Tag Archives: #nutrition

Obsessed….One Week In!

80 Days.

80 freaking long days.

Earlier this week I started a new fitness program that will last exactly that long, and I had no idea what to expect. I have lots of friends and team members that were already a week in, so it is nice that they are able to give me a little heads up on what was about to happen, but I still was relatively clueless. Since I am learning as I go, I will be doing a weekly wrap up on the program each Sunday to let you know what to expect in the event you are thinking about giving it a go or simply want to support me on my journey.

So what is this program? It is an 80 day workout program created by Autumn Calabrese (you may remember her from a little program called 21 Day Fix). Each day features a different workout, and utilizes weights, resistance loops, and sliders. When it comes to nutrition, this program is the most precise and specific I have ever seen, combining timed nutrition and portion control.

I was extremely excited to get started with this program, and I was heartbroken when I was told by my doctor that I wasn’t cleared to begin the program last week when it launched. My pneumonia was still lingering, and I was also battling acute bronchitis. After some additional medicine, more rest, and desk duty at the studio, I was finally cleared the end of the week to begin this past Monday.

I know many of you follow me on social media and know that I’m always doing a program, but I will be honest….I don’t always go ALL IN. Working out for me is something I need daily for my mental health, and since I am a huge supporter of balance, I refuse to give up the foods I really love, like donuts, tacos, and pizza. Everything is ok in moderation in my book. However, when I decided to do this program, I knew it was one that I had no choice but to go all in with. The other programs I do….I have completed them by following the workouts and nutrition 100%, so I know they how they work and how to coach others to success with them, which is why now I dont always follow them 100% now. I know what I can do with them if I do commit 100%. With 80 day obsession though, I do not, so I committed. Hardcore committed. Remember, this isn’t just about me getting results….it’s about me helping the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of clients I have get them, too, and I can’t give them the best info if I half assed the program!

Since I was already well aware that some of my favorite foods would not be part of this meal plan, I had a lovely farewell weekend to some of my favorite foods before I began Monday….and when I say farewell, I truly mean I celebrated them in style. Saturday afternoon I enjoyed a philly cheesesteak and fries, Saturday night I got my favorite grilled cheese from Melt Bar and Grilled (the Mighty Macaroni in case you were wondering) and Mochi, Sunday morning I met two of my besties for brunch at Townhall for eggs benedict and sweet potato pancakes, and I rounded out the weekend by getting a half dozen of my favorite donuts from The Vegan Doughnut Company. Ive blogged about this company before, so you already know I love them, but my love for them has continued to grow. Kyra and Kharisma hooked me up with special donuts that said “80 Days”, perfect for my final donut meal for awhile. You better believe I will be having them make me some special donuts once this 80 day journey is up!

Needless to say, my before photos were pretty cute. I have a gluten intolerance AND a dairy intolerance, so that mighty macaroni grilled cheese hung around for a few days and made me look about 30 months pregnant.

The meal plan was what I was most nervous about coming into this challenge. I had never done timed nutrition and didn’t know how it would fit into my lifestyle. But, after a week in, I can tell you I really made it a bigger deal than it was. Since I was eating about 5 small meals a day before, I realized I was kind of already doing timed nutrition without me knowing. The only difference: I used to do fasted cardio every day, and with 80 day I needed a pre workout meal. Here’s a look at my meal plan for the week! Can I tell you how obsessed I am with the spinach bacon quinoa muffins??!!!!

Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 10.02.33 AM.jpg

If you want me to email you this planner, send me your email through the contact form!

I created my own meal planner that helped me visually stay on track, and as you can see, nothing is too strange when it came to what I ate. Most of those foods I was already eating! Another difference: I added in the performance line.

When it came to getting groceries, I shopped at my two main stores, Aldi and Whole Foods 365. I usually spend about $40 a week on groceries, and I stayed right around that, so don’t tell me you have to shuck out all this $$$$ to make this program work. There are thousands of recipes out there that you can make work with your taste buds/wallet/family. And that cost for the week did include me snagging some purple cauliflower for the upcoming week’s plan, and that mochi i enjoyed Saturday night.

Let’s get to the nitty gritty though regarding my Week One thoughts/feelings/suggestions:

NUTRITION: As I mentioned, this isn’t as bad as you may think. My biggest piece of advice: PLAN. If you know you are on the go, bring an insulated cooler and your meals with you to stay on track and resist temptations. Monday our kickboxing studio had a DJ event with lots of tasty treats. I was thankful I had my meals with me so I could say NO a hell of a lot easier. I was PREPARED. Be prepared, too.

If you aren’t used to several small meals, you may not be hungry when it’s time to eat, but you make it work. Trust me, it gets easier. And MEAL PREP! You know how I feel about this….you have to make it a part of your weekly routine, especially for this program!

Should you change up the meal plan if you don’t like how the containers are broken down? NO. You need to follow this as Autumn structured it. She did it the way it is for a reason! Trust the process, and stick to the plan!

Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 10.11.32 AM.jpg
The Performance Line: Several people have asked me “Do I really need to use that?” My answer: F*%k YES!!!!!!!!!!!! I have always used the preworkout and think it is the best on the market, but I had only dabbled with our recovery drink and overnight recharge formula. However, I knew coming into this program and talking to my friends who were in the test group that you absolutely need it, no ifs, ands, or buts. This program is designed to really kick your fitness up a notch and is treating you like an athlete. You, in turn, need to fuel your body like an athlete does.

I will tell you this……I had miscalculated how much Recovery  I had on hand (the protein drink you consume within 30 minutes of working out for muscle repair), and I also did with the Recharge, too (I know, what a slacker). Going into Day 3 my muscles were killing me from not having the Recharge the night before while I slept, and after the workout my body ached from not having the Recovery. I’m almost glad I ran out to see how greatly they are needed and what a difference they make. Thankfully, my shipment came later that day, and I was back to normal. If you are doing this program without the performance line, we need to talk, because you 1,000,000% should not be doing it without them.

The Workouts: Are they hard? YESSSSSSS. By no means do I recommend this to a beginner, and it is a HARD NOOOOOOOO  to anyone pregnant. Since I am coming off my stint with pneumonia, I did modify a lot, and that was still challenging. Are they rewarding though? Absolutely. Even though they are challenging and I cuss the whole time, I feel so much satisfaction when the workouts are done. I already feel stronger and see changes in my body. I like that. I like that a lot.

Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 9.59.33 AM

Water: You need need need to be drinking water like a camel. Hydration is so important.

Throughout this 80 day journey, I am doing something a little different. I’m taking a photo of myself every single day to show you all the progression. So often people will post a before and after and say shit like “that’s photoshopped” and I’m going to show you it’s not. I’m also going to show you that things don’t happen overnight. I can’t wait to show them to you all in 73 days. I’m also taking measurements and weighing myself each Monday to track what’s going on.

I’m excited about this journey, and I’m really proud to report in Week One I did not cheat on the meal plan ONCE! New program, new meal plan, who dis? I’m still thinking about my bff donut though…..

But that doesn’t mean the struggle isn’t well……

Here’s what else I have to say about week one:

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

Time to Fly.

Back in July our company announced the release of a brand new program, Core de Force, that would be launching the beginning of November. Of course, I was over the moon excited.

I always love the release of a new program because it is a new challenge for me, and since I want to educate my clients properly I always do them so I can offer advice and support. This one, being an MMA inspired program, was definitely something I had little experience with but loved the concept of. All I knew was that it would be 30 days in length with workouts ranging in length from 16 minutes to 47, and that it required no equipment.

I was even more excited about the release date, which fell at the very beginning of November. November, by far, is the hardest month for me, and I knew this year in particular would be extremely difficult. The middle of the month brought my grandmother’s birthday, and it would be the first time in my entire 35 years on this planet that we did not get to celebrate with her. A few short days later would mark the one year anniversary of the passing of my father.

I miss my dad and grandma every single day, but just knowing these particular dates were approaching meant that I had to find a way to attack this difficult time. The old me would’ve eaten my feelings…..like wheels of brie cheese and stuffed crust pizzas and ice cream out the ying yang….and I didn’t want that to happen. For some reason these past couple of months I have been a lot angrier at the fact that my dad was taken from our family so young, and to me, a program that allowed me to get out my aggression would be just the perfect solution.

Enter Core de Force.I was determined to make this workout my saving grace as emotionally I was falling apart.

For 30 days I channeled my inner bad ass. I completed workouts that involved Muay Thai, Capoeira, and Jiu Jitsu, and I documented everything on The Sparkle Fitness Babe. Each day I shared with my followers a snippet of the workout I had just done as well as pow punch picture with the day. I NEEDED to document this program this way….I needed my followers to keep me accountable if it was getting late and my video wasn’t up yet. People often give us coaches crap for posting our selfies or our workouts or our meals on social media, but you know what? We use social media as our workout diary….this is what keeps US on track. It might not be your bag, but to me I need to know someone will call me out if they don’t see me post about a workout….and I like to track my progress this way. Don’t be afraid to share when you get your sweat on…or eat something fabulous…if people hate on you for holding yourself accountable then they have no business being in your life.

Screen Shot 2016-12-22 at 7.09.20 PM.png

30 Days of Accountability, one punch at a time.

When I started this program I wasn’t sure if I would like it, but I hoped deep down I would. I love any workout with high intensity, which I knew this program had, but I worried some of the moves wouldn’t be up my alley.

I was wrong.

Every day I felt challenged by this program. Every day I felt stronger. Every day my technique got better. I looked forward to my workouts with this program every single day, which is a rarity for me. I found that I am actually pretty good at these moves and love MMA workouts. I am now considering joining an MMA gym to further explore my new love.

My favorite workout: MMA Plyo. My least favorite: Dynamic Strength. The one workout I still throw in every so often: 5 Minute Core of the Floor….Wowsers does that burn!

Who is this program good for? Any man or woman who likes a challenging, high intensity program. I do not recommend this for beginners, though if you really wanted to challenge yourself you could do it….I just personally think this is a program you should build up to. Some of the moves were incredibly difficult for me at first, and at times I got a little discouraged, even though I knew eventually I would get the move. I’d hate for someone to start with this, get down on themselves, and quit. I personally think this is a great program to toss in for some cross training if you are a runner or if you need to add cardio to your weight lifting routine but hate cardio like running.

How did I do with the program? Overall, I am very pleased!

I always take my Before and After photos first thing in the morning, so I always look like a hot mess, but that’s okay….I didn’t even care that I have the most ridiculous derp face in my after photo.

Overall I lost 5 pounds, which was fine…I’m not really interested in losing any weight…my focus is just to tone up and get stronger so I can kick American Ninja Warrior tryouts’ ass. I lost 2 and a half inches from my waist (it has CORE in the title for a reason), plus a half inch from each thigh and one inch from my hip.

Was I perfect during this program? Hell to the NO. I did kind of eat my feelings a little bit on the anniversary of my dad’s passing….i did indulge in lots of delicious things at Thanksgiving…I did celebrate a baby shower for a friend with a cupcake or two. I’m ok with that. This journey I’m on and this coaching thing I do….it is not about perfection. It’s about balance and has its ups and downs. I had loosened up on my nutrition the few months prior, so I was glad to get my abs back after this 30 days program.

And you know what? It proved to be the best outlet for my grief and emotions during the month of November. Ever hear that saying the exercise is the best form of therapy? It’s true.

I already can’t wait to do another round of this program, which I will be starting February 7th. After completing the first round of Core, I debated if I should do back to back rounds, but I opted to jump back to one of my other favorite programs, 22 Minute Hardcorps, which is a 60 day program for some variety. Once I finish it up I will be back for another 30 days of roundhouses!

If you are someone who has been wanting to make a healthier change, but don’t know how…just know I am here to help. You don’t have to round house or throw punches like I did in this program…I literally have a solution for everyone depending on your fitness level and interests. Not only can I hook you up with a great workout program and structured meal plan, but I can plug you into one of our online groups that help you stay on track and hold you accountable.

Register for my January Challenge Group HERE!

corefinal

Remember guys…. we all have the power to get healthier and stronger. You just have to be willing to get over the excuses and make the decision to start. Starting is the hardest part…I remember how scared I was when I got my challenge bundle in the mail….how afraid I was to fail.

What if you fail?

Oh, but what if you fly??????

Screen Shot 2016-12-22 at 7.52.26 PM.png

Woohoo!! Program graduate!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Things your Beachbody Coach Wants You to Know

When I began my journey with online fitness and wellness coaching a little over three years ago , I had no clue what I was doing. I did know I was starting something incredible…but I had so many questions that I kept to myself. With so many people reaching out inquiring about programs and solutions….especially with New Year’s and resolutions looming….I wanted to take a minute to share a few things that I, as your coach (or future coach) want you to know.

1. I want to help you….and will continue to help you….long past your initial purchase. My role as your coach is to help you for as long as you need it….whether that be for a month, a program, a year, or forever. My customers always have access to one on one support and all of my challenge groups, as my goal is to help you reach whatever goals you have set for yourself. I don’t mindread though(unfortunately)….so please don’t hesitate to tell me if you need more help!

2. I want to see those sweaty selfies and pictures of your food! I read somewhere recently that one of the top reasons why people are defriended on Facebook is because they post pictures of their food. Are you serious???!!!! I am proud of my clients when they share healthy changes they are making, and it makes me sad that some people are afraid they will be the butt of other people’s jokes when they share something healthy they are doing. Let me be real: I post my sweaty selfies because I need the accountability, and I know there are people who will shoot me a message if I don’t share something about a workout to make sure things are ok. When it comes to sharing what I am eating….I hope it encourages someone to try a new recipe or get past the idea that eating healthy is difficult or bland. When you share what you are eating for dinner, my wheels are turning and I am looking at a new addition for my next meal plan.

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 8.17.47 PM.png

3. I get you free stuff! When you purchase a bundle from a coach, you get a special thank you gift….a FREE workout! Having the ability to be in my challenge groups allows you to win lots of fun prizes, and once you finish a program I help you get your free completion t-shirt! Free stuff is lovely. Don’t pretend like it isn’t. Purchasing from a coach is different from getting programs from a random site….here’s a little more about that……

4. I struggle with workouts and eating healthy, too. I think a lot of people are intimidated by working with a coach because they think they have to be perfect and never mess up a meal plan or skip a workout. WRONG! Guys, I mess up all the time! I practice a life of balance, so I eat clean 80% of the time, but sometimes I overindulge more than I want. Some mornings I don’t want to workout and press the snooze button. Some days my workouts straight up suck and I don’t give it my all. The joy of working with a coach is having accountability and someone who has solutions when these things come up. Fitness is a journey with ups and downs…we all have them….but it sure is nice to have someone in your corner when you are having a down day to help power you through it.

5. I will take you back regardless of how many times you break up with me. Life happens. You may not finish a program. You may disappear in a challenge group. You might ignore my emails checking in on your progress for a month straight. It’s ok….when you are ready to get back on track, I will take you back, no worries.I just want to help you reach whatever goal you have!

6. Yes, I really do love Shakeology. Giving this product a chance was the best thing I ever did for my health. I realized very early on that it played a HUGE part in the weight loss success I had and it is the saving grace every night when my chocolate cravings fire up.  If you are starting a program and not seeing the results you want, your nutrition needs to be looked at, and, as your coach, I am most definitely going to recommend this bad boy. Don’t compare this item to another shake…there isn’t one out there that can compare. Comparing this shake to those is like comparing the rides at DisneyWorld to the horsey ride in the food court at the mall. I don’t just talk the talk with the products Beachbody offers; I genuinely love them and value what they do for my health and longevity.

7. No, I don’t love every program Beachbody has, and I will be honest with you when it comes to them. I’m not some robot….and I am very opinionated. I’ve tried pretty much every single program we have to offer because I think it is important to know first hand what is great or not so great about a program, and I want to be able to answer any question a client has. I’ve fallen in love with many and hated some as well. My goal is to help connect you to the right program, so I will always share with you what recommendations I think would be best based on what your goals are and what you like.

8. I love what I do, and I truly want everyone to find something they love like this. I’d love everyone to be a coach, but I know it isn’t for everyone. I’m sad when people write off what I do, but I have learned that if someone feels that way they don’t really know me and what makes me tick. I live for helping others and sharing my sparkle with everyone I meet. I want to make the lives of everyone I know better in whatever way I can. It look me 32 years to find this opportunity. If you haven’t found something that lights a fire in your soul yet, maybe you are overlooking it. I’d love for you to see what I see in coaching.

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 8.17.37 PM.png

Enjoying the view from our balcony on last year’s All Expenses Paid Cruise to the Bahamas and Jamaica.

My team and I are hosting an online open house that is sharing a behind the scenes look at coaching this Sunday, the 27th. We will be answering lots more questions and sharing more of our hearts with you about why we love this business. Join us! You have nothing to lose and can see if it is something you want to learn more about! Fill out this quick form so I know to add you, and connect with me on Facebook by searching for The Sparkle Fitness Babe!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

More coconut, please!

This weekend I wrapped up my meal planning and prep early so I could watch the World Series game and get caught up on my emails. Usually I love to prep while watching a show or two (it’s a great way to motivate yourself if you know you are doing something you need to do with your health while indulging in a little tv), but tonight I didn’t want to miss a pitch!

Last week I stuck to my meal plan for the most part….which honestly was very surprising. Since yesterday would’ve been my dad’s birthday, I was fearful that I would spend the day eating my feelings because sometimes that happens with grief. Other than a piece of the little birthday cake my mom made to accompany the dinner she made (one of my dad’s favorites…..salmon burgers, green beans, and mashed sweet potatoes), I stayed on track. I’m proud of myself for that!

Here’s a look at what’s on my plate for the first week of November!

mealplanoct31

Breakfasts: My usual Southwest Cups because I just love them and an omelette tomorrow to use up the spinach I have left over. I’m trying out a new recipe this week…healthy chicken and waffles! Don’t worry, I will share if it turns out ok!

Lunches: I’m president of the Ahi Tuna fan club right now, so that’s one of my lunch options, as well as Beast Egg Salad. I think I am just in Beast mode since we announced on Saturday that THE BEAST himself, Sagi Kalev, is coming to Cleveland in January! Beast Egg Salad was one of my favorites during Body Beast. I’m also making Chicken Parm (from the Fixate cookbook) and pairing it with spaghetti squash! If you want to come to our Sagi event, you can purchase tickets HERE!

Dinners: Last week I mentioned I was making a new recipe, coconut crusted chicken. I can’t lie…it was delicious! If you love coconut, you need to try this recipe….I’m sharing it below! I’m bringing it back this week! You probably will notice the healthy chipotle bowl….yes, you can make chipotle healthy! It’s all about portions and healthier choices (Just say No to Sour Cream)!

chicken
The only thing you aren’t seeing broken down is Sunday; since I will be at my friend Jodi’s for a party I’m not sure what my options will be. However, I can tell you that I will be making wise choices and making sure I’m not abusing any containers!

This is a big week…..Core de Force launches tomorrow!!! EEK! I am so excited! Nothing helps me zero in on my nutrition like a brand new program to dedicate myself to! I cannot wait to get it and begin!

Remember….tomorrow may be Halloween, but that doesn’t mean that you should overindulge in mini candy bars. Make smart choices…those little things are the devil! And those calories add up fast!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Core de Whattttttttt? Here’s the Info you need to know!

Finally!

We are getting closer and closer to the highly anticipated release of the new home workout program Core de Force, and my excitement is off the charts!

Those who follow me on Facebook know that I have been looking forward to this since I learned of it back in July at our annual Coach Summit, and I think it is safe to say many others are as well! This program brings a fresh new perspective to home workouts by combining boxing with kickboxing and Muay Thai…who wouldn’t love that?

As a fitness and wellness coach, I am always anxious to try out a new program to see how it works and who it can best assist when it comes to my clients. For those of you who are looking to get a jump start on the holidays or are wanting a new program to shake up your workout routine, here’s a little more info on this program, set to be released on October 31st.

What is Core de Force?

As I mentioned, a mix of Muay Thai, kickboxing, and boxing inspired this workout, which requires ZERO equipment….just your body. Core de Force is a month long program, and the daily workouts feature three minute rounds that include cardio spikes, bodyweight training, boxing moves, combo moves, and Muay Thai. Workouts vary in time between 30 minutes and 45 minutes, and there are multiple workouts you rotate between during the course of the program. These workouts include: MMA Shred, MMA Speed, MMA Power, MMA Plyo, Dynamic Strength, Power Sculpt, MMA Mashup, and Core on the Floor. You also have an Active Recovery workout to help your body recover and a Core de Relief 5 minute stretch session before bed. There are three additional advanced workouts once you complete the program that can you choose to include: MMA Kick Butt, Agility Power, and Agility Strength,

What is Muay Thai?

Developed in Thailand over a thousand years ago, Muay Thai focuses on uses the entire body as a weapon utilizing close-combat techniques. Rooted in ancient boxing, its purpose was to assist soldiers when they became disarmed using an eight point system: feet, knees, fists, and elbows. In time it developed into a popular sport.

Who is the trainer?

Trainers….you get two! Joel Freeman and Jericho McMatthews! Recognize these guys? If you ever gave Les Mills a shot you do!

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-1-01-00-am

Photo Courtesy of Beachbody.

Who should do Core de Force?

Everyone!!!! As with the rest of Beachbody’s programs, there is a modifier for the program if you are a beginner, so don’t be afraid of trying it. As you get stronger, you can increase the intensity  and speed of your workouts. This is a great program for anyone who likes boxing, wants to tone up (especially in the core), or loves intensity…….I’m raising my hand because we all know I love intense workouts.

Screen Shot 2016-10-21 at 2.21.52 AM.png

You can do this! You just have to be willing to start!

What kind of meal plan comes with Core de Force?

Core de Force follows the portion fix, so my 21 Day Fix, 22 Minute Hardcorps, and Cize graduates will have no issues adjusting to this plan. You won’t get a set of portion containers with the program, but I can help you order them if you need the set or want more! The food plan is very easy to follow, but don’t worry…if you get confused I am here to help you with all of it.

Is there any way to try it?

YES! There was a sneak peek earlier in the month, but there’s some good news….you can try it out again on October 24th! How? If you are a Beachbody On Demand subscriber, you already have access! If you haven’t tried it, it’s super easy…..Click Here to get your free 30 day trial. On Demand is my best friend….since I am on the go a lot I love having access to all of my workout programs on my iPad, cell phone, or laptop. It’s also the best bang for your buck if you are shoppertunistic like me!

Check out my sneak peek at Core de Force here!

Where can I buy this program?

From a Team Beachbody Coach! If you don’t have one already, I would love to help you! As your coach, I am able to link arms with you virtually and help you from start to finish as you begin this program regardless of where you are located. We can craft meal plans together, establish an accountability plan to keep you on track, even grocery shop and meal prep together if you are close. My support goes far beyond the Core de Force program; as your coach you gain exclusive access to all of my online groups for as long as you need them and me. I can also help you save money on the products you love that can help you on your journey!

How much does this program cost?

There are several options when purchasing the Core de Force program, but the best option for you when it comes to value and results is the bundled package, which is available to you on October 31st. With the bundled package you get:

-The entire Core de Force workout program
-Nutrition Guide
-A month of Shakeology in the flavor(s) of your choice
-Core de Force program guide
-30 Days of Beachbody on Demand
-Access to unlimited one on one coach support

 

Interested in this awesome new workout?

I would like to invite you to be a part of my exclusive Core de Force test group that will kick off on November 7th! I love test groups because they are a way for me to be right beside my challengers experiencing a program for the first time. I haven’t led one since Master’s Hammer and Chisel released last year….so to say I am ready for this is an understatement.

What are the requirements for the test group?

-All participants will commit to both the Core de Force program and Shakeology to be in the group.

-Each participant will have ME as their coach. If you are working with another coach already, I encourage you to reach out to them so they can plug you into one of their groups. Sorry, no coaches, please.

-You will participate in my private online Facebook group and be willing to log your workouts and daily food activity so I can best assist you in achieving the results you want.

***All test group participants will get a special gift from me: Beachbody Energize…my favorite pre workout and one that you most definitely will want while doing Core de Force!

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-2-23-31-am

I cannot wait to help you get started using this program and look forward to helping you reach your goals. Stop giving into your excuses, stop feeling like you can’t…..this is your chance to make positive changes that can help you in so many ways. BELIEVE YOU CAN BE HEALTHIER AND HAPPIER. I’m here to help you get there.

If you are interested in being one of the selected participants in my Core de Force test group, please complete the following form. All participants will be notified by October 30th so you can order all of your tools the minute they go on sale October 31st.

I can’t wait for this….and I can’t wait to help you!

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Last Straw

I knew this blog post would have to happen. I just knew it!

Yesterday I shared with my followers over at The Sparkle Fitness Babe that I had found a three pack of stainless steel straws during my Starbucks stop and was beyond excited! I had been looking for some this week and was very happy to randomly find them while I was getting my caffeination on. Since stainless steel straws aren’t super popular yet, I knew I would have a bunch of people asking me why I wanted them and what the deal is with them.
Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 10.45.06 AM.jpg
This blog is for you, questioners of the straws.

As we know, I pay a lot of attention to my health and the quality of things I put in my body. Something that is just HUGE to me that I have been working hard to eliminate: chemicals. Something that is also pretty huge to me: lipstick. Yes, I love wearing it, and I don’t always want to mess up cups with my “Katie was here” lipstick marks, especially when I am drinking my frothy daily Shakeology….milkshake mustaches and bright pink lipstick shades can be messy! Because of that, I have always been a straw gal. Prior to this purchase I was using biodegradable  paper straws.

Reasons why I opt for stainless steel straws (say that five times fast):

-They are reusable so you are eliminating waste. I really try my best to do little things daily that can help impact the environment in a positive way. By eliminating the use of plastic straws I am eliminating the daily tossing of plastic, so they are better for the environment. They are also extremely durable and unbreakable, meaning they will live a long and happy life in my kitchen cupboard.

-They are cost effective. A three pack of stainless straws from Starbucks runs you $5.95. A twelve pack of plastic straws from Target costs about $3. Those, obviously, are for a one time use. I can use my stainless straws over and over and over and over, saving me money. When I was using the biodegradable straws, six straws would cost me $2.

-They are chemical free. Many plastics have traces of BPA and Phthalates, toxic chemicals that can harm your body. Stainless steel: none. They are BPA free and non toxic.

-I love how they look. There are other kinds of great reusable straws on the market, such as glass straws or bamboo straws, but I just love the look of stainless and prefer those over the others.

You may not be a straw person, and that’s ok, but if you are I recommend going a more eco friendly route and trying stainless!

Off for my daily straw and shake date! Have a happy Friday, friends!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Healthier Coffee for all!

I love coffee.

I love coffee a lot.

In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s my blood type.

Over the years my coffee style has evolved. Back in the day I actually hated it….yes, you heard right. I hated it. If I needed a boost I opted for pop instead of coffee. The taste of coffee was just….ugh! I’m not sure when I actually decided I liked coffee, but I can’t believe I used to choose that carbonated nastiness over my now favorite beverage!

In the beginning I would load my coffee up with flavored creamer and sugar to disguise the taste, then slowly started to cut back on all of those “add ins” I put into my cup. When I became a health and fitness coach, I started to pay more attention to how I was fueling my body. The creamers I loved….I was sad to find out how bad they were for me, but I knew that I couldn’t drink my coffee black. What in the world could I substitute for the fabulosity I had been using?

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 3.34.17 PM

Here are some healthier alternatives to keep your coffee flavored and tasting great without loading it with unnecessary calories:

Coconut Oil and Extract: Coconut Oil has about a million uses, so I was excited when I added it to my coffee! Besides smelling like a beach,  coconut oil is great for boosting your immune system, increasing energy, and speeding up your metabolism! All you do is add one teaspoon of coconut oil, a splash of extract if you prefer (I love hazelnut), and blend in a blender or with an immersion blender. It makes it nice and frothy with a kick of extra flavor!

Coconut Oil and Unsalted Grassfed Butter: Also known as Bulletproof Coffee, I wasn’t sure how I felt about putting butter on anything besides toast, especially because I had read many articles sharing reasons NOT to drink bulletproof coffee.  However, I had read articles that shared how having your healthy fat early in the morning helped with focus and mental clarity, so I figured I would see for myself what the fuss was about. Blending the ingredients in with your coffee created a delicious latte , but I wasn’t a fan of cutting out other areas of my breakfast due to the nutritional content of the butter. Some people love this and drink it daily; my only recommendation is to do your research to see if it aligns with your current meal plan/diet.

Almond Milk/ Coconut Milk Creamer: I always have these on hand for my shakes so from a cost effective standpoint, I don’t need to purchase anything additional to flavor my coffee. Using a splash in your coffee with a bit of Stevia is a great way to add a little sweetness without the calorie overload (Sidenote: Stevia is all natural and a better alternative to sugar, but don’t use much…it is much sweeter than sugar).

Cinnamon: Replace your creamer with a teaspoon of cinnamon. This is my new favorite recipe, and it has a bunch of health benefits! Not only does it save you over 75 calories a cup, but adding cinnamon can help reduce cholesterol and blood sugar. Pay attention next time you are at Starbucks….you’ll see a cinnamon shaker at the coffee stand!

Make your own creamer: I used to follow the recipes for homemade creamer from Deliciously Organic, only I would use almond milk in place of the heavy cream. Making your own allows you to control everything that is in your creamer and the recipes make a ton!

Remember, everything is okay in moderation. Sometimes I indulge in regular coffee creamer (I love the Nestle Coffeemate Samoa flavor), but I don’t go overboard. Make smart choices…you don’t want to drink all of your calories!

All this coffee talk has me needing to brew another cup……or hit the coffee shop!

Happy Caffeinating!

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 3.34.36 PM

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Brownie Points!

My love affair with chocolate is not something I have ever hidden. In fact, I’ve always embraced it. Why hide such a wonderful thing that brings so much joy to others????

When I started making healthier changes to my life back in 2013, I knew that my relationship with chocolate needed to have some boundaries…..more like the occasional visitation. The one thing I think people are surprised to learn about me is how important balance is in my life. Yes, I love living healthy and making quality choices with what I put into my body, however, I believe very strongly that you should never cut things you love completely out of your diet…..I feel like that only leads to bingefests and bad decisions. Instead, I believe you should balance your choices. Do I eat pizza and chocolate every day? Absolutely not. But do I deprive myself of them? Nope. I’ve just learned that having a slice or two of pizza with some salad is a much better option than eating a whole pizza, and I’m ok with that.

Over time I’ve learned healthier adaptations for the foods I used to binge on. Some people may roll their eyes and think that there is no way cauliflower pizza crust is any good, but trust me. Some of the healthier recipes I have come across or created I actually prefer over the original. Yes, you heard right!

Back to my love affair with chocolate…..how amazing is the brownie? Of all the treats in the world, brownies (especially my mother’s) have always ranked in my top favorites. For a long time they were the one treat I had failed countless times in finding a healthy alternative.

That is no longer the case.

I’d like to enter into the discussion my old friend, the black bean. I’ve written about them previously and think they are one seriously underestimated item in your cabinet. Awhile back I stumbled across a brownie recipe where black beans were used. I was open minded to the taste, thinking the black beans would be noticeable but that they would still be okay.

My apologies to the recipe for thinking it would be just “okay.” These brownies were incredible! Here’s how you make them!

Before you begin making the brownies, you must follow the first rule of thumb for handling black bean. Rinse the heck out of them! You don’t want the bean slime to join you in cooking, and you want to make sure you get rid of any additional sodium lingering.

2016-02-19 21.56.20
After the beans have been rinsed, it’s time to break out your food processor and get to work. You’ll start with just the black beans and process until their are smooth, then add in the rest of the ingredients with the exception of half of the chocolate chips (the full recipe is posted below). 2016-02-19 22.00.24

Pour batter into a greased 8 by 8 pan and place into an oven set to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top. Looks just like a pan of regular brownies, right??

2016-02-19 22.13.38

As you can imagine, the excitement of trying a new brownie recipe didn’t just appeal to me. Murphy was extremely focused on the brownies….too bad chocolate isn’t for dogs, Murph.

2016-02-19 22.13.54

Once the brownies have baked for 30-35 minutes (depending on your oven or when the brownies start to separate from the edge of the pan), remove them and let cool before you decide to enjoy them.

2016-02-19 23.53.51

So what did I think of this recipe? BEST EVER. You can’t taste the black beans at all, and they have a great fudge-like texture. Overall, they were a huge hit, and a much healthier one at that! I opted for dark chocolate chips, but you can go with semi-sweet if you prefer.

You may be nervous to try them because you don’t like black beans as a side dish. Trust me….you want to try these and give them a chance. If I brought you a brownie and didn’t tell you what the ingredients were, you’d never know black beans were in it. Don’t knock them until you try them! You may just be pleasantly surprised!

Here’s the recipe so you know what all you need! Happy Baking!

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 4.50.47 PM

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coming for you, Beast!

Time for a little Hammer and Chisel Update for Week two and three!

So……things haven’t gone exactly as I had hoped with this program. You probably remember me sharing in my last post that I had a little back issue that had me restart Hammer.

Well…..that bitch came back.

Before we get into that, let’s chat about Week Two!

I approached Week Two with the same Badass attitude I ended Week One with…..I mean, I was slowly gaining a new obsession for weight lifting and loving the changes I was seeing in the first week.

Here’s a look at the meal plan I rocked for Week Two! I changed up a few things this week but stuck to some of the same items, mostly because if I love a recipe I tend to make it over and over. I was a huge fan of the egg salmon sandwich I had made for breakfast the week prior, however, the store was out of smoked salmon so I opted for prosciutto as the meat on the breakfast sandwich.

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 11.26.13 PM

How does your fridge look at the beginning of the week? I pride myself in the organization of my food….I’ve found it helps me stay on track when meals are organized together in similar containers. Don’t you agree?

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 11.35.56 PM

If you haven’t given meal planning and prepping a chance by now, I strongly suggest you do. It saves time, money, and keeps you on track. I can’t stress that enough!

So let’s talk workouts. The first week I was challenged and felt like a sweaty beast each day. I loved it! I knew coming into week two that workouts were going to get a little more demanding, but I was ready. Here’s the thing about Hammer and Chisel….you don’t exactly repeat workouts in the same manner as other programs. As someone who loves variety, this is probably my favorite aspect…..I never know what to expect, I never feel bored, and I am excited for my workout every single day.

Monday: Chisel Cardio Day. Anytime I see the word “cardio” in a workout I get a little bit more excited than normal! This workout was killer, and I found a new favorite move in sword pulls.

Tuesday: Max Hammer Strength. I really enjoyed this workout. It focused on tiring yourself with one move, then going heavier with the weight for an additional 8 reps. This was a mix of all the basics…..lunges, presses, sumo squats, calf raises…..a great all over workout that left my muscles tired.

Wednesday: Chisel Agility. Agility meant one thing…..lots of jumping, planking, and high knees. For some reason, this workout and I did not jive. It consisted of two rounds, and at the end of the first one I was really struggling with finishing it. Some workouts I connect more with than others….maybe I’m just not an agility girl.

Thursday: Rest Day. Much needed. My muscles were still screaming from Hammer Strength.

Friday: Hammer Power. I was just starting this workout when my back said HELL TO THE NO to me. I had messed it up earlier in the morning and didn’t realize how serious it was until I attempted to do a clean. Immediately I felt awful spams in my lower left back and knew I had to stop.

The following two workouts, Chisel Balance and Hammer Conditioning did not happen. Instead, I focused on my nutrition and resting on the couch. I figured a couple of days rest and I would be back to the program. When it came to my nutrition, I knew that even though I couldn’t work out, it was incredibly important for me to stay on track. Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym!

2016-01-23 14.06.03
For the following couple of days I rotated the heating pad and ice method until I could get into my sports chiropractor. It didn’t hurt to walk, and I was even able to have a quick three mile run early in the week. However, when I sat down or attempted to sleep the pain was unbearable.

Thank heavens for my sports chiropractor. Having one on my speed dial is one of the most important numbers I have. If you are an athlete or you teach fitness classes, I recommend doing the same. The thing with back issues is that all too often we think we can just heal them ourselves with time or some at home remedies. If I have learned anything with this injury it is that I should’ve gone to the chiropractor a few weeks ago when I first had the issue.

During my appointment I found out that it wasn’t actually a back muscle that was the problem, but my sacroiliac joint. Yeah, I know what you are thinking…..I didn’t know what that was either until I saw a diagram. Here’s where it is located:

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 12.20.32 AM

Photo courtesy of sportsinjuryclinic.net

The good news is that after some stretching, a little stim treatment, and work with my chiropractor I felt like brand new. Best part? I was cleared to start some light exercise and could resume to normal activity within a week with a few follow up appointments with my chiropractor to make sure my joint was okay.

The rough thing about having an injured back is not just having to skip workouts, but having to cancel my live classes, too. I love teaching in front of people and helping them get into shape. Taking a few days off meant I wasn’t able to help as many people as I could’ve. Fortunately I will be able to return to my Insanity Live and CIZE live formats in the upcoming week!

Since I can’t do anything with weights until the end of the week, I will be doing a week of PIYO before diving back into Hammer and Chisel next Monday.

When life hands you lemons, find a way to turn them into chocolate cake. Find a way to make it work…think outside of the box. I hate delaying a week of H & C, but subbing in a week of PIYO will help me stay on track when it comes to exercise and endurance and allow me to ease back into the weights next week.

I’m ready for you, Beast. I may not conquer you on my original timetable, but trust me.

I will conquer you.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements