The truth about the cost of your health and your healthcare

Here’s what you should know about the price of your health

It gets expensive

You probably think I’m talking about the high cost of health food. Or how ridiculous gyms are for making you want to pay more than $10 a month. Or how the cost of workout clothes can add up.

Well friend, that is not what I’m here to talk about.

Does caring for your own personal health get expensive? Hell-freaking-yes. Do you only have one body to live in? Hell-freaking-yes. There’s a common phrase we’ve all heard; “your body is a temple.” What do all of the temples in the world have in common? They are highly regarded, highly thought of and in most cases highly guarded

So you think I’m talking about how eating healthy, paying for gym memberships, etc. gets expensive? I mean, that’s what stops us from getting healthy in the first place right? The fact that it’s so expensive? 

Wrong, it’s the:

  • Blood pressure medicine because well, you’ve gained weight, your insides are screaming at you for some tender love & care, but you don’t hear. There’s medicine to cover that cry!
  • Diabetes medicine because well, you’ve gained weight, your insides are screaming at you for some tender love & care, but you don’t hear. There’s medicine to cover that cry! (Okay, I realize that in some cases diabetes is hereditary and can’t be avoided)
  • Osteoarthritis medicine because well, you’ve gained weight, your insides are screaming at you for some tender love & care, but you don’t hear. There’s medicine to cover that cry!
  • Sleep medicine because your overall health has impacted your ability to sleep
  • The costs of visiting multiple doctors, multiple times a year, or month

Let me clump society together for a second here and pretend that society as a whole has one collective head. We have this ridiculous thought in our head that being healthy is the expensive way. When in fact, our attempt at healing debilitating diseases, fighting disease, fighting to live, fighting to regain your healththat is what is expensive.

America has taught us to believe…

That because you can get a $2 meal at McDonalds, anything other than that is simply preposterous. We look at an $8 salad from the local grocery store salad bar and pass on that for the $3 slice of pizza (let alone, completely ignore the fact that we could make that same salad for a family of four for $8 ourselves). We are so blind to what we are actually doing to our bodies that we think saving those $5 for this meal is going to save us big time in the long run. 

FALSE. Your wallet might be temporarily saved, but your body is NOT.

America needs to be educated.

America needs to get its’ priorities straight.

What is the main goal of all fast food chains? To market to you and to sell to you in a way that makes you want to buy their products. Like OMG MCRIBS ARE BACK AND THEY’RE ONLY A DOLLAR! GET EM WHILE YOU CAN BECAUSE THEY’LL BE GONE BEFORE YOU KNOW IT! (oh they’ll be back. Never mind the fact that they suck). Your brain sees that the beloved McRib is back and thinks “I must stop at McDonalds, right now, even though I am not hungry”.

So we eat the bad stuff. We eat the cheap stuff. We put crap into our body as if it were a garbage disposal. Do you know that garbage disposal even needs to be cleaned and cared for regularly? Why don’t you do that to your body?

Then there comes a point where the waistline has expanded and you’ve already had to buy new clothes (newsflash, all of those “$5 you saved” are now being spent on a new wardrobe). So we’re at this point where it, and by IT I mean the WEIGHT (of our actions), has crept up on us. We might not necessarily be at the point of needing any sort of medicine, because we haven’t been diagnosed with anything, yet. Instead, we fall into further marketing bullshit and try to do the “quick fixes” to “save our bodies”. We invest in pills, wraps, teas, diets, shakes, this & that, and the list goes on. Remember those $5 you saved when you chose to not buy the healthier option because “healthy is expensive”? Yeah, well you’ve already spent that on your new, fat pants wardrobe. Now, in a desperate effort to turn things around QUICK, you spend more money (money that you might not even have in the first place) on these quick fixes.

You’re already in the hole and we’re not even to the “needing medicine part”.

Have you ever tried those quick fixes before? I’m willing to bet that you have. Most of America has. If you haven’t, I guarantee you know at least 3 people who have. 

What’s the common trend with those quick fixes? That’s right, they don’t work! “But Sally Sue’s cousins best friend said that THIS was the product that would change it all. It’s THE FIX. It will cure above all. Hands down, case closed”

BAHA-HAHAHAHAHAH.

They don’t work. Congratulations, you just spend $30-$100 on each “quick fix”. You were desperate for 6 months all while buying into these things that didn’t work, and likely, you didn’t change your diet or your exercise routine. So here you are, still in your fat guy pants. A larger waistline and a smaller wallet to show. 

As if that wasn’t the icing on the cake, you go to your annual doctor’s appointment.

You tell her that you are having trouble sleeping. She does a stress test. Sleep apnea. Let’s get you set up with all the things to fix that. Please make sure to write a check for $500 and we’ll get you set up and on your way.

Or she takes your blood pressure and WOAH where did those numbers come from?! We totally missed the stage of pre-hypertension. You my friend, are in full blown hypertension. Time to medicate. Please go write a check for $400 and we’ll send you on your way.

Or you tell her that you’ve been having a lot of joint and knee problems. You don’t know where or when it started but you’ll be damned if you can’t walk from the couch to the fridge without those knees creaking. You’ve developed osteoarthritis. Let’s forget the fact that the pain is being made worse from being overweight, let’s just take your $300 and send you on your way.

Or you, you unfortunate poor soul, you have problems with all 3. And your insurance is not going to cover your sleep apnea machine, and only a portion of your blood pressure and osteoarthritis medicine. You’re looking at spending $400-1,000- just this month. Remember when you saved $5 back in the day though?!

Okay, I may have embellished those dollar amounts a bit, and I do know damn well that in each scenario the doctor would have mentioned the need to lose weight and exercise. But would you have gotten the point as well if not?

Let me throw some stats at you:

(if you’re not interested in these stats, please skip to the end for final points)

1. High blood pressure:

According to CDC.GOV:

How many Americans have high blood pressure?

About 75 million American adults (29%) have high blood pressure—that’s 1 in every 3 American adults (!!!!!!!). Anyone, including children, can develop high blood pressure.

Do you know that high blood pressure greatly increases the risk for heart disease and stroke? Did you know that those are the first and third leading causes of death in the United States.

How much does high blood pressure cost the United States?

Total costs associated with high blood pressure in 2011 (a little outdated, but sometimes these stats are only fully updated every 10 years. So let’s assume this number is actually higher) in the US were $46 billion in health care services, medications, and missed days of work.

  • Not covered by health insurance? Well then you’re looking at spending between $740 and $1,200 or more per year
  • Annual average cost for doctor’s visits? You’re looking at $454 per year
  • Oh and that prescription medication? I mean you need it. $407

according to a report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

  • Adults with hypertension accounted for 40.8 percent of all healthcare spending despite comprising only 18 percent of the study sample.
  • The greatest disparity in annual healthcare spending between hypertensive and non-hypertensive peers existed among 19- to 26-year-olds ($15,812 versus $2,927).

For more info on hypertension from CDC.GOV, click here for more info

2. Sleeplesness

In 2015, Americans spent an estimated $41 billion on sleep aids and remedies. With sleep issues continuing to rise, that number is expected to grow to $52 billion by 2020.

If you are one of the 164 million Americans who have sleep issues (and medication) or are falling into the black whole of sleeplessness, let me suggest you read this article by Harvard Health.

3. Diabetes:

According to CDC.Gov

The average cost for people with diagnosed diabetes is about $16,750 per year. People with diabetes spend 2.3 TIMES AS MUCH per year in medical cost compared to those without.

For America as a whole, the total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2017 was $327 billion. The breakdown of this cost includes (direct link to this info here) :

Direct medical costs:

$237 billion

  • Hospital inpatient care ($69.7 billion).
  • Prescription medications to treat the complications of diabetes ($71.2 billion).
  • Antidiabetic agents and diabetes supplies ($34.6 billion).
  • Physician office visits ($30.0 billion).
  • Nursing/residential facility stays ($6.4 billion).

Indirect costs:

$90 billion

  • Increased absenteeism ($3.3 billion).
  • Reduced productivity while at work ($26.9 billion) for the employed population.
  • Reduced productivity for those not employed ($2.3 billion).
  • Inability to work as a result of disease related disability ($37.5 billion).
  • Lost productive capacity due to early mortality ($19.9 billion).

4. Osteoarthritis 

According to CDC.Gov

Osteoarthritis, is the most common type of arthritis and affects more than 30 million adults in the United States. It is also among the most expensive conditions to treat when joint replacement surgery is required. Osteoarthritis, which is degeneration of the joint cartilage and underlying bone, costs $185 billion dollars a year. Of which, insurance generally accounts for $149 billion, and patients pay $36 billion. For more info on the costs, click here.

Alright let’s break those stats down

  • American population (as of 2018 census): 327.2 million
  • Total blood pressure cost in the U.S: $46 billion
  • Total sleeplessness cost in the U.S: $41 billion
  • Total diabetes cost in the U.S: $327 billion
  • Total osteoarthritis cost in the U.S: $36 billion

If we were to average the cost for each medical issue across the entire U.S. population, here’s what it would look like for EACH PERSON

  • Blood pressure: $140.5
  • Sleeplessness: $125
  • Diabetes: $999
  • Osteoarthritis: $110

Again, that’s the cost per year if we could average it across the entire U.S. population, which we can’t. Meaning that cost per person actually living with the disease is staggeringly higher.

I bet you’re wishing you had spent $8 on that Salad 5 years ago, huh Johnny?

You have one body to live in.

One body to protect.

One body to nourish.

I’m not sure why people put so much care into the upkeep and looks of their cars, their houses, their lawns, their boats or “grown up toys”, and quite literally anything along those lines, but cannot get themselves to take care of THEIR OWN BODIES?!

Wake up America. Wake the F up.

And while you’re up, go grab those sneakers, go for a walk, or a run. And when you’re done have a nutritional breakfast.

And then repeat those efforts daily.

Just WAKE THE F UP

 

 

 

Further resources:

 https://consumer.healthday.com/senior-citizen-information-31/misc-arthritis-news-41/osteoarthritis-costs-u-s-over-185-billion-a-year-633410.html

https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0718-diabetes-report.html

https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/diabetesatwork/plan/costs.html

https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/faqs.htm

Enjoying Your Vacation

Like really enjoy it. Enjoy the shit out of it. Check your worries and to-do lists at your front door when you leave. In fact, lock them in the house, leave them there for when you return.

Get rid of your mentality that vacation will always leave you feeling a little guilty. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Don’t fear the vacation.

Your vacation is meant to be enjoyed. It isn’t meant to be about counting every calorie to ‘stay on track’. It’s not about feeling bad for having that local burger, or that craft beer, or for not getting one single workout in the whole time.

Yes, I write a blog about health and fitness. I have an Instagram dedicated to that. I run a business on it.

But I also understand the glory of flexible dieting and flexible mindsets. I believe that if you plan vacations and fear them for the potential to throw you off track then you will never enjoy another vacation in your life. But it’s good that I believe in the 80/20 rule, in flexible dieting, in giving yourself a break.

BUT there are ways to enjoy your vacation AND feel darn proud for the decisions you make while there. I’m not saying your vacation is either a total fail (health & fitness wise) nor is it a seamless & perfect trip of nothing but salads and water.

There are ways to enjoy your vacation and not drive yourself crazy while doing it.

Here’s how:

Last weekend I went to Myrtle Beach with some family and friends. We’re all adults with full time jobs, bills to pay, and too little hours in the day. So a vacation was so needed. And you know what? We didn’t hold back. We had pizza, and fried food, and beer, and rum, and tequila, we stayed up late, and were outside ALL. FREAKING. DAY. (My body is still burnt). It was great.

And you know what? We may have gotten to the end of our vacation thinking “holy shit I didn’t do one healthy thing that whole time”. But we did, we just had to take a step back to see it.

We got our exercise in unusual ways. We played a friendly game of sand football, we went for a 2 mile walk just to wake up one morning, we walked more steps than my FitBit could even count for. We drank some water in between the booze, we had some fruit, we made homemade guac, and we got some pretty decent sleep.

The reason we were able to do those healthy things is because it was part of our routine. For months and years now most of us have lived in the healthy lifestyle. We workout consistently and cook healthy meals for ourselves. It has become routine- and a good routine at that.

So when it comes time to vacation we aren’t the ones crash dieting for the beach, no we go about our normal lives. And because of that we are able to spill over some of those naturally healthy choices in between all the fun of vacationing.

I believe that crash diets set you up for failure in more ways than one. You gain more weight back than what you lost (but that’s a story for a different time) and you lose all control when it comes to events that are outside of your routine. Because of the crash diet, your mind breaks down and you don’t even know which way is up, let alone choosing a healthy option.

So when it comes to enjoying your vacation, my number 1 tip?

Don’t treat it as a one time ordeal. Lead up to it with good intentions, get in a good routine. And you won’t even feel like you are failing yourself by choosing that burger for dinner because guess what? Been there done that. It’s called the 80/20 lifestyle that you live.

 

Beyond that, I asked my friend Kristen (co-founder of The WHEYSTED Girls Project) to help me make a list of how to enjoy your vacation.

  1. Treat it as just another one of your “cheat meals”. You’ve worked hard for this, why not enjoy it?

  2. Pack water. If you pack it, you will drink it

  3. Pack fruits and veggies. Again, if you pack it you will eat it.

  4. Choose one meal for the day that will be your “go out” meal. For us? It’s usually dinner. This helps save you calorie wise and saves your wallet. For the other meals, pack your own food. We packed oatmeal, toast and peanut butter, eggs, deli sandwiches, chips and salsa and guac, and fruit- all for us to eat at home (or on the beach!)

  5. Go for walks. Not only does it get you moving, but if you’re in the business of drinking all weekend it will give you a little break in between the alcohol consumption- and that break can save you from a super nasty hangover the next day. OR if you wake up with a hangover – go for a walk! The fresh air will do you good.

  6. If you want to eat healthy- then do it!! Just make sure you want to

  7. Piggy-backing off of that, if you choose a salad at dinner at the people you are with make fun of you for it- F*ck em, don’t listen to them. You do you boo boo.

  8. There ARE *healthier* beverage choices—Michelob Ultra’s/Corona Premier, Truly’s (or other spiked waters). If you want to avoid beer altogether, opt for a frozen concoction using REAL fruit, low calorie/no sugar mixers, and do some research about lower calorie liquors (shout out Blue Chair Rum!!!)

  9. Replenish your electrolytes. Sitting in the sun and having some drinks dehydrates you quickly. Grab some Powerade/Gatorade—Kristen’s go to is Rehydrate from AdvoCare.

  10. Avoid the vacation hangover—get back to your normal routine as soon as you get home. Yes, you had a blast and ate/drank more than normal; but, once you get back from vacation start fueling your body with the right stuff again.

  11. Be active—sitting in my beach chair, staring at the waves and zoning out is my favorite. I not a napper, but have been known to doze off on the beach every once now and then. Get up and move every 30 mins—play in the sand…there are sooo many beach games out there (heck, we even made some up), take a dip in the water, toss a football.

  12. Enjoy yourself, damnit. Vacation is YOUR time. You work hard every single day to earn vacation. Give your mind and body some time to relax and slow down for a few days.

  13. Wear sunscreen  🙂

Healthier drink options:

Corona Premier: 90 calories / 2.6g carb

Michelob Ultra: 95 calories / 2.6g carb

Blue Chair Bay Rum: Ranges from 75-96 calories

*Banana Rum Cream: 75 calories / 8g carb. White Rum: 95 calories/ 0g carb*

Mix with low calorie mixers like 5 calorie Ocean Spray juice mixes, Diet Soda, Club Soda, Seltzer water

Homemade margarita: 102 calories / 7g carb

*2 oz Sauza Gold Tequila + 2 ounces Trop 50 Orange Juice + 2 ounces Roses Lime Juice*

The bottom line? You’ve only got one life to live, and this life is YOURS to live. Tackle your vacation HOW you want and WHEN you want. And be nice to yourself in the process ❤

My Go-To Breakfast For Sustained Energy and Well Rounded Macros

I used to be one to eat something different for breakfast everyday because, why not switch it up? But then I concocted my protein peanut butter oatmeal mix and I have generally been having that every day for like 6 months. It is just TOO good.

Not only does it have a good mix of proteins, fats, and carbs, it keeps me going! And that is important on days when I am busy coaching so many classes in the morning that I really can’t eat in my every 3-4 hour window, and it turns into about 4-5 hours.

So what’s in it? For the overnight oats option I use the following ingredients:

For regular, warm cooked oatmeal in the morning I do not add the yogurt or the milk.

But basically it’s 1 serving of oats + 1/2 cup of greek yogurt + half scoop of Quest Nutrition Salted Caramel protein powder + 1 spoonful (about 1.5-2TBSP) of Natural Peanut Butter + Almond milk to desired consistency

What about the macros?

400 cals / 32g protein / 43g carb / 10g fiber / 13g fat

PS. If you’re on a ‘diet’ where you are cutting carbs, fat, etc. Alter the serving size of the oats or peanut butter you use! I suggest reducing the amount of peanut butter before reducing the amount of oats, since oats are the base in this recipe 

Give er a try for your next breakfast. Not to mention making the overnight version is a morning time saver, which we all need!

Avocado Egg Toast & How to Pick the Perfect Avocado

When choosing a snack, I try (and suggest you do the same) to pick something that is well rounded with all of the macronutrients – carbs + protein + fat. This avocado egg toast comes in at:

211 cals / 13g protein / 23g carbs / 8g fat

IMG_1383

It’s simple! Add some pepper to your liking and you’re ready to roll

Okay, so how to find the perfect avocado and when do you cut that bastard open?

The first thing I do when choosing an avocado isn’t the ‘softness’ test, I pluck off the little seed at the top of the avocado to reveal the color underneath of it. If it is the bright yellow/green color then it’s usually at the good stage of ripeness. If it’s dark green or brown, it is either not ripe yet or way past ripe.

After that I DO do the softness test. For avocados I know I will be using within a few days I find the softer ones, but not like “a baby could squeeze these and they would disintegrate soft” just a soft to the touch. For avocados that will sit in my pantry for a few days longer, I find ones that aren’t quite soft yet. Regardless, I don’t get an avocado that is hard because they are still ripening and at that point if I think “oh it’ll ripen in my pantry” it usually goes unforgotten and then I have missed my window.

Trial and error you avocado lovers, trial and error. You also will find certain grocery stores that tend to have better avocados than others

So You’re Curious About Nutrient Timing and Working Out

Recently, on Instagram I’ve had some feedback about what works for me. What works for me nutritionally, in the gym, nutrient timing, supplements, etc. Well here is an example of a ‘regular’ day for me and some of the supplements I take.

Keep in mind: what works for me is specific to ME only. This is for you to get ideas from, but know that what works you could be 100% opposite. Bodies are weird like that.

My Staples: there are a few things that I just can’t and won’t go a day without. I know that not only do they do my body good, but they have benefits for other things.

Oatmeal. I was on and off with this for awhile, but now I am it is ON and here to stay! When I finally realized the difference in my non-oatmeal to my oatmeal days, I couldn’t believe I didn’t realize it sooner.

  • Why I like it: When I have this for breakfast I notice that it keeps me full a lot longer into my day. Instead of getting hungry 2-3 hours after breakfast, I can last 4-4.5 hours. It makes a big difference on the days when I have to wait 4+ hours to eat my second meal because I’m so busy. Not only that but it is a great complex carb, my body appreciates it.
  • How I eat it: One of 2 ways usually. 1) Overnight oats with 1/2C oatmeal + 1/2C Dannon Oikos Triple Zero Vanilla yogurt + 1/2 scoop Quest salted carmel protein + 1 TBS peanut butter + almond milk (to desired consistency). Or option 2) 1/2C oatmeal +1/2 -1 scoop quest protein any kind + 1-1 1/2 C water + peanut butter/choc chips/ sprinkles to taste 🙂

For more on complex carbs, check out this article: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/benefits-of-complex-carbs-and-the-best-ones-to-eat/

Peanut Butter. I. Can’t. Go. A. Day. Without. There are plenty of “healthy” or “healthier” peanut butter options out there. What’s usually in my cupboard is Jiff Natural Peanut Butter, Better N’ Peanut Butter any flavor, or the Peanut Butter Co. Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter

  • Why I like it: Because it’s peanut butter, duh
  • How I eat it: With everything.

Apples. 

  • Why I like them: An apple away, keeps the doctor away. But no really, I eat one a day for all dat Vitamin C, and they’re delish
  • How I eat them: Uh, as is. Or with PB 🙂

Greek Yogurt. Dannon Oikos triple zero vanilla to be exact. Still delicious with a LOT less sugar.

  • Why I like it: A great source of protein, no fat, low carb (this kind specifically)
  • How I eat it: in overnight oats, with granola, mixed with PB and honey, with fruit.
  • Extra tip: Use plain greek yogurt as a substitute for so much – sour cream, heavy cream or cream cheese in baking, etc.

These foods are in my grocery cart every single time, even when I’m not getting a full load because I go through these that quickly. Below are other staples:

  • Chicken
  • Couscous/ quinoa
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Ground turkey
  • Deli turkey
  • Almonds
  • Quest bars/ protein bars
  • Almond milk
  • Cottage cheese
  • Misc fruits and veggies

So eating all of these foods may seem fine and dandy, and then some people try it and say “Uh… What? I’ve been eating healthy, heck I’ve been eating Kale and other superfoods and I am seeing no change!” Sometimes it comes down to nutrient and meal timing.

And let me note this here. Just because you are trying to eat healthier or begin a diet does not mean you have to eat less. Don’t do it. Majority of Americans either overeat (the obvious) or undereat because they don’t know what their bodies need.

Nutrient Timing: Yep. It’s a thing. Spreading your meals out into more smaller meals throughout the day at a pretty consistent basis, that works. That is the easy party of nutrient timing. What I found to be hard, and it has taken me quite a few years experimenting to figure this out is nutrient timing. What to eat before and after a workout, what’s best for breakfast, for a bedtime snack, etc. Here is what my nutrient timing looks like

  • Carb loading first half of the day. I’ve found that my body works best when I have majority of my carbs (60% or more) in the first “half” of my day. Usually that means before about 3PM. Within that time I have oatmeal for breakfast, an occasional sandwich or PB toast, yogurt + granola, apples and other fruits, and sweet potatoes or something of the sort for lunch. When it comes to dinner, I don’t omit carbs though, because I hate the notion of “oh no carbs are bad for me”. No I just have less carbs in the second half of my day. Dinner? Usually sees couscous or quinoa or a taco salad. Pre bedtime snack? Cottage cheese, protein pudding, or halo top.

So I know when my body appreciates carbs. Why do I think this is? Well I usually have 1-2 workouts done before 5PM. Also, I’m usually up pretty darn early. My body not only appreciates the carbs early, it demands carbs. Will this work for you? Maybe. Maybe if you workout in the morning and are on your feet the rest of the day. Maybe your body just likes carbs early in the day so it has time to work them through your body and store them properly. Or maybe you need a more even keel of carbs throughout the day. Maybe you only workout in the afternoon or maybe you wake up later in the day. You figure it out, you do you booboo.

Thats a breakfast full of carbs. Gimme that energy for leg day.

  • Carbs + protein + little fat before a workout and protein + carbs after a workout. My pre-workout choices? Apples, rice cakes, bananas. Or if it is 1 hour or more prior greek yogurt parfait or PB toast. Post workout? honestly, it usually falls perfectly with one of my meals. But if not, and this rarely happens, I’ll have a protein shake to tide me over.

Not only does nutrient timing your workouts help you get through the workout – with proper energy, without feeling sick, etc. It also 100% affects how your body recovers and also plays into your weight loss, strength building, etc. goals. But that’s another topic for another time.

  • Meal timing: 1 meal every 3-4 hours. It works. I eat 6 meals a day and on my really early days I eat 7 meals. I’m not eating 500+ calories each time. No, my biggest caloric meal is actually usually lunch. Breakfast (300-400 cals) Breakfast no 2 aka meal 2 (200-300 cals) Lunch (450-550 cals) Meal 4 (200-300 cals) dinner (400-500 cals) bed time snack (100-200 cals)

Why does meal timing work? It allows your body to constantly have something to work through. As soon as you finish digesting one meal you are about ready to put another one in. It doesn’t give the body time to be confused or to think that it is not getting a meal for awhile, putting itself into starvation mode.

Let’s tie this into exercise

Now of course, contrary to popular belief, everything done in the kitchen will outweigh your efforts in the gym. You just can’t out exercise a bad diet. So, knowing that my diet is on cue, here is what I currently have found to be working for me. NOTE:  I change up my exercise routine about every 3-4 months.

Strength training: Don’t be afraid of muscles. I’m not. Sure one of my main goals is to always be getting stronger and to have visible muscle definition, that might not be your goal, but strength training is important to have in EVERY program. If you don’t want the “bulky” look go for lighter weight and higher reps. But keep the strength training because it helps your body be strong to fight against falls, poor posture, injuries, etc.

  • Current program: 3-4X per week of legit strength training. Where most of my sets are only 4-8 reps each set. Some sets get into the endurance range of 12-15, but the overall goal is strength. My heart rate is not as high here, which is why I pair it with an occasional 2-a-day with running (see more later).

 

HIIT, or something of the sort: I recognize that one of the best ways to burn fat is to work in intervals. High heart rate to low. So I do HIIT. Plus some days I just need to sweat, so here’s a good way to do it.

  • Current program: 2-3X per week of HIIT. This could include tabatas, interval training, workouts under 30 minutes. The goal is to monitor the ups and downs of the heart rate. More recently, I’m working out at #orangetheoryfitness more for this HIIT (if you haven’t tried OTF- do it!). I mean the whole premise of OTF is the “afterburn” which comes from that intervalling of the heart rate

 

 

Running: yes, I’m a runner. Especially right now as I know that a half marathon and hopefully a tough mudder will happen this year. As long as you are smart about running, it can be beneficial to any program – I mean #cardio, duh. The more running I put in my regimen, the leaner I feel. But I will NOT run myself into the ground with miles and miles just to attempt to be leaner. That is where strength training also comes into play.

  • Current program: 2-4X per week of running (noting that some of these days my running comes in my HIIT when I do Orangetheory). Usually my run days are my 2-a-days, most commonly paired with lifting.

 

Daily example:

  • Monday: AM lift- legs, PM (afternoon) run
  • Tuesday: AM lift- shoulders + run at the end of workout
  • Wednesday: HIIT at orangetheory (including core)
  • Thursday: PM lift – chest/ tris /core
  • Friday: AM lift- back/bis + PM run
  • Saturday or Sunday: Lift- deadlift/ accessory work/ core + run
  • Saturday or Sunday: rest day

Lastly, supplementation

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert here. I will just note what I use and why I like it and keep it short and sweet

Protein

  • Quest nutritin protein powder (to be mixed with anything you can set your mind to- protein pancakes with quest are BOMB) plus quest bars

Pre workout

  • NLA for her Ignite: I’ve tried a lot of pre-workouts and I just like this. No tingling, no crashing plus workout energy, focus, and sweat

BCAA

  • Currently NLA for her aminos, but changing to ideal lean. The NLA BCAA’s did make me tingle. Any other recommendations for BCAA’s?

Probiotic

  • Easy living nutra. If you don’t currently use a probiotic I highly suggest you try. It really helps with a “happy gut”, and in my personal experience, eliminates unnecessary bloating.

Misc

  • Joint health – Vasayo microlife ‘renew’ gel. Works wonders. Curious about it? Ask
  • Multivitamin- Vasayo microlife essential. Proven to be absorbed by the body ALOT more than regular multis and not just peed out

Questions? Please ask!

How to Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals

… and not only realistic, healthy.

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Whether you’re coming up on spring break, summer, a wedding, etc. There’s SOMETHING coming up that likely makes you want to lose some weight. What better time of year to realize that you aren’t where you want to be? That your goals might have been forgotten about, or maybe half-assed the last oh, 6-8 months?

So it’s March, and new weight loss goals are being set. And the fitness industry knows this. Now, I am proud to be apart of, present and past, of organizations that revolve their goals for members around healthy achievement, but I do know that that is not the case for everyone in the “health and fitness industry”.

Nothing. Nothing Makes me cringe more than the weight loss ploys to lose 5-10 lbs A WEEK! Like What?! Have you ever taken a course in nutrition or how the body works?!

Excuse me while I go calm myself down…

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OKAY. I’m back. Here’s the thing, if you have been victimized by one of those weight loss ploys there are a few different things that could be happening here.

  1. you are shaking your head yes with every passing sentence thinking about the money you spent and the results you did NOT get.
  2. you are shaking your head yes with every passing sentence thinking about the results you did get, and the weight gained back- not to mention how your body hasn’t been the same since.
  3. you are shaking your head yes with every passing sentence just simply because you couldn’t agree more.

I’ve seen it. I’ve seen friends, acquaintances, co-workers, community members, new clients, etc. put money into something that just didn’t measure up. I’ve seen people with such damagemetabolisms that no matter what they do they can’t get it back on track. I’ve seen people with cupboards full of supplements, detoxes, pills, powders, and fridges full of cucumber waters, etc. that aren’t being used because they don’t work.

And here’s why they don’t work

Based on scientific, long-research, mathematical equations, a person should only *healthily and realistically* lose up to 2 LBS per week. TWO POUNDS! Why? Well here’s some math for you…

1 lb of weight loss per week= 3,500 calorie deficit per week = 500 calorie deficit in one day. Double that for 2 lbs.

What does a 500 calorie deficit look like? For most people starting out, who likely eat maybe 3 meals a day, that is essentially cutting each meal in 1/3. But realistically it is cutting your dinner in half, because that is where most overeat.

Sure, this may sound easy, and to some it is. I’m not saying the caloric deficit is hard, I’m saying that a deficit more than that is hard on the body.

What do most of these “lose 30 lbs in a month” or “lose up to 20 lbs in a week” ploys do? They put you on a restricted diet. And for the love of God, don’t get me started on the “CUT OUT CARBS BULLSHIT” like do you even know what your body’s preferred source of energy is? It is NOT 4 servings of green tea a day + 1 bowl of cottage cheese (eye roll). And if these weight loss fixes don’t put you on a restricted diet they are filling your body with chemicals that confuse the heck out of your body.

What happens when you restrict your caloric intake?

You restrict your nutrient intake. You might be eating less and not physically feel starved (but honestly most of the time you will) but instead you will start feeling lethargic, your immune system will suppress and you will be sick more, you might break out with more acne, you might get injured more easily. There could be a lot of “side effects” that you won’t even realize are related.

Not getting enough nutrients in your diet because you are eating 600 calories per day? You’re going to get sick. Or maybe you’re drinking some sore of drink that is “full of nutrients” which it MIGHT be, but chances are your body is only absorbing 10% of those nutrients (this is common among most multivitamins anyway). So if you’re drinking a nutrient rich drink and not absorbing it, where are those nutrients going? You’re peeing them out.

OH and when you lose a lot of weight each week, what kind of weight do you think you’re losing? Fat? Yeah sure, you’re losing some. But you’re also losing muscle. Muscle doesn’t only exist on bodybuilders and gym rats, EVERYONE has muscle. And even if you don’t have muscle definition you still have muscle and that muscle is the support system of your body. It is what keeps you tall with proper posture and supports your core in daily activities. You need muscle, not only for that, but for the fact that you want your body, your bones, your organs, protected.

The jyst here: I could go on and on about why these things don’t work but it all comes down to the fact that health and fitness professionals, along with scientist and people who dedicate their lives to their field have proven that weight loss should not happen in more than 2 lbs per week, and that fact has stayed tried and true for YEARS.

*Side note: if you are BRAND new, to a fitness and health program there is a good chance that you do  lose more than 2 lbs per week, this is called adaptation. It is not something that lasts*

So how to set realistic health and fitness goals

  • Set that goal for 1-2 lbs per week!
  • Incorporate not only a cleaned up diet but also a prescribed fitness routine by a professional
  • Set small goals that lead to a big picture
  • Know that not all goals need to be weight loss related. Make performance goals.
  • Realize that progress is still progress no matter how small. We are not sprinting here, we are running a marathon, and that-that is what makes results that last. Why? Because you are creating not only healthy habits but a healthy lifestyle. You are not falling into a 1 month quick fix only to “bounce back” and relapse as soon as you’re done. No, to be healthy you have to realize that it is a lifetime commitment to yourself

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When it comes down to it, trust your gut, but more importantly trust yourself. You are much  more powerful than you think you are. You got this. Go rock the world.

 

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Get On Track For The Holidays Now; Cleaning Up Your ‘Diet’

It’s Wednesday, November 16, 2016. That means that thanksgiving is 8 days away. EIGHT days away?! If you’re anywhere in the midwest like I am, you walk outside into 65 degree weather and think that somehow we all went back 2 months in time, so no way Thanksgiving is next week!

But it is.

So let’s get on track. Cleaning up your diet and your relationship with food before the feast begins will make everything easier, and leave your pants a little less snug.

*PS.  I say diet because diet by definition is the food that a person habitually eats, we all have a diet, everyday*

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Here are a few tips to take with you as you approach the holidays, some obviously stated in a thousand other blogs before, some maybe not:

1) Portion Control

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I know, isn’t it obvious? But let’s just take a minute to remind ourselves. Starting NOW at every meal you eat, take a look at your portion sizes- are they what they should be? How can you measure?

-Get a food scale and portion out in grams or ounces what 1 serving size for that food is (see nutrition label on food, or google it if there is not a label)

-Visualize portion sizes using familiar objects. Example:

*The palm of your hand= Recommended serving size of meat, about 3 ounces

*The front of a closed fist= Recommended serving size of cooked pasta, about 1/2 Cup

*Your thumb= roughly a tablespoon of almost everything, double this portion size for peanut butter

-Think choose my plate when serving your dish:

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2) Use meal tracking apps or websites.

Start today! Download MyFitnessPal or any other app or meal tracking help you can find. If you start now, you will be familiar with the app and know how to use it. When the holiday comes you will find yourself being more conscious of what you are choosing to put on your plate because you will know that you have to track it- it will make you hold yourself accountable.

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If you are wanting to figure things out a little more on your own- see 2 old blog posts (originally meant to be paired with exercise) that go into calculating everything you  need to know:

https://infitinyhealth.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/eating-to-fuel-your-workout-and-your-goals/

https://infitinyhealth.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/eating-for-your-fitness-and-goals-part-2/

3) Cook for yourself 

Pretty simple here, if you cook for yourself you know exactly what is going into it. You can choose healthier ingredients, you can track it better, and just feel good.

4) Think ‘Natural’ or “Unprocessed’ when grocery shopping for your meal.

It’s obvious that buying boxed cakes, pre-made pie crust, pre-made sides, etc. from the grocery store is the easy way, but take some extra time this holiday to find the good ingredients, and this goes back to cooking for yourself. If you are picking out your ingredients to cook for yourself, take the extra step to go as healthy as possible- and that includes as healthy as possible for desserts. Look for fresh fruit to cook with instead of canned, fresh veggies to cook instead of canned or frozen, fresh meat from the deli, and if you must buy something pre-packaged, look for lower sodium or lower sugar options.

Thanksgiving dishes naturally are high in sodium, prevent that number from rising by buying low sodium, and especially, by cooking fresh. Canned and packaged foods have 1,000X more sodium than natural, fresh food. All the extra sodium, and even sugar, and fat on the holidays will not mix well, causing bloat, etc.

Here’s an example of the sodium difference in fresh green beans (left) & canned green beans (right)

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5) Get on track with a buddy- think power in numbers!

Get a relative to buddy up with you, that way you have someone on your side at the feast. I know it can be extra hard to resist when other, non-health minded people push you to “splurge” or “give in” a little bit. Find a relative, or a friend, whoever! Keep each other on track, sit by each other at the table, encourage each other, and remind each other of portion control 😉

Don’t let Thanksgiving be the beginning of a spiral into fat pants. If you’re on track, stay on track with these tips. If you’re not on track, get on track now. It never makes sense to “Wait until after the holidays.” or to “Wait until January to start a resolution.” Start now! NOW. 🙂

Panko Coconut Chicken with Zesty Orange Sauce

Coconut chicken, healthy crispy, delicious, coconut chicken.

Are you ready for this?

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My dinner as a whole was actually really freaking delicious, but lets focus on that chicken and GAH that sauce!

I altered the recipe slightly because it called for baking it in the oven and I just aint got time for that, although it would probably make the chicken look a little more appealing. The original recipe I got the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction:

( http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2015/04/17/crispy-coconut-chicken-with-spicy-honey-orange-sauce/ )

My version served 2, so here it is!

6 chicken tender strips, uncooked

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/4-1/2 panko breadcrumbs (more or less depending on your love for coconut taste)

1/4 cup liquid egg whites

1/4 cup coconut oil

(The original recipe called for salt and pepper (I chose not to use it), as well as flour to use as a sticking agent for the crumbs, I also chose not to use it)

Dipping sauce

1/2 cup apricot preserves

Slightly less than 1/4 cup honey (more if you reallllllyyyy like honey)

3 TBSP Dijon Mustard

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I like spicy so I used 1 TBSP)

To Prepare:

  • Prepare a non-stick skillet with spray and the 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • In a small bowl, mix together the coconut and panko crumbs
  • In a separate small bowl, pour the liquid egg whites
  • One chicken tender at a time, dip into the egg white to coat completely, then dip into the crumb mix (Roll it around with a little pressure, this is how it “sticks” well without having to use flour. Using your other handle to sprinkle extra crumbs on might be needed)
  • Place tender into skillet and repeat for the remaining 5 strips.
  • Cook on medium-high heat for about 10-15 minutes, flipping every 2-3 minutes, until chicken is 165 degrees F
  • While tenders are cooking prepare the sauce by mixing all ingredients and giving a good stir!
  • Serve tenders along a heaping spoonful, or 2 of sauce, eat and ENJOY!

Coconut chicken (per tender):

Cals: 136 / Carb: 3g / Fat: 6g / Protein: 15g

Zesty Orange Sauce (Per serving/ Makes 4 servings):

Cals: 108 / Carb: 27g / Fat: 0g / Protein: 0g

 

Breakfast Egg Muffins

I’ve been talking to multiple of my friends and clients lately about the importance of breakfast and what I eat for breakfast. Here is a recipe that I am particularly proud of because well, it’s DELICIOUS! Switching up the ingredients is easy, you can also easily control the amount of fat, carbs, and protein that you get out of it just by what you put in it.

If only I had a picture of it….

Below is how I usually make them, but like I said, they can be switched up SO easily!

  • 5 egg whites + 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 cup frozen hash brown
  • 1-2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes
  • 6-8 slices deli meat (I usually choose turkey)
  • 1/4 cup cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. While the oven is preheating, mix your egg whites and 1 whole egg in a bowl and beat until the yolk is frothy. Add in the hash browns, spinach, and tomatoes. Before pouring the mixture into the muffin tin, line each insert with 1-2 pieces of deli meat (thick slices only use 1, thin slices use 2. You want the entire muffin insert to be covered with deli meat. I prefer to use deli meat as a way to help the muffin keep it’s shape, for a lower calorie option, omit the meat). Once the deli meat is in place, pour the egg mixture into each insert. Top with cheese as desired.

Place in oven and bake for 12-16 minutes or until the egg is completely cooked and a fork inserts and pulls out clean. Remove from pan and eat, or save for later!

Serves 6-8

Protein Cake Batter Dip

If you’re ready for your mouth to waterrr, while still staying within your daily Macro needs, try this!

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Protein Cake Batter Dip

The very easiest way to satisfy a sweet tooth:

  • 1/2 Cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 Scoop Vanilla Protein (I used Quest Vanilla Milkshake)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 box of sugar free vanilla pudding mix
  • Vanilla Extract to taste
  • Sprinkles optional (but for real why NOT?)

Calories: 180

Protein: 21g

Carbs: 21g

Fat: 0.5g

**Note: if you want to omit a few carbs, used plain greek yogurt and just add either more pudding mix or more vanilla extract**

** Recipe can also be done using 1 cup of plain greek yogurt + 1/2 box of pudding mix + vanilla extract to taste**

Serve with reduced fat graham crackers or dip in with a spoon! Enjoy!

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