Maximize Fat Loss-A Complete Weekly Workout Program FREE!

I remember the days that I would spend hours in the gym. Don’t get me wrong-There is sometimes nothing that I love more than taking my time with a workout, focusing with intent, having a plan and hanging in the gym. These days, however-I find myself spending a lot of time in other areas of my life; socially, mentally, work related and…..living life! Having a cap on my workout time has completely changed not only my physique and my energy levels, but the higher intensity, shorter duration workouts keep me focused, looking forward to my workout and challenge my body by pushing it to the max when I need to and resting when I need to. It is about balance and listening, while pushing for that threshold leaving my metabolism high, body feeling sweaty, energized, hungry and lean. 

With that said, a key to fat loss is staying consistant. You want your body to be so used to these workouts so it is burning fat when you are simply sitting at work or at the grocery store. The high level of frequency ensures a consistently elevated metabolic rate, a tremendous and constant surge of EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) and the resultant boost in the rate of energy expenditure that accompanies those things. A combination of high intensity workouts (I prefer full body) That are a mix of cardio AND strength with active recovery such as yoga is an optimal weekly routine to get you on track!

So You Want to Maximize Fat Loss?

Plain and simple; if you are looking to maximize fat loss, you have to be performing work that is physically demanding. You must get out of your comfort zone for a bit. When you are pushing yourself past the point of comfort, this is where the changes will happen. You won’t be there long, but it will be tough! Instead of hopping on a treadmill for a 30 min jog between 6.0-8.0 speed where YES, you are covered in sweat but stayed at a lower intensity, try pushing yourself through some of these workouts that I share below for more high intensity effort! BONUS: You will be finished with your workout sooner and reap the benefits of fat loss! WIN WIN!  Main point: PUSH IT! 

What about the ‘FAT BURNING Zone?

You may be saying to yourself that the ‘fat burning’ zone is where the changes happen; meaning staying at a steady state pace for 30 min, keeping the heart rate moderate. How can you really lose fat if you’re working harder than your  fat burning zone? Well, yes you will be out of that zone but this is where the glycogen depletion will happen with your high intensity training. During this, you will be tapping into your fat store and use it as energy. Not only is this true, but with higher intensity work, you will create that after-burn effect where you will continue burning calories most of the day whereas with low intensity exercise, your body doesn’t continue burning past the ‘work’ 

So Where Is My Weekly Routine?

In today’s post, I want to share with you how you can schedule your weekly workout routine to optimize fat loss, recovery, FUN, minimal equipment and still have a life through it all! These workouts are designed for you to be in and out of the gym in under an hour (with warm up and cool down)

Here is a sample schedule of what your weekly workout routine could look like for optimal fat loss. 

The workouts for each day are Below:

DAY: WORKOUT
MONDAY 30 min full body workout (kettlebell/dumbbell strength and cardio)
TUES 20 min sprints on treadmill or track
WEDNESDAY 30 min bodyweight complex
THURSDAY REST or walk outside!
FRIDAY 30 min strength based workout (barbell is used in my workout below)
SATURDAY Yoga or pilates or other active recovery (hike or walk or bike ride easy)
SUNDAY REST 

MONDAY- 3o min full body strength/conditioning workout

Set Timer for 3 rounds of 45 sec work/15 sec rest (this workout is 30 minutes total)

EXERCISE WEIGHTS USED
1) Kettlebell Goblet squats (12-16kg) I use 12-16kg
2) Standing alternating shoulder presses 10kg KB or 15-20lb DB
3) KB double arm swing 16kg
4) Push ups with T twist  
5) 1 Arm swings I use 12-14kg
6) Rev crunches (keep knees at 90 degrees)  
7) Reverse lunges holding KB or DB I use 10kg in each hand
8) Elbow plank tension hold (tighten everything from head to toe!)  
9) Kettlebell 1 arm alternating bent over row I use 12kg KB
10) squat jumps (or bodyweight squats)  

TUESDAY-Treadmill sprints

Hop on a treadmill and complete this workout below. These are some of the speeds and inclines that I use and it is definitely not a beginner workout! As always, I want you to adjust the speeds and inclines as you need to complete this! Taking a peek at it, it may seem really intense, but remember it is 20 minutes! You should feel gassed at the end of it. A true sign of a HIIT workout is that you want to jump off and stay off at the end of it!  You can stay on the treadmill and cool down with a walk at 5.0 incline, 3.6-4.0 speed for 10 minutes. 

TIME SPEED INCLINE
0-3 6.o 1.0 (Warm up)
3 to 4 9 2
4 to 5 3 2
5-5:40 10 2
5:40-6:30 3 2
6:30-7:00 10.5 2
7:00-8:00 2 2
8:00-9:00 9 4
9:00-10:00 2 4
10:00-10:40 9.3 4
10:40-11:30 2 4
11:30-12:00 9.8 4
12:00-13:00 2 8
13:00-14:00 7 8
14:00-15:30 2 8
15:30-16:10 8 8
16:10-17:00 2 8
17:00-17:30 9 8
17:30-18:30 2 10
18:30-19:00 9 10
19:00-20 2 15

WEDNESDAY-30 min bodyweight complex workout

Today is a full body complex workout using just your bodyweight! One of my favorite workouts because you can do this anywhere! This workout has a few parts to it so read closely!

PART 1

You will be doing this as an ADD ON workout. This means that you will complete exercise 1. Then add on exercise 1+2. Then add on Exercise 1+2+3. By the time you get to the last exercise (the sit ups) You will have completed the first exercise 7 times. 

It should take anywhere from 8-15 minutes. I want you to push as much as you can and rest when you need to!

Bodyweight Rev cursty lunges x10
Bodyweight squats with 2 pulses at the bottom x10
Push ups with a twist into a side plank x10
High knees x30
Bicycle crunches x30 each side
High plank shoulder taps x20 each side
Full knee to chest sit ups x20

PART 2 

You will go through this circuit 3 times completing a different number of reps each time. Go through it first completing 20 reps of each exercise. Rest 90 sec and then go through it again completing 15 reps. Rest 90 sec and then go through it again and repeat each exercise for 10 reps

20-15-10 reps! Rest 90 sec in between the giant set!

High plank knee to elbow
burpees
Lateral lunges (alt sides)
High knees x30
Russian twists
Mountain climbers
Plie squat (add a jump if you want)
Triceps Dips

Part 3 

TABATA! Set a timer for 8 rounds of 20 sec on/10 sec rest. Go through it twice for a total of 4 minutes!

High plank jump feet in and out
Side plank twist (left)
Side plank twist (right)
180 jump squats

FRIDAY-30 Min strength based workout (using barbell)

Set a timer to 30 minutes and go through this workout as many rounds as you can! Be sure to pay attention to form and choose weights that are challenging for you, however you are able to complete with good form! I would suggest setting up your area before you get started so everything is close to you! You can always do a DB floor press if you don’t have a bench, and a bodyweight single leg glute bridge in place of the back elevated hip thrust!

EXERCISE REPS
Barbell Deadlifts 8 reps
DB back row (alternating while standing hinged) 8 reps each
Back elevated hip thrust (single leg) 10 reps each
Alternating DB chest Press (flat bench) 10 reps each
.25 mile run as fast as you can  

And there you have it! This is just a sample of what a typical week looks like for me these days. I keep the workouts simple and always change it up, but something very similar to this is my workout! I have seen greater results in keeping my workouts short, intense and minimizing low intensity cardio. This weekly workout routine is designed to keep your Exercise post oxygen consumption HIGH and transforms your body into a fat burning machine.  Now with all of this ‘fat loss’ talk, keep in mind that workouts are just a piece of the puzzle. Remember that slow and steady wins the race and changes won’t nor should happen overnight! Trying out the program above is a wonderful start when it comes to exercise, but also be sure to tap into your diet, and mental health as well!  There is beauty in DOING LESS when it comes to everything surrounding fat loss

 

Train Smart. Eat Smart. XO

 

Naomi

 

PURA VIDA-The Trip Worth Waiting For

PURA VIDA-The Trip Worth Waiting For

I took a leap. I booked a ticket, hotel and a car. I had a travel buddy and a destination. What we would do, who we would meet, experiences we would participate in-these were all unknowns. 5 years ago, I would have laughed at the thought of going on such an unplanned getaway. I needed a list of where we were going, when, how, who, what time and what I was eating. The thought of traveling without structure alone would have given me anxiety

And now, I sit here and just got back from one of the most life changing trips I have experienced;  and it had everything to do with timing. They say that timing is everything when it comes to most things in life; in the workplace, in your relationships, in opportunities that arise. If something is not meant to be-it’s not the right time.

Flexibility in my life is something I have always struggled with from an early age. I love control. I love having control in my life and in situations that arise. If I wasn’t in control, I would feel out of my body, anxious, on edge, nervous, and most of all fearful of what would happen. I never truly trusted my body or my mind if I wasn’t 100% in control all of the time. After competing in 2 shows, I had a sense of feAr that I would never be able to look like “that” again. I became disordered in my eating patterns, turn down even healthy food if it wasn’t planned in my day, turned down social situations and only focused on myself, my workouts, my daily routine of food prep and sleep.

I may have looked amazing, but I was hurting inside and was one of the unhealthiest mentally I had ever been. My disordered and strict lifestyle led me over the edge of stress which landed me straight in the hospital undergoing the most serious surgery of my life. Seeing my life flash before my eyes was a wake up call that no matter what-I was going to be in a new relationship with my amazing, beautiful, strong, talented, passionate, driven, and whole self.

My surgery as horrible as it was, forced me to take a deeper look into what is the meaning of happiness? Is it the way I look? The way others see me? Where I live? What I wear? I came to the conclusion that my happiness is none of these things. Happiness is something deep within that no one else can judge you for. It is what gets me out of bed in the morning. It is enjoying providing an outstanding service to my clients in improving their lives through movement and health. It is reaching a wide audience and challenging them to see what makes them

I took this trip in the midst of my crazy schedule, non stop city life and at a time in my life where I was not feeling my happiest. I needed to get out. I needed to step outside of my daily grind and slow down. I needed to not think about a thing but “what time is it and do I have to wear pants” (seriously, we asked this a few times; had bikinis on of course :) ) I was finding myself stuck in a place that I truly felt scared I could never get out of. 

As a single female in my late 20s I am sure many of you can relate to feeling of “what and where am I going with my life” half of my friends are engaged, getting married, having babies and the others are single and dating and trying to“figure it all out” there is this overwhelming sense of “omg I need to do more and date more and be out and about more and always reach for something” 

I took a step back and thought about WHY I was having these thoughts? Why did I need someone else or something else to make me content with my life? I have numerous conversations with my amazing mother and she said something that resonated with me

“For a woman who has such an admirable and incredible sense of self control, how do you let others take so much power from you?” She was speaking of my dating life of course.

I recognized a pattern of letting others have this power over me and I was repeatedly finding myself in the same situations of reaching for something I didn’t even truly want. When I realized this abusive behavior I was putting myself through it became clear that I needed to change the way I saw myself. I need to see myself how others see me: happy, funny, incredibly passionate about my work, self sufficient, independent and with a zest for life.

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OFF TO COSTA RICA!

My Costa Rica trip was planned back in March and it could not have come at a more appropriate time. I went with my friend and co worker, not knowing her for more than 4 months. I knew it would be life changing but I never recognized the quintessential, undeniable timing of this trip for both of us at this pinnacle our lives.

We had our flight, a car and a hotel booked on the most precious, secluded surfer town in Costa Rica called Playa Negra. We arrived to CR and began our hour drive to Playa Negra. We spoke no words but simply looked around at the greenery, the cows, the men working at the local bars, the women holding babies, the potted holed roads, shack like houses, next to scary living conditions but through all of that; the smiles. These people had a sense of ease, fearlessness and happiness that I had never seen before in almost all of the places I have traveled. They wake up and have each other. They take their time and appreciate the sun rising and setting each day and how grateful they are to have this life. While Waiting for our organic smoothies in the morning cafe, sipping on fresh Costa Rican coffee with steamed milk, we wrote in silence. Stress was a big focus for me.

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The Lifestyle in playa Negra has an overwhelming sense of calm. I flashed to those times waiting for my coffee at Starbucks at 8:30am on a Monday and the woman in front of me taking a full minute to find her money and how agitated the line became. I would glance back and see 10 pairs of eyes glued to their smartphones. Can we not stand and wait for our coffee without being attached to social media? Can we not look at each other in the eye and say ” good morning” with a smile? Why are these things so hard for us to do? No matter what time or where, in Costa Rica everyone always had a smile on and would say “hola!” with meaning.

Overall I gained a sense of perspective from my travels. It was a time to clear my head and my thoughts and focus on the world around me. It was a time to hold no judgements.

We woke up with no plans every morning. We took yoga. On the beach. Literally. There is no better way to take yoga while listening to the waves crashing on the sand. My thoughts were few and far between. I had nothing on my mind besides that very moment of having the gift to be able to practice in another country, on a beach, with my friend. I focused on me which I rarely do and am even scared to do. I finally allowed myself the ability to let go and embrace whatever emotion came to me. 

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Beyond the yoga classes, dips in the ocean, handstands in the pool and long walks in the afternoon rain, This trip gave me a lot of time to think about what I am looking for in my life. It is so important to me to reflect on what it is that brought me to this moment and continue feeling this sense of bliss and happiness when I returned home. I made a promise to myself to always put myself and my feelings first. I know what I want and now its up to me to stay true and go after it.

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ME? SURFING? YES!

And you guys, I surfed. Holyyyyyy moly. No wonder surfers look so good! This is one sport that not only challenged my body physically like nothing I have ever experienced, but it challenged my mind as well. Immediately I was drawn to something way deeper than just the mere aspect of surfing the waves. The ability to ride a wave is not attainable without having a flexible and open body and mind. I learned quick that the ocean is something that I simply cannot control.  Our guide, Javier With Pargos Adventures was incredible! If you visit the area, there is no other guide I would choose.

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I am so used to having control over every situation that arises-I used to be so rigid with my control that I would miss out on opportunities if I felt out of whack. With that said-there was no better time in my life to put me on a board in the middle of the ocean-how’s that for no control? Immediately I learned that I must go with the flow of nature and let the ocean move me. After every wave I got pushed off of and frustrated with-there was another one just waiting for me to try again. They never ceased. I could not pre determine how I would ride the wave, how I will get up, how I would feel when and if I fell-I could only try to become one with ocean and let it take me.

Surfing challenged me to be honest with myself and my fears.

It sounds corny and cheesy but the act of riding waves is much like life-you have to be able to constantly adapt and learn to let things happen. Much of life is out of our control and we are tested most when we get thrown things we aren’t prepared for. Will we come out on top? Will we learn from our mistakes. The first wave that I got up, I rode it all the way in and was engulfed in the biggest smile I was able to conjure up at that tense moment. It felt happy, relaxed, accomplished and like there was no other place that I needed to be at that very moment. My time was happening right then.

This trip opened my eyes to the world around me. Observing so many people who were so content and stress free forced me to think about my passion and drive for life. I woke up everyday with a smile and never questioned myself in a moment of nothingness. Back home I tend to get antsy; should I be doing more? Should I be out and about socializing? What am I missing out on. I hardly take a moment to breathe and enjoy my own company and my surroundings.

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It’s ironic that being in a place where I was forced to be at ease and peace was the one place that I could finally visualize all of the incredible things I want for myself and my career in my future. There is no waiting. The time is now and the moment is now. Catch the wave and ride it in.

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I hope you all can learn a little something from this post and realize that your ultimate happiness is 100% in your hands. Change something, try something new, take a chance and ride the wave. 

XOXOX

NAOMI

 

Flexible and Realistic Food Prep Tips To Ensure You’re Not Living Out of Tupperware (Recipes included!)

Flexible and Realistic Food Prep Tips To Ensure You’re Not Living Out of Tupperware (Recipes included!)

You get to the gym. You kill your workouts. You reap the benefits of the physical activity and love every minute. Do you ever get frustrated because the nutrition portion of fat loss can be sooo exhausting? Prepping food and taking the time to set meals aside, grocery shop, constantly be packing food can all of the sudden dominate your life. I don’t know about you-but I am all about spending minimal time doing prepping anything and maximal time enjoying life outside of the kitchen and gym. 

I remember when I first began competing, my life all of the sudden became way more than just the workouts. I was in the grocery store and kitchen in most of my free time. I am not regretting any of that time I spent prepping food, however I did get to a breaking point and spent years figuring out ways to have a life besides prepping my food in the kitchen. 

I didn’t just have ‘sunday food prep day’ which is what I hear a lot of competitors and people do these days. I spent almost everyday prepping some sort of food. It was all labeled and separated in baggies or tupperwares in the fridge and god forbid I ate something that wasn’t ‘on plan’ and I became filled with food guilt. 

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All of my food everyday looked like this at one point

The problem with spending most of my time focused on and food prepping was that when I was in the real world (which was most of the time) I would get a sudden fear of ‘but this isn’t MY food’ I am going to be somewhere where I didn’t cook my own food;

How do I know what it is? 

How it is cooked? 

Is it the right number of ounces? 

Everytime I was put in situations where food was out of my control, my anxiety set in. It was in my kitchen and in my fridge where I felt a sense of calm. The problem with this way of thinking is that it is NOT real life. 

Food prepping can be one of the best tools to help you reach your goals with fat or weight loss, however it can also be one of the most tedious, mind messing and time consuming tasks–so much so to the point where you will want to throw in the towel and say “screw it!–lets go to Chipotle” 

It took me years to find a balance between having healthy, delicious, flavorful options in my fridge at all times, AND still having a life with my friends, family, work and relationships. There were times that I found myself missing events on a weekend or avoiding social situations because I was ‘busy’ cooking (and really just wanted to avoid being forced to eat something out of my control) My life was literally cooking and packing food. 

Cooking and packing food. 

It was a cycle that I knew was not sustainable. 

I truly believe that part of what intimidates people about food prepping is that it WILL take up so much of their free time. I am here to share some tips that I have used over a couple years that are painless and mindless. You can still cook healthy food to have in your fridge, enjoy time with your friends and family, go to work on time, exercise, grab a drink with a co-worker, and you will not have to sacrifice anything.  When trying to lose fat or weight, having healthy options on hand is extremely important but like I said, it shouldn’t take over your life. It should blend right in!

 MY FOOD PREP TIPS

1) MULTITASK

Cook multiple things at once! I usually mutitask everytime I put something on the stovetop or oven. If I am cooking in the oven, I will be cooking meat, hardboiling eggs (YES, in the oven! Just throw them in there and take them out after about 10-15 minutes) Roasting sweet potatoes, veggies, whatever you can think off, I make the move of the oven or stovetop at the same time

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Multitasking eggs with vegetables in 1 skillet and veggies with sweet potato in another

2) Cook Grains in Bulk/ Prepare Overnight

This is one that took me a while to follow, for whatever reason cooking grains in bulk didn’t bode over with me well BUT once I started doing it I never looked back. Bulk cook grains like oats or quinoa and store them in the fridge so you can easily whip up breakfast or any other meal in 2 minutes.

Breakfast Quinoa: 1C cooked quinoa mixed with 1/2C of almond milk or coconut milk, 10 sliced almonds, 1T unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 scoop whey protein powder (optional) 1/3C frozen or fresh berries or banana slices, 1T chia seeds or hemp seeds. 

This other breakfast quinoa recipe

Cinnamon Chia Overnight Oats: 1/2C raw oats, 1C almond or coconut milk, 1T chia seeds, 1/2C chopped banana or berries or mixture of both, 1tsp cinnamon, 1T chia seeds.

Both of these recipes are SOOO easy and can be made/prepared even the night before. The overnight oats, you can also make with cooked oats and throw together in the morning if you don’t do it the night before. Try making them in mason jars and throw it in your bag to work the next day! Perfect for post workout as well! You can even eat it in the locker room while getting ready for work at the gym. 

 3) Staple Items

If you know me, you know my love affair with turkey and beef meatballs.   I make some sort of meatballs usually every week if not every other week. To me-they are a STAPLE and I find them so easy to be a part of my weekly food prep.  They are such easy way to get in my protein and also not have it be another boring plain piece of chicken. I use the multiask method when making these so I am always roasting up some veggies or potatoes or squash at the same time they are cooking away. 

Step 1: Buy lean ground turkey, beef or chicken. I usually go for 93/7 or 96/4 for leanness. I like to have some flavor when it comes to the turkey so that’s usually the 93/7 variety.

Step 2:  Decide what flavors to use. For the most part, I throw in whatever herbs I have on hand (usually basil, oregano or herbs de provence) with a combination of grainy or dijon mustard (about 2TBSP) salt and pepper

Step 3: Get fancy! This is when I buy a fun, new ingredient to try out to give the meatballs flavor. For instance in my curry meatballs, I threw some sliced apple in there. I have made Asian style meatballs with soy sauce, fresh chopped ginger and fish sauce.  There is no rule that says meatballs have to be italian style or boring. Get creative! Throw in scallions or onion or fruit such as blueberries or dried cherries. The sweet and salty combination is DELICIOUS and may surprise you! I have some recipes listed below for you to try!

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4) Make Lists:

Don’t go to the grocery store without a list. If you want to be efficient in there and get what you need, prepare ahead of time-even if it’s jotting down on you cellphone what you need to get. If I DON’T do this, I always end up spending way too much money and always forgetting some essential item I needed, in addition to getting things I certainly didn’t need. I have a grocery list (click the link below to get my list!)

HEALTHY SHOPPING LIST-1 (1)

There are always staple items such as fruits and veggies that I get every week. Things like peppers, zuchinni, spinach (for smoothies and salads) Frozen berries and bananas for smoothies, baby carrots, brocolli. These I will ALWAYS get every week. Then I think about protein; what do I already have frozen in my freezer that I can take out to defrost? I always have on hand chicken sausages if I am in a pinch and don’t have meat pre cooked in the fridge. I just take one out and pair it with veggies or sweet potato or both. If there is chicken on sale such as buy one, get one free, I ALWAYS get it for the freezer. 

Next, I think about cuppoard items like balsamic vinegar, mustard, oils, nutritional bars, nut butters-what do I need and what can I get to keep the variety in my kitchen.

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Grocery Haul

 Some weeks I use generally coconut oil to cook and others I use olive oil. I always think about variety when it comes to my food. The same goes for fruit. Some weeks I’ll use blueberries, others I will use strawberries or kiwi! 

5) Utilize One Pan with Multiple Flavors

One trick I have been trying out is taking a cookie sheet and seperating it in half with aluminum foil. On one side I have chicken marinaded with balsamic, basil, maple syrup and dijon and on the other side I have chicken that is dusted with cumin, curry, salt and pepper. I have two totally different flavored proteins but cooking them in one pan. The same can go for sweet potatoes! I will have half diced with cinnamon, coconut oil and sea salt and the other side will be dusted with herbs de provence. Two flavors-one pan! 

6) Utilize Muffin Tins! 

These are SUCH a savior when it comes to meal prep! 

Egg cups (crack 1 egg in each one and fill with some veggies, salt and pepper) I sometimes add turkey bacon or turkey breast for added protein. Cook at 350 for abour 30 minutes and store in the fridge in a clear tupperware. 

Frozen Smoothie Cups: Make a protein shake as you normally would (I use 1 scoop whey protein powder, 2T unsweetened cocoa powder, 1T coconut oil, handful spinach, 1/2C berries and 1/3 banana, almond milk and ice) Once blended pour into muffin tins and freeze. once frozen, take out of the tins and keep in a plastic bag or tupperware in the freezer so you can grab a couple and go! A great idea would be to throw 3-4 in a tupperware before your workout; by the time you are done, the cups will be perfectly thawed out and ready to eat! 

Protein Bites: You don’t HAVE to make these in tins, but I find its a good way to measure portion control and lets you freeze them evenly! One sneaky trick I like is to always have something protein packed and sweet on hand. I ALWAYS have these in my freezer; literally ALWAYS. If I see that I am running low, I whip up another batch-they take 5 minutes to make! 

Ingredients (Chocolate Coconut Flavor)

  • 1/3C coconut flour
  • 1 Scoop vegan brown rice protein powder (you can use whatever protein you like!)
  • 1T chia seeds
  • 2T nut butter (I have cashew or almond on hand)
  • 1 dropper full of liquid stevia (optional)
  • 1-2T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Enough water to make the whole mixture into a paste/dough
Chocolate Coconut Protein Bites!

Chocolate Coconut Protein Bites!

Mix ingredients with a fork (make sure that the nut butter is room temp) add water slowly until the ingredients form into a dough mixture. Form into 10 balls and place in muffin tins (you don’t have to use the tins but it is a good easy way to keep them from congealing into one another while freezing) 
 
Here are some other quick protein bite options

7) Prep meal components, not full meals

I used to prep full meals and put the same exact thing in tupperwares. Quinoa, chicken, greens beans. Quinoa, chicken, green beans. Omgeeee-this was beyond boring and actually made me crazy to open my fridge and see the same exact meals for 5/6 meals. I have found that I am actually way more efficient and look forward to eating my food WAY more when I simply have components prepared in my fridge rather than full meals. Some people would argue the complete opposite, however I like variety all day, everyday. If I cook up chicken breast, I don’t necessarily want to eat it with sweet potato and peppers everyday. 

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Above, I have white rice (pre cooked) and chicken breast (pre cooked) with avocado and some peppers. This is just one meal using the rice and chicken that I had; added in some good fat and veggies! I will not eat this same meal again in the same day. Personal choice that makes my meals WAY more exciting.  I also sometimes season my food AFTER it is cooked to add instant new flavors to otherwise plain foods. Mustard, basil, oregano, cinnamon-you name it and I will use it on my food! 
8) It’s NOT All Or Nothing:

Remember that you don’t have to spend HOURS in the kitchen for ‘meal prep’ to happen. Focus on one thing at a time and nail it before overwhelming  yourself with everything all at once. If you want to ensure that breakfast is a priority, focus on prepping some breakfast items like egg cups or oats and whey protein in overnight oats. Have veggies pre washed and cut and the same goes for fruit. Start small; once you master one small task, you will feel confident in moving onto the rest of the food! 

9) Be Realistic

We all have crazy days and weeks where food prep just isn’t happening. Maybe work is insane, maybe you were traveling in the earlier part of the week. Whatever the case may be-don’t stress if you can’t get to your ‘normal’ prep schedule. I always ensure that my freezer has at least 1 bag of frozen fruit and veggies, chicken sausages that take 5 min to cook and defrost and frozen fresh herbs. I always sometimes also have leftovers in the freezer that makes those weeks way easier! If I anticipate traveling, I ensure that the week prior, I make some extra food to freeze for when I get back. defrost some frozen veggies and BAM! 

10) Be FLEXIBLE

This is one of my biggest take aways I want you to think about from this post. Life is way more important that standing in the kitchen for hours cooking food and storing it in tupperware’s. Been there, done that and I won’t ever make it the priority in my life. If my food prep day is typically sunday and a friend asked me to go for lunch and shopping, there is no WAY that I would turn that down to sit in my kitchen and cook chicken and rice. Too much dependence on food prepping can take you away from experiencing life. Moderation and flexibility have to come into play because this is a part of life. Yes, I cook food and usually always have options to get me through the week, but I also eat a decent amount of food from local salad/sandwich shops, sashimi from my local sushi restaurant etc. Some days, I just want to NOT worry about cooking my food.  I finally came to a place where I realized that food prepping wasn’t the end all and be all of my healthy lifestyle. I can be healthy, eat right, stay lean and be happy without spending hours in the kitchen. You have to trust yourself and know that the only thing that will happen to you not DEPENDING on food prep is that you will experience freedom and flexibility and enjoyment in other areas of your life.  

Yes, I wanted to share these food prep tips with you because they ARE helpful in leading you down the right path but they are not written for you to add an obsessive component to your already structured life. Think outside the box and what really matters. Its experiences, its friends, family, career, social events and yes, while eating clean and healthy is one of the top 5 most important things in my life; I have taught myself to let go of the anxiety I feel when I am not set in a structured ‘plan’ and you know what? I have gotten leaner, happier and my workouts are 10x better since letting this stress roll off my shoulders. 

 

xoxoxox

Naomi

 

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!

 

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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

 

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

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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(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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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. 
 
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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?