What An Ideal Workout Looks Like

28 Mar

The ideal breakdown between strength training, cardio, and sweet, sweet rest.

It’s time to review your workout and fitness goals. Unless you work out for a living, chances are, you don’t have an endless number of hours to spend in the gym every week. But no matter how many days you have to work on your fitness goals, it’s tough to know how to split your time between different types of exercise.

Workout variety is a good thing, but with endless moves, classes, and online programs out there, knowing where to start is half the battle. Cardio, strength training, and rest are all major aspects of living an active lifestyle, but how much of each should you be doing?

Your magic number of days depends on how active you already are. For example, you’ll probably see results from one day a week if you don’t already work out at all. But if your body is used to six days a week, one day probably won’t cut it.

The breakdown varies depending on your specific goals, but in general, four to five days a week will do the trick if you’re simply aiming to improve your fitness and stay in shape. If you’re going for the full five, three days should focus on strength training, two days should focus on cardio, and two should be active rest. If you only want to work out four days a week, think about your goals: If you want to add muscle tone, cut a cardio day. If you want to improve endurance, skip a strength day. Or, switch it each week.

Here’s how to crush it at each one:

Strength Training

The more muscle you have the higher your metabolic rate. Strength training also strengthens joints and bones.

How Often: Three times per week.

How Long: A strength-training session should last 45-60 minutes.

How To Do It: You want to include upper and lower body moves, and you want to have a balance between pushing and pulling movements. So, for example, a pushing movement would be a chest press, and a pulling movement would be a row. You should do different moves in each of the three strength sessions, but repeat them every week. Personally, I would stay with a program for four to six weeks and progressively increase the weight. The week before your last week, I would have a little bit of a drop-off, to give your body a little bit of a recovery, and the last week really push it hard. Four to six weeks is not a magic number. It is how long it takes to hit a plateau. I change up my program once a month.

Bonus Tip: Strength training is also where you can improve other elements of your fitness. You can work on coordination during the warm-up with non-linear movements and patterns like crawling. You can also improve balance (and engage your core!) by doing single-leg exercises. Another tip: warm up before hitting the weights and stretch when you are finished to prevent soreness. Be sure not to stretch too deeply, but warm up only, before you lift weights as you can put your muscle out of normal range of motion and cause injury. It is better to stretch after the workout.

Cardiovascular Exercise

As important as it is to strength train, cardio has its place in a balanced workout routine, too. Doing cardio keeps your circulatory system working optimally helping you to recover faster…and it keeps your endurance up. It also increases your VO2 max, which helps your body utilize oxygen. Check, check, and check. 🙂

How Often: Two times per week.

How Long: The American College Of Sports Medicine recommends logging 150 minutes of moderate-to-intense activity per week. How you split that up will depend on what type of training you’re doing (longer, steady-state sessions vs. shorter HIIT workouts).

How To Do It: You’ve got a ton of options: Spinning, an outdoor jog, the good old elliptical machine, (my favorite) the stair master, and the list goes on. Whether something is cardiovascular depends on where your heart rate is at and how long you’re doing it for. Target heart rates are different for everyone. A good baseline to aim for during your cardio routines is between 120 and 150 beats per minute for 20-30 minutes. (Learn more about target heart rates here.) I’m a big fan of doing functional movements to keep my client’s heart rate up. For example, I will do a circuit training program, where you strength train for a set and then perform cardio exercise for 30 seconds. You then also fit into strength training and cardio into a combination workout —the key is trying to do more reps within a certain time span to keep that heart rate elevated.

Bonus Tip: Another option is interval training, which helps you burn more calories in the same time as steady state. I like to do 1 minute 30 seconds rest with 30 second intervals for 20-30 minutes. The best part? You can do this with pretty much anything. Indoor row machine, bike, treadmill, functional movements, and my favorite the stair master, you name it.

Rest

Taking a break lets your body recover and rebuild so you can get back to your workouts refreshed and ready to rock it. Of course, this isn’t a free pass to sit on the couch all day (well, not every time at least). A rest day should actually be considered ‘active recovery’, meaning you don’t have to hit the gym or break a serious sweat, but you should do something. It’s not just about the physical recovery—it’s also the mental. Doing something that you enjoy that’s active is great for the mind…and it assists in residual fatigue. Plus, it keeps up your conditioning.

How Often: Two times per week.

How Long: Aim for 20-60 minutes.

How To Do It: Whether you hit up a restorative yoga class or just take a walk, active recovery shouldn’t require a ton of effort like a workout day, but it should get you moving.

Bonus Tip: Where you place these rest days is up to you—if you do your workouts Monday through Friday, feel free to take the whole weekend off. Or, you could break them up by doing a strength day, a cardio day, then a rest day before getting back to weight training.

Of course, your perfect gym week may vary slightly based on your goals and your schedule, but it’s all about having good fitness habits.

If you want results, you need to have a routine that you can stick with. I’ve seen so many people try to fit workouts in inconsistently, and it ends up being a waste of time. So, no matter what you do and when you do it, the goal should be to rock it, rest, repeat.

You Can Not Out Train a Bad Diet

13 Mar

Eat Clean and Train Dirty! If you want results, and I mean real results, you must eat clean. It does not matter how hard you work in the gym, you will never out train that bag of Cheetos and fried foods.

Your best bet is to eat clean. What does that mean you ask? Well here are some tips for eating clean:

 No Processed Foods

It’s quite easy to learn about the clean eating lifestyle, but following it can be difficult and a major shock (a good one) to your body. One of the main foundations of clean eating is cutting out and avoiding processed foods. Doing so will prevent the consumption of unhealthy and sometimes very harmful additives. Processed foods are hard on your body and have been connected to serious health complications, including cardiovascular disease and obesity. They can contain so many bad ingredients that are difficult on your liver and for you to digest, and those harmful ingredients and additives are often then stored in the body.

Reading the ingredient list and nutritional information on the side of pre-made, packaged, and processed foods can be a real wake up call if you haven’t read it before. Processed foods can have an alarming amount of sodium, fat and sugar. To make it worse, the serving size is often only half or less of what you’d regularly eat. Next time you’re shopping, skip processed foods to eat clean and greatly improve your health.

Eat Several Small Meals a Day

A clean eating staple when following this diet and lifestyle involves eating several small healthy meals a day, either 5 or 6, instead of 3 (or fewer, depending on your routine) big meals. Some benefits of eating this way include improving your metabolism through the extra work required to digest food more frequently and maintaining blood sugar levels. It can also prevent overeating because you won’t feel starving at your next meal, causing you to eat more than your body needs. It provides your body regular nourishment to keep you energized and satiated throughout the day.

Some people think that eating a small meal won’t satisfy them, but if you eat the right foods and give your body time to adjust to the new meal schedule, you should be fine. One key tip to clean eating that will help with feeling full and for longer is to include foods with fiber in your small meals. Eating fresh vegetables is a major part of clean eating and there are many veggies that contain a high amount of fiber, so you shouldn’t feel hungry.

Exercise Portion Control

Even if you’re an exercise junkie or are training for something physically demanding, portion control is an important aspect of clean eating that’s doable regardless of your situation. Everyone requires different amounts of food, depending on their age, sex, weight, medical history, and lifestyle. Through portion control you can still get the added protein you need to train, while loading up your body with vital nutrients that will help your overall health.

Eat Fresh Vegetables

There’s an impossibly long list of health benefits from eating fresh vegetables, from giving you energy, improving digestion, and protecting your skin and eyes to potentially reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and many types of cancer. Many vegetables are considered superfoods because of these amazing health benefits, so stock up and eat them regularly. Eating fresh vegetables is a definite do for clean eating and you’ll see and feel the benefits of these powerful foods.

Drink Plenty of Water

Clean eating is about keeping your body clean in every aspect, allowing it to flourish and helping your body become as healthy and strong as possible. Water is vital for your body and impacts more of your health than you may know. It can flush out toxins and other harmful waste in the body, enhance and maintain healthy muscles, and decrease joint pain.

Staying hydrated is also known to help control your appetite. Hunger is often mistaken for thirst, causing people to eat and overeat instead of the body what it really needs – water. Drink water throughout the day, at least the standard 8, 8-ounce servings, though your activity level and health impacts how much you should drink. By helping your body thrive from staying well-hydrated all the time you’ll be on your way to keep your body clean.

Eat Whole Grains

Whole grains are seriously good for you, yet processed foods containing grains don’t contain many of the nutrients that make whole grains healthy because certain components are removed. To eat clean in regards to grains, you need to make sure that whatever grain-based food you’re buying actually says the word ‘whole’ before the grain, like whole wheat flour. If you don’t look at the ingredient list and just assume that a product is whole grain, you’ll probably eat foods that just have wheat flour and you’ll be missing out on some of the good stuff.

There are many other whole grains and whole grain products that are finally fairly mainstream, such as quinoa, buckwheat, rye, and brown rice, increasing your options for including whole grains in your diet. These popular and healthy alternatives use whole grains for all kinds of baking and cooking. And to top it off, according to the Mayo Clinic whole grains are not only good for you, they’re an essential part of a healthy diet and have been linked to decreasing the risk of heart disease and other serious medical conditions.

Biggest Loser Trainer Has Heart Attack

02 Mar

“Bob Haper had a heart attack, he was fit, why bother with getting fit, when it’s your time to go it’s your time to go.” Nothing infuriates me more and this is just one of the many comments out there on social media!! I am quite sure there is more to this story than we will ever know.

First of all google “Bob Harper and drug use” you will find he is the main affiliate in the drug use scandal on the show the Biggest Loser back in 2016, which however, we hear nothing about now. Can you say swept under the rug?! Um,,,, the contestants claim that they were given, “Adderall and ‘yellow jackets’ — pills that contain ephedra extract. Ephedra is used to promote weight loss and boost energy, and was banned by the FDA in 2004.” This taken from the New York Post article on the scandal that rocks the Biggest Loser. Click Here to read that article now. ****Ephedra extract will damage the heart.**** There is no doubt about it. Now I am not saying Bob Harper used diet pills but if he asked his clients to do this who knows what he would do for himself?! Continue reading…..

Now google “Jillian Michaels and drug use“. You get a little bit different side of the story.  It looks like she was accused of giving clients performance enhancing drugs at one time. However, please note that she eventually quit the show because she and the producers could not “find common ground.” I already knew I loved her training philosophy and methods. Granted we will never know the true details due to contract restrictions but the trainer in me reads through the lines. She has outright said one of the “winners” actually lost too much weight. I applaud her and again her methods of training.

Back to Bob….ugh the guy infuriates me. I remember one time Jillian was promoting the use of psychology to help her clients. Bob was so against that! Really Bob? 99.9% of people who are on that show or have excessive weight gain have psychological issues that need to be addressed in order to move forward. But go ahead and use your strategies!

I can almost guarantee the guy used some type(s) of drugs and supplements that worked against his heart disease. Let’s look at the “natural” supplements we fitness gurus use.

  • Pre-workouts and creatine supplements. Serious guy pre-workouts contain a ton of caffeine and creatine. Both are very bad for your heart and not natural in  the high doses you can get today. They also contain warnings on the packages stating that if you have heart conditions be sure to see your physician or do not use at all. Also note some of the OTC supplements are banned in NCAA  and professional sports…um……..FOR A REASON!!!

Now let’s look at two of many steroids/performance enhancing drugs that can be used to create the body of that fitness guru, Bob Harper.

  • Testosterone has been shown to enlarge muscles and the heart is a muscle. It can and does damage the heart. “Recent studies suggest a link between testosterone therapy and an increased risk in heart disease. … Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating the risk of stroke, heart attack and death in men taking FDA-approved testosterone products.” Taken from Mayo-Clinic.com
  • Human Growth Hormone: Testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Government Reform Committee on behalf of The Endocrine Society, Dr. Alan Rogol outlined the legitimate medical uses of HGH and the serious health consequences surrounding its abuse by athletes, celebrities, and those hoping to find a way to combat the effects of aging. Dr. Rogol stated, “At higher HGH dosages, it is possible to achieve levels similar to those found in the endocrine disease acromegaly, which is caused by too much growth hormone in the body. This condition can lead to severe muscle weakness and even heart disease.”

I don’t even need to address recreational drugs like cocaine which is used as a stimulant and is extremely addictive.

On a personal note, I am 51 years old, actually 2 months older than Bob, and have heart disease deep in my genetics. I have been a Certified Fitness Trainer since 2002. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure in 2008 and my cause was stress, but also genetic. Heart disease runs rampant in my family (father’s side has multiple instances). My father had quadruple bypass surgery in 1995. He has since turned his health around and keeps a close eye on his cardiovascular system. Because of this he has had no further issues and at 80 years old is fit as a fiddle.

As for me, I keep a close eye on my cardiovascular condition as anyone with that genetic predisposal should. There are so many great medications out there and my doctor and myself keep a close eye on my blood pressure and heart.

I have never been in better shape in my life and I am 51 years old!!! I know for a fact that you can control heart disease and keep it at bay with diet and exercise. I will debate that to the very end.

Did I mention that the show barely ever mentioned heart rate and cardio exercise? Um……hello?! this is so super important and everyone exercising should know you should never exceed 220bpm minus your age. But that is all over MY blog!

Cancer on the other hand is not easily combatted and a different genetic topic.

As for my debate and frustration with that show you can Click Here to read my blog posts about that show that go back as far as 2007 which was when this blog began. Hmmm, that’s 10 years!! Maybe I need to do an anniversary thing on my blog…..

Stay on topic Kathie….please know that I honestly believe there is more to this story than we will know. Do not view Bob as a fitness expert because he “looks” fit and “acts” like a personal trainer. He is in show business for a reason and to me, it is obvious. There are other factors to look at here.

Have a healthy day!

Extra Supplements for Women

08 Feb

I have been a Certified Fitness Trainer since 2002. That is a long time. Because I have been in fitness so very long a lot has changed. Supplements are one of the biggest changes in the industry and today there is so much you can do to enhance your program that it is utterly overwhelming. However, do a little research at http://www.bodybuilding.com and you will easily find products that work for what your goals are.

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Please note this is only 3 types of things I take. Not everyone likes the same thing. However, if you are serious about your fitness regimen you need a multi vitamin, a protein, and a pre-workout. You MIGHT want to add an amino or BCCA and maybe even a fat burner. It is all up to you.

For vitamins and protein that I currently use please see this post. Again, this is my personal taste and a way to get away from Le-Vel Thrive.

However, this post is about my pre-workout, my BCAAs or aminos, and a natural fat burner that you must cycle off of in order for it to work.

My current pre-workout is a deal breaker. By that I mean it gets my ass out of bed in the early morning and motivates me for that workout. It gets my energy flowing. I look forward to taking it. That is how a pre-workout should be. What do I take you ask? I take Uplift  by NLA for Her.

This stuff works great. You can feel the tingling sensation within 10 minutes and you know you better get your butt in the gym and workout or else you are going to loose it! It gets you through the toughest workout. It enables you to lift heavier, work longer on your cardio and just get a better workout. Who doesn’t want that? For more information on Uplift Bodybuilding.com Logo Blue 150x150.

To build muscle you need amino acids and protein. Aminos help your body do so much. I enjoy the extra energy I get from my amino supplements which has more than just BCCAs. I actually take 2 different ones. The first one I take is called Amino Lean by RSP.

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I like this because it gives me that afternoon boost I sometimes need. It also helps me repair those muscles so I can get back in the gym quicker.

I also like NLA for her Her Aminos. I usually take that after my intense workouts, which are, well 3 times a week….sometimes I get 4!

There are also fat burners out there! I have only tried one kind and I really liked the way it curbed my appetite and helped me drop that extra fat I was trying to rid myself of in the beginning of my workout phase 2.

I am cycled off fat burners for now, as we all should do because they lose their effectiveness. I plan going back on my fat burner before that fun beach trip and bikini season this June! 😉

Remember there is so much to supplements. Ingredients are key. Clean is key too. I watch both. I also read reviews on all products and stay up to date so I can tell my clients what will help them.

Have a healthy day!

Replace Thrive and Then Some…

08 Feb

Le-vel Thrive is extremely expensive and definitely a pyramid company that will brainwash you if you are not careful.

As a Certified Trainer I have done some research and tried some new things and found some things  very similar to Thrive vitamin system. And much better too! Upon trying these things for one month I have found some proven results and a huge success! At a much less cost.

Let’s talk about their vitamin for starters:

Vitamin for women Cost: an outrageous $60 for one month OMG!

Here is the nutrition value for one capsule:

A great alternative is a vitamin I have found at

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actually I get 99% of my supplements from bodybuilding.com. Jamie Eason Signature Series Multi-Vitamin is a natural food based vitamin, that is  vegetable based and has digestive support.

Cost is ONLY: $15.29 for a one month supply! That is a whopping 40% less than Thrive. Imagine what other awesome supplements you could buy for that extra $45! Read on and I will be happy to tell you…..

But let’s talk about protein first. Thrive’s Shake is $50 for just 16 day supply!! OMG! I feel bad for being brainwashed by their antics!!

Not only is Thrive’s “protein” shake expensive but it only has a measly 15 grams of protein per serving. I know Thrive has vitamins in their shake but like a fellow body builder told me, “why not get your vitamin from a supplement?” Duh! 

So I found a GREAT tasting and longer lasting more substantial protein in Trutein by Body Nutrition!!

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Let’s talk about price: Trutein is $32.59 for 27 servings and $49.99 for 53 servings. Because I love my protein so much I buy the bigger serving container and drink at least 2 a day. You can’t do that with Thrive or you’d run out in 7 days!! And Thrive only has 15 grams of protein. Trutein has 25 grams of protein. If you are trying to build muscle and sustain the appetite you need a whole lot more than 15 grams! And the cost is a no brainer. #savemoney

Like I just said, if you were to get the protein out of Thrive you’d be out in 7 days and that is just for 30 grams a day! You get 50 grams a day with 2 servings of Trutein and you won’t run out for almost 4 weeks. Making the cost 4 times cheaper. Actually it is even cheaper because there are 53 servings and Thrive is only 16 servings. OMG I feel bad for the brainwashing that took place! lol

Ok so now about the patch. That is the only thing I could not find a comparison. However, part of me wonders if it is psychological because I do not miss it. But if you are so sold on it I recommend to keep on buying that. They would be worth it.

But if you wanted to cut it out completely, think of the money you would save. I was spending $162 per month on Thrive. Now I spend a whole lot less and have a whole lot more.

I now have a great vitamin an even better protein, an awesome pre workout, BCCA’s or aminos, a fat burner when I am getting ready for some kind of event like bikini season or a party, and I even have money left over to get my son vitamins and try different supplements for my clients.  Oh and if we are talking about the money I spent on Thrive I even have money left over for new clothes and dinners. I am feeling worse about the dang brainwashing. 🙁

Next post will be about my pre-workout, BCCA’s/aminos and fat burners. Click here to read that article.

Have a healthy day!!

Oh and quit wasting money on Thrive. 🙂

To read a more detailed article on the scam Thrive is click here.

What NOT To Do in the Gym

09 Jan

Ah! It’s that lovely time of year again when people go all out at the gym, either novice or experienced, and try to achieve those ever so lovely new year resolutions. UGH! I cannot stand this time of year. If you want to know what NOT to do just watch 90% of the people working out in the gym in January!!

Here are some tips to help you be in the right!

  1. Don’t rely on the calorie counter on the machine.The calorie counter on the machine is automatically set for a 200# male when you hit Quick Start on the equipment. And not everyone burns the same amount of calories when working out. Everyone has a different metabolism. The best way to know your actual calorie burn? Use a fitness tracker. Because you program in your statistics in your fit tracker it is more accurate. Yes, when you program your age and other numbers in the machine it will be closer but still not totally accurate. The good news? You more likely burn more calories than is stated on the machine! 🙂
  2. Do not watch others in the gym to see how it’s done. I have been a trainer for almost 13 years now and I can tell you for a fact that 90% of the people in the gym are doing their exercise wrong – for you. This statement ought to say, “To learn what NOT to do in the gym watch others!” Be careful out there! It is a dangerous world. I’ll give you an example, my son and I were working out the other day when I noticed a guy doing something majorly wrong on the lat pull down (btw this is the most misused piece in the gym FYI.) This guy was even training a 10 year old little brother or son how to do this. It infuriated me for so many reasons. My son told me the only reason all those guys listen to him is because he is swole. Whatever! They’ll be wondering why their shoulders hurt and do not work like they used to when they pull ligaments by doing it all wrong. To be on the safe side, use machines first. All machines in the gym have pictures on them demonstrating how the exercise is done. The pictures also show you what muscles are being used. It is a great idea to study the picture, practice the exercise, and make sure you feel the muscles being worked (the ones in the picture).
  3. Calculate your heart rate before you hit the gym. Everyone should know what their heart rate should be during their workout. I can tell you it should never get over 220 minus your age in beats per minute. And during your workout it should stay between 65-85% of that number to get adequate caloric burn or “heart work” as I like to say. To read all about heart rate Click Here to read my blog post on this now.
  4. Rest is just as important as working out.Some people start working out and think that they have to work out every single day for hours on end. This is NOT the way to perfect health. It is all about balance. What is good for you is individual. But on average, a good cardio workout would consist of 20-30 minutes of exercise 3-4 times per week. And add some strength training in there too. Everyone ought to include some strength training as good muscle tone is good for many reasons whether you are 15 or 90 years of age.
  5. Remember good eitiquette in the gym. This is often overlooked. Be sure you do not hang out on the equipment if others are waiting. It is probably best to not hang out on the equipment at all, you may not know if others are waiting. I had a lady set up house at the ONLY leg press at the gym this morning and run around the gym doing several different exercises. By the time I could do leg press I had already worn out all the muscles used on there that it would only do me harm to train there. I’m still stewing over this one. Do not stand around and talk to friends while you sit on a piece of equipment. And remember to re-stack your weights when you are finished!! If your momma forgot to teach you these manners I’m here to teach you now. It is so difficult for the ladies to have to unstack those 45# weights that these guys left on the leg press or bench press. That is just plain rude! Here’s a little side note/joke for you ladies. Next time you see a guy who has left the leg press full of weights stacked to the hilt on one of those machines, I want you to pay attention to his range of motion. Range of motion would be how far he actually brings the weight down to the chest and then pushes it all the way back up. Most likely that “macho man” will not be able to handle a big range of motion. This can also explain why he can’t re-stack all those weights too! Just speaking from experience of sights I have seen in the gym 😉
  6. It is ALL ABOUT POSTURE!! If I were to come up with a motto about my training this would be it. Fitness is all about posture! Period! Never ever lean on the equipment when doing your cardio. You are doing yourself a dis-service when you do this. Not only are you training your muscles wrong but you are putting your spine out of alignment and setting yourself up for injury. It looks LAZY to see people leaning on the equipment during their cardio. Perhaps the settings are too high, maybe you need to try another piece of equipment, or maybe you need to just stop. Whatever the issue, be sure to stand up straight and focus on re-training good posture! To read my blog post on posture click here.        Happy Training, Kathie 🙂

Antidotes to Over-eating During the Holidays

23 Nov

3138667900_74f941528b_zAccording to a recent Weight Watchers report, the average American gains around 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. If we allow ourselves to lose control completely over the holiday season, there is a high risk that we will continue to have unhealthy eating habits long after the holiday season is gone. Falling into the trap of unhealthy eating is a hard habit to break. Despite millions of New Year’s resolutions that are made each year regarding our diets, many people never get around to breaking the habit at all. In fact, researchers at Washington University have reported that only around 22% of New Year’s diet resolutions make to February. And I can personally vouch for the exercise resolution makers. I would estimate less than 15% make it to February by the fall-out I’ve witnessed in the gym as a Certified Fitness Trainer.

So what can you do to prevent this weight gain over the holidays? Well that is what this article is all about. And here are several tips on eating healthy during the holiday season. Being health-conscious doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t enjoy the holiday season and have a little bit of what you fancy. It simply means that you should continue to be vigilant and be prepared for the festivities. 😉

There are many ways in which you can help to strike a balance between maintaining a healthy diet and joining in with the fun and festivities.

  1. Exercise: My favorite combat against holiday eating! Most people have little extra time available over the holiday season because they are so busy working, or enjoying a party, or shopping, or spending time with family. But if you take this opportunity to develop a regular exercise regime it will pay off in so many ways. It will not only help you burn off the excess calories and fat consumed over this period but it will give you extra energy you need to enjoy the holiday season!! This is the perfect time to get in the habit of exercising too and you can continue after the holiday season is over. You’ll be ahead of the amateurs who hit the gym in January.
  2. Be wary of sugary foods: Always remember that rich, sugary foods have a nasty habit of making us crave more rich and sugary foods. We’ve all been there….over-indulging in sweet or rich food…feeling bloated, sick, and making rash promises to never eat again…and a couple of hours later we find ourselves back in the kitchen, picking at leftovers. By ensuring that you practice healthy eating over the holidays, and throw in some regular exercise, you can expect to have more energy and fewer cravings.
  3. Eat regularly: Don’t go to a party hungry. We often eat faster and even more when we are hungry; therefore, eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch on the day to avoid overeating at the party. You might even want to include a healthy snack just before the party to curb your appetite. Here’s a great tip, drink a big glass of water before you eat, it will make you feel full and you will be less likely to over indulge.
  4. Balance your meals: Don’t be tempted to fill up your plate with purely rich, calorie laden foods. Instead, have a little of everything including fruit and vegetables. This way you’ll still get to indulge as well as receive valuable nutrients and vitamins.
  5. Take your vitamins daily: This way you’ll ensure you are getting all of your nutrients. During the holiday/winter season you are susceptible to getting sick. What better way to ward off colds and the flu by taking your vitamins.
  6. Moderate alcohol intake: Don’t forget that alcohol intake is fattening too. Alcohol contains calories and lots of them. Just about every form of alcohol has at least 100 calories per glass and the lower calorie beers have lower alcohol content. Even though alcohol makes you feel more relaxed at the moment remember it is a depressant and the next day will be harder to handle if you over indulge and won’t be worth that little so called relaxing moment if you really think about it.
  7. Be aware of food allergies: It is quite possible that you may have an allergy or intolerance to a food, which you may not even be aware of. Because there is a mountain of food waiting around every corner during the holiday season, we sometimes find ourselves gorging on food and we do not even know about the ingredients. Then we wonder why we’re feeling so ill the next morning! By having a food allergy test, you can identify any foods that you need to avoid during the holiday season in order to maintain your health and enjoy the festivities without suffering.
  8. Watch your portion. Treat yourself to a nice drink, dessert, chocolate or sweets without guilt, but always watch your portion. Go for small portions. This way you can sample all the different foods. Moderation is always the key.
  9. Drink plenty of water. There are so many things that we consume during the holidays that can dehydrate our bodies, alcohol and caffeine are just two culprits. Be sure to drink at least 64 ounces of water every day to keep your body adequately hydrated.
  10. Stock up on healthy snacks: When you go shopping, be sure to throw some healthy snacking items in to your basket. Fill up on raw veggies, such as carrots or celery, which can make a simple snack in times of temptation.
  11. Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items. High fat food items can be found in fried food, cream-based soup, cheese filled casseroles, pies, processed meats such as salami and sausages, some pastries and baked goods.

Have a healthy and happy holiday season!!! Kathie 🙂

BCAA’s Branched Chain Amino Acids

20 Nov

ask-the-science-chick-should-i-drink-bcaas-graphics-1For some people new to fitness nutrition lingo, trying to figure out what BCAAs is referring to may be just as difficult as trying to understand millennial abbreviations like LMAO, FOMO, and ROFL mean.

Or maybe you already know what BCAAs are, but you don’t know if you really need to include them in your fitness routine.

I’m here to tell you, you need them.

There are so many benefits of BCAAs that I don’t know why you wouldn’t want them.

What are those benefits? I’ll go into more detail in this article, but here are a few to spark your interest:

  • Recover from workouts faster
  • Lose fat, NOT muscle
  • Improve performance

Interested yet?

Keep reading to learn the science behind branched chain amino acids.

What are BCAAs?

BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids, are actually way more simple than they may sound.

BCAAs consist of three different types of amino acids that are especially important for muscle growth and recovery. These three amino acids are Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.

Branched chain amino acids are mostly found in meat and eggs but the easiest way to get them is in supplement form.

What do BCAAs do?

To understand what BCAAs do, we are going to take a detailed look at each specific amino acid to see how each one benefits you.

Leucine:

Leucine is the MVP, the lead singer, the big dog of branched chain amino acids. This amino has the greatest influence on muscle growth and recovery.

Why is this important?

When you workout out as a lifter, swimmer, rock climber, or anything in between, you create tiny tears in your muscle fibers.

These tiny tears can often cause soreness, scientifically referred to as DOMS. (There I go again, throwing in another acronym for you to debunk.)

DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness, or in simple terms, your muscles hurt and moving can be a struggle.

DOMS can occur 12-24 hours after physical activity and leaves you feeling stiff, achy, and makes squatting to use the toilet surprisingly difficult <- body builders who don’t use BCAAs call this the ‘death drop’. :))

For some, that sore feeling may seem like an accomplishment, but for those who want or need to workout on a daily basis, it can be a downright nuisance.

So how do you avoid DOMS and limping around like you’ve been mortally wounded?

One way is to include a BCAAs supplement! The Leucine will help prevent major muscle damage and assist your body to recover faster.

Isoleucine:

This branched chain amino acid is going to be your new best friend during workouts.

Isoleucine increases your body’s capacity to use glucose, especially during activity.

This means you’ll have more energy for your workouts and the glucose (carbs) you eat will be more efficiently used rather than stored as extra padding for your behind.

When you consume carbohydrates, two things can occur: the sugars are either used as energy, reserved in glycogen stores, or stored as fat.

Most of us have enough fat on our bodies and don’t need anymore. This is why Isoleucine and branched chain amino acids are helpful. Isoleucine helps regulate blood sugars, preventing harmful insulin spikes and drops.

Valine:

Valine has similar properties as Isoleucine and Leucine and works best when combined with them.

Valine, like Leucine, helps your body recover and stimulates muscle growth. Like Isoleucine, valine helps with the uptake and usage of glucose and it may play an important role in muscle coordination and brain function.

Why Use Branched Chain Amino Acids?

I’ve already mentioned some of the benefits of BCAAs, but that was only scratching the surface.

Here are four more impressive benefits of BCAAs:

1.You’ll recover faster.

One study found that branched chain amino acids reduced muscle damage. Another study found those who took a BCAAs supplement before and after a strenuous workout had faster recovery times.

This means you will be able to workout more often at higher intensities while avoiding possible muscle soreness and risk of injury. How many times have you skipped a workout because you were, “too sore”?

More training and less muscle fatigue will mean greater gains in strength and endurance.

2. You’ll lose fat, not muscle.

Research has shown that those who include a BCAAs supplement are more likely to lose unwanted fat while keeping lean body mass.

Many times when people are trying to build muscle and lose fat, they actually lose both. Additionally, beginning in your 30s, you actually begin to lose lean muscle and usually replace it with fat. A natural yet unfortunate process called sarcopenia.

By being physically active, including some kind of strength routine, and including the right kinds of supplements (like BCAAs) you can reduce muscle loss over time.

Branched chain amino acids can also help with muscle retention, keeping you lean and active as you age. How?

By keeping your muscles properly fueled with amino acids from BCAAs, you spare muscle tissue.

Muscle tissue can and is used for energy by the body, especially when calories are restricted and during endurance sports like marathons. Reduce muscle loss with a BCAA supplement!

3. You’ll improve performance.

A study conducted back in the 90s found, “that both mental and physical performance was improved by an intake of BCAA during exercise.”

This is because when amino acids are used for energy, your body prefers to use the amino acids valine, leucine, and isoleucine (aka BCAAs).

Understanding what each of the three BCAAs do, and considering that all amino acids are responsible for every important function in your body, these types of conclusions seem obvious.

If you’ve been doing any kind of sport or physical activity long, you know that it is just as much a mental game as well as physical.

Branched chain amino acids can help boost your mental capacity and keep you in top physical condition to perform your best.

4. They are effective and convenient.

You now know that branched chain amino acids are extremely important, but why supplement them? Why not just eat them naturally in your food?

I’m all about getting my nutrition through my food whenever possible, but for most people getting all the essential nutrients we need naturally in the diet can be difficult.

I’m not saying it can’t be done, but I am saying that supplements can make life much easier.

For example, you would have to eat 4 whole eggs to get the same amount of BCAAs that you could get in one calorie free powder scoop of BCAAs.

If you’re aiming for the recommended 5g of BCAAs before and after a workout, that’s 8 eggs and 560 calories to get 10g of branched chain amino acids that you could get for zero calories.

Besides supplementing being a simple way to get the needed protein and BCAAs in the diet, the powdered form of BCAAs is digested and absorbed quickly by the body.

The BCAAs found naturally in foods such as eggs and beef, take much longer to digest and cannot be immediately used by the body.

When Do You Take BCAAs?

Generally, before and after a workout take one serving or 5-10g of BCAAs. These are the times when your body most needs amino acids.

Others find it helpful to sip on their BCAAs drink during their workout for added energy and hydration.

Those looking to preserve muscle mass may take a serving of branched chain amino acids in the morning.

When you wake up, your body is in a fasted state. Since you haven’t eaten all night long, you are probably burning muscle as a source of energy.

This is bad news if you want to preserve that hard earned lean mass! Taking BCAAs in the morning with a healthy protein filled breakfast can end this muscle breakdown and give you an energy boost to start your day.

Personally, I like to take my BCAAs with my pre-workout drink like Uplift for Her. I conclude my workout with my protein (Trutein is a great protein drink). Currently, for the goals I am trying to achieve I workout 3 times a week. I will shoot for 4-5 once I get closer to my body fat percentage goal. This means I drink my pre-workout drink 3 times a week. I also have a protein shake I drink in the afternoons sometimes for that added boost. This protein has added BCAAs and vitamins to help me along with my goals. I drink Her Whey from NLA.

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I have also found IdealLean to be a great product. I have some client’s who use this but I have yet to try it. I am thinking of Ideal Shape protein/meal replacement to take the place of Her Whey as I like the vitamin content in their shake. I hope I like the flavor, especially more so than the Her Whey which I find to be a bit under the top on the flavor scale.

Happy Training!

How I Found Success and Trained Myself

15 Nov

31637-eat-clean-and-train-dirtyI am sharing my personal fitness story here to help others I train. What I have done works and it works wonders. I am 51 years old and losing weight is not easy at this age. However, I have trained myself with this program I am sharing now for 6 weeks now and have found a method that works for me.

It consists of training correctly, eating clean, supplementing and enjoying myself in the process. Please know that as of this post I have lost 10# and 4% body fat. My main goal is to lose 3% more body fat. Weight does not matter to me because I know through all my years of training and living in this body my weight does not matter.

  1. Number one thing I am doing is hitting the gym at least 3 times a week and slow training all the muscle groups. Slow train means hit each machine and train to failure, or as I like to call it success. Fatigue each muscle out and then go from there. I can complete an entire body strength training session in 25-30 minutes. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite things to do is watch someone sit at one leg machine for the entire time it takes me to get through my entire leg workout and be on to upper body. And I can guarantee you I am getting 100% better workout than they are!! That’s a fact! I am not training cardio at this time because I want to gain muscle. Cardio training for me would cut into my muscle building loveliness. 😉 Note: Please know that I realize everyone does not do the same workout and this is not a cookie-cutter program. I am just saying what works for me right now.
  2. Supplement, before and after my workout. I take a pre-workout drink at least 30 minutes before my workout. OMG is this stuff awesome. I have the BCAA’s that I need in this drink. (Here’s a link to my BCAA post). I drink it and I have to hit the gym. I am pumped!! I also make sure to take my protein 30 minutes after my workout. The main thing both of these do is aid in recovery and no muscle soreness so I am able to workout again – soon. I miss the soreness I used to feel from the DOMs (well kind of) but I absolutely love the fact that I can hit the gym tomorrow if I want. I take NLA Uplift for her and Trutein Protein Shake (pictured below). truteinupliftforher–I buy all my supplements from bodybuilding.com. But you can search them on your own if you’d like. Bodybuilding.com Logo Blue 150x150
  3. Take a multi-vitamin. I take an awesome vitamin that definitely replaces Le-Vel Thrive and is much less expensive. I have done extensive research (on all my products for that matter.) Compare $60 to $15.29—-duh no brainer! I take Jamie Eason Signature Series Multi-Vitamin. If you are looking for something to replace Thrive you’ve come to the right place!Bodybuilding.com Exclusive Brands 728 x 90
  4. Probably the most important tool I use for my success: MYFITNESSPAL app. This app is a great tool to keep you on track. It sets my caloric intake according to my goals and I stick to it as best I possibly can. Sometimes it will shock you as you think something you are eating is healthy and low-calorie and you’ll find half your calories and/or fat grams for the freaking day is in the one item. Really!! True story!!

So those 4 items have helped me stay on track. How did I find out about these? you ask. Well, I did tons of research. First thing I did was get off of Thrive. To me, Le-vel Thrive is a scam of a company!! I have been taking it for a year. It is a great product, don’t get me wrong but it is way over priced. And who is getting the profit? You figure it out!

The vitamins I take (#3) are the same, actually better than Thrive’s Vitamin for women.

The shake from Thrive is really tasty and probably my favorite item from them. However, Her Whey from NLA is the exact same product, actually it is better! It doesn’t taste as good but it is a protein with vitamins!! And it includes the BCAA’s you need, this makes it better than Thrive. Thrive’s Shake is $50 and this one is $38.53

However, I take the Trutein ($32.59 and you have 10 more servings and twice the protein) for my protein and that is because I love the taste and the amount of protein I get from the powder. It is the absolute best!! I love that feeling of drinking my protein after my workout….ahhhh!!

BTW eat clean and train dirty. That is my philosophy. Your nutrition plays an important part of your program. I have finally abided by that rule and it shows!! I rarely eat processed foods and I feel fabulous!! You should try it.

I still drink my beer. However it is in moderation. I have also switched back to Michelob Ultra as opposed to Miller Lite for the time being.

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Happy Training! Kathie 🙂