At-Home Work Out Equipment and Home Workout Video!

I love using my TRX® to get a quick workout in. You can do some intense versions of push ups, plank/crunch/pike, back rows, 1-leg squats and lunges…and this is just the start of it. The bundle I bought, which I think was the ‘pro’ bundle, came with a dvd to start me off which helped a lot. From there, I just used my creativity and YouTube to find out about more exercises. I posted a exercise video on this blog a while back, CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO. I jibber jabber in the beginning of the video for a while, but eventually get to the point lol!
Next, my Ultimate Dip Station. You can do way more than dips on this piece! I do hanging leg raises and oblique knee tucks, inverted rows, push ups, dips, use your imagination and have fun with it!

I have plenty of body weight and kettlebell videos on this blog for you to check out to get some good ideas for exercise routines, so make sure to watch some of those videos when you get a chance. BUT, I went ahead and made a NEW VIDEO for you all that includes some body weight exercises as well as exercises using my Dip Station, Sand Bag, Stability Ball, and Resistance Bands. The NEW VIDEO is at the end of this post:).

If you are aiming to get your heart rate up there in the ‘cardio’ zone and increase your metabolism and fat burning capability of your workout, then choose exercises that target large muscle groups and are compound exercises(squats, rows) that hit many muscle groups, those that involve 2 or more joints and large groups of muscle working together in a coordinated movement. Only do 2-3 compound exercises per workout, because they take a lot of energy and tire you out, also do them at the beginning of your workout. End with isolation exercises (involve the movement of a single joint), such as the bicep curl.

Also, you may count reps and sets or do the exercises in an interval format. For example, if you are doing squats, push ups, dips, and rows; you could do 3 sets of 10-15 reps of each exercise (enough resistance for each movement that you’re almost at point of total fatigue by 10-15th rep). Or, you could time yourself while you perform each movement, and try to get in as many reps as possible (with good form) of each exercise during your ‘effort interval’ and have a short period of rest in between, before moving onto the next exercise. You can do the exercises in a circuit format (in which you move from one exercise to the next) and perform a given number of rounds of the circuit. For example, perform each exercise for 45 seconds of effort with 15 seconds of rest & move to next exercise, do all exercises in circuit for 45 seconds of effort with 15 seconds of rest, back-to-back until finished 1 circuit. Rest for 1-2 minutes at the end of each circuit and perform as many circuits as desired for your goals. I usually pick 10 exercises and do 2-3 circuits.

For my routines, I do reps and sets when I’ll be doing a lower number of reps/exercise because I’m lifting heavier weight that day. On the days in which I’m aiming to get more of a ‘High Intensity Interval Training’ effect, I do timed intervals and use lighter weight in order to get a higher number of reps and obtain a ‘cardio aspect’ to my strength training routine. It is great to change up the format of your routines day-to-day and week-to-week, not only to accomplish muscle confusion, but also to avoid boredom!

Exercise video is below!

Multi-Taskin’…Healthy Diet & Exercise No Matter How Busy Your Day Is!

A day in the life of Natalie!

Don’t fret, I don’t really think that you care what my day is like, I’m not that vain! I wanted to give you an example of how I fit in healthy eating habits and consistent exercise into a very busy schedule.

I usually wake up at 5am and don’t finish work until 7:30pm. So as you can see, I have LONG days…don’t be misinformed though, I LOVE what I do for a living and I DO get breaks here and there throughout the day. I use those breaks to eat healthy and exercise and it makes getting through my day all the better and easier! Exercise gives me stress relief and stamina, healthy eating gives me a clear mind and energy!

I wake up early enough so that I have at least 1 hour to get ready and eat breakfast before I need to hit the road to train my first client. Right out of bed I down 1 scoop of fiber dissolved in a 16oz. glass of water. Then, I usually eat oatmeal & Shakeology (for protein/vitamins/energy/health). I have a cup of coffee with a splash of unflavored almond milk. I head out to train my clients usually until noon or 1pm. Then I have my afternoon ‘break’. I eat lunch, which is either a salad with chicken or a ‘green smoothie’ (pics below) and get to work in my ‘office’. This is when the multi-tasking comes into play!

In my ‘office’ (which I’ve moved outdoors since the weather is beautiful right now in MD) I do admin, marketing, blog, emails, and anything else it takes to make my personal training business run! During this ‘office work’ I fit in intermittent workouts. I use my body weight, dip station, TRX, stability ball, kettlebells, resistance bands and sandbag. I will do a post tomorrow on exercises I do using these different pieces of equipment.

I also have a gym membership. I go there daily as time permits and do cardio on the arc trainer, step mill, treadmill, and spin classes. I also use the bench, barbells, smith machine, cable machine, kick boxing bags, dumbbells, and other equipment that I do not have at home. While I’m working in my ‘office’, I do exercises for the muscle group I’m focusing on that day that I can do using my home workout equipment so when I hit the gym, I can get in and out of there faster. For example, I do push ups/chin ups/dips/core work at home while working on my upper body days so that when I hit the gym I only have to do the remaining exercises on the equipment that I don’t have at my house, such as bench presses and cable rows and the step mill!

When I need a power packed lunch but will be working out within an hour or so and don’t want to feel ‘full’ or ‘heavy’ from undigested food, I eat a green smoothie! I throw 8 oz of water, a few dashes of cinnamon, a handful of spinach salad leaves, a scoop of my chocolate Whey protein supplement and 1/2 scoop of my Shakeology, a couple frozen organic strawberries, ice cubes in my Bullet Blender cup and blend. I LOVE the ‘Bullet’ because it has single portion cups that you throw all your ingredients into and blend and drink out of the same cup, then throw the cup in the dishwasher and go!

Finally, after my last personal training client, I come home to eat a light dinner. I won’t be doing anything quite physical after dinner so there is no need for a huge dinner, you just don’t need the fuel because you’ll be sleeping soon! Today, I trained a client outside at a park that overlooks downtown Baltimore City…it was BEAUTIFUL today! I came home and threw a salmon filet in my skillet and cooked it in 8 minutes on my stove top, I also threw together a quick side salad.

So that’s my day! Jam packed yet I get in my workout and healthy nutritious meals to fuel my body and help me achieve my goals!

If you find that your schedule is busy and it is hard to get a workout in or eat healthy food while on the go, YOU’VE GOT TO PLAN AHEAD. I prep meals the day in advance if I know the following day will not allow me time to cook or I won’t be home for lunch. I ‘schedule’ my workouts in my calendar so I know exactly when I am scheduled for my daily workout and don’t end up at the end of the day, out of time and no energy to exercise.

Hope this helps! Health & Happiness,

Nat

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Tricks of the Trade…or shall I say TREATS!!!

Hi All,
If you are human, then there is no stopping those cravings for sweets! Don’t deprive yourself of what the good lord gave us, alter the ingredients a bit so that your treats have more nutritional benefits

As a lady, I of course love chocolate and crave some from time to time (every day, LOL!). So I make sure to include it in some of my meals. But, it must be high quality and “healthy” chocolate. RAW CACAO powder is absolutely fabulous to add to my protein shakes or fruit smoothies that I make daily. I get my chocolate fix without feeling guilty and my body reaps the benefits of this wonderful ingredient. Click Here to learn benefits of Raw Cacao Powder. I also drink Shakeology (Chocolate) for post workout or as a meal replacement when I’m in a rush, you can also blend it with frozen strawberries and ice and make a strawberry chocolate ice cream healthy treat! Check out Shakeology by clicking here! 

Coconut Oil or flour is an amazing ingredient to add to your daily consumption. It does have saturated fat but is a medium chain fatty acid and is metabolized by your liver differently, so it ends up being good for you (similar to how Olive Oil is good for you). You can use coconut for cooking, take a tablespoon for energy, great for your hair and skin, aids in weight loss, etc. Click here for the benefits of Coconut.

My favorite herbs, spices & natural flavors to jazz things up in the kitchen are:

  • Cinnamon – in smoothies, cook in steamed veggies and chicken, in oatmeal/couscous/quinoa, dash on salad
  • Basil & Scallions – chop fresh and sprinkle atop salads, veggies, omelettes
  • Cilantro – great blended in green smoothies and added to chicken
  • Rosemary & Thyme – cook with chicken and salmon
  • Cayenne pepper – use just a dash or two in veggies or scrambled eggs
  • Mint – blend in smoothies
  • Balsamic vinegar – dash on top of salad with spices for home-made dressing
  • Lime & Lemon – squeeze fresh juice on top salads, on cooked chicken and veggies, in water
  • Orange – Fresh squeezed juice and zest on top chicken while grilling/cooking it for a zing

Now for a great recipe I got from the World Wide Web…. Here is a great way to have your cake and eat it too! Pancakes that is!

Protein Pancakes

Ingredients (makes 5 pancakes)

9 medium egg whites
1 tub of natural fat free cottage cheese (8-9 oz.)
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 teaspoons honey (or unrefined sugar, only if you must)
1 cup of oats

Cooking spray


Instructions

1) Combine egg whites, cottage cheese, sugar/honey, cinnamon and oats in a bowl and blend until smooth.

2) Now use a small omelet pan and spray with a cooking spray. On a medium heat pour in mixture until the bottom of the pan is completely covered.

Wait until small bubbles appear on top and then flip the pancake over and cook for another 2 minutes. Place cooked pancakes on a plate and cover w/another plate to keep heat in and keep cooked cakes warm while you finish cooking all pancakes.

Once you have all the pancakes cooked, you can top with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a side serving of your favorite fruit, apple/banana goes really well.

Women eat 2 of these pancakes as a meal. Men eat 3 as a meal.

Enjoy!
Nat

Cheers to Big Thighs, Butts & Bellies…or the opposite!

Hi Gang!
St.Patty’s day is this weekend and I know that some of you will be engaging in ‘drink fests’, so in hopes of ruining your fun 🙂 I thought I’d post about calories in alcoholic beverages! And for those of us who drink alcoholic beverages, our intake of alcohol usually increases during the holidays! There are more holiday parties and family gatherings and opportunities for drinking when there usually wouldn’t be. Guess what, a few extra drinks here and there adds up! Top o’ da mornin’ to ya!

Just how much extra am I depositing into my caloric bank, Natalie? I hate to tell you but some drinks may pack on an extra 1000 (that’s right, one thousand) calories with as little as 3 drinks….

Now, for my RawFitnessTV readers who are working hard to lose weight, these extra calories can be detrimental to your weight loss efforts. So I wanted to educate you all about the caloric content in popular alcoholic drinks so that you can make the right choices! Below are a few misconceptions people have when it comes to drinking alcoholic beverages.

“Vodka, Rum, Gin (Liquor) drinks are low calorie”. WRONG! Did you know that one measly shot of vodka is on average 85-95 calories, and the flavored vodkas are 100-160 calories per shot! Well, even if you get a diet whatever and vodka…it is probably going to cost you about 170-320 calories…and if you do a cranberry and vodka, add on the caloric content of the cranberry juice, you get the point. Here is a link for caloric content of some popular alcohols: Calories in Alcohols/Liquors

“I’m okay because I’m drinking red wine…it’s healthy for you…only 60 calories or something…” WRONG!
Yes, red wine has good properties, but in MODERATION. Opt for Dry Red or White Wine to hit 75-85 calories per approximately 3.8 ounces (not your average pour, more calories when you have a full glass of wine). The average pour is about 130-150 calories per drink…
Here is a link for caloric content of wines: Calories in Wines

“Margaritas, Martinis, Oh My”
…need I say more. Lots of sugar = lots of calories…your average Margarita costs you about 450 calories….oh so tasty martinis are around 175-200+…not good!

“Beer is no good”…Wrong and Right. Look, I’m not going to tell you that drinking beer is all fine and dandy but when it comes down to it, you can get a light beer for low cal, like 80 calories. This adds up of course, but the good thing about beer is that it comes in a bottle or a can and you can measure exactly how much you have been consuming. When you get a mixed drink or wine, the size/ounces/amount of your drink vary and you never are quite sure the caloric content of your drink. At least with beer you can be, this is the only reason why I give beer some props…so grab a Heineken Light and throw on your beer goggles!

Overall, just watch the number of alcoholic drinks you have. Drink a glass of water in between drinks. Avoid high sugar drinks with lots of different ingredients. Realize that even if you have diet soda (which I never suggest anyone drink) the liquor in your drink adds a hefty number of calories.

Don’t take part in the ‘Irish Yoga’ and work on melting away those excess fat pounds by doing a little Irish Jig and watching what your caloric and sugar content is in your drinks at St.Patty’s day celebrations;).

To Your Health and Happiness!!
St. Patty’s Day Party Pooper Nat 😉

Keep Your Ass on Track w/Weight Loss…The Most Important Question

The Most Important Question….

What is keeping me from achieving my weight loss goal?

CONSISTENCY!

If you aren’t consistent with your diet and exercise routines, you will have a hard time reaching your fitness goals. What do I mean by consistent? Exercising 4-5 times every week using a structured exercise program designed for your goals and needs. Eating healthy on a consistent basis, following healthy eating habits 99% of the time, eating to live instead of living to eat.

Why is this so important? Because, you need to live a healthy and active lifestyle in order to look healthy, remember the saying “You are what you eat”. Eating unhealthy meals and snacks here and there add up over the weeks, months and year. It adds up to a couple extra or several extra added pounds of fat, and fat is not what we want to add to our body…we want muscle! You must follow a healthy diet ALWAYS! No twinkies, snickers bars, bacon-wrapped filet mignon here and there!

If you are trying to shed the pounds you have got to be CONSISTENT! Fight your cravings for the nutrient deficient snacks by creating healthier snacks and meals for yourself. For example, if ice cream is your choice learn how to make natural strawberry sorbet at home, which is fat free and much healthier for you. And most importantly come to the realization that food is just simply food! Don’t let it run your life or it will ruin your life. EAT TO LIVE, DON’T LIVE TO EAT!

Exercising regularly is key too. Keep that blood pumpin’, burn calories, and build muscle. Increasing your muscle mass will increase the number of calories your body burns daily as well as increase metabolism. You will have more energy, feel happier, be less likely to succumb to cravings, and exercise will aid in weight loss and fat loss. When you workout, you are more likely to eat healthy that day because you don’t want to reverse all the hard work you just put in lifting weights or doing cardio.

HOW CAN I STAY CONSISTENT? IT IS HARD TO, I KNOW!

Just like anyone else, I get cravings and maybe get a little lazy here and there…so what is the number one thing that keeps me on the right track? GOALS!!!!!

I don’t just workout everyday and eat healthy everyday for the hell of it, I have goals that keep me motivated and push me through every workout. YOU MUST HAVE GOALS, long term and short term goals, TO STAY CONSISTENT! Goals should always be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

Short Term: Daily, Weekly & 30 Day Goals. Everyday you should challenge yourself to eat healthy and workout. Take it one day at a time. Each week you should plan to complete a certain number of workouts and eat healthy 99% of the time. Your 30 Day goal can be a 5 pound weight loss goal, decreasing your body fat by 3%, adding 1 mile to your longest running distance, etc. Your short term goals should help you get a step closer to some of your long term goals.

Long Term: 1 Month, 3 Month, 6 Month, 1 Year, etc. 1 month is in between a short term and long term goal. In 1 month you could train to run a 5K. In 3 months you could lose as much as 12- 24 pounds if you work really hard. Have you ever wanted to bike in a cycling event and maybe raise money for a charity? Than sign up for a 20, 40, 63 or even 100 mile cycling event that is 6 months – 1 year out. Knowing that you have to be in shape for this event, getting people to sponsor you, and the desire to finish the race well will keep you motivated to stay consistent with your diet and exercise routines!!

So…SIT DOWN NOW AND WRITE DOWN YOUR SHORT & LONG TERM GOALS, STAY CONSISTENT, STAY HEALTHY!!

Yours Truly,
Nat

Key Diet Tip to Drop the Excess Fat & Maintain Weight Loss!

YOU MUST FOLLOW A HEALTHY AND CONSISTENT DIET IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE WEIGHT LOSS!
No matter how much you workout, if you eat junk food, processed food, fast food, etc. overall foods that are nutritionally deficient…you will have trouble meeting your fitness goals!!!!

I tell my clients over and over again in order to keep it embedded in their brain and always on their mind.
    “Watch what you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat!!”

What You Eat: Each food/drink of every meal should be packed with nutrition! Many clients say they have a hard time meeting their daily caloric goal (ex. 1500 calories). The main reason is that they aren’t eating nutritious foods! Ensure that your meals are nutritious by following these easy steps.
1. Make each meal yourself! Don’t go to a fast food joint, deli, restaurant, carryout! Make your meals, bring them with you to work, bring them in a cooler if need be. You have no idea the ingredients that fast food and carry out restaurants put in their meals, and sometimes the workers at these joints don’t even know what is in the food themselves because it is highly processed! Processed food = nutritionally deficient food in almost all cases so PLEASE avoid it ALWAYS!
2. Each ingredient of your meal should be natural and unprocessed! When you are putting a meal together make sure each ingredient is beneficial to and needed by your body. 98% – 100% of the ingredients should be found in nature (fruits and veggies) and able to eat right from nature without processing. Think simple ingredients. If you can pick it from a tree or a crop than it is good. When we eat nutrient dense meals we feel more satisfied, our bodies function properly, and get our essential vitamins and minerals!
3. Correct Ratio of Macronutrients! 1-2 Part Fat, 2 -3 Part Protein, 2-3 Parts Carb. Watch your fat intake. No trans fats and avoid unhealthy saturated fats at all costs. Mono- and Poly-unsaturated fats are good. Your total calorie intake should be about 15-25% Fat daily. Lean Proteins like chicken breast, turkey and fish are great. Try and have a little protein in every meal if you are participating in heavy training, for moderate exercisers eat protein sources for key meals like breakfast, lunch and dinner. Your total calorie intake should be about 30%-40% Protein depending on your training capacity. Now carbohydrate intake is important to make sure you have energy! BUT, you must eat the right carbs! Fruits and veggies should be your main source of carbs! Eat a few servings of grains per week (if lifting weights, you’ll need complex carbs to fuel your workouts, ex. oats or quinoa) to get carbs, such as brown rice or oatmeal (no processed carbs please!).
When You Eat: Eat 5 small meals daily. Eat about every 3 hours. Eat for what your activity level will be over the next 3 hours. Eat breakfast!!!! Eat no later than 7:30PM! Eat your heaviest and higher carb meal no less than 2-3 hours before a workout and make sure it is a LOW Glycemic Index meal. If you need energy before a workout eat something very small, low in protein and fat, and no less than 30 minutes pre-workout. Afte
r your workout try and eat a high protein, higher Glycemic index carb, low-no fat meal within 30-45 minutes. Eating every 3 hours will keep your insulin levels balanced and your body happy!
How Much You Eat: 5 SMALL meals. Make sure your meals are small! If you are trying to eat 1500 cals/day then divide that by 5 and you get 300. So each meal should be about 300 calories. You can increase or decrease your caloric intake at each meal depending on your activity level for the next 3 hours. Practice portion control, use smaller plates, make your meals before you are starving for food to avoid making too much and the “Eyes are bigger than your Stomach” syndrome.

Last, BUT NOT LEAST! YOU MUST BE CONSISTENT WITH YOUR DIET!

When on a diet, most people have their “Off Day” in which they allow themselves to cheat a little…this is counterproductive if you binge on junk food or processed food. Your body will crave it the next day believe it or not, somewhat of a withdrawl effect. And once you dibble dabble and endulge in something unhealthy you will think, “Oh just one more piece of chocolate won’t hurt…”. Well, guess what, it will because you are enabling these bad habits again that you worked so hard to eliminate from your life. Don’t go all David Hasselhoff on your ‘Off Day’. Instead, have an “Off Day” but make that “Off Day” a day which you allow yourself to endulge in something healthy. Splurge and buy a lean cut of steak to cook for dinner, make yourself some homemade strawberry sorbet for a dessert, be creative but just remember to make sure whatever you endulge in is beneficial to and needed by your body!

Health & Wellness!
Nat

Soy & Estrogen & Weight Gain…Part 2

Please Read These Articles!

Take a few moments of your day to quickly read these short articles. I have been doing some research about estrogen levels and health problems including weight loss and thyroid problems and came across this very important information…it could save your life!

“Environmental Estrogens”:
http://www.energeticnutrition.com/vitalzym/xeno_phyto_estrogens.html

“PhytoEstrogen and Its Food Sources”:
www.dietaryfiberfood.com/phytoestrogen.php
“Estrogen Foods”:
http://www.endo-resolved.com/diet_phytoestrogens.html

Health & Happiness, Nat

The Soy-Craze & It’s Unknown Adverse Health Effects – Please Read!!!

If you don’t know, now you know….this is for all those who drink soy milk, eat tofu, or consume any products that use soy and claim it is a ‘healthy’ option…POP! I am now going to burst your bubble…
I’m not a doctor, biologist, certified nutritionist (although in process of getting that!) BUT this is information gathered that is relevant and true to the best of my (and other certified doctors, nutritionists, etc.) knowledge. Take this information and use it to change or not change your diet, it is up to you (and you may also want to speak with your primary care physician before changing your diet). BUT I care about me, my family, my friends, my readers, and anyone who breathes and I want to spread the warning about soy!

It is unfortunate but true, here in the U.S. and all over the world, there are so many food and beverage options available to us in this modern technologically advanced world which are harmful to our well-being. A LOT of companies and products claim to be ‘health products’. BUT do your homework first before taking their word over what un-biased research tells us.

I used to eat tofu, tempeh, soy milk. I was so happy that I found soy and soy found me…low fat, you can make tofu taste like anything and it isn’t animal protein, soy milk replaced my dairy (after I found out that dairy was not meant for humans and has adverse health effects)…and then one sunny day, my world fell apart…Okay, my world didn’t fall apart BUT I found out that soy is secretly NOT that great for my body! Damnit!!!!!!!!!!!!

Like many others, I wanted to get to and maintain a healthy weight/physique. I wanted my body to operate at optimal well being and capacity. I wanted energy, strength, a long life, yada, yada, yada. No, really, health is SO important to me and should be to you, it affects everything you do and how much you can enjoy your life. Everything you consume should be taken into consideration as to how it will positively or negatively affect your well-being.

Soy…the unfortunate truth. No matter if your soy is organic or GMO, it contains ‘anti-nutrients’, toxins and plant hormones.

  • Protease inhibitors that interfere with protein digestion
  • Phytates which block mineral absorption (zinc, calcium and iron deficiencies)
  • Lectins & Saponins that lead to gastrointestinal and immune disorders
  • Oxalates which can promote kidney stones
  • Oligosaccharides (cause gas)
  • Phytoestrogens or Plant Estrogens – “strong enough in numbers to cause significant endocrine disruption, leading most often to hypothyroidism with its symptoms of weight gain, fatigue, brain fog and depression”. And cause fertility problems!


What the?! POP went my bubble of love for soy. All along I was shopping at the supermarket with a big smile on my face, picking out all these soy products, when little did I know I was harming my body and my ability to achieve my optimal wellness! If you want more in depth information about soy, I have included one of the articles written by a doctor that I read about the adverse affects of soy. SOY IS BAD FOR YOU ARTICLE.

So, if you have been complaining about your inability to lose weight, you think…do I have a thyroid problem?, or are eating soy daily…now you know! Soy is in SO MANY foods on the shelf in your grocery store, so check the ingredient list. Unfortunately, “soy is now an ingredient in more than 60% of the foods sold in supermarkets and natural food stores, with much of it hidden in products where it wouldn’t ordinarily be expected, such as in fast-food burgers, breads and canned tuna” (SOY IS BAD FOR YOUR ARTICLE).

What to eat now? Use whey protein as a protein supplement for shakes and meal replacement. I use unsweetened Almond milk in my coffee and shakes. Whole foods, no more processed crap. Read the ingredient list on everything you eat. And for all of you who are vegetarians…combine nuts, seeds, unprocessed grains, beans to make sure you are getting complete protein.

AND SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY!

Health & Happiness, Nat

Small Plates! And I’m NOT Talking About Tapas – Key to Weight Loss & Proper Diet

Hey there RawFitnesser’s!!
Let’s talk nutrition! Oh, if I had a dollar for everytime I was asked how much protein, carbohydrates, veggies, fats should I be eating with each meal…well, I wouldn’t have many dollars! Why? People don’t ask because they think that just because they’re eating healthy foods for each of their meals, their daily consumption is right on track for the goals they want to achieve…for the most part, this can result in frustration because these people aren’t seeing the results they thought they’d see.

Don’t go out and buy some scale to weigh your food, this will likely drive you crazy…and who has time for that!!! It’s all about the macronutrient ratios in each of your meals. Macronutrient ratio? The ratio of protein to carbohydrate to fat in each meal. And I break carbohydrate into ‘starchy carb’ (whole food, unprocessed, ex. oatmeal, sweet potato) & ‘veggie carb’ (greens, salad, broccoli). Fats should be ‘healthy’, unsaturated, no trans fat, think omega-3’s!

First, start journaling everything you eat and drink throughout the day. Use an online food journal like www.fitday.com to help calculate your daily totals of calories, protein, carbs & fats. I’d love for you to journal for the rest of your life because it really helps people stay consistent with their diet, but I know this may be unreasonable to ask. So, commit to journaling for 3-4 weeks. By the end of 3-4 weeks, it will come natural. You will know how much & what to eat daily for your meals to stay within your daily caloric goals and macronutrient ratios of protein (35%-40% total daily cals.), carbs (30%-45%), and healthy fats (20%-25%). Down the road, if you feel like you’re ‘relapsing’ and getting off track with diet, start journaling again to get your butt back on track!

Second, use smaller plates!! Here in the U.S. our ‘average’ plate sizes just keep getting larger and larger, and we keep filling them up with more and more food and our daily caloric intake keeps gettin’ higher as well as those waistbands! Use smaller plates. A general rule, your protein portion should be the size of your palm (minus your fingers!), your ‘veggie carbs’ should be the size of your 2 hands cupped together, and your (un-processed, whole food) ‘starchy carb’ portions should be no more than the size of your ONE clenched fist. Protein sources should be lean & low-fat, make sure that your daily diet includes at least 20% healthy fats.

Third, as I’ve already stated…macronutrient ratio for each meal is important. Start your day off with a healthy breakfast! And yes, it should include each one of the macronutrients (protein/carbs/healthy fats). Good example 1/2 cup oatmeal, 4 egg white w/spinach omelete, fish oil supplement. Try to include your ‘starchy carbs/grains’ (like oatmeal) to your earlier meals. Your body needs the fuel from the starchy carbs to get through the day, and also this way you will burn off those carbs by dinner. Eat for what you will be doing NEXT, this applies to the macronutrients. I eat a hearty breakfast (protein:starchy carbs, ex. oats & protein powder) to fuel my morning workout…and then eat a somewhat lighter lunch (protein:veggie carbs, ex. steamed veg & egg white omelete) because I will be working at a desk for a couple hours and somewhat sedentary…my dinner is light as well (protein:veggie carbs), because…guess what? I’ll be going to sleep soon after and don’t need as much ‘fuel’. Depending upon your workout program, daily activity level and goals, your macronutrient ratio will differ from the next person. But as a general rule, heavy weight lifting programs & goals to gain lots of lean muscle? You’ll NEED protein to recover those muscles & carbs to refuel the glucogen stores you lost during your workout so you can have the stamina for the next days workout, so don’t starve yourself of these macronutrients. Trying to shed the fat & slim down? You’ll still need to lift weights because you need that lean muscle to keep your metabolism up and burn fat, but you may be doing a less intense weight lifting program & more cardio, so your need for protein and starchy carbs will be a little lower & your diet should consist of lots of ‘veggie carbs’, moderate amounts of lean proteins, and low-to-moderate healthy fats. Keep fats lower but not below 20% & make sure they’re healthy fats!

I know this is a lot of information, and you may be like…what the hell are you talking about?!?!?!? To simplify, some general rules on portions for different types of food are below. Also, contact me at nmeconi@customizedpt.com if you’d like an individualized nutritional plan & exercise plan for your specific needs & goals. For those that have that drive and motivation to stick to a plan but just need a little ‘jump start’ because they aren’t sure what their diet & exercise should be, my ‘Jump Start’ program I offer is a perfect fit for you. Inquire at nmeconi@customizedpt.com for information regarding my ‘Jump Start’ program or other personal fitness training services offered by Raw Fitness!

General Rule for a Single Portion (taken from my fav site, bodybuilding.com)

  • Cereal (1 c.) = a baseball
  • Salad Dressing (2 Tbsp.) = a shot glass
  • Nuts (1 oz.) = a cupped palm
  • Cheese (1 oz.) = a ping-pong ball
  • Lean Sirloin Hamburger (3 oz.) = a mayo jar lid
  • Peanut Butter (1 tsp.) = one die
  • Beef (3 oz.) = a bar of soap
  • Rice (1/2 c.) = an ice cream scoop
  • Potato/Sweet Potato = a computer mouse
  • Butter (1 tsp.) = a Scrabble tile
  • Fruit (1 c.) = a tennis ball
  • Cooked Pasta (1/2 c.) = a golf ball
  • Fish (3 oz.) = a checkbook
  • Chicken (3 oz.) = a deck of playing cards

As always, good luck on your endeavors! – Nat –

H-2-the-O: Improve your ability to lose weight faster & feel better while doing it!

Improve your ability to metabolize your fat stores, recover from exercise quickly, increase energy, experience clear-mindedness, avoid constipation, improve your ability to absorb nutrients from food sources!

We all know we can die from dehydration…and the fact of the matter is that a majority of people drink just enough water daily to keep us going, but are far from being sufficiently hydrated. We drink soda, coffee, tea, juice, and other sugary drinks or artificially sweetened drinks throughout the day instead of water…this is NOT a good source for hydration people. First of all, these options are either high in sugar or calories or artificial crap that the body can’t process OR they are diuretics (coffee & tea). When there are additional ingredients in our drinks, our bodies have to process that first, and then the body can use whatever amount of water is left. Look, you just need to drink plain water…no if’s, and’s or but’s!

 

Want to improve your body’s capability to burn up those stubborn fat stores?

Without sufficient hydration, your body stops working properly. Your body NEEDS water to perform all of its very important daily tasks. For example, if you’re not drinking enough water, your body’s organs can’t function to capacity, your Kidneys stop working at capacity and the Liver takes over for some of the Kidneys duties…well guess what, your Liver isn’t able to do some of its important tasks…and you know what the Liver does, one of its primary functions is to metabolize stored fat into energy….

So, without sufficient hydration, your liver doesn’t metabolize fat for energy as it should.

Constipated? Fatigued? Want to improve your immune system?

Water helps rid the body of waste. Your blood, muscles, lungs, and brain all contain a lot of water. Your blood helps deliver nutrients to the systems throughout your body, your muscles need water to recover, and water helps your complexion and is important for avoiding those wrinkles ladies…and men! Do you suffer from constipation? Think that taking laxatives will cure your constipation? No, in fact, your bowel function may become dependent upon laxatives, and you can’t take laxatives for the rest of your life…all you have to do is stay hydrated! Hydration is key in proper digestion and bowel function, without water you will be constipated. Fully hydrated = blood efficiently delivering nutrients throughout your body, efficient waste/toxin removal, regulation of body temp., properly functioning digestive system and bowel function = Happier, healthier, much better feeling you! Not to mention, aids in weight loss and weight management!

So now that I’ve lectured you on the importance of H-2-the-O…How much water should you drink????

Every person’s water requirement for proper hydration will be different. A general rule states that you should drink half your body weight in water…so if you weight 150 lbs…you should drink 75 ounces of water/day. BUT, there are several factors that can affect your daily requirement for H2O. You must take into consideration the following. Your metabolism, health conditions (liver disease, sick?), activity levels (daily exercise?), climates (hot/dry/humid/cold), altitude (high altitude?), weight (overweight?)…below is a link to a decent tool to calculate how much water you should drink daily. Figure out what you need to drink/day and then read my tips to saying hydrated below.

Daily Water Requirement Calculator

http://nutrition.about.com/library/blwatercalculator.htm

Tips to Remembering to Drink that Water Every Day:

It’s not easy to stick to your new goal of drinking ‘X’ ounces of water per day. So here are a few methods I show my clients to help them stay hydrated!

1. “Rubberband Man”: If you must drink 8 bottles of water/day. Put 8 rubberbands on your wrist, and take one off each time you drink a bottle of water.

2. Buy a good BPA free water bottle. Calculate how many times you need to fill this water bottle up to meet your daily requirement. Bring this water bottle with you EVERYWHERE. Drink a few chugs per hour. If you need to drink 4 water bottles/day. Try to drink 2 water bottles before noon, and two after 12PM before 7PM.

3. Buy a few cases of water. Every morning, pull out the number of water bottles you need to drink for the day. Take with you to work. You should just about finish up drinking all of the water bottles by the time you get home if you work a 9a-5p job.

4. Replace your soda drinking/sport drink/other soft-drink or flavored drink with water! No more soda or flavored drinks people!

I know you can do it. And if you are trying to lose weight, or are affected by any of the above health issues, than that’s a motivation in and of itself to jump on the ‘hydration train’!…or else….say hello to my lil’ friend!!! lol…

 JUST KIDDING!!! —-> Health & Happiness, Nat