What’s Holding You Back!

Reaching for new goals is scary!  If you don’t reach though, you’re going to stay stuck.  Is that really okay for you?  Probably not but some people subconsciously keep themselves stuck because they’re too afraid to take a leap.

Here are 5 things that might be holding you back and what you can do about it.
  1. Fear of failure.

The fear of failure can be paralyzing if you let it be.  Failure is always a possibility but you can’t let that hold you back.  If you let it hold you back you’ve failed without even trying.

What to do: Look at failure in a different light.  See it as a valuable learning tool that you can use to help you achieve success.  Failing at something just lets you know what not to do.  If you fail, change what you’re doing.  If you fail again keep changing what you’re doing until you figure it out.  You also need to be open to the fact that the final outcome may not be exactly what you thought it was going to be and that’s okay.  In most cases it’s better.

  1. Listening to other people’s opinions.

When you set out to do something that could be difficult those who love you may point out all the reasons why you shouldn’t do it.  Most likely they have your best interest in mind but in trying to protect you they may be holding you back.  No one knows what you are capable of except you – and sometimes you don’t even know.  If your goal is important enough to you, you’ll figure it out and you will be successful.

What to do: Listen to what people are telling you but remind yourself that they are not you.  Most likely their fears for you stem from their own insecurities.  If your goal is important enough and you have a plan go for it.  Don’t let other’s fears dictate how you live your life.

  1. Self-doubt.

This is a tough one.  I think we all experience self-doubt which is actually a good thing because it forces us to think about all possible outcomes.  Where it becomes bad is if you let your self-doubt stop you from trying.

What to do: Change your self-talk.  If that voice in your head is telling you that you can’t do something stop listening to it and start telling yourself that you can in fact do it if you follow the steps.  Instead of looking at the final outcome of your goal (which can be a bit overwhelming) look at the steps to get you there.  Figure out the step you need to take right now to get you closer.  Once you’re successful at taking even the tiniest step your self confidence will increase and you’ll have the courage to take the next step.

  1. Fear of change.

Change is uncomfortable.  It’s so much more comfortable and safe feeling to keep doing what you’re familiar with.  This is even true when you’re not totally happy with what you’re doing.  You may not be happy but you’re very comfortable with the procedure and that’s what keeps you stuck.

What to do: Look at change differently.  In order to better your situation things need to change.  At first it will feel foreign and uncomfortable and you’ll probably ask yourself why you’re even trying.  All you need to do is push through that and pretty soon the change you’ve made will become a part of your life that you’re comfortable with.  Nothing great happens in the comfort zone.  You need to reach and grow if you want true fulfillment.

  1. Your perception of your current situation.

What you tell yourself will become your reality.  If you tell yourself that you don’t have enough money to start a business then that will be your reality.  If you tell yourself that you can’t get into shape because you’re too busy then you’ll never achieve your fitness goals.

What to do: Instead of telling yourself that you’re stuck in your situation try telling yourself that you can and will figure out how to change it.  If you don’t have the money to start your business tell yourself that there are resources out there and you’re going to find them.  If you feel like you’re too busy to get in shape tell yourself that you’ll figure out how to fit in some exercise and you’ll learn how to eat properly.  Keep telling yourself that you can achieve what you want and you’ll believe it so deeply that you’ll automatically start taking steps that are going to get you to your goal.  Your mind is SO powerful – you just need to use it properly.

Go Get Em’ Tiger!

Really the only thing holding you back from all that you want out of life is you.  Change your thinking and change your life.  Is it going to be tough?  Hell ya!  Is it going to be worth it?  YES!  Decide right now if where you’re at in your life is good enough for you.  If the answer is no, get off your butt and make things happen for yourself.  No one will do it for you 😉

Why Carbs Are Okay!

Many people shy away from carbs because they think they’re bad for them.  Certain carbs are but if you eat the right ones you’ll get a lot of healthy benefits.  Avoid highly processed carbs, stick to natural whole carbs and you’ll be fine.

Benefits Of Carbs

  1. Carbs can actually help with weight loss!

The right carbs contain quite a bit of fibre.  Studies have shown that a diet high in fibre from fruits and vegetables help with weight loss.

  1. Great source of energy.

Carbs contain glucose which is your body’s preferred source of energy.

  1. They boost your mood.

Carbs help to increase serotonin, the feel-good hormone, in your brain.  Eat the right carbs and you can help fend off depression and also be able to sleep better.

  1. Carbs contain vitamins!

Carbs are a great source of vitamin B, which helps your body make energy from food and helps you make red blood cells.  Fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C which helps keep your immune system strong.

  1. Helps build muscle.

Building muscle takes a lot of energy and carbs help provide that energy that you need to get through your workouts.

  1. Helps with muscle recovery.

Eating carbs after a workout will help with muscle recovery.  Try pairing a high glycemic carb such as a banana with some protein after your workout.

Eat The Right Carbs

Not all carbs are created equal.  The best carbs to have are ones that have not been processed (or are minimally processed).  Go for fruits, vegetables, brown rice, quinoa and whole grains (if you’re not sensitive to them).  Avoid overly processed packaged foods.  Remember – if it’s not natural don’t eat it!

5 Reasons Why You Need To Eat Fat!

A lot of us believed it when we were told that ‘fat makes you fat’.  The result was a huge variety of low fat and fat free foods that many people flocked to.  Unfortunately, the claim that ‘fat makes you fat’ is untrue.   People need to have a certain amount of healthy fats in their diet.

Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. Fat absorbs vitamins.

If you go on a low/non-fat diet you’ll soon notice that your hair and skin will become dry, your nails will become brittle and you’ll feel weak.  This is because you need fat to help absorb fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, E and K.

  1. Fat keeps you feeling fuller longer.

Fat takes longer to digest than carbs or protein.  This means that you’ll feel fuller longer and you won’t end up eating more than you need.  If you’ve ever been on a super low-fat diet you’ll probably have experienced some intense cravings for fatty foods.  This is your body’s way of getting you to eat the fat it needs.  If you’re getting enough of the right fats you won’t get those crazy intense cravings.

  1. Keep your hormones in check.

Fat is used to produce sex hormones.  If you don’t get enough fat in your diet you can really mess with your hormones which can cause all sorts of health and reproductive issues.

  1. Fat is good for your brain.

Fat is a crucial part of your brain structure.  It protects the nerve fibres in your brain by forming an insulating layer around them.  Fat also helps the nerves carry messages faster.  If you’ve ever been on a low-fat diet you may have noticed a feeling of ‘brain fog’.  Your brain can’t operate optimally without enough of the right fats.

  1. Fat is an essential part of cell structure.

The membrane of every single cell in your body needs fat to form properly.  Without fat the integrity of your cells is compromised which could lead to self-destruction of the cells leading ultimately to health issues.

Excellent Sources of Fat:

Avocados

Whole eggs

Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines and herring

Nuts such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, macadamia nuts just to name a few

Chia seeds

Healthy oils such as olive, hemp, grapeseed and coconut

Full fat yogurt – go for Greek for the higher protein 😉

Butter!  Butter is a great source of healthy fat.  It’s a natural food and as long as you don’t over eat it, it’s a great source of fat to include in your diet.

Top 5 Reasons To Cheat

Ah cheat days!  Some people don’t like to call it a cheat day because the word cheat has a negative connotation.  Whatever…..call it what you like: cheat day, break from your diet day, re-feed day – it’s all the same.  You have one day where you stray from your normal clean eating and enjoy those foods you love that possibly aren’t really that great for you.

Some people feel that you shouldn’t have cheat days.  Personally I think it’s good to have a cheat day or at least a cheat meal once a week.

Here are some reasons I think a cheat day/meal is important:

  1. Helps with cravings.

I don’t know about you but when I’m told I can’t have something ever again, I want tend to want that thing more than ever and can’t stop thinking about it.  Knowing that I can indulge in my favourite foods once a week helps me deal with cravings I might get.

  1. Calorie cycling.

When you do the same workout day after day, eventually your body adapts to the stress and no longer changes.  You no longer see results – aka the dreaded plateau.  A similar thing happens when you diet.  When someone wants to lose weight they’ll restrict their calories a bit.  This typically results in some weight loss but once your body adapts to the lower calorie allowance no more weight is lost.  The only way to lose more is to restrict more and this will eventually lead to a diet that’s way too low in calories that can really damage your metabolism.

Cheat day to the rescue!  By consuming more calories once a week you can actually prevent damage to your metabolism.  When a person diets a hormone called leptin will start to dwindle.  Leptin is basically responsible for maintaining energy balance and causing weight loss.  By increasing your calorie intake once a week you actually increase your production of leptin by about 30% for up to 24 hours.

Just remember, one cheat day or one cheat meal per week is all you need.  If you over feed yourself consistently you will gain weight.

  1. Your social life!

A lot of social activities are centered  around food.  Sharing food is one of our basic human needs – it bonds us and has many psychological benefits.  If you’ve ever tried sticking to your diet when you’re out with friends you’ll know how isolated that makes you feel.  Having a cheat day or meal allows you to plan your social time so that you can indulge and enjoy both your food and your friends.

  1. Makes eating clean a little easier.

Not everyone loves to eat clean and some people really struggle with it.  If they had to commit to eating clean for the rest of their lives and never indulge in their favourite foods again a lot of people wouldn’t.  Having a cheat day makes eating clean easier because you know that pretty soon you’ll get to give in to your cravings and enjoy some not so healthy stuff without feeling guilty.  Personally, I think it’s a healthier approach to losing weight.  If you’re following an eating plan that’s making you feel deprived there’s a really good chance that you’ll develop an unhealthy obsession with food.  Keep that up and you could end up doing damage to your physical and mental health.

  1. A healthier mind set.

Diets can be a slippery slope where some people might develop an all or nothing mind set.  If they happen to give into a craving they feel like they’ve failed and decide they might as well keep going since they’ve already ruined their diet.  This type of unhealthy thinking quite often leads to eating disorders and once you develop an eating disorder it never really goes away completely.  If you have a planned cheat day or cheat meal you’ll feel more in control and not at all deprived.

Cheating Can Be A Good Thing!

So there you have it!  Cheating can be a good thing, just make sure you do it properly.  Use your cheat day/meal as an opportunity to enjoy food you don’t normally have.  Do not use it as a binge fest.  A healthy attitude towards food will do wonders for your soul.

Working Out With A Hangover

Sometimes things happen and you end up having a few too many drinks the night before your workout.  You wake up feeling not so great but you committed to a workout (or maybe you’re the instructor) so you can’t really just skip it.  I don’t recommend working out with a hangover but if you must here are some tips to make your workout a bit safer and a bit more bearable the morning after.

  1. Hydrate now!

As soon as you get up drink some water and then drink some more.  Actually you should chug a glass or two before you go to bed.  Try having some potassium rich coconut water in the morning to help replenish those electrolytes.

When you’re hung over you’re severely dehydrated – that’s what’s causing you to feel so bad.  If you tax your body with a workout when it’s dehydrated you’ll perform poorly and feel even worse.

  1. Eat now!

You may not feel like eating but force yourself to eat a healthy breakfast.  Your body is recovering from the abuse the night before and you’re about to tax it again with a workout.  You absolutely need the proper fuel to do this.  Go for a high protein breakfast like eggs or even a protein shake.  The amino acids will help your body recover better.  Add a banana for the potassium to help replenish your electrolytes.

  1. Get it done now!

Get your workout done in the morning (or whenever you happen to wake up).  The release of endorphins will help you feel better so you can face the rest of the day.  It would be a good idea to stick to a more moderate workout when working out with a hangover.  If you go to hard you could end up feeling even worse.

My Top 5 Tips For Staying Lean Over 40!

40 can be a tough time if you’re trying to stay or get lean.  Around the age of 40 we experience hormonal shifts that can make it feel like it’s impossible to lose weight.  The good news is it’s not impossible – it just takes a bit more thought and effort.

Here are my top 5 tips for staying lean over 40:

  1. Eat enough of the right stuff

When you suddenly find that you’re struggling to keep weight off it can be tempting to cut calories.  Don’t do it!  You need to fuel your body correctly and sufficiently or you’ll end up making things worse.  If you don’t get enough food your body will slow its metabolism down in order to conserve calories and fat so it can survive.

A sedentary woman should not go below 1500 calories and a sedentary man should not go below 2000.  If you’re conscious of your weight most likely you’re leading an active lifestyle.  This means you need more calories.  You can get a rough idea of how many by using an online calorie calculator.

It’s not as simple as just eating the correct amount of calories though!  You need to eat the right amounts of the right foods.  Cut out sugar and processed foods as much as possible – save them for your cheat day if you have to have them.  Try experimenting with your macro-nutrients.  A good place to start is 40% protein, 30% carbs and 30% healthy fats.  Use My Fitness Pal to help you keep track.

You should also include a good probiotic in your diet.  Most people are not digesting their food properly because their gut flora has been thrown off by sugar, processed foods and exposure to antibiotics.  If you’re not digesting what you’re eating, even the healthiest diet will not result in optimum health.  You can buy probiotics in capsule form or eat yogurt and/or other fermented foods.

  1. Use a food journal!

For most people over 40 you can’t just estimate what you’re eating like you could in your 20s.  You need to weigh, measure and track!  I know it sounds like a pain in the ass (and it can be) but commit to at least one week of measuring and weighing.  After a week you’ll become more familiar with what a proper serving size looks like and you may even find that you don’t mind weighing an measuring your food.  I use My Fitness Pal to keep track and it’s been a game changer.

  1. Strength train and do not over-do cardio!

If you don’t strength train, start now!  Hire a trainer for a few sessions so you can learn how to do it properly.  If you already strength train make sure you’re going heavy enough and mix it up every 4-6 weeks.  Do heavy weights that cause momentary muscle failure within 8-10 reps.  After about 4 weeks of that switch to lighter weights where you can do 12-15 reps.  After that try adding some plyo moves to your workout…..the possibilities are endless!  If you need help with a program I can help you 😉

Do cardio but don’t do too much.  20-30 minutes per session 3-6 days a week is enough.  Do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  If you do too much cardio all you’re doing is training your body to store more fat.  And, when you over tax your body with cardio your body may need to burn muscle for fuel.  This is the last thing you want.  Low muscle means low metabolism.

  1. Drink water.

Hydration is key.  A dehydrated body is a sick body.  Did you know that when you’re dehydrated you won’t burn fat as efficiently?  Aim for 3-4 litres per day.  You can keep track of this on My Fitness Pal too.

  1. Get your rest.

You need to rest.  When you don’t get enough sleep your cortisol levels rise and this can lead to a cascade of events that will cause your body to store fat.  If you have trouble sleeping try using melatonin or magnesium at night.  You can also try meditation and making sure your bedroom is dark and kept at a cool temperature.

Being Over 40 Is No Excuse!

Don’t fall into the habit of blaming your age for your weight.  You can lose weight and stay lean at any age, it just takes a bit more thought and effort.  If it’s really worth it to you, you will be lean and healthy for the rest of your life.

My Top 4 Favourite Supplements!

I’ve tried many, many supplements in my day.  My first one was some sort of fat burner that I ordered from an ad in a magazine.  It think it was Dr. Sister’s fat burner or something.  I was so excited when I got the free sample.  On the sample it said 4 pills is all you need to start seeing results!  The sample only had 3 and I was too young to own a credit card so I couldn’t order a full dose.  I’m sure that was for the best.

Of all the many supplements I’ve tried I’ve settled on 4 which are my favourite.  Here they are in no particular order:

  1. Protein powder.

For me protein powder is essential.  I use it right after my workout and the convenience of it is perfect for a lazy girl like me.  I use either Kaizen or Diesel.  Both are made from New Zealand whey protein.  The reason this is important to me is because New Zealand is held to super strict standards.  Their cows are grass fed and raised without hormones or antibiotics.  There’s more to it than that but that would be a new post in itself.

  1. Fat burners.

I tried A LOT of fat burners.  The owner of the supplement store I bought them from called me his Guinee pig because I was in there trying something new so often.  Some were good, some not so good.  The one I’ve settled on is Onset by Diesel.  I really like Onset because it gives me energy without making me feel jittery or nauseous.  Also, when showed it to my coach she told me I could keep using it right up until my drug tested competition.  This meant that there were no banned substances in it which is super important to me.

  1. Creatine.

I’ve used creatine in the past and when my coach told me to start taking it again for my lean bulking season I didn’t even hesitate.  Creatine is great for helping to build and maintain muscle.  I’ve used creatine monohydrate before and now I’m using creatine HCL.  Both seem to work great for me.  I was told that creatine HCL doesn’t seem to cause the water weight gain that creatine monohydrate sometimes does.  I’ve actually never noticed any kind of water weight gain with either.

  1. Exogenous ketones.

I first tried exogenous ketones about a year ago and quite liked them.  I seemed to have more energy and a clearer head.  I only use it when my carb intake is super low though such as when I’m cutting.  Right now I’m bulking which means I’m eating a lot of carbs.  Exogenous ketones do not cancel out carbs – they assist you with getting in and staying in ketosis.  If I were to take them now with my high carb diet I’d be throwing money away and ketones are not cheap!

Less Can Be More

As I mentioned, I’ve tried A LOT of supplements and used to take A LOT.  Over the years I’ve found what works for me and stick with the tried and true and make sure that my lifestyle supports my supplement choices.  It can be tempting to take a bunch of stuff that promises to make you lean and energetic but remember, people who come up with these miracle pills really just want your money.  Be picky and if you’re not sure what you need, talk to a pro 😉

My Top 5 Favourite Fitness Fads

I’ve been in the fitness industry for almost 20 years now and I’ve seen a lot of stuff.  People wanting to make money in this industry have come up with some pretty great and some pretty crazy stuff.

Here are my top 5 favourite fitness fads.  Some are solid ideas while a few are just hilarious!

  1. Tae Bo

Who doesn’t remember seeing Billy Blanks on those infomercials for Tae Bo.  Tae Bo is an aerobic workout that combines Tae Kwon Do and boxing and became HUGELY popular in the 90’s and continues to be popular up until just a few years ago.  Tae Bo didn’t just influence the people who bought the videos either.  It started a big ‘cardio-kickboxing’ trend in gyms that is still seen today.  I used to teach it in a few of the gyms I worked at!

The great thing about this past trend is it was a solid workout that got results.  It was a bit gimmicky in the way it was presented but it was a fun workout that got a lot of people in shape and started a new type of group fitness class at gyms all across the country.

  1. The Thigh Master

Ah the Thigh Master.  Just put it between your thighs and squeeze!  It may not have been the most effective way to get in shape but they did a heck of a job marketing it because it’s probably one of the most memorable fitness fads of the late 80s to early 90s.

  1. Tony Little’s Gazette Glider

You may not remember the glider but surely you remember the larger than life Tony Little.  That long flowing hair/baseball cap combination with his personality was absolutely mesmerizing – you couldn’t look away even if you wanted to.  The Glider was a good tool to get people moving but probably ended up being used as a clothes hanger by anyone who bought one.  By the way, this is not to knock the glider, this is how the majority of home gym equipment ends up.

  1. Jane Fonda Aerobic Videos

I’m sure I’m not the only one who put on a body suit and leotards and worked out to Jane Fonda videos!  Some of the exercises might seem a little hokey but they are totally solid and many are still being used today!  Jane Fonda had a HUGE influence on fitness fashion and aerobic classes that are still found at gyms today.

  1. The Shake Weight

Okay…for those of you who may be unfamiliar with the Shake Weight, it’s basically a dumbbell that you shake until it starts to vibrate.  Picture that….it’s a bit sexually suggestive….Personally I think the people who invented it knew that any video of anyone using this thing would surely go viral and it did.

What Will Be The Next Great Fitness Fad?

There are lots of fitness fads that have and will come and go.  Some great for getting in shape, some great for making you laugh.  If you’re going to indulge in a fitness fad do some research and make sure it’s safe and make sure it’s something you’ll do….at least for a little while 😉

Top 10 Lies (that you tell yourself) That Keep You From Going To The Gym

Let’s just be honest here.  Working out causes discomfort and for the most part people like to avoid discomfort.  Here’s the thing though.  A small amount of discomfort is SO worth the benefits of working out.

Here are the top 5 lies that you’ve probably told yourself that has kept you from going to the gym:

  1. I have no time.

Come on!  There are 24 hours in a day.  Are you really trying to convince yourself that within that 24 hours it’s impossible for you to dedicate just 1 hour (or less) a day to improve your health?  Try getting up just a bit earlier and fit in a quick workout before work.  You’ll be more energetic, more productive and take less sick days (it’s been proven!)

How about getting in a 20-30 minute workout on your lunch hour?  Or make a deal with yourself that before you can go home after work you have to hit the gym first.  There are ways to fit in daily physical activity.  Don’t over think it, just get your butt moving!

  1. Working out is boring.

Working out is not boring if you find the right kind of workout for your personality.  Are you competitive?  Try Cross Fit.  Are you motivated when with other people?  Join a group fitness class.  Like sports?  Join a league.

And really, does everything you do have to be super exciting?  If you still think working out is boring, think about your long term health and how it will affect you and your loved ones and suck it up!

  1. I’m too out of shape.

Ummmm….the gym is meant to get you in shape.  I totally understand feeling self-conscious but if someone is judging you when you’re doing something to help improve your life that’s their problem.   I love that quote – what other people think of you is none or your business.  You’d probably by shocked that most people at your gym are way to focused on themselves and don’t even notice you.  And even if they do notice you and have an opinion that opinion will not change your life in the way that adopting a healthy lifestyle will.

  1. It’s too expensive.

Working out does not have to be expensive.  There are gyms that will cost about a dollar a day.  You can’t spare a dollar?  Think about the things you spend your money on.  Are you buying take out coffee?  Drop that habit and start making coffee at home and you’ll have paid for about a week at a gym.  Still think you can’t afford it?  Don’t join a gym.  Go outside!  You can go for a run and on the way stop and do some pushups, squats, lunges, dips….if you need more ideas contact me and I’ll share my bootcamp workouts with you.

Another option is to YouTube workout videos that you can do at home.  There are lots here.

5. Not motivated enough.

If you tell yourself you’re not motivated that you won’t be.  Whatever you think will become your reality.  Being unmotivated is a decision that you make.  If you need something to get you started maybe sign up for an event.  Or google inspirational quotes.

People are motivated by things that they really want.  All you need is a goal that resonates deeply with you.  Maybe it’s to be able to move without pain, or to live to see your grandchildren grow up, or to not be a burden on your loved ones as you age, or to participate in something you’ve always wanted to try.  Motivation will not just appear on its own!  You have to find it and then light a fire underneath yourself!

No More Lies!

Time to cut out the lies and do something that will improve your health and quality of living.  It’s your responsibility to look after your body.  And really, when you think about it an hour a day is nothing when it means that you’ll live a fuller, richer life.