Coconut Chicken Tenders, Kale Salad and Eggs!

Coconut Chicken Tenders, Kale Salad and Eggs!

When I get in the kitchen with an idea, I really never know what will happen when I put it all together. Some recipes I make come out amazing and someeee not so amazing-oh well, thats the joy in creativity! It’s not that I am trying to ‘get better’ at cooking, but I am always looking to see where my strengths are and how I can work on the weaknesses.

Food to me is one of my favorite ways to share joy, embrace my creativity and sharing the love. Who doesn’t love a good home cooked meal?! I seriously look forward to every moment I have time to cook for family, friends, roommate, anyone! It’s a passion and with a healthy twist-I have come up with some pretty awesome recipes along the way.

I love to be inspired by seeing fresh and sometimes unusual ingredients when I shop, travel or just read a delicious sounding recipe.I love using new ingredients in my food to see if I like it, how it will turn out, will I use it again;  Cooking for me brings all of my favorite things together; friends, family, creativity and FOOD.

Chicken.

I eat a ton of it, and it can get BORING. I try to switch up the ways I make it and some days when I am just too tired, the easiest thing to do is throw on some simple spices like rosemary or basil or oregano, salt and pepper, little squeeze of lemon and cook it in a skillet or in the oven for about 25 minutes. BOOM. Chicken. That’s all fine and good, but as I mentioned, It can get boring.

Chicken is a blank slate to me. There are SO many ways to make it!

I tried out this recipe and it was SUCH a hit that I am sharing it with you all because, you need to go try it! I had no idea how it would turn out since this was a whole new way of cooking chicken so I was a bit skeptical. It did take some prep work, but nothing crazy!

I am following a slightly modified low FODMAPS style way of eating these days, as I am struggling with some GI issues to which I have gone to both my Doctor and a Dietician to help remedy. I personally suffer symptoms when I eat certain foods (most of which are on the high FODMAPS list) so I just avoid them! There is unfourtunately no diagnosis for it, it is simply a game of elimination and staying away from foods that aggravate me. My  worst culprits are garlic and onions, fruits higher in fructose such as apples, pears, watermon and veggies that contain a high amount of POLYOLS such as artichokes, snap peas, any artificial or sugar free foods and also inulin or chicory root fiber (this is added to a lot of ‘healthy’ foods) such as KIND bars and other protein/fiber filled snacks.

Basically,  I am cooking a lot these days to ensure that the foods I eat are safe for my body to handle. This doesn’t mean that I am avoiding eating at restaurants-NO WAY! But I am more conscious of it when I go out and ensure that I always tell the server my ‘allergies’ to especially garlic and onions

If you are looking for even MORE delicious chicken recipes when you are done salivating, check out the links below!

 

 

 

Coconut Chicken Tenders

Ingredients

  • 1lb Chicken Tenders
  • 1 Whole egg
  • 1/3 cup Unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup Coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix coconut flour, unsweetened flakes, salt and pepper and place on a plate.
Step 2
Beat egg in a shallow dish and place tenders in the egg mixture until they are well coated.
Step 3
Dip each tender, 1 by 1 into the coconut mixture and coat well. (flip both sides in the mixture)
Step 4
Place on a pre-sprayed baking sheet and bake for about 25-27 minutes or until cooked through. (baking times may change depending on your oven)
Broil for the last min so the tenders get crispy!
ENJOY! :)

 

Raw kale, washed and torn apart with my hands!

Raw kale, washed and torn apart with my hands!

 

IMG_5584 IMG_5583 IMG_5582

MMMM

KALE SALAD WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND OLIVE OIL VINAIGRETTE

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Kale (washed, and torn with hands into small pieces)
  • 1 cup Butternut squash
  • 1/3 cup Dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

Directions

Step 1
Chop butternut squash into small cubes and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. (I threw on some salt and pepper) When cooled, set aside
Step 2
Place washed, dried and torn kale in a large bowl.
Add in cranberries
Step 3
Add vinaigrette to kale and massage well with the hands making sure the kale is engulfed in the dressing. Let it sit for about 15 minutes.
Step 4
Add in squash and pumpkin seeds
Step 5
ENJOY!

OLIVE OIL VINAIGRETTE

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Maple syrup or honey (I used maple syrup)

Directions

Step 1
Mix add ingredients in a Jar and shake well!

 

I also have been eating a TON of eggs! I think one of these days I’m going to turn into one-I kid, I kid, but seriously? it’s a good thing they’re cheap and so easy! I go through them like no ones business. The best part about eggs?

Versatility. You can make them scrambled, sunny side up, hardboiled, you name it, there is a way to eat them that fits your life style. Short on time? Harboiled! Have some more time? Omelet!

And YES I eat the yolks, people! I get this question from clients and followers all the time. I eat the yolk for many reasons, 1 being that egg whites do NOTHING for my satiety. I could probably eat a dozen egg whites and still be hungry. Give me the yolk and the healthy fat in there sticks onto my bones a bit more!

They contain 100% of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K as well as all the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin found in an egg. They also contain more than 90% of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Compared to the yolk, the white doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of nutrients.

Below are some quick ideas but be sure to check the links below as well for some more EGGCELLENT recipes!

 

Lotsa Egg Recipes

Breakfast inspiration

 

IMG_5689

Eggs with chicken sausage, veggies and 1/2 grapfruit #breakfast

IMG_5619

2 whole eggs, 1/2C oats with strawberries, dollop of peanut butter and coffee #breakfast

IMG_5617

As you can see, I love cooking but I love eating more. I eat foods that taste good, fuel my body right and make me feel like I can get through anything. Try to experiment when it comes to foods. Look online and at blogs to get some inspiration! The only way you will learn to cook or know if you like certain foods is to TRY! 

 

XOXOXO

Naomi

10 Tactics That Make Me Feel My Best-Cookies Included ;)

10 Tactics That Make Me Feel My Best-Cookies Included ;)

The other day I had two Girl Scout Cookies. Two. A caramel delight and a thin mint; my two favorite varieties. I ate them and moved on. Whoa. I blinked an eye for a second at the thought of that feeling afterwards-you know what I’m talking about-that ‘food guilt’ feeling after “OMG I ate two cookies–Well I just added 20 more minutes of cardio tomorrow” If you’re like me-you still are dealing with or have dealt with these thoughts after eating something so unimportant but delicious such as these two GS cookies.

Were they delicious? You bet

Was I hesitant to take them after I was in a situation that would have been hard to turn them away, yet totally doable? NOPE! I was taking them!

Do I regret it? Heeeecccck no. GS cookies come around only once a year and theres nothing like a frozen Thin mint. If you haven’t tried it-go. now.

I remember when I lived and breathed the “perfect” fitness mindset, eating clean 90% of the time and basing my week around my 1 ‘cheat’ meal which wasn’t even a cheat-it was something like a whole wheat pizza loaded with veggies or turkey sandwich on whole grain bread. Thinking of these meals as ‘cheats’ nowadays makes me laugh. Once I began seeing my body transform, I always had that desire to be perfect from my eating to my workouts. Nothing went outside the lines. Everything I did was planned from my pre portioned meals I would bring to everywhere to not skipping a single workout-ever.

Social life took somewhat of a backseat because I couldn’t go out and drink AND be put in a situation where I would have to eat something that wasn’t in my plan!

One mistake would ruin my day and make me feel like a failure. Food Guilt slowly would set in.

I remember being at restaurants with my family and thinking how much I ‘wish’ I could have that. My brother once ordered a hamburger (Which I love) with avocado (love even more), sprouts, romaine, caramelized onions on a seeded grilled bun served with sweet potato fries. uhhhhh….My turn came. I got the house salad, dressing on the side, no croutons, no cheese and grilled chicken with balsamic vinegar and mustard.

Bleh.

Now, there is nothing wrong with what I ordered if it was what I truly wanted and what made me happy. We all can be entitled to eating a really healthy meal if thats what we want so I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, but the truth is, I was depriving myself. I didn’t want what I ordered in the least. I was actually sad.

My food made me sad.

In this scenario, that is not okay. I looked at my brother with sad eyes and I remember looking at him and saying “I wish I could get that” 

“You can” he said.

“no, I can’t. I just can’t. I’ll be fine.” And turned away.

I think I was even more confused than him when I said “I can’t” have what he ordered. I mean he gave me a cockeyed look, the kind that a dog gives a human when they realize they aren’t getting any food from the table. Like “whhhhhhhaaaa?!”

But it was me that was in more disbelief. I was denying myself a meal I reallllly wanted because I ‘couldn’t eat it. This is no way to live life, depriving and depleting what made me happy.

I knew if I ate this burger meal that I would punish myself emotionally in the gym the next day. I couldn’t just. be.

I have come a long way since that very moment because I saw my food guilt for what it was: An unhealthy obsession. This is no way to live and I knew that. I had the mentality that I had to maintain my leanness and strictness with food and exercise because this was WHO I WAS!

I will say that the moment that I came to terms with the fact that I could eat what I wanted while still maintaining a healthy, happy life filled with social events, friends, parties, wine, family and food, I was able to enjoy every important aspect of life.

Along the way, I have learned some tactics that I stick to to this day that help me keep my mind under control. I have come to a place where I am so happy and content with my body and where I stand that I can trust myself. I find this is the biggest hurdle to get over- TRUST.

If you were like me, there was a time that you wouldn’t trust your body and mind to eat something that was ‘out of the ordinary’ If I eat that slice of pizza I am going to gain 10lbs and lose all of the muscle I have worked hard to get. Uhhh no-that won’t happen by eating 1 slice of pizza. It takes a while to gain food trust. Trust that you can eat and enjoy foods to their fullest extent knowing that if anything-this will have a positive effect on your mind, body and life.

I want to share some food/fitness tactics with you that helped me along the way come to the happiest relationship with food and my body that I have every had before because, life is so much more important and precious than protein shakes and eating cold chicken and asparagus out of a bag 5x a day.

1. Honor Your Hunger. 

If you are hungry. Eat. Listen to your body when it is giving you hunger cues. Maybe it is not at a ‘normal’ time that you usually eat one day, maybe you are about to get your period and you are ravenous–whatever the case may be–have a little something when your body is telling you it needs some food. If you ignore these signals, it can just create a vicsious cycle of overeating the next day and then having that ‘food guilt’ I usually stick to food that I know will tide me over until my next meal usually in the form of fats-10-16 almonds or an egg, turkey jerky or piece of sweet potato with nut butter.

2. Sit Down and Enjoy

I really try as hard as I can not to eat food from a package (unless its something like a protein bar etc- I won’t lay that out on a plate) I really want to ensure that when I eat, I know what I am eating and honoring my hunger as I mentioned in point 1. When I eat from a package or container, I have no idea how much I’m eating and don’t even really know if I am hungry or just eating to eat. When I can’t see how much I’m eating (like sticking a spoon into a container of ice cream) I’m way more likely to lose track and go a little overboard when I didn’t even want or mean to.  I grab a bowl or plate, put what I want on it and also make sure to SIT. Eating while standing is a pet peeve, don’t know why, but I always find it’s so much more enjoyable to sit and eat my food.

3. Stop Reading

I came across two articles the other day. One was entitled, “Don’t eat like a caveman”and the other was “Long Term Scientific Verification of the Paleo Diet”

Interesting.

So we have one article that is speaking of the negative effects of the ‘Paleo Diet’ and the other one is praising it’s practice with scientific evidence. What the heck are we supposed to do with that? This is exactly why this point made my list. How are you supposed to follow a specific diet that is written for the general population when  you have NO idea if it is good for you or not? Sure, you may see some benefits and swear by eating a certain way-trust me, I hear this ALL the time but the reason its called a diet is because it is not a way of eating for life. LIfe is about challenges and flexibility and enjoyment and following 1 specific diet that you don’t even know how its effecting your body or if its good for you can only lead to detrimental effects such as disease, food intolerances, bingeing, weight gain, depression, mood swings amongst others.  Cut out the chatter about certain ‘diets’ and focus on yourself for once.

 

4. Eating Clean 100% of the time Doesn’t Work

 

There was a time I weighed, measure, portioned out, packed baggies, food prepped ALL of the time. I am not exaggerating. When I wasn’t doing these things, I was thinking about it. It took over my life. It became an obsession without me even knowing. When I look back on that time in my life, it’s no wonder I had hit plateau’s and suffered extreme stress on my body. Not only that but I was constantly fatigued and also unhappy. I was depriving myself things that I wanted to eat but put in the off limits category-because god forbid I eat a whole wheat pizza or white potato. Seriously. I was crazy. I look at some feeds on Instagram and posts on Facebook of those preaching eating broccoli, chicken and brown rice 5x a day and saying phrases like “eat clean, train dirty” and “train insane or remain the same” Guys-you don’t have to train insane to see results nor should you eat clean 100% of the time.  Clean eating in general can mean different things for different people. For some, it means no artificial crap or chemicals and for others such as vegans or vegetarians it could mean meat, fish, eggs or dairy. The term itself doesn’t make sense!  Eating too strict for too long will cause you to rebound fast

Don’t misconstrue what I am saying here. I am not saying to eat junk and you can still get shredded. I myself stick to whole foods and generally artificial free foods the majority of the time, but what I am saying is that I leave wiggle room to eat whatever I want for that other 20-30%.

You don’t need to cut out food to lose fat. The most important thing is controlling your calorie and macronutrient intake, without freaking out if you eat two Girl Scout cookies or a slice of pizza. You don’t have to throw your hands up in the air and say ‘screw it’

Moderation with food choices is everything. Cookies here, french fries there, and lots of greens, fruits, veggies, good fats and proteins!

 

5. Step off the Scale

OMG, if I hear another person complain because they lost OR gained 1lb I will scream.  The scale is a number and nonetheless it is a number that takes nothing into account. Think about a number controlling how you feel about your body? Its ridiculous. We can gain weight around our periods (ladies) we can gain weight from eating a big meal and we can also lose weight from going to the bathroom. It is just a number. You just started a weight training program? Well you may be putting on some lean muscle and may not see the scale move. Just because you don’t see the scale move right away doesn’t mean a thing. Get off of it. Use a better measure such as a pair of pants, shorts or a skirt you own that you want to get back into.

6. Don’t go HARD In the Gym Everyday.

In fact, take a step back. Well, at least this worked for me. The second, I stopped obsessing about my workouts and freaking out over a missed session, realizing it was OKAY to miss two days in a row of working out, my whole outlook changed. I love taking two days off in a row. My workouts are better, my intensity is higher and my focus is way more spot on. Have you ever found yourself pushing through a workout when you just feel like crap. Then you still push through it but at the end when someone asks you how it went, you say “really crappy. I wasn’t feeling it today” Yeah, thats when you know you need to take a step back. Imagine how an AMAZING workout feels. Imagine having that reaction and feeling every single time you stepped foot in the gym. Honoring my body and its signals has been the greatest discovery. It takes time and trust for you to realize the significant mental and physical changes that will happen, but it will. Trust me.

7. Don’t Be Scared

I went swimming last week. Speedo, swim cap, goggles. Guys-I looked ridiculous. I was having a hard time even looking at myself in the mirror once I had my whole get-up on. My co-worker has been going swimming once a week and she asked me to join her. At first I was SO excited “YES!!” of course I would go! Swimming is such a good workout and I haven’t been ‘swimming’ as in- for exercise in, I can’t even remember how long. Then I let the reality set in. Uhhh, I was going to get on a speedo and swim cap and goggles and go to another gym and swim?! WHAT!? I freaked out for a moment. I like my routine, I like not having to be in a bathing suit. I’m comfortable. 

Then I literally had a “screw it” moment. I thought about all the times that I have the freedom to do whatever I want for my workouts. I had spent YEARS being so rigid in my routine that if someone were to suggest something else such as swimming or tennis or anything that wasn’t in my schedule, I would laugh and go about my merry way. 

Life is about challenging yourself and exposing yourself to everything and anything. Truth is-the act of swimming terrified me. Who would see me? Would I suck? I can’t suck! I’m a personal trainer and ‘in shape’ so I can’t let anyone see me struggle. You know what? Thats the beauty of trying something new and embracing the act of being scared. With my whole ‘get up’ on, we looked in the mirror briefly before going into the pool deck and laughed. We looked RIDIC but totally didn’t care. I made light of it and swam my heart out. WHOA what a challenge. This is hard work and really exhausting. I definitely did not excel at swimming and you know what? I felt awesome about it. I loved finding something where I kinda needed some work and guidance at. I realized I don’t have to be the best at everything surrounding physical activity just because ‘I’m a trainer’ I can suck and be scared and find something to work towards. 

I went swimming again yesterday.

 I will go swimming again next week. 

What a relief that I’m not scared anymore. I love it. 

8. Experiment with Different Food Choices

Chicken and broccoli. Egg whites and oats. Chicken and asparagus. Tilapia and green beans. Brown rice and chicken. Oh Em Geeeee. If I had to eat like this all day everyday, I think I would be miserable. I am not saying to eat like crap because some of these foods, I do have in some form most days, BUT to be on such a rigid schedule of eating the same foods, the same way every single day without any wiggle room-THAT would make me miserable. I love to cook, you all know that. It’s extremely therapeutic for me and beyond that, I love mixing new foods and new ingredients to see what I can come up with. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail, but in the process I allow my body to expose itself to some wonderful new foods, nutrients, vitamins and minerals.  I challenge you to rotate foods that you are so used to eating at the same time, cooked the same way and replace it with something else. Who says you can’t have chicken for breakfast? If you eat eggs every single morning, try something new! Give eggs a rest for the AM and instead maybe have them for dinner. A simple change like this will shock the body and ensure that you won’t become intolerant or stop seeing physique changes.

image_1

Mixed greens with quinoa

Mixed greens with quinoa avocado, brussels sprouts, roasted chicken and roasted sweet potato

2 Whole eggs, roasted sweet and white potatoes, 1/2 grapefruit and mixed veggies in the eggs

2 Whole eggs, roasted sweet and white potatoes, 1/2 grapefruit and mixed veggies in the eggs

Coconut Chicken tenders

Coconut Chicken tenders

Kale salad with butternut squash, pepitas, dried cranberries and lemon/olive oil dressing

Kale salad with butternut squash, pepitas, dried cranberries and lemon/olive oil dressing

1 Slice Ezekial bread, 1 egg, 1 egg white, 1T whipped berry cream cheese

1 Slice Ezekial bread, 1 egg, 1 egg white, 1T whipped berry cream cheese


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Eat Veggies At All Meals

This one is simple. I aim to eat some sort of veggie at all meals. Pretty simple, right? Fiber and nutrients helps you stay satiated. Never eat veggies at breakfast or last meal of the day? Start with baby steps and add them into at least one of those meals first. See how you feel! 

10. Make Sleep a Priority

Sleep helps with fat loss? YOU BET! Lack of sleep can lead to all sorts of hormone imbalances and increases in cortisol (your stress hormone) that forces your body to hold onto excess fat. A successful 7-8 hours of sleep can help you stay more focused, see increases in energy levels, keep productivity high and is an extremely integral part of the recovery process from your hard earned workouts. Lack of sleep can also decrease insulin sensitivity. Sleep is just as important as eating right and moving often. I always ensure that I am getting at least 7 hours of sleep. DVR your favorite late night show. Shut off at night and your body with thank you!

XOXOXOXOX

NAOMI

Follow me! 

IG: 1FitFoodie

FB: Onefitfoodie

What Happens When Your Heart Isn’t Fully In.

What Happens When Your Heart Isn’t Fully In.

I always remember as a younger teen and child hearing the term “Put your heart into it” That saying always came during those important basketball, soccer practices or right before my dance recitals. It would be part of the pep talk that my coach, parents or instructor would give right before it was GO time. As a younger child, this basically meant that I should be giving all of my effort into what it was I was doing and make sure 110% effort was shown.

These were the times that I am sure your parents, like mine were trying to expose me to everything to see what I would get into and what peaked my interest to continue along with that hobby.

I played the flute.

I  took voice lessons.

I danced tap, hip-hop and jazz (which I always think about and make sure to thank my parents for sitting through those recitals!)

I played numerous sports like basketball, soccer, softball and later in HS I played field hockey and rowed crew.

Did I love all of these activities? No way. I didn’t really enjoy playing the flute, but I chose that instrument and it’s what I did for 4 years. I showed up at every flute lesson, practiced tirelessly and gave it my all at my final recitals and in elementary school orchestra. I knew I wasn’t going to continue playing the flute in High School, but  learning how to stick with an activity long enough to see if it would peak my interest is something that I knew would always be a part of my life, so therefore I gave my 110%

What ‘Putting your heart into it’ Can Really Mean

As we get older, “putting your heart into it” gets more cloudy. We learn to put even more of our efforts into things we care even less about. Let me explain.

I took classes in college that I dreaded even walking to, let alone sit and read from a textbook about. Anthropology? Really? I had to put my heart into this class? But I was studying exercise science and I wanted to learn about the human body! Why was I forced to take these Gen Ed classes that I knew wouldn’t serve any purpose in my life?

That’s the thing about life.

It teaches us out to become focused on whatever task we have at hand and thus causing us to hone in on what it IS that makes us tick. I knew I wasn’t going to major in anthropology, yet I knew I had to take this course regardless so I did put in efforts, but definitely not the same effort as I did for my Exercise Science Classes. I loved college for that reason.  It opened my eyes to a wide variety of classes, lectures and subjects, yet at the end of the day-I was in control of the majority of what I studied so I knew I was going in with passion.

I majored in Exercise Science which I was SO excited about. I LOVED going to anatomy labs and learning about biomechanics, kinesiology and the effects of exercise on the human body. I lived for that sh*t.  I put my heart into it because I wanted to learn more always.

Sooo; during those college years is where I learned how and where to put my heart into subjects that made me tick. When I got home, I would always do my Anatomy homework before my art  history homework because I wanted all of my best efforts to go toward what I loved. It made sense to me and it always worked out. I didn’t ignore, but I did set priorities.

Then, came the real world.

No more art history or anthropology  classes, let alone any class or studying of a subject that I truly didn’t have a passion for. I chose where to put my heart. This was the most liberating and scary feeling. I was supposed to just get thrown out there and do what I want to do everyday? uhhhhh.

Somewhere, as we transition to adulthood, putting your heart into something is more about passion, belief and enjoyment.  Along the way, we move further away from the effort piece because lets be honest, we all can put effort into something even if our hearts and minds are shut off. Did I want to attend the AFAA Group Fitness certification when I did it a couple years ago? Heck no. I am not a group fitness instructor, yet I went just in case I do sub a class here and there, and I got through the whole thing. My heart wasn’t there, but my mind, body and effort was.

As a an adult now, I have no one forcing me to take piano lessons, attend seminars or partake in cooking classes. I choose what to do, what to try, where to work, what to eat and what I’m doing tomorrow (for the most part) When something makes my eyes widen and heart pound and brings a smile to my face or simply it’s something that makes me feel good-I do it. I don’t ask questions and don’t think about how I will be seen or looked at by others. I just go.

My Decision To Compete

When I took the leap to participate in a bikini competition, I had no idea what I was in for. I had no idea if I would even like the process-but I did know that there was this underlying passion for wanting to attempt to try.

Little did I know the world it would lead me to.

Learning, discovering, transforming, paying attention to, and loving myself and others around me. It was a very selfish time in my life when I competed in my first show, but after being in a horrible relationship for over 2 years, it was a godsend. I finally had the time to focus on myself. My confidence, my inner self, and my life. To say I put my heart in it is a understatement. I took this thing as serious as you can imagine. I didn’t drink for 7 months leading up to my show. Not even a sip of wine.

Some may read that and think that it was WAY restrictive and how could I actually been enjoying myself during this time? I wanted NOTHING else in the world at that time in my life than to accomplish this goal. I never skipped a workout. I followed my coaches instructions each week to a a “T” I strength trained and did the amount of cardio I was told. I never skipped a week of check-in’s complete with pictures and my thoughts for the week. When I was told to adjust something, I never complained or asked questions, I just did it. I woke up at 7:30am every Sunday for a couple of months leading up to the show to attend posing class and the group workout at the CSF studio. This is where my anxiety floated out of my body. I was with my friends whom I had developed unbreakable bonds with, I was surrounded by like-minded women, all with a fire and passion for competitions and/or making some life transformation whether physical, mental or both.

When it was show time, I had never been more ready in my life. I had people who didn’t think I would go through with it and some who wanted nothing to do with the fact that this was my newfound hobby. It had become a part of my life and my heart was nowhere else but that stage. I remember that feeling after getting up there. “Holy crap. I did it” I had no idea how I placed or even what I did on stage (it was somewhat of a black out moment because of the excitement and nerves) but I did know one thing. I left my heart on that stage.

I made a promise from that moment on that when I decide to compete, I will be 100% THERE. Mentally and physically. I saw myself push to the extreme. I pushed through the easy days and extremely tough days. Not everything was sunshine and rainbows. I had doubts, I had tears, but I also had heart. I made the promise that my heart NEEDS to be there first and foremost and that in general, when I decide to pursue any new goal, the drive and passion has to be present because in the long run, this is what will push me through it.

Every Time I made the decision to compete in another competition thereafter, I ensured that my mind would be ‘in it’  besides just following a set of directions on paper for what needs to be done.

“Eat this. Do this during your workout. Pose 15 minutes and send a video. Pick a suit” These are somewhat simple tasks to ask if you are following a ‘show prep’ guideline All I need to do is listen and repeat but what is the point of going through it if I don’t truly want to go through with it?

The Back to Back Show Experience

I remember the 2 competitions I did in 2012. The first one was in August at Atlantic City. This was by far the most memorable show I have competed in. It was the first time I had gotten back on stage after the most serious health scare I have had in my entire life. The health scare that put me in the hospital for 2 weeks. The health scare where I literally saw my life flash before my eyes. When I was in recovery, I had a lot of time to think. Think about my body, my life, how we take our bodies and what they are capable for granted.

Lying there with ample time to think about everything in my life, I made another commitment to never push my body past a place where I knew it wasn’t meant to be. This isn’t to say I won’t push hard during a workout or giving my all into something, it simply means pushing my body to a place where I know my health may be at risk.

I had no idea even if I was going to be able to lift weights again so soon after I was released. I followed the regimen given to me which was walking. That’s it. I could walk for miles and miles, on an incline, outside, inside, wherever I could walk, thats what I could do and only that. But what about lifting? Heeeeeccckkkk no. And you know what? I was A-OK with that. I had so many people ask me “aren’t you itching to get back to lifting weights?!” The short answer was obviously “Yes” but the long answer was “when my body is ready, I will be back. The gym and weights will always be there. ALWAYS. This is the time for me to heal and get better.”

but when I was given the green light to go-I took it easy, always listening to my body and kept that show date in the back of my mind. I wanted to do this show more than ANY I had done to prove to myself that I was back in the game, healthy, happy and that I was not going to let this situation or now big scar on my belly tear me away. I was HUNGRY for that show.

Not far after, coming off from such a high post Atlantic City,  I decided to continue on and participate in the Boston FAP show only a couple months later.

Big mistake.

I was physically there, but not at all mentally there which is 80% of competing. I had worked so hard for the Atlantic City show, getting my mind and body in the right space, that trying to continue prepping and dieting for another 6 weeks was a poor decision. By the time show day rolled around, I had one thought in my head “can I we get this over with already?” Whhhhhaaattt?!?! I had never had those thoughts in my head, yet this is truly how I felt. I got on stage when it was my turn and I might as well have been walking in my own apartment. I put on the smiles and hit my poses, but boy was I out of it. I just didn’t have that burning fire in me and I felt mentally and physically exhausted. My coach saw it, my family saw it but most importantly I saw it.  I had always put my heart into everything I did including competing so why did I feel the need to push myself to do this specific show ‘just to do it?’ I had no idea at the time, but I will say that I learned  to not make this mistake again in the future.

Decisions Decisions

I have learned throughout my adult years that I am capable of doing anything I want if I am inspired and hooked. We all make decisions every single day. What to eat, what to wear, which route to take to work, what to eat for dinner. These are simple tasks.

The bigger decisions we make may impact our lives just a bit more.

Where will my next job be?

 What is the next step in my life? 

Can I really take this acting class even though none of my friends are doing it with me? 

Should I go on that date? 

These decisions get a bit more dicey and important and it is so integral to acknowledge how you feel when making them as they may be a huge factor in your happiness.

My decision to pull out of the competition this spring came from a place deep within.  I started going through the prep phase-had a date to go pick out a new suit, started ‘dieting’ loosely still I was still pretty far out, but regardless of the easy tasks I was given from my coach, I pictured myself going through prep at the stage I am in my life right now. I am loving life right now. I am spending lots of time with friends, being extremely social, recently moved apartments in Boston so fully taking advantage of my new neighborhood, eating, drinking, working out for enjoyment and challenge, having wine when I want it and treats as well.  I am beyond happy right now.

I am in no way that prepping for shows fills a void where I ‘wasn’t’ happy in my life–absolutely not! I freakin’ LOVE it, but I am just loving my life just a little too much to commit to something that will change my lifestyle for a few months.

Besides not getting in the right mindset mentally, I also have to be aware of my body, physically. Ever since my surgery in 2012, I have been dealing with some annoying GI issues. I have gone back and forth to the doctor, taken numerous breath tests, endoscopy’s etc. I am A-OKAY in fact, better than I ever have been, but I do have to follow somewhat of a 70/30 way of eating right now that best fits my dietary concerns. My health will ALWAYS come first and right now is not the best time to be show dieting.

My heart? It wasn’t fully in it as well. I had been fighting it for weeks, but deep down I knew it wasn’t there. I was getting anxious, overwhelmed,nervous and frustrated. It started taking over my thoughts while I was at home, at work, doing anything.

passion

I am not at all perfect, and I am human. I can make a decision and then back away knowing this wasn’t the best decision for me. So I had to listen to my heart and back away, knowing this was the best possible answer to the solution. I am so relieved that I have made the decision that I know will best serve me right now.  

There is no magic pill or formula to follow when trying to decide if something is best for you. Its a feeling.  

I guess I am proud that I know myself so well to figure out so early on that I needed to take a step back. Scary as it was, my heart can’t lie.

10903719_859014957490248_1380393353_n

What I learned? Well, I’m learning something new about myself every single day-thank goodness! This is one of the most enjoyable parts of life! I am in control of what I want to accomplish every day and that is something to be grateful for. 

I will always trust my gut. 

I don’t call anything failure-I call it a learning moment.

 

XOXOXOX

NAOMI

Competition Prep-Lessons and Tips!

Competition Prep-Lessons and Tips!

As I sit here reflecting on last weekend that I spent  at Cathy Savage Fitness studios, I can’t help but feel such a sense of happiness and pride for the fact that I am a part of a team that positively impacts the lives of so many women. This is my 4th camp attending as a coach for CSF and every single time, I leave the studio with a fresh mind and invigorated spirit.

It is so hard to describe to my clients and others in my life what it is that I do this weekend at “Camp Savage” In fact, it can be quite a challenge to simply describe what it means in general that I compete in fitness competitions and Coach for the team as well.

Me: ” I compete as well as coach women for fitness competitions”

Others:Oh cool! so you are a body builder?” or “Cool so, good luck in your show this weekend!” (when I was explaining on Friday to my clients about Camp Savage) or “how much weight do you lift during the competitions”

Of course people who have no idea about what it means to compete in fitness competitions are confused by what exactly it means. I have been involved with CSF and this lifestyle since 2011 and every time I go to explain to someone what it means, I know my explanation leaves that person some room for wonder and questioning.

I, in no way, get frustrated that they don’t ‘understand’ what it means because being a part of this lifestyle and competing in shows is not something that everyone knows exists. The confusion on their faces and the questioning is just something that I am used to, and I am fully prepared to explain in the best way that I can.

getexcited_makethingshappen_lc

I am proud to be both a fitness competitor AND a coach and simply explain that the reason I love doing this is because of the entire mind/body transformation. The confidence that these women gain from going through this process is beyond anything I have ever seen. The act of getting on stage is just the icing on the cake for all of the hard work (spiritually, mentally and physically) that these women put in.

The sport of competing goes WELL beyond simply getting on stage. Training and immersing yourself into this sport entails a complete mind, body, physical and emotional transformation as well. When I was first training for my first show, my goal was to get on stage–that’s about it. I still to this day have no idea even how I placed, nor at the time, did I care how I did at all. I did it to get up there. This is half of the battle when deciding whether or not competitions are the right thing for each individual. 

Sure, I can train and diet my butt off and do all of the ‘homework’ necessary to get to the show, but the physical act of getting on a stage in front of hundreds of strangers in a tiny little bikini? This is certainly not some people’s ideas of ‘fun’ Now, how to explain this to others is a whole other story

Camp Savage is a weekend that is so much more than simply learning about getting on stage. It is a weekend that brings together women from all walks of life who have one common interest-Fitness and their Health. These women all have a passion for fitness and bettering themselves. They all are here for some reason-it is not just a thought they woke up one morning and said “oh sure I think I’ll attend Camp Savage this weekend” No way. 

These women wake up and know that they want to obtain some goal.  Every single woman that walks through that door has a story. Some have overcome great illness, some have had very unhealthy past competition history, some have no support, some have already made an enormous weight loss transformation. Some women come to camp thinking “I will learn how to compete” and they leave having an entire new outlook on life. It is so much more  than simply putting on heels, getting a tan and throwing on an expensive, sparkly suit.  Some women are part of CSF and will never compete! Its about having a support system and immersing themselves in a healthy, happy, lifestyle transformation. 

CAMP SAVAGE JAN 2015

CAMP SAVAGE JAN 2015

I have been part of this team for 4 years and the stories, journeys and triumphs that I hear during this weekend never cease to amaze me.  I am so proud and humbled to be a part of this team coaching. The support, camaraderie, tools and wealth of knowledge the CSF staff shares made the competition a life changing experience. 

IMG_5087

COACHES AT CAMP SAVAGE!!

 

Is competing for me? 

A big question I get a lot is “why do you compete? You don’t win any money so what’s the deal, Naomi?”

Well there are definitely some things you should know before you just decide to participate in a competition. I learned all of these points once I joined CSF so if you are thinking about it and don’t know everything-that’s OKAY!! You will learn every single morsel of info along the way. 

My first show in 2011

My first show in 2011

  • #1 tip would be don’t just do it for the actual competition. What I mean by this is, If you are going into this idea of a competition hoping to place #1 I would erase that idea out of your mind.  When you make the decision to train and work towards a fitness competition there is so much more that goes in to it than simply what you place on stage. Committing to this is a goal in itself and you have to allow yourself to love the love the process and your body. It is so so important to put in your best effort and learn to appreciate the results you get without worrying about how other people are judging you. If you go in expecting nothing and do end up placing, it’ll be that much sweeter!
  • #2 tip would be to Find a reputable Coach. I knew when I made the decision to finally compete, I was not going about this solo. It is so important to find support throughout the process with someone you trust and has a reliable reputation. You should do your research thoroughly and network with others to find a company and coach that aligns with your beliefs. I knew that beyond a coach, I wanted a team/network of women to do this together. I didn’t want to do this solo, hence why I joined CSF so I would be surrounded by like minded women. I also knew I didn’t want a coach whose methods would be insanely hard to follow such as eating tilapia and sweet potatoes every meal, cardio 5x a week and having insane ‘week of show’ methods. Competing should involve some moderation and balance AND fun. 
  • #3 tip which is a great one to piggy back on #2 is making sure you have a support system. There will be haters-as with anything in life, when you are so focused on a goal, you will have people who will try to stand in your way; whether they are jealous or simply don’t want to see you succeed, you must stay focused on the task at hand. It is so important for those around you to ‘get’ what you are doing. You will have plenty (if not most) not truly understand what it is you are doing or why, but you should be prepared to give a confident, clear answer. You will get questioned as to why you can’t eat certain things or drink alcohol or why you have to spend $$$ on a bikini you can’t wear to the beach. At the end of the day its your choice, not theirs and if they can’t hang, they shouldn’t be in your life. I would also suggest to keep your bi*chin’ to yourself. You can’t expect to have everyone support you if you just spend your days complaining about why you are doing what you are doing. Keep it to yourself. You made this choice, not them. 

What Have I Learned from Competing?

I have learned quite a bit about myself from competing in fitness shows. Some good, some not so good, but at the end of the day, every single thing that happened was a learning moment. All of these tid bits I have learned stick with me long after a show is over and they will really help motivate you and also give you some insight into what to watch for! 

  • Increase self confidence. The act of competing can be a very vain sport, yes you are training  yourself, getting in front of hundreds in a tiny bikini and showing off YOUR hard work. How can this not be a self centered sport? Be aware of the entire process and ensure that it is not changing you are a person. If you surround yourself with the right people, coaches, mentors, friends and other fellow competitors, this sport has the ability to give your self confidence a HUGE boost. When I made the decision to compete I was stuck in a horrible, emotionally abusive relationship. Seeing my body transform was just the icing on the cake for giving my the self confidence to move forward. I had believed in myself all along, but it took some serious self love and going about the journey in the right way to give me that push.  Remember that you are in control of everything that you feel and own it!
  • Get out of your comfort zone: So, I’ll be honest, getting on stage in a tiny bikini scared the daylights out of me. I didn’t even think I would follow through with it when I started training. I was getting tired of explaining to people what I was doing and having the same reaction “Wait, what are you doing? And why?” However, after a while, I was so proud to share my journey with others in hopes of inspiration and motivation for them to get out of their comfort zone and follow something they have always wanted to do. Take this experience and use it as a fresh starting point for you to follow anything you want in life!
  • Inspire others. I would highly suggest you share your experience via social media or even start a blog or join some fitness forums to share your journey. You will be so surprised at how many people will be inspired and motivated by hearing your personal story. Try to not just go through the motions, but really take each day and enjoy every moment. The dedication, focus and the self control you are putting in is so beyond what most people are willing to do so use it to your advantage. 
  • Don’t take it to seriously. You don’t have to be the girl at the BBQ walking around with a gallon jug of water. It may be hard to believe, but you can still have a life AND train for a fitness competition-the goal is going about it in the right way, with the right coach/team.  I know that competing can be temporarily quite extreme as compared to a normal lifestyle so try to be open minded and you certainly don’t have to go around with your nose up in the air letting everyone you know you are training for a fitness show. If your friends invite you to a movie and dinner, GO! You don’t have to sit home with the excuse that you have to go to the gym in the morning. You still can do all of the above. Choose something healthy on the menu, see a movie, spend time with friends and take a nap the next day if you’re tired. Work hard, stay humble and enjoy life along the way. 

When it comes to competing in general, I tend to really avoid all outside nonsense. I think that as healthy as some of these competitors claim they are and as healthy as we can come off–there are plenty of unhealthy habits and body image/disordered eating patterns that can accompany what it takes to get on that stage. What I mean by ‘avoiding outside nonsense’ is that when training and dieting, people will talk. Girls will talk to each other about their diet “how many starches are you on” “how many days of cardio are you doing” “How many servings of fat are you taking in” It is just ENOUGH already. There is no need to compare what YOU are doing to prep for a show to another girl. We see all sorts of things backstage. Girls popping hamburgers and fries the night before to get more ‘vascular’ to girls not eating at all the day of the show. The extremes of this sport can reach a very unhealthy place which is why I try to block out all of the bull. I stick to my plan and that’s all I know. I also know that you need to have a healthy relationship with food and exercise to succeed here. 

The way you go into a show is like any other event.  You are training for an event. After the event, you will go back to your more balanced, healthy eating habits! Its as simple as that.

This sport is certainly not for everyone and that is what I want to get across here. THINK about why you want to compete. Is it for you? Your family? Your friends? Your Boyfriend? I love competing and will always be a part of the team whether or not I have a show, but I have to say that there is a lot of sacrifice that comes along with it . You need to think about YOU and YOUR LIFE. Obviously, I will send you right along to Cathy Savage Fitness, who without-I wouldn’t be competing at all. 

IMG_5357

Competing can be the most exciting, amazing, phenomenal experience, but at the same time one of the loneliest, scariest and most challenging. Get on that support system! 

LOVE YOU ALLLLLL XOXOXO

The Art of Doing Less and Why It can Change Your Life.

The Art of Doing Less and Why It can Change Your Life.

So you’re telling me that I can eat fruit after my workout, does that mean it should be a banana or berries or an apple? And if it’s a banana, should it be the whole banana or half? Because you know, bananas are high in starch content. And if I can’t eat peanut butter does that mean that I can’t eat almond butter? What about whole almonds, not in ‘butter form?” And you say protein but what about salmon because salmon is fatty so would that count as a fat or a protein?

These were the questions that went on in my head at a time in my life where the stress about food and exercise was basically the only thing on my mind. To this day I get questions like this from clients and from my girls who are competing (but not even necessarily show ‘prepping’) Rightfully so they may have these questions because they want to ensure they are doing everything ‘right’ When it comes down to it, eating an apple or berries post workout will not be the downfall in seeing any sort of transformation in ones physique and fat loss. The negligable difference between these fruits is not what will change ones body, BUT with so much information out there, its no wonder why we think of these questions constantly. 

Just the other day I had a client say to me that he made ‘healthy pizza’ but it wasn’t the same as a good ole’ piece of cheese pizza from his favorite restaurant. He misses pizza SO MUCH. Pizza is his favorite food.

I asked him politely “Why do you miss it? Why can’t you eat it?”

He said “well I’m prepping for the summertime and need to slim down so I’m avoiding it.”

I said “You’re avoiding pizza completely until the summer?!”

He responded “Yes”

“Wow” I said. “Well, to ease your mind a bit, I hope you know that there is nothing wrong with having a slice of pizza every now and again. The more you turn yourself away and label it as an ‘off limit food’ the more you are going to crave it and eventually burn out and eat a whole pie. There will come a time where being so strict all of the time will be detrimental toward you reaching your goals.  I, as your trainer am telling you to go have a slice of pizza. Life is too short and nothing will happen to your body, I promise you”

He knew I was right and he told me he would think about getting a real slice that week. 

I was somewhat sad to hear that he was so strict and cut himself off from one of his favorite foods just to get beach-body ready, which is at least 5 months away. I get that he viewed pizza as the enemy,  and really wanted to stick to his regimented routine of eating and exercising, but there is an aspect of this that is just unhealthy and will hinder progress all together. I’ve been there. I know what food labeling can do to ones relationship with food and body image. 

Too much stress and anxiety about food; how much, what portions, what brand, when we eat it, how we eat can take a very unhealthy and dangerous turn for those who are trying to lose bodyfat AND also still want to enjoy life!

I see this stress about food more and more and I am here to share my thoughts about the act of thinking more and doing less and why this may be the missing piece to a successful, healthier and happier 2015.

There was a time in my life where I used to stress about everything when it came to food and workouts. I never allowed myself anything that I truly wanted. I ate the typical ‘clean eats’ such as oatmeal, fruit, veggies, complex carbs, nut butters and that’s about it. I avoided social events so I could stick to the foods that I was familiar with, I avoided alcohol even though I was pining for 1 glass of wine, I never had a sweet and god forbid I even touch bread! The crackers and cheese that I was obsessed with or a good ole turkey sandwich was certainly not on my list of options! Besides just the food restrictions rules I set for myself, I was doing endless amounts of cardio-45-60 minutes a day.

I wasn’t losing fat, I was somewhat uncomfortable in my own skin, I wasn’t happy and I was also tired. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was doing TOO MUCH and EATING TOO LITTLE. The fact that I was stressing over everything and having constant food anxiety about little things like “omg I hope I don’t get offered a cookie because I don’t want to have to say no” was hindering my results.

I am sure some of you can relate to my experience. While in the process of you trying to reach your goals, how many of you have said to yourself:

I feel fat. I am fat

I can’t do this.

I’ll never look like those instagram/pinterest models

This sucks.

When will I see changes. 

You may get super strict and live off chicken, broccoli and sweet potatoes 4x a day, cut out ‘carbs’ feel fatigued, moody, extra judgemental, push yourself too hard without adequate recovery. This is NOT a way to live yet so many of us at some point put ourselves through this experience. Why? For what? In the long run, metabolic damage will get the best of you making it harder for you to lose body fat.

Now, I am not saying that everyone will experience what I did. There are some women who will calorie restrict in an unhealthy way and of course they will lose fat in the short term, BUT  what they are not thinking of is the effect they are creating in the long term; they will completely destroy their metabolism, making it harder to keep fat off going forward. Not only that, but they will get burnt out.

While I was very regimented about my workouts (I would run on various speeds for about 45 minutes a day and then go to the elliptical for another 20 minutes and sometimes throw in some ab work) I wasn’t incorporating strength training into my workout regimen. You could call me a ‘cardio junkie’  I was doing about 6 days of cardio for 45-55 minutes at a time. That was the bulk of my workouts. I didn’t do any yoga, pilates, classes and lifted weights about 1-2 times a week AFTER my crazy cardio sessions. I was eating healthy food–really really healthy food but I was eating quite a bit because I was always hungry (which is a side effect of too much cardio) My body was storing fat and I was very uncomfortable in my own skin.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(This picture was from winter 2009)

I am in no way ‘overweight’ in the above picture, but I was certainly in a place that was unhealthy physically and mentally. 

I knew I was causing myself more harm than good and something needed to change. When I decided to participate in my first fitness competition, yes I took the whole ‘diet change’ very seriously, but it wasn’t the specific diet that helped me. I was already used to eating healthy and all throughout the day, but rather, It was the way I was eating that helped me. Getting to a place of eating that was regimented yet very flexible helped me to appreciate food and realize that I could eat anything in moderation and I wouldn’t blow up like a cow.

With the addition of my newfound 4-5 day a week strength training routine and only 30 minutes of cardio 2x a week, I began to see my body transform right before my eyes. How I came to a happy place with my workout routine took me years to figure out, and it is not over! I learn new things about myself everyday.

I realized that my previous eating less (calorie restriction) and moving more (excessive cardio) was wreaking havoc on my body. Eating less does not create the need to burn body fat. Instead, it creates the need for the body to slow down. The body will actually store fat when you are in such a calorie defecit. It burns muscle tissue thus, forcing the body to lose muscle, not fat.

I had to do something very brave for all of this to happen. 

I had to DO LESS, stop overthinking and EAT MORE.

I never in a million years thought that this would happen and I would not only see results, but that I would be HAPPY. Finally I would be set free.

  • I was going to be eating more frequently and in bigger portions with VARIETY.
  • I was going to be eating bread
  • I was going to be spending the bulk of my workouts in the weight room
  • I was going to be eating foods that I ENJOY but have avoided
  • I was going to avoid excess steady state cardio and in fact decrease it to only 2 HIIT sessions of 30 minutes a week.
  • Whoa.

To say I was terrified was an under-statement. I was about to undergo a huge transformation in terms of the way I viewed exercise and food. I trusted the process and knew something needed to be shaken up, not only for my body to change a bit, but also for my mental health. I was so focused on food that I was forgetting about the enjoyment and satisfaction of relationships, friendships, social events, trying new activities and getting out of my comfort zone. It helped me build confidence and got me out of a horrible relationship that I know was just adding to my stress.  I was scared but SO excited.

Below are some things I did (AND STILL DO!) a little differently Than I was doing before. 

  • I always put one new item from each food group in my cart on my grocery run to increase variety.
  • Once a week or every other week or once a month, (depending on when I eat out) I order something on a menu that I always used to avoid because it was ‘bad’ (if I want it of course. There will be times that I want my ‘usual’
  • I no longer food labeling “good” and “bad”
  • I see food something delicious that may even aid in helping me stay strong through my workouts. Now, if I want a cookie or extra slice of bread, I never say “well, time to add in 20 more minutes of cardio” Which was my thought process before. Now, I say “This will help me get through my workout” or “This will help me recover”
  • In the gym, focus on quality, not quantity and all of my workouts are under 60 minutes. (besides yoga)
  • I take 2 FULL rest days. (that doesn’t even mean yoga. That means NOTHING)
  • I incorporate 1 if not 2- 90 minute vinyasa yoga classes a week 
  • I listen to some relaxing, guided meditation each night before bed instead of scrolling through my phone which helps me manage my anxiety.
  • I eat chocolate when I want(dark chocolate in the evening) which satisfied my sweet tooth
  • I no longer stress over ridiculous things like the calorie difference between an apple and a kiwi.
  • I smile more
  • I eat things that I want such as full fat cheese, sandwiches, wine, chocolate all with a moderation approach and a balanced, level head. 
  • I follow my 8 non negotiables
So, I am sure with all these rules that I follow, you are saying “Yeah, Yeah, Naomi…that works for you, so how do you know this is going to work for me?”
 
Well the truth is-I don’t know for sure that this will work for you when it comes to food anxiety and  reaping the benefits of DOING LESS. What I do know is that by listening and being more in tune with your OWN BODY that you will be able to understand what it is that your body needs to be happy. You don’t want to be pushing it to a place where it is not meant to go. 
 
Keep in mind that when you make a conscious decision regarding your body and your choices, this is just it: you are the one who is making that choice-so be aware of that. If you are going around and saying “ughh I wish I could eat that” the truth is…you can! but you’re choocing not to and by choosing not to, you  are making it  that much harder to have a positive reaction and thus be happy with yourself. This can lead to a down spiraling of events such as negative self talk, poor body image, unhappiness or binging. We all need to take a step back and just chill. It’s important to see the bigger picture here. Life. 

The bottomline that I want you to take away from my post today is that over-thinking and stressing about food and exercise will not get you any closer to your goals. You need to give yourself a break and realize that you are just doing your best. If you want a glass of wine, go for it. If you want a piece of bread with cheese-eat it! 

 The amount of stress you will feel trickle off of your body will make everything worth while. All it takes is just that 1 instance of  you doing something that you haven’t done before to realize that this is ANYTHING BUT SCARY. Freeing yourself from food anxiety is one of the most liberating, healthy, sane, smart and vulnerable things you will do for yourself. 

Challenge yourself to pick 2-3 items about the way you currently view exercise and food that you can work to change. It doesn’t have to be overnight. I understand that the most important things take time. Do this for YOU. 

 

 I would LOVE to hear your comments below or on my 1FitFoodie Facebook Page. (Search: Onefitfoodie)

 

xoxox

Naomi 

 

 

HEALTHY THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS (HIIT Workouts Included!)

HEALTHY THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS (HIIT Workouts Included!)

Hey Hey! I wanted to talk today about the craziness that is this time of year. We all know it and sense it in the air when it’s coming. The commute becomes longer, people get a bit edgier, stores get a bit crowded and stress presents itself in all forms. It is certainly hard to take time for yourself around the Holidays when we are so focused on giving and being with others. Don’t get me wrong-I love surrounding myself and making others  priority, but we can’t forget to take care of ourselves.

Many of you have experienced the downward spiral that is ‘the Holidays’

When we talk about the holiday season, we all know that this is a very vulnerable time for us to go completely off the deep end when it comes to our health. The holiday parties, the endless treats and candies in the office, the flowing alcohol, family commitments that may take precedence over your workout time, the travel, the stress and holiday shopping. It’s as if this time of year is here to set us up to fall off the wagon.

It may seem this way, however, it is actually very easy to stay on track during this time of year. I LOVE helping my clients stay on track which is why I make it clear that their workouts should be as important as business meetings.

My clients put in so much hard work and dedication every single day. I am so thankful that I can wake up and help them feel better, move better and know that the 1 hour I spend with them during your workout may be the highlight of their day. I do not take this for granted one bit and am so proud of the amazing efforts that I see in and out of the gym. Everyday, I am inspired, motivated, and always learning something new when I work with my clients.

My true belief is that exercise is not only physical but mental as well, and it is so important for you to get in touch with yourself. Dig deep-find what what triggers you and what makes you work hard, give it all you got and never look back. Whether its working out to lose weight, gain muscle, get healthy, fit into that little black dress or pair of jeans or make a lifetime commitment to a lifestyle change–I want you to ensure that you are doing this for you. I love working side by side with you and can’t wait to have a phenomenal 2015!!

With that said here are some HOLIDAY TIPS! To ensure that you don’t fall totally off track this Holiday season.

FINISH 2014 STRONG! I know that with so much travel and family, work events its easy to have the all or nothing approach to exericse. “Well, if’ I can’t make it to the gym at all then I may as well call it a total failure for the month. I will start fresh in January!” Try not to have to have this attitude and rather, use this time to destress from the craziness that comes with the Holiday season. Through the season, you should always have your goals in mind. Those who are most successful in any endevour are so by forming habits. These habits shouldn’t change because of the Holiday season. Pack your running shoes, ask me for a hotel or ‘at home’ workout. There is always 30 minutes in your day.

FOCUS ON HIIT TRAINING. I am sure if you are reading my blog and exercise on the regular, you are familiar with the term HIIT. (High intensity interval training) With time constraints, you need an efficient workout and arguably the most efficient type is HIIT. HIIT workouts tend to be full-body workouts and are certainly anerobic by nature.

The benefits of HIIT are extraordinary. When you are performing steady state cardio, you are puttin yourself in a catabolic state in which you could acutally lose muscle mass. Yes, some of that hard earned muscle may in fact get lost in your goal to shed fat.

HIIT will help to accelerate overall fat loss and improve your body composition. 


You don’t need tons of time or equipment to do a HIIT workout – 30 min max. One of the huge benefits to HIIT, besides efficiency of time and the amount of muscles used, is the calories burned. You might not burn tons of calories during thirty minutes of exercise, but if that exercise is anaerobic, your body will burn excess calories for 24 to 36 hours after the fact.

TRY THESE WORKOUTS!

unnamed

workout

STAY POSITIVE: This is an amazing time to reflect on the past year and see how far you have come and what you have accomplished. It is a beautiful thing to truly think about how amazing your body is and what it allows you to do everyday. Too often I see and hear people complain about their bodies rather than praise them for all they provide. Who would you be without your happy and healthy self!? You wouldn’t be able to workout, you wouldn’t be able to push yourself. Take a moment and be grateful. A positive attitude is such a powerful tool that allows you to reflect on all of the progress you have made. Try not to get discouraged and let that take you off track. I am telling you to enjoy the holiday season to the fullest and make your health a priority!

DON’T SKIP SLEEP! Sleep deprivation can increase cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes. Take this time during the Holidays to get in some extra ZZZ’s. Lack of sleep can also effect energy levels and exercise. Exercise significantly improves sleep patterns and will keep you focused and productive!

WORK TOWARD YOUR 2015 NOW! There is no time like the present and as I mentioned earlier, you want to try creating long lasting habits, not just quick fixes-as you will be the most successful in your goals! We all see the craziness in the gym occur after Jan 1st, so stay ahead of the pack and START NOW!

30aad1c6269f5bf4e61013d85f543ad3

STOP WORRYING ABOUT IT! Lets be real here, there is nothing drastic that is going to happen during the holiday season (unless you get out of control) unless you go absolutely nuts! But in reality, your body will not change during this time. What may seem like an indulgent time that can wreak havoc on your body, just keep in mind that most of this is probably all chaos you have created in your head. If you lead a healthy lifestyle, stay active and practice moderation, you can enjoy some treats here and there. Give yourself a break. Its the holidays!

SKIP THE FADS: We all know that fitness and nutrition ‘diets’ don’t last. Try a juice cleanse and guaranteed your body will not change in the long term and you will just feel miserable while doing this cleanse. When it comes to nutrition, watch the portions and eat in moderation. You didn’t put on the weight overnight, so you certainly can’t expect it to come off the same way. Before starting any diet fat, ask yourself WHY you are doing it and IF you know anyone that has followed this regimen and see long term results both mentally and physically.

As far as exercise, I will always say find something you ENJOY. When you look forward to physical activity you are more likely to stay on track!

***********************************************************************************

With all of this said, lets not let the holidays take control of you and your life. You are in 100% of your choices, your fitness, your health and your happiness. Start with the 2015 goals now and you will be on a path for success!

MY 2015 GOALS!

I love taking this time to reflect on the past year, as I mentioned before. I start to think about the new year and what I want to accomplish. I have competed in 5 Bikini competitions and as many of you know, work as a coach for Cathy Savage Fitness. I feel so humbled to work for such an incredible company and not only teach and motivate other women looking to get in the best mental and physical shape of their lives, but also learn from these women and become inspired myself. 

I have taken almost two years off from competing. (My last show was at Foxwoods for Fitness New England in 2013) This was a personal choice because I just wanted and needed to focus on other aspects of my life. I love competing to the utmost extent, but there is no doubt that it can take a toll on other aspects of your life when you are so focused and committed. I needed to take a full year off and simply turn my focus elsewhere. Did I miss it? Of course I did! But the thing about competing in fitness shows or anything for that matter is that they will always be there. Life is happening NOW. There is no slow motion and there is no reversing. I had to take some serious thought and not think about shows or dieting or posing for a bit. 

 

My mom recently asked my why I love to compete and why I want to do the Fitness New England show in May 2015….I compete because I love having a goal. I love my team. I compete for myself. There is no one I want to beat, no one I want to do better than, I want to do this for myself. The amount of dedication and focus it takes close to show time is definitely the most challenging and the one part that I do not love. It’s hard having to reschedule dinners and drinks with friends. Its hard not being able to eat 100% freely what I want when I want in the weeks leading up, but you know what? This is the choice that I make. I never put my choices on someone else and in the end—it is all worth it. I try as much as I can to focus on what I know and what I can do best. Like I tell my girls and new girls stepping on stage, HAVE FUN. If you take away anything from the entire weekend it is to DO WHAT YOU HAVE PRACTICED. 

Stick to the plan and beyond anything-trust the process. 

So why do I compete? It is not for the $20 trophy and it is not to see how I placed or who I beat. Sure, I do care to see how I did and always give my 110% up there, but this is a sport and just like any other, I am aiming to do my personal best. I have learned from every single show that I have taken part in.  I don’t let the show run my life. I run my life. As of now, I am planning on taking part in the Fitness New England Pageant in 2015 (May 2nd) is the date that was just released. This is not set in stone, but mentally, I am envisioning myself and prepping now. It is going to be tough, but it is going to be such an accomplishment and I can’t wait to get back up there with my team. I do this for ME. 

 

8 Of My Daily Non Negotiables

8 Of My Daily Non Negotiables

We all work. A lot.  I spend time with friends, I spend time with family. I research constantly. I try to stay on top of my business. I cook. I eat. I drink. I am always on the go and I enjoy every moment. Lets face it-life is busy. We all glorify this act of ‘being busy’ that we sometimes forget about the importance of just being content with our lives.

On a typical day, you can find me up at 5:30 or 6am, training clients for a few hours, getting in some physical activity whether that be strength training, yoga, conditioning or mobility work, cooking food if I can run home during the day, responding to emails, getting my schedule together, programming for clients, talking to family, and constantly reading new material about fitness/health. I am POOPED by the end of a day. I can sometimes have that  ‘there are not enough hours in the day’ attitude. Some days can be a challenge when it comes to prioritizing and keeping a sane head on my shoulders.

es-quote

There are times when I am mentally, physically and emotionally drained. I spend hours writing programs for clients, making sure I am putting them first, responding to emails, blogging (or planning posts), and sometimes if I don’t plan accordingly, the person that suffers is me. My workouts suffer, my sleep suffers and I can just feel worn down. Physical activity is just one non negotiable item that keeps me sane. For me to stay centered and balanced, there are non negotiable that I practice every single day.

No, they do not include eating only fruits, veggies and proteins, running 5 miles, ‘sweating’ everyday and drinking a cleanse juice.

Having a set of non-negotiable items, tasks, foods, mantra’s–whatever it may be can help you stay more focused and centered in this crazy, hectic life.  I find it SO important to make a PERSONAL list (key word being ‘personal’ as your list will differ greatly from anyone else. I challenge you to make a list of items that you must adhere to everyday to keep that head on  your shoulders as balanced as can be!

tools-for-everyday-life-non-negotiables

I absolutely love the quote “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not a act, but a habit” – Aristotle 

To ensure a happy, healthy life-these non negotiable items should have one common theme; they should bring you complete and utter HAPPINESS. Striving for personal excellence each and everyday can bring us joy, positive thoughts as well as a great challenge. These non negotiable items can shape us into the person we are.

And isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?  That’s the power of daily rituals.

Here are twelve daily rituals for long-term happiness and success

1.  Be positive and spend time with positive people.

Negative energy can suck the life out of a room. Fast. You are in complete control of how you react to the people and events in your own life. You know those people who just suck the life out of a conversation. 

For instance, I was having a conversation with someone about the upcoming winter season in Boston. 

Me: ” I LOVE that it’s so light out in the morning now when I get up!”

Her: “Ughhhh, it’s so cold out and gets dark sooo early! This is miserable” 

If that’s not a way to put a negative spin on a somewhat positive message, I don’t know what is! Negative people can be so negative that it takes more work to actually be around them. 

We truly do create our own happiness and choosing who to share that with is of your own fruition!  I learned years ago to get rid of toxicity in my life. 

I would suggest evaluating people in your life who you care about and who you spend time with. Do these people push you to be your best self? Do they support you unconditionally? Can you be your true self around them? Will they be honest no matter what, in a constructive way? You can’t be afraid to cut out friends, co-workers or unsupportive family if they are holding you back.

surround

You can also try to ignore negative comments from Debbie Downer . If he or she gets into a negative mindset when nothing can go right, just give a simple answer. If he or she actually says something positive, then provide some enthusiasm and reinforcement for their comments! It may just take some chatting for this person to realize that life is GOOD. 

If all else fails and this person just can’t get the negative energy out of their mind, back away. Your life and happiness is too important.

2. Get 7-8 hours of sleep everynight: This is a HUGE priority for me. Ensure 7-8 hours of sleep every night. I certainly prioritize it.  Sleep is such a magical and wonderful way to help us feel better and more productive during the day. In terms of simply feeling refreshed,  muscle growth and recovery in response to exercise occurs in our sleep, so good sleep is essential when it comes to muscle-building. Too little sleep can inhibit the body’s ability to repair and grow muscle after exercise. Too little sleep can also lead to a decrease in muscle mass. Cortisol also comes into play here (stress hormone) that can increase due to a lack of sleep.

My tips for getting a restful nights sleep would be to develop a pre-sleep routine that will help you doze off more quickly. I like to read (not on my phone because brightness will keep the brain stimulated longer) and drink some decaf tea.  Make sure that you have a proper sleep enviornment that ve optimized your sleep environment. You’ll sleep a lot better if your room is cool (18C or so), dark, and clean. Find a pillow that is comfy and suits your sleep style, and if possible make sure your bed provides you the right type of support.

3. Speaking with a Loved One Everyday: Days are hectic and there is nothing more important to me than work, family, friends and loved ones. I cherish my relationships and am a proponent of quality over quantity.  There are so many different people in my life who I admire and learn a great deal from and it is extremely important that I remember to call, text, email or meet in person to remind myself how truly lucky I am to have them in my life. Every friend teaches me something new and every family member serves a different purpose. I will always be grateful for my relationships to these people in my life and never let a day go by where I don’t reach out or have a conversation with one whom I love.

4. Say NO to Stress: Out of all of the items on my list, this may be one of the most important for me to stick to; this doesn’t mean it’s easy to do everyday, but I make a concious effort to try my best. I have a long history of stress and anxiety. When I had my surgery back in 2012, I had an eye opening experience and saw just how important it is to find ways to manage and harbor my stress so as to not let it escalate and put my health in danger once again.

Personally, If I get stressed I feel physically ill fairly quickly.  It can take a toll on my sleeping patterns, diet and mood. It is so integral to to find ways to release that pent up stress in ways that work for you! One way I deal with stress is to realize that I have it pretty good in my life. In other words ‘what is the worst that could happen?’ When I see people get ansty in lines at the supermarket, swearing and stomping around like the world is going to end, I have realized that nothing in life is that stressful or bad to get riled up like that.
Stress is a HUGE factor in the creating a unhealthy environment for your body to thrive. When you stress, your body goes into a ‘fight or flight’ mode in which it is always on edge. It can contribute to increase the stress hormone, cortisol. An increase in cortisol can eventually lead to weight gain due to its slowing of the metabolism. This can cause a surge in heart rate, blood pressure and overall feeling of being under attack. Stress can be the root cause of many health problems such as digestion, depression, weight gain, obesity, heart disease and loss of memory. Make sure you are getting balance in all aspects of your life to deal with stress. Whether it be at work, home, friends, relationships or just general stress, find something that makes you relaxed; completely and utterly relaxed. This could be different for each individual so find what works for you. Take a hike/walk, read a book, take a yoga class, grab coffee with a friend, get a massage, or take a bath!  I know you may think you don’t have time for these activities in your hectic life but just keep in mind that THESE activities are what will make you productive and happier! You will feel refreshed, improve your mood, and get back that smile.

5. I Do NOT EVER Count Calories: 
If I had a dime for every email I got asking how many calories I eat a day, I would have a nice chunk of change in my pocket. I have never and will never be a ‘calorie counter’ This is not to say it won’t work for you, but my advice would be to stay away from it and more so-be in tune with your body. Take note on how you feel after you are done eating a meal. If you are counting calories, and used up your ‘calories’ for that meal but are still ravishingly hungry… that’s a sign you need to be eating more. Our bodies will hold onto fat if you deprive yourself. By staying in tune with your body and staying consistent, this in turn will result in eating fewer calories without having to ‘work’ at it.

Counting calories also does not bode well for the long term. Are you going to be 70 years old and calorie counting? Of course not, and you probably are missing out on enjoying life!  Intuitive eating is such a beautiful way to go about feeling more in tune with our bodies. Our bodies can tell us when we’re hungry and when we are full and rather than counting every single thing that goes into our mouths, we can get a sense of how we should be feeling. Counting calories is also time consuming! Frankly? I have way better things to do than counting every morsel that goes into my mouth.

6. Morning Coffee. Sounds silly but this is something that I absolutely need. It is so much more than coffee. It is the time of comfort, renewing, relaxing, delicious smells and appreciation. To me, my morning coffee is the culmunation of savoring a moment that makes me smile.

coffee

7. Movement. Moving in some form is certainly a non negotiable . Being able to walk, exercise, lift weights, practice yoga with no ailments is a blessing in itself. I do not view movement and physical fitness as a chore because I have never made it feel like that. My outlook on daily movement is that: ‘I don’t HAVE to workout. I GET to workout.’ Moving our bodies in different ways is one of the greatest gifts that we can take for granted.  3 years ago when I began following a very regimented workout plan that was a 5 day lifting routine (split body parts) with moderate cardio, there was not one thing in my way that would throw me off. It was a selfish time.

Getting on Stage was by far the biggest accomplishment I have achieved in my fitness career. After my 5th show, it was incredible to see how I could transform my body. I was the leanest I had ever been and had some amazing fun photos to capture the moments. After coming out of a horrible relationship, sticking to a plan gave me power. I felt in control and untouchable. I never slipped up and took the time to be selfish. After each show it was a bit of a struggle to see the weight creep back up just a bit. I was so used to that stage look that getting back to my happy body took some adjusting. I fell right back into my ‘plan’ and at times I simply didn’t want to do what was written down. If it was. I was the leanest I had ever been.  Was I happy? Yes of course I was happy. But the question comes…was I enjoying my life to the fullest? No. My social life took a backseat and I couldn’t enjoy some of my favorite foods/drinks such as white wine, sourdough bread with butter and dairy. I love looking like this and seeing all of my hard work come to fruition but I want to stress the importance of BALANCE when it comes to your body and the importance of different types of movement. There are times when it is OKAY NOT to stick to a plan 100% if that means sacrificing your happiness and what makes you feel good

It really did take me years to realize that life is too short to spend it in the gym 80% of the time. I learned to workout and move in ways that make me feel good. I learned to adjust in my surroundings (for instance, if I traveled and didn’t have access to a gym or traveling with friends and didn’t have time to get in a lengthier workout so I modified to 20 minutes of activity) I gave myself the green light to experiment. I fell in love with yoga  and kettlebells

I try to be open minded when it comes to physical activity and movement and I KNOW that I have come a long way of my more rigid days of NEEDING a gym and never skipping the workout that was planned.  The truth is that there is no ‘right way’ to ‘get in shape’ Making movement part of your daily routine will make activity more fun and less of a chore. Had a gym night planned but a friend asked you to go for a hike? GO! Why miss out on that experience that will be fun, challenging, eye opening when you can spend every other night in the gym?

My daily non negotiable of movement does not mean that I dedicate hours to my workout. Sure, some days I may workout for 60-80 minutes in a very intense lifting session, but the next day I may walk around my neighborhood or  simply work on some mobility.  Consistency is key and getting out of the mindset that “I MUST do this” Find the FUN in movement and make it something you do everyday. You are never too old or too young or not strong enough or not ‘in shape’ enough. Get out there and do it!

IMG_7493

I am a personal trainer and absolutely love helping people move better, feel better and increasing strength capacities, but I also take pride in preaching about balance when it comes to physical activity. If I have a client who is traveling and can’t follow their plan-I adjust and write them something they CAN do. If they miss a week because work is crazy…I just make it a point for them to walk as much as possible and still get in their mobility and some at home exercises such as planks, push ups, lunges etc. Movement is so necessary and should not be taken for granted and whatever form that makes you feel good is one you should stick with. There is no white or black. There can be a gray and sometimes it takes some adjusting and getting out of your comfort zone to know that the gray area is a good place to be.

 

8. Making Time For Fun. This may sound like an obvious one, but this can actually be one of the most challenging items on this list! I realized when I first started personal training that this is the type of job where I would have no time for myself. Of course, this is just the outlook that I had without really doing anything about it. After about a year, I learned how to manage my time more effectively to ensure that I was still leaving time to spend with loved ones, friends, family and ME.  These days, we all get so focused and suckered into working more and more that we forget to take time for ourselves. My tip is to be more effective in the workplace, you MUST make time to do whatever makes you feel alive. I have certain days and times where I will simply not take a client. I have these times blocked off because they are reserved for me. Of course, I could work myself to the ground but in my opinion, life is too short to be frazzled, stressed and burnt out all the time.  Creating time to play and have fun will open up your mind to more creative thinking, problem solving and focus in the workplace! Some ways that I look for fun in my city is subscribing to a few Facebook pages and websites that provide a list of FUN events!

With so many options and ways to have fun, it is integral to me that I find something FUN in every single day. This doesn’t always mean attending an event or going out for a drink, but it can be something as simple as cooking dinner with my roommate or working out with a co-worker at the gym. Something that is mindless and EASY. 
 
—-
In short, try to keep a positive outlook. Move everyday. Eat good food. Socialize. Tell your loved ones that you appreciate them and take a look around you to see the beauty in every single day.
 
xoxo,
Naomi
 
What are your Daily non negotiables?
The Fat Loss Journey: Slow and Steady Wins!

The Fat Loss Journey: Slow and Steady Wins!

 

I want to talk about fat loss.  I want to talk about body image. I want to talk about how in the case of fat loss…nothing that is meant to last can be created overnight. If you are like me, you have been through or are currently going through a phase where you are simply not happy with your body. You spend time on blogs, reading fitness magazines, following fitness models on instagram, all while jotting down things that you think you ‘should’ be doing to achieve your ideal physique.

So Fitchick45xo got has an inredidble body by lifting 5 days a week and she was always eating rice cakes with whey protein…but Sassygal89 did fasted cardio 5x a week, ate paleo but one day a week she ate anything she wanted…I’m going to try BOTH methods and see what works for me

Can you relate to this?

I know that I can. We LOVE to see what our role models are eating, what they are doing day to day and especially how they are working out-in the hopes that it will work for your body.

The GOOD news about this is that it is amazing to have a role model; someone whom you look up to for more reasons than just a physique that you yearn for. Having a role model and following a certain someone can truly help you stay on track, focused and furthermore–attain all of your goals!

The BAD news about this is that you have to realize that your body is unique and fat loss takes TIME. We so often hope to see a diet, workout or a specific ‘fat burning’ food to eat and change our whole  way of thinking because it worked for ‘Sally’ Well the truth is-what works for Sally most of the time won’t work for YOU.

I myself have been a victim to this as well. I have read religiously a workout plan or diet in Oxygen Magazine years ago and figured “Okay, Naomi…lets do this!” I followed the plan but was not seeing any results. It was not until working 1-1 with a coach that It finally clicked to me that my body was 100% unique. My organs, skin, body, definition, hormones, food intolerances, exercise effects are not the same as anyone else on this earth!

The truth is–we live in a world of instant gratification. We order a movie on Netflix or iTunes and we get it that instant. We order food-we get it. We text someone-we want a text right back. We’re bored, we browse social media to see what the world is up to. We. Don’t. Stop. We want things NOW. 

Sometimes, it’s okay to want things in an instant, but when it comes to our bodies, we can’t even understand why that 3lbs hasn’t budged in 2 weeks. We want instant transformation. 

When it came to my body, it took me some time to realize that this wasn’t going to be an overnight process. I stopped with the gimmicks such as taking CLA and fasted cardio and finally decided to commit to a plan that I know would transform me from the inside out.

My body is unique and I wanted something long lasting. I wanted to experience the highs, the lows, the journey, the excitement, the struggle, the fun, the friends, the tears and the laughter. I wanted to do this in the healthiest, happiest way possible. I was not only unhappy, but I was beyond confused with all of the suggestions of what I ‘should’ be doing by reading articles and magazines and blogs.

You have to give your body time to follow one plan and one plan only.

If there is one thing I want you to take away from this post it is the importance of consistancy. One of the main issues I see my clients do is that they will follow a plan for 3 days and then try another one, and another one. The same goes for their workouts.

“Pshh, I stopped with that because nothing happened” Ummmmm you have to be PATIENT, guys! Things worth having take TIME.

If you want to enjoy your journey,  you have to weigh your options

1) Do you want to kill yourself with getting lean in a very short period of time which will probably last you only a couple of weeks until you bounce back?

2) Do you want to practice patience when it comes to fat loss, all while enjoying the process, your social life, smile, challenge yourself and stay motivated?

I’ll take option numero DOS

We all love ‘the struggle’ For some sick reason we love to beat ourselves up and make fat loss ‘so hard’. I see posts on instagram and Facebook that go something like this

“Omg I wanted that cookie so badly, but NO! I will ‘sad face’ eat my chicken and green beans while watching everyone else enjoy themselves #Icandoit”

You really CAN have the cookie, but you chose not to, so when I see these posts about making it out to seem like people should go give them a pat on the back for ‘being so good’ it makes me sad.  The choice of strict dieting is in their power so one thing I can’t stand is when they take the blame out on everyone else and play the ‘victim’ card.

I can tell you right now that living on broccoli, tilapia, boiled chicken and brown rice will only last you so long. Sooner or later, your body will not be able to maintain this rigidity and you will see the opposite results of what you thought would happen. You will be grabbing that cake, bag of chips and nachos in NO time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With this picture above, I want to explain where I was at at this point in my life.  This was back in August, 2010, right when I joined Cathy Savage Fitness. I was doing probably 5-6x a week of cardio for about 40-60 minutes at a pop. I was running or on the elliptical, lifting weights here and there, but nothing crazy. I also was in an awful relationship that was taking on toll on me mentally and emotionally.

I was WAY overdoing my cardio which in itself is an issue when it comes to fat loss. Why?

  • Sooner or later, the body adapts and uses energy and oxygen more efficiently during cardio, which thus makes it ineffective for fat loss. The reason we see people day in and day out running for 45+ minutes or elliptical for that same time without really being ‘out of breath’ is because the your body gets accustomed to this. Your body stops reaping the metabolic and fat burning effects after a period of time. You have to change something for your body to respond.
  • You will experience tremendous muscle loss by overdoing cardio.
  • Repetitive exercise stress could lead to altered hormone balance.
  • Increased cardio means increase food intake. It’s not rocket science that increased cardio make increases our appetite to the max! Moderate intensity cardio will not deplete energy stores and the biggest misconception is that we have to eat extra carbs and protein pre and post cardio when in truth, this isn’t the case
  • Increased cardio leads to increase in cortisol which is a growth hormone that will  cause your body to hold onto fat.Cortisol can be linked to chronic stress as well which can cause our bodies to crave those sugary, fatty foods.

In the picture above, I was eating extremely clean ALL of the time. I ate all of the ‘good foods’ tons of veggies, salads, proteins, healthy fats (maybe a bit too much nut butter) but no doubt, I almost never gave in and had something that I truly was craving. I was eating clean. 100% of the time. I would try to restrict my calories well beyond what I should have been doing and only grabbing healthy foods. Bread? Cookies? Chocolate? NO WAY. I thought that the only way to drop body fat and change my physique would be doing it hardcore.

We all know this doesn’t set one up for long term success in the fat loss department and what would end up happening is I would binge on food and not only that, I was extremely unhappy with myself, my body and did nothing but beat myself up.

Bottom line–I was physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually miserable.

I felt lost, confused and out of control. I didn’t know how I let my body get to this point, but I didn’t care. I was going to do something about it and I KNEW it would take time. I never had a crazy ‘toned’ physique, but at 5’2, I felt uncomfortable with the extra bodyfat that I was not used to. Of course I saw models on fitness magazines and in complete awe of their physique, but I was also realistic.

image_1

September 29th, 2010

After starting with Cathy Savage Fitness and working with a coach 1-1 who understood my body, what works for me and what doesn’t and customizing a plan that fit ME…things started happening. I also began to realize that taking a more conservative approach would yield the results that I was looking for.

  • She told me I could eat bread.
  • She told me I could eat chocolate.
  • She told me I could still have my social life while doing so.
  • She told me there was no food that I could not eat. I listened.
  • I gave my body a break and starting tuning into how I was feeling after eating certain foods.
  • I gained a whole new perspective on working out and eating.
  • Portion control became my best friend when I realized that there was no food ‘off limits’
image_2

April 2011

This Picture above was after about 6 months of following my newfound plan.

What was I doing differently that caused me to completely transform my physique?

  • I stopped doing so much cardio (3x a week for about 30-40 minutes tops) When I was used to doing about 50 minutes 5x a week.
  • I used moderation and ate everything using portion control–Measuring cups and the digital scale were my best friend (temporary until I figured out portions on my own)
  • Variety when it came to food and exercise increased 10 fold. I was introduced to new fruits, veggies, starches, protein sources and the abundance of good fats such as avocado oil, sesame oil, tahini and udos oil.
  • I didn’t spend hours in the gym. 1 hour 15 minuets tops
  • I never once tracked macros/micros
  • I Stopped stressing about not being comfortable in my own skin and started to appreciate my body for all that it is able to do. I GET to workout. I GET to make good choices. I GET to compete in fitness shows. I GET to be happy. These are all choices that I make every single day. These are privileges that I am so grateful for and when I realized this–stress melted away 

image_3

This picture was taken about 2 weeks from my first show. I finally had my suit which I never thought would fit me in a million years. I was so proud of myself for taking my time my body needed to come in naturally.

I never once took a supplement, I never once underestimated the time it would take to get me to this place. I never once was so rigid in my routine that I gave up my social life. In fact–starting this journey made me realize many things, one of which was what a horrible relationship I had let myself get wrapped up in. New found self esteeem and happiness from the inside out meant that I had the control to take care of my body, mind and mental health.

I realized the importance of EATING. Fat loss will not happen if you do not eat!

What happens when we under eat?
When we avoid food the hormone, cortisol increases in your body, causing the body to store fat. The “eat less” approach will not get your body where you want it to be if fat loss is your main concern. When you drastically cut down calories or skip meals, this will lead to a loss in muscle, slowing of metabolism and possible weight gain in the long run. Of course, you want to be aware of your body, listen to its hunger signals and cues.

image

August 2013

If there is one thing I know about my body having competed in 5 shows, watching my body transform and undergoing the scariest surgery/procedure of my life, I have certainly learned what my body can handle and what is too much. I also have chosen to take the path of HAPPINESS when it comes to fat loss.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, there are many many ways to go about losing fat, and some are not only not glamorous, but they can put your body through some extremely unhealthy measures. Going about fat loss in this way will give you results in the short term but more serious health issues in the long run.

I for one, would never sacrifice my health on this earth for a set of washboard abs. Not only that, but I also wouldn’t miss a fun social event or skip a glass of wine because life is too damn short.

This is what my fitness/nutrition/health life looks like these days

  • 4-5 days of workouts per week with two FULL REST days (yoga or a run is not ‘rest’)
  • 1 hour tops for my workouts (usually 45 min. Yoga is the only form of physical activity that can go past 60 minutes but I do not take Bikram or ‘hot’ yoga because I do not like it.)
  • I’m on my feet all day and rarely do ‘steady state’ cardio. I haven’t been on an elliptical in about 3 years
  • I lift weights 3x a week
  • I practice conditioning workouts 2x a week, 30 minutes tops (Kettbell/boxing/ calisthenics)
  • I drink wine weekly
  • I have dark chocolate every other day
  • I make time for social events
  • I smile
  • I eat anything that I crave/want (of course watch portions) but I never label food as ‘bad’ or ‘good’
unnamed

August 17th, 2014

 This picture above is my good ole’ norm these days. I am a work in progress like everyone else. I have goals to compete again in the near future but it is not the main priority in my life. ( I mentioned that because I get asked that question all the time!) While I love competing and everything that goes along with it–I also am so happy living in freedom and training for life.

I wanted to post this because I want to share that there are MANY ways to get to your physique goals, but without being happy mentally and emotionally, it will be a long road to get there. Stop comparing yourself to others when it comes to diet and workouts. Find what works for you. I would NEVER tell someone to eat chicken 4x a day with brown rice and broccoli because I KNOW that this is not sustainable, will make that person miserable and also is extremely depressing. There are so many ways to lose fat and I wanted to share what worked for ME. It is so important to be in tune with your body and how you feel after eating certain foods. If you are truly uncertain and not seeing any results or feel not 100%…think about hiring a qualified nutrition coach NOT following a diet in Fitness Magazine or that you see in a blog. This was not written for you.

 

Please reach out with any questions, Naomi@1fitfoodie.com

Be sure to SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER in the RIGHTHAND COLUMN! You will get notified anytime I send out a new post and other fun stuff along the way!   

 

6 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas Under 5 minutes

6 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas Under 5 minutes

I love breakfast. For me, it truly is the most important meal of the day. I love waking up and thinking about what I am going to fuel my body with to start the day on a positive note.

When I hear those say ‘ohh I can’t stomach eating in the morning’ well honestly? I think they’re CRAZY, but I respect that everyone is different! I am a true believer that Breakfast is SO important–that will never go away. Having protein with breakfast can optimize the brain’s ability to send messages to the rest of your body, signaling energy and alertness in the morning. The combination of  food groups such as protein, carbohydrates and good fat will force you to gradually digest your breakfast, thus staving off hunger and keeping you satiated until the next meal of the day

Why is breakfast important, you may ask?

Having breakfast is a good way to get your metabolism working better for the day. If you eat in the morning, your body tells your brain that you are going to need to start working to digest it which wakes up the system and warm ups your metabolism. So you are ready to steady!

Skipping breakfast can actually result in a slower metabolism. If you are not signaling your body to eat, it responds by trying to conserve energy because it is not getting adequate nutrition. A decreased metabolism can result in a decrease of calories burned in a day, not to mention you will be RAVENOUS later on.

 Skipping breakfast can also cause you to be HANGRY by mid afternoon. You may notice you can become moody, irritable, hungry, fatigued and lacking energy. You will keep cravings at bay and much less likely to grab those sugary treats in the office mid afternoon. I have found that clients of mine who skip breakfast are more likely to overeat in the evening when they get home–no kidding since their bodies didn’t start off on the right foot!

I always think about my breakfast in terms of:

  • Protein (Eggs, protein powder, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, turkey, chicken)
  • Good fat (coconut oil, nut butter, nuts, coconut butter, avocado)
  • Carb (Whole grain wrap, Ezekial bread, oats, quinoa, squash, sweet potato)
Once I have something from these food groups, I am good to go! In parenthesis are the typical foods that I eat for breakfast!) You read correct–there is turkey and chicken in there! Who says breakfast has to be ‘sweet’ or not include meat? Sometimes there is nothing better than eggs with shredded chicken!
On the weekends or when I have a bit more time, don’t get me wrong-I take my time and make a delicious and leisurely breakfast. Here are some OTHER BREAKFAST IDEAS!..

But I don’t Have Time!

Seriously? This is the oldest excuse in the books! So now you may be saying, ‘ But I don’t have the time to get up and have breakfast’ or ‘ I want to get that extra sleep!’ or ‘I don’t have the time or I can’t eat ‘… Well the truth is, you have 5 min. Especially if you prep the food the night before, you most certainly have 30 seconds to grab it! BUT these recipes are meant to be made the morning of and they truly take 5 min, guys! I have made all of them!

All of these breakfasts are packed with nutrients and will keep you satisfied to start your morning and power through the first part of your day. I have listed the nutritional information below the recipes so if you like to track that, I have done the work for you

Let’s have a closer look: 

IMG_2617 IMG_2618

Banana Coconut Pancakes (grain free)

  • 2T coconut flour
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/4C oats
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein
Nutritional Info

  • Calories: 411
  • Fat: 16g
  • Carb: 36g
  • Fiber: 9g
  • Sugars: 10g
  • Protein: 32g
  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Vanilla Avo Protein Shake

  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 1/2 Banana
  • 1/2C almond milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1C ice
  • 1/4C oats
Nutritional Info
  • Calories: 405
  • Fat: 16g
  • Carb: 39g
  • Fiber: 12g
  • Sugars: 10g
  • Protein: 31g
IMG_7839
Sweet Potato Greek Yogurt Parfait
  • 1 small sweet potato (about 4oz or 100g)
  • 1 6oz container Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1T almond butter
  • 1/2C fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1T flaxseed meal
Nutritional Info
  • Calories: 357
  • Fat: 12g
  • Carb: 43g
  • Fiber: 8g
  • Sugars: 16g
  • Protein: 22g  
The “airport On the Go” Breakfast
  • 2 Hardboiled Eggs
  • 2 slices Ezekial bread
  • 1T peanutbutter
Nutritional Info
  • Calories: 400g
  • Fat: 19g
  • Carb: 35g
  • Fiber: 8g
  • Sugars: 1g
  • Protein: 23g
IMG_6173
Quinoa Protein Delight
 
 IMG_6174
 
IMG_3679
Avocado and Turkey Toast Topper with Fruit

  • 100g avocado
  • 1 slice Ezekial bread (toasted)
  • 3oz nitrate free turkey breast
  • 1 small apple or peach or any fruit you would like

Nutritional Info

  • Calories: 393
  • Carb: 45g
  • Fiber: 9g
  • Sugars: 23gP
  • Protein: 18g
—————————–
 Soooo now that I have gotten you hungry…there is also no reason why you can’t make these delicious and quick meals for lunch, dinner or anywhere in between. Who says we can’t have ‘breakfast’ for dinner and dinner for breakfast? There is NO reason why you should be rushing out of your house without nutrients in your body. Everyone has 5 minutes, and if you truly don’t, set your alarm 5 minutes earlier to ensure that you DO have time.  Yes, sleep is important but feeding your body and keeping it on track with balanced, delicious, nutrient packed meals is JUST as important.  I shared links to some other breakfast favorites at the top of this post if you missed it! 
 
Let me know if you try any of these recipes and remember–Results happen when you feed your body proper fuel! 
post-image
xoxoxo
Naomi
Grain Free Coconut Blueberry Pancakes!

Grain Free Coconut Blueberry Pancakes!

I just made some pretty amazing pancakes. I rarely make something and then turn right to my computer to blog about it, but I really really felt the need to share this with you guys. I was craving something sweet, but light, as I wasn’t craaaazzzzzzy hungry, but certainly needed something in my system. I have to be honest that some of the best recipes that I make, I totally think up on the fly. Because there are certain ingredients that I always keep in my kitchen, I knew this would be a no brainer, but I had no idea how they would turn out!

IMG_2616

You want the recipe?  Here you go!

COCONUT BLUEBERRY PROTEIN PANCAKES

Ingredients

  • 2T coconut flour
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder (I used Cellucor Cookies N’ Cream)
  • 1T flaxseed meal
  • 1/4tsp baking powder
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3C blueberries (FRESH!)
  • 2T Almond flour
  • 2T almond milk
  • 3oz Greek Yogurt (1/2 of a individual size) I used Siggi’s

Directions

  • Mix Flour, protein powder, baking powder, flaxseed together. 
  • Mix egg whites, almond milk, Greek yogurt separately. 
  • Add wet to dry and let sit for about 60 seconds
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray or use coconut oil (Nutritional facts are with cooking spray)
  • Spoon out desired sized cakes. I made about 4-5 medium sized. 
  • Once on the pan, add the blueberries evenly throughout
  • Once bubbling (about 3 min) Flip!
  • Cook an additional 1-2 minutes and plate. 
  • Add desired toppings! (I made a PB2 ‘sauce’ using 2T PB2 and some almond milk. 

IMG_2619

 

IMG_2618 IMG_2617

 

NUTRITION BREAKDOWN (For the whole recipe)

  • CALORIES: 196
  • FAT: 3g
  • SODIUM: 246mg
  • CARBOHYDRATES: 17g
  • FIBER: 6g
  • SUGAR: 6g
  • PROTEIN: 23g

When Do you eat these? Whenever you would like! They are not crazy filling in stats, so for me, this would be a bit of a snack…definitely not a whole meal!  They were satisfying for sure and SOOOO delicious, but these are perfect if you don’t want a full stomach before a workout or after a workout paired with some extra carbs such as Kamut puffs or oatmeal and a more substantial fruit such as a banana.  Basically, when it comes to pancakes-you can eat them any time of day!

Looking for more PROTEIN PACKED RECIPES?!

PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU TRY THE PANCAKES!!! Love you all!
 
xox
Naomi