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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workout

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

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

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

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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?
The Fat Loss Journey: Slow and Steady Wins!

The Fat Loss Journey: Slow and Steady Wins!

 

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

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

Can you relate to this?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll take option numero DOS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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September 29th, 2010

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

  • She told me I could eat bread.
  • She told me I could eat chocolate.
  • She told me I could still have my social life while doing so.
  • She told me there was no food that I could not eat. I listened.
  • I gave my body a break and starting tuning into how I was feeling after eating certain foods.
  • I gained a whole new perspective on working out and eating.
  • Portion control became my best friend when I realized that there was no food ‘off limits’
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April 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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August 2013

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

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

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

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

  • 4-5 days of workouts per week with two FULL REST days (yoga or a run is not ‘rest’)
  • 1 hour tops for my workouts (usually 45 min. Yoga is the only form of physical activity that can go past 60 minutes but I do not take Bikram or ‘hot’ yoga because I do not like it.)
  • I’m on my feet all day and rarely do ‘steady state’ cardio. I haven’t been on an elliptical in about 3 years
  • I lift weights 3x a week
  • I practice conditioning workouts 2x a week, 30 minutes tops (Kettbell/boxing/ calisthenics)
  • I drink wine weekly
  • I have dark chocolate every other day
  • I make time for social events
  • I smile
  • I eat anything that I crave/want (of course watch portions) but I never label food as ‘bad’ or ‘good’
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August 17th, 2014

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

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

 

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

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

 

6 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas Under 5 minutes

6 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas Under 5 minutes

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

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

Why is breakfast important, you may ask?

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

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

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

I always think about my breakfast in terms of:

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

But I don’t Have Time!

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

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

Let’s have a closer look: 

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Banana Coconut Pancakes (grain free)

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

  • Calories: 411
  • Fat: 16g
  • Carb: 36g
  • Fiber: 9g
  • Sugars: 10g
  • Protein: 32g
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Vanilla Avo Protein Shake

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

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

Nutritional Info

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

Grain Free Coconut Blueberry Pancakes!

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

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You want the recipe?  Here you go!

COCONUT BLUEBERRY PROTEIN PANCAKES

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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NUTRITION BREAKDOWN (For the whole recipe)

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

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

Looking for more PROTEIN PACKED RECIPES?!

PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU TRY THE PANCAKES!!! Love you all!
 
xox
Naomi
Wraps, Breakfast, Summer Recipes WITH a Spin Playlist!

Wraps, Breakfast, Summer Recipes WITH a Spin Playlist!

You guys. I have been getting cuuuhhhrazy in the kitchen. Okay, I take that back. In fact–the summer is usually when I ease up on spending time in the kitchen because its just too darn nice out to spend so much time in there. Don’t get me wrong, I am still cooking up a storm like you wouldn’t believe BUT just not spending AS Much time on it (if that makes sense) I am all about the quick and easy meals that I can throw together in a jiffy. The other week I was on a total wrap kick! 

Sometimes I have time to run home for lunch midday and other days I am not home for 12-13 hours. It totally depends. This day, I had time to go home and make myself a BOMB sandwich!!

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Ingredients

  • 1 Josephs Lavash wrap (or any wrap of choice)
  • 4oz shredded chicken (I made in my slow cooker with orange juice/coconut water and coconut milk–Yes, amazing combo!)
  • handful of spinach
  • 1/4 diced avocado
  • Grainy mustard
  • Sprouts
  • Thinly sliced english cucumber
Directions
  • Spread the lavash with mustard and layer on the veggies. 
  • Add the meat, avocado last. 
  • Roll it up!
  • Stick it on a heated skillet with a bit of olive or coconut oil for added good fats and pure deliciousness.
  • Heat on both sides for about 7 minutes. 
  • I sometimes place a heavy pot on the wrap to press it down like a panini!

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Something else I have been enjoying? These BLUBERRY COCONUT COOKIES were amazing! I made them on a whim and they turned out even more fantastic than I thought! I always like to have some sort of frozen ‘treat’ in my freezer at all times Such as THESE CHOCOLATE COCONUT COOKIES or THESE ALMOND FLOUR PROTEIN BITES

BLUEBERRY COCONUT-ALMOND COOKIES

Ingredients:

  • 1/3C coconut flour
  • 1/3C almond flour
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 1/4tsp baking powder
  • 1/3C frozen or fresh blueberries
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1TBSP coconut oil
  • Almond milk (enough to make a thick batter if it is not already)
  • 2 Packets stevia (optional–I did not use but if you have an extra sweet tooth then go for it!)
DIRECTIONS
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix flours, salt, baking powder and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl.
  • Add in egg whites, oil and almond milk. Mix batter together.
  • Fold in blueberries.
  • Spoon out the batter on a greased cookie sheet or greased aluminum foil into about 1-1/2 inch thick cookies.
  • Bake for about 10-15 minutes depending on the heat of your oven.
  • ENJOY!
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I also was SOOO excited a couple weeks ago when I was asked to teach spin at my club where I work. I know myself from taking spin classes that an instructor as well as a playlist can make or break the whole class. I once have walked out of a class because the instructor played Bruce Springsteen the entire time. There is nothing wrong with Bruce, but a whole spin class of Bruce songs? No thank you!  I spent some extra time putting together (what I think is) an amazing playlist-a mix of upbeat, hill climbs, sprints, house, rap, dance…you name it. Check out the playlist below if you need some new ideas for workout music!

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I take a lot of time putting together music for my spin classes to make sure that everything flows. I typically choose house music/dance/top40 and VOILA! If you teach spin out there and reading this post you know that when you hear a song on the radio or elsewhere you think in your head “hmm could this be a good spin song?” At least thats what goes on in my head!

Soooo Back to the food…I have been making this breakfast which I used to be OBSESSED with! Likeeee too much that I had to take a break. Well I brought it back last week and Yup…just like I remembered! When I posted this picture I got a lot of questions so I will break down the recipe below.

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COCO-EGGY OATS

Ingredients:

  • 1/4C oats
  • 3 egg whites, 1 whole egg
  • 1T coconut flour
  • 1T flaxmeal
  • 1/4C blueberries (or any fruit you like)
  • 1tsp cinnamon + dash of nutmeg
  • Water

Directions

  • Cook the oats in water and set aside
  • Cook the eggs on a skillet until 3/4 done. 
  • Add the eggs to the oatmeal and mix
  • Add in the coconut flour, spices and flaxmeal
  • Mix well and nuke again for 60 sec.
  • Add in the blueberries and nuke again for 60 sec
  • ENJOY! (I top with either coconut oil, coconut butter, almond butter, diced almonds or shaved coconut)
So yes, I cook the eggs and oats separately and then combine them together and add the fruit and other goodies. I sometimes have tried mixing the eggs into the oats which is also good but I prefer it this way. Give it a try :)

In need of some other breakfast ideas? CLICK HERE! 

 imageSummer eats? Yes, Please. Cape weekends calls for lots of seafood. Eaten Outside on picnic tables with oysters served on paper plates.

imageThat view doesn’t hurt either!

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Fresh veggies and avocado with homemade balsamic dressing and (un-pictured) grilled salmon was another lunch that I enjoyed to the fullest. Summer is the best time to experiment with different fruits and veggies. Get out of the box and pick something up that normally you wouldn’t! Cherries, kiwi, mangoes, kale, collard greens, cauliflower, peppers, green beans—Just try to throw something new in your cart. Your body will thank you!

 Whats going on with me in the fitness world? Wellllll, I am giving some thought to the Boston FAP show this October. Right now, it is just a thought and I am 50/50 training/thinking about it. I would LOVE to do it with all of my heart and I am not one to half ass anything. I love the support I get from being a part of Cathy Savage Fitness as well as my fellow Savage girls. I will know for sure within the month if this is on my radar. I have some other priorities right now in my life that take precedence over a show, so things would have to fall into place for me to compete. With 5 shows under my belt (one of which I wasn’t mentally all ‘there’ for) I know the importance of going all or nothing. I want to ensure that I am going to give it my all! If I do decide to compete in the show, I know it will be another amazing experience with memories and be sure to keep you all posted throughout my journey!

 

xoxoxo

Naomi

How to Stay Motivated This Summer!

How to Stay Motivated This Summer!

We all love the warmer weather.  Beach days, vacations, weddings, BBQ’s, flex time at work ANNNDDD Shorter shorts, smaller tank tops, bikini bods and outdoor workouts! People generally are more social, smiling bigger, enjoying life just a little bit more this time of year, right? The one “problem” when it comes to the summer time is that it can be THAT much harder to find the motivation to exercise, eat sensibly and get back into a routine. I want to share some awesome tips to help you FIND MOTIVATION again in the summer time! Beat the heat :)

Check Out a New Route

Nopppeeee…still not a runner! But I do have to say that in the warmer weather, I am much more apt to take my workout outside and go for a nice jog. As you can see by the picture below, I am no speed demon. I Am not training for, distance or training for any long distance running events, I am running because when I feel like it, it feels good. I have a cool app on my phone ‘map my walk’ and it tracks the route and breaks down the split time and total distance while you are running or walking (downside, you have to carry your phone) BUT for me, it works because my runs don’t last much longer than 3.5 miles TOPS. I find it exciting and fun to get out and try a new route especially in a new area. I live right downtown, so some days I will run along the esplanade and other days I will cross the bridge and run on the Cambridge side. Some days I run toward downtown and other days I run toward Brighton and Newton. I like to switch it up

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Get Outdoors and Try Something New

As much as I love being in a gym, surrounded by hard working bodies and metal, its so refreshing to take advantage of the outdoor bootcamp workouts that you can find in your area! Most big cities offer a wide range of outdoor workouts that you can attend (some for free!) These workouts you can go to with a friend and are FUN. They will bring a whole new level of challenge to your routine and you may learn a few moves or two that you can incorporate into your own routine.  You will be moving constantly challenging different muscle groups while laughing with friends…and hey! You may even meet some new like minded fitness peeps

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FRUIT IT UP! 

We all know fruit is uhhhmazing in the summer time. It is abundant and full of flavor and color. They are also nutrient packed. Post workout- you will replenish your glycogen levels in both your muscles and your liver. Fruit provide a great mix of protein and carbs for a perfect post workout addition! My favorites include berries, cherries, peaches and pineapple (which contain bromelain, a natural anti-inflammatory that’s been proven to heal bruises, sprains, and swelling. They’re also high in vitamin C, a key component in repairing tissue)

 

Fresh fruit drizzled in honey

Fresh fruit drizzled in honey

 

Fresh berries over oats mixed with flaxseed and egg whites (great post workout!)

Fresh berries over oats mixed with flaxseed and egg whites (great post workout!)

Set a New Goal

Many people have goals of shedding a few pounds or leaning out when summer rolls around. Its as if we have this fear that our bodies are not good enough to wear shorts and a tank top. While I am all for these goals, it is also great to think outside the box. Working toward the same old goal summer after summer can get old.  Pick something NEW this summer. Join a co-ed softball team, sign up for a half marathon or 5k, workout with a friend 2x a week, set your alarm clock 30 min earlier to hit those AM workouts. Just make a commitment to try something new each week. Make the goals EXCITING and you may just be inspired.

Try a New Protein Shake!

You all know I love a good protein shake and there is no better way to cool down and refuel after a great workout whether that be a run outdoors or a hard strength  training session than with an ice cold protein shake! Sometimes in the summer, the last thing I want to do is cook a heavy meal post workout such as eggs and sweet potatoes or even heat up chicken. All I want is a thick, flavorful protein shake in a cold glass. Well  Now is the time to experiment! The optimum time to eat more higher glycemic index foods is within 30 minutes of an intense weight training workout. (replenish lost glycogen stores)   When eaten immediately post workout and combined with a good source of protein these fruits aid in the recovery process and protein absorption and can actually help the body to build muscle and burn fat. 

 

THE BEST PROTEIN SHAKE RECIPES <– Click this link to see some amazing protein shake recipes! 

Here are some simple guidelines for making a recovery protein shake!

1. First, the liquid! I like to use only about 4-8oz liquid because I like my protein shakes thicker like a milkshake!  The possibilities are endless! I sometimes use almond milk, water or even cherry juice which is great for recovery. If you had a very strenuous strength training workout, you could use a fruit juice higher in sugar which will aid in recovery such as pineapple juice (anti-inflammatory benefits as well) Or 1% milk which has protein and carbs as well. 

2. Fruits and Veggies! I always throw in frozen fruit and some sort of green veggie into my shake. You could try frozen berries, mango, cherries, pineapple, banana Try 1/2 to one cup of produce! I love using FROZEN fruits and veggies because it can substitute the ice. 

3. Add Protein and (fats)
  Choose your protein wisely. My favorite brands are Isopure, CellucorSunwarrior (brown rice protein) and Jay Robb.  1 scoop of  protein will be perfect! I put FATS in paranthesis because this can be person to person dependent. Ideally, right after an intense workout you want to get Protein and carbs into the bloodstream and body ASAP to aid in quick recovery and muscle growith. We all ideally want to seek highly digestible sources, such as fruit, higher GI carbs and whey protein. Things you can absorb fast, that don’t spend a long tim

e in your stomach and get into your blood stream and muscles quickly. 

  • Fat can slow down the rate at which food leaves the stomach, so while fat can keep hunger at bay and keep your tummy from growling, it doesn’t get into the bloodstream as quick as the protein and carbs. Fats can tend to slow down the digestion and absorption process post workout.
  • If you are looking for increases in athletic performance and weight gain, then keeping your post workout meal lower in fats would be very beneficial for you since you want to recovery in the most optimal way possible, just ensure that after your post workout shake, you are eating a REAL meal after about an hour later.
  • If you are looking for fat loss primarily, you can add in some good fats post workout, as this will aid in keeping you satiated and won’t leave you HANGRY within 30 minutes after eating, thus overall taking in less calories. When we are hangry, we tend to grab anything in sight!


4. Spices, Sweetners and herbs! 
Try adding in honey, agave and fresh herbs! I love fresh mint and basil in my protein shakes as well as a little raw honey for some quick carbs and sweetness. Another great idea is cinnamon, nutmeg or unsweetened cocoa powder. If you want to get crazy try adding different extracts such as coconut, vanilla, peppermint or orange!

5. ICE! (1 cup) will give you a thick, milkshake-like consistency, while less ice (1/4 to 1/2 cup) will produce a thinner smoothie. Use less or no ice if you’re using frozen produce. 

Cookies and Cream Protein powder (1 scoop) with ice, almond milk,  1/2 banana, spinach and flaxseed

Cookies and Cream Protein powder (1 scoop) with ice, almond milk, 1/2 banana, spinach and flaxseed

OUTDOOR BODY WEIGHT WORKOUTS 

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 TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE WEATHER

Summer can be an awesome time to chill out with such a rigid routine which can be amazing! With all of the traveling, weddings, events, BBQ’s, vacations, less structured schedule, it can be easy to throw workouts to the way side as well. I am not suggesting that you stop physical activity all together, but rather embrace the unknown and take advantage of the weather. longer days and outdoors. Post dinner instead of sitting in front of the TV, take it to the streets for a walk outside in the fresh air. MOst of us work inside all day so it can feel amazing to get some fresh air which will help you stay energized and invigorated. Grab a friend or loved one or furry friend and hit the streets!

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Make time for yourself, decrease stress and sleep!

We all know that toomuch stress can have a negative effect on ones health. The body functions best when well rested. When the body doesn’t get enough sleep it can experience stress which will thus force you to store more fat. When we are tired, we also have a tendency to grab food that may not be the healthiest so you could be taking in extra calories without even knowing it! 

Stress comes into play when our bodies go into fight or flight mode and thus slows down the metabolism and aids in fat storage. The hormone also slows the production of testosterone, which is essential for muscle building. Chronically low testosterone promotes loss of muscle mass, which ultimately can slow your metabolism.During the summer months, it is just as important to do things that you enjoy and bring your stress levels WAY down. Whether that be an outdoor yoga class, or long walk outdoors, swimming in a nearby lake or pool or spending carefree time with friends and family. You choose what makes you feel at ease!

Spend time with family....Be goofy!

Spend time with family….Be goofy!

Take in every moment

Take in every moment

De-stressing with a yoga class!

De-stressing with a yoga class!

 

DO YOUR THING THIS SUMMER AND MAKE IT THE MOST MEMORABLE ONE YET!!! 

How do you stay motivated in the summer months? 

Rowing Kind Of Sucks. But. Its Awesome.

Rowing Kind Of Sucks. But. Its Awesome.

I have a new love in the gym. Well its sort of an old love that I most recently have been revisiting.  As you know I go through phases of ‘new loves’ Kettlebells, TRX, Yoga, Spin, Sprints, Lifting. I love it all and somehow try to make time for it all in my crazy schedule. I am a true believer in balance when it comes to workouts and with the body. I also am not one to follow a strict schedule ‘because that’s what is written down and what I SHOULD be doing’ After years of stressing my body to the max, I have come to a happy place where I do things that feel good and make me happy, not just because it is something that is written down on a piece of paper and I have to do. If I am tired one day, I rest, whether or not it was a ‘planned’ rest day. If I am feeling extra good one day, I will crush a workout.

Recently, I have gotten back on the erg wagon. Back in High School I rowed for the Charles River Community Boating Company. My high school didn’t have a rowing team and I was always intrigued by getting out on the Charles River in a boat and learning the mechanics behind rowing. I fell in love with it instantly. There is no better feeling than the sun beating on your skin while working hard at a sport that you love. The rush of your heart beating with every stroke and the water crashing against the oars is such a sensation. So these days, although I can’t get to the Charles to row that often, I can take my competitive streak inside to the gym .

Every stroke requires you to work your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs, obliques, pecs, biceps, triceps, deltoids, upper back, and lats. Every single stroke on the rower is a leg press, deadlift and a back row. You are literally working every muscle in your body and because of that you are challenging your body well beyond what you think and is the main reason why the rower is ‘hard’  Your heart rate is elevated the entire time and you have be totally focused the entire time to ensure form is spot on. Rowing is not like jumping on the elliptical and mindlessly moving away. You have to use your brain, body and mind with each stroke and because of that THEREIN lies part of the challenge! 

Rowing kinda sucks. Let me explain. It is a hell of a workout. It’s one of those ways to conditioning that you hate but you also sort of love. It kicks your a$$ like WHOA.  If I throw rowing intervals into my own workout or a clients workout–it becomes a whole new ball game. Whenever I say “Ok 500M on the erg” they usually respond with “I’ll run instead!” and I respond with “why?” and they respond back “because rowing is hard!” And then we hit the erg. Once you make rowing a part of your routine, you will be more conditioned like a MO FO.

 

Concept 2 Indoor Rower

Concept 2 Indoor Rower

Source 

HOW TO ROW

The Form: The form of rowing has 3 main parts: the catch, the drive and the finish. I am going to try as best as I can to break down the 3 parts of rowing because one thing you absolutely want is to work your personal best while on this machine. You want to come off feeling, strong, invigorated and a bit pooped, but not in ‘pain’. There are a couple things ot keep in mind as you are rowing.

At no point do you want a rounded back or your head tucked between your arms. If you were to look at the video sideways, you notice that the ‘drive’ of the rowing motion is that of a deadlift.

You also want to make sure that the handles don’t ‘dip’ near the ankles OR pulling the handles very close to the chin.

Basically you want to think in your head “LEGS THEN ARMS, LEGS THEN ARMS” What this means is you should be driving with your legs FIRST and then pulling with your arms SECOND.  Pull the rowing handle into your chest/abs and once your legs are extended, you let your arms release  and bend your legs after your arms are straight. See what I mean here? Legs then arms, legs then arms. Make it a little jingle!

1. The Catch 
Place your feet in the stirrups and slide all the way forward to the flywheel, with your knees bent and pressed against your chest. Grasp the handle with an overhand grip. Lean forward slightly from the hips, but keep your chin up, shoulders back, and spine straight. Tip: Throughout the movement, be sure your feet remain flat and that you don’t tuck your chin or hunch your shoulders.

2. The Drive 
The trick to starting your drive back is moving your hands and butt at the same time. A rower’s power comes from the lower body—as you drive back with your legs, think about pushing your feet through the footboard, like you’re using the seated leg press. As you slide back, don’t start to pull yet—your arms will naturally straighten.

3. The Finish 
Once your legs are extended, knees straight, maintain a straight spine and lean back slightly from the hips, bracing your core. Now pull. Bring the handle to your chest, driving your elbows over the plane of your hips and behind you. On the pull, think about leading with your elbows. The trick to getting back to start position is bracing your abs, driving your hips forward, and pulling your knees into your chest.

row-guide1 source

WHY I LOVE THE ROWING MACHINE

All Fitness Levels Welcomed! — Indo-Row was designed to bring the benefits of rowing to the masses. Crosby has had students ranging in age from 10-94, as well as coaching students who were severely overweight and unable to perform other types of exercise.

Total Body — The biggest myth about rowing is that it is an upper body workout. Rowing works 9 major muscle groups: quads, hamstrings, glutes, lats, core, shoulders, triceps, back and biceps. In addition rowing is an amazing cardio workout.

Low Impact – Rowing is great for injury prevention, rehab and runners because it is a low impact alternative to other activities. For those who are overweight, the sliding seat displaces ones weight so the load on their body is less and they can make a smooth transition to other activities as the weight comes off.

Easy to Learn – The basics of indoor rowing can be learned in 10 minutes or less.

You’re In Control – Resistance is created by how hard you push or pull, so you control the level of your own workout.  The harder you catch, drive and pull, the harder you will work and the more resistance you will create. Your pace time and strength will increase 10 fold.

Calorie Burn –The combination of  full body movements with elevated heart rate will cause your body to becaome a fat burning machine! The potential to burn between 600-800 calories in a 45 minutes is easily attainable

Measurement Is Motivation – All rowing machines have a gauge of where you are at throughout the workout so you can constantly be checking in on yourself. You can set the dial to ‘distance’ ‘time’ or even an ‘interval’ of whatever work to rest ratio you desire. No matter what people say, seeing a display in front of you while working will push you THAT much harder. It is a main reason why I love Flywheel classes as well! Seeing my torque, speed and total RPM on the gauge as well as seeing my name on the torque board during class, I KNOW will push me over the edge to work at my personal best. On the rower, I personally like setting a distance and from there, it counts down until 0. Those last few hundred meters I really get out of my comfort zone and push myself! It also shows the split time and approximate finish time so you can try to beat your last interval!  Having milestones provides motivation to continue working hard!

Shorter Workout, Quicker Recovery- You all know I am a HUGE fan of quick and dirty workouts like the ones from THIS POST Longer than an hour? Pshhh for the birds. Seriously, ain’t nobody got time fo that! With my crazy days I want to get in the most efficient work in the shortest period of time and THAT is why I love the rower–it serves this purpose

 rowing haha

FULL BODY RIPPER ROWER COUNTDOWN!!

TIME

WHAT TO DO

ESTIMATED 500M TIME

0-3

WARM UP ROW

2:30

3-5

ROW

2:15

5-7

REVERSE LUNGES (Hold 10lb DB overhead or by sides)

———

7-10

ROW

2:20

10-11

Jump Squats

———

11-14

ROW

2:40

14-16

ROWER PIKES (see picture below

———

16-18

ROW

2:15

18-20

PUSH PRESS (using those 10lb  dumbbells)

———

20-23

ROW

2:30

23-25

Knee to Chest Sit ups

———

25-30

ROW

AS FAST AS YOU CAN!

 

image (1)

OTHER IDEAS 

1. 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off for 10 minutes <—-OMG this one is KILLER

2. 500 Meter row with 60 sec rest 5 times through

3. 3×1000 Meter row with 120 sec rest in between 

4. 200 Meter row. 10 push ups, 10 burpees-8 times through