Month: April 2016

Why I’m over calorie counting

Aaron and I have found ourselves in somewhat of a Sunday ritual. He watches River Monsters on Animal Planet while I make my grocery list. I interrupt him with comments purposely meant to annoy him and he rolls his eyes and ignores me for the most part. Last weekend my obnoxious probing was somewhat of a repeat. I found myself imitating a hyperbolic version of a dude at the gym (think Amy Shumer’s body building boyfriend in Trainwreck), asking things like Hey bro, how much can you bench? or Hey bruh, you get all your macros in today?

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If you're just starting your fitness journey, protein supplements are something worth looking into. This post covers everything you need to know about protein supplements. When to take them, how often and much more! Click through or save this pin for later!

Protein supplements: The beginner’s guide

This post was inspired by my former fear of protein supplements. I specifically remember asking Aaron one day if I had to start drinking one of those ‘gross drinks’ he was always toting around. However, once I got my first tub of FitMiss Delight in Vanilla Chai, I was pretty much hooked. It turned into a sweet post-workout reward that I actually found myself looking forward to.

The questions below are very similar to the ones I asked Aaron when I started quizzing him about protein supplements, and I hope they help you too!

Most people feel that protein supplements are only for guys.This is terribly false. Women should also take protein supplements regularly.

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Your meals can make or break your workout. Follow these guidelines when deciding what to eat before your workout. Click this pin or save it for later!

What to eat before your workout

I often get questions regarding what to eat before your workout. Because food and energy needs vary from person to person, from workout to workout and by time of day, I typically recommend keeping a food journal. However, there are a few guidelines that you can start out with. Pay attention to how your workout feels after eating different types of foods. Also, pay attention to how you feel for the rest of the week. Your best food journal will not only include what you eat, but also what your workouts look like and how you feel both during and after your fitness routine.

Yogurt is healthy, can I eat that before my workout?

My first recommendation is avoid dairy within 60 minutes before your workout. I can’t be all sciencey about this or give you big names to explain why it’s a bad idea, but I can say from personal and client experience it is a bad idea. I have eaten things such as yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, and some even regular cheese. Most times if these are eaten within the 60 minutes it causes intestinal distress or gas. Just don’t do it!

My protein shake is made from dairy, what about that?

I have been asked about protein shakes before workouts. Yes, whey and casein proteins are both derivatives of dairy products, but I do think these are ok depending on the type of workout you are about to do and how you feel after drinking these regularly. If you need something light before a morning working, a protein shake could be the way to go.

I never know what to eat before a morning workout.

I consider early morning anything before breakfast. Now this is a tricky one and it will take some experimenting, but here are a couple ideas that might work depending on what kind of workout you are doing. If you’re doing cardio, avoid liquids (so a shake may not be the best idea for this one). Eat something like fruit. The quick digesting sugars and quick digesting carbs are perfect for energy early in the morning and they won’t make your stomach upset. Another option is to grab a handful of almonds or a small granola bar pre-workout.

I like to work out on my lunch break. What and when should I eat?

At this time of day you will have already had something to eat and your blood will already be flowing from being up and moving. (Make sure you eat your breakfast!) A snack or late breakfast should be enough to get you through. You can have some sort of snack up to 30 minutes before your workout. Almonds, fruit, an amino acid drink or even coffee would be perfect for this.

What about after my workout?

Within 30 minutes of ending your workout, whether it’s cardio or weightlifting, you need to eat some protein. This is prime absorption time for your muscles and it will help you recover and build quality muscle after you are done. I recommend drinking a protein shake afterwards, but if you don’t like to drink those, then something as simple as an apple and some almonds is perfect. After that in another 30 to 60 min you will want to have a big meal whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Do you have a fitness or health related question? Let us know in the comments below!

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Mini habits will help you start working out

My workout schedule was formed by one accidental habit.

I don’t know one person who hasn’t struggled with a workout plan that feels like a seesaw. Up and down, with its peaks in January and April; and lows from November to December. Even those who have been able to overcome the seesaw likely remember a time when they too had to navigate that playground of distraction.

A couple of years ago I was on the seesaw. Really, I’d been on the seesaw since I’d been old enough to understand that eating too much and exercising too little was supposedly recipe for disaster. Now looking back on photos from ages 14-22 makes me want to go back in time to tell my younger self to eat those carbs, yes, all of them… Enjoy them while you can… with a milkshake!” Now, at age 26 it really WAS time to cut back on life’s edible gifts. Unfortunately I was also going through a breakup and there was a lot of alcohol to be consumed and fried foods to be had.

I’d been on the seesaw since I’d been old enough to understand that eating too much and exercising too little was recipe for disaster.

I had just started working out with a personal trainer who I had an embarrassingly obvious crush on. Because my new single status also meant I didn’t really have much of a life in the evenings, I found myself… I wouldn’t say stalking…. I would refer to it as innocently visiting the gym on a more regular basis to do really easy workouts. Sometimes I would start my workout, realize he wasn’t there and then force myself to finish because certainly everyone would know I was there to see him if I didn’t.

After awhile I found myself trying a little harder every time I went to the gym. I’d already done the hard part. I was inside the gym, I might as well get in a good workout. I also found myself visiting the gym even when I knew cute trainer boy wouldn’t be there. I didn’t realize it at the time, but finally, all of the inputs I needed to form a habit were present.

After awhile I found myself trying a little harder every time I went to the gym.

While I can’t give all of you a hot personal trainer to encourage you to form a healthy gym habit, I can help you re-create this scenario in your own way.

I’ve been reading a lot about how to start habits lately. One of my favorite takeaways is from BJ Fogg who actually put together an equation for creating habits which is this:

B=mat

B= behavior

M=motivation

A=ability

T=trigger

Motivation, ability and a trigger are all needed to create a new behavior. In my case, my behavior was changed because I was motivated by the cute trainer, I always had the ability to workout on a regular basis (and so do you!), and the trigger was his work schedule (he worked A LOT, so I was all set).

The last important piece of creating goals is the reward. My reward at the beginning was seeing the cute boy… and toward the end it was the feeling of accomplishment and endorphin rush I got after a good workout

As I mentioned above, I can’t recreate this, but I find that whenever I want to start a new healthy habit, motivation is what I can’t keep around on a consistent basis. So, my new process for habit creation is all about the mini habit. I learned about this after reading Mini Habits by Stephen Guise. Also, BJ Fogg has a great Ted Talk about his Tiny Habits. The gist is this: Commit yourself to a habit that is too easy to fail. Here are some examples:

  • Do one pushup a day
  • Drink one glass of water a day
  • Walk around the block once a day
  • Meditate for 5 minutes

By creating a mini habit you have both the ability and the motivation to move toward your larger goals. Soon, you’ll find yourself adding on to your mini goals and creating new ones. So far I’ve added 2 new mini habits to my daily routine. At 2pm every day I add $5 to my savings account and right before bed I stretch. These habits are so simple… but that’s the idea! Now I have no excuses to skip them.

Checkout BJ Fogg’s Ted Talk or read Mini Habits and let us know which habits you’ve started!

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