Zain’s Ballet Barre Workout
Love the look and feel of long, lean muscle? I know I do! Physical training takes many forms for me and has never been limited to weight training alone.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to rip it up at the gym and pump weights but I also adore the look and feel of long, lean, flexible muscles. As a yogi with a daily practice, I have learned that regular stretching combined with strength is the perfect formula for a sexy figure and functional body.
One of the methods of training that I love is Barre. For those of you who have never tried a Barre class, I highly recommend it. I only recently came to try an actual class as I have a regular home barre routine that I practice once or twice a week to mix things up.
Flexible muscles are strong muscles as the quality of the muscle tissue is much better. There is more oxygen flow to the actual muscle itself clearing any toxins out of the muscles. Another huge advantage of this workout is that it really helps to improve posture.
Introducing this workout into your training regime will help you to create a sexy, healthy, natural looking physique.
You may use a wall barre if you have one or you may use a solid, four-legged chair. I do my barre workout outdoors on a railing in front of my house. Fences and levelled bannisters work too, provided they are smooth.
Warm up for 5-10 Minutes running up stairs, skipping or having a quick jog.
Do 3 sets with 25 reps per exercise
1. Barre Squats - (a) Stand facing the barre or chair, hold the barre firmly with both hands and balance on your tip toes (b) Squat, staying up on your toes using your arms to balance (c) As you lift up, raise into a calf-press. (d) Repeat. Move slowly, feeling each muscle strengthen on the way down and lengthen on the way up.
2. Quad Press - Stand facing the barre or chair. (a) Bring your feet and knees together, standing on your tip toes (b) Slowly squat down using your arms on the chair frame to balance. (c) Repeat
3. One-Legged Dancer’s Lift - Stand facing the barre or chair. (a) Stand on your right leg and use your right hand to grip the barre or chair frame. (b) Elevate your left leg to hip height and keep your leg straight. (c) Tuck your left arm under your rib cage and raise your arm up in one motion brining your fingertips to point to the ceiling and simultaneously twist your left leg and body up. You should feel this in your outer left and right hips and torso. (d) Repeat on right and left sides.
4. Lateral Leg Lifts - Bring your body parallel to the barre or chair frame. (a) Place your right hand on the barre and left hand on your waist. (b) Slowly raise your left leg out to the side and then up in front of you without allowing your toes to come to the floor. Keep your torso long and your leg as straight as possible. (c) Repeat on both right and left sides.
5. Curtsy Lunge - Bring your body parallel to the barre or chair. (a) Standing on your tip toes, cross your right leg in front of your left leg and curtsy - squat down with your legs bent (b) Lift up and repeat on both sides.
6. Barre Push Ups - If using a chair, place it against the wall so that it does not move. If the chair feels unstable, you may just use a wall. Face the barre or chair frame (a) Bring your legs out so that your body is at a 45 degree angle to the barre or chair frame (b) Place your hands on the bar under your shoulders (c) Using the strength of your arms, push your body up and down utilizing the weight of your body. (d) Repeat.
7. Barre Hip Raise - If using a chair for this, bring the chair against the wall. (a) Lay down on a mat with your right leg up on the barre or chair frame. (b) Place your arms and hands down on the floor and lift your hips. (c) Bring your left leg as far over your head as possible keeping both legs straight. (d) Hold for 30 seconds and repeat for 3 sets.
Cool Down for 10-15 minutes with light skipping or a jog and a full body stretch.
If someone were to tell me a year ago that I would make Oxygen Magazine’s Top 10 Most Inspiring Success Stories I wouldn’t have believed them. I am completely honoured to say the least. It’s thanks to Tosca Reno, The Eat Clean Diet, my fitness coach, teammates, friends and family for helping me get to this amazing place in my life where I feel balanced, strong, and healthy. 2013—let’s do this.
Weight before: 145 lb (89 lb during anorexia)
Weight now: 105 lb
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Occupation: Nutritionist/yoga instructor/fitness model
Weighing 145 pounds after a period of binge eating that followed years of anorexia (her lowest weight was 89 pounds back in 2005), Zain knew it was time to commit to a lifestyle of consistent, healthy habits rather than bouncing between two extremes. “When I started practicing mindfulness, everything changed,” says Zain.
Spending time with herself was the first step. After some reflection, Zain realized that her body image was a wreck and that her eating habits stemmed from a desire to be accepted by others. Applying mindfulness techniques she had learned through yoga and meditation, she decided once and for all not to succumb to her own “mind games.” Zain began to practice deep breathing, boosted her motivation by repeating inspiring mantras, hired a personal trainer, and began to educate herself in clean eating.
To combat emotional eating, she stopped having meals while working, watching TV or chatting on the phone. “When I didn’t focus on the meal, I would get to the end and never feel satisfied,” she says, which led to late-night snacking.
“I faced my fears and worked through them,” says Zain, who lost 40 pounds the healthy way and now teaches private workshops for women recovering from eating disorders. “Mindfulness has taught me to cultivate humility, maintain discipline and choose love rather than fear.”
Zain’s Mindfulness Mantras
Getting her mind and body in sync was monumental to Zain’s success. Her tips?
• During a meal, savor each bite, chewing slowly while admiring the colors, textures, aromas and flavors.
• Dine outdoors or near a window to calm your body and mind.
• Before your workouts, perform a mental “body scan.” Ask yourself, how are you feeling that day? Are you energetic? Tired? Stressed? Are any of your muscles sore? Are you carrying tension? Every time you scan your body, become familiar with its needs for that workout.
• While weight training, pay attention to your breathing.
But PLEASE go easy on the processed food, chemical additives, white-sugar and unhealthy fat this Holiday Season…Unless of course THIS is the physique you have always dreamed of
20 Reasons Why You Aren’t Losing the Weight
Are you trying to reach a goal weight/measurement/body fat% but having trouble doing so?
Stalled weight loss can happen for any number of reasons, but there’s a good chance your weight loss troubles are due to one or more of the reasons below:
1. You Just Started
Your body undergoes many new changes when you start a fitness program. If you went from eating processed food and couch potato to healthy eating and extremely active, it’s entirely possible you won’t lose a single pound the first couple weeks. Increased muscle glycogen capacity in response to more exercise is a big reason people don’t see weight loss at first.
2. You’re Being Impatient
It’s been a month and you’ve lost 5 pounds. Great! Or is it? To many, this is a failure. They aren’t getting back what they put in. Give it some time. Get it out of your mind that weight loss is a week to week event. Be happy about what you’ve accomplished. Progress is progress. Keep it up and it accumulates over time.
3. You’re Eating Too Many/Too Few Calories
Calorie intake is a tricky subject because eating too few calories is just as bad, if not worse than eating too may. It’s very difficult to overeat when you eat whole foods, so that’s why I focus on having people eat more food. It’s entirely possible you are not eating enough calories to lose weight. You need calories, and just as important – nutrients, if you expect your body to let go of its fat.
4. You’re Focused On Weight
Weight, weight, weight…we all seem to be obsessed about it. So much obsession, yet it’s so meaningless. Body transformation are about fat loss. If you’re losing fat, you’re doing great. Put the scale away and buy some body fat calipers to track your progress.
5. You’re Not Including Strength Training
When most people think of losing weight, they think of cardio and long drawn out sessions on the treadmill, or running to lose weight. In reality though, strength training, not cardio is the real fat burner, and should be the focal point of every weight loss exercise routine.
6. You’re Not Very Active
Do you sit behind a computer all day? A little activity can go a long way. Sometimes a single workout followed by a day of inactivity just isn’t enough. Buy yourself a pedometer and track the steps you take in a day. If it’s less than 5000, you probably need to get moving a little more. A walk after dinner couldn’t hurt.
7. Lack of Sleep
How much sleep do you get a night? If it’s not 7-9 hours, you’re making your weight loss goals much harder to reach. Sleep affects everything from appetite to glucose metabolism. Make sure you’re making it a priority. Sleep helps you lose weight.
8. Too Much Stress
How is your mental health? Your “mental fitness” is an often overlooked part of a fitness program, yet there is such a strong connection between mind and body. Stress affects hormone levels, motivation, and weight loss.
9. You’re Being Inconsistent
A workout here or there isn’t going to get you anywhere. Consistency is a major key to success. The same goes for your diet too. You can’t expect to eat processed food whenever you get the urge and still make progress. Make a plan and stick to it.
10. You’ve Reached a Weight Loss Plateau
Weight loss plateaus are very common. Weight loss doesn’t occur in a straight line. You might lose 3 pounds one week and 1 the next. It’s unpredictable. However, if you’ve been stuck at the same weight for weeks, you might want to consider implementing one of these 8 tips for how to break a weight loss plateau.
11. You Don’t Need to Lose Any More Weight
Have you ever considered the fact that you are not losing weight because you don’t need to lose any more? If you’re already small in stature, the problem might be a lack of lean body mass, and not an excess of weight. Yes, you might have some fat to lose still, but fat loss does not always equal weight loss. See weight loss vs fat loss for a full explanation.
12. Your Workouts Lack Intensity
Are you just going through the motions when you exercise? Give your body a reason to change. You need to be pushing yourself to your limits when you work out. Don’t expect your body to drop the fat if you don’t physically show it it needs to. Besides fat loss, here’s another 8 reasons you should increase your exercise intensity.
13. You’re Not Really Eating Healthy
I can’t tell you the number of times people have told me they were eating healthy, only to find out that their diets were filled with processed foods once they showed them to me. Make sure you’re eating whole foods. The problem many people don’t realize is with their grain consumption. Not all grains are created equally. Cereals and breads can do more harm than good. Stick to whole grains. That means there should only be 1 ingredient (oats, wheat, etc).
14. You’re Eating Too Many Carbs
Before you freak out, I am not anti-carb. Carbs are necessary to efficiently fuel high-intensity exercise and central nervous system function. In reality though, glucose is what’s necessary, but that’s a debate for another day. The keyword is “efficiently”. Anyways, carbs should be eaten in proportion to activity levels. The more active you are, the more you’ll need. If all you do is a workout and then sit behind a desk, you don’t need hundreds of carbohydrate grams a day.
15. You’re Lacking Willpower/Motivation
Motivation, or lack thereof is a big problem for many people, and weight stagnation certainly doesn’t help things. What do you do? You find that source of inspiration that got you started in the first place, or you pick one of these 101 ways to get motivated to lose weight. I also send out motivational tweets on Twitter, so if you could use a little extra motivation, perhaps you should click the button below and follow me there.
16. You Have a Medical Condition
Yes, there are medical reasons for why you are not losing weight; however, these affect a very small percentage of people. Understand that a low thyroid is many times an effect of a poor body composition and lifestyle choices, and not the cause. That being said, some people have legitimate medical issues, and if you think you’re one of them, definitely talk to your doctor. Medications can also make it more difficult to lose weight.
17. You Haven’t Learned the Art of Grocery Shopping
You’ve probably already heard the golden rule of shopping – shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That’s where 95% of the healthy food is. A few other things to keep in mind are:
- Don’t shop on an empty stomach.
- Establish a shopping routine.
- Make a list and plan your purchases beforehand.
- Pay with cash. This forces you to stay within budget, and keeps the processed “extras” out of your basket.
18. You’re Over-Snacking
For many people snacking goes hand-in-hand with sitting at your desk, or watching TV. These calories add up fast. In addition, many of the 100 calorie snacks from the stores are just empty calories that do nothing to help you lose weight. Make snacking work for you. You don’t want it to just not hurt you, you want it to help you. If you’re intent on snacking, at least consider eating one of these healthy snack ideas instead.
19. Your Metabolism Has Adapted
Prolonged calorie restriction can wreak havoc on your metabolism. Your body adapts to calorie restriction by slowing its production of many hormones such as thyroid. You can combat this though through cheat meals, exercise, or any one of these other 8 ways to boost your metabolism and fat loss.
20. You Still Haven’t Changed Your Lifestyle
As I’ve preached over and over again, successful long-term weight loss doesn’t come from dieting, it comes from changing your lifestyle. If you’re the person who jumps on and off diets, you need to take a different approach to weight loss – one that focuses on lifestyle changes. Weight loss is a side effect of healthy living.
(adapted from: coachcalorie)
100 Best Tips for Losing Weight In A Healthy Way
Trying to shed some weight? Here are some of the most honest tips on exactly what to do to lose it.
- Eat less and move more.
- Change your lifestyle.
- Don’t diet.
- Set realistic goals.
- Focus on fat loss, not weight loss.
- Take control of your bad habits.
- Keep a food journal.
- Lose weight for YOU.
- Surround yourself with people who support your goals.
- Make fitness a priority.
- Set your excuse limit to zero.
- Avoid processed food.
- Don’t eat too few calories.
- Don’t eat too many calories.
- Start. Those first steps are the hardest.
- Get rid of your scale.
- Buy body fat calipers to measure your body fat percentage.
- Be consistent.
- Don’t compare yourself to others.
- Use food for nutrition – not self-medication.
- Tell everyone you know that you’re changing your life.
- Study your resources, read magazines like Oxygen and books by Tosca Reno or other healthy resource books
- Take before and after pictures.
- Realize weight loss is an emotional challenge, and not so much a physical one.
- Enjoy your journey.
- Be a better you. Focus on setting and breaking your own records.
- Don’t beat yourself up for making a mistake.
- If you make a mistake, get right back on track.
- Don’t wait until tomorrow or Monday to change your life. Start now.
- Make small changes until they become habits, and then make another small change.
- Find someone to hold you accountable.
- Lose weight because you love your body, and not because you hate it.
- Weight loss happens the moment you don’t give up.
- Train first thing in the morning
- Reward yourself for a job well done with something other than food.
- Sleep at least 7-9 hours a day.
- Pay attention to how your clothes are fitting.
- Drink water. Save your calories for nutrient dense foods.
- Include strength training in your weight loss program.
- Allow yourself the occasional cheat meal.
- Check out healthy recipes and realize healthy food tastes amazing.
- Find exercise that you enjoy doing. If you don’t like it, you won’t stick with it.
- Limit flour and sugar, or get rid of them all-together.
- Pick the right time to exercise – at a time you will always do it.
- Don’t buy what you don’t plan on eating. If you buy it, you’ll eat it.
- Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.
- Keep the intensity of your exercise high. Work hard.
- Don’t grocery shop on an empty stomach.
- Pay attention to portion sizes.
- Count calories – at least at the beginning.
- Walk or ride your bike wherever possible.
- Eat more veggies.
- Play a sport.
- Plan out your meals in advance.
- Don’t eat from the bag or container. Measure out your food before you eat it.
- Make new friends with other active people.
- Take the stairs.
- Be happy about all that you’ve accomplished instead of getting down about what’s left to do.
- Eliminate stress from your life.
- Get a BodyMedia FIT Armband so you can accurately determine how many calories to eat.
- Eat your essential fatty acids (EFAs).
- Use spices on your food instead of sauces.
- Eat slowly. Chew your food.
- Try to get on a consistent sleeping schedule. Wake up and go to bed at similar times each day.
- Plan out an exercise routine. Don’t just wing it.
- Reduce your alcohol intake. However, the occasional drink is not going to hurt you.
- Eat low-glycemic foods that provide a slow and steady release of glucose.
- Understand the difference between hunger and cravings.
- Eat the majority of your meals at home. You’ll have complete control of all that you eat.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions or make requests when eating at a restaurant.
- Say goodbye to fast food.
- Don’t eat your kids’ leftovers.
- Get rid of diet products such as diet sodas.
- Hire a good personal trainer until you have the hang of things.
- Read the food labels of everything you buy.
- If you don’t know the ingredient, don’t buy the product.
- Avoid trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils.
- Play fitness based video games.
- Don’t let your significant other dissuade you from trying to get healthy.
- Say goodbye to high-fructose corn syrup.
- Forget about taking fat loss supplements.
- Download these fitness apps to make your life easier.
- Ignore your body mass index (BMI), and instead use body fat percentage as a better guide.
- Try losing 1-2 pounds per week for healthy and maintainable fat loss.
- Eat a variety of foods.
- Calorie quality is just as important as quantity.
- Add lemon, lime, orange or cucumber to your water for added flavor.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners.
- Read other peoples’ body transformation stories.
- Get rid of all the bad food in your house. Don’t temp fate. If it’s there, you’ll eat it.
- Don’t confuse thirst and hunger. Drink a glass of water when you feel cravings.
- Discover your emotional relationship with food.
- Focus on other progress measurements besides weight – blood pressure, cholesterol, confidence, etc.
- Ask for to-go boxes when you go out to eat. Restaurant portion sizes tend to be large.
- Base your meals around protein. Have protein at every meal.
- Be patient. It took a long time to put the weight on, and it will take some time to take it off.
- Allow yourself enough rest time between workouts for recovery.
- Work out first thing in the morning if you have a tendency to talk yourself out of it by the end of the day.
- Have a competition with a friend.
- Buy new, smaller clothes as your weight loss progresses.
(source: adapted from pinterest)
Top 10 Fitness Myths You May Be Falling For:
1. Women Shouldn’t Lift Weights Because They’ll Bulk Up
This is a very real fear for most women. They fear that lifting weights will bulk them up and make them look manly. Fortunately, these fears are unfounded. Women lack comparable amounts of the important muscle building hormone – testosterone. Because of this, it makes it more difficult to put on muscle. The pictures you see of women that are starting to take on the characteristics of men are usually on hormones. For the average female, lifting weights does a body good.
2. You Burn the Most Fat in the Fat Burning Zone
This fitness myth is finally dying a slow death. There was always so much confusion with this because you do in fact burn more fat in the fat burning zone. However, this is only one piece of the puzzle. You burn a higher percentage of fat in the fat burning zone, but you burn more total fat as you work out past that zone. In fact, you burn the highest percentage of calories from fat while you sleep. Take a look at the following chart. You will see that during exercise it is possible to burn a higher percentage of calories from fat in the fat burning zone, but actually burn more fat.
3. You Can Target Fat Loss
I see workouts posted all over the internet for firmer arms or for a toned butt. Six pack abs workouts are everywhere. Unfortunately, you cannot target fat loss. Fatty acid mobilization is systemic – not localized. This means that as soon as you start working out a muscle, any muscle, your body sends out fat mobilizing hormones that are dispersed throughout your entire body in just a couple heart beats and seconds. Fat is pulled from all over your body to fuel that particular activity.
You don’t get to choose where the fat goes on, why do you think you get to choose where it comes off?
You can’t target fat loss!
4. Losing Weight is a Physical Challenge
Hang on a second now. Of course losing weight is a physical challenge. You bust your butt in the gym several times a week. It’s not easy. However, the hardest aspect of losing weight is the mental part. Nearly everyone starts off a fitness program successfully following their workout program. The real challenge lies in the mental challenges. Do you give in to that pizza? Do you eat those donuts someone brought into the office? Do you skip lunch with your coworkers at the risk of being a social outcast? What’s one day of missing the gym really going to do to you? These are the real challenges of losing weight. The mind has a powerful influence over the body. If you take control of your mind, the weight loss will follow.
5. Products/Supplements Can Help You Lose Weight Fast or Easily
Run far and fast from any fitness claims that you can lose weight fast or easily. There is nothing fast or easy about losing weight. It will be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done in your life. Be careful of the claims made on fitness products. Do they seem realistic? Are the claims funded by the company that produces the product? Reebok was sued for $25 million for their toning shoe claims. Their claim was that just by walking in their shoes you could tone your legs. Those claims turned out to be false, and they paid for it. Getting fit is not as easy as slapping on a new pair of shoes. You have to work for it – work hard. Nothing in life worth doing comes easy.
6. You Burn the Most Calories During Your Workout
I can’t tell you how many times I’m asked what the best workout to lose fat is. Here’s the thing – you might burn 200-500 calories or so during your workout, but you burn thousands, yes thousands of calories the rest of the day. I highly urge you to stop worrying about the amount of fat you’re burning during your workout, and instead focus on having the best workout you can. Use your workouts to build that valuable muscle that will in turn continue burning fat for you at all hours of the day – even in your sleep. You want to lose weight in your sleep? Then get in the gym and start lifting those weights.
7. You Need to do Cardio if You Want to Lose Fat
Are you one of those people who are slaving away on the cardio equipment trying to lose weight? If you are, you might want to reassess your fitness program. Don’t get me wrong, cardio is a great addition to a well rounded fitness program; however, it’s not necessary to lose weight. Your heart does not know the difference between the treadmill or weight training. It only knows perceived stress. In essence, any workout can be considered cardio, it’s just a matter of if you are working out in your aerobic or anaerobic zone. And as I pointed out in myth # 2, you don’t burn more fat in the fat burning zone (aerobic zone). They two key components to losing fat are building muscle and having a great diet – with your diet being the most important.
8. 0 Grams of Trans Fat Means There’s No Trans Fat
Did you know that just because a product says that there’s 0 grams of trans fat that it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s actually 0 grams? You see, the FDA allows all food products that have less that .5 grams of fat to be expressed as 0 grams. This means that a product that has 6 servings (like the product shown below) could potentially have 3 grams of trans fat. Not exactly 0 grams…huh? Look at the following product. You’ll see they claim 0 grams both on the front and the back, yet in the ingredients there is partially hydrogenated oil (trans fat). Always read the ingredients! This is just 1 of the 10 examples I provided of food advertising tricks food manufacturers use to mislead us into buying their products. I highly recommend you read the article and be aware of the rest.
9. Muscle Weighs More Than Fat
Maybe you’ve heard this one before. People try to explain why they weigh as much as another person yet look so much more fit. They say that it’s because muscle weighs more than fat. I understand their intentions, and they are almost right. In reality, what they are trying to explain is that muscle is denser than fat. 1 pound of muscle weighs the same as 1 pound of fat, just as 1 pound of feathers weighs as much as 1 pound of bricks. So, this phrase is half right. Muscle does weigh more than fat – when comparing similar sizes, which is essentially density. More important than whether this is a myth or not is to understand that your weight is meaningless, and that a 130 lb woman can be much more fit than a similar 130 lb woman. It’s all about body composition. Throw your scale away and pick up a pair of body fat calipers.
10.Do Sets With Higher Reps if Your Goal is to Burn Fat
How many times have you heard the advice that if you want to lose fat you should use high reps, and if you want to build muscle, you should use low reps? What makes higher reps so special? If you’re lifting weights with sets of more than 12 or so reps, you’re wasting your time. Once you start getting up into those high reps, you’re turning your workout into a cardio session. While there is nothing wrong with that, it’s not going to help you build muscle. Remember, muscle is what helps you burn fat. Muscle contains mitochondria, which is where fats are oxidized. You will burn calories working with higher reps, but as I already pointed out, the calories you burn during your workout are miniscule compared to the calories you burn the rest of the day. Keep your workout intensity high, focus on building muscle, and burn fat the remaining 23 hours of the day.
Correct Portion Sizes for Weight Loss
Trying to lose weight? Are you frustrated by counting calories?
Many don’t have the time or patience to count calories and weigh their food, and find that this simple guide is the best way to calculate correct portion sizes for weight loss. Here is how to accurately portion out your food without being forced to count calories.
(The following guidelines are suggested for normal, healthy individuals who are either trying to lose or maintain weight, and are exercising regularly.)
Most people get too little protein in their diets. Increasing protein intake can stimulate your metabolism, improve exercise recovery and muscle mass, and reduce body fat .
One serving of protein = the size and thickness of one palm of your hand for a woman, and 2 palms for a man. This equals about 20-30g for women and 40-60g for men, 3-5x per day. Here are some examples of protein sources:
- chicken, beef, turkey, bison, or other lean meats
- tuna, salmon, shrimp, crab or other wild-caught fish/shellfish
- Eggs (have only 6-7g of protein each, so best to add to a smaller portion of meat or other protein source)
- greek yogurt
- supplements such as whey or soy protein powder
Vegetables can be eaten pretty much without restriction. Load them on your plate and fill up on them before you move onto the other foods. Full of phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, they are essential to your overall health, fight illnesses like cancer, and keep your bones strong and your muscles from deteriorating over time.
One serving of veggies = enough to fill your two hands cupped together. Eat 1-2 servings of veggies with each meal, 3-6x a day. Basically every single time you eat, add a veggie. Here are some examples of vegetables:
- spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard greens, cabbage
- broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
- bell peppers
- summer and winter squash
- celery, cucumber
- sweet potato, yams (starchy, so keep these to one serving per day if trying to drop fat)
Like vegetables, fruits also contain micronutrients and fiber. Unlike vegetables, it is best to limit fruit if trying to drop weight, because it does have a high sugar content, even though it is natural sugar.
One serving of fruit = a medium sized piece. Eat fruit 2-3x per day. Here are some examples:
- strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
- peaches, plums, apricots
- oranges, grapefruit, tangerines
Fat got such a bad rap in the last few decades. The truth is that a balance of saturated (yes! saturated!) and unsaturated fats is essential for good health. The right balance of fats keeps your body inflammation in check, gives you energy for your brain and the rest of your body, and transports the vitamins and minerals you eat throughout your system.
One serving of fat = 2 thumbs put together, or 2 tablespoons. Have 1 serving 2-3x per day. Eat a mix of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats for optimum nutrition. Here are examples of each:
- animal fat such as eggs, dairy, meat, butter, cheese
- coconut and palm oil
- nuts such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, macadamias, pecans
- pumpkin seeds
- olives, olive oil
- fish oil, canola oil, flax oil
- sunflower seeds, flax seed
- peanuts, walnuts
Try to always ingest whole grains with a protein or fat to slow down the digestion and keep insulin levels steady. If your goal is fat loss, eat these in the morning or after your workout when insulin sensitivity is prime.
One serving = size of fist. Eat one or two servings per day. Here are samples of whole grains:
- rice, preferably brown or wild
- whole grain bread or pasta
- cracked wheat
Put It All Together to Create Healthy Meals
So now that you know proper portion sizes and how often you should be eating them, you can plan your meals accordingly. Each meal will have a serving of protein and a veggie or two. Add in fruit and fat 2-3x a day, and the optional whole grain – choosing from the foods listed above or others you find. You now have the blueprint for a healthy meal plan!
(source: coach calorie)
50 Fitness Facts You Need To Know
I love this awesome list of fitness facts! Just when I thought I could call myself an ‘fitness geek’ BAM.
Some of these facts really surprised me. Did any of them surprise you and if so, which ones?
- Carbohydrates, protein, fat, and alcohol have 4, 4, 9, and 7 calories per gram respectively.
- It takes a 3500 calorie deficit to lose 1 pound.
- Insulin and growth hormone have an inverse relationship.
- The average person can store 500 grams of glycogen.
- Only fat and protein are essential macronutrients – carbohydrates aren’t.
- Muscle glycogen is about 3 parts water to 1 part glucose.
- You burn more calories during the 23 hours you don’t exercise than the 1 hour you do.
- You don’t need to do cardio to lose weight.
- The fat burning zone does not burn more total fat calories – only a higher percentage of calories from fat.
- You’re never too old to do squats.
- Weight loss is not a physical challenge – it’s a mental one.
- The scale cannot measure body fat percentage.
- You can eat anything you want and still lose weight – but weight doesn’t always equal fat.
- You can’t target fat loss – fat loss is systemic.
- Muscle does not weigh more than fat – it’s just denser than it.
- 0 grams of fat on a label doesn’t always mean there’s no fat in the food product.
- Whole grain bread is still a processed food.
- Eating healthy is not more expensive than a junk food diet.
- You can’t calculate body fat percentage from height and weight alone – you need to physically measure it.
- You can get glucose from both protein and glycerol – not just carbohydrates.
- Just because a box says “whole grain” on it, it doesn’t make it healthy.
- You should never attempt weight loss at the expense of your health.
- Being vegetarian doesn’t just mean you don’t eat meat – it means you follow a plant-based diet.
- Workout times and negative side effects are positively correlated.
- Gym membership prices are negotiable.
- Cooking your food can both lower some nutrient content, and make some more bioavailable.
- There’s a high correlation between the fitness level of the people close to you, and your own physical fitness.
- It’s harder to put on 10 pounds of muscle than it is to lose 10 pounds of fat.
- Once an adult, fat cells can be created, but they cannot be lost – only shrunken.
- Eating at night does not make you fat – overeating does.
- You don’t need to do curls to get good biceps.
- Being skinny does not automatically mean you have a low body fat.
- The perimeter of the grocery store is where 90% of the healthy food is.
- If bad food is in the house, you’ll be more likely to eat it.
- Thyroid hormone output and exercise intensity are positively correlated.
- Healthy levels of testosterone are good for both men and women.
- You don’t need a gym membership to strength train.
- Unless you weigh less than 100 pounds, it’s unlikely you need less than 1000 calories to lose weight.
- Workout intensity is positively correlated with the degree of EPOC – the afterburn effect.
- There are 3 types of skeletal muscle fibers – type I, type II-A, and type II-B.
- 80% of people who begin an exercise program will quit.
- The body has 3 energy systems – ATP-PC, anaerobic glycolysis, and aerobic.
- Strength gains come from muscle hypertrophy and improved muscle fiber recruitment.
- Dehydrating a muscle by 3% can cause a 10% loss of strength.
- The thermic effect of food (TEF) is highest for protein.
- Lactic acid is not the cause of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
- The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest.
- Direct abdominal exercises are not necessary to get good abs.
- You can lose weight and still gain muscle; likewise, you can also gain weight while still losing fat.
- Consistency and patience are key to long term successful weight loss.
(source: coach calorie)
Eating the Same Boring Diet Foods Everyday?
Time to change it up. If you want to create a healthy lifestyle for yourself that lasts, here are my best tips to avoid bordom:
1. Keep It Fresh
Yes, it’s true, steamed veggies can definitely get redundant so create your own clean dipping sauces. Some of my favourites include:
- Honey Mustard (1/4 cup whole grain mustard + 1 tsp raw honey. mix.)
- Sweet Chili (2-3 red chilis + 1 tsp raw honey or 1 packet stevia + 1 clove garlic + 1 tsp vinegar. blend.)
- Yogurt & Dill (1/4 cup greek yogurt + 3-4 sprigs fresh dill + himalayan crystal salt & black pepper to taste)
- Pesto (1/2 cup basil + 1 tsp vega oil + himalayan crystal salt + 1 tsp grated parmesan + 1 tsp pine nuts. blend.)
- Avocado Hummus (1/4 avocado + 11/2 tsp tahini + 1/2 lemon juiced + himalayan crystal salt & pepper to taste)
- Wasabi Soy (1 tbsp braggs + 1/4 tsp wasabi + 1/4 tsp minced pickled ginger)
- Pico de Gallo (1/2 cup tomatoes + 1/4 red onion + 3-5 sprigs cilantro + lemon juice + himalayan crystal salt & pepper to taste. chop and allow to marinate for an hour)
- Tahini Sauce (1 tbsp tahini + 1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds + pinch himalayan crystal salt)
- Coconut Sauce (2 tbsp light coconut milk + 1 tsp unsweetened coconut + pinch red chilli + 2 leaves thai basil + 1/4 tsp lemon grass + himalayan crystal salt
- Peanut Sauce (1 tbsp crunchy organic peanut butter + 1/2 tsp braggs + 1/2 tsp ginger powder + 1 tsp honey)
2. Try Seasonal Produce
Every season offers its own selection of fruits and vegetables. I encourage you to think outside the box and try produce that you haven’t before.
Don’t know what to do with parsnips? How about a parsnip mash just boil like you would potatoes, add some unsweetened almond milk, sea salt & pepper and some dill and blend. Voila! Parsnip mash!
Same goes for fruits..not sure what to do with figs? Why not whip up a smoothie using 1/2 cup fresh figs, 1/2 banana, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 scoop protein powder, 1/2 tbsp cashew butter, and a few drops of vanilla creme liquid stevia. Poof! Fig Smoothie!
Click here to see what’s on my shopping list this autumn. What new foods would you like to introduce this fall?
3. Revamp Your Favourite Meals into Clean Ones
Take your tried and true favourite meals and find recipes to revamp them and make them healthy. I LOVE nachos but man are they full of unhealthy fats, preservatives and well junk…click here to see how I revamped one of my favourite dirty snacks into a clean and healthy version!
My favourite swaps:
- greek yogurt instead of cream, sour cream or cream cheese
- applesauce instead of oil for baking
- pumpkin in place of oil for baking
- liquid stevia, sucanat or dates instead of sugar or syrup
- beans instead of refined grains for desserts
- coconut oil instead of vegetable oil
- fresh herbs rather than packaged, dried varieties
4. Enjoy Smoothies
Sometimes whipping up a fresh, nutrient dense smoothie is all it takes to beat diet boredom. Combine your favourite veggies and fruits as well as protein powders and healthy fats to make incredible and creative combinations of your own! This is another great place to experiment with seasonal produce.
For my favourite smoothie at the moment, click here.
This is what a year of eating clean and training can do fo your body.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a visual of what it has done for my mind and my spirit.
Achieving my dream physique took a complete lifestyle overhaul which involved learning that at each and every moment, I had a choice: I could choose health or sabotage, love or fear, starvation or sustenance, chips/candy/cupcakes or cauliflower/carrots and cashews.
Check out this month’s special issue of Oxygen Magazine’s Off The Couch (on newsstands everywhere today) to read my personal journey to weight loss and my tips on how to live the life you deserve.