Friday, May 24, 2013

30 Day Challenge - It's Over!

30 Day Challenge - It's over!

Hi guys!

Our 30 Day Challenge is over! Life got a little crazy... okay, life got a LOT crazy for me (which I'll tell you about later) and I wasn't able to blog the end of our challenge as soon as I wanted to. : ( I'm really sorry guys!! Family emergency!

Alright, here we go!
First, you guys need to take your final picture, if you haven't already. Put your starting picture next to your final picture and see the difference. You can also line your progression photos up and see the gradual transformation. If you're happy with your results, give yourself a pat on the back, you worked hard for this! If you're not happy with your results, still give yourself a pat on the back because you made a big step by trying! Now just keep up the hard work and don't stop, you'll get there! : )

This is my  2nd 30 Day Challenge
So now, depending on your goals, you can switch up your workout schedule. Working out 3-5 days a week is definitely a good idea, no less though! I will be working out 5-6 days a week.

I really like HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts!! I changed my workout routine during the last week of the 30 Day Challenge and I really noticed the difference right away. My next fitness blog will be about my new routine and how great it is!

Now as far as food goes, stick with the rules of our Challenge, just add one cheat meal per week in the mix. It should be a planned meal. Planning the meal will insure that you are making it worth it to you, something you've been craving, it will also help avoid binge eating! These cheat meals are important. You don't want to feel like you're on a strict diet and can never enjoy the foods you love again (without feeling terribly guilty). Just make sure to remember your portion control. Keep in mind that this is not a "diet", "diets" fail. This is a lifestyle and healthy way to live.

Honestly, I like to let myself have one cheat "meal" per week PLUS one dessert per week. My desert consists of frozen yogurt with fruit and a little bit of chocolate (from Orange Leaf). Mmmmm! It does not consist of a huge piece of cake covered in disgusting icing every single week! BUT, if I know there is a birthday party or an event that I'm going to that week, I will skip the frozen yogurt and plan on having a very SMALL helping of a yummy sweet served at the event. Just be smart guys, use your better judgement and common sense. Remember that you have to live with the consequences of your decisions. You're the only one that can let yourself get out of shape and you're the only one that can get yourself in shape.

If you have a long road ahead of you to reach your goals, you might not want to have dessert every week, but if you really struggle with a sweet tooth and tend to binge and regret it, maybe you should plan a small treat each week, something to look forward to and won't ruin all your hard work. Just. Be. Smart.

After my first 30 Day Challenge I was so excited, happy and proud of myself! So much so that I wanted to do it again... so, I did! If you feel that you want to do this challenge again and aim for even BETTER results, have at it! No cheat meals and workout 6 days a week with no excuses!

If you need a refresher on what to eat and what not to eat, or if you're new to this blog and would like to try this 30 Day Challenge, click HERE to start from the beginning. :-) Happy getting fit!!

As always, if you need any guidance, advice, motivation, etc along the way, just let me know! I'm here to help! : )

Until next time!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Day 22 - 30 Day Challenge

Hi guys! It's Day 22 of our 30 Day Challenge! 

Time to take another weekly progress photo!

How are you guys doing? Your new eating habits should finally be much easier. Are you still struggling with giving up certain foods? If you’re like me and feel like you’re never gonna get rid of that darn sweet tooth, find healthy alternatives to satisfy your cravings. Take a look at my recipes, I have some great ones for protein “cookies” and dessert like protein shakes. How’s your workout routine going? Are you able to find at least 20 minutes a day, 6 days a week to get your muscles working? Since we’re pretty much on our last week, if you’re not challenging yourself yet, you should really step it up, get strict and work hard these last few days! No excuses! Turn the last week into a “7 Day Challenge” (or 8 since there are 8 days left, a little longer than a one week challenge).

Here’s what you need to be doing...
* Get up and do 20-30 minutes of cardio (if you don’t have time, wake up earlier or at the very least do this routine) - 

        5 moves / 60 sec each (5 min total) =
       Jumping Jacks
       Jump Rope (if you don’t have a jump rope, pretend)
       Burpees (if you need to go slow or do a modified version, do it)
       Jog in Place
       Jump Squats

* Drink 8 oz of water before breakfast
--Eat every two hours--
* M1 (meal 1) - (slow/complex carb, protein, healthy fat, fruit (coffee or green tea if needed)) Example: Oatmeal cooked with water and stevia and or cinnamon for taste (if needed), splash of almond or coconut milk, topped with fruit, side of 2 eggs.
* Drink water!
* S1 (snack 1) – Example: Apple or banana with peanut butter, plain greek yogurt or cottage cheese with ½ fruit, 1 slice toast with 2 hard boiled eggs, handful of almonds.
* Drink water!
* M2 – Example: Chicken, tuna or lean ground turkey with veggie of choice (optional extra sides, brown rice, quinoa, ½ sweet potato), you could make this a salad, you could add avocado, olive oil, pepper, to taste. Drink 8 oz or water with lemon.
* S2 – Example: any of the above snack examples. If you’ve worked out after lunch, have a post-workout protein shake, if you get a mid day sweet tooth, have a homemade protein cookie.
* Drink water!
* Complete today’s workout routine if you haven’t already!
* M3 – Example: Lean meat such as chicken, tuna, salmon, tilapia, lean ground turkey and veggie of choice. Could add lemon juice, pepper, mustard, olive oil or vinegar to taste. Or hearty post-workout protein shake (include a veggie, spinach is a great addition to shakes!).
* Finish the water needed for the day, be mindful of how late you’re drinking large amounts of water so that you’re not up peeing all night!
* S3 – (this could be a “healthy dessert option”) Example: protein pudding, protein cookie, chia pudding, grapefruit with stevia, frozen grapes.
* Go to bed early enough to get your 8 hours of sleep!

If you notice that you’re needing more activity in your day, find times to add some random movement. This would be perfect if you have a sedentary job. Find something you do often, such as, go to the rest room, answer the phone, text someone, walk down a hall, send an email, etc and find something to do each time you do that/those things, such as 10 squats, 15 jumping jacks, walking lunges, 10 push-ups, 30-60 sec plank, etc. Example: each time you use the restroom – 10 squats. Don’t walk down the hallway – do walking lunges down it, or skip! You could even do all of these things before you take a shower, before getting into bed, before you eat each meal OR all of the above! Oh, and always take there stairs, there is not such thing as an elevator or escalator!! Get the idea?

Since we only have 8 days left, make them count! Make yourself proud!

Also, since we only have 8 days left, you might have thought about what you’re going to do when we’re done, how you’re going to stay on track and not slip back into old habits. I will be discussing this in a later post. We’ve made it so far, we don’t want to ruin it all when we’re done!

Good luck with these last days guys! You can do it!

: ) 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Clean Eating 101


 Clean Eating 101:

 I’ve been talking a lot about “clean eating” and I haven’t actually clarified what clean eating is.
Clean eating is simple! Eating foods as close to their natural being as possible.

Foods that are highly processed or contain highly processed ingredients are not considered “clean” foods.

There aren’t any fitness goals you can achieve without eating clean. You can workout, drenched in sweat from the time the rooster crows until the cows come home. If you hit the drive-thru afterwards, you’re ruining all that hard work.

Have you ever heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen”? We’ll it’s true. We all have abs, no really, they’re under there! You can develop the muscles through resistance training but there is not amount of crunches that you can do that will carve away stubborn belly fat. It’s simple, you’re not going to see them if you don’t have healthy eating habits.

In order to lose fat (on your abdominal or anywhere else) and lower your body fat percentage, you MUST pitch the processes, packaged, sodium filled, sugar packed junk!

You are what you eat, if you eat garbage, you’re going to feel and look like garbage, it’s just the truth. Your body, skin, energy level, mood, overall health and more are greatly affected by what you simply put in your mouth.

Clean eating is in no way a “diet”, it does not mean you have to cut calories, if weight loss is not your goal, you don’t have to lose weight by eating clean, in fact, if weight gain is your goal, clean eating is the healthiest way to accomplish it.

Let’s get started:

The following list of foods are typically not considered “clean” and you should really just throw it all out.
Cookies, chips, cracker, candy, white breads and pastas,  marinades, sauces and dressings such as ketchup, mayo, ranch, etc, pastries, fruit juice, sports drinks, soda (yes even diet!),  ice cream, pudding, jell-o, flavored yogurt (yep, even greek), sugary cereal, granola bars, fast food, fried foods, frozen dinners, deli meat, processed meat, and most packaged / canned foods.

Okay now, if you’re serious about getting healthy,… get up, walk into the kitchen (I’ll wait right here), get your trash can or donation bag out, open your fridge, freezer and pantry and start tossing.

    Now let’s discuss Clean Eating: 

Learn to read labels!
-          Eat Lots Of Plants – Eat foods that are straight from nature. The idea is to stay away from “humanly altered” foods, as much as possible. Eat foods from trees, bushes, plants, and vines and you’ve pretty much covered it.
-          Include Lean Meats – Lean meats and healthy meats are key…  Boneless/skinless chicken breast, lean ground turkey, canned tuna (in water), tilapia, salmon.  A healthy option for buying meats would be buying them from an organic grocery store, so at least you know that the animals were raised organically and the contents of what you’re buying are organic. If you buy non-organic meats, at least be mindful of what meats you’re buying.
-          Proteins From Other Sources - Protein powder, eggs, plain cottage cheese, plain yogurt, peanut / almond butter, nuts
-          Complex / Starchy Carbohydrates – Old-fashioned raw oats, quinoa, sweet potatoes, whole wheat breads (Ezekiel bread is a great option) brown rice. Stay away from Simple Carbohydrates. Once consumed, simple carbs are broken down into sugar and stored as fat.
-          Healthy Fats – Peanut butter and almond butter (ingredient label should read “peanuts” or “almonds”, that’s it. There should be oil visible on top.), olive oil, coconut oil, almonds, walnuts, pistachio, avocado, flax oil
-          Fewer Ingredients – Try to buy foods that have 3 – 6 ingredients in the ingredient list. You should have an understanding of what each ingredient is. The goal is to buy foods that don’t include “mystery” ingredients. Have you ever tried to pronounce some of that junk? A good rule would be “if you can pronounce it, you should eat it”.
-          Eat Often – You should be eating 6 small meals a day. This may seem like a lot but eating all day rather than a couple times a day, you’re body will always be working to break down the food, which means your metabolism is always working. If this is too much food for you to eat, make your lunch and dinner portions smaller.
-          Buy It Plain And flavor It Yourself – Buy foods that aren’t packed full of sugar and salt. Season it to your liking when you’re preparing it to eat. For example, plain oats, you can add stevia and cinnamon to give it flavor. The idea is to know exactly what you’re eating and how it’s prepared.
-          Water water water – This is simple. Drink water. No calories, no sugar, no sodium, no carbs, no fat, helps brain function, regulates body temperature, detoxifies your body, helps with your metabolism, helps you lose weight, among many more great benefits!

Starting the process of Clean Eating may seem overwhelming, especially if there are a lot of habits you need to change to get there. Start with baby steps if you need to. If you have to crawl before you can run then do it, at least you’re moving!
Options for your “First Step”. Make one little change each day – Change one meal, cut out an unhealthy food (such as soda or chips), reduce your portion size and add one healthy snack, etc.

If the thought of clean foods sound gross to you and you claim that you don’t like the taste of vegetables or foods that aren’t heavily seasoned, trust me, over time, your taste buds will adjust and you will eventually be sensitive to the strong sweet and saltiness of processed foods.
I use to salt EVERYTHING! I was so bummed eating plain unsalted vegetables. After eating clean for 30 days, I had a cheat meal and salted it,… it was terrible and completely ruined my cheat meal. You’ll adjust, it might just take some time… hang in there! 

Clean eating doesn’t have to mean boring eating. Recipe possibilities are endless… search “healthy recipes”, “clean recipes”, “healthy substitutes”, "healthy ingredient alternatives”, etc. Clean eating can taste great!

Misconceptions: Don’t be fooled!

-          “Diet”  – Nothing about a diet drink is “diet” and it isn't always a “better” option. Yes you might not be consuming the calories or sugar of a non-diet drink but it is still packed full of very unhealthy sugar substitutes and GMIs (genetically mortified ingredients) - yuck!
-          “Low-fat” / “Fat-free” / “Light” / “Reduced-Fat” Fat free also means “taste free” and in order to make up for the lack of taste, food manufacturers tent to pour other ingredients such as sugar, flour, thickeners and salt. So, these "fat-free" / "reduced fat" claims are also knows as, "chemical packed crap".  We're all use to seeing trans fats and saturated fats on the labels, stay away from anything with trans fats! Even 2 grams of trans fats a WEEK has shown signs of health risks, such as heart disease. Even a little is actually a lot! Focus on good fat (such as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats), not fat-free. 
-          Granola bars – I know, shocking! These seemingly healthy snacks are loaded with salt and sugar. A better alternative would be making your own or at least compare and make sure you’re buying a truly healthy granola bar.
-          Sports drinks – Another shocker huh? Again, sugar is the problem. Sports drinks are full of sugar and unnecessary calories. Does it make sense to sweat and work your butt off while staring at the calorie burner on your treadmill while... drinking calories and sugar…? Drink water, it’s sugar fee, calorie free and helps your body burn fat! Now that makes sense! Try not to drink your calories”.
-          “Natural” / “Healthy” – The terms “natural” and “healthy” is so loosely defined by the government that if you researched the product, claiming to be “natural” or “healthy”, you would actually find very little difference to the regular version. It would be much better to completely ignore any printing on the label, claiming to be natural or healthy. Just read labels and compare. 
-          “Whole wheat" / "Whole grain” – I don’t know how many breads I’ve picked up at the store that say they’re whole grain and after taking a look at the ingredient list, I see that white flour is the second ingredient after whole wheat flour. Again, read the label and compare.

**I'm not saying that all whole wheat/whole grain, "natural", "healthy", low or no fat foods are bad for you or that you shouldn't buy them. I'm saying that just because it claims to be something on the packaging advertisement, doesn't mean it's a healthier option. This is why it's important to read food labels.**

Aim to make conscious healthier choices, in time they will become unconscious healthy habits