Archive for January, 2013

The 5th Challenge in The Free 13 Week Free Challenge

What new fruits and vegetables did you try for last week's challenge? I've had a few bad ones and a few good ones, but I'm glad I tried them. This may be controversial, but I'm not a fan of jicama. Just putting that out there. Probably not the greatest timing on this challenge because a lot of places I went had signs stating they were low on produce due to the cold weather. So what is your next challenge? Drink more water. Yep, you probably knew it was coming some week and here it is. Why do I want you to do that?  Dehydration keeps your body from losing fat and gaining strength after weight training because it increases stress hormones and decreases testosterone. Also, a study from University of North Carolina showed people who regularly drink water consume 200 less calories a day. That may not sound like much, but that is equal to a weight loss of 21 pounds over a year's time. You may say, but I'm already bloated I can't drink water! That is a common misconception, but the truth is when you are dehydrated the body holds onto the water and makes you bloated. With the weather being colder you need to drink even more water than normal because your body will be getting rid of more water as a part of the process that keeps your body warm. It is much easier during the summer to drink water, but make it a point to drink more water now. For the women in our boot camps in Huntsville and Madison, we encourage them to drink water every few rest breaks to stay hydrated. Some more situations that increase the need for water are: -When you fly (cabin pressure is equal to the air in a desert it is so dry) -High altitudes -When you eat a lot of salt -Drinking alcohol -Increasing your activity level -Some medications So how much do you need? Tough to say exactly, so let's shoot for 8-12 ounces an hour from the time you wake up until 3 hours before your bed time. So let's say you get up at 6 am and go to bed at 9 pm, that will get you 12 hours of water drinking time and will get you 96-144 ounces of water a day. Now I realize the whole peeing every 5 minutes is not cool and not do-able for everybody. The main thing is drink more water than you are now! Speaking of peeing the best way to know you are drinking enough water is when your urine is clear or just slightly yellow. If it looks like a neon sign, you are dehydrated. Disgusting and effective. If you need a goal, shoot for the 8-12 ounces per hour, but if you get bogged down and obsessed about that kind of thing just drink more water than you do now!

How to wake up immediately without caffeine


So last week I found an awesome way to wake up IMMEDIATELY and without caffeine.
Equipment needed:
-1 spider
That's all you need. I was putting on my pants when a spider crawled out of them and up my leg. I was alert and awake in a jiffy. Thankfully I didn't scream like a little girl or did I? I kind of blacked out, so who knows.
Anyway, it got me thinking of ways to get going in the morning so you can get your workout in, get to work, or wherever you might be going first thing in the morning awake and ready to roll.
Get excited! (The most important one)
You woke up again and you are alive. That is a reason to be excited for sure. Today could be the day you make a difference in someone's life. Today might be the day you have a breakthrough with your body or your fitness level. Every day is a gift! Now some days it is like getting socks for a gift but still it's the thought that counts. Wake up feeling excited and ready because this might be the day! DO NOT let someone or something determine the mood of your day, you control that.
Get out of bed right away
This is one I have to do. No snoozing for me. If you're addicted to snoozing, why not just set your alarm to when you really get up anyway? Stop teasing yourself with those little bits of sleep, it just makes things worse. Wake up, slap that alarm, and hit the ground running. You will feel so much more energized than the snooze routine.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
This one will help get your body used to what you are doing to it. If you alternate going to bed at 9pm one night and waking up at 430am with staying up until 11pm and waking up at 630 your body gets confused. Your body likes homeostasis and being in a routine. Doing the same thing every time for exercise=bad. Doing the same thing for sleep=good.
Pump up the jam
You like that song? Well turn it up! (Freedom Rock reference) Blare some music you really like to get you going in the morning. Got people still asleep in your house? Blare your iPod with headphones at a non-ear damaging level to get the party started.
Deep breaths
Your brain needs oxygen to clear the fog of waking up early. Throw a few stretches in there to top it off.
Drink cold water
Put some water in the fridge the night before and in the morning drink a nice cold glass of water first thing in the morning. It will wake you AND your metabolism up. Win, win.
Get the blood flowing
Jumping jacks or even better wacky jacks are a good way to get some blood and oxygen stirred up. High knees, punch your pillow a few times, raise the roof, whatever it takes.
No explanation needed

3 Foods To Accelerate Fat Loss

If you know my philosophy on nutrition, it is pretty basic. So basic you can describe it in four words. Eat. More. Real. Foods.   In a world where Dr. Oz and others have a new miracle supplement from the rain forest every day, this might seem a little weird. Now I do believe in the use of supplements and even take Prograde products myself because I think they can help as asupplement to eating right and exercise. Real food is always the first answer for me.   Real food that is not processed or what you can get at a drive thru. Not food that comes out of a box or a can. With real foods, your body can get the nutrients it needs from your food and then go on about its business. Processed foods lead to weight gain and chronic disease. In fact the lead researcher in a study printed in Journal of the World Public Health Nutrition Association claimed:   “The rapid rise in consumption of ultra-processed food and drink products, especially since the 1980’s, is the main dietary cause of the concurrent rapid rise in obesity and related diseases throughout the world.”   Pretty scary right? Ok, I will hop off my soap box now and give you 3 REAL foods that can help you get rid of fat.     1. Wild Salmon    Salmon is doubly awesome food because it is a protein and fat source. This fish is rich in Omega 3 essential fatty acids and is a thermogenic food. When you eat salmon it boosts calorie burning and enhances fat loss.   Have a 3-4 ounce serving of salmon 2 times per week.   2. Cruciferous Vegetables    Broccoli, kale, cauliflower, bok choy (if nothing else it is an awesome word to say), collard greens and radishes. These nutrient dense veggies do something amazing...they give you a special phytonutrient that beats down your unbalanced hormones, namely estrogen.   Consume 1 cup of a cruciferous vegetable daily, either raw or lightly steamed.   3. Brazil Nuts    Although not as popular as the almond or walnut in the mixed nut can, 40% of the fat in these amazing nuts are monounsaturated fats. They also contain 2 grams of fiber per 1 ounce serving. The best part about the Brazil nut is that they are very high in selenium, which is essential for immune function and to support the thyroid.   Have a 1 ounce serving once per day.   If you've tried all the magic pills out there and not had success, it is time to give real food a shot. You won't be disappointed.  

4th Challenge in the Free 13 Week Challenge Program


How did the Challenge from week 3 go for you? Last week we had the physical challenge, this week is an eating challenge. Your challenge this week is to eat 2 fruits and 2 vegetables you've never tried before. This has to be real fruits and real vegetables. Plus they can't be in a TV dinner. Are those microwave meals even called TV dinners any more? I'm out of touch.   Let me tell me you the parable of the young man who never ate his vegetables.   He went through college and the only vegetables he ate were celery that came with hot wings and those peas that are in the fancier Ramen noodles. Then one day this young man was a father and he caught himself getting onto his son for not eating his vegetables.   How can a man tell his son to do something he is not willing to do himself? Hypocrites are the worst. So he began to eat a few vegetables here, a few vegetables there, until one day he was eating them regularly and several times a day.   He felt a ton better, had more energy, and a lot less belly flab. The moral of the story? Find some way to start eating more fruits and vegetables. Guilt worked for me. Oh, I mean the guy in the story.   Too many people get into a rut of eating the same foods over and over again. There are so many fruits and vegetables out there to try! Are you like I used to be? The "I don't like vegetables" type? You just haven't found the right kind of vegetables, prepared the way you like it. If I can do it, anyone can do it. Ask my mom some time, she can back up my non-veggie ways.   This week try 2 vegetables and 2 fruits you've never tried before.

Double Dark Chocolatey Chocolate Brownies Recipe


Do NOT lick your screen

  You know what people do when the weather gets bad? They tend to lock themselves in the house and eat food that is not so good for you.   Happens to the best of us. It is like weather comfort food. With that being said, I wanted to pass on a healthier version of brownies to you.   Note- This is NOT a health food. It is a healthier version of the brownie. Try this recipe and let me know what you think:   Double Dark Chocolatey Chocolate Brownies
Serves 12 4 cups raw pecans 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1/8 cup 100% pure maple syrup 1/2 cup pitted, packed dates 2 tsp vanilla extract
Directions: Add pecans to food processor.  Blend until crumbly, like a pasty mixture Add remaining ingredients. Continue to mix until mixture becomes like a thick batter consistency
Taste the "batter" — if you want it sweeter, add another 1/8 cup 100% pure maple syrup
Add to 9*9 pan, press and smooth top. Chill and serve
Now, you might be thinking — FOUR CUPS of pecans, isn't that a lot of fat?  But notice what’s missing — all the junky fake ingredients you can’t pronounce, super high sugar content, and trans fat!
It’s not an everyday meal.  It’s an occasional dessert that happens to be loaded with healthy fat, antioxidants from the unsweetened chocolate, dates, and pecans, and some protein and fiber too.
Not bad for "dessert."
Nutrition Info Per Brownie (remember, it serves 12)
Calories: 233 Carbs: 17 g Protein: 3 Fat: 17 grams

Finish the Day. Advice from a legendary Navy SEAL.


Ever felt like this?

Unfortunately, now is when a lot of people will start giving up on their New Year's Resolutions. Statistically nearly half of the people who started the year with a resolution will give up on them within the first two weeks.   They tried really hard for a few days and just could not get a year's worth of results in 10 days. You do good for the first few days. Workout went good, that broccoli and chicken breast weren't that bad, didn't have one sip of alcohol or soda, etc...   Fast forward to now and life has set in. The hectic schedule is back, stress is back in full force, and everything has gone out the window. Workouts make you sore and cranky, you wish broccoli and chicken had a face so you could punch it, you are mixing alcohol with soda now, etc...   The main thing that happens though, is that the big picture has overwhelmed you. I can't continue to workout 4 days a week and eat right for the rest of my life!   I was reading a book Lone Survivor that offers some good advice you can tie into this. The book is about a Navy SEAL who is the only one from his team to survive a mission gone bad in Afghanistan. There is a part where it talks about the insane amount of mental and physical training you have to go through to become a Navy SEAL.   During part of the training a man named Joe Maguire, who is a highly respected SEAL legend came into to give the prospective SEALs advice on how to make it through this enormous task ahead of them.   Here is part of his speech:   "Whenever you're hurting bad, just hang in there. Finish the day."  
 And another part:
  "Don't let your thoughts run away with you, don't start planning to bail out because you're worried about the future and how much you can take. Don't look ahead to the pain."    That's great advice for whatever your goals are.   Trying to lose weight? Don't think about the 50 you have to get rid of, it's the first pound you worry about first.   Want to run a 5K for the first time? Don't think about the 3.1 miles you have to cover, just worry about the next step your foot is taking.   Signed up for a 4 week boot camp and you can't imagine getting through the whole thing? Get through the next repetition of the exercise you are doing right now.   Break that huge goal down into what you are doing that second and take care of it in the moment. You can't do anything about the future until you get there anyway. It will just intimidate you when you think of how much pain (mental and physical) you will have to go through to get there.   Don't give in, finish the day.

Challenge #3 in the Free 13 Week Challenge Program


Are you sitting down? Well you might have an excuse this time. How did you do on last week's challenge?

This is the exercise challenge week. Here's what your challenge is this week.

It is to exercise 5 times this week and to stay active on the other 2 days.

Now before you get too intimidated at the thought of working out 5 days a week, just realize it doesn't have to be for 2 hours each time. There are some days I only workout for 10 minutes, if that is what I have time for.

The American Council on Exercise recommends exercising on as many days as possible during the week. So we are going to take advantage of every day.

I want you to do some sort of resistance training at least twice during the week as well. Resistance training can be lifting weights, body weight exercises, machine weights, exercise bands, isometrics, all of those are examples of resistance training. If you have health problems of course consult your doctor. If you don't know what you are doing consult a trainer to help you with your form and to design a program for you.

Stick to doing compound movements that work more than one muscle at a time, so you maximize your results. Exercises like pushups, squats, lunges, shoulder presses, etc...

Research has shown that people who include resistance training in their exercise regimen lose fat TWICE as fast as people who do not. Ladies, you WILL NOT get bulky and muscled up. It would take a female bodybuilder (the one you are afraid you will look like) a full year of dedicated, hard core training to gain 5 pounds of muscle. This will not be an issue for you.

Just know that the more muscle you have, the more fat calories you are burning even when you are just sitting around for more than 15 minutes. There are other health benefits as well, such as bone strengthening, fall prevention, beating up the bully who kicked sand in your face when you were skinny. Being stronger makes everything easier.

Trust me, I'm a powerhouse 😉

So that's the lifting part. You also need to do your cardio. Cardio can be running, walking, biking, rowing, jumping, etc... If you are already doing cardio, do 10% more. For instance, if you are doing 30 minutes at 4 mph on the treadmill, you can either go 10% faster (4.4 mph) or 10% longer (33 minutes).

You have to get out of your comfort zone. You can't keep doing the exact same workout and expect different results.

On the two days you stay active, that just means don't be a 10 toed sloth. Walk a dog (even if you have to borrow one), go on a hike, do some stretching, just do something physical. You're not trying to kill yourself, you are just keeping the blood flowing. Send your body the message that this is the new way of life, so get used to it. I am no longer going to sit around and let my body go to waste.

So in review:

1. Exercise 5 days a week

2. Make at least 2 of those workouts resistance training

3. Stay active on the 2 days you don't have a formal exercise plan

Ever gained weight when you started an exercise program? This is why.

This phenomenon is one of the main reasons I have done some unspeakable things to scales over the years. A much more accurate way to see how you are progressing is to see how many inches you have lost, how your clothes are fitting, or body fat percentage lost. The scale can go up or down 5-10 pounds in one day!   There are typically two main reasons I see for this weight gain. The first is nothing to worry about, while the second needs to be addressed.   The first culprit in this initial weight gain is water retention. This what happens to a lot of people when they start a strength training program. What you are doing when you are lifting weight is actually tearing them down while you exercise.   The process of your body building the muscles while you are at rest is when the magic actually happens. That is why you don’t want to lift weights using the same muscles on back to back days. You have to give the body time to repair itself.   This tearing down process makes the muscles inflamed. With this inflammation comes increased water retention and then the accompanying "My trainer/treadmill/Shake Weight/boot camp does not work, why am I killing myself just to pack on more pounds" freak out. If you are using the Pants-O-Meter to measure success this would not bother you. The second reason the scale can go up when people first start working out is increased caloric intake. This especially occurs with resistance training because it really gets your metabolism revving, which increases your appetite. Think about how hard it is to burn 800 calories in an hour. Now think about how quick you can put that back in. 10 minutes maybe? You can not out exercise a bad diet.   That is why I recommend keeping a food journal, so you can see in black and white what you have been eating. The rule with the food journal is, “If you bite it, you write it. You hog it, you log it." Feel free to come up with your own rhymes. Everything that has calories that you ingest has to be recorded. Liquid calories especially, don't leave them out. It is a very eye opening experience to a lot of people who have never kept track before.   You can use on-line apps, write it down, however you want to so you will keep track. Use that food journal as a road map to figure out if it is the nutrition that needs to be assessed or something else. The lesson as always is: The scale is a fickle mistress, don’t trust her.

This doesn’t happen to Dirty Girls

Does your GNO stand for Girls Noshing to Obesity? I know it stands for Girls Night Out usually, but you will see why I renamed it later. This is a study you may find interesting. When a person in the study became obese, there was a 40% increased risk their sibling would become obese too. And for the spouse, there was a 37% increased risk.
Here's the most interesting part. When your friend becomes obese, you have a 57% increased risk yourself! And if your friend was of the same gender, that jumped to 71%!  That is crazy, but it does make sense.
Think about the social events you go to or the things you do with your friends. How many of those events involve physical activity and healthy eating? For the most part it is dinner and drinks with little regard for caloric intake.
GNO's are awesome and really can help with stress, but can sabotage your fitness program. So what do you do? Try to be the leader, not the follower. Be the one who orders the healthy meal, doesn't eat 4 loaves of bread or 4 baskets of chips while they wait.
And here is a way to really be a leader. Are you signed up for the Dirty Girl Mud Run? It is a woman only race through mud, water, and other obstacles. Should be a ton of fun and a great way to have a healthy outing with your friends. We have a bunch from boot camp signed up for the one that is in Birmingham on March 9th, just let me know if you want to join us.   To help you get ready for this event, we have aspecial 8 week class starting this Saturday January 12. This will be a little more hard core than regular boot camp and will involve more running. So even if you aren't doing the race you can get some great training in on the weekends.   Sign up today ----->Dirty Girl Training

Second challenge in the free 13 week challenge program


Thank you for the picture Wikipedia

You see that red part? That is where the rhomboids are located. Why do you care? Because one of the main functions of the rhomboids (rhomboid major for you sticklers) is retraction of the shoulder blade, AKA keeping your shoulders from slumping forward like a caveman and/or cave woman. The more we sit (more on that below), the more our rhomboids weaken and the more our shoulders round forward. Look at the majority of people who work at a computer all day long. Or even look at yourself. If your shoulders are slumped forward there is a good chance you have weak rhomboids.
What one thing do we do every day that kills our metabolism, kills our immune system, makes muscles tight and stiff, and eventually kills us earlier than most people?
We sit at the house, we sit in our car on the way to work, we sit at work for 8 hours, get back in the car and sit, go home and sit on the couch for a few hours and do it all over again the next day. It's a big reason we have an epidemic of overweight people with back problems.Too much sitting shortens your hip flexors, short hip flexors cause back pain, back pain sucks. The circle of life.
I saw a study a few years ago this airplane scientist did. He probably had a name and a cooler title than airplane scientist, but I forgot it. Sorry I know you were all wanting to run out and thumb through airplane research.  This guy normally studied the effect of wind on airplanes, but he took his scientific thingies (name, forgot, sorry) and put them on people to study their movement to discover why some people were overweight and some people were not. Do you know what one activity the people who were overweight did more than any other group? Sat. The normal weight people sat a ton less and moved a lot more. Now I'm sure nutrition played a big role as well, but so does moving and standing. You can burn 100 calories just standing for an hour. So cut that sit out!
So here is my challenge to you. 
For the next week do not sit down for more than 15 minutes at a time.
Set a timer, watch the clock, do what you have to do, but get out of your seat every 15 minutes. Now there will be exceptions (orthopedic or circulatory issues, driving or riding in the car, if I'm on a basketball team, etc...) where it is not possible to get up every 15 minutes. Just get to it as soon as possible.
You can walk around, stretch, or anything you like. Just don't sit so much. After awhile you will notice a lot of lower back and neck pain going away, you will feel more energized and less tired, and you will feel better overall.
If you are reading this on a computer, take a second and realize how your body is positioned. Are your shoulders slumped? Lower back rounded? Head pushed forward, putting your neck in an unnatural position? Did you straighten up as you read this?
Humans are not built to sit in a chair for 40 hours a week or 30 hours on a couch per week. It will be hard to remember to get up every 15 minutes, so make it a priority. You don't forget things that are a priority, so make it important to you because it will help you get healthier overall.
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