Thursday, February 26, 2015

Stop It! Muscle does NOT weigh more than Fat!

This post is sparked by a pet peeve of mine.  The good ol' "Muscle weighs more than fat" myth.  Ahh, the math teacher in me cringes!  Maybe its the fact that most people never liked math growing up and forgot to pay attention in middle school math/science class!? (...or the distractions like the cute boy sitting 2 rows up?)  Whatever the reason, let's clear this up :)

Weight.  Volume.  
These are two different things and when it comes to our physique, they are also very different.  In very simple terms:

Weight, whatever way you measure it, is just the amount of force placed on an object due to gravity; the relationship of the object with the Earth.

Volume is the amount of space an object takes up.

What people mean to say is that "Muscle takes up less volume than fat" <<< but see, that is not as fun to market!

1 Pound of Fat = 1 Pound of Muscle. (And 5 Pounds of Fat = 5 Pounds of Muscle)
I LOVE this picture for the visualization.....

.....BECAUSE it also demonstrates the VOLUME scenario.  See how much more SPACE the fat takes up?  THAT is why you should use measurements (chest, arms, waist, hips, thighs....whatever and however many spots on your body!) to gauge success and not just the scale. (Although I will ALWAYS argue you should use Non-Scale Victories and how you FEEL first and foremost).  It is also why people believe muscle weighs more than fat because as they tone, strengthen, and build muscle, the number of the scale may go UP instead of down.

Don't let that scale control you ~ You are way more than that number!  And now way smarter ;)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

You Are What You ABSORB

I used to think it was as easy as calories in = calories out.  All you had to do was obsessively count calories in your food and track calories expended during exercise and make sure you didn't eat more than you worked off.  It's a math equation! Easy ✔

<< WRONG >>

Now if this is what you believe, trust me, I know exactly how you feel.  You are probably shaking your head at me.  You may think I'm totally crazy.  And you probably think there is no way this isn't true because "you've lost weight counting calories."  This is what EVERYONE has told you for years, right?!  It is what you have believed for years.  Heck, it is what I believed for YEARS.  It probably took me a year to get over this one.  It was a brutal breakup, but I'm much better for it.

And think about it, did you lose the amount of weight that your calculated calorie deficit told you should lose, like ever?  Your body doesn't act like a calculator or a checking account.  Your body is FULL of chemicals and chemical reactions - it is more like a science lab.  Everything has to REACT and breakdown and be used efficiently.  Although calories are part of the story, they are not the WHOLE story.

The truth is, you are what you ABSORB.
{AND you are what you eat ate, but thats for another day...}

...And, by the way, Skinny does NOT {necessarily} mean Healthy....I just wanted to throw that reminder in here as well.  I'm talking about HEALTH.

As research with health, nutrition, and wellness continues, we are discovering that it wasn't quite as "simple" as we really thought.  Hormones, gut health and permeability, and how we individually digest is extremely important.  Leaky gut, SIBO, food intolerances/allergies, autoimmune diseases, IBS, thyroid problems, insulin/leptin resistance, not having enough/too much stomach acid, and so on...we have SO many issues with digestion in this country.  It starts with our gut, specifically our gut bacteria.  We have over 100 TRILLION bacteria in our bodies, mostly in our gut. We are more bacteria than we are human (kinda gross...) We need healthy gut flora to adequately absorb the nutrients efficiently, but unfortunately we have seem to have and feed the bad bacteria in our systems more frequently.  These bad guys cause cravings, inflammation, and improper absorption.  Get this -> research says that if you FEED bad gut bacteria (for example: artificial sweeteners, high sugar, processed and refined foods), you extract MORE CALORIES from your food and store them as fat! That's right. It's not JUST what you eat, but what and how much you absorb from them!

Which could also mean that you are eating all the "right" foods and still not absorbing all the available nutrients if you have gut imbalances.  Unfortunately, it goes both directions...

So what do you do?? Well, this isn't something I can "blanket" answer simply.
These are individual problems and therefore require individual solutions.

I'd suggest the following as a starting point:
#1 - Limit the sugar, refined, and processed foods.
#2 - Eat a fiber-rich, whole foods diet.
#3 - Probiotics:  Probiotics are a type of good bacteria (score!) which will aid in digestion and help repopulate the good gut flora in your system.  Fermented foods (sometimes called live foods) deliver probiotics to the gut.  Most people think of yogurt...but you have to be careful with these products.  First, make sure the yogurt says "live and active cultures."  Secondly, check out that sugar content - most yogurts, even the "healthy" looking ones are infused with sugar which will counteractively feed the bad bacteria. Try to add live foods like greek yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha.
#4 - Consider specialized testing.  This issue is not something to be overlooked.  If you have GI problems, experienced weight loss resistance, or even are curious about your gut bacteria, I encourage you to look into this matter and research. You will probably have to find and work with a functional medicine practitioner to effectively test and treat imbalances with your gut.  Check out to search for a practitioner.

Jumping back to the calories in ≠ calories out...this is a complex topic, and I certainly cannot cover all of the information in one dinky post...but I WILL continue to circle back to this notion.  In the meantime, I encourage you to keep this in mind and research it yourself.  Think about the HEALTHIEST person you know (again, does not mean the "skinniest" -- which is sad I feel like I have to bring that up, but with most women, I have found that these words are unfortunately almost synonymous).  Are they obsessively counting their calories?  Are they constantly worried about how many grams of carbs are in their foods?  Is this behavior really HEALTHY? .... No!  They probably eat whole, real foods that properly fuel their bodies and their day.  They may limit their intake of certain foods, but for the purpose that it does not provide them nourishment - not because they are worried about diet rules.  Isn't that what we should all strive for?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Big Week Ahead!

After a wonderful Valentine's Day weekend, I am jumping into my LAST week of the 21 Day Sugar Detox (and feeling pretty awesome!!) and my FIRST week of the 21 Day Fix Extreme.  Since this is my last full week in PA for a while, I'm taking advantage of working out in the gym.  I plan on starting the at-home workouts once we are back in Florida next week!

Here is my meal plan for the week.  Although it looks like it would take a long time to prep, I've actually started to master what works for me after the first two weeks on the detox.  In fact, I'll probably keep the same routine post-detox because I have been feeling so much better the past few days.

You may notice I'm missing some containers on certain days.  I have figured out that I tend to stray a bit from the plan throughout the week, so I try to leave some "wiggle room" and add those in as I see them fit! : )

I hope this helps some 21FDXers out there!

Friday, February 13, 2015

{{ Day 5 }} of the 5 Days to Fall In Love with Yourself Challenge

Day 5 is Here...which means its Fri-YAY!  TGIF ❥

List What You Love

Since it is {almost} the weekend, this one is easy ; ) Compile a list of what you love about yourself.  Make it anything and everything!  Examples? "I love my legs.  I love my hair.  I love my kind and giving heart.  I love that I am a good friend.  I love my competitiveness.  I love my creativity." Keep this list somewhere where you can refer to it often: Notes on your phone or Sticky Notes on your computer, a notebook by your bed to refer to at night and in the morning, the background of your phone or tech device, an email draft you can pull up in the middle of the day...and come back to EDIT it often! This is a confidence booster and when you are feeling down in the dumps can remind you what is unique and special about YOU. ❥  You may also want to pick your favorite thing (or two) and write them on a post-it and stick it on your bathroom mirror.  This way, when you are finding your beauty in the morning and repeating your daily affirmation for the day, you have a reminder of what you love about yourself as well : )

Perhaps you have picked up on it, but the underlying theme this week has really been about changing the conversation you have with yourself.  You will accept the love you think you you better love yourself first or you will find yourself in a situation that will make you unhappy and you will never quite feel like yourself.  One final challenge: when you say something negative to yourself, you must follow it up with {TWO} positive.  Pull from your master list above if you have too!

I'm so glad you played along with my little challenge.  I hope this has helped you and I hope you refer back often...maybe even week after week until it becomes know, they say it only takes 21 days!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

{{ Day 4 }} of the 5 Days to Fall In Love with Yourself Challenge

Day 1 - Find Your Beauty    Day 2 - Self-Affirmations     Day 3 - Be Strong

We are getting there : )


What happens when you get busy and are stressed out?  Self-care and YOUR needs quickly fall to the bottom of the list.  But we can't accept this.  When you take care of yourself, everything else will start to fall into place.
Treating yourself does not have to mean that you have to spend money (although a mani/pedi, new makeup, or a fun shopping trip could do the trick!).  Give yourself permission to watch TV, read a book, flip through a magazine, listen to your favorite playlist, paint your nails, take a bubble bath, call your girlfriends, take a walk...did you see those first three words? GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION.  That means you do NOT feel guilty for doing whatever you choose to do for yourself.  You are going to consciously make the decision to take the TIME for yourself instead of whatever else you could be doing and that is OKAY.
Think about it, time is really the best gift you can give someone because it is precious and limited.  You can never get time back.  Make yourself a priority.  Give yourself the gift of your time.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

{{ Day 3 }} of the 5 Days to Fall In Love with Yourself Challenge

Alright so let's recap...

You are working on looking in the mirror and loving what you see; looking at the whole person and not focusing on individual parts.

You've learned about self-affirmations and to find a phrase to repeat to yourself throughout the day.  Positive thoughts!

So what do we have for Day 3?


Get moving!  Have you heard the new (and overdo) mantra: STRONG is the new Skinny.  We are women.  We are all built differently, but beautifully.  If you are in a position right now where you may not "love" what you look like, then let's do something about it!  Empower yourself. Take control.  Seek to be better.
Today's advice, do one thing everyday that makes you feel strong.  Do one thing everyday that makes you appreciate your body.  To some, it may be on a yoga mat, some may go to kickboxing class, others may hit the weight room, and you may put on music and dance.  It could be the mental game of ONE more rep than yesterday or adding ONE more pound to your weight.  It is an individually unique experience and that is what makes it so much more special.

Fall in love with your body NOT because of how you look, but because of HOW YOU FEEL.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

{{ Day 2 }} of the 5 Days to Fall In Love with Yourself Challenge

Did you practice Day 1 this morning?!  Today, we are building! {Can you tell I'm a teacher yet?!}

Day 2

❥ Self-Affirmation ❥

Affirmation: Declaring something to be true.
How powerful!

Imagine how much better you could feel in your day if you affirmed a belief about yourself all day long.  Positive thoughts go a long way, especially when you are empowering yourself.  As yesterday, this is probably not natural or something you are used to doing, so let's start small.  Pick one self-affirmation for the entire day. When you look in that mirror to find your beauty throughout the day, repeat the affirmation to yourself.  Here are some examples:
  • "I accept my uniqueness." There is no competition and no comparison, for we are all different and meant to be that way.  I am special and unique.   I love myself.
  • "I release all criticism."  I only give out that which I wish to receive in return.  My love and acceptance of others is mirrored to me in every moment.
  • "All my relationships are harmonious."  When we create harmony in our minds and hearts, we will find it in our lives.  The inner creates the outer.  Always.
  • "I open new doors to life." I rejoice in what I have, and I know that fresh new experiences are always ahead.  I greet the new with open arms.  I trust life to be wonderful.
  • "I am worth loving." I do not have to earn love.  I am lovable because I exist.  Others reflect the love I have for myself.

Need some more ideas?  I am obsessed with quotes, affirmations, inspirations...whatever you want to call them!  I have downloaded the app called "Power Thought Cards - Louise Hay" to my iPhone.  There are actual cards you can also purchase from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc. These are the quotes you see above.  They have a quote on one side and a longer description on the other.  I have pictured one below. "These affirmation cards help you find your inner strength and guidance.  Each vibrant card contains a powerful affirmation on one side and a visualization on the other to enlighten, inspire, and bring joy to your life."  Check it out in the iTunes Store, B&N, or Amazon.

For Day 2, let me know what affirmation you are using today,
include hashtags #inlovewithme2015 and #happilyeverkate ♡

Monday, February 09, 2015

{{ Day 1 }} of the 5 Days to Fall in Love with Yourself Challenge

Saturday is Valentine's Day.  Some people may think this holiday is silly or unnecessary or "Hallmark's Money Maker" holiday, but truthfully, is it so bad to have a day to honor and remind those you love what they mean to you?  In theory, we would do this all the time...but we overwork and over-stress ourselves and unfortunately those relationships can be put on the back burner.  ESPECIALLY the relationship we have with OURSELVES.

This is why I decided to create this challenge.

Each day, I will post a step to heal the relationship you have with yourself and give you something to DO, THINK, or FEEL.  If you are going to post about it on social media, use the hashtag #inlovewithme2015 to inspire others on the same journey.  Feel free to pin, steal, whatever with the photos.  I want as many as possible to start to develop a healthy relationship with themselves this February!

Let's get started!!


Day 1 is about truly looking at yourself and finding that real beauty.  How many times have you looked in the mirror and picked yourself apart; "Ugh my thighs, my belly, my {insert undesired bodypart}" I'm having flashbacks to the scene in Mean Girls. Stop it! Stop focusing on what you perceive as negatives!  Cady had no concept of doing such a thing - this awful habit is a learned behavior, as the Plastics taught her and as we have unfortunately taught ourselves. But, you can un-learn this behavior {although it will take more than one day...let's learn how!}

First, stop focusing on individual body parts.  Instead, I want you to look in the mirror and see yourself as the whole person you are.  Appreciate what you body does for you everyday.  Find what you love and respect about yourself.  Know how beautiful you really are.  Let your inner beauty shine through you.

Are you having trouble with this?  Then imagine looking at yourself through the eyes of your loved one - your spouse/significant other, your parent, your family, your friends.  They unconditionally love you - what do they see?  Let that be your focus and let it resonate with you.  Trust and BELIEVE in those thoughts and carry them with you throughout the day.

Practice this every morning before you get ready.  Teach yourself to find the GOOD in YOU because that beauty is there waiting to be appreciated!

Saturday, February 07, 2015

The 5 Lessons I Learned from Insanity Max:30

Have you ever completed an at-home workout program from beginning to end?

SO many people buy the products just for them to collect dust on shelves. A sad, but unfortunately true story. It is one reason why I enjoy being a Beachbody Coach - it provides me the opportunity to help people through the programs and keep them accountable and on track :)

Well, if I'm going to expect it of my clients, I better expect it of myself!  December 15th began my Max:30 journey with 60+ coaches on our POWer Krew Beachbody Team.  Sometimes it is just fun to be on the "other side" again!  So grateful to be apart of a team that works together to continuously fitness, health, and business!  {{In fact, it was so awesome we have a 21 Day Fix Extreme group coming up next!}}

What is Insanity Max:30?  It is a brand-new program developed by fitness celebrity trainer, Shaun T.  In just 30 minutes, ST manages to push you to your limit using your own bodyweight and incorporating some of the greatest new training formats.
What makes this program unique is that it holds you accountable with what is called a "max out" time.  There are 5 workouts for Month 1 and 5 workouts for Month 2 (both include 10 min Abs + Pulse, a recovery workout).  During each workout, you truly push yourself to your MAX - meaning the first time you have to take a break or break good form in the workout.  You quickly write that time down and then jump back in to finish the 30 minutes. Many people thought the "max out" time was the END of the workout, butttt you don't get away that easily.  Your goal is to beat your max-out time from the week/time before.  You HAVE to push yourself to get better - pretty genius!  No just "pushing play" and dogging the workout in this program!

I admit, I did quite a few things wrong while completing this program.  First, I overtrained - I was teaching my own classes, training, going to my favorite classes, and throwing in these workouts.  It was nice that each workout was only 30 minutes, but it made it too easy to "add in" to my schedule (most of the time, on my lunchbreak!) instead of replacing.  As you can see from my calendar, I had many, many cross-offs and rearrangements, but I made it all fit. Second, I did not follow the meal plan.  Due to everything else I just mentioned, I knew I had to take in more calories than the program recommended to keep up my energy, but instead of following the plan in the higher bracket, I just ate what I wanted! Whoops! I eat pretty clean 90% of the time, but I was also not as cognizant as I wish I would have been.  Just being honest here!

Okay, okay.  Here's what I really wanted to share! : )

The 5 Lessons I Learned from Insanity Max:30

Lesson 1: You Don't Need Equipment or Lots of Time to Improve Your Fitness Level

This is a lesson that Shaun T has taught me a few times.  With the first at-home program I ever completed, INSANITY, ST proved that you do not need equipment to get awesome results, but the workouts were around 45 minutes...which was hard to schedule and were exhausting!  Then, he came out with T25.  I loved T25, but honestly never finished the calendar as written...I kinda just picked my favorite discs and did those time to time.  Insanity Max:30 is a perfect combination for me.  The high-intensity of Insanity (but hey, there's a modifier to make it low-impact too!  High-intensity does NOT mean you have to destroy your joints if you know that is a limitation!), the simplicity of just needing a way to Push Play and area to move, and the time factor of 30 minutes.

Lesson 2: Shaun T is the BEST Trainer...with the BEST One-Liners

If you couldn't tell, I'm a huge Shaun T fan.  I've been to fitness conventions, worked out with a lot of different trainers live and at-home, and his motivation, energy, and passion just resonates with me.  Mostly because he is genuine, he wants people to succeed in his programs, he takes the time for his fans, and he stays connected - throughout the workout and via social media.  He is a product of his own products and goes through the programs himself so he knows exactly what everyone is going through.  Not to mention, he pulls out the best one-liners in the workouts! A few of my favorites from Max30:

  • You need to find your life right now.
  • I'm back, b*itches
  • I'm about to kill you right now...
  • I don't care if you have fat abs, skinny abs, no are in my gym and you are going to work!
  • That was the hardest workout I've ever taught.

Lesson 3: Results are NOT About Numbers

My day job is teaching high schoolers math.  I love numbers.  I love data.  I love comparing.  This is not always a great thing, especially for a perfectionist.  BUT for the first time in my life, I don't feel like I have to run to step on the scale or pull out the measuring tape because I KNOW I improved in this program.  I KNOW I can do more push-ups, I KNOW my endurance is SO much is written right there on the paper!  I also know that my pants are fitting looser, I know I can see more definition in my arms, my abs, and my legs.  Most importantly, I know I feel better and I'm way more confident in myself.  So even though it would probably be great to say "Oh, I lost 5 pounds and 10 inches," I think I may bypass the measurements for now.  My results are not in the numbers this time.

Lesson 4: You Will Only Go As Far As Your Mind Let's You Go

With writing the Max-Out time each day, you HAD to get your mind right before pushing play.  If you were defeated mentally, there was no way to make it further than the time before.  You had to want to work. You also had to want to Max Out.  This was an interesting program to do and watch others complete at the same time.  I could have easily done moves "halfway" or modified or spread out my endurance and made that max out time longer, but that is not what this was about to me.  It was about pushing as hard as I could literally push every single workout and maxing out as EARLY as I could.  I know that was the best way to improve  It is like the idea behind Tabatas that I wrote about in my previous post.  You can get a GREAT workout in, athlete or not, if you push as hard as you can in 4 minutes.  I tried to record days where my mind just wasn't in the game, and sometimes those were my longest times because it was more of a "going through the motions" workout.  I find that fascinating!
I follow a few coaches that were in the "test group" for the program and one in particular had the same mindset as I did.  She literally called BS on people that "don't max out" or make it super far in the 20 minute marks...that's NOT how this was designed.  You ARE supposed to Max Out.  In fact, she said Shaun T is usually around the 8-12 minute mark.  That helped give me a lot of perspective about the program's intentions and my mindset when I pressed play each day.

Lesson 5: What You Do in Your Workouts Will Translate to Your Life

This one hit me hard, especially around week 6.  Shaun talks at the beginning of each disc - probably some of my favorite parts of the program - giving motivation and inspiration to each member of the cast. How were they going to make it through the workout?  But how was that going to make them better in their life?  I've had some hardships happen personally in the past 8 weeks.  It would have been easy to sit on the couch with a glass of wine and feel sorry for myself and ask "Why?"  But instead, my mentality was way stronger than it has ever been.  I was and still am able to push through - I can literally "dig deep" and find my inner power to keep going.  I learned that I am strong not just physically, but mentally.  This was the greatest lesson, BY FAR, that Shaun T has taught me.

Although I was pretty much looking forward to the last day, I'm really sad it's over! I know I'll be doing to start another round (when the time settles down a little bit, of course!) and I'm excited to see where it will take me.
Have questions? Want to give Insanity Max:30 a try?  Don't hesitate to message me!  I'll give you all the information and support you need to succeed.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

You are Doing It Wrong! Part II: Exercise

Here is part II of the III part series: You are Doing It Wrong!  I wrote about Rest a few weeks let's dive into Exercise.

Let's go back in time, even just 4 years ago.  You would find me at LA Fitness on the treadmill or elliptical for as long as I could stand it...although I would feel like a failure if I didn't make it one hour.  I'd go to cardio group fitness classes (kickboxing, cycling, hip hop, Zumba, etc) and I trained/ran in a couple half marathons.

Sound familiar, cardio junkie?

Now that I have done my due diligence and researched exercise methods, joined fitness networks/communities, and attended the IDEA World Fitness Convention twice, I just look back and have to shake my head at my desperate antics.

With the popularity of Pinterest, different workout routines and schedules are easily accessible...which is awesome!  It is really fun to watch the stigmas around exercise change, especially in the past few years.  People are realizing that long, steady-state cardio is not the best way to approach least not for every single workout.  A nice long run is therapeutic from time to time, but it is certainly not the only way to workout.  Resistance/strength training and stretching are getting some love that they totally deserve, especially from the women!  Ladies, if you want some toned muscle definition, pick up some weights!  Or at least throw in some push-ups (hey, knees are fine!!), squats, and lunges.  Want long, lean muscles?  Lengthen your muscles with yoga, Pilates, and PiYo.

It is best to incorporate aspects cardio, resistance training, AND stretching into your weekly workout schedule.

A common complaint is TIME, but the time factor is also a new discussion.  Did you know that fitness classes are an hour simply because of payroll, NOT because you have to work out for an hour to experience results!?  Man, I wish someone would have told me that years ago!!  Only have 10 minutes in the day?  That is completely fine - push yourself through a quick circuit, get your heart rate up, and you will definitely be better for it!  No time is too short to reap some benefits.

According to new research, interval training is one of the best ways to effectively use your time to workout.  Varied heart rates and different circuits keep exercisers from being bored and benefits multiple muscle groups.

Interval Training:

These seem to be some of the "buzz" words floating around the fitness communities these days.  What is the difference?  Truthfully, people use the word Tabata loosely.  Tabata was first reported in a 1996 edition of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exericse by Izumi Tabata.  It was designed for high-level athletes on specialized cycle ergometers in order to create shorter, more intense workouts.  Realistically, everyday people do not need to do a true Tabata workout because of the extremely high heart rate elevation (above 100%! Yikes!).  A true Tabata is a workout done in intervals of 2:1, 20 seconds of work to 10 seconds of recovery.  There are 8 cycles completed, totaling a workout of 4 minutes!

HIIT standards for High-Intensity Interval Training, which is a more realistic exercise routine for everyday exercisers.  The interval ratio varies - could be 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, 1:2 and so on.  The length of the intervals also varies - 30 work/30 recovery,  45 work, 15 recovery.  And you guessed it, the length also varies!

I'm in my last week of Insanity Max:30 and keeping up with the exercise trends, there were Tabata workouts included, which I greatly appreciated!  Month 1 included true Tabata intervals with a 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off ratio.  Month 2 increased the intervals to 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off.  It was also great because the program included 0 weights, so everything was done with body weight, meaning it could be done anywhere!

Another unique aspect about HIIT workouts is that they can be applied to all sorts of workouts: running/treadmill, light weights, body exercises, etc!  Here are a couple ideas for you!


Some final thoughts...

What is the BEST workout to do? Honestly, the one that YOU WILL DO!  Everyone is unique and therefore the types of exercise you like will be different than your family and friends. That is okay, stick to whatever is going to motivate you to get moving!
If you love running outside and can't stand the thought of going to a gym, do it!  Throw in some intervals: run harder during the chorus of your playlist's songs.  Or do some walk/sprint intervals.  Change it up a bit, but stay with what you love! : )