Your life is what you create it to be!

Posts tagged ‘calories’

Portion Sizes – Measuring is Critical for Weight Loss Success

I recently hired a natural bodybuilder to set me up with a diet plan. As I get older, I find I have to tweak my nutrition plan to get the results I’m looking for. I typically do not stay lean all the time and have to lean out for certain events or video filming. So in this occasion, I was curious on how my body would react with something specifically structured for me.
The diet plan was pretty bodybuilder basic 101. He had me eating 6 small meals a day and drinking at least 150 oz of water.

I was getting results, slowly but surely. But then my body hit a stall. The weight wasn’t moving for 3-4 days and I didn’t look any different either. The problem lies in my serving sizes. I wasn’t measuring, just eyeballing. Hey, I’m a fitness professional, I know what 4oz is. I can figure this out. I THOUGHT my husband threw out my manual scale when we moved from NY to TX. He always hated that thing. I went searching for it again deep in the cabinets, and found it!

To my surprise and madness, I was overeating on serving sizes! Sometimes 3-4 times the amount! Pictured here I was suppose to eat 2.5 oz Chicken and 3 oz Yam. As you can see my “guessing plate” and the “measured plate” on how I was way off!

So many of my meals throughout the day consisted of having 1oz of peanuts with the meals. Well, boy do I love peanuts! And the daily increase of an extra peanut or 10 surely made a difference when you times that by multiple meals in a day! No wonder I wasn’t losing weight! Even an extra couple hundred calories a day can make all the difference. Here was another one of my meals and how off I was:

So what does this all mean? YES, weighing and measuring is THAT important for your weightloss success! Even a fitness professional like myself can get it wrong. Invest in a digital scale (btw, I did throw out my manual cheap one after I bought a digital). It will seriously make all the difference in your hard efforts. By delaying measuring, is only delaying the success of your efforts and hard work.

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How to Fit in Working Out When You are TOO BUSY?

Fact- You are NOT too busy, you just haven’t scheduled in the time to work out or you haven’t made it a priority in your life. It’s just an excuse, and first thing you have to do, is admit that you are making excuses. I think nowadays, we can all have an argument on who is busier than whom, correct?
I have had many directions and obstacles in my life that could easily be used as an excuse as to why I wasn’t working out. I used to travel nationally/internationally. Flying all day, working all day in an unknown environment, eating out every day; easy recipe to just go back to the hotel and watch tv.
I have had 2 babies, both via c-section all while working 2 full time jobs, 1 managing and developing 60 fitness professionals for a major fitness company and the other was starting up my home business JC Dwyer, Inc where I’m working in creating a monster downline and achievement in the Team Beachbody home business. I was also scheduling and presenting trainings on weekends (3rd job) and so much more! Was that an excuse, could be, but wasn’t.

I’m going to be honest, I personally don’t LOVE working out all the time. I’ll be VERY honest. If it wasn’t for me teaching group exercise, working for fitness celebrity Chalene Johnson, and being a fitness and health coach with the Team Beachbody business, I probably wouldn’t think to work out as much.
But even if those things aren’t your goals or even have the opportunity to do that, you don’t have to believe that’s what you have to do, to do it. You may just need to find the reason for accountability. Because, that is one of mine.

Recently, I moved from upstate Rochester NY to outside of Dallas TX. Family of 4, driving 2 separate vehicles, 1500 miles. My 2 toddlers always wanted to ride in mommies car, which I loved =). But moving across country, away from the state you have always known, the life you developed, comforts of home- is stressful and exhausting.
I didn’t schedule in working out. Left it up to it would only be a couple days, I’ll get back into it. But the struggles of waiting to get into your new home, closing, getting the your stuff moved in from the truck, putting it away can easily be an excuse to not fit in exercise. I did just that! Didn’t schedule it and left it up to how I felt that day and if I had time to work out.
I’m now faced with no classes to teach for group exercise! That was an EASY way for me to have it on schedule, I had to teach other people! It’s up in my hands now.

After 1 week of packing up, traveling across country, unpacking some, I finally scheduled a work out.
It felt horrible! I wanted to quit so many times, but I had to follow through and just do it, because it’s that important.

Bring on the TURBO!


So the moral of this is, schedule it! Life is busy! You can easily let it take over you! If you work for someone else, work from home, or don’t even have a job, your day can easily escape you and get filled with errands and other people’s requests.
Each day, start with these tips to ensure you fit in exercise:

1) Get your work out gear ready the night before!
2) Make your To-Do list which includes your work out
3) Put it on your actual calendar- schedule the EXACT time you will work out!
4) Set an alarm reminder for 30 mins before your scheduled time
5) If you are overwhelmed with things to do when your work out time hits, and you HAVE to do them, change up the length and intensity of your work out to be faster and more intense.

The things you do for other people, the business you build, the meals you make, the errands you run are temporary. How you feel about how you look, your energy level, and your overall positive feeling that you did something for yourself is the fountain of youth. That is longevity, so make it a priority.

Are you Scared to Eat?

Do you REALLY believe that when you hear people say, eat more often to lose weight, that it’s true? Or do you think, “Well, for other people, but not MY body. I’ll gain weight if I actually eat!”

I struggled with this for the greater part of my adult life. Always challenged with eating too much, and gaining weight. When I wanted to lose weight, I was always successful when I barely ate anything or ate many “filler” foods like sugar free jello and salads! But ballooning back up as soon as I ate food again was just around the corner. I have always been into fitness and always had to battle with “looking the part.” Being a mesomorph, I would naturally have a stronger more muscular build, but I additionally would hold/gain fat easily if I wasn’t too careful.

It has taken me years to figure out how my body works, but mostly in general, how to have my body work for me. I struggled with the concept of eating more often because I didn’t understand how to plan my meals and the right amount of protein, carbs, fats and calories I should eat to reach my goals.
I still don’t count these grams and ratios exactly but now just match up what I know I should be eating and stay within a calorie range.

You may find some arguments on the myth of eating multiple small mini-meals a day as opposed to the traditional eating three meals a day concept. In my studies and experience, eating 5-6 small meals a day works for most people in achieving their desired body fat goals. Many reasons why this works to be true:

1. You are eating more often so you mentally feel “fuller” and not starving for the next meal
2. Your body is processing food more frequently throughout the day, thus making it “work, thus burning more calories

BUT- BEWARE!!

Some people think of eating 5-6 mini meals a day, but fail to plan and prepare! You can easily fall into the bad trap of eating TOO MUCH each time you eat!

Here are my suggestions to ensure you meet your weight loss goals instead of defeating yourself and going back to the, “scared to eat” problem:

1. Be as planned and prepared as you can to eat 5-6 small meals a day. If you like variety, plan each mini meal to have 2-3 options to choose from each day. Some people prefer the same thing everyday (that’s me). It decreases me having to think of what to eat, preparing food, and shopping is easier!
2. Know what your daily caloric intake should be for your body fat goal. For your goal, be sure to know what your maintenance caloric needs are, and then work on decreasing your caloric intake to lose weight up to no more than 2 lbs a week.
3. Start Simple! Avoid being too creative and “fancy” with the preparation of your food, especially if you are just starting out on trying to eat better and to eat more often.
4. Be sure to get enough protein! It’s easy to think of fruit, vegetables, and carbs when planning your meals. Each “meal” should involve a protein source
5. Supplement! You don’t always have to sit down for a plated meal. Using meal replacement or protein bars or shakes are a great way to “pop” food in so you are fueling the fire in your belly!

More importantly, this isn’t a diet, this is a lifestyle. Never “go on a diet”, because “going” is an action of forward process where a destination should be reached. Eating to work with your body to tweak out where you want to create and define it is where you may tighten up on your daily diet, but it is just that, a daily nutritional diet.

Exercise is highly critical in developing a strong body as you work to define it, but that’s a whole other topic! =)

What Workout will Work for ME?

This is a question I get a lot.

I mean it’s either cardio or strength training or both – right? Well, at a high level, sure. But if you really want your workouts to be the most effective, understanding the type of cardio and strength training you’re doing is key.

Wait, the hours on the treadmill or stair climber and doing countless sets of heavy lifting isn’t going to get me where I want to be?Exercise and Workout Questions?

Let me explain. Sure, walking, running, stairs and weight lifting are all great exercises.

BUT.

There are some really effective concepts that are utilized in exercise, workout and training programs that can increase your results and performance so I wanted to talk about them here. You’ll see that I reference some workout programs that utilize each specific concept but it’s only because these are the programs that I am most familiar with and know deliver results, there may certainly be many others as well.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – Exercising at your max in short (less than 1 minute) intervals improves aerobic and anaerobic energy release and cranks up your body’s metabolism to burn calories faster. So you burn more stored body fat to help you recover from the workout. This occurs because the intense intervals fatigue your muscle groups. In turn, your body works overtime to replenish the tired muscles with oxygen, creating the AfterBurn Effect, which can last for up to 24 hours after you’ve finished class. The AfterBurn Effect means you actually continue to burn calories for hours after your workout is over.

HIIT burns up to 9x more fat and calories than traditional cardio. Hello! Who doesn’t want that?

Turbo Fire uses these HIIT moves known as “Fire Drills” where unlike traditional cardio, HIIT means working out at your max in up to 1-minute intervals. Even after you’re done with class, your body continues to burn calories for up to a 24-hour period. This means 4 minutes of HIIT can be more effective than 30 to 45 minutes on a treadmill or stair climber.

MAX Interval Training – long bursts of ultra-high intensity moves at your maximum exertion level followed by brief periods of rest. Due to this fact, each workout keeps your body fully engaged as you rotate between aerobic and anaerobic intervals. Max Interval training increases your RMR (Resting Metabolic rate) which in terms continues to aid in burning fat longer than just while you are working out. Hours after finishing your workout you would be burning calories at a higher rate than normal. It is the High intensity workout’s that aid in raising the RMR similar to what having more lean muscle mass does from lifting weights and you additionally get this from your workouts during Insanity. By creating leaner muscles you aid in the increase in your RMR.

INSANITY uses MAX Interval Training which replaces your moderate intensity exercise with maximum-intensity exercise, and your short intervals of intensity with short periods of rest. Adding high-intensity exercise, during which your heart rate is raised to 80 percent or more of its maximum capacity, forces your body to use fast-twitch muscle fibers not normally engaged in cardio exercise. These fast-twitch fibers continue burning extra fuel even during lower-intensity exercise.

Muscle Confusion – Also known as periodization, muscle confusion is a systematic variation in resistance training program; periodically varying program variables such as type of exercise, training weight (resistance),position, number of sets, rest interval between sets etc. Our bodies will quickly adapt to an exercise routine and resist responding when it knows what’s coming. We can prevent this “plateau effect” by continually challenging the body to reach its maximum potential. Since it’s impossible to continually improve at the same rate over long-term training, properly varying the training variables can limit training plateaus, maximize performance, and reduce the likelihood of over-training.

P90X utilizes muscle confusion and gives you intense cross-training with 5 hard-core resistance routines, 3 fat-scorching cardio routines, and 2 ab-ripping routines, as well as extreme yoga and advanced flexibility. You work all your muscles, from every possible angle, using many different techniques. Whether you want to lean out, bulk up, or get ripped, there are endless ways to mix and match the routines to keep you motivated.

Post-­Activation Potentiation (PAP)– Doing a weighted resistance exercise prior to an explosive one can increase the amount of power produced.

Prior heavy loading induces a high degree of central nervous system stimulation, resulting in greater motor unit recruitment and force, which can last from five-to-thirty minutes; PAP intervention enhances the H-reflex, thus increasing the efficiency and rate of the nerve impulses to the muscle. HUH?

In laymen terms, this means that doing heavy lifting prior to explosive activity can actually help you fire higher threshold muscle cell motor units which, even even simpler terms, means that you will jump higher, run faster, or life more weight.

P90X2 is the next wave in applied science for body transformation takes P90x Muscle Confusion™ to a new level, focusing on strength, balance, mobility and explosive power. It takes the principles and foundation of the P90X concept and cranks up the intensity with exercises that demand balance, agility, and athleticism.

If you have questions, feel free to comment and I’d be happy to help!

How to plan your meals for weightloss

If you’re thinking about losing a few pounds, there are a few ingredients you need to ensure your success. Of course you need to have an exercise program scheduled in your week, complete with resistance, stretching, and cardio training. BUT, I’d like to focus mostly on how to organize and plan what you should be eating throughout the day to make those strides towards your goals in weight loss.

If you are like me on the days you haven’t planned what you will eat, you may be likely to either skip eating or grab a bunch of empty calorie foods or a boat load of pretzels. Planning and being prepared is key.

One of my tricks is to stay as consistent in what I eat from each day. Now if you are a person that likes creativity and variety, then I suggest you plan out a couple of days and then just rotate around them until you get in the habit of knowing how to pair up the foods you eat and the portion sizes. But for me, creature of habit. I’m pretty much good with the same thing everyday.

General rule of thumb is to choose foods you actually like to eat, and yes, healthy foods. Additionally, my suggestions below may not fit exactly in your dietary guidelines, and always suggest checking with your doctor.

But in general, you need to eat carbs, protein, and fats. Your life is not living a lifestyle if you omit a food group so you can quickly lose weight. I am not a fan of the no carb diets. Your body needs carbs as well as good fats. I’m a mom of 2 toddlers, married, running my own home business, as well as working professionally in the fitness world. I don’t have a lot of time to “think” about what I want to eat. These are my general guidelines:

  1. Find out how many calories you should be eating for your body type, weight, and goals (maintenance & weight loss) On average- decrease by 500 calories from maintenance to lose 1 lb per week.
  2. Once you know what your caloric goal for the entire day should be, divide up those calories into 5-6 meals. Then just choose serving sizes and foods each time you eat to fit that caloric range.
    1. If I’m on a 1800 calorie diet and eat 6 meals a day, then each time I eat- I’ll eat about 300 calories each meal.
  3. Always choose protein, carbs, and sometimes fats.
    1. Suggest eating 1-2 times a day of good fat. (Avocado, Olive Oil, Peanut Butter, Almonds.)
  4. Eat your starchy whole grain carbs in your first meals and switch to the fibrous carbs in the afternoon for the later meals.
    1. Starchy Whole Grain- Oatmeal, Whole Grain breads (be sure it doesn’t say enriched wheat)
    2. Fibrous Carbs- Vegetables are best choices (green) limit too many fruits.
  5. Be sure to always eat every 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Fuel your metabolism!

The quality of the food you choose will be your focus as well. When selecting your protein sources, be sure to choose lean meats prepared broiled, baked, or grilled. The more processing to the meat, the higher chance it’s not a good food choice. Also, you want to stay clear of deli meats. Those have a lot of preservatives and are not the best choice of meats to choose from. Only select that option if you are in need of something quick.

I personally supplement my meals as well so I’m not always “preparing”. I personally use meal replacement bars like Kashi but additionally everyday, I at least have 1 or 2 Shakeology shakes.

I know I’m getting the delivery of all my fruits and vegetables, probiotics, prebiotics, daily vitamins, and many rare ingredients I just couldn’t possible eat or fit in my day. It’s easier sometimes to just have a quick shake as well so your body is processing food. I personally chose to be a rep with this company because of this product, but I would suggest it no matter. If you want to know more about it or try a sample for taste, let me know.

Your main goal is to have your body run like a fire. Keep throwing small pieces of wood on it to keep the fire burning! Rather than 1 big load, which will extinguish your fire (metabolism) If you feed your body small mini meals, the fire of your metabolism starts working for you and increases caloric burn.

Also, don’t be so hard on yourself! Allow for moments of sweet tooth fulfillment!. Just jump back on your schedule. The more strict you are in your diet for too long of a time, the higher the chance you will go off on a binge and throw it out the window. So schedule in those days of indulgence. Maybe exercise a bit more that day or cut back the calories in the day leading and following. Be flexible, and know this is a lifestyle. We’re human, and as long as you keep working to see what works best for your lifestyle and to see that improvement, you will get there.

What about Liquid Calories?!?!

It’s that time of year that I get asked a lot – what are the best choices to enjoy a cocktail with friends at the summer parties, barbeques and get-togethers? Skip them, right? Right! Ok, well it may be easy for some, but for those who would like to enjoy an occasional drink, it’s important to make the best choice.

Most of us know the rules to help us get healthy, stay healthy and maintain our weight. We fill our plate with mostly vegetables, then lean proteins, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly. So what should one do when they’re doing all that, but then the occasional party or festivity comes up, or you want to relax after a long day with a cocktail to keep our calories in check? Be smart and plan ahead. Know your liquid calorie count – ‘cause yeah, they count whether they’re in liquid form or not! And like everything else, moderation is key!

So what’s the best choice as far as calories are concerned?

Generally, a 5-oz. serving of typical white wine contains about 110 calories, while the red versions are slightly higher at about 120 calories. A 5-oz. glass of champagne also has 120 calories. One way to ‘stretch’ your glass of wine is to add some zero calorie club soda or fresh fruit to your glass.

A regular 12 ounce bottle of beer will cost you about 150 calories or you can opt for the ‘light’ versions, that will save your around 35 calories. Just be careful when its served in a glass bigger than 12 ounces to account for the extra calories there as well.


Ok, but what about these fruity, fun cocktails? Yikes. Most of them are drowning in sugar and have as many calories as a meal. A tiny little margarita is usually 500 calories for 4 ounces! So make your own! Use healthy, lower sugar juices like pomegranate, cranberry or green tea, or there are plenty of places that you can order mixers that are sugar free and lower in calories.

If you choose not to indulge in the occasional cocktail, then you have no worries; just keep your water bottle full! But if you do have one, be smart, plan ahead, and make it through the party or festivity without blowing your hard work with liquid calories. Happy Summer to ya! ;0}

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