Pay attention to their posts for a few weeks or just review past ones, if you’re in a hurry to find a program. You can generally tell if they know what they’re talking about and sometimes they show client results, too.

5. BONUS TIP: If you can tell that they listen to the MindPump podcast? They’re super legit! Seriously, this is the top fitness-related podcast in the world and the hosts have so much experience. Any trainer who spends time learning from them is a great trainer.

Bottom line? Buying a workout program or trying one for free isn’t the worst thing you can do and it’s often the most affordable. But, a customized program is always going to be the best for anyone. All our bodies are different so our workouts need to be specifically programmed to fit our own bodies and goals.

I offer both personal training customized to the client, as well as programs you can buy on my website. I think both are important. Some people will never feel comfortable hiring a trainer and I understand that. My main goal is to help people. If they’ll buy a program over hiring me to train them online, then I aim to please! Happy training!

 

How to Fit Staying Fit into Your Busy Schedule

I often write about time management and how it’s possible for you to fit fitness and nutrition into your daily grind. It can’t be overstated enough. There are enough hours in the day and you don’t need hours to stay healthy. In fact,  just two to three days a week of resistance training is enough for the average person to stay lean, and planning your meals saves time in other areas of your schedule that you may not immediately think of. Here’s a formula to consider:

  1. Nutrition focus – each week before you grocery shop, plan out your dinners, being mindful of protein, fats, and carbs. Second, plan out your lunches for the week. I meal prep four lunches and the fifth day I either eat leftovers, make a traditional sandwich lunch, or eat a healthy lunch out. Third, plan your breakfasts. You can prep those, too! I spend about an hour to an hour and a half on Sunday prepping lunches and breakfasts but once it’s done I don’t have to do it during the week! And I know I’ll have healthy food. As for dinner, planning ahead ensures that you don’t end up with fast food! It also helps with budgeting.
    TOTAL WEEKLY TIME: 1 hour, 30 minutes (not counting grocery shopping time)
  2. Resistance training – two to three times a week for 30 minutes. Can you get up 30 minutes earlier? Grab 30 minutes at the end of the day? In the evening while the kids are otherwise occupied? If you’re taking your kid to practice, can you run to the gym? Can you take a walk? Do you have time to run home and do a home workout? Be creative. It’s only 30 minutes, three times a week. TOTAL WEEKLY TIME: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  3. Cardio/Movement – you really don’t need a lot to keep your heart healthy. Walk daily and aim for 7,000 steps. That equates to a couple miles a day or about a half hour total each day. If you walked for 10 minutes after each meal you’d be set. If you want to do more, include 20 minutes of cardio on the days you don’t do resistance training.
    TOTAL WEEKLY TIME: 4 to 5 hours

We have 168 hours in a week. My formula takes up to 8 hours a week. That’s about 5% of the entire time you have in a week. You can fit this in, I promise. Follow the formula in order. That means prioritize nutrition first, followed by resistance training, followed by cardio/movement. Add each thing a little a time; build those healthy habits that can last a lifetime. I have a ton of tips and tricks from years of figuring this out. These three are just the tip of the iceberg lettuce! (A little nutrition joke there!) For more, please reach out to me for nutrition coaching services. In just four weeks, you can set up a great path forward for yourself. Want to learn more? Contact me!

RECIPE: Morning Pick-Me-Up Smoothie

 

Morning Pick-Me-Up Smoothie

A perfect pick-me-up breakfast smoothie that tastes like your favorite coffee.
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Breakfast
Servings 1 serving
Calories 357 kcal

Equipment

  • Blender or Nutribullet

Ingredients
  

  • 1 scoop whey protein powder (vanilla)
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cacao nibs
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1 cup coconut, almond, or cashew milk, unsweetened
  • 1 cup water/ice, depending on desired consistency

Instructions
 

  • Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend at high speed until smooth.

Notes

Protein: 34.3g; Carb: 17.2g; Fat: 17.8g; Fiber: 7.5g; Sugar: 3.7g
Keyword beverage, breakfast, high protein, smoothie

RECIPE: Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Elvis would have loved this smoothie.
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Drinks, Snack
Servings 1 serving
Calories 404 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Blender or Nutribullet

Ingredients
  

  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Instructions
 

  • Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Notes

Protein: 31g; Carbs: 40g; Fat: 15g
Keyword banana, high protein, smoothie, snack, whey protein

Why Getting Fit is a Long Game

We’re bombarded by marketing messages promising incredible weight loss in a matter of weeks. Whether it be a social media influencer’s latest challenge or a new app, we’re told we can lose weight fast. This may be true. If you severely restrict calories and do a ton of exercise, you probably can drop pounds but it’s not a sustainable solution to a fit lifestyle. Did you know that 90 percent of people who lose weight gain it back? A sobering statistic to be sure. But, it’s avoidable, if you consider losing weight and getting in shape a long game.

It takes at least a year to see change that will last. This is because it’s not about cutting calories and exercising more. It’s about developing sustainable healthy habits and that takes time. If you go into it knowing that, your mindset changes. It’s not about punishing yourself for a short time but more about taking care of yourself for a long time.

Take me for example. I’ve been exercising for years but consistently resistance training for the last five years. I’d say the first two years were more experimental with me figuring things out. Then I obtained my personal training and nutrition coaching certifications and really propelled my own training through that new knowledge. So, for more than three years I’ve been training myself building muscle on my thin frame. My goal is not to be “skinny fat” but to have muscle and curves so my clothes fit better, I feel better, and I avoid muscle loss that comes with age. As I approach 50 I’m more mindful than ever about mobility and making sure I can continue to move freely. I also pay close attention to my diet making little changes here and there to stay on the healthy side. If you look at my frame in 2011 versus today, you’ll see a huge difference. But it took five years to see that difference.

If you’re someone who needs to see quick wins to stay motivated, don’t worry. You still can. Set smaller achievable goals to keep you going. Those of us who have been lifting for a long time are jealous of “newbie gains” that people who are new to training experience. The muscle comes on fast and furious in the beginning but it does level off. And after you gain it, it’s SO easy to keep it. Much easier in fact.

As for your diet, in the beginning you may need to pay strict attention, tracking your food and maybe even weighing it, depending on your situation. But, over time you get used to knowing how much to eat and what foods are best for you. Tracking is not a forever thing. Building the habits is.

I’m rambling at this point but I write this post to provide perspective on obtaining the holy grail of fitness for life. You, too, can be fit by any age. Just give yourself time and take the steps required to make the journey. It’s never too late and there’s never a better time to start than right now. If you are ready and need some support, contact me! I would be honored to help.