Category Archives: Fitness

Lose Weight Via Proper Breathing

Did you know that we lose fat through our breath? 

I know when I was first asked this question I honestly thought it was by eliminating waste from our body. But nope it’s actually about 85% through breathing out carbon dioxide and about 15% through sweat, tears, urine and feces.

Since most of the fats cells that are broken down in the body are eliminated via breath, it would stand to reason that we should learn how to breathe properly.

Let’s do an experiment, take a deep breath in… Did your shoulders and chest rise? If no, then great job! If yes, then we have some work to do.

When inhaling in, the stomach should expand out and when exhaling the stomach should retract back in. But most of us breathe up into the chest causing the shoulders to rise.

We are not taking in as much oxygen or releasing as much carbon dioxide as we could be.

So how does breathing properly actually help us to lose weight?

Stressed State of Mind

Stress is one of the main reasons our body holds onto fat.

  • It raises the hormone called cortisol in our body and when cortisol is too high, it messes with our thyroid gland that is responsible for our metabolism.
  • When cortisol is high then melatonin (sleep hormone) will be low and therefore we do not get enough quality sleep allowing our body to recover and repair properly.
  • Another reason we don’t want our cortisol to be too high is it causes massive food cravings, which doesn’t really work well with our weight loss goals either.
  • When we eat in a stressed state, our body does not properly absorb the nutrients we are giving it and will cause digestive issues such as gas, bloating and even diarrhea.

By learning some deep breathing techniques you can lower your cortisol levels quickly. You can go from fight or flight response to completely relaxed within less than 5 minutes.

Stress causes the majority of our health issues today like heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, cancer, diabetes, stomach ulcers, etc.

It’s a massive health epidemic that you can actually control with positive thoughts and deep breathing techniques!!

Don’t Suck It Up Buttercup!! 

 

Many of us walk around sucking in our tummies all day long or wearing Spanx to keep it all tucked in. While I get it, we don’t want to be walking around with it all hanging out, it’s actually really unhealthy for us. Constantly sucking in the tummy does not allow for proper breathing. Remember we have to inhale by expanding the stomach…

While sucking in the tummy doesn’t allow for proper breathing, it also compromises digestion.  We need to be able to effectively digest and eliminate our food for optimal health.

So let’s compromise, ask yourself this very important question often, “Am I sucking in my tummy right now?” If yes, relax your tummy and get in some nice deep breaths!!

Move Yo Body!

By moving the body via walking, dancing, biking, swimming, jogging, playing sports, lifting weights or doing HIIT exercises it forces our bodies to take in more oxygen and that’s a great thing as it allows us to breathe out more carbon dioxide (fat)!!

Most of us have desk jobs, it’s really important to take breaks often and get some movement. And then when you have free time during the day be sure to get in a nice walk or an intense 20 minutes of exercise or chase your kids around, that works too!!

I love leisure walks in the evenings as it’s nice and relaxing, I get to work on my deep breathing in nature and it lowers my cortisol levels allowing for a great night of sleep!!

Yoga is also great for connecting to the breath and challenging the body!!

Incorporate proper breathing techniques to keep stress low, add in great nutrition and consistent exercise and you have your formula for fat loss!!

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Nutrition – it can either strengthen our immune system or break it down and lead to sickness and disease.  

Most doctors will only hand you a prescription for medication and call it a day.  They won’t dive deeper to finding the underlying cause.

In most cases, it’s our nutrition or the lack thereof that sends our immune system spiraling down into sickness and disease.

That’s where I come in, to help you find the underlying cause and help you improve your nutrition so that you can start living life to the fullest again!!  You want to THRIVE not just survive!!

If you would like more information on 1:1 Nutrition Coaching, please complete the form below:

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#EMBRACE

This past Monday I was invited to watch the documentary Embrace by my friend and fellow Health Coach Elizabeth Sherman.  It’s about one woman who went from hating her post-pregnancy body of 3 children to going through a physical transformation and ending up on stage competing in a bikini fitness competition.

While she was strutting her new body on stage she realized she wasn’t 100% happy and the other ladies on stage with her weren’t completely happy either. There was something each one of them wished they could change about their bodies even at their leanest and fittest, it still wasn’t enough.  So she traveled around the world to find out why women are not comfortable in their own skin.

I have been processing this documentary for the past few days and realized I had an ah-ha moment this time last year when I stopped “dieting” and became appreciative of my body.

 

Last December I was dieting and had reached my lowest caloric intake before it was time to start reversing out of it.  My energy was low and I was getting hangry a lot. I didn’t like how I was feeling and told my health coach I needed a break. She completely understood and switched me to maintenance calories for a few months.

This is where I had a mental shift and asked myself why I was dieting in the first place?  Sure my body was looking great and my muscles were popping but why did I feel the need to constantly be on a diet?

From that point, I stopped tracking every little thing that passed my mouth and just started living life!!  I realized that my body was strong as hell, I learned how to listen to what my body was telling me and I honored that. I learned how to balance out my meals to provide me with great energy so I could be extremely proactive in everyday life.

I do love my body, but just like everyone else I see the flaws and the negativity pops into my mind.  But I have another voice that is much stronger now that interrupts the negativity and says Hey! Your body is amazing!  The extra skin on your lower belly provided you with an amazing child, those stretch marks on your breasts allowed you to feed him for 7.5 months!  This body is strong, it is healthy, and you feel great!  The strong voice allows me to really listen in and give back to my body in ways that I would not be able to if I was in the constant negative mode.

But there are SO many women that have not experienced their ah-ha moment yet and they are struggling big time with their self-image. They hate their bodies and feel disgusting.  Some are not intimate with their husbands or partners because they cannot bring themselves to be naked around them.

Some women are in such turmoil within themselves but try to tell their daughters to be different.  However, their actions speak much louder than their words and their daughters end up in the same situation of hating their bodies.

There are women that feel their bodies are only valued for sex.  The way a lot of men talk about women’s bodies is wrong. Seriously just listen to the radio.

One out of four women has been sexually abused. They struggle with loving their bodies and usually use food to comfort their emotions.

My takeaways from the documentary Embrace is that whether you are overweight, somewhere in the middle, very fit, very thin, have burned skin, sport a beard, or only have one breast the important thing is to acknowledge and be grateful for what your body does on a daily basis. There are so many women in this documentary that filled my heart with inspiration.  They have been through hell and back.  However, they found peace and 100% love themselves as is.

We can put as much energy in living a healthier mental and emotional lifestyle as we do living an unhealthy one.

I also don’t believe we should judge another person for the size of their body. Like Taryn said in the documentary “This body of mine it’s not an ornament, it’s a vehicle”.

As you can see, after her bikini competition she gained some weight back, but she is HAPPY.  She isn’t sitting around eating bon bons, she is active and moves her body in ways that make her feel great!! She has completely embraced her body and her life. In the end, that’s what matters most.

Make peace within yourself and EMBRACE the shit out life!!

Give back by showing your body some love and support in the way of good nutrients, movement, and self-care so that your body can keep giving back to you in amazing and powerful ways!!

Every woman needs to see this documentary and if you are in the Austin area, it is playing again Tuesday, January 3rd at 7:30 PM. The details are here.  Please purchase your tickets before December 20th.


book_diet_coverTHE DIET RENOVATION 

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ATTENTION ALL LADIES!!

Have you joined the Strength by Kris – Community yet?

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Does Your Child’s Nutrition Support Their Sports Performance?

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As a mother of boys who play soccer, I witness some children with full out speed and energy that doesn’t seem to waiver and others that are seriously struggling to keep up.  As I sit on the sidelines listening to parents get frustrated with their child, screaming for them to stop walking, to hustle, to stop standing and move, I can’t help but wonder what did they feed their child before the game?

Sure at times, children are going to be a bit lazy and maybe tired from the night before and that will frustrate us parents to no end. But there’s a difference when you see children really struggling with their energy and can’t keep up with the game.

You see your child start the game off with great energy and drive but then towards the half, they seem to run out of steam.  After halftime, you feel excited as they are playing hard again but very soon they seem to have just given up.  Sound familiar?

Why does this happen? In the beginning, they are going hard – full out, but then soon their body starts to run out of energy.  At halftime, they get to recharge for a moment and come back with what seems the same energy they had at the start of the game.  But because their body has nothing left to use in terms of food/energy, they physically cannot keep going at the speed in which they started. They are pushing and their body is pushing back harder and they are forced to slow down.

Their growing bodies need the proper nutrition to support the game. Let’s say they started their day with cereal, bagel, pop-tart or breakfast bar, etc.  For lunch, they had a bite of their chicken or hamburger but ended up eating all the fries or chips and drinking a ton of soda and said ugh I’m full! Thirty minutes later they are raiding the pantry for a snack and end up with more junk.   When it’s time to play their highly competitive game, this child will suffer majorly with a lack of energy.

Why?  Because the majority of what they ate was carbs and mainly processed carbs.  Our bodies digest these very quickly and yes do help with energy but only for a short time.  Once this energy is used up, our bodies are looking for longer lasting fuel.   If none is onboard, our performance takes a hit and we crash hard.

So how can we support our children’s nutrition and enhance their performance?

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It starts with protein, make sure your child gets adequate protein the night before along with all meals leading up to the game.   Protein is a great source of energy, supports the metabolism and maintains or grows muscle mass.  Strive for good quality protein in whole foods such as chicken, pork, beef, seafood, quality deli meats, and eggs.

Next, make sure your child is getting good quality fats in each meal. This is important because fats are the largest source of energy for our bodies. They are much denser than protein and carbs and take longer for our bodies to break down. They also support our brain and help us to focus and think clearly.  Can you see how this is helpful in a game?  Great sources of fats are dairy, salmon, nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut oil and olive oil.

Lastly, carbs are important but let’s think of carbs in terms of whole nutrient dense carbs.  Veggies are super important to support the digestive system and are loaded with tons of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Can you imagine trying to play a game feeling bloated and heavy? It’s important to keep the digestive system moving.

Then you have more carb dense veggies that will take a little longer to break down, therefore, providing their bodies with longer lasting energy.  Think beans along with starchy carbs such as potatoes, corn, many root veggies, etc.  Also whole grains like oats, rice, quinoa.

Fruits are a great source of quick energy, your child could eat a banana or an orange before the game starts or at half time.  This will give them a little extra insurance of energy.

So what’s the best way to put this all together?  Here are some ideas but I have honed in on Breakfast because it is the first meal of the day.  It is the platform in which we start to build up energy in our bodies.  There are many choices for breakfast even for the pickiest eater, trust me I have one :)!!

Breakfast

  • Eggs with bacon/sausage and potatoes
  • Scrambled eggs with veggies or smoked salmon and cream cheese (for the child with a more advanced palate)
  • Breakfast taco with corn tortilla and avocado
  • Bean and cheese taco with Milk
  • Oatmeal with yogurt and berries mixed in and an egg on the side
  • Protein smoothie:   1 cup of Whole Milk, 1/2 banana, cocoa powder, maple syrup or honey and peanut butter (great option for an early game and pair with 1/2 a protein bar)
  • Protein Pancakes –  Kodiak Power Cakes – Protein Pancake and Waffle Mix, you can add an egg and milk to increase the protein.  Our boys LOVE them. – Side note, my picky eater will take the pancake or waffle add some cheese and bacon and make a sandwich.  I can’t complain here because he’s getting adequate protein and carbs from the pancakes and fats from the cheese and bacon.

Lunch

Any whole protein paired with some veggies and a starchy carb add in some nuts/seeds or avocado.  Drizzle veggies with a little olive oil and salt

The Night Before An Early Morning Game

Pair a protein with a something a little more starchy like pasta.  This is a great way to get energy stored and on board for an early morning game.

Timing of Meal Before a Game

It’s optimal for a child to eat a really good meal 1 1/2 – 2 hours before the game.  You want them to feel full but not stuffed and then pack a banana and/or orange and see how they feel before they beginning warm up.  If they feel good to go, then have them eat their fruit at halftime.

How To Get Your Child To Comply With Eating

Explain to your child how eating a good meal will help give them energy and how that energy will help them to play hard throughout the whole game!!

Trust me, I understand the pushback you might receive at first but all you have to do is point out their poor performance.  Explain it could have been avoided if they would have eaten all the important foods that provide them energy.

And after the game, if you want to give them a treat, then go for it. This is the perfect opportunity for their body to take in that quick sugar and restore the glycogen lost in their muscles.  But please do follow up the treat quickly with an appropriate meal.  Recovery after a game is very important to an athlete’s body.

So please remember if your child is struggling on the field take a moment and go over what they ate before the game.  Think about this before you start asking them to work harder.  Each game is an opportunity to evaluate how their nutrition supported their performance.

Here’s to our little athletes!  I wish them all success in their sport!


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The Secret To Long Lasting Energy

It wasn’t too long ago when I really struggled with my weight and my lack of energy.  I kept hearing the saying “get energy from your food”, but that seemed so impossible to me and I heavily relied on caffeine to get me through every single day.

But after much research and getting started on balancing out my macros, I finally had the wonderful experience of truly receiving energy from my food.

There’s no going back for me!  

It was a game changer in my health, fitness and becoming a highly productive person!!

And I want to share this amazing secret with you!!

Are you a part of my inner circle?  

No??  

Well what are you waiting for??   See that blue circle to your right? Go sign-up and I’ll see you in your inbox!!

I’ll be sending out my newsletter this week with updates of what to look for over the next month.  I’ll give you a hint :).  I have a new FREE starter kit COMING SOON that will help you get your nutrition back on track.  You won’t want to miss that!!

ATTENTION LADIES!!  

Have you joined the Strength by Kris – Community yet?

It’s a closed Facebook group for women only and I am inviting you to join the community if you feel you could benefit from being inspired, uplifted and accepted just as you are. Come join the fun!

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A Girl Who Loves Powerlifting…

Why Compete in a Powerlifting Meet?

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So it’s no secret that I love lifting weights and I LOVE lifting heavy. Being able to push myself drives my confidence through the roof! I have been lifting on my own since 2013 and have consistently gotten stronger.

That’s great and all but why did I want to do a competition? I guess the best I can answer is, it was a way to push myself way outside of my comfort zone. To be among other women like me who love to lift heavy. I wanted to be a part of something bigger than me just lifting alone in my apartment gym. I wanted validation of my strength. I wanted to feel what it is like to have adrenaline pump through my veins as I walk on the platform and perform my lifts in front of the judges. I wanted to prove to my shy self that I was capable of competing in front of strangers. I just wanted it!!

Last year I stumbled upon the 2015 Naturally Fit Games and learned they had a Powerlifting section. The NFG has everything from Crossfit, Strongman, Weightlifting, Bikini, Bodybuilding, Grappling to Powerlifting. It’s a huge event. So I decided last year, I wanted to compete at this event.

I had no idea I could compete in smaller meets in my area, until the facility where I trained at hosted a meet there. I went to check it out to get a feel for it before I entered the big kahuna of meets. I loved the atmosphere of the meet and how the audience cheered for each lifter. I was sold, I now more than ever wanted to do this.

It was time to get serious, down to business and start gaining more strength.

Training for Powerlifting

I chose to hire a trainer, someone who would push me past my comfort zone and help me to overcome my mental blocks. I was not confident I could accomplish this on my own and needed better equipment than what my apartment gym offered.

I trained at Total Athlete with Troy (Zulu) Hamilton for 4 months, 3 times a week. It’s an awesome facility and I loved the equipment that I got to train with. Training was tough and I stayed sore most of the 4 months, but most of the time I recovered enough to give it my all for the next session.

Zulu saw my strength, my mental blocks and helped me to push past them.

When I started training my max lifts with good form were:

  • Bench 90 lbs
  • Squat 140 lbs
  • Deadlifts 190 lbs

At the end of training my max lifts with good form were:

  • Bench 110 lbs
  • Squat 205 lbs
  • Deadlift 237 lbs

Yep bench is my weakest lift, despite all we did to build up smaller muscles to support this lift.

There were a few set backs in training. I strained my lower back and that cost me two weeks of deadlifting and squatting. I also strained both shoulders at different times, but we were able to work around the injuries and go into competition pain free.

Towards the end I was cutting carbs to try and drop the weight I had gained and I could totally feel the negative affects of this in my recovery. I stayed sorer longer and started feeling a drop in my energy. Side note…carbs are your friend when lifting weights or doing any intense form of exercise!

Overall I had a great training experience and learned so much! Zulu didn’t just go through the motions of telling me do the lifts; he always explained what we were doing, why and how it helped grow other muscles. And it usually started with a story about he learned this secret technique from a guy in prison…LOL. No he has never been in prison but apparently knows a guy who spent all his “time” lifting weights and was built like crazy.

Weight Gain and Muscle Gain

Over the course of 4 months of training I gained 6 pounds. I was eating more to accommodate for intense training, so I know I gained a few pounds in fat, but mostly I gained a lot of muscle. My shoulders and arms blew up like crazy as I genetically gain muscle easily in this area of my body. I have always had broad shoulders; so adding muscle here just makes them look bigger. I halfway feel like I should be thrown onto the football field in the linebacker position lol! No really this is just how my body is and I am 100% ok with big muscly shoulders and arms!

I had it set in my head that I would go into the 132 weight class, because when I started training I weighed 131. But I continued to watch the scale climb from month to month. I thought at first it was because I was training at 7:30 at night and not getting home to eat dinner until close to 10 p.m., but that didn’t seem to be the case.

However this schedule didn’t work for my body at all. First I was raising my cortisol level with training, and then asking my body to digest food when it’s natural instinct was to prepare me for bed. Realizing the negative affects of my schedule, I switched my training to the afternoon and it really helped with getting in effective workouts and recovery.

 One-Month Out From Meet

Eeek!! One month out from the big event and it was time to start ordering my singlet and wrist wraps, register for the event and get my USPA Powerlifting Membership. So much went on during this month.

As far as training, I was to be as careful as possible so that I didn’t injury myself; we still went heavy until about two weeks out. I was advised NOT to have sex two weeks prior to the meet! I was like WAIT! WHAT?!? Confirmed, as apparently that drains your energy and takes a lot out of your body….. who knew.

Two weeks prior to the meet we went on our annual vacation to the beach, I had it all planned out and thought it would be executed perfectly. I had a gym picked out and had 3 workouts scheduled. Quickly I learned nothing was in my control during this vacation.

It started with my son spiking a fever the night before, waking up with one eye matted shut and vomiting twice before we even got in the car to leave. He was a trooper though.

Next monkey wrench was checking into a dirty condo, thankfully the cleaning crew arrived after we called and got it set for us. However, once we went to make the pull out bed, we discovered there were no sheet, blankets or pillows. Feeling thankful again that we have friends that live close by and helped us out!

I got my first training session in on Monday and quickly realized I was out of my comfort zone, all the equipment was different and I didn’t have my trainer to spot me. I did the best I could and called it a day.

Wednesday was my next scheduled training session, however I missed it due to no sleep the night before. My son wasn’t getting any better, he tossed and turned all night and complained of his ear hurting.

Despite no sleep we woke up super early so we could go catch the baby sea turtles being released into the ocean. What a great experience for us all!! Then it was off to see the doctor to confirm my son had an upper respiratory infection.

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Yep no training was done that day! I thought ok, that’s fine; I’ll either go on Thursday or Friday for sure!

Thursday didn’t happen as we were checking out of our condo and loading everything up to go stay a night with our friends who have an awesome condo on the beach. As we were getting settled I started feeling a little weird. I was really dizzy. My friend suggested I sit for a little bit and drink some water. I did that and soon it passed, so off to the beach we went to play.

Friday morning arrived and my plan was to take our last walk on the beach and then hit the gym before we packed up to go home. On our walk, I started feeling dizzy again. By the time we were packed and ready to go, the dizziness had me extremely nauseous.   I realized I had Vertigo, damn it! I have only had this one other time and oh it’s not fun!! My friend gave me a motion sickness pill, which ended up knocking me out for the 6-hour trip home, but the spinning only increased.

We stopped to eat lunch and I got out of the car took two steps and could not balance myself. I set at the table with my head in my hands and eyes closed because I couldn’t focus on anything. I tried to eat but no luck!

The only time I felt ok, was when we were driving in the car going fast. When we stopped, I felt horrible. Once we got home I took a decongestant because that’s what helped me the last time I had vertigo. The spinning continued until late the next day and then I’d have the occasional spin here and there.

Monday arrived and off to training I went, it was so challenging because every time I exerted myself I got super dizzy.   Ugh, I thought this can’t happen, the meet is on Saturday and I cannot be sick!

Wednesday’s training session was a little better. I was feeling stronger. This was my last training session before the meet. It was time to relax and concentrate on trying to lose the last 3 pounds before check-in on Friday morning. I reduced my carbs a little more, got in plenty of walks and tried not to stress over anything.

I woke up Friday morning and weighed myself, according to the scale I was still 3 pounds over. Oh well, not gonna let this drag me down. Off to weigh-in I went. Their scale had me over 1.7 pounds, Aaaah soooo close, but got bumped up to the 148 weight class.

Weigh-ins were done so it was time to EAT! I focused on getting in enough protein and as many carbs as my tummy could tolerate. We enjoyed pizza that night and I got a great night of sleep!

The Day of the Meet

I woke up feeling good and rested. I didn’t feel too nervous, which I was shocked by. I just felt like I had really good energy. Packed up everything and off we went to the convention center in downtown Austin, TX!

I ate a big breakfast of a veggie egg scramble and oatmeal; this is typically my pre-workout meal, so I know it would be good for my energy and digestion. I packed bananas, rice rolls, quality deli meat (chicken), pre-mixed protein shakes and gluten free pop-tarts.

As soon as we pulled in, my nerves kicked in and straight to the restroom I went. Ok I got that out of the way or at least I thought I did…..

Girl lifters were up first and we were starting with squats. We had about 20 minutes to warm up. I warmed up with enough weight to feel comfortable with my starting squat of 181 pounds.

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I was 7th in line for the first flight of girls. Everyone else in front of me had successful lifts. It was my turn; on to the platform I went. Got the bar settled on my traps, felt the power of my legs and lifted the weight off the rack. Took my two steps back, aligned my feet, felt set and looked up for the judge’s command. First command: SQUAT! I went down hit depth, pushed back up and that’s where I forgot to listen to the second command: RACK! I was in motion to rack the weight at the same time of the command. NO LIFT!

SHIT, they are not joking around, you have to wait for the command or they will not give you the lift even if it’s good. Ok, I thought relax; you have 2 more tries at this.

On the second lift, I was so focused on the commands that I didn’t hit depth. NO LIFT!

On the third lift, same as the first – I was so frustrated with myself!! NO LIFT on any of my squats, not a great way to start my very first competition.

It was time to rest, refuel my body and talk to the other lifters. All the girls were so helpful and supportive. They really helped me to understand what the commands would be for bench and deadlifts so that I could mentally prepare on the break.

Randy and I walked around to all the different vending booths and I enjoyed a coffee for a little boost of energy. But then my stomach decided we are going to stay nervous and be in the bathroom a lot!

Next up was bench, and I was super happy to get good lifts on all three attempts. We didn’t push a PR here, due to me being super nervous listening for three commands on this lift. I ended my lift with 104 pounds for bench.20160625_123226

We had another break before deadlifts started. I felt my energy bottoming out big time. I knew I could not continue walking around visiting the vendor booths; I had to eat again and eat really well. I got in a lot of carbs and as much protein as my body could handle and another coffee. I sat down a good portion of this time too.

Last lift were deadlifts, my FAVORITE lift!! I feel so powerful when deadlifting!!   The last round was about to start and my stomach would not let up! Are you eff’in kidding me right now?? Thankfully I make it back in time and onto the platform. I started with 192 pounds, then 220 and ended with a PR of 237 pounds. All lifts were good and it felt so amazing to end the meet with a PR. That last lift was worth everything I went through during the process of training, being sore for 4 months, trying to drop weight, getting sick, and bombing on all my squats! I know I could have lifted more than 237 it was only a slight struggle and went up pretty quickly! But I was super stoked!

This right here made everything worth it!

 

And then I was beyond exhausted and just wanted a real meal. Randy and I enjoyed Mexican food and a margarita in celebration of me competing in my first ever powerlifting meet! And then we went home and passed out, lol!!

 After Thoughts

It’s been over a month post meet and my workouts have been very sporadic. I tried to get back into the apartment gym, but I just couldn’t do it. Not having a free bar to work with has really unmotivated me to workout. The gym has a smith machine but it just isn’t the same. I have a small bar but again, just isn’t the same. I feel a little bit in a rut, but I know once I can get into a real gym and lift heavy that feeling will diminish. We also moved a few weeks ago, that counts as lifting right???

I most definitely want to compete again. I need redemption on my squats, but in the mean time I will work to continue getting stronger.

I have learned so much on my strength journey. I learned I lift heavy to feel better, to gain confidence in myself and to check myself from time to time. Gaining strength isn’t about the number on the bar constantly moving up, it’s about the struggle you go through to lift it. You have to get past your mental block, move out of your own way and stay humble. It might take a week or even months to conquer a new personal record, but once you do, damn that feeling is so amazing.

I learned I loved being a part of a bigger community of powerlifting girls, their strength, encouragement and determination is so inspiring.

I learned that powerlifting drives me not only in fitness but also throughout my entire life. It’s that POWERFUL!

 

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I AM BEAUTIFUL

Mya (11)

This week’s Mantra is I AM BEAUTIFUL!  I find that sometimes we just don’t believe it’s true because we don’t like what we see in the mirror.  I understand, I have been there too.

We all have imperfections that stick out to us like a sore thumb!  But when others look at us that is not what they see, they see what is beautiful in our soul.  Sure some people are so superficial it’s sickening, but let’s get real here, do we need to interact or have a relationship with those types of people?  Um no…

Part of feeling beautiful daily is being able to accept yourself as you are right now.  Giving yourself permission to make small impacting changing in your life overtime, each step of the way showing love and patience to yourself.  When you grow and change on the inside that is when the physical transformations start to take place on the outside.

Mantra Beautiful

It took me 38 years to get to this place of peace within myself.  As I have shared before, I really struggled with my body image and feeling like I wasn’t good enough. I put myself through the wringer with diet, exercise and negative self-talk.  Trying to beat myself into the perfect body.  It wasn’t until last December that I finally had my ah-ha moment.  I remember telling my health coach that I no longer wanted to diet, I was happy with how my body looked and I really love the reflection staring back at me in the mirror.

It was a HUGE moment for me, I no longer felt the need to have this internal fight with myself.  The fight was stronger than ever beginning around the holiday season.  I struggle with this season to this day even after 13 years of my mother being gone.  I found myself drinking a whole lotta wine and then beating myself up over it.  I was under a lot of stress as I was trying to finish up my certification for nutrition school and still needed to figure out gifts to buy for the family.

I asked myself, what am I doing that is really not necessary at this moment?  I realized it was dieting.

I stopped worrying about being so meticulous over what I ate and measuring everything out perfectly.  Having been with my health coach for 8 months I realized I very much had the hang of portions and she taught me so much about mindset and not being so hard on myself.  She helped me to accept myself as I was in that moment.

Throughout my journey as being a health coaching client, I got so much stronger and confident on the inside, it started to shine through on the outside, so much so that even I started to see it!!

I shared in my newsletter this week that when your beauty from the inside shines so brightly it touches everyone you come in contact with:

Feeling beautiful comes from the inside.  Think about it.  When someone says you are beautiful or you are a beautiful person, what does that mean?

Many times than not it means, you have expressed yourself in a loving and caring way.  You have taken time out for others and affected their life in a positive way.  It means you have smiled so brightly it warmed their heart.  It means your love shines through your eyes and lifts other’s spirits.  It means your touch has calmed anxiety or worry in someone.  It means your words have motivated others to do their best.  That my friend is being a beautiful person.

I asked my inner circle to respond and to tell me what made them feel beautiful?  The responses were amazing!!  They felt the most beautiful when they were giving back to themselves, whether it be putting on a special outfit that made them feel confident stepping out into the world, getting in a good workout, or taking the time to relax and recover.  It was when they took the time to do something for them is when they felt the most beautiful.  It wasn’t when someone else did something for them.  The moral of the story is it all begins with you and how you give back to yourself.

So give it a try!  Make it a point each and every day to give back to yourself, only amazing things can come out of it!!


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I AM ENOUGH!

Mya (11)

After posting the Self-Acceptance Series at the end of April, I felt so inspired that I declared May the month of Self-Acceptance.

Why?  Because it is the largest piece of the puzzle when making life long positive changes whether it’s in personal life, business, fitness or nutrition.  Being able to accept yourself and cutting yourself some slack at times is so HUGE!!

I’ll share some personal history on how I was able to accept that I AM ENOUGH.

My mother got pregnant with me when she was a teenager, I believe in a way it was her way out of a very dysfunctional family.  She and my father married but ended up divorced before I was born.  My mother remarried and moved to Oklahoma, where she raised me and my brother for the duration of our childhoods.

By the second grade she and her then husband divorced and went onto raise us as a single mother.  I saw my father for 1 month during the summer and every other Christmas holiday.  We didn’t communicate much on the phone in between these visits.  I really longed for a relationship with my father, but his presence was not consistent, it was very sporadic.  Usually included filling my hopes so high, but crushing them with no follow through.

I didn’t have anyone close to me in Oklahoma that filled this void, I didn’t have a fatherly figure in my life at all.  Looking back this became very apparent during my teen years.  My body developed very early and all of a sudden I was receiving a lot of attention from boys.  I craved this attention so much and thrived off of it.

As I grew older, my father became extremely critical in anything I was or was not accomplishing.  Nothing was ever good enough.  When I would come to him with excitement about something, he would not acknowledge my efforts, instead he would tell me how I could have done it differently.  I always felt anything I did was not good enough in his eyes.

Growing up, children and teens are so impressionable.  I know for me, I began to believe I was not good enough.  Since my body was receiving so much attention, I thought this was the only way I would be accepted.

This thought ended up spiraling out of control.  I was obsessed with being liked by boys, so I in turn obsessed over exercise and restricting food. I eventually broke free from this obsession, but my self-acceptance part was still lacking.

I landed in several relationships that just were not right for me because I lacked self-confidence and was scared to not be in a relationship.

So how did I overcome making poor choices from the need of being accepted?

I finally took a long hard look at my life and decided I simply don’t accept it for myself.  I was sick and tired of feeling gross in my skin.  Changes needed to be made but I knew no one else could do it for me.  Trust me I tried that route, only major disappointment is involved.

Mantra Enough

A few things had to occur: 

  • I walked away from my father for over 2 years
  • I ended a very toxic relationship with someone who was only interested in me for sex
  • I chose not to be in any relationship until I was fully confident in myself and who I was
  • I started eating to nourish my body  
  • I started lifting heavy weights

So much self-work was done.  I was finally investing in myself for all the right reasons.

I did not allow my father to come back into my life until I felt emotionally strong enough.  To this day I have boundaries.  He too has grown and learned from this experience.  I don’t blame him for what I have gone through after all he was a teenager when I was born and my mother moved us to a different state when I was just a toddler. 

This is life and we are all dealt our hand of issues.  I could have blamed all my problems on my childhood and used it as a crutch not to grow as a person or I could choose NOT to be a victim of circumstances.   I am not a victim.

When I finally believed I AM ENOUGH, a whole new world and opportunities opened up for me.  I love my body and all the amazing things it does for me daily.  How selfish would I be to not give back and help it thrive?

So in order for me to get to this place, I had to get so fed up with myself and my choices.  I had to accept responsibility for my actions.  I had to learn, grow and change.

And I thank GOD that I did!!

So what is stopping you from believing YOU ARE ENOUGH? 

Think about it, deal with the issues and start becoming the best you possible!!  You absolutely deserve it!!

 


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#strongertogether #liftingyourmindandbody #iamenough

 

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Cardio vs Weights, which is better?

When you think about losing weight and start to think about exercise, what is the first thing that pops into your mind?  Let me guess….is it cardio?  How do you feel about cardio?  Do you love it or do you hate it?

I am not about to bash cardio, I would just like to put it into its perspective place.

When you set off on your exercise journey, most start utilizing either the treadmill, elliptical or spin bike.  Many start running (I did) and see great results.  Starting off with a goal of 1 mile, then 2, next 3 and so on.  In order to keep seeing results you have to go longer and harder.  Ever wonder why you have to keep increasing time or distance when cardio is your main source of exercise?  This is because the body adapts very quickly.

Time and time again I hear people say, I just need to start doing cardio to lose the excess pounds, then I will start working out with weights.   And my response is, your best option is BOTH… right now!  Start strength training at the level you are at and add in cardio a couple times a week.  Their response is….OH REALLY?? 

So many are shocked that I don’t agree with the cardio first phenomenon.  It has been drilled in our brains for so long that in order to lose weight you must do cardio, cardio, cardio.

Here’s where the perspective comes in…..

Cardio does not build muscle.  When doing long bouts of cardio as your main source of exercise, it ends up using muscle for energy. 

Now imagine you have reached your weight loss goal with cardio and you are ready to start building muscle.  This is where frustration sets in because any muscle you did have has dwindled down to almost nothing. 

You go into the gym and pick up the weight you think you should be able to lift and it feels crazy heavy!  You go ahead and push through your workout but the next day you can’t walk properly (feeling a bit bowlegged) or can’t lift your arm because your muscles are so freaking sore! 

Recovery takes many days and you are feeling defeated.  You’re reconsidering the whole building muscle thing.  You think, maybe I should just go back to cardio??  Back to what my body is comfortable with…..

Isn’t it crazy that in all aspects of our lives, many of us are so resistant to change?  You’d rather continue doing something that no longer serves you instead of trying something new. 

What doesn’t change remains the same….

Since our bodies are very adaptive, just like with cardio the body will adapt very quickly to strength training.  If you continue, each week you will get stronger.  You will notice with each exercise you no longer struggle lifting the weight you began with.  This is an indication it’s time to increase the weight.  Remember what doesn’t change remains the same…..

The difference between strength training vs cardio is if you do 30-45 minutes of strength training 3-4 times a week, the duration does not change.  There’s no need to increase the time, what does change is the weight each week and your STRENGTH increases!!  If you are solely relying on cardio, overtime you will be putting in many hours a day, several times a week.  Who has time to workout for 2+ hours a day?  I know I do not!

Let’s go over the pros and cons of both

Cardio vs Weights

So how can you have the best of both worlds and not spend hours upon hours in the gym working out several times a day?

Honestly it’s VERY simple!  You need both strength training and cardio, but cardio should not be the main focus.  Think of it as a way to spice up your workouts, you sprinkle it in.

The best way is to incorporate cardio into your strength training by doing circuits.

What does this look like?

Take 4-6 exercises split between upper and lower body and complete all before resting.  Rest for as long as you need to catch your breath and go 3 more rounds.  This will have your heart pumping and you’ll be sweating!!  The result = build muscle, burn fat and get in cardio too!

You’ll spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour with a warm up and cool down.  Strength training 3-4 times per week with an additional 2 days of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or your choice of cardio for a max of 15-20 minutes and take several nice leisure walks a week to relax and distress.  This setup will give you the results you want and extra time to enjoy LIFE!

Each body is different and it will take some experimenting to find that “sweet spot”.  But what I do know is over exercising whether it is cardio, strength training or both can back fire.  Your body will fight back if it does not have proper rest and recovery.

Too often I see people spending hours upon hours in the gym only to look the same year after year.  And they think it means they have to push themselves even harder.  But this isn’t true, they just haven’t figured out what works best for their body.

Exercise really isn’t an option if you want to maintain your overall health.  The point is to find the right combination that you can sustain and you actually enjoy.  Once you hit your “sweet spot” it’s really hard to find anything else that will lift your spirit and give you instant energy like a great work out does.  This is where lifestyles change.

Start listening to your body!!

Our body is extremely great at communicating what it needs, we just need to listen up!

When your body is screaming for rest, it doesn’t mean push harder, it means rest and recover.

When your body is responding in hunger pains, it doesn’t mean restrict food, it means fuel your body.

When your mood is horrible and you are feeling depressed, it doesn’t mean go eat a carton of ice cream, it means go get in a great workout and you will feel better.

Remember the key is consistency and balance, you can spend all this time working out, but if you are still eating like crap and relying heavily on carbs, well……… You must get your nutrition in check too!

We only have one body, let’s serve it well so that we can get back to enjoying our lives!

Workout smarter NOT harder!!!

***Grab your copy of my Top 10 Weekend “On the Go” Snack Ideas and Tips***

How many times have you been out and about on the weekend running errands or having fun with your friends/family only to end up crashing hard and feeling “hangry”??

I know I have and that is why I started implementing energy dense snacks while on the go.  This has been a game changer for me in a few different ways.  My energy level is stable throughout the day and I tend to stay on track with my nutrition goals during the weekend.

So often we “fall off the wagon” during the weekend due to lack of planning, being out of our normal routine and getting way past the point of hungry.  We start reaching for anything and everything in sight without even thinking.

It doesn’t have to be this way!!  Grab your copy of my Top 10 Weekend “On the Go” Snack Ideas and Tips by clicking here.  It’s FREE!!!

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Diet Mindset: Fast and Extreme or Slow and Steady?

When was the last time you said, I just want to maintain my weight?  For most of us never!  We are always looking to lose weight and for very few of us is the goal ever to gain weight.

However, as the years go by and with each diet that we try, we seem to just keep gaining more weight and not losing it.  We jump from trying to find that perfect diet to exercising like a maniac.  Yet we cannot seem to find the right balance.

We try diet after diet, constantly looking for the quicker fix.  Diet pills, wraps, 3 day jump starts, 21 day detoxes, anything to get us moving in the right direction.  Sure they work at first, mainly losing water weight, but over time we find that we cannot sustain the current fad diet or the quick fixes.  So we stop and watch the weight come back on and then some.

Cardio worked at first, but then all of a sudden it stopped and we are baffled, so we spend another 15 minutes a day trying to get that burn.  Overtime we find ourselves doing more cardio than we ever cared to, yet it’s still not working.

We think to ourselves, ok I will just remove all the “bad” stuff from my diet.  This seems to work for about a week, then we are faced with stress or a life event and we cannot resist it.  And because we were so restrictive about removing it from our diet, we overindulge. Followed with negative thoughts and guilt that we just drank a whole bottle of wine, or gorged out on the bread or chip basket.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Diet Mindset

Hardly do we ever start with a moderate approach.  It’s literally ALL OR NOTHING!  However, this approach keeps failing us time and time again.

The answer is to NOT be so restrictive in our diets and to NOT exercise binge.  The saying is true that you cannot out train a bad diet.  And here is the reverse, nutrition will not make up for lack of exercising.  These strategies will only get you so far.  For effective and long term weight/fat loss, they MUST go hand in hand. We need to make healthier choices in our diet and move our bodies.

We are so impatient, we want results RIGHT NOW!!  Sure you can go to extreme measures and lose 20-30 pounds in a few months, but then what?  You reached your goal and think the weight will automatically stay off?  I’m sorry but it will not.  You will gain it back because you didn’t learn how to keep it off long term.  You didn’t go through the process of understanding how your body works.  And the worst part through losing the weight quickly is muscle mass is lost too. Obtaining and maintaining your desired weight takes effort, patience, learning and understanding.

The good news is that losing weight and getting in shape doesn’t have to be difficult!!

Here are a few sane and sustainable ways to start you off on the right foot of your health journey.


NUTRITON STRATEGIES

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Don’t go and eliminate the things you love, whether it be chocolate, soft drinks, wine, bread etc.  Start with a list, one side being Non-Negotiable and the other side Not Important.  Start listing foods under each section.  The Non-Negotiable side, you will find a way to work in regularly but in moderation.  The Not Important side you will start replacing immediately with healthier options.  (A few of my Non-Negotiables – wine, vodka, pizza and chocolate)  Restricting never works long term!!!


IMPLEMENT PORTION CONTROL

This goes both ways, as some do not eat enough during the day and some eat more than they should.  Both will contribute to the scale not budging in the direction you want it to.

For those who are not eating much during the day and thinking the less food they take in will result in weight loss, I have bad news for you.  When you are not hitting your daily requirement for just normal daily activities, your body enters into starvation mode.

Now imagine packing on exercise while not eating enough, your body digs down even deeper to hold on to any energy sources that it can.  You would have to work really hard to override starvation mode and if you did the outcome is not positive! Your body will start to shut down.  We need food to fuel our bodies, not deprive them.

When you are eating more than the energy you are expending, weight gain is the result.  This too has health risks and puts a strain on our organs, joints and immune system.

To begin working on portion control, here are some great tips:

  • For women aim for 1 palm full of lean protein at each meal.  For men aim for 2 palm fulls of protein at each meal
  • Load up on the colorful veggies and incorporate a variety of fruits.
  • Include whole carbs such as potato, rice, legumes at each meal, start with a hand cupped full
  • Work in a couple of snacks a day, protein shake, yogurt, nuts, jerky, etc
  • Balance out your fats, strive for 1/3 Saturated, 1/3 Monounsaturated and 1/3 Polyunsaturated
  • Enjoy your non-negotiables in moderation – if you are used to drinking 2 glasses of wine a night, cut back to 1.  If you eat a whole chocolate bar a day, trying having half.

Also recognize how your treats serve you.  Do they relieve stress or a negative emotion?  Recognizing why helps tremendously in finding alternate solutions, so that when you do reach for your treats it is simply because you want to enjoy the taste.  When this occurs and emotions are removed, you’ll find more enjoyment and it will take less to satisfy you.


MOVE YOUR BODY

As we get older exercise is even more important than when we were younger.  Each year as no exercise occurs we continue to lose muscle mass and strength.  Our bodies require movement and plays a huge role in having a healthy immune system.  (Knock on wood, it’s been at least 2+ years since I have been sick)

There are many ways to increase strength and muscle mass without joining a gym or owning a ton of equipment.  If you are a beginner use bodyweight or resistance band exercises.  A set of dumbbells, a kettlebell in a few different pounds, a pull up bar that fits in the door frame and a stability ball is a great start.

Strength training 3-4 times a week for 30-45 min will do wonders for your body.  Instead of focusing on cardio alone, work it into your strength training.  Take 4-5 different exercises 2 upper body, 2 lower body and maybe 1 core and set a timer for 30 seconds for each exercise and do 4 rounds.  Tell me you are not sweating and huffing and puffing after 4 rounds, I dare you!! 🙂

Most importantly each week, concentrate on getting stronger.  Do not stick with 5 pound dumbbells.  Rule of thumb, if you can get in 10-12 reps each set with no problem, it’s time to increase the weight.  Once you increase, you’ll do as many reps as you can, working on increasing the reps each week until it’s time to increase weight again.  Constantly evaluate and challenge yourself.

Take relaxing leisure walks, this is so amazing for reducing stress and centering yourself.


DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF

I get it!  I have fully experienced this…. You find yourself at the highest weight you have ever been at. You constantly have negative thoughts and beat yourself up for how you feel and look. You question why you would let yourself get so out of shape or how did this happen to you??

For most it’s called LIFE, we put everyone and everything else before ourselves.  Mothers are especially guilty of this.  We get so caught up in the busyness that we are always eating on the go or relying on quick dinners that usually come out of a box.

Where you are now, well it just is what it is.  You cannot change your past, but you most definitely can change your future.

Acknowledge where you are now and start with a clean slate going forward. Do away with the shame and start making better choices that will lead to you feeling amazing!!  No one else can make the decision for you.

  • You have a choice to make simple yet effective changes in your diet
  • You have a choice to set aside at least 30 minutes a day to move your body
  • You have a choice to stop blaming others for the situations you are in
  • You have a choice to own your mistakes and learn from them. 
  • You have a choice not to live on your phone in the land of social media (We all know how much time that sucks out of a day)

YOU HAVE CHOICES EVERYDAY TO BETTER YOURSELF!

So let’s ditch the quick fixes, fad diets and let’s learn how to nourish and move our bodies in a way that give us energy for LIFE!

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What are Macros?

If you were given a specific caloric number to meet on a daily basis, would you know how to balance each calorie with protein, fat and carbs?  No?

It’s ok, not many of us do and this is why our diets are so off balance and causing a host of health issues.

The body is an amazing well-oiled machine that instinctively knows how to break down and transport each macronutrient to fuel and repair our bodies.  But what happens when we do not give our bodies the right balance of nutrients?  It puts a strain on our whole system and eventually breaks.

We see this all the time, it’s seems like out of nowhere you start feeling bad.  After months and months of feeling horrible you finally give in and go to the doctor and receive a diagnoses of diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease, etc.

This did not happen overnight, but through the course of years of an unbalanced diet.  You are faced to look back, reflect and realize you have not felt your best in a VERY long time.   Most health issues point back to diet being either unbalanced or intolerant to certain foods.

Our bodies give us signals, yet we ignore and keep trying to push through our day, week, month or year.  Until the warning signs are so big and prominent that we cannot ignore any longer.

I am not trying to use scare tactics here, just stating the facts.  I sincerely want to help you turn your health back around so that you can feel amazing, have more energy and simply enjoy LIFE!

Are you ready?

Awesome, let’s get to work!

In previous blogs I wrote about the importance of protein, how to determine if your diet is carb dominate and how to balance the different types of fats.

So what are Macronutrients (Macros) and why are they important?

Macros are broken into three categories:

Each category represents a specific number for gram per calorie, not all calories are represented the same.  For example there are 4 grams of protein per calorie, 4 grams of carbs per calorie and 9 grams of fat per calorie.

Next up is to figure out how many calories you need on a daily basis to achieve your goal.  Is your goal weight loss, maintenance or weight gain?  Click here to access a calculator to determine your daily calories needs.

To determine activity level click on calculate button and use the (i) icons for explanations:

Physical Activity

Physical Activity 1

Once you have determined your total daily calorie needs, it’s time to break it down per body type.

Each body type handles macros differently and will have different percentages per macros.

Please click here (scroll to midsection) to determine your body type.  Based on your body type you will split your total daily calorie intake into the following percentages:

Ecto

Meso

Endo

After you have broken down calories by the percentages, you will then divide each macro to determine the number of grams.

Here’s an example:

  • Gender:  Female
  • Height: 5’6
  • Weight:  170
  • Body Type:  Mesomorphic
  • Activity Level:  Sits most of the day at job and strength trains 3-4 times a week (1.8)
  • Goal: Weight Loss (20 lbs. in 6 months

Based on the calculator this person’s daily caloric intake to lose weight is 2,082

Multiply total calories by the percentages listed above for mesomorphic

  • Protein:  2,082 x 30% = 625 calories / 4 grams per calories = 156g
  • Carbs:  2,082 x 40% = 833 calories / 4 grams per calorie = 208g
  • Fats:  2,082 x 30 = 625 calories / 9 grams per calorie = 69g

Macros per day:

  • Protein:  156g
  • Carbs:  208g
  • Fat:  69g

The macros are balanced out per body type and activity level to achieve optimal health and performance.

What if you took the calories of 2,082 and filled them with approximately 8.5 bagels?

Bagel Macros

Here’s what the macros would look like:

  • Protein:  85g
  • Carbs:  408g
  • Fat:  17g

Do you see how off balanced this would be?  But here’s my point, while most do not consume 8 ½ bagels in a day, most do consume mainly carbs.  The comparison would be the same.

Protein is under by 71g, carbs are doubled and fat is under by 52g.  While this person is consuming the same amount of calories, they would be experiencing fatigue, weight gain and health issues.

This is exactly why you should never count calories, if you choose to count anything COUNT YOUR MACROS!!


I have talked a lot about My Fitness Pal (MFP) and would like to show you how to set it up once you have created an account.

Please note if you have calculated your activity through the calculator above, there is no need to log your exercise on MFP as your activity level is already taken into account with your calorie calculations.

Under main menu, choose Goals –> Nutrition Goals –> Calorie and Macronutrients

MFP Macros

Click on any of the macros and it will bring up percentages, adjust the percentage according to your body type, enter calories last and save changes.

If you are using the app on your phone, hit the check mark on the top right corner, then go back and enter calories and save.

Once you have entered your food intake into your food dairy, you can view the total nutrition to see results:

Nutrition Results

The great thing about MFP, is it stores your food choices and overtime you will have developed a library so to speak of foods you can add easily.

You can also use the bar scanner when using the app on your phone to add food.  You can search for different foods by measurements in terms of ounces, grams, tsp, tbsp. etc.  And many restaurant menus are available to search as well.


I feel this information is too valuable to keep only to my coaching clients and feel very strongly everyone should have this information available to them.

I sincerely urge you to pay attention to your body, listen to what it is telling you.  Are you healthy and feeling great or are you struggling and on the verge of illness?

I hope this information has encouraged you to “lift your mind and body” and take action today!

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