Monthly Archives: January 2015

Sorry-sorry-sorry. -Amy Poehler

What I hate about my job!

 

Say whaaaat??? I love what I do. Y’all know that. I’m totally zen and content and I don’t hate anything, right? I talk about it all the time. How I’m so lucky that I found my passion and I get to live it all day every day. But guess what? There is one thing that really irks me about my job and it isn’t getting up at 4am. That I can handle. Let me lead into it:

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Love.  My.  Job.  But…

 

So, people come to me for different reasons. Most of the time, it’s because they want to lose weight, but there are other reasons too. I have people that want to get more toned or prepare for bodybuilding competitions. I have people who want to get stronger and athletes who are cross training for their sport. I love that I get to work with different types of people with different goals. I want you to feel healthy and I want you to BE the strongest, fittest version of yourself. I know how to help you achieve that.

 

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Then what’s the problem? People come to me because they want to change something about themselves. They want to improve. They want to feel better. That’s what we’re all looking to do, right? Become a better version of ourselves. This is the problem: Sometimes I feel like I’m the person sitting in the seat across from you saying, “Yep, you’re not good enough. Get it together. I’ll show you thy way”.   I NEVER want anyone to feel that way. Heck, I’m not perfect and I’m NOT judging you. A few things I want you to know, as your trainer and as your friend: You are already amazing. You are already freaking awesome. You are already beautiful.   Regardless of your size, shape, skin tone, how straight your teeth are or how long you can hold a plank, you are exquisite.

 

When I titled the program Strong Calm Sexy, believe it or not, the word “sexy” was quite controversial. I had feedback from people saying it was inappropriate or that they didn’t want to associate with a program that contained that risqué word. They felt embarrassed by it. I almost dropped it and called it something else. Then, I started thinking about what I wanted the program to accomplish for people and I decided I can’t drop it because it’s the perfect word. I’ve got news for you: You’re sexy. You already are. You might not see it in yourself, but I guarantee someone does. To me, sexy means you’re confident, self-assured and self-accepting. It means you possess unique qualities in specific quantities.   No one else is made up of your exact concoction. The reason I include “sexy” in the title, and especially as the third word, is because all of that sexy is already in you and I can’t create sexy for you. I can give you tools, tips and ways to get stronger. I can guide you through postures, breathing techniques and skills to help calm you. Both of those practices are going to makes changes in your body and mind that you’ll be able to feel and others will be able to see. Those changes are going to improve your health. You’ll have stronger bones and joints. You’ll have more sculpted muscles and improved posture. You’ll have more mental clarity and less chaos in and around you. But SEXY: Sexy just happens. You can’t prevent it or stifle it.

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Improving your level of fitness and conquering something that once challenged you feels so awesome. It overflows into other areas of your life. You’re going to impress yourself and say “Did I seriously just do that? I’m pretty fabulous”. Then, you’re going to think, “If I can do that, what else am I capable of”. Then you’re going to go ahead and change the world. One day you’re going to wake up and look in the mirror and OOPS, you’re going to see how sexy you are. I’m sorry if that offends you. But it’s not my fault you’re sexy. You were born that way.

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So let’s go do all of these wonderful things that make us feel strong. Let’s go get healthy cholesterol levels and lower our blood pressure. Let’s eat foods that nourish our body and give us stable blood sugar with loads of energy.   Then, let’s catch a glimpse of ourselves when we pass the mirror and say, “Yep, I’m sexy. But I already knew that.”

 

While you’re at it, let a friend know how sexy they already are…then give them a 6 second hug.

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Did I just ruin it with this creepy camera hug?

Fitness Cliff’s Notes

High Five to Your Progress

Do you have a “healthy” lifestyle?  Have you always?  I’ve always tried to be healthy and make good choices, but sometimes we’re just misinformed.  When I was a teenager, I thought candy was fine as long as it was “fat free”.  Which meant, for a while I thought I could eat as many Nerds, Bottlecaps and Gobstoppers as I wanted.  I also thought a healthy dinner was a side salad w/ fat free dressing and a breadstick.  Once I knew better, I did better.  It takes time to retrain ourselves.  There are discoveries made daily that completely change what we thought we knew.  If you’re ready to do something RIGHT NOW that will change the way you look, feel and perform, you can refer  to my High 5 lists as your health and fitness cheat sheet.  This is a condensed version of what you can add to your routine/meal plan right now without having to do years of research.  No rocket science degree needed 🙂

5 Foods to Eat Today

Sweet Potatoes

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(Better than a bouquet of flowers, right?)

I’ve praised sweet potatoes before and will continue to.  Even though they are sweet, they increase insulin sensitivity, thus stabilizing blood sugar and reducing inflammation.  They are a good source of carotenoids, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and magnesium.  Think eye health (you know I need that!), glowing skin, improved mood, better digestion, etc.

Pastured Eggs (farm fresh is easier to find than you think)

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(Which one is farm fresh?)

I get eggs from a gal I know who has chickens.  You probably know someone who knows someone with chickens too.  Ask around.  There is nothing more amazing than a fresh egg!  They are actually tested to have less cholesterol, more Omega 3 fatty acids and more Vitamin A. I like to call them “good karma” eggs.  They were most likely treated more humanely than your store bought counterparts and were fed a more nutritious diet with less medicine, hormones and cheap “feed”.  Eggs are an easy source of protein and B vitamins, giving you energy and strength.  You can season them to inspire them to taste just about any way you’d like, which makes them incredibly versatile.

 

Green Apples

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If you want a recap of all of the wonders of apples, check out a post from OmNoSheDidnt by clicking here.  Let me add to that by mentioning green apples are much lower in fructose and can help aid in digestion.  They also make like a natural toothbrush when you’re out and don’t have access to one.  **NOTE**Please do not use apples as an exclusive teeth cleaning program 🙂

Broccoli

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Broccoli is a well know detoxifier.  It contains 3 specific phytonutrients that are key to the detoxification process.  They are called glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin.  If you’ve heard anyone call broccoli “nature’s scrub brush” they are probably referring to it’s high fiber content, which is great for aiding in digestion, but those magical phytonutrients will help detox the liver, reduce cholesterol & clean the blood.

Wild Alaskan Salmon

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Beyond the obvious: Good source of protein, healthy fats and vitamins.  Salmon is a great non-dairy source of calcium, vitamin D and magnesium.  This power combo will keep your bones healthy and strong.

The BEST 5 exercises

Dumbbell pullovers

We do these in barre all of the time.  They are awesome for leaning out the lats and creating long, lean triceps.  They also work the chest.  If you lie on your back and keep your hips lifted you can work your glutes and core too.  Talk about getting it done!! One of my all time favorite exercises!

Plie jumps

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Explosive w/ a soft landing, you can burn lots of fat while shaping some killer legs.  You’ll get your heart rate up and target every muscle in your legs and glutes.

Chaturanga

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Chest, triceps, abs, quads, shoulders and more, you really are doing a lot with this posture.  Of course, you’re shaping your body, but you’re also building strength and improving your body control.

Walking Lunge

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The walking lunge is fabulous for the obvious reasons, targeting your quads and glutes, but if you go low, you’ll hit the hamstrings too.  You’re also working those stabilizing muscles and engaging your core, creating those changes even faster.

Reverse plank

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Let’s keep things mobile with this one.  We put a lot of pressure on the front of our shoulders, using them a ton when we workout, but also in daily activities.  This one really allows us to use a lot of strength while lengthening through the front of the shoulder, keeping the extremely importing range of motion that we need and improving our posture while strengthening through the low back as well.

5 Essential Daily Habits

Hydrate

Wake up with water (drink it-although showering is a great habit too 😉 )  Have about 12 oz right when you wake up to get the brain active and liver going.  Continue to have about half of your body weight in ounces of water throughout the rest of the day.

Write in a gratitude journal

Writing in a journal, whether it be about what you’re grateful for, what inspires you, what your goals are or just recalling your day: It’s a completely wonderful way to sort your thoughts, put things into prospective or come up with new ideas.  Keep journals everywhere!! And actually use them 🙂

Stretch

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Keeps things loose.  Not only will you feel better, you’ll stand taller and move with more grace and a youthful bounce.  You’ll also keep your bones stronger.  When you stretch, the muscles, ligaments and tendons pull away from the bone.  This creates mild stress on the bone causing it to secrete protein (like collagen) and create more bone, keeping them strong and healthy.

Floss

You know you’re supposed to do this.  It’s important for not only your teeth, but also your heart.  It prevents plaque from being absorbed through the gums. It’s cleans 40% of each tooth and it keeps all that broccoli from embarrassing you 🙂  There are at least 100 other reasons. Click here for a longer list.

Hug

6 second hug 6 second hug 2

 

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For 6 seconds apparently, or it just doesn’t work it’s magic.  A long embrace creates a chemical reaction in our bodies that help us increase ‘mood boosting’ hormones.  This is one I really need to work on.  I’ve been practicing and I’m the first to admit, it totally works!!  ***Bonus: You’re creating this chemical release for the hugee as well.  It’s a “two-for”***

 

Your turn!

Share your High 5 lists with me?  I’d love to know what you put at the top!

 

 

 

The Confusion Diet

 

Fear Factor

I’ve been reading books and journals about nutrition since I was a teenager.  Even if I knew a program or plan wasn’t for me (or appropriate for anyone in some cases) I’d still read about it, cover to cover, trying to understand every concept and what benefits may lie within.

Anyone who reads (and takes to heart) lots of info about nutrition will ultimately find themselves on what I like to call “The Confusion Diet”.  This is the stage you get to when you wander through the grocery store afraid to buy anything because you are now in tune to the fact that EVERYTHING is going to kill you, make you fat or at the very least, mutate your cells so that you end up with a third nipple, a bunion on your forehead or something worse.

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There are so many diet books that fill us with fear.  For the purpose of higher sales and greater publicity, people are promoting nutrition hyperbole backed up by distorted half facts.  While I can appreciate their passion, I question their motive.  How many of you are confused by any the following (mis)conceptions:

1) Carbs are bad

2) Fat makes you fat

3) Protein will destroy your kidneys

4) Uncooked greens are toxic

5) Grains are evil

6) Whole grains are a “health food”

7)  If it’s organic, it’s good for you

8) Chicken nuggets are made from pink slime (this one is probably true…don’t eat chicken nuggets 😉

9)  All things vegan are good for you

10) If you don’t eat soy, dairy, gluten or corn you will lose weight

The list goes on and on with diet promises, health threats, etc.  To be honest, there are at least partial truths to all of these statements.  It would take me hundreds of pages (or more) to myth-bust (or defend) all of them.  So, how are you to know where the truth ends and the hype begins?  Keep it simple, and follow these basic rules:

1) You should NOT eat UNLIMITED quantities of ANYTHING!

If you are following a plan that tells you it’s OK to gorge yourself with certain macronutrients (Protein/Fat/Carbs) while extremely restricting others, beware.  Even the all-powerful vegetables have their limits (although we tend to limit ourselves naturally on fibrous foods).  So, how do you know when enough is enough?   Luckily, our bodies, when working properly, produce hormones that signal us to stop eating when we’re full.  To allow that signal to be heard, eat slowly and mindfully.  Pay attention to how you feel while your eating.  When you are no longer hungry, give yourself 5-10 minutes.  You are probably full and don’t even realize it yet.  I hate wasting food, but don’t compete for the clean plate trophy.  What you don’t finish, wrap up for your next meal.  Leftovers are a time and money saver.  Don’t like ’em?  Learn to :).

2) Less (ingredients) is more, Less calories, maybe not.

Severe calorie restriction is no fun and not a good long term solution.  I understand that there are people who live on highly nutritions, calorie restricted diets and live to be about 200 years old.  These people measure their blueberries and 4 walnuts for breakfast, then go meditate for 2 hours, followed by gentle stretching, followed by more quiet time.  I am not knocking this lifestyle (we should all search for a piece of this), but I’m willing to bet your life is little more frantic than this.  You need fuel, and you need to be able to stay alert (if not for yourself, for the safety of others).  The other problem with a restriction diet is that you’ve got no where to go with it.  You are training your body to survive on less.  Wouldn’t you rather eat as many calories as possible while still losing weight (if that’s your goal) or maintaining (if you’re already at a healthy weight).  Don’t be a slave to the calorie, learn to listen to your body.  You can journal your calories (it’s OK to know where you stand because it’s easy to get carried away), but more importantly, journal how you feel after eating your meal.  If food sensitivities/allergies are suspected, eliminations diets can be extremely telling.  Journaling helps you determine if you need to investigate further.  We are all born with built in calorie monitors.  Over time we train ourselves to ignore those monitors.  Practicing these habits will help you repair your internal calorie meter.

Back to the “fewer ingredients” part of this equation:  Eating single ingredient, whole foods (think sweet potatoes, broccoli, eggs, salmon, etc.) in lieu of packaged foods with long lists of ingredients and flavors, will allow you to pinpoint food sensitivities and eliminate unneeded crap from entering your body.  These real foods will be utilized more efficiently, allowing your body to absorb the nutrients without the accompaniment of nutrient blockers that create chronic inflammation (which can lead to a variety of health concerns).  These pre-packages non-foods are doing you any favors.  Just keep them out of your house to avoid frequent temptation.

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3) Too much of a good thing doesn’t make a good thing a bad thing.

Have you heard of the guy that took too much colloidal silver and turned blue?  Or the risk of water toxicity from over consumption?  How about starfruit intoxication?  I bet that’s a new one.  Bottom line, you can over-consume anything if you try hard enough.  I’ve never had the urge to eat my weight in starfruit, but garnishing a salad with it can be a delicious way to add Vitamin C, electrolytes and B vitamins to your meal.  If you google The Dangers of Kale, you’ll get nearly 400,000 results.   However, a google search for The Dangers of Hot Dog Eating Contests yield less than 1/3 of the results.  Does this mean hot dogs are healthier than kale?  Of course not!  Kale is the most nutrient dense food on the planet.  This does not mean you can or should eat a bottomless bowl of it.  Include it in your diet with other nutrient dense foods and rotate your greens for best results.  Vegetables are plants born with defense mechanisms that protect them from environmental hazards.  Some are better for you cooked and some are fine eaten raw.  Usually, you can determine the healthiest way to prepare something just by analyzing how it’s best enjoyed.  Mushrooms are better for you when they are cooked well. Ever eaten a raw mushroom?  It’s kind of flavorless and spongey.  But cooked, it’s delicious and meaty.  Same with kale.  It’s tiring to chew and digest raw.  Cook it or massage it in oil for best taste and nutritional affects.  Peppers are crisp and juicy raw.  They are also safe to be eaten raw.  Get the point?  Raw potatoes=ick, raw cucumber=delish!  Don’t over think it, but do be mindful.

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4) Chill Out, it’s NBD

When we care for our bodies, eat real food, and not too much of it, the rest falls into place.  There are ways to prepare nutrient dense food to maximize their benefits and eliminate risks related to overconsumption.  In the Strong Calm Sexy meal plan, you don’t have to guess, because I tell you what to do.  With that practice, over time, you’ll know what works best with your body.  In the meantime, keep journaling.  Reflect on what works best for you.  Eat a variety of colorful vegetables.  Eat foods in their simplest (digestible) form.  Eat slowly.  Enjoy your food.    If you choose to have a food for a reason other than nutrition (i.e. social experience, satisfying a craving, feeding an emotion), that’s OK, but ask yourself first: How will I feel a few hours after eating this?  If you still feel it’s worth having, then go for it.  Enjoy it.  Savor it.  Then, next meal, get back on the plan.

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We can all do this.  We can keep it simple.  We can enjoy food, but we can also find joy in things that aren’t food.  Don’t worry:  I’m obsessed with nutrition so that you don’t have to be.  I’ll keep researching and experimenting and reporting back to you.  Meanwhile, if you don’t want to have to think about it, join the Strong Calm Sexy community and get a monthly meal plan that keeps you feeling great and looking your best!

Talk back!  What eating trend/tip has you baffled?  Have you read about a plan that you want my opinion on (or want me to experiment with)?

What is your “Worth it” treat?

Are you making yourself look BULKY?

yobodybandHappy New Year!

Let’s jump right in to what we know you all want to do this year:  Get in the best shape of your life…and probably by Spring!

If you’re already a Strong Calm Sexy member, you are well on your way.  If you’re still looking for reasons to get started, let’s take this one body part at a time.

Totally tone your arms:

Your upper arm actually has 5 muscles in it that are important for that tight toned look.. However most people only work and overwork 2 of those muscles!So 60% of your arm is not getting worked and still flabby, flappy, and fat.
Quick anatomy lesson:  You can educate your friends next time they say say their arms look like sausages.  The front of your arm has two muscles.  The  biceps brachii is made up of  2  muscles, one long and  one short.  Your tricep contains 3 muscles.  One long, one medial, and one lateral.
Most people do a couple of arm exercises and they usually work the SAME muscles! Biceps short head and triceps lateral head and there are 2 major problems with this:1) You ignore 60% of you arm for toning.2) More importantly for females the placement of the two muscles you are overtraining are on the outside of the back of the arm and center of the front of arm. When you look at yourself in the mirror or in pictures your contributing to THICK and WIDE aesthetics of your arm.

It is really important for us ladies to do the right combination and balance of arm work to keep the entire arm toned, long, and tight. All current and new members that sign up from now until January 31 will receive my exclusive “yo body band”  for free ( normally $11.99 in the mail.  You can take it anywhere.  No big handles and ultra light weight.  It works great before a night out in a sleeveless dress.  This is what I’d use backstage before my figure competitions.  I’m also sharing a bonus arm workout with you, so that you can target all 5 of the upper arm muscles that we just reviewed.

Thanks For Being You

Final words…until tomorrow.

The clock will be striking midnight in no time at all. As we wrap up 2014, my heart is overflowing with joy. This year has introduced some amazing people to me. It’s also brought me closer to some that I’ve already known. I’ve gained perspective. I become more disciplined in some areas while I’ve learned to relax in others.

I still have a long way to go and I’m looking forward to mapping out my plan for 2015. I don’t want this year to end without expressing my deepest gratitude to all of you.   Because of you, I’m able to live a life that I love. I’m able to have the career of my dreams. Most importantly, I get to be a part of your journey, celebrate your successes, learn from your experiences and grow along with you. Thank You doesn’t seem to be a powerful enough word. Think of a made up word that means ‘beyond Thank You’ and insert it here __________.

As you head into the New Year with goals, expectations and renewed energy, know that you can reach out to me for support, ideas or a listening ear.

Here is a look back at some of the videos we’ve shared with the program we launched in 2014, Strong Calm Sexy. I look forward to what’s in store.   I hope you’re all right there with me!

For your convenience, here is a recent video archive:

 

I could spend hours in the greeting card aisle looking for the perfect card for you all…let me just close with a whole pile of them!

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(source)

 

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