October 5, 2015

Meal Planning Made Easy. Even if You Hate to Cook.

12079090_1688140374754883_4436816109304437520_nSunday I was made a proud trainer when I sent a text to one of my clients who was struggling with her meal plan this past week (she also hates to cook). I texted to remind her to plan her meals ahead of time so that she isn’t left hungry or tempted to go through a drive-through. The reply I got was pic of her prepping her meals for the week!

When starting a fitness or weight loss journey, the best advice I give to my clients is to plan and prep your meals in advance for the week. At a minimum, at least plan your meals and have all of the ingredients ready at home.

9 out of 10 clients fail to follow this advice for numerous reason. The top 3 excuses my clients give me for not planning their meals are: 1. Too busy. 2. Hate to cook/don’t know how to cook. 3. Despise buying groceries.

We’re all busy, I get it. I run my own business, I have appointments and phone calls all day, I have two very energetic dogs that need to run every day. One of my dogs has Inflammatory Bowel Disease and needs to be given medication a few times a day – which means I have to stop by the house more than once during the day. I also have a home, a husband, and a family. I get it!

Here are my solutions to the top 3 reasons why you’re not planning your meals.

  1. Too busy? Use a Crock Pot (aka. Slow Cooker)! The slow cooker has saved me hours of cooking time. Many of the meals I’ve prepared in the slow cooker look and taste gourmet, but are SUPER EASY and QUICK to prepare.
  2. Despise the grocery store? Order your groceries and pick them up. Many local grocery stores allow you to order your groceries online for in store pickup.
  3. Don’t know how or what to cook? I’ve compiled 5 easy recipes including shopping list for dinners you can have M-F. All you need is a slow cooker and regular old kitchen utensils. These recipes taste awesome and only take 15 minutes to prepare. The slow cooker does the rest, so all you have to do is come home and enjoy!


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September 11, 2015

Client Highlight: April Talon, mom of 2 (with one on the way)

april before and afterMeet April. As a mom of 2 young boys and full-time engineer, April is a busy 32 year old.

When I met April back in September of 2014, she was struggling to lose the baby weight after the birth of her 2nd son, Ben, who was 17 months at the time. She was also completing her Master’s degree. Talk about a full schedule.

Although she is in her early 30’s, she also complained that she had no energy. When she came home from work, all she wanted to do was lounge on the couch.

April’s story is very familiar to a lot of us. Many women put their kids and career before their own health. It wasn’t surprising that April lacked energy.

How did I help April lose 3″ from her belly in 6 weeks?

  1. I required that April track her food every day. While April had a good grasp on what she was eating every day, by seeing it written in front of her, she realized she was snacking on the boys food a little too often.
  2. We increased her water intake. Like many people, April was not drinking enough water. Now she drinks 3 liters a day.
  3. I gave her a meal plan high in protein and good fats and lower in carbs. It’s a similar meal plan as the one offered in the 14 Day Ultimate Fat Loss!
  4. We focused on exercises that burn fat and keep the body burning fat for 2 days after the workout. Since we only met twice a week, I needed to give April the biggest bang out of her workout!

April is currently 6 months pregnant and doing chest presses with 30+lbs! Dr. approved, of course!.

april 6 weeks IMG_3938

3 Steps to Overcome Overeating

photo by micheal stern on flickr

Photo by Micheal Stern on flickr.com

Let’s face it, most of the time the extra pounds women carry are due to overeating – plain and simple.

Why do you overeat? Here are a few likely reasons:

Habit: Whether you realize it or not, you eat in a learned pattern, rather than out of need. You clean your plate because that’s what your mother taught. You eat what is served without stopping to check if you are full. You butter two pieces of toast for breakfast rather than questioning if one piece would do the job.

Absentminded: You forget to pay attention when you eat. Mindless munching while watching a movie, snacking while driving, or picking at food while cooking – these absentminded calories really add up.

Something Deeper: Sometimes you use food for recreation or to change your mood. These calories may lend you a temporary sense of comfort or pleasure, but ultimately your body suffers from the indulgence.

Here are 3 Steps To Overcome Overeating – read these, and apply them to your life.

Step #1: Pay Attention

Be aware of what and how much you eat. This simple concept will save you from hundreds upon hundreds of calories each week.

To apply this rule, don’t eat while your attention is distracted by another activity. Only put food in your mouth when you are hungry and conscious of it. This means turn off the T.V., get out of your car, and no matter what you do, don’t graze in the kitchen while cooking.

Step #2: Practice Balance

Be aware of the types of food that you eat during each meal, and make sure that it’s balanced. When you eat a balanced diet filled with lean protein, whole grains, lots of veggies, a few daily servings of fruit and limited fat and sweets, your body will be satisfied and you’ll lose the urge to overeat.

This means you shouldn’t always eat carb-based meals, and you also shouldn’t always eat high-fat meals. Make a mental checklist of the food groups that you’ve eaten each day. Did you eat lean protein? Did you have plenty of vegetables? Did you refrain from eating more than one or two primarily carb-based meals? This mental checklist will save you from making food decisions that you’d later regret.

Step #3: Be Tuned In

Your body will always tell you when its hunger has been satisfied – you’ve just gotten so good at ignoring the signs that you barrel through your meal only to feel like you’ve been hit by a ton of bricks once all that food hits your stomach. It’s time to take a deep breath and listen to your body.

An important part of being tuned in is to eat slowly. Once you start to pay attention you’ll notice a point when each bite becomes less and less satisfying. That is your body’s way of letting you know that you’ve had enough and that each continued bite is simply overkill (yes, even if you’re only halfway through that plate of pasta).

By learning how to control your eating habits, you’ll find weight loss to come simply and naturally.

Want to speed up your weight loss, make it permanent, and shape your body at the same time? I’ve got what it takes to get you there! No guess work, no fad diets, and no super long workouts.

Call or email today to learn more about my fitness and fat loss programs that will quickly change your life.

August 23, 2015

Are You Exercising Hard Enough?

Whether your goal is to lose weight, tone up, or just get healthier, you must exercise to achieve your goals. Many of us, myself included, don’t always workout hard enough to achieve these goals.

So, how do you tell if you’re working out hard enough? Well, it all boils down to intensity. Here are a few ways you can tell if you’re working out hard enough.

  1. You can’t hold a conversation when working out.
    If you’re able to hold a conversation, or better yet, sing while working out, you’re not putting in enough energy. You should be able to speak, but have a broken conversation at your highest intensity.
  2. Use a heart rate monitor.
    Whether you’re doing basic cardio or interval training, your heart rate should fluctuate between 75% of your maximum when you’re just starting out, eventually building to 100%. (To roughly determine your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220). An easy way to track this is by using a heart-rate monitor that will let you know what your heart rate is so you know if you should pick up the intensity.
  3. You do the same workouts all the time.
    Your body constantly adapts to exercise. By doing the same workouts all the time, you’re not allowing your body to work at it’s full potential for weight loss or muscle building. When doing weight training, try increasing the weight or doing more reps. When doing cardio, try increasing your speed every 90 seconds to an all out sprint for 30 seconds.
  4. You talk too much.
    If you’re chatting with your buddies next to you, or with your trainer, you’re not concentrating on your workout. Your workout is 4% or less of your day. Hold the chatting until afterwards.

What do you think? Anything to add to the list? Let us know in the comments.

Top 7 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

Do you say these statements? “I’m trying to lose weight, but the scale won’t budge.” “I eat well and exercise, but I’m not making any progress.” “I started an exercise and diet plan, and I’ve gained weight!”  I could go on, and on.

Dude, you’re not alone. I hear these statements ALL the time. I’ve even spoken a few myself. You see, there are a ton of mistakes people make when starting a weight loss program. Below are my top 5 with solutions the help you kick your weight loss journey in the butt!

1. You don’t drink water.

You need to flush toxins from your body! If you’re not drinking half you body weight in ounces of water, then you’re not drinking enough. Not only will water help you lose weight, but you will have more energy since you’re no longer dehydrated. If you weigh 200lbs, then drink 100 oz of water daily! The more the better, people!

2. You skip meals or eat too little.

Many people think that they need to eat less to lose weight. In a sense, this is true. However, many go to the extreme and eat 1,200 calories or less! That’s craziness!

I recently asked a client who was frustrated that she wasn’t shrinking in size. I asked her to write down everything she ate in one day. The total calories add up to 850! No wonder she wasn’t losing weight. Her body was starving and holding on to every last bit of fat!

Don’t skip meals either. If you tend to skip breakfast or dinner because you think you’ll weigh less, knock it off! You’re killing your metabolism by doing so.

Don’t enjoy eating breakfast? Some people don’t. Try a nutritional shake like METABOLIQ shake in Chocolate or Vanilla. They’re delicious and have just the right amount of protein, carbs, and good fats!

3. You skimp on protein.

Protein is a muscle building nutrient because it is made up of various amino acids. In terms of weight loss, scientists are finding that the most important amino acids are the branch chain amino acids, especially leucine. If you get your protein intake high enough, especially in proteins that are rich in leucine, a number of very interesting things happen that can activate a sluggish metabolism and result in weight loss.

4. You’re not exercising/not exercising hard enough.

This one is a no brainer. You have to get your body moving if you want to lose weight. You’re nutrition can be right on, but if you’re not working up a sweat, you won’t burn fat. It’s that simple, really. If you don’t know where to start, my Facebook page is a great resource.

5. You only do cardio.

Some people are on the other end of the spectrum, where the only exercise they get is cardio.

Have you ever spent an hour on the treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, stair climber, etc.? Stop it! If all you do is cardio, you’re wasting time and muscle. Twenty minutes of cardio is plenty. You must incorporate weight training in order to lose weight, and/or, burn fat.

So many women are afraid to lift weights, but weight training boosts your metabolism, creates stronger bones, and reshapes your body. You know the saying ‘muscle weighs more than fat’? Well, muscle doesn’t weigh more than fat, 1lb is 1lb regardless if it’s muscle or fat. But muscle takes up less space! So, by building lean muscle, you may weigh the same, but be 2 sizes smaller!

My suggestion is to incorporate a weights into your program at least 3 days a week. The other two days can be cardio of your choice (for no more than 30 minutes). Mix these with a healthy diet and you have a strategy for success!

6. You focus too much on the number on the scale.

I swear I’m going to throw out my scale! Women, especially, pay too much attention to that stupid number staring at us from the dumb scale. I’m not a fan of the scale, can you tell?

The number on the scale only gives you a tiny piece of the puzzle. Instead of looking at that number, take your body measurements and remeasure every 6 weeks. The number on the scale may not budge, or may even go up, but your waistline may be 2″ smaller!

7. You’re not sleeping enough.

Sleep is so important on so many levels. When trying to lose weight and fat, if you’re not getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night, the hormone that helps you feel full decreases, while the hormone that increases appetite rises! You could be eating really well, exercising regularly, but if you’re sleep patterns are all messed up, all these efforts are for nothing.


Stop Worrying About The Number on the Scale

I used to be OBSESSED with the number on the scale. My friends were (some of them may still be) too. I remember once my husband, before he was my husband – about 11 years ago, asked my friend and I how much we weighed. My friend quickly announced that she was 116lbs. In my head, I was like ‘ya, right’, but I didn’t say anything. My husband then turned to me and said, ‘you’re probably about the same, right’? My answer: ‘no, add about 10lbs’. But in reality, I was more like 10lbs heavier than what I said I was. The kicker was, my friend and I wore the same size clothes. In my naivety, I saw myself, my gosh darned toned self, as being fat compared to her.

Soon after this silly indecent, I got obsessed with the scale again. There were days the number on that scale fluctuated 5-8lbs in a day! My obsession only got worse until I just gave up. Gave up watching what I ate, gave up exercise, gave up in general. The next time I stepped on a scale was at my annual physical, and I had gained 30lbs and lost muscle tone!

This all happened before I became a personal trainer and educated myself about nutrition. In fact, if this incident didn’t happen, I never would have become a personal trainer.

If I had known then, what I know now, I would have been proud to say I weighed 10lbs heavier. But instead, I got so caught up in the fluctuations on the scale that I created an unhealthy relationship with food.

Why does the scale fluctuate?

1. Glycogen –  Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in various parts of the body, including the liver and muscles. For every gram of carbohydrate that your body stores via glycogen, it also stores three grams of water. If you’ve eaten a lot of carbohydrates recently, you may see the number on the scale increase. Like when I would indulge on a few slices of pizza and weigh myself the following day.

2. Sodium – Increased amounts of sodium in your diet will increase a hormone in your body called Aldosterone, which in turn causes water weight gain. If you typically eat a low sodium diet and then go out to your favorite restaurant, the next day, you will see increase in scale weight. Same holds true if you normally eat a lot of sodium and then cut out sodium, you’ll see a drop in scale weight. Arg!!

3. Food in your digestive tract – Have you gone to the bathroom recently? I was never ‘regular’ until I started taking a really good probiotic.

4. Hormonal imbalances – Women typically have hormonal fluctuations during their cycles and will see added scale weight. Another hormone that causes water retention is cortisol, the stress hormone. If you’ve been stressed out recently, you may also see a higher scale weight. That obsessing I did caused a lot of stress, hence added scale weight.

What else the scale does:

The scale creates an unhealthy relationship with food. It certainly did for me.

The scale causes people to stress out. Yup!

The scale causes weight obsession. Double yup for me!

What the scale does not do:

The scale cannot differentiate between muscle and fat.

The scale cannot tell you that you lost 2 inches off your waist although that pesky number hasn’t moved one bit.

The scale cannot tell you that you lost a dress size.

The scale cannot tell you that your skin looks so much better since you’ve been eating better.

A better way to monitor your progress:

1. How are your clothes fitting?

2. Measure your midsection and compare it to the last time you measured it.

3. Get your body fat checked by a professional.

4. Has your strength increased?

5. Are you seeing more muscle definition?

All of our client receive meal plans, nutritional coaching and review of food logs. Want us to get you back on track to better fitness and nutrition? Contact us for a FREE consultation.

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