The number one reason you’re gaining weight over the holidays and it’s not what you think.

 Let’s talk about meal planning during the holidays, shall we.

Ah the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  It’s such a busy time of the year! Parties and shopping and parties and shopping and decorating and parties….

You get the idea.  We are straight up busy.

It’s also the main reason we gain weight over the holidays.  We don’t have a healthy meals planned for times we aren’t at parties eating the holiday goodies.  So we grab the closest convenience food at the mall or hit the drive through on the way home or just load up on the pre-packaged snack foods that seem to be in abundance this time of year.

We end up consuming far more calories than we normally would during this time of year when we are not indulging at the holiday parties.

With a little bit of planning, it doesn’t have to be this way!

I myself absolutely MUST MUST MUST food prep each week, not just during the holidays. I work really long hours and don’t get home most nights until 8:45pm. If I didn’t have food already pre-prepped and ready to go, you can bet I would have to rely and much less healthier options.

The great thing about food prep is that it DOES NOT have to be complicated! Not at all!

So what do I do?

For breakfast options, I hard boil a dozen eggs so they are ready to grab and go with a piece of fruit- and I’m out the door. I also pre-make a smoothie with 1/2 a cup of plain greek yogurt, spinach, frozen berries, 1/2 a banana and some flax seeds- throw it in the blender the night before- and just blend with a little ice the next morning- boom ready to go.

Healthy snacks

I am a HUGE salad fan…eat one everyday so I even through my salad veggies into 2 or 3 bowls and just add the dressing and protein the day I eat them- again a no brainer & ready to go.

For quick dinners, I use my crockpot. This week I made a turkey veggie chili. What’s great about this is that I can freeze several containers of this and have a variety of soups and other meals on hand in the freezer for variety of delicious and healthy time saving options.

To start your food prep:

1) Find recipes that you are interested in and start making a start a grocery list. Be thinking ahead…what will you have for the next few days. Frozen vegetables and fruits such as berries are fabulous to have on hand to make meal prep even easier.

Here is a great link for slow cooker breakfast recipes. http://greatist.com/…/healthy-crock-pot-recipes-for-breakfa…

2) Carve out 2-3 hours to prep eggs, shakes, soups, baking or grilling veggies, and meats that can be used in salads, wraps, sandwiches, etc. throughout the week.

Here is another link for more crockpot lunch and dinner recipes.

http://greatist.com/health/healthy-crock-pot-recipes

To save time, we go for the fast food and pre-packaged foods that are both high in empty calories, loaded with unhealthy fats,sugar and tons of sodium.

The thing is, with a little bit of thought and a game plan; you can have some delicious healthy meals prepared ahead of time to get you through the hectic holiday season.

Start with one or two recipes and get into the habit of setting time aside for meal prep. You’ll see that over time this becomes second nature and you will be a food prep master in no time!

Happy Holidays and Happy Planning!

 

 

Why waiting until January 1st to start exercising and losing weight has a 92% failure rate and how to be part of the 8% success rate

Oh we’ve all done it haven’t we.

Waited until the 1st of January to set our laundry list of New Years Resolutions.

Be honest with yourself….how has that worked for you in the past?  Did you succeed?

Me neither.

Studies have shown again and again that only 8% of people actually succeed at obtaining their New Years resolution goals.

http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

That’s pretty dismal isn’t it.

One of the issues is that we try to make so many BIG changes without having an actual game plan.

We just make more of a “wish” list…like losing 20# for example.

Maybe we buy a gym membership or a new workout video…but we don’t actually take the time and plan an effective way to workout, how often, when to progress the routine etc.

The next thing we know, we get bored, think of a million other things that have to be done …and well, we are completely out of the exercise habit.

Oh well.  There’s always next year.

But what if you started taking very small, very doable steps that are actually FUN today?

It will increase your chances of long term success greatly…

It’s not a short term resolution.

It’s a way to incorporate small amounts of movement into your everyday life that eventually become long term habits.

So instead of waiting until January 1st to start an exercise routine…..

WHY NOT START TODAY?????

3 months from now

Seriously, if you start now, the chances of being successful in the long term are much improved!

The idea is to start small.

If you haven’t been consistent with exercise in the past, just commit to doing something for 5 minutes a day.

Seriously.  Just 5 minutes.

Walk 2 houses up the street and back.  Do 5 minutes of seated or standing marches.  Do five minutes of alternating sit to stands with wall push ups.  Just do something for 5 minutes.  Dance for 5 minutes!!!!  Yes, dancing is AMAZING exercise!  Do air punches….just do SOMETHING.

Next week add another minute or 2 and keep increasing the time each week.

Guess what?

By January 1st you’ll be ahead of the New Years Resolution game!!!!  If you start TODAY and just do the minimum of 5 minutes plus adding 2 minutes each week; you’ll have worked your way up to 15 minutes of exercise or more per day!!!

Now that’s something you’ll likely stick with long term!

 

Just in time for the holidays…a kickbutt, time saving kettlebell workout!

It’s here!!!

I collaborated recently with Dr. Amy Shah on creating a quick kettlebell workout that is quick, effective,  and low impact; something you can do at home- perfect for the busy holiday season!

This can be done in as little as 10 minutes up to 30- depending on how much time you have in your schedule to workout.

I love love love kettlebell workouts!

There have been several studies done on kettlebell training which show that the two handed kettlebell swing actually burns more calories and conditions the cardiovascular system more effectively than walking on an incline on a treadmill at a moderate pace!

https://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/233881978?access_key=key-WdQSxgyT4QVHj6NUCcIa&allow_share=false&escape=false&show_recommendations=false&view_mode=scroll

Talk about effective!  Not to mention what it does for overall strength and core training.

Form is sooooo key though!  You can hurt yourself if your not using your hips, glutes, quads & hamstrings to swing the bell…NOT the arms!

This graphic shows how a swing is perfectly done:

kettlebell-swing

Master that swing

Choose a kettlebell weight that you can safely perform all of the moves without compromising form.  For most people this may mean selecting a smaller size than you typically perform swings with since you will be lifting the kettlebell overhead.  Make sure you warm up for at least 5 minutes before you begin.

Here is the written workout:

10-20 Two handed swings
10-20 Goblet Squats
10-20 Two handed swings
10-20 Two handed goblet squat to overhead press
Rest if needed for 30 seconds to 1 minute and repeat this sequence for the entire 20 minutes.
Beginners go with the 10 rep count and take more frequent breaks if needed. Intermediate and advanced exercisers go with the max rep counts and try to only take a break at the bottom of each circuit. It is a 3 movement circuit…simple but not easy! You’ll be sweating before you know it and you’ll have completed a full body workout in less than 20 minutes. Make sure you cool down and stretch for a few minutes when you’re done.
Perform this workout 2-3 times a week and you’ll notice quickly improvements in your fitness and endurance.

And here’s the video:

Kettlebell workout

Enjoy and be sure to let me know how did!

 

 

Want to look 5-10 lbs thinner right now?

It’s easy…..

SIT AND STAND UP TALL!

Compromised posture is a big issue now more than ever. We are hunched over at computers all day and constantly looking down at our mobile devices, This causes neck and shoulder pain along with roundness, which of course causes over stretching through the thoracic and lumbar spine along with tightening of the chest muscles.

The result?

We look hunched over and up to 10 pounds heavier!

Better posture

 

To correct these issues you will need to:

1) Pay attention to posture. So often we sit with our head leaning forward and our shoulders rounded. Check in with yourself and make sure your shoulders are in line with your hips and your ears are in line with your shoulders.

 

2) Take frequent stretching breaks with chest openers and head rolls.

 

3) Perform the exercises below at least 3 times, preferably 5 times per week.  Do 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions increasing the resistance as you get stronger.

You just magically lost 5-10 pounds just by reading this blog  :-).

Here’s to good posture!

 

posture workout

 

A Strong Butt equals healthy Knees

Healthy Knees

http://www.prevention.com/fitness/fitness-tips/home-workouts-knee-pain

Because I work in a Physical Therapy Clinic, Spooner Physical Therapy, I work with a lot of post rehab clients with knee pain.

One of the best ways to keep your knees strong is probably not what you think. They key to keeping your knees strong is to keep your butt strong!!!

I found an article with basic moves that anyone can do at home to build a stronger backside…which leads to stronger knees!

If you don’t have a big stability ball as shown: you can still do bridges with your feet flat on the floor. Just make sure to press through the heels as that is what helps to activate the glutes.

Don’t have access to a stepping machine? No big deal! Practice with stairs around your house or a very stable step. Even just practicing sitting to standing by really digging those heels into the ground as you stand up, will really help to strengthen those knees over time!

Check out the full article and all of the exercises by following the link below.

And don’t forget to comment and Subscribe to my newsletter and receive my eBook on exercise motivation!

 

 

Consistently Inconsistent

 raised-hands

 Let me see a show of hands if you mastered riding a bike on your initial attempt. Like, you didn’t fall….no training wheels….you just got on and rode. Or maybe you started speaking a foreign language fluently the moment you first heard it. Perhaps you opened up a cookbook and became a master chef instantly after making your first recipe.

No? Didn’t happen? To me neither.

Yet most of us did learn to ride our bikes, but only after a ton of practice and likely experiencing a few spills. Some of us are bilingual but we didn’t learn that new language overnight. It took plenty of exposure and repetition to eventually become fluent. And those master chefs….I’m pretty sure there were some culinary nightmares along the way.
Most everything we’ve ever mastered in life took a lot of consistency and practice before we got it right. So how does this relate to fitness?
Glad you asked!
If there is anything I have learned in the past several years about obtaining fitness goals it’s this: IT TAKES CONSISTENCY. Notice I didn’t say perfection (which doesn’t exist anyway…so don’t bother chasing after it), I said CONSISTENCY.
In my years of training clients…the ones who have been most successful have been those who consistently show up. They make a commitment to themselves and they work hard. Whether they are trying to lose weight, become stronger or just eat a little better; they all had one thing common….they worked at it consistently.
So why is this so hard for so many people? I mean, we’ve all had to work hard throughout our lives to accomplish so many things. This isn’t a new philosophy …why is it so dang tough?
I believe it’s a combination of many things…but 2 particularly stand out to me.
1) We now live in a world of instant gratification.
2) We still want to believe the “quick fix” promises that seem to be in never ending supply.
Think about it. Technology has come so far in such a short period of time that we can now have instant access to each other via social media and texting. We can watch TV and movies on demand with our phones and computers anytime we like, take photos with our phones and no longer have to take them to be developed before we can see them (yeah, I’m showing my age!). We can even deposit checks, order pizza, Skype with other people nearby or in a different part of the world…all with our phones. Instant gratification. So becoming healthy should work the same way right?
That’s where number 2 comes in. The quick fix. Who hasn’t watched infomercials that promised us if we just “take this pill made of a certain kind of berry” or “spend five minutes a day on some gadget without breaking a sweat to give us flat abs in two weeks” or “eat only 800 calories a day while injecting bodily fluids from another human will give you the body like you’ve never had before.” All quick fixes.
The kicker is; they don’t work. At least not long term.

 

  I too have tried a quick fix or two in my day (not the injecting bodily fluids from another human…just for the record). I was a product of the 80’s after all where tiny butt’s and size zeros were the ultimate goals. But the quick fix never lasted. Nope. I never got rid of the “junk in the trunk” no matter which “miracle product” I chased after.
So after years of “quick fixes” and failures, what finally worked? Consistency. Consistency with better food choices. Consistency with regular workouts and consistency in finding ways to move my body a little more every day. Not very flashy or exciting is it. It sure won’t sell infomercial spots on TV. But that really is the “secret” to getting long term results.
If you are wondering why you might not be getting the results you’ve been hoping for…ask yourself, “have I been consistent with my workouts and nutrition….or have I been consistently inconsistent”?

sunset-summer-beauty-golden-hour

Short on time? Need a great workout? Kettlebell training might be the perfect solution for you!

FullSizeRender(1)

I remember back in the day (let’s say 80’s and 90’s), getting a “good” workout meant spending at least an hour at the gym churning away on a treadmill or other cardio device thinking that anything under 60 minutes was, well, a big waste of time.


Flash forward to sometime in the new millennia and we now know that you absolutely don’t need to spend hours on a cardio machine to get in a good workout. In fact, you can get a BETTER workout in less time by using a myriad of fitness strategies such as Circuit Training, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), Kettlebell Training and many others. Unfortunately, so many people are still stuck on the mindset that “more is better” and if I can’t “get in the whole hour….I might as well not do any” mentality. Well I am pleased to say you can get a fantastic workout done in less than 20 minutes with one piece of equipment that you could purchase for your home. It’s the kettlebell.


I started using kettlebells in own training about 4 years ago. I was curious as to what all the fitness fuss was about…so I had to jump in and try it. It was love at first swing! I was completely amazed, and humbled, by what an intense workout I could get with just 1 piece of equipment! I started to learn everything I could about kettlebell training by studying the pro’s and began to use them with my own clients training who absolutely embrace this type of training for many reasons.  15432524608_d13a42e302_m


Kettlebells are a tool that was first seen in Ancient Greece but was really made famous by the Russians in the late 1700’s (if you are a history buff and want to learn more click this link http://www.kettlebellscience.com/kettlebell-history.html) . They were bought to the US in the late 1990’s by the Russian Pavel Tsatouline, former Soviet Special Forces physical training Instructor who wrote a magazine piece on the benefits of kettlebell training. The article generated so much publicity and interest here in the US and the rest as they say…is history!


Kettlebell swings. This is known as the “mother” of all kettlebell moves. What I love about a kettlebell swing is that I can get a client’s heart-rate up with no impact on their joints what- so- ever! The swing, when properly performed (which is so very important!) can also help strengthen low back muscles, hamstrings, glutes and core all while getting the heart rate up for cardiovascular work. There have been several studies done on kettlebell training which show that the two handed kettlebell swing actually burns more calories and conditions the cardiovascular system more effectively than walking on an incline on a treadmill at a moderate pace!

https://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/233881978?access_key=key-WdQSxgyT4QVHj6NUCcIa&allow_share=false&escape=false&show_recommendations=false&view_mode=scroll


The most important thing in mastering the kettlebell swing is using great form.

Master that swing

Master that swing!!!

I recommend starting with a 10# kettlebell so you can learn the form and then gradually moving up from there. Amazon has a great selection of individual kettlebells and even kettlebell sets available for purchase.
Enough chatter…let’s get on with your 20 minute workout! Make sure you start with a light warm up for at least 5 minutes before you begin.
Workout:
10-20 Two handed swings
10-20 Goblet Squats
10-20 Two handed swings
10-20 Two handed goblet squat to overhead press
Rest if needed for 30 seconds to 1 minute and repeat this sequence for the entire 20 minutes.
Beginners go with the 10 rep count and take more frequent breaks if needed. Intermediate and advanced exercisers go with the max rep counts and try to only take a break at the bottom of each circuit. It is a 3 movement circuit…simple but not easy! You’ll be sweating before you know it and you’ll have completed a full body workout in less than 20 minutes. Make sure you cool down and stretch for a few minutes when you’re done.
Perform this workout 2-3 times a week and you’ll notice quickly improvements in your fitness and endurance.

Happy Kettlebelling!