When it comes to nutrition it is safe to say there are hundreds of different fad diets that are claiming big results in less time. Some of the latest fads include Paleo, Ketogenic Diet,The Whole 30, Atkins (is still holding strong), No Fat, No Carb, Low Carb, Cabbage Soup, I can go on… With all of these options how do we know which one is right and safe for us?
Over the years as a nutritionist I have learned the best nutrition program is a healthy, well-balanced, and sustainable one. As one expert Michelle May, MD and author of AM I Hungry? explains,”It doesn’t matter how scientifically sound the program is (and many are not), how fast they work (you will regain as fast as you lost), or even how many people have tried it before. What matters is whether you can do what they say forever– not whether you should, but whether you can.” It’s one thing to pick a diet/nutrition plan and another to actually follow through with it. We have been eating a certain way most of our lives and have developed habits over the years that are hard to change. When starting a new plan we have to make some major changes to accommodate the healthier ones. With that being said what factors do we consider before choosing a nutrition plan?
Understand What is Healthy I can’t tell you how many times clients have sat in front of me and sworn they have been eating healthy and haven’t seen any changes in their weight. Let’s define healthy. According to merriam-webster healthy definition is free from disease or pain. So what does this have to do with the foods we eat? Honestly, everything. At this point we have a good understanding that fast food meals do not rate very high on the healthy scale while whole foods that you buy from the grocery store rate higher. We can also agree processed foods like baked goods and common junk foods and candy are considered unhealthy. Now that we can distinguish which foods fall into each category let’s take it a step further. In order to pick the right nutrition plan you should be looking for balance, one that includes all three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. These are important for our overall health and play vital roles. Let’s take carbohydrates, the poor group has a bad rap and is always being removed. First with Atkins then the South Beach diet and it continues with the Ketogenic diet and other low-carb plans. We have to understand carbohydrates are our energy source. The reason removing carbs was successful is because for every gram of carb there are 4 grams of water so we initially would lose water. Then after the weight fell off and people decided to go back to eating carbs they would re gain the weight. If we eat good quality carbs in the right amounts we can thrive and live a healthy lifestyle. Eliminating food groups or a macronutrient are not sustainable and potentially dangerous because they can cause nutrient imbalances. Another unhealthy way to diet is by restricting your calories too low. This can set you up for disaster by keeping you hungry and deprived. This can also lead to binge eating and set you back even further from your goals. Starvation diets never work and can also wreak havoc on your metabolism. Signs that a plan is unhealthy and not right for you include feeling hungry all day, moody, irritable, and not enjoying the foods you are eating. As I mentioned earlier a healthy balance is the key to longterm success.
Life-style Everyone is different. We come in different shapes, sizes, and live different lifestyles. So why wouldn’t we choose a plan that fits our lifestyle? A lot of my clients are too busy to meal prep so I have to find creative ways to get them to eat healthy. For example, I have a teacher that is in class all day and drives for Uber most days of the week. He doesn’t have time to grocery shop let alone meal prep. The best he could do is eat on the go. This meant ordering what he thought was healthiest and even that was not the best. After months of this way of eating and little to no results he finally committed to a meal prep and delivery service that prepared portioned and calorie fixed meals to his job. He continued to log his food during the first month and stuck with the meals. In the first month he lost 10 lbs. This happened because a. he used a company that took all of the guesswork out and b. he was consistent. Let’s not forget the food was healthy and sustainable. Another important factor was he said the meals were satisfying and didn’t taste bad. Let’s look at someone who has time to grocery shop and meal prep. One of the first things they need to decide is what kind of plan they should start. Is it healthy and can they do this long-term? How do they know what to eat? How many calories should they eat and will it help them reach their goals? Once they figure all this out they can create their weekly meals and grocery shop. Scheduling the time to do this helps keep them on track and even though it may seem like a lot of work once you get into a routine it becomes second nature. This brings me to my next tip…
Time and Budget Moms with time to spare are able to meal prep and be more successful with results than busy moms who work full-time jobs and have to run the kids around. Usually its the busy moms that gravitate to the Weightwatchers and Nutrisystem programs because there is less prep work involved. When looking for a plan we want to find one we have time for and fits our budget. If you have a family you cook for then batch cooking is a great way to get everyone to eat healthy and stay within budget. You wouldn’t order prepped meals for 5 people in your household considering that would get very expensive. Turn meal prepping into a family event, you not only get help from the kids you also get to spend more time together.
Is it Sustainable This tip tends to get looked over when trying to choose the right nutrition plan. Is it sustainable? In other words, will you be doing this plan for the long haul? First, let’s return to the reason why you needed a plan… to help you reach your weight loss goals, right? Right! Okay, let’s fast forward to the part you’ve achieved your goals now what? Do you go back to your old eating habits? Do you completely stop using your plan? Of course not. This is where most people drop the ball. They think they can relax and slowly slide back into their old habits because the plan they have been using is not sustainable. If they completely cut out carbs or fats they will eventually return to eating them. That is why it is important to choose a healthy balanced plan. But if we don’t know what that is or how to figure out how much of what foods to eat how are we suppose to find a plan that is right for us? One way is to go online and do some research. There are great resources and books that can guide and teach you how to eat and figure out how much to eat. If you don’t have time for that or just want someone to figure it all out for you then let’s move on to my final tip…
Talk to a Professional If you are unsure where to start or what options are out there the best step is to talk with a professional like myself. We can assess your body weight and advise you of any potential health risks that might result from not managing your weight properly. We can also help you set weight loss goals, diet guidelines, talk about fad diets, create a meal plan that is healthy and sustainable, and give advice on exercise. My job is to find the right nutrition plan for you. It’s my goal to educate and help you develop healthier eating habits that you can use long-term. I take all the guesswork out for you and help you find foods you enjoy and fit them into a sound program. Looking at your lifestyle also helps me understand what may or may not work for you. In a fast paced world we expect everything now and want results yesterday. Fad diets are temporary as are their results. Over the years I’ve learned not everyone is the same and require different approaches to their nutrition.
As you can see there are multiple factors to consider when choosing the right nutrition plan. When looking to lose weight we have gravitated to a quick fix fad diet that has left us feeling depleted and malnourished. With our health in mind we have to start looking for a more balanced and sustainable way to live through our eating and consider things like our lifestyle and budget before trying to take on a plan that may not fit our needs. In the end it can save you time and energy by going straight to the expert like a nutritionist that can help you choose the right plan.
If you are looking for online nutrition coaching Juliana is a certified personal trainer, has a degree in nutrition and has helped thousands of people with their fitness goals.
If you are looking for a jump start to your nutrition click the link below to get started on a Renew and Nourish plan that teaches you to eat healthier and make better choices. Each plan comes with a weekly meal plan, grocery list, and helps you remove foods that cause bloat and inflammation.
For many of us that have been competing for multiple years we have learned that post competition nutrition is an important thing to understand, especially if you do not want to torch everything you’ve worked so hard for the previous three to four months. I have seen hundreds of competitors just a couple of weeks post show and am baffled to see they gained anywhere from 5 to twenty pounds after watching them work so hard to get lean and ripped for a show. I understand after being on a restricted competition diet we want to eat everything in sight. For me, I am constantly looking at foods on Pinterest and saving recipes of foods I want to eat after my show. We want what we can’t have and we definitely miss the foods that make us feel good. Our mind loves to play tricks on us and it’s human nature to want what you can’t have and lord knows I want it all after a show. The problem is our body has been on a restricted plan for a long period of time and the moment you flood it with foods you haven’t eaten in months like dairy, high glycemic carbs, bad fats, and sugar from dessert and alcohol we put our body through an emotional roller coaster and flood it with chaos. We immediately go into carb overload and with every gram of carb comes 4 grams of water which causes us to bloat because we were depleted just days earlier. The ideal thing to do is take baby steps into regular eating. It took one time for me to learn that eating what I wanted post show was not the way to go. You would be surprised at how easy it is to lose that tight midsection and ripped body. So before you start hoarding your favorite cookies and stocking up on every flavor of bluebell there are a few things to understand.
First, for the last few months you have been eating clean and your body has been working like a machine to get you to your goals. Many of you have been eating a set number of carbs that your body has been using for energy and to fill out those hard earned gains. When you eat more carbs than the body needs it is going to take the extra carbs and store them for later use. But if you are use to eating 100-150 grams a day and eat a whole pizza, then your body is going to take the extra carbs and store as fat. Let’s not forget all the additional water that comes with the carbs, hence the post show eating bloat. I recommend easing your way into eating more. After a show your body is depleted so a good cheat post show is fine. The disaster begins when we start an eating binge that continues into the week post show.
Second, I recommend getting back on your usual eating plan and slowly start adding calories by increasing portions or adding a few foods that you’ve kept away but are still good for you like a little fruit, yogurt, and healthy grains. Don’t completely stop eating your healthy meals. Balance is everything and understanding how many macros/calories you need to maintain your weight is important when planning your meals for the day. Remember, you still need to stay on track to keep your hard earned body fit. This is a good time to talk to your nutritionist about future goals.
Finally, take what you’ve learned from your competition prep and continue to grow. Now that you understand you have to be consistent with your nutrition to get the amazing results of a bodybuilder use that to continue reaching new goals. If your next goal is to add more muscle then start a plan you will follow consistently to reach that goal. Grocery shop, meal prep, take your supplements, track your progress, and most importantly build that physique you have pictured in your mind!
You are the only person that can get you to your goals and the only person that can keep you from them. It’s up to you.
To contact Juliana for competition prep or questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
This video Juliana explains The Whole 30 Diet. She answers these questions:
1.What is the Whole 30?
2. How Does It Work?
3. Is Is Right For You?
Fitness and nutrition questions answered and learning how to filter the correct information. Weight loss, workouts, diets explained, how to videos, and more.
Have you been thinking about trying the Ketogenic Diet because your co worker lost over 20 pounds the first month?! Or you heard you can eat all the fat you want and still lose weight? Check out Juliana’a explanation of the Ketogenic diet, she explains how it works and if it is right for you?
When it comes to burning fat there are multiple effective methods that pop into my head but I know there is not one best way but a combination of the right choices that create your body into a fat burning machine. But let’s face it, we can’t all be gym in the gym 6 days a week and the kids still have to be fed, right? So now what??
Preparing for a bodybuilding show takes dedication, commitment, and time. One of the biggest challenges is trying to eat all your meals throughout the day.
I have fond memories of rushing between clients to scarf down my meals so I could stick to my plan. I wouldn’t say it’s ideal but when you are competing you do whatever it takes to get your meals in and for many of us we have to eat 5, sometimes more meals every day.
Don’t forget the daily gallon of water and timing of cardio and weight training. I was doing two workouts a day, early morning at 5am and later in the afternoon around between 5 and 7PM. With this schedule IF has been a blessing in disguise.
intermittent fasting is a lifestyle
I want to start by stating intermittent fasting is a lifestyle, not a diet, or the latest weight loss craze (well maybe), it’s been around from the very beginning when our ancestors were hunting and gathering as part of their meal prep.
IF is a way for your body to recycle its cells, rid the body of toxins, and burn fat until we eat our first meal.
IF has two states: a fasting state and feeding state. It’s exactly as it sounds. You do not consume any calories, including but not limited to supplements and medications, while fasting. You can drink water, black tea, and unsweetened teas. During my feeding state 12PM- 8PM I fit all my meals and most times did not want to eat but of course I did because I know how much my body needed the calories. My last meal was at 7PM then fast would start around 8PM until 12PM the next day, sometimes til 2PM depending on my client schedule.
Waking up to do my fasted cardio and fasting til my first meal gave me great energy for the day and I did not have to stress about when I would eat my next meal. This schedule of eating met my needs and made prepping easy, especially because I knew what I was eating every day and didn’t have to think about it. I also noticed I lost body fat in less time and came in leaner than any of my previous preps. This prep I gave myself 10 weeks and was ready at the end of week 8.
Intermittent fasting (IF) and BIKINI prep
When I started fasting it was before my previous prep (July 6th, 2019) and knew I wanted to continue it as part of my daily behaviors. It helped keep me on track and not eat outside my feeding window. Knowing the drawbacks of breaking my fast too soon kept me honest and I was able to experience the benefits.
Using IF for my competition bikini prep proved to bring positive results and I have continued to keep IF as part of my daily eating schedule. There are other time windows to try with IF and I recommend it to anyone trying to become healthier with more than just exercise and recovery.
Bikini Prep: Top 4 Things You Should Do After Your Show
Just one week after my competition and I have been feeling anxious. Going from 6 days of workouts, early morning cardio, meal prep, and every thing that involved ‘Comp Prep’ has come to a stop. So what now?
For me, I continue living the basics of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. I won’t stop working out or eating clean, I modify my plan. I continue eating my meal plan with modifications. For example, I recalculated my calorie intake to a maintenance amount and from there I fill in the blanks for my macro nutrients. I use this as a guide for when I prepare my daily meals. It’s important to understand after a bodybuilding show you have to slowly increase your calories to re feed yourself and not rebound.It’s also important to give yourself some time off. Some competitors continue if they have multiple shows in their schedule but when you have finished your last show of the season taking a week or more from the gym is ideal for your body to get much needed rest and recovery. Here are a few tips to consider after competition season.
Rest and Recovery
Calculate maintenance calories and eat
A lot of competitors have a hard time post show because they stop meal prepping and start eating whatever they want but this can send them down a spiral of bad eating and quick weight gain. When you have depleted your body with low calories and restricted macros it’s vital to plan for post show nutrition. Believe me, my first show I gained 20 lbs in three weeks and I never let that happen again. Unfortunately I did not have the proper guidance but learned it was the route to take. Get with your coach and ask about a maintenance plan before moving towards a building phase.If you are looking for a coach pleasecontact me directly.
Get back on a regular workout routine
This is not a hard thing to do for most competitors. We find the gym to be our happy place and spend hours upon hours there weekly to get the results we want. After talking to your coach about the next steps you should also make short and long term goals to keep you motivated and planning for your next show if it’s the direction you want to take. Also, a regular routine will keep you mentally fit. I have seen a lot of competitors go through post show blues and even reported feeling a void. It’s normal after coming off a natural high of adrenaline from the show and not having a plan or direction.
Get feedback and work on building or growing for next show
Feedback from the judges and your coach will prepare you for what to work on next. If you are an amateur looking to go Pro then you want to get as much feedback from every show and train to create the look and symmetry required to take it to the next level. I competed in four national shows before earning my pro card as an IFBB and some of the feedback I received was my quads were too big, my lateral delts too small, and my back not wide enough (this helps create a smaller waist in bikini).With this information I focused on these specific things as I continued to work on everything else.
At the end of the day a post show plan can have a large impact on your next steps. Spiraling into bad eating can negatively affect the way you feel and lower motivation. Then trying to recover and lose the weight you gained can be a challenge if you do not have a plan. Bottom line…listen to your coach. We know a thing or two about this and believe me it’s not fun to watch someone throw away all of their hard work.
When we think of habits they aren’t always thought of in the best light. Bad habits have always been the spotlight when deciding to make a change but what about the good ones? When we decide to become healthier , fitter, it’s never an easy task, especially if we want to take a healthy route that allows us to sustain it longterm.
An approach I take with my clients has been one that allows you to go at your own pace and develop new good habits over time. We have all gone full speed ahead with extreme diets and crazy high intensity workouts that I’m sure most of us have crashed and burned. The problem is we are all creatures of habit and at the end of the year we make claims to the “New Me”, start the regimen along with the other crazies that have the same aspirations and before January ends the regular gym goers no longer have to share their favorite cardio equipment with the new year traffic.
One way to remove yourself from this cycle is start developing good habits that lead to a sustainable fit and healthy lifestyle. Obviously eating right and exercising are on the top of the list but there are a number of changes that need to take place for these two to stay consistent. For example, if you intend on going to the gym to do cardio after work then start by packing your gym bag and putting it in your car every night before you go to bed. I’m sure you have a pre bedtime ritual and this can be added to it. Even if Wednesday you know you can’t go because you have carpool that night you still need to pack your gym bag Tuesday night. Preparation is key if you want to succeed at anything.
The bottom line is small changes practiced daily create long term habits. It’s up to you to be consistent. Here are a few steps you can start today to create healthier habits.
1. Decide on 1 new behavior/habit and schedule in daily calendar
2. Plan ahead. Get the materials you need to start and have ready for use. If your new behavior is drinking more water get one that holds at least 24 oz and can take anywhere.
3. Execute. Do it and be great at it. If your new habit is taking your lunch to work find delicious recipes and prepare ones you enjoy.
4. Stay consistent. Easier said than done.
Starting something new can be tough but you are stronger than you realize.
There is nothing more fulfilling than when you’re in the zone and your workouts make you feel like Thor fighting through the ancient dead before fighting his crazy sister Hela in Ragnarok, you feel unstoppable. In fact, taking a day off seems absurd and you definitely don’t want to stop progress, right? Not exactly, taking a day off really does your body good and you need it.
Muscle recovery is vital to your progress. I know I know, I also said your nutrition is vital to your progress, well guess what? So is your muscle recovery. As a competitive bodybuilder, I understand the importance of rest and recovery and there is more to it than just sleep. Fueling your body, engaging in active recovery, and your nutrition all play vital roles in muscle recovery.
In the following article Muscle Recovery: Essential to Your Next Workout was originally published on HVMN and dives into consuming, resting, and techniques for recovery. It also highlights the importance of foam rolling and stretching to help reduce the risk of injury. Overall, we have to take care of our bodies in and out of the gym and it starts by empowering yourself with the right knowledge.
There is a lot of information out there and sometimes it’s best to keep it simple. As a nutrition expert Juliana makes understanding the basics of nutrition and nourishing your body easy. With flavorful recipes and staying on top of todays fad diets Juliana teaches the fundamentals and how to implement eating clean in your daily routine.
Nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated. The issue lies in all the misinformation provided by our favorite info finder ‘the internet’. It doesn’t mean all information is bad, people like to try everything they read about and it’s not theist strategy to take. In my career I have learned that everyone has a formula that works for them.
Not all meal plans are created equal and I for one know this through experience. There are different variables we have to look at before deciding what actually works. As a nutritionist I don’t create diets, I create a sustainable lifestyle.
I am often asked if it is alright to train on an empty stomach. I think this is a common issue for anyone who needs to get to the gym early in the morning and eating a breakfast of solid foods such as eggs, veggies, and maybe some fruit before a 6am workout can be difficult, if not impossible, for many people. You’ll have to be up early to prepare breakfast, eat, allow adequate time for digestion and get to the gym for your training session. Even if you prepare food ahead of time, many people don’t have much of an appetite upon waking.
Of course, this doesn’t just apply to people who train early in the morning. If you are coming to one of the evening workout sessions, it’s likely the last meal you had was lunch. 4 to 6 hours without food is enough to leave you in a partially fasted state which can negatively impact your ability to perform your best in the gym. Nonetheless, skipping meals isn’t a good idea and today I’ll discuss a few reasons why you should reconsider training on an empty tank.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that individuals who skipped breakfast before training had diminished insulin sensitivity as well as increased LDL cholesterol. Insulin sensitivity is important for proper nutrient uptake and long-term health as severely impaired insulin sensitivity can result in insulin resistance which is a risk factor for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. High LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, is a risk factor for arteriosclerosis, hypertension, stroke, as well as other cardiovascular health issues.
In addition to improving your long-term health, your athletic performance and body composition can be greatly improved with proper pre- and post-workout nutrition. In a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers found that subjects who consumed a protein shake before and after resistance exercise experienced greater gains in lean body mass and increased 1RM strength over those who did not.
Another recently published study found that consumption of whey or vegan protein before heavy resistance training actually resulted in an increase in resting energy expenditure the day after training. One group consumed protein only before their training sessions and the other group consumed an equivalent amount of only carbohydrates, the protein only group had significantly higher resting energy expenditures 24 hours after their training session.
Furthermore, the American College of Sports Medicine has presented research that suggests pre-workout protein intake can be even more effective for recovery than a post-workout protein shake alone. In other words, consuming a proper pre-workout meal can help increase your strength, improve recovery, as well as boost the amount of calories you burn at rest for up to a day after training which can help facilitate reduced body fat and improved body composition.
Another study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that a placebo group had significantly higher levels of cortisol, myoglobin, and creatine phosphokinase (CPK) after exercise compared to those who consumed a protein and carbohydrate mixture. High blood levels of myoglobin and CPK are most commonly indicative of muscle damage. Once myoglobin is in the bloodstream, it needs to be filtered by the kidneys. In severe cases, this can result in a condition known as rhabdomyolysis which can lead to acute kidney failure. This suggests that consuming some protein and carbohydrate prior to your training session can reduce the amount of muscle damage caused by intense exercise. As a result, this will allow for more intense training sessions and less recovery time needed between training days.
An easy way to get pre- and post-workout meals is to simply drink half a protein shake before you train and the remainder immediately after. Keep in mind, pre-workout supplementation can be highly variable between people so I recommend experimenting to see what works best for you. Combined with a good nutritional plan, you’ll recover faster, get stronger, and be leaner.
If you need a high quality protein I recommend the following:
The supplement industry has grown in the last twenty years. With new products being introduced in the market no one can keep count. When someone asks me what I would recommend for a multivitamin I only talk about what I have personally taken and what has worked for me. Currently, I am taking a high-performance vitamin that has made a positive impact on my daily performance.
Dietary supplements are required to have a Supplements Facts panel and I generally trust what is on that panel. Then looking towards the bottom of that label it clearly states, ‘These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration’. Should I be worried? To be honest with you, I would feel a lot better if the FDA approved it. I know that if everything were to stop and a new law implemented the FDA to approve all vitamins, herbs, and supplements to be tested for validity, quality, and compliance, we would see a lot of companies go out of business and larger companies take over the industry. This would be followed with the larger companies trying to gain control of people in Congress that make the laws behind these regulations and it will start mirroring the meat and poultry industry.
Currently, the FDA does have regulations that monitor the supplement industry like the labels. “FDA regulations require that certain information appears on dietary supplement labels” (FDA, 2009). Claims about the product must be accurate and truthful, “This statement or “disclaimer” is required by law (DSHEA) when a manufacturer makes a structure/function claim on a dietary supplement label (FDA, 2009). For the most part, the FDA does play a role in the supplement industry, but it isn’t until a product harms enough people that the FDA takes action to remove the ingredient or the product.
Overall, I would like to see supplements that have stimulants be approved while vitamins and herbs that work alone or together to meet deficiencies for optimal health continue being produced and marketed as is.
If a product is meant to treat you then the pharmacies already have a hold on it and they can go through protocol necessary for a drug. Besides, we find vitamins like A and C in our foods and I definitely don’t want to get a prescription for that.
If you are looking to improve your nutrition please contact Juliana at email@example.com
No author, FDA U.S Food and Drug Administration (Oct 14 2009)“Overview of Dietary Supplements”. Retrieved on April 1, 2011 from website:
Goal setting is an incredibly important task but is not widely used. Goal setting is incredibly effective and can provide clarity and focus not only for the future, but also for the present. The process provides structure and direction when working towards a stated purpose. Goal setting also provides motivation and can help you organize your time and resources so that you can make the most of your efforts. I recently read this statement on a blog and thought it reflected the true essence of goal setting: “Set goals that yield a positive effect on your life whenever you think about them, long before the final outcome is actually achieved. Treat goal-setting as a way to enhance your present reality, not as a way to control the future.”
Here are six steps that have helped me not only identify and set my goals, but also accomplish my goals! There is nothing better than setting a goal, having perseverance to stay on track and finally accomplishing it. Okay, here are my six steps:
1. Identify what your values are. This is important because you need to make sure your goal is in line with your values. Identify your core priorities and make sure your goal doesn’t detract from your overall values. Instead, your goal should support your values and work in harmony with them.
2. Identify what it is that you really want. Be very specific; don’t leave any room for questioning later down the road. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. Once you identify what it is that you really want (this can be a challenge within itself), then set your goal.
3. Write your goal down and share it with a loved one. Make your goal visible so that you can have daily reminders to stay focused. This is very helpful because when you don’t write a goal down, it tends to become obtuse. The goal suddenly shifts depending on your circumstances at the time, gets pushed to the side if it is inconvenient and can change from its original purpose. If your goal is written down and shared with someone then you can be held accountable for your goal. Your goal now becomes real and not just an idea that never comes to fruition.
4. Be precise when setting your goal. Give your goal a deadline and give your goal dates, amounts, times, etc. so that you can measure your progress.
5. Identify how you are going to accomplish your goal. This is important. Anyone can set a goal but not everyone can accomplish a goal. You must identify how you are going to reach your goal. Are you not drinking alcohol for the next 30 days? Then
write out how you will stay on track for those 30 days (don’t go to certain restaurants where it is tempting to drink, prepare a polite reply to decline alcohol when it is offered, etc.) Anticipate any roadblocks that may come along and find ways to overcome those roadblocks.
6. Build a support group. It is crucial to have support when you are trying to achieve something that takes perseverance, dedication and determination. Your support group should be made up of people who have your best interest at heart. They can help motivate you and provide encouragement along your journey to success. They also provide needed accountability. Identify those who detract from your stated goal and try to eliminate their influence as much as possible.
These six steps have helped me set attainable goals and will hopefully get you started on your own journey to goal setting. Here are a few resources that have been helpful when setting goals:
Are you overweight, skinny-fat or just curious about your lean body mass percentage? In physical fitness, body composition is used to describe the percentages of fat, bone, water, and muscle in human bodies. Because muscular tissue takes up less space in our body than fat tissue, our body composition, as well as our weight, determines leanness. Here are 5 common ways to measure – some old and some newer – where you are along with the pros and cons.
Old PARADIGM – Body Mass Index (BMI)
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. It can be mistaken for a marker of health…it’s widely recognized and easy to figure out. It’s not my first choice for measuring body fat and lean mass but still used by many physicians to measure health.
Enter your weight and height using standard or metric measures.
An indicator of Body Composition, not a precise measure of body fat.
How reliable is BMI?
BMI is determined by dividing a person’s weight in pounds (lbs) by their height in inches (in), squared and then multiplied by 703.
BMI = weight / [height (in inches)]2 x 703
Some Problems with BMI
You’ll notice this formula doesn’t take age or gender into consideration. It also doesn’t account for the amount of muscle mass an individual may have; many athletes with a large percentage of muscle mass may measure a high BMI even though they do not have excessive amounts of body fat. Women tend to have more body fat than men (reality). Older people tend to carry more body fat than younger people. Athletes have higher BMI because of increased muscularity.
Cancer (breast, colorectal, endometrial and kidney)
However, this testing method isn’t the best way to know if it’s time to lose weight and can actually be wrong if you’re someone who works out regularly or is older in age.
New Paradigm – Body Composition
Thankfully, there are a few better ways to help us understand a little more on how the weight of our body is broken down. Body composition, which is the measure of fat mass to lean tissue (including bone, muscle, ligaments, tendons, and organs), is an important metric that often gets overlooked.
There are dozens of methods to measure body composition, ranging from the quick and (relatively) painless to the incredibly detailed. These measurement techniques can help individuals set baseline values for body composition and goals for later on down the line.
However, with the variation in methods comes a fluctuation in accuracy. One method might nail down your percentage of body fat to within a few decimals, while others leave a wider range of error.
Here are the top five methods for measuring body composition along with the pros and cons of each.
Different Types of Body Composition Measurements
1. Skin Caliper
The most accessible method for measuring body composition, a skinfold assessment can be done using either three, four or seven sites (meaning parts of the body). The technician pinches the skin and then uses the skin caliper device to measure the thickness of the skin fold for each site. After plugging the numbers into a formula, practitioners can estimate body composition.
Pros of the Skin Caliper Test:
Calipers are relatively inexpensive (about $10 per pair). This test is the most easily accessible of all the methods listed here. A proper skinfold assessment can be completed in just a matter of minutes, anytime or place.
Cons of the Skin Caliper Test:
Body fat distribution can factor into the accuracy. Although the test takes a measurement from each main area of the body (including the upper body, midsection and lower body), a participant that holds greater amounts of fat outside of the measured areas might end up with a lower reading. Human error is a factor, depending on the experience and knowledge of the technician and consistency with calipers takes practice, so the key is to practice a lot — or find an expert technician. The most important thing is to use the exact same spots every time. Results can vary depending on the number of sites being measured. In my own experience using the 9 site assessment takes in the most information for a more accurate result.
2. Bioelectrical Impedance
Don’t let the name scare you; users won’t even feel a thing. Bioelectrical impedance scales range from the simple (a normal scale with electrodes under each foot – probably most common and accessible) to the complex (a scale that has handholds with additional electrodes).
Both devices work by sending tiny electrical impulses through the body and measuring how quickly those impulses return. Since lean tissue conducts electrical impulses quicker than fatty tissue, a faster response time is correlated with a leaner physique.
Pros of Bioelectrical Impedance:
Bioelectrical impedance monitors tend to be affordable enough to keep one around the house. Since this technique requires little more than pressing a button, users need little to no previous practice, and measurements can be done in a matter of seconds.
Cons of Bioelectrical Impedance:
Bioelectrical impedance measurements are generally less accurate than other methods. Readings can be greatly affected by variables like hydration levels (since water also conducts electrical impulses), mealtimes (a recent meal can skew results), and workouts (taking a reading directly after exercise leads to a lower body fat reading). For the most consistent reading, take readings at similar times during the day in the same conditions.
3. Hydrostatic Weighing
If the thought of getting dunked underwater suits your fancy, this might be the method for you. Hydrostatic weighing, commonly referred to as underwater weighing, compares a subject’s normal body weight (outside the water) to their body weight while completely submerged. Using these two numbers and the density of the water can accurately nail down the subject’s density. This number is then used to estimate body composition.
Hydrostatic weighing was touted as the gold standard for many years, however, hydrostatic weighing is not able to account for bone density. As a result, hydrostatic tests tend to underestimate body fat in athletic individuals with high bone density and overestimate in older adults who have low bone density. These tests can provide a lot of useful data but many of our clients aren’t sure how to make use of the information.
Pros of Hydrostatic Weighing:
Hydrostatic weighing is an incredibly accurate technique for measuring body composition. The technique uses tried and true variables that feature a low percentage of error.
Cons of Hydrostatic Weighing:
You’re going to have to find a lab or a performance center that offers hydrostatic weighing, which can be a bit inconvenient and more expensive (ranging from $40 to $60) compared to other techniques. Subjects also have to forcefully exhale as much air out of their lungs as possible (to reduce the potential for error) and sit submerged completely underwater, which might be uncomfortable for some individuals.
4. DEXA (Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry)
Body fat testing is a great way to have an accurate metric for your body composition. There are many ways of getting your body fat tested, but most experts will agree that the DEXA (Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) scan is the most accurate testing technology available.
Think X-rays were just for broken bones? A DEXA scan exposes patients to X-ray beams of differing intensities and can be used to measure bone mineral density alongside body composition. Participants lie still on a table while a mechanical arm passes over their entire body, which emits a high- and a low-energy X-ray beam. By measuring the absorption of each beam into parts of the body, technicians can get readings for bone mineral density, lean body mass, and fat mass. And since the machine scans body parts individually, the test can also break down body composition per limb so you can confirm your suspicions that your right leg is indeed just a bit stronger than your left.
Pros of DEXA:
DEXA scans are incredibly accurate at measuring body composition. A DEXA scan is quick, dry and painless, involving simply lying on a table for a few minutes. DEXA has surpassed hydrostatic weighing as the gold standard and is being utilized as the criterion measure in clinical research more so than underwater weighing (hydrostatic).
Cons of DEXA:
Getting a DEXA scan usually involves making an appointment with a medical professional. The high level of accuracy also comes at a relatively high price tag compared to other methods, which will vary based on location.
5. Air-Displacement Plethysmography (BOD Pod)
Air-displacement plethysmography is actually very similar to underwater weighing. First, participants sit in a small machine; then, by measuring how much air is displaced by the individual, technicians can determine body density. Like underwater weighing, the participant’s body density is then used to calculate body composition.
Pros of Air-Displacement Plethysmography:
Since the air-displacement plethysmography method doesn’t involve dunking your head underwater for an extended period of time, many subjects will find it more comfortable. The shape and size of the machine used in this technique, which typically resembles an egg, make it accommodating for persons of almost any age, shape and size.
Cons of Air-Displacement Plethysmography:
Like hydrostatic weighing and DEXA scans, air-displacement plethysmography won’t likely be found in your neighborhood gym. While commercial machines might pop up at select high-level training facilities, locating one near you might be difficult. Plus, the cost (between $45 and $60 per reading) might steer you in the other direction.
Regardless of which method you choose, you should wait at least six to eight weeks before re-measuring body fat percentage and use the same method. Find a method that works for you and stick with it. Though bioelectrical impedance and skin calipers tend to be slightly less accurate than more high-tech methods like underwater weighing, they can still be an incredibly useful tool if you just want to track your loss (fat) and gains (muscle).
And remember, body composition should be just one metric on the road to health and fitness (alongside others like sleep quality, energy levels, and happiness) — not the entire focus of your training.
How to Interpret Your Body Composition Results
Most people are rarely excited with their baseline body fat test. Keep in mind that your body fat percentage should be viewed as a metric in the same way that your total cholesterol or liver enzyme values are metrics of your health. It’s a data point we can track over time… not a measure of your self-worth.
This is where you start to take a look at things such as – lifestyle, diet, supplements, medications, aging, and other factors can begin to affect your health.
Most people have a body composition goal, it can also be useful to have this data point tested again to validate whatever training and nutrition strategy you may be using. However, when it comes to aesthetics, I’d argue how you look and feel is probably far more important than a number on a sheet of paper.
That being said, most people want to know more about where they stand and there are various sources for helping you interpret body fat percentages. One of the most commonly referenced charts is from the American Council on Exercise. You’ve probably seen this as a poster or laminated card on a personal trainer’s desk at your local gym.
You’ll notice that women will have a higher body fat percentage at any level compared to men due to biological differences. While the ACE chart is an easy quick reference, it doesn’t account for age and the use of the word “obese” may be a bit extreme in some cases.
Another useful chart is sourced from the research of Dr. Andrew Jackson and M.L. Pollock. Many personal training professionals prefer this chart over the ACE chart as it accounts for both gender differences AND age differences. Simply find your age category in the left-hand column of your respective gender, and then look across to see where you fall in your age group.
1.Body fat charts provided by BodyFatCharts.com
2. Data provided courtesy of AccuFitness, LLC
Body fat percentage is only one metric that people tend to fixate on when setting their fitness goals. It also provides another very important number: lean body mass (LBM). Your LBM is simply your body fat subtracted from your total body weight. LBM includes organs, bones, muscle, and everything else in your body besides body fat. Typically, changes in LBM are primarily from increases or decreases in muscle mass. Changes in bone density can affect your LBM as well, however, a DEXA scan will be able to differentiate between the two. Usually, this is listed as Bone Mineral Content (BMC) on a DEXA report. It’s important to note that when viewing a DEXA report, LBM is calculated by adding the “Lean Tissue” and “BMC” measurements together. A hydrostatic test will give you LBM and body fat only.
If your goal is to get leaner, you need to decrease your body fat percentage while maintaining (or increasing) your LBM. It’s important to keep an eye on both numbers as you work towards your goal. Your LBM is also very useful for helping us calculate your daily nutritional requirements.
Things to Consider when Looking at Body Composition Numbers
Body Fat vs Body Muscle
You may have heard the phrase, “Muscle weighs more than fat.” But how true is that? Well, common sense tells us a pound of muscle and a pound of fat have to weigh the same; however, they do differ when it comes to density. This means if you look at five pounds of muscle and five pounds of fat side by side on a table, the fat will take up more volume, or space, than the muscle.
The same holds true with your body; you may look noticeably leaner due to fat loss, but when you add in muscle gain, the weight on the scale could be up five or maybe even ten pounds more than it was before. Most scales can’t tell the difference between what’s fat and what’s muscle, so that added weight could be muscle that you’ve worked so hard to obtain!
If you look and feel leaner but your weight is up on the scale, then a body fat percentage testing method may be a better choice for those who like to set milestone numbers for body composition goals.
You Are Not Defined by a Number
You’ve probably seen this phrase posted on someone’s Facebook or Instagram at some point, as it has become a popular motivational phrase in the fitness community. That doesn’t mean it’s not true, however.
Ask yourselves – at the end of the day, which is more important: how you look, feel and perform, or what the cold-hearted scale tells you whenever you step on it? If you look and feel like a lean, mean beastmode machine, it shouldn’t really matter if you’ve gained a few pounds in the process.If you’re healthy and you look good, don’t put too much stock in what the scale is telling you.
Obsession Can be a Slippery Slope
It’s no surprise that eating disorders and obsession about our weight have become commonplace in America; almost 30 million Americans (of all ages and genders) suffer from some type of eating disorder .
Now, I’m not saying that everyone who weighs themselves is obsessed or will become obsessed at some point; I can only speak from personal experience. There was a time when I wrote down and recorded every single thing that I ate and drank; I also would weigh myself 2-3 times a day. I did both of these things every single day for months at a time; and when I decided I needed a mental break from all of that dedication, I found it to be actually quite hard for me to stop, as weighing myself became a habit – an obsession – that was very hard to break.
For those of you who weigh themselves on a regular basis, I challenge you to hide your scale away and not weigh yourself for seven days. If it’s too difficult of a challenge and you find yourself unable to break the habit, it may be time to set some new goals and create some new habits that will help you towards your goals versus stressing you out about them.
SUGGESTION – weighing yourself only once a week, same time, same place – consistency. Stick to one source.
Bonus Reason just for Females: Hormones
Yes, this reason needs just one word to sum it up. Hormones play a big role in wreaking havoc on the scale for women, even causing their weight to fluctuate from day to day, depending on your time of the month. You may not feel bloated, but you could be retaining fluids. Studies have shown that women hit a peak day of fluid retention at the start of their menstrual cycle, with some women retaining fluids the days leading up the cycle. So if it’s close to your time of the month, don’t put too much stock on what you see on the scale
Remember What’s Important
We all want to be healthy, look great and perform our best in life, both inside and outside of the gym. Obsessing about the weight on a scale can actually get in the way of your body composition goals. If your current goal is weight loss and you constantly find yourself in the scenario described at the beginning of this blog, it may be time for some new goals that don’t revolve around the scale, such as dropping a pants/dress size or using a tape measure instead of the scale to keep track of your growing biceps.
And remember, at the end of the day, your weight is just a number showing the “amount of downward force gravity is exerting upon you” and nothing more.
If you are looking for an online fitness and nutrition coach you can e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re anything like me you don’t like spending hours in the gym. You go in, work, then leave. But in this case the work isn’t time consuming. People think you have to lift for long hours to see results. If you’re trying to make serious gains and change your physique like a bodybuilder then of course that takes time and a detailed plan. If you are trying to get a sweat session in while trying to tighten up your body then this style of training is a great go to for fast and effective training.
High intensity interval training or HIIT isn’t as new as some may think. It’s recent popularity comes from its potential of delivering an efficient and effective way to burn more fat throughout the day. HIIT can be approached in different ways but the formula remains the same. The goal is to alternate short intervals of high intensity exercise with short intervals of recovery. For example, you could do 60 seconds of running followed by 30 seconds of walking and repeat for an x amount of sets. This can also be done with body weight exercises like squats, doing the movement with best form for 30 seconds then resting for 15 seconds. The goal is to push yourself as hard as you can during the work phase. This allows you to elevate your heart rate in short intervals. Not only will this improve your cardiovascular training, you will also burn more fat due to higher levels of excess post exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. This is also known as the afterburn and since you are constantly putting your body in the red zone it has to work harder to return to its resting state. It’s important you keep the bursts short while using intense workouts.
You have to commit to this style of training because it is meant to be hard and requires a great deal of work to sustain the level of fitness required to succeed. I’ve been using HIIT in my workouts for years with my cardio and strength training. There are thousands of ways to create a HIIT workout. One of my favorites are EMOM’s, every minute on the minute. You take one exercise and do required reps then repeat at the start of each minute. For example: EMOM 12 burpees 10 minutes. Set a running timer, you have 60 seconds to do 12 burpees then whatever time remains you rest till next minute starts. Let’s say it takes you 40 seconds to do 12 burpees then you rest last 20 seconds. This continues for 10 minutes and after the 4th round your rest time starts to close in on you. This generates bursts of power followed by short rest. It’s effective and you don’t have to join a gym to do it. Bodyweight exercises and a couple pairs of dumb bells are perfect.
Deciding to change is the biggest step, once you have the right mindset everything else falls into place. HIIT gives you the edge you need to change and the workouts are never boring. I provided a sample workout to get you started. You can throw this into your regular workout routine or use it as your base. Either way it will challenge you and create change. For more great training info visit http://www.feistyfitness.com You can also follow me @feistyfitness_ifbbpro
The first thing I do when I wake up at 3:40 a.m. is put on my workout gear. I work 14 miles north of the city of Chicago and take public transportation to work. Lucky for me I work at a gym and since I start work at 6 a.m. I get there early to do my fasted cardio. This past year when I was preparing for the Chicago Pro I had this routine for several months and got into a rhythm of doing it and feeling good afterwards. I felt wide awake and had more energy for the day. I would do the stairclimber and get into a rhythm of side steps and changed it up to every other step with a glute extension. I do intervals and switch the level 16 for 1 minute and levels 7-8 for 3 minutes. This would go on for 40-45 minutes and by the end I’d be drenched with sweat and felt accomplished. I also noticed that I interacted more positively with my clients and members when I did my early cardio sessions and that is why I continue to get to the gym early to maintain this routine. It’s important to feel good and in a positive mindset when working, it allows for a more productive and beneficial day.
I realize we all can’t get to the gym early in the morning and many of you do not work in a gym like I do but when you find the time to do what is important to you it can be exhilarating. Do what you love and love what you do. After my cardio I shower and get ready for work and then eat the breakfast I pre made the night before. I also pre make my snacks and lunch for work. They are usually the same meals every day. I keep it consistent and that is what keeps me healthy and in shape. We have to plan ahead and prepare to reach our goals. Every move we make is either a step back or a step forward. I realized a long time ago that I never want to move backwards and have always looked at every decision as an opportunity to improve. It’s as easy as sitting down and writing down what you want. We all have goals and should never be afraid to dream big. Ten years ago I had a dream to change my body enough to compete with other Pro’s in the IFBB and over time I made it happen.
What do you want? Whatever it is, write it down and put it where you can see it everyday. Make a plan to accomplish it and start right away! I believe if you visualize yourself as having what you want, then you will soon have it.
If you are looking for fitness or nutritional consulting you can contact Juliana at email@example.com
Today I started thinking about a comment a member said to me last week. “You’ve got it so easy, you already look amazing.” Although she didn’t intend to make me feel I’d been slapped in the face I still felt the heat on my cheek lingering. Does she honestly believe ‘this’ is easy? Sorry sister, you don’t get to give me a compliment I didn’t even ask for, especially a back handed one. I work for THIS, I workout, for THIS, I eat for THIS, I supplement for THIS, I recover for THIS, I drink a lot of water for THIS, I do cardio for THIS, shall I continue??
Every morning I visualize how my day is going to go and what I want to accomplish. As a body builder I plan every meal, workout, cardio session, supplement intake, and getting in my gallon of water. A routine I have been perfecting for 10 years and every year I find new ways to improve my strategy of prepping and training to conquer the body I want. But you don’t have to compete to get the body you want. I compete because it holds me accountable and I look forward to the discipline, consistency, and development of my training along with helping others learn to live a healthier lifestyle.
The will power it takes to accomplish my goals is not easy. Some days are tougher than others but I know I can do it. When anyone sets a goal to lose weight, change their body, eat healthier, begin a workout routine, run a marathon, it all starts with the power to decide. You don’t start losing weight or adding muscle because it’s the in thing to do. You do it because something intrinsic has been stirring up inside of you and is ready to express its reality through your body. For some, they believe doing cardio and weight training is enough but do not give nutrition much effort. They aren’t ready for real change and continue doing the same bad habits with little effort to improve their daily eating. You have to be all in to feel and see change. In other words, going from 1-2 meals a day to 3 meals a day is nothing to get excited about if it’s still unhealthy/crappy food. If you are going to add a 3rd meal then make all 3 healthier and part of your plan to a healthier you. Our bodies are complex but when you find the formula that works it becomes easier.
It’s when we give up that we fall short of our accomplishments. You have to see it through til the end. Have patience and stay consistent.
This week I am going to talk to you about gluten and living a gluten free lifestyle. I’m going to introduce the basics of a gluten-free diet and introduce you to foods that are nutritious and better for you than gluten filled foods.
First, let’s go over what gluten actually is. I’m sure you’ve heard the term gluten-free being thrown around, how some people think it’s nonsense, or like me, live by. Let me be clear, I am not 100% gluten free. I still indulge here and there in the occasional baked good if it’s not of the gluten-free variety. Gluten is actually a mixture of proteins that are found in wheat, barley, and rye. What does that mean exactly??? It means it’s found in everyday foods like breads, most pastries, pasta, cookies, crackers, croutons, boxed foods, cereal, and pizza. They’re also found in not so obvious products like licorice and in natural flavorings. There is a part of the population that have to eat gluten-free if they have been diagnosed with celiac disease. For others, eating gluten free is a choice. There’s a huge mis-education on eating gluten-free and living the lifestyle. It’s not just about your diet, it’s about gaining control of your health.
Eating gluten comes with different symptoms like joint pain, fatigue, depression, headaches, irritability, and other issues going on with your gut. When you eat wheat filled products the symptoms tend to stay with you from day to day because gluten can be found an many of our foods. Gluten is known as an inflammatory food and when our body rejects a food it has a not so friendly way of telling you to stop eating it like having gas, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and bloating. You know, the basic I don’t want to leave my house symptoms due to the lack of control of my bowels. Well, then why do we eat food that has gluten???
Because no one really knew that foods containing this had such a negative effect. In fact, humans don’t fully digest wheat. Wheat has not been around very long and our digestive systems have not evolved to digest it well. In other words, we aren’t met to eat it therefore we reject it.
So what do we do??
We start removing the foods that contain gluten. This can be hard at first. When you stop and look at everything you eat you will notice it’s in a lot of your daily foods. As I mentioned earlier it’s found in our every day foods that have become staples.
So the next question is what do we do? This week I want you to make an effort to start removing wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten is also found in preservatives like MSG and in natural flavorings but for now let’s start with the basics. If you tend to eat bread every day for breakfast then replace your usual bread with a gluten-free bread. If you tend to cook with pasta try replacing it with rice or quinoa or better yet get a gluten-free pasta you can use. When you start removing the wheat the symptoms will start to go away. Trying to remove gluten is not an easy task so take it day by day meal by meal and make sure you’re more conscious of what’s going into your body.
Grains (including bread, pasta, rice, crackers), specifically whole grains, are an important part of a healthy diet. Whole grains are a good source of healthy carbohydrates, providing energy to get you through the day. Most whole grains are high in fiber, which keeps you full and helps with digestion. Though many grains have gluten, a wide variety are naturally gluten-free.
Naturally Gluten-Free Grains & Starches:
• Oats: But be aware that oats may be processed in a facility that also processes wheat. You’ll need to confirm your oats are labeled gluten-free or check with the manufacturer to rule out cross-contamination.
• Potatoes and potato flour
What to Avoid When Shopping for Grains:
If you’re not sure if your bread, crackers, pasta and other grain-based products are gluten-free, a quick look through the ingredients can help you tell. Avoid products that contain any of the following, as these are NOT gluten-free.
• Other forms/varieties of wheat that should also be avoided: whole wheat, spelt, wheat berries, kamut, durum, farro, farina, bulgur, graham, semolina, bromated flour • Barley
• Triticale (a cross between rye and wheat)
Finally, if you’re not already keeping a journal then start. This helps you keep track of symptoms. Keep a journal and also when you start removing it more and find one day that you do eat it right down any symptoms that you get that day and notice how your body reacts when you eat gluten and when you don’t. Eating healthy is a lifestyle and something that should be practiced daily. When I decided to start eating gluten-free I noticed a big difference in my body composition and the way I felt. Now if I do decide to have bread or pizza or pastries made with regular wheat I definitely get the symptoms and they remind me of why I no longer put it in my body.
Eating clean and making healthier choices isn’t a fad, it’s a lifestyle.
If you are serious about reaching your fitness and nutrition potential schedule a consultation with me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Resilience is bouncing back or adapting from difficult experiences. While Resilience can be learned and developed it takes action and self awareness to build it up. So, this is what I know… A lot of us set goals and many times we fail to follow through due to some unexpected event that steers us off our plan.
I know that we have all found ourselves in a situation where we were happily following a plan of getting fitter and healthier and then something happens like one of the kids get sick or maybe we got sick or there was a big emergency at work and it threw us off of our schedule. Or even worse, a separation occurred, a death in the family or maybe even a natural disaster like a hurricane rerouted your normal life. I know I’ve been there but instead of living in self defeat there are ways we can actually build our resilience so that we are stronger and adapt to whatever life throws our way. I’m not saying it’s easy, or it will happen over night but I do know from experience that you can start building your resilience by doing the following things I’m going to share.
The first one is to make connections. When you participate in civic groups, faith based organizations or other groups that provide social support it can help you reclaim hope and strengthen your resilience. Many of us turn to family or friends but sometimes you need a little more help getting through some of life’s tough situations.
Second is to avoid viewing problems as impossible. I understand that we respond to stress in a reactive way and think the worst but take a pause and be aware of the situation. In that moment remind yourself nothing is impossible and proceed with an open mind. Look for the little things that can help you feel better. Try not to fall into a negative zone and choose positive thoughts to help you have faith.
Third, take clear actions. It’s important that you act on difficult situations as much as you can. Taking positive actions rather than detaching completely from your problems and wishing they would just go away is a better approach.
Fourth, move towards your goals. Reassess and develop realistic goals and try to go back to your regular schedule. Every small success helps you regain confidence and move toward your final destination. Consistency is key and remember to celebrate the small wins.
Number five, maintain a hopeful outlook. An optimistic attitude enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Visualize what you want rather than worrying about what you fear. I know that’s easier said than done so it’s important that you keep a journal and write down what your hopeful for and visualize it in your mind.
Finally, the sixth thing to becoming more resilient is to take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. It’s important that you participate in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing like your meditation, enjoying time for you and doing the things that you love. Taking care of yourself helps keep your mind and body prepared to deal with stressful situations.
With all the chaos going on around us we have to prepare mentally for what’s to come. We can only come out stronger if we remember to practice what I’ve taught you here today. #getfeisty
If you are looking to get into shape for the New Year and not sure who to turn to you can click on my button above to ask for my expert advice on fitness and nutrition. With InstantGo you can text a question or make a phone call to speak with me live. I respond to text messages within the hour and if you want to talk to me live I will respond with availability. Click on the button above to start receiving the support you need to reach your goals!
Body empowerment is loving yourself as you are with the understanding that you are capable of creating a better version of yourself with the right resources to guide you. It amazes me when I meet clients for a consultation and when I ask them why they are here the first thing I usually hear is “I hate the way I look” then they continue with more insults to their body. You know, it breaks my heart to listen to their self loathing. But I understand because I have been guilty of it. It has taken me a long time to realize if I want to make positive changes to my body then I have to accept myself in my current condition. I realized the moment you give love to yourself is the moment you are ready to change. So when I talk about body empowerment we have to start with an arsenal of mindset tools to break old thinking patterns. Showing appreciation for the body we have no matter what state it is in and learn to appreciate it. It’s as simple as writing down things you are grateful for. Once you start noticing the things you have and really zoning in on them with gratitude you will shift your mindset towards a more positive one that starts appreciating every part of your body. For example, every day I show appreciation for the things I have. I make statements like I am grateful for my 2 feet, I am grateful for my two legs, I am grateful for my two hands, I am grateful for my belly, I am grateful for the skin that covers my body, I am grateful for my two eyes, etc… then you can get more detailed… I am grateful I have two feet to walk me where I need to go every day. I am grateful for my two legs that allow me to sit down and stand up, I am grateful for my eyes so I can see the things ahead of me. Basically, becoming aware of your magnificent body and truly showing appreciation. You might think it sounds corny at first but as you practice this mindset you will learn to love what you have. There have been days that I’m on my commute home and I see someone unable to move around on their own or with a condition that has disabled them and at that moment I tell myself I am grateful I am able to exercise and have the ability to get around comfortably. It’s not until we start paying more attention that we realize what we have.
Another mindset tool is visualization. Visualize the body you want and continue to appreciate the body you have. Stop the negative talk and stop pointing out your flaws. Now that you are making positive changes like eating healthier and exercising your body will be ready to change. When we create a negative mindset we hold ourselves back from getting real results. We set ourselves up for failure and continue in a downward spiral of self loathing. Even though you want a leaner fitter body it’s important you give love to yourself every day. Creating rituals for yourself like exercising on a regular basis.Going to the spa and caring for your skin, hair, and nails. Learning to cook healthier and put the right things in your body for nourishment. All of these practices embrace self love.
Practicing the art of self-love, mindfulness and self-reflection: move from love, instead of self-loathing. Move with mindfulness, instead of haste. Take time to reflect so you can drink in your experiences and become more aware. To have more love, to feel more love, you need to embody love, and move from that space. You have to connect to your heart, breathe, appreciate the task at hand, and open your mind to find new ways to appreciate what you are doing. I get it, we are always in a hurry and don’t take the time to stop and see every day movements and notice the things that matter to us. Slow down and do this with every task. When shopping, prepping your food, cooking, brushing your teeth, doing your hair, and exercising, pour love into everything you do, as every single moment of your life is a moment to expand into your true state: which is love. It is one of the most healing things you can do for yourself. Too many times something happens and we get angry and we continue to talk about it and allow it to fester inside of us and before we know it we are filled with negativity and complaining and create this toxic mind set. It turns into this ugly energy that sits with us until the next thing happens and we repeat the cycle. From now on do not allow things to get to you and remember the only way to keep yourself positive is to do all things with love. I know it’s not easy, especially when you have that needy friend or coworker that always complains but you will learn to step away and remove the toxic people from your life. You know who I am talking about. The person that always complains and plays the victim. You do not have to condone their behavior. It is easy to remove yourself from the negative talk and find positive people to surround yourself with.
Now… I know this sounds like a hard task but I know you are up for it. Baby steps. The first thing I want you to do is write down 10 things you appreciate about your body. Then I want you to read them out loud. Remember, love yourself the way you are meant to be loved. Enough with the negative talk. You are an amazing individual that deserves the best. To bring happiness we must look at life in a more positive light. The choice is yours. Do you want to feel bad or elated? This love will allow you to make yourself a priority and create healthy habits to help you create the body of your dreams. So, what’s it going to be? A positive mindset or play the negative victim with a heavy heart?
For more than 10 years I have created individual meal plans for people with different fitness and body goals. As a nutritionist I believe eating healthy whole foods in the right amounts allow you to have enough energy to perform daily tasks and reach your fitness goals. Meal plans are great because it takes all the guess work out and allows for eating the right foods. While some people prefer to be told what to eat and do not mind eating the same things every day it’s not for everyone. One thing I’ve learned over the years is variety and flexibility helps people stick to their meal plan and not give up when they can see they have not completely fallen off the grid. Even more empowering is learning how to create your own meal plans with the right tools and turning it into a lifestyle you can enjoy.
Let me ask you a question. How many times have you found yourself on a “diet” that was hard to stick to and you fell off only to feel defeated and go off eating whatever you wanted the rest of the day? Or since you “already fell off,” you made a deal with yourself to start fresh on Monday? Believe me, I have been there. If you were eating for your macros you would track your unhealthy meal, look at your total macros and adjust the remainder of your food. Once you learn which foods you can exchange and eat you will be able to plan events, parties, and prepare your meals in advance. Before I continue let me explain what macros are for those that have recently joined the healthy eating world. Macros or macronutrients are the foods we eat, protein, carbohydrates, and fat.They each play multiple roles in our nourishment and when eaten in the right amounts can help you reach your health and fitness goals. The focus is to eat the amount of grams for each macro and not stress over the calories because your total macros end up meeting your total calorie goal. Understanding serving sizes of foods is a necessity.It can be overwhelming at first but with patience and consistency it becomes easier.If you’ve ever looked at a nutrition label it gives you a breakdown of each macro nutrient in one serving of the food item.
I started counting my macros a few years after I started competing in bodybuilding. Realizing I was not eating enough I took the scientific approach and calculated the amount of calories I needed to eat to gain muscle in my off season. The number took me by surprise and thought it was too much food but I knew I had to give it a chance to reach my goals. At first I was frustrated trying to figure out what muscle growing foods would total 250 grams of carbs in a day. Then I had to figure out the amounts and look up nutrient facts to be accurate. I felt like I was in a new math class! I finally looked into using a food logging app that had a database with most of the nutrition facts for the foods I was eating and as I logged each meal it totaled the grams for each macronutrient. This made tracking my macros easier and it saved my favorite foods, meals, and recipes. I tried multiple apps and found Lose It to be my favorite with My Fitness Pal running a close second. Let’s be honest, it was a lot of work but at the end of the day this method has kept me in check during my off season. You don’t have to be a fitness competitor to count your macros, you just have to be ready to learn how to mange your nutrition. In my experience as a nutritionist my clients that track and log their food see better results than when they do not.
So, by now you are asking “How does this work?” or “How do I figure out what my macros are?” The first thing you need to establish are your fitness goals. Are you trying to lose weight? Lean out? Gain muscle? Once you know this we can can calculate your needs. First, calculate your BMR basal metabolic rate. The formula used by most apps and nutritionists is the Harris-Benedict equation.
BMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) – (5 × age in years) + 5
BMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) – (5 × age in years) – 161
Then you need to establish your total daily energy expenditure by multiplying your BMR by activity level.
Very heavy exercise (twice per day, extra heavy workouts)
Daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.9
This calculation tells you how many calories you need in a day to maintain your current weight. If you are trying to lose fat, gain muscle, or increase performance an additional calculation can tell you total calories required and finally calculate your daily macros (yes, more math required).
Calculating macros is a task in itself and it’s no wonder a lot of people get frustrated and give up before they even start. When it comes to counting and tracking your macros it’s necessary to have a solid understanding of what they are and serving sizes of the different foods to reach daily goals. For nearly ten years I have used this technique and have been successful when it comes to my clients and my own fitness goals. It keeps us accountable and on track. Counting macros is not for everyone but with the right resources and guidance it can help you reach your goals.
If you are looking for more information on counting your macros or a customized meal plan you can contact me directly email@example.com
Eating healthy can mean different things to people. If you change or stop one bad habit and replace it with a good habit of eating it is safe to say you started eating healthier. If you have a complete eating make over and change all of your habits into healthy habits it still has the same meaning of eating healthier. The concept of eating healthy is the idea of making healthier choices of your daily foods to improve your health. Eating healthy means removing processed, refined sugars, fast and unhealthy junk food found throughout the grocery aisles and on every other block in different fast food restaurant chains. To eat healthy you should choose foods with less ingredients. These tend to be healthier foods that are whole fruits and vegetables, lean animal proteins, seafood, and vegetarian proteins like tempeh and tofu.
Overall, eating healthy takes practice, preparation, and most importantly a good discipline practice. Many people have tried and failed at eating clean and it's because they are caving into their food cravings. Food cravings come after your blood sugar drops and you feel hungry. This feeling is normal when it's time to eat because your body is communicating with you. Since the body uses carbohydrates as its main energy source it needs to be replenished every 2-3 hours to allow body to burn efficient energy all day. If they body does not get the right foods with the right amounts you are constantly going through a viscous cycle of spiking and dropping your blood sugar, feeding into cravings that lead to over eating the wrong foods. When designing your nutrition goals it’s important to be realistic. Don’t try removing all bad foods with clean/healthy foods at once…you are setting yourself up for failure. Start small and just remove a couple of things each week. Keep a journal of what you are eating and log your food. You will be amazed at what you put in your body once you see it on paper or logged on your app of choice. I like the Lose It app. It's free and you can join your community of friends to see how they are doing with their nutrition goals. It helps calculate the number of calories you can eat to meet your weight loss/gain goal and there is even a premium account if you want to get detailed with your macros and goals.
Remember, daily practices of eating healthy take time to become long term practice. As you develop these changes you will feel and see a difference that motivates you to stick to your changes. As we all know change is hard but the final outcome is well worth the new changes.
Calorie Density: Low density vs high density
If you are looking to drop weight and paying attention to what you are eating then calorie density will be important to reaching your goals. When eating healthier foods that are more beneficial and aid in keeping you full longer we look to eating high volume with lower calories which are low density foods. To give you a better idea density describes the number of calories in a particular food in relation to its volume or amount. Let’s take a food that has 100 calories in 1 ounce and another food that has 200 calories in 1 ounce. This tells us the second food has a higher calorie density.
In other words you want to choose the food that has lower calories in volume.
The following foods are examples of low calorie dense foods with high volume:
Lean proteins like meat, fish, tofu, and chicken breast provide satiety and aid in muscle building
Vegetables provide large amounts of food and low calorie packed with fiber, nutrients and provide satiety.
Berries are great low density foods with fiber and antioxidants.
Fish are high in protein and low in calories.
Greens/salad mixes can provide high volume and low calorie.Building salads without the extra fat can be a great snack or meal after adding a lean protein like fish or chicken.
High density low volume foods usually are the ones we love to eat and can contribute to weight gain like fast food, processed foods, and baked goods. These are the ones we need to start removing from our daily eating habits and replacing with healthier choices. Let me remind you there are healthy foods that are high density and low volume to consider like almond butter. One tablespoon is 90 calories and we all know we love to eat well more than a tablespoon. Some are guilty of eating nearly half a cup if we aren’t mindful and that adds up to 720 calories of mindless eating.
The following foods are examples of high density calorie foods:
Baked goods like cupcakes, bagels, muffins, bread, Cornbread
Junk food like chips, fried foods, fast food
Trail mix with dried fruit and nuts are high density and should be portioned to 1 ounce servings
Sugar induced beverages like soda, fruit punch, artificially flavored juices, alcoholic beverages
Energy In VS Energy Out
It’s one thing to choose the right foods that are low density, we also need to have an understanding of food energy balance when it comes to weight loss. To lose weight energy in (total calories consumed in a day) has to be less then energy out (total calories burned for the day). If your body burns 2000 calories a day then you have to eat less than 2000 calories to lose weight. The same goes for weight gain. For the same 2000 calories you burn a day you have to eat more than your burn a day to gain. For maintenance, to keep your weight the same, you eat 2000 calories a day. Sounds simple, right? Well, this is where quality comes in because the kinds of food you eat are going to reflect how you feel and look. For now let’s focus on low and high density foods.
Calorie density not only plays a large part in the amount of calories it contains but the impact it will have on the other components of a weight loss diet like hunger, satiety, and hormonal effects. These contribute to the success of a plan and if there is an overconsumption of high density foods then it can impede on your goals of losing weight.
Once we learn which foods are the right ones to keep us satisfied and on track with our goals we can better plan our meals and see consistent results.
The ketogenic diet has been around longer than you think. In fact, our ancestors that roamed the world lived in a ketogenic state in efforts to sustain hunger and use fats for fuel. With the ketogenic diet the goal is to eat high amounts of healthy fats, moderate protein, and low carbohydrates. At the end of day for keto to work properly your fats should be 75% of total calories, while protein are a moderate 20% and carbs 5%. If you want this plan to work properly you must monitor your calories so you don’t knock yourself out of ketosis. With the keto plan MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides) are the preferred fat source and can be found in coconut oil. These have been found to produce more ketone bodies than long chain triglycerides. Burning this kind of fat is a cleaner source for the body than using glucose/sugar. You don’t require insulin to break down your energy and you don’t get the highs and lows of your blood sugar. The downfall of this plan is if you eat too many carbs you knock yourself out of ketosis and you have to work to deplete your body of carbs before you switch to fat burning mode and that requires low energy days. As more and more diet fads come and go the ketogenic diet has made a strong comeback and is used by many doctors when insulin use has become compromised. No, I am not making medical claims, but when I personally put myself through a process or use a supplement I like to tell people the benefits I encountered and share the love.
Studies have found that a low carb high fat Ketogenic diet works better than a low-calorie restricted low-fat diet. This diet sounds great considering it recommends fats like butter, eggs, and bacon but can be hard when trying to deplete your body of glucose. This requires a lengthy 1-3 weeks of carbohydrate depleting until the body creates ketones to burn fat. Thankfully there are now therapeutic ketones you can take in powder form to get your body in a ketogenic state in less than hour! Yes, you read that correctly, less than an hour. How do I know for sure?? I use a blood testing kit to read the mmols of ketones in my blood. That means I had proof of ketone bodies in my blood an hour after consuming keto-os. It’s like drinking a pre workout that actually flips on your fat burning switch and knowing it actually works! I have been using keto-os in my daily routine for the last year and a half and never looked back. Not only is it helping me burn fat, it has reduced inflammation in my body and nagging ailments like my sciatica in my lower back, tendonitis in my shoulder, and I definitely have better mental focus.
So, how does this help with nutrition? It’s simple, while the ketones are in your system you burn fat. I also notice it curbs my appetite and removes my cravings. I don’t get the roller coaster sugar highs and lows so it makes sticking to a healthy plan easier. One question I get asked the most is “Do I have to do the ketogenic diet for it to work?” The answer is no, but it definitely helps get you into ketosis a lot easier. Whenever I had a party to attend where I knew there would be a large spread of food I would drink my keto-os and knowing they were in my body burning fat relieved me but also reduced my cravings so I wasn’t eating everything in front of me. Ketones, are a powerful fuel source and it’s one supplement I can count on. Besides, who doesn’t want to burn a little fat and get better focus and mental clarity?? I know I do.
Last weekend I was blessed to compete at the IFBB Florida Grand Prix in West Palm Beach. This was my second out of Texas pro show and am proud to announce I received 1st place in the Pro Masters (competitors 35 years and older) and 3rd place in the Pro Open (competitors of any age).
I arrived at West Palm Beach Saturday morning since the Pros were scheduled to compete on Sunday. We normally compete on Saturday but I later found out there were a few girls that competed in the Pittsburgh Pro Saturday. It made for a later start time but we were able to do finals just a few hours later.hair, makeup, and suit color. I
This competition I made a few changes to my overall look. Part of the judging includes hair, makeup, and suit color. I knew I needed to bring a fresh look as I am always recognized for the big afro style curls. A close friend and former competitor helped me find longer curls to add to my own for a more dramatic look to my hair. I also changed my hair color to my more natural dark brown as opposed to the red locks I usually rock on stage. I was a bit nervous because the curls were looser than my tighter curls but my stylist Brittany curled all of my hair for a perfect match and they all blended together.
She also did my makeup with a smoky eye finish and on stage, the complexion looked flawless with my tan body. Usually, it’s a lot brighter than the spray tan but she applied the perfect finish.
As for my competition suit, I decided to go for the purple ombre. Maria Thaikos, owner of Goddess Glam Competition Suits handcrafted my suit and it fit perfectly. The color and Swarovski stones gave an intense effect to my overall presence on stage.
Once my hair, makeup, suit, and jewelry were all in place I felt ready to dominate the stage. This was the best I have ever looked and pleased with my posing and conditioning.
Prejudging started around 4:30 pm at Keiser University and lasted close to an hour and a half. After individual poses, we have to stand in a diagonal line and hold our front or model pose until all ladies have done their posing and then wait for call outs. Needless to say, it made for a long competition due to being in two classes. In the Masters class I felt confident and when called for first call outs I made sure to shine brighter than the rest in the comparison round. Taking my time and keeping my composure in each movement was vital. My confidence was high and I felt in tune with everything around me. Once the Open class started I felt practiced and felt my individual posing was better the second time around. With 22 beauties making first callouts in this class made my energy soar. During the comparison round, I felt confident that my placing was top 3 and the finals proved my instincts to be right. As for the Masters, receiving 1st place was surreal. My heart soared knowing my hard work paid off. The bikini class is very subjective and at times you cannot be sure if the judges are looking for a leaner or softer look. I tend to get very lean and I definitely fit that look at this show.
Each show brings a new outcome and set the tone for the next show. What’s next?? The Olympia of course.
Bikini posing for IFBB Bikini. The right package and flawless posing make for a great outcome: 1st place Masters and 3rd place Open Class.
Growing up when my mom wanted something done I had to remove all distractions to complete the task or suffer the consequences. The daily tasks she required taught me to focus. Especially in a time crunch. Don’t get me wrong, I tend to procrastinate on the things I’m not so fond of but when it’s something I love to do or trying to accomplish something important I laser in on what needs to be done.
Every day my schedule requires me to set aside two separate times to train for competition. As I awake I do fasted cardio for 45 minutes. This means getting everything I need for the day and heading to the gym. Since my work day starts as early as 6am my alarm starts screaming at 4:15am. After cardio a shower is desperately needed and my first meal is eaten before training my first client. Later in the day I schedule an hour for strength and weight training. This happens five days out of the week and then I’m back to training clients until 7pm, sometimes as late as 8:30pm.
One can say the days get long but luckily I love what I do and it never feels like ‘work’. Once I’m home I tend to my furry babies then prepare dinner and attempt to enjoy some of the evening with my hubby. But before I get too comfortable I have to start preparing for the next day. Managing my time is important when I compete. Scheduling times to eat along with clients and my own training can get overwhelming and exhausting. Staying on track with taking all my supplements throughout the day and drinking at least a gallon of water is a full-time job. To get my body stage ready I can’t miss a beat. There’s no wiggle room and forget taking the day off from ‘my comp plan’ because if that box is cracked even a little we might as well bring in the doughnuts because a little taste is never enough. That is why getting ready for a show requires focus. If I get distracted then there is a possibility that my plan can start to unravel. Fortunately for me I am zoned in like a sniper waiting for its next kill.
4:15am Alarm…snooze button
4:24am Alarm… Rise and shine!
4:24-4:45am morning ritual then off to the gym
5:45am-6:15am shower, get ready for work, scarf down meal 1
6:30am-1:30pm train clients, eat meals 2 and 3, take required supplements, drink at least half-gallon water.
2:00pm-3:30pm workout, eat meal 4
4:00pm-8:30pm train clients, eat meal 5 (dinner)
8:45pm-10:30pm family time and prepare for next day
10:30pm wind down and prepare for bed. i usually am asleep between 11pm and midnight
As we put Christmas behind us with the relief of having some form of control over our lives we still have the last week of the year where most of us like to use “I’ll start after New Year’s” phrase. We all know after too many holiday parties followed by Christmas lunch, brunch, dessert, and leftovers the next day we need to tighten the reins and clean up our eating. The only problem is many of us aren’t ready to give up the foods that have been comforting us the past few weeks and if everyone else gets to start on New Year’s then I guess I’ll jump off a bridge too. Wait, what?? Look, you’ve already made additional holes in your belt buckle and started wearing elastic banded pants. Why wait till the first when you can get ahead of the rest by starting now?
I know it’s easier said than done, especially coming from someone who eats clean year round but I was in your shoes before and there is nothing worse than trying to restart something you fell off the wagon for and hitting the restart button. Making changes to becoming healthier and getting in better shape all take planning and preparing and I don’t expect to teach it all to you in one blog. For now let’s start with the basics and use these simple daily habits to get you going in the right direction.
Eat breakfast everyday.
Eat small meals throughout the day.
Eat a lean protein and complex carbohydrate with every meal.
Eat whole foods instead of processed food.
Drink half your body weight in ounces every day.
Prepare your meals ahead of time.
With the new year less than a week away you have to start planning for a better version of yourself and with the right nutrition and exercise plan you can look forward to a healthy New Year and fitter YOU!
I will be sharing my food diary for those that ask me what I eat most days. I prepare all my meals. When I leave the house in a hurry I go to Snap Kitchen where most of the meals are gluten free and portioned perfectly for me. For future posts I will include all foods not prepared by me and show you how easy it is to eat healthy and delicious foods when on the go or eating out with friends.
Juliana’s Food diary:
Breakfast: 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, 2 ounces chicken breast all scrambled together with 2 TB salsa, 1 whole grapefruit
Morning snack: medium apple, 4 ounces lean fround turkey
Lunch: 5 oz grilled chicken brest (baked), 5 ounces baked sweet potatos, 1 cup steamed green beans
Afternoon snack: protein shake blended with 1 banana and 2TB almond butter, water, ice, 1 ounce trail mix
Dinner: 5 ounces fround turkey, 1/2 cup brown rice, 1/4 cup black beans, salsa, 1 cup broccoli
Poor Monday! No body ever cheered for Monday the way they do Fridays but at least you can have a fresh start. After a long over indulgent weekend it’s safe to say Mondays are a good day to start from scratch. Today I cleaned up my eating, been hydrating with my water, had a cup of detox tea, and am already feeling better. I still have to get through dinner but I have a plan and am not tempted to get off of it. We believe in fresh starts and when we decide to focus on a goal the sky is the limit, until a coworker or family member starts waving temptation in your face. This is where will power steps up and keeps you honest with your goals. You can’t let every chance to back down defeat you. Every time you say ‘no thank you’ and pass on the sweets or after work drinks your will power gets a little stronger. Think of it like a muscle. The more you flex it, the stronger it becomes. So stay strong and stick to your main goals because life likes to challenge you.
Before I say good bye to Monday here are a few tips to sticking to your clean eating habits:
1. When making your grocery list keep processed foods off. Instead of cereal add gluten free whole oats. Add fresh fruits and veggies to keep around for snacks. Start portioning your meals and making them more frequent.
2. Replace all sugary drinks with pure clean water. If you must have something different try brewing green tea and add a little honey and lemon. Or try juicing fruits and vegetables. I know it can get messy but it’s a great tasting way to try new things. Here is a juicing site to get you started.
3. Read your nutrition labels. If it has more than 3 ingredients and you can’t pronounce them, it’s a sure sign it should not go in your body.
Overall, stick to the source and stay consistent with your meals. When you plan ahead you are likely to stick to your program. Healthy eating should be a way of life and don’t worry, everything in moderation not deprivation.
Houston can be a tough city to find healthy meal choices when eating out. Here in Texas we like our southern fried foods and fatty meats and most of us have never met a potato we didn’t like! With our daily schedules, cooking at home is just not an option for a large number of busy professionals, executives, parents, and students. But if you are working toward a fitness goal, or if you have simply put healthy eating at the top of your list of priorities, then you need to know where you can go and what you can order when you can’t make your meals at home. Knowledge is power in this situation, and I hope to arm you with some of my experience and expertise on the matter.
Planning ahead…at least a LITTLE BIT
Most days you probably run out of the office and hit the road for home (or the gym!) at breakneck speed. Chances are your tummy starts rumbling while you are still sitting in traffic and you find yourself turning in to pick something up for dinner. Or perhaps it is lunchtime and you need something fast. If you have made the conscious decision to eat healthy, fast food is not on the menu. In fact, quite a few standard American choices are ruled out. So what’s a hungry guy or gal to do? The first step to a fool proof healthy eating plan is to do just as the name suggests…and PLAN. Pack your lunch and a few healthy snack options to curb your hunger. But if eating out is a major part of your routine, then you at least need to know where to go and what to order. The easiest way to do this is to know the healthy restaurants in your area (list below) or find it on HealthyDiningFinder.com or a similar site. Then, browse the menus online ahead of time. Many restaurants provide nutrition information online and in stores these days. When we have goals to accomplish it is important to stick to the plan and eat healthy even when we don’t prepare it ourselves.
This one can be tricky when eating out with co workers but if you know where you are going then you can take a sneak peak at the menu on line and plan ahead. Choose the item you will order while you are sitting at your desk. It is easier to think about and follow through with your healthy choices when you are not rushed by the people behind you or tempted by the table next to you. We live in a time when information is literally at our fingertips. Use your smartphone—most sites have mobile versions—and plan ahead. You can always call ahead as well and ask for special preparations. In fact, calling ahead and ordering your meal for pick up instead of eat in might just save you the temptation of ordering that dessert you saw. Don’t DRINK your calories. This should be a no brainer by now, remember a healthy diet does not include soda or alcohol for that matter. Many people automatically order a soda or alcoholic beverage with every restaurant meal and the calories can stack up by the hundreds. It just “goes together” in their mind and this is a thought cycle that will sabotage even the best of healthy eating plans. Choose water or unsweetened tea or coffee instead of regular soft drinks or alcoholic beverages. This will save a lot of calories. This is one more place where ordering your food to go can help you stick to your healthy choices when flying solo. You are far less likely to order a drink “to go”—it can be a pain to transport it home, and you know you have plenty of drink options in the fridge anyhow. Or better yet, water!
Whole Grains Are Your Friend
Most restaurants have a whole grain option for their pastas and sandwich breads, and brown rice in place of white. If you MUST order one of these types of starchy items, go for the whole grain varieties. The added fiber will offset some of the carby content at least to some extent. Let’s not forget our new gluten free friendly menus. More restaurants and healthy on the go places are catching on to the wheat free trend of eating.
Sauces: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
If you’re in the mood for pasta, look for tomato-based sauces rather than cream-based sauces. Tomato-based sauces are lower in fat and calories. In addition, the tomato sauce (or marinara sauce) can count as a vegetable! Another option is to ask for your pasta to be tossed in a small amount of olive oil with steamed veggies and a dash of garlic and salt. Always order sauces and salad dressings on the side. This way, you have control over how much or how little you add. When choosing a dressing, stay away from cream-based dressings like Ranch and Blue Cheese. These pack a huge punch when it comes to calories and instead choose a vinaigrette. One excellent trick is to ask for “oil and vinegar.” The waiter will bring you a little caddy of olive oil and some kind of vinegar, allowing you to control the amount of oil in the dressing you eat. Sour cream counts as a sauce too. Ask for salsa with a baked potato instead of sour cream, butter, cheese, or bacon. Salsa is very low in calories, tasty, and a healthy alternative with a lot of spice. Another tip is to ask for reduced-sodium soy sauce. Too much sodium will sabotage your healthy lifestyle in ways far too numerous to list here. Just go easy on the shaker and high sodium sauces like this one. Order sandwiches with mustard rather than mayonnaise or “special sauce.” Mustard adds flavor with virtually no calories. Other sandwich tips are to choose gluten free, whole grain bread, skip the cheese, and add vegetables as toppings. Also keep in mind that chicken salad, tuna salad, and egg salad are made with mayonnaise. These are calories that can add up and not considered the good kind.
Bread and Chips
A steaming basket of bread or fresh hot tortilla chips is sure to send your hunger bells into attack mode and innocent snacking on these while you wait for your order can result in hundreds of unhealthy calories offsetting all your hard work at the gym. Request that the waiter NOT bring these items to your table. No need to make it harder on yourself than necessary. Yet another good reason to order it all to go!
There have been studies done that show consuming a small cup of low calorie soup before every meal lowers overall caloric intake and will therefore aid in weight loss. Just be sure you choose a broth-based soup over a cream based option. Keep in mind that cream-based soups are higher in fat and calories than broth-based soups. Soup can serve as a great appetizer to a meal, or as an entree. Most soups are low in calories and will fill you up.
Salads at many restaurants have been teased and tossed and dressed within an inch of their healthy core. A small pile of iceberg lettuce loaded with grated cheese, bacon or ham, croutons, and smothered in creamy dressing can have as many calories as a cheeseburger! So be sure to ask for the dry Garden salad and dressing on the side. If you think you can’t leave them behind on the plate, request that the croutons and other toppings be left in the kitchen.
Where’s The Beef? Or Meat?
For meat dishes, look for leaner cuts such as skinless chicken breasts, turkey burgers, pork loin and beef sirloin. Select options that are flavored with spices and fresh herbs, as those items are more likely to have lower fat and sodium content. When ordering grilled fish (or vegetables,) ask that the food either be grilled without butter or oil, or prepared “light,” with little oil or butter. Do I have to tell you that anything battered or fried is out of the question?
Whenever possible order steamed or grilled vegetables rather than anything starchy. If your only choice is potatoes, choose baked or steamed rather than French fries, tots, chips or any kind of fried hash. Always ask for healthy choices, even if there are no healthy options listed. Restaurants often have veggies and fruit available for other dishes that they will be willing to prepare for you as a side dish.
Keep in mind that eating out, if at all possible, should be something you do only occasionally. Almost everything you make at home is going to be a leaner, healthier option. The hamburger you grill up at home is better than the one you can get at most restaurants when it comes to fat, additives, and other questionable ingredients. Plus no one looks at you funny if you choose to only eat half so that you can afford a french fry or three. Also, asking the waiter to box up half of your meal in the kitchen is increasingly more popular. Or you can ask for a box to be brought at the beginning of the meal and box it up before you dig in. Out of sight, out of mind! Restaurant portions are typically twice what you should have in one sitting in terms of calories and fat. If you get in the habit of only eating half of what is served, you will not only be spreading your calories out properly and avoiding over-indulgence, you will be saving money too, since you have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch (or tonight’s dinner!)
HEALTHY EATS IN HOUSTON
The following restaurants are a few of my favorite places to eat healthy. Their menus are designed to have less fattening items and will tailor to your requests.
Snap Kitchen 3600 Kirby Dr. Houston, TX 77098 (713) 526-5700 http://www.snapkitchen.com
Zoe’s Kitchen 3701 S. Shepherd Drive Houston, TX 77098 (713) 522-7447 http://www.zoeskitchen.com
Ruggles Green 2311 W Alabama St Houston, TX 77098 (713) 533-0777 http://www.rugglesgreen.com
Field of Greens 2320 W Alabama St Houston, TX 77098 (713) 533-0029 http://www.fieldofgreenscuisine.com
Pepper Tree Veggie Cuisine Highland Village 3821 Richmond Ave Houston, TX 77027 (713) 621-9488 http://www.ilovepeppertree.com
My Fit Foods 5410 Kirby Drive Houston, TX 77005 713-592-9707 http://www.Myfitfoods.com
With all of the hype fitness has generated we are seeing more people we know take the plunge into being more active and trying to live a healthier lifestyle. More are joining cross fit gyms while others are lifting more to create the physique of their dreams. As we watch the anxious newbies build their Instagram popularity and share their recent workouts and meal plans how many of them are sticking to their goals? During this journey how many of them are seeing their goals through?
The Struggle Is Real
If you are like me, you watch your Facebook feed fill up with the latest workout craze, cleanest meal prep, and the hottest pre workout to get you blitzed for the day. Every day is someones leg day, chest day, squat challenge, burpee until you barf…you get the idea. Committing to a plan is no walk in the park. It takes planning, hard work, and dedication to truly commit to a fitness program if you want to gain real results. ‘Can’t lose those last five pounds?’ ‘Gains not coming on fast enough?’ Truth is, it’s you. You are the culprit that is keeping you from your goals. Trust me, I’ve heard it all, seen it all, and even had it happen to me before. There is no magic pill, just consistent behavior that leads to your goals.
Consistency Is Key
There’s that word again. Consistency. By definition meanssteadfastadherencetothesameprinciples,course,form,etc. You must repeat your habits to see real results. This is where the reality check comes in. I see clients start a program and are good for maybe a few weeks but then Life Happens and they begin to miss meals, workouts, eat the wrong things, etc. This knocks them off track and they stop seeing results. Maybe they start back up a week or so later but then another inconvenience steps into their world. But this time it was a harder hit than the last one and now we are starting from ground zero. I am going to say something a lot of people will not like and that’s okay because I have been nice in the past and it doesn’t get you results. Life is here every day, whether you work, go to school, work 50 plus hours a week ,travel, eat out daily with clients, always have food in your face, the kids won’t eat what I eat, I don’t have time (make effing time!!!), I am too tired, I travel, (insert crying sound effect here wah, wah, wah). Look, I know we all have whatever we have but the truth is, if you are not consistent then you won’t get real results. So stop making excuses, eat according to your goals regardless of the people around you because you are the one that puts it in your body, not anyone else, and make sure you plan to get your workout in by packing your gym bag and saying no to the friend that wants to have drinks after work. Hell, tell them to join you on the stairclimber for your version of happy hour and see how that one flies. All I am saying is stay consistent and the results will come.
Make Up Your Mind
You have to mentally prepare yourself to get into a fitness routine. For most of us it enters our mind and we decide to research the latest trends. Next we start noticing more people we know getting results in the gym or from some app they are using to follow along. Then we make our move to join a gym or start going for a run or even watch youtube videos to get into shape. Regardless of how you start your mind must be made up to do it because when we are dragged into going to workout or if its suggested and you are only going to please someone else then you have already lost the battle. Hence, the fitness reality check. Wake up people!!!
Working at a gym there are few times I get to sit and chat with my co-workers. As I’m scarfing down meal 2 of the day I noticed that my coworker was having an internal battle. As I was chewing through my sweet potato sand turkey she looks at me and says “Well I guess I’ll go run my errands since the stair climbers are taken.” She continues to explain why she likes the one on the left versus the one on the right but then I realize no one is using the one in between the two. So I asked her what about the one no is using? She looks up in realization and I can see her expression as if to say oh yeah there’s that one. With a big roll of her eyes she says, “Dang it Juliana, you really know how to make someone feel bad… No more like guilty.” In the past she has asked me to help her with nutrition, holding her accountable and just making sure she gets things done. Because even some of the best of us need a little pushing as well. Of course I took one look at her and in my feisty voice I said “You better get your butt over there and get your cardio done!” I could see she looked annoyed and as I walked away back to work I kept a long stare to show her I was serious. Fifteen minutes later into training my client I watch my co-worker dragging her feet over to the stair climber in her workout clothes and glares at me with the “I really hate you right now” look.
As humans we take the path of least resistance. So if we have good intentions to get our workout in but then have a shift in mood it’s easier to make excuses not to do it. Even I come up with 100 ways to get out of doing my own workouts. The truth is it’s not going to hurt anyone else so why not? If my coworker didn’t start that statement with me she probably would’ve left to do her errands and not done cardio because as your day goes on more comes up and the cardio you could have done earlier has officially fallen off your to do list while telling your self “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Funny, today was tomorrow, yesterday. Stop making excuses. If I didn’t get feisty with my co-worker, who would have? I understand working out can be a chore for anyone that already has a slammed day and barely has time yo catch their breath but the bottom line is it is important to take care of YOU! Exercise is your daily dose of ‘feel good’ and I promise, once you get started you will be glad you did. If you are someone that dreads working out then it’s time to change the way you think. I recommend taking a new approach. You have to find the positive and embrace your workouts. If you hate the treadmill then find something you enjoy. The goal is to workout by increasing your activity level. It doesn’t have to be a chore. I always look forward to my workouts because of the way I feel during and afterwards. If it’s a day I don’t feel like working out I still make myself go because I know the feeling will disappear once I get started.
At the end of the day you will feel accomplished and more motivated for your next workout. #getfeisty
Mindless chatter,I know I am an anomaly and when I go to the movies I smell the delicious aroma of buttered popcorn only to have the thought of how many calories would be wasted and the terrible havoc the corn would wreak on my digestive system that would essentially cause a number of other issues I don’t want to remind myself of…yes, I am that girl that calculates, weighs on a scale and measures before it enters my body, all food I see before me, well, most of it. I can’t help it because it’s what I’m passionate about. You see, I’m a professional body builder and in order to build my body into a fit and fabulous bikini physique I am one to watch what passes my sweet little lips. I have plenty of friends that have teased, belittled, joked about, whispered about, and cheered on my efforts of endless calorie watching but at the end of the day it’s the life I choose to live and that results in the body I love to have. You see, the beauty of it all is I am in control of both my physical health and aesthetic look. I am that girl that flaunts the summer tank top to show off my muscular arms. I am that girl that can wear the hot booty shorts in the summer short enough to question if they are age appropriate… I am that girl that can wear anything and get away with it because I worked my ass off year round in the gym and also put in the work with my nutrition just so I can love me and be happy with the way I look and feel. I won’t lie about my age because I’m proud to look younger than the number I confess to (born 1975) and I am happy to share the wealth of knowledge I have acquired about nutrition so you too can be that girl… Or guy 😉 Juliana 💋💋
In honor of Valentine’s Day I chose a recipe for the sweet soul. Although many of you may have sugar hangovers by the time I post this I chose a recipe that called for stevia extract powder and Swerve confectioners powder. I also decided on a low carb and gluten free recipe for my kept and paleo followers. Stop rolling your eyes and trust me they are better than you think, especially because they come with a butter cream frosting and also taste like coconut 🙂 These tasty little cakes will leave your sweet tooth satisfied and asking your hubby, wife, or whomever to hide the rest. I would like to note I made two batches and a few substitutions as you will see below. Overall, the taste was perfect, texture moist, and my new go to cupcake recipe.
When I think of my body I think of my temple. I also see it as my personal sculpture, my creative development I have been blessed with, and let’s not forget the place my soul inhabits during this lifetime. My body. My soul. My love. These are just a few components of Juliana.
During my lifetime I have bruised, embraced, inked, abused, physically transformed, and love my body. It’s mine, all mine and the best part is I choose how to nourish it. It’s taken me years, endless hours of research and trial and error but I know what’s best for me. I understand the essentials of nutrients and whole foods. I also understand the negative effects my body has to the wrong foods so I choose to put cleaner foods in my body. We only have one and I choose to treat it like a temple.
I did not practice this all my life but when I decided it was time to treat my body with respect and love from the inside out I began my fitness journey and never looked back. #loveyourtemple #getfeisty
Eating healthy can mean different things to people. If you change or stop one bad habit and replace it with a good habit of eating it is safe to say you started eating healthier. If you have a complete eating make over and change all of your habits into healthy habits it still has the same meaning of eating healthier. The concept of eating clean is the idea of making healthier choices of your daily foods to improve your health. Eating healthy means removing processed foods, refined sugars, fast and unhealthy junk food found throughout the grocery aisles and on every other block in different fast food restaurant chains. To eat healthy you should choose foods with less ingredients. These tend to be healthier foods that are whole fruits and vegetables, lean animal proteins, seafood, and vegetarian proteins like tempeh and tofu. Overall, eating healthy takes practice, preparation, and most importantly a good disciplinary practice.
Many people have tried and failed at eating clean and it’s because they are caving into their food cravings. Food cravings come after your blood sugar drops and you feel hungry. This feeling is normal when it’s time to eat because your body is communicating with you. Since the body uses carbohydrates as its main energy source it needs to be replenished every 2-3 hours to allow body to burn efficient energy all day. If they body does not get the right foods with the right amounts you are constantly going through a viscous cycle of spiking and dropping your blood sugar, feeding into cravings that lead to over eating the wrong foods like the little Debbie snacks staring at you at 2pm when you are ready to crash. When designing your nutrition goals it’s important to be realistic. Don’t try removing all bad foods with clean/healthy ones at once…you are setting yourself up for failure. Start small and just remove a couple of things each week. Keep a journal of what you are eating and log your food. You will be amazed at what you put in your body once you see it on paper or logged on your app of choice. I like the Lose It app. It’s free, easy to use and you can join your community of friends to see how they are doing with their nutrition goals. It helps calculate the number of calories you can eat to meet your weight loss/gain goal and there is even a premium account if you want to get detailed with your macros and goals.
Remember, daily practices of eating healthy take time to become long term practice. As you develop these changes you will feel and see a difference that motivates you to stick to your changes. As we all know change it is hard but the final outcome is well worth the new changes.