pH Level &The Low Down on Nuts & Seeds

After writing this post, I can’t get that song “It’s peanut butter jelly time” out of my head…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3pbJ2tmYMg ……oh youtube…..
Let’s just start off by stating that I can’t really eat peanuts. Peanut butter, peanuts at a baseball game, peanut sauce…nope! Have a not so good reaction. Peanuts are ‘acidic’ and they just don’t make me feel great. So when I started doing this vegan/macrobiotic challenge I was worried that I’d have issues because I know that nuts and seeds are used often in vegetarian/vegan dishes. Well, it turns out that I’m able to eat nuts and seeds that are on the ‘alkalizing’ side of the pH spectrum, and also eat in moderation (ex: small portion, 2x/week). If you eat a crapload of nuts, like when snacking at a baseball game on a bag of peanuts, it’s likely that you will feel like a load of crap. Lesson learned, certain nuts & seeds are better for you than others, always eat in moderation, think of nuts and seeds as a ‘dessert’ or ‘snack’ or ‘seasoning’.

My fave nuts and seeds are sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and almonds (which are all considered ‘alkalizing’). It’s important to sprout your nuts and seeds or lightly pan or oven roast them in order for them to be easily digested, more alkaline and become ‘alive’ so that your body can absorb the wonderful array of nutrients these little guys are packed with. Soak nuts in water overnight to sprout or roast your pumpkin seeds in a pan to ‘open’ the outer layer of the seed. Read quick tidbit below about pH level, acidity/alkalinity, and link to a chart of alkaline/acid-forming foods.

“Balanced body chemistry is of utmost importance for the maintenance of health and correction of disease. Acidosis, or over-acidity in the body tissues, is one of the basic causes of many diseases, especially the arthritic and rheumatic diseases.
All foods are “burned” in the body–more commonly called “digested”– leaving an ash as the result of the “burning”, or the digestion. This food ash can be neutral, acid or alkaline, depending largely on the mineral composition of the foods. Some foods leave an acid residue or ash, some alkaline. The acid ash (acidosis) results when there is a depletion of the alkali reserve or the diminution in the reserve supply of fixed bases in the blood and the tissues of the body.
It is, therefore, vitally important that there is a proper ratio between acid and alkaline foods in the diet. The natural ratio in a normal healthy body is approximately 4 to 1 — four parts alkaline to one part acid, or 80% to 20%. When such an ideal ratio is maintained, the body has a strong resistance against disease. In the healing of disease, when the patient usually has acidosis, the higher the ratio of alkaline elements in the diet, the faster will be the recovery. Alkalis neutralize the acids. Therefore in the treatment of most diseases it is important that the patient’s diet includes plenty of alkaline-ash foods to offset the effects of acid-forming foods and leave a safe margin of alkalinity.
A healthy body usually keeps large alkaline reserves which are used to meet the emergency demands if too many acid-producing foods are consumed. But these normal reserves can be depleted. When the alkaline-acid ratio drops to 3 to 1, health can be seriously menaced. Your body can function normally and sustain health only in the presence of adequate alkaline reserves and the proper acid-alkaline ratio in all the body tissues and the blood.
For optimum health and maximum resistance to disease, it is imperative that your diet is slightly over-alkaline. The ideal ratio, according to the world’s foremost authority on the relationship between the acid-alkaline ratio in the diet in health and disease, Dr. Ragnar Berg, is about 80% alkali-producing foods and 20% acid-producing foods.” From: http://www.alkaline-alkaline.com/ph_food_chart.html
 
Follow this Link for a chart of alkalizing and acid-forming foods: http://www.alkaline-alkaline.com/ph_food_chart.html
 

So the macrobiotic challenge is in part about ‘alkalizing your blood’. Although most grains are considered acid-forming, they are balanced by the emphasis on lots of veggies and dark leafy greens (green smoothies, veggies in every meal). Grains are also less acidic than animal protein and dairy products AND are much easily digested, have fiber to ‘clean’ your digestive tract, and so on. Grains like millet and buckwheat are actually considered on the ‘alkalizing’ side of the spectrum. Greens are most alkalizing. I must say that after having one of my green smoothies, I feel revived and energized beyond your imagination, workouts are amazing, and everything seems ‘clearer’. This is the true example of how food should be your fuel! Learn what works for you and what doesn’t.

Eat more ‘alkalizing’ foods to ‘clean up your blood’, avoid disease and feel better!

Lots of water! Avoid alcohol and flavored drinks.

Eat ‘cooling’ foods (ex: avocado) in warmer seasons and ‘warming’ foods in colder seasons.

Eat nuts/seeds in moderations.

Avoid too many acid-forming  & constricting foods (meat, fish, poultry, eggs).

Eat grains & legumes in their ‘whole’ and natural state (not rolled, steel cut, processed, canned) and in moderation and correct portion sizes (1 serving grains = 1 clenched fist; 1/4C beans) and with veggies.

Next post I will talk about ‘constricting’ and ‘expanding’ properties of foods and how this affects your well-being!

To Your Health, Natty Mac

Week One of 30 Day Macrobiotic/Vegan Challenge Complete! Results Fantastic! *Quinoa Veggie Slaw Recipe

Happy Monday!
It’s day #7 and I’m feeling great! I am so much more clear-minded, energized, light, balanced, clean, strong, happy! This first 7 days was challenging but I took it one day-at-a-time and made it 7 days thus far, which I’m proud of! Also, I couldn’t have done this without the help and instruction from Kara Mejia! Check out her website www.cookingwithkara.com and blog www.naturalbodymakeover.com

Challenges: Learning how to prepare meals, learning what my daily meal plan would be, avoiding coffee, alcohol, processed snack foods, and eating when out and about.

What I did to overcome these challenges: Made a list of all the foods I’d include in my diet for the next 30 days. Combined these foods to make meals. Put meals into categories for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. Put these meals into an excel spreadsheet that listed Monday – Sunday what I’d eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. I then made a shopping food list according to the weekly meal plan and hit up the local health food stores (Trader Joe’s & Mom’s Organic Market). Once I got home I prepped/cooked large quantities of some of the staples or foundations of the meals that I’d be eating, such as brown rice, quinoa, ground roasted pumpkin seed, adzuki beans. This way I could have the food ready to go and all I’d have to do is combine foods according to the meal I wanted to make. I had my meal plan printed out and recipes close by so I could quickly prepare a meal.

I think the work week days are easiest because there is less temptation. On the weekends, you are out and about enjoying life and there are many temptations to stray from the vegan/macrobiotic lifestyle. Such as hanging out with friends or family gatherings. I just made sure to bring my own food with me if I was going out and about and would be hungry (like a green smoothie) or if I was going to a family gathering (crab feast cookout on Sunday w/beer & margaritas, a lot of temptation but I held strong!) I brought my own meal and water with lemon. I still had a great time at each outing this weekend, more focus on enjoying spending time with family and friends and being active. It’s a great way to live life to its fullest for sure!

Changes in Fitness & Body & Appearance:

The first few days I noticed a little less energy, this due in part to my body detoxing and cleansing itself as well as me still trying to figure out how to get enough calories/protein/energy for my daily activity and exercise. Once I got more of a handle on daily meals, I feel ‘light’ and energized, more focused and ready to take on the day. Refreshed. My skin complexion has improved, which was surprising because I already had a pretty good complexion. I’m maintaining my lean muscle mass while I’ve noticed my abs and arms have become more defined. After eating, I feel satisfied and don’t crave sweets or salty snacks as I used to. Also, the meals are so much easier on your digestive system and this adds to that energized feeling versus ‘crash’ or heavy feeling after eating a meal. Overall, I am impressed with the improvements after only 7 days and looking forward to this upcoming week.

Week One Summary:

I’d suggest this approach to nutrition to anyone. My goal is to improve my overall wellness and a more defined/strong physique. This approach to lifestyle and nutritional habits is also specifically beneficial to those who are looking to lose weight, decrease body fat, digestive system problems, and other concerns involving your health because the macrobiotic/vegan approach to diet helps to ‘balance’ your body’s alkaline/acidic levels which affect how your systems and organs function and interact. Thus having an affect on your mind, body, energy, spirit, and overall wellness! You learn how to combine foods properly for the best digestion and absorption of nutrients. You learn what foods will help you achieve more balance in pH and overall wellness, such as mental clarity and organs functioning properly. Drinking enough ‘clean’ (filtered) water is vital. An emphasis on ‘whole’ grains that are not processed such as brown rice, quinoa, millet, and amaranth. An emphasis on organics. An emphasis on little-to-no  added salt & sugar. An emphasis on dark leafy greens and vegetables according to your climate and season. Chewing food and taking the time to eat each meal. Getting daily exercise and breathing deeply to get more oxygen. Sea vegetables for nutritional content and minerals. Avoiding dairy, meats, poultry, eggs, and a little bit of fish is okay. Really taking into consideration the effect a specific food has on the body and if it is in line with your goals and ‘constitution’.

Favorite Recipe of Week One:

Quinoa & Veggie Slaw: (1 serving)

  • Organic Cooked Quinoa (1 portion = size of one clenched fist)
  • Organic Sliced Red Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Zucchini, diced celery, red onion, carrot & Kale lightly steamed in water in pan on stove top
  • Pumpkin seed – roasted and ground, blend in food processor or magic bullet with 1-2 tsp dulse flakes & pinch of sea salt.

Mix quinoa & veggies together with a few dashes of ume vinegar, juice of lemon, fresh cilantro, pepper, dill, basil, 1-2 tsp chickpea miso paste, & if desired 1-2 tbsp vegenaise. Cover bowl & let sit on countertop for 15-20 minutes so that flavors infuse dish. You can serve this mixture as is with the roasted ground pumpkin seed mix ontop, or you can ‘wrap’ in a leaf of collard green for a lettuce wrap.

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a doctor. What I write in my blogposts is simply information that I have gathered over the years from reading and researching several health related topics from credible resources as well as personal experiences. I urge you to consult with a physician before changing your diet. The purpose of my blogposts are to share my experiences and fitness knowledge with everyone I possibly can to help others in their journey to improve their state of well-being.

Health & Happiness,

Nat

30 Day Vegan/Macrobiotic Challenge…the experiment begins!

Don’t judge or come up with an opinion about something until you’ve tried it! This is something I’ve had to remind myself when researching different healthful approaches to nutrition, exercise and lifestyle habits and/or programs.
SO…I’m embarking on 30 day challenge to see how taking a vegan/macrobiotics/whole & unprocessed foods approach to living will affect my energy levels, wellness, physique, lean muscle mass, body fat%, mental functioning, bodily systems/organs, physical fitness levels and so on.

I already consumed products somewhat ‘vegan’ for the better half of my days Monday -Friday. Oatmeal/vegan protein powder for breakfast, smoothie w/vegan protein powder and a salad for lunch, steamed veggies w/eggs or poultry or fish for dinner. So as you can see, for the most part, dinner was where I included animal product. So instead of eggs/poultry/fish/meat, I just needed to eat grains/legumes/beans/nuts/seeds in place of these animal products. Well, there is much more to it than that I found out!

I know that you need to eat a combination of seeds/nuts/beans/legumes/grains throughout the day when not including animal proteins/products in order to get sufficient minerals/vitamins/protein. However, since I do much more strength training than the average person, I really needed to monitor my macro-nutrient intake.

So I wrote down all of my ‘food options’, divided them up into categories (beans/legumes, grains, greens/vegetables, nuts/seeds/healthy fats, ‘superfoods’ & fruits, and ‘seasoning’). ‘WHOLE’ grains like brown rice, quinoa, and amaranth are a main staple for this diet plan. Greens & non-starchy veggies will also play a big role in the 30 Day Challenge. Greens such as kale, spinach, collards, and veggies such as carrots, cauliflower, onions, cucumbers, celery, daikon, and cabbage. Beans/legumes like lentils, chickpeas, adzuki and tofu are about 10% of daily diet. Seeds & nuts such as flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, and walnuts as well as healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, and sesame oil are important as well but used in moderation. My ‘superfoods’ & fruits list consists of prunes, currants, Dulse flakes, dates, cacao powder, apples, wakame seaweed, kombu seaweed and Nori. Finally, ‘seasonings’ used sparingly such as miso paste & miso mayo, apple cider or ume vinegar, tamari, sea salt, dates, cacao powder, and as much fresh herbs as I want like cilantro, mint, parsley, and basil to add flavor to dishes.

Once I compiled a large list, I found out that most things like the grains and beans would need to be soaked and then cooked in a pressure cooker (pressure cooker cuts cooking time down by A LOT). I needed to avoid my processed products that I so dearly love (LOL), such as my protein powders, vitamins/minerals, fiber supplements, and caffeine such as coffee and also avoid using sweeteners as much as possible, also no alcohol. Also, I have to give up my beloved oatmeal for breakfast, but I’m replacing it with quinoa which I love!

I have already started to wean myself off of my coffee habit and incorporate more grains/beans/seeds and less protein powder. I thought I’d feel weak, but instead I’m slowly feeling clearer minded and more like my body is really using every bit of the food I eat to fuel my activities until my next meal. I’m still experimenting with correct daily amounts of grains/seeds/beans/legumes to ensure I have enough protein/calories by the end of the day. Like anything new, you learn as you go!

This 30 Day Challenge for me will be to experiment with ‘whole foods’ to see if my physical fitness levels & lean muscle mass can remain the same or even improve without the use of supplements such as protein powder or vitamin/mineral/other supplements. There are ‘vegan bodybuilders’ out there, so I know it is possible to achieve improvements in lean muscle mass while maintaining low body fat% but…from the vegan’s I’ve researched they did use vegan protein supplements and other supplements. So this will be a testament to see how I do with going completely ‘whole foods’ & as unprocessed as possible.

My Goal: To stick to the rules! This is a 30 Day cleanse/makeover/challenge and in no way do I plan on restricting my diet to this extreme after the 30 days is finished…BUT, I plan on taking a lot of what I learned and implementing it in my nutrition & lifestyle habits post-30 day challenge. Will I stay ‘vegan’? To be completely truthful…I doubt it…nothing personal to any ‘vegans’ but it seems very restricted and I don’t do well with extremes. I do want to lower the impact I have on the planet and the types of products I use to be of no harm to animals…we will see how much ‘veganism/macrobiotic’ I keep with me after the 30 days, how about that?

My other goal: To help you see how veganism/macrobiotic/whole foods/unprocessed foods can make a positive impact on your health and to possibly help others wean themselves off of a highly processed, junk food, red meat, artificial sweeteners/flavor/additives, pesticide/fertilizer/hormone/gmo ridden diet and ‘take a walk on the wild side’ and transition to more whole foods because all-in-all, I think that if your diet includes a majority of whole, unprocessed foods you will improve & experience a higher level of wellness!

Wish me luck & questions/comments/suggestions are appreciated & welcome!

Health & Happiness,

Natty Mac 😉

Lunch with Kara Mejia – Macrobiotics Chef – SO GOOD!

I met with an amazing woman yesterday. Her name is Kara Mejia and she is a macrobiotics chef/natural health advocate. She recently moved to the area from NC where she used to offer cooking classes to groups of people as large as 50 – 100 per class and has helped so many people get over disease, illness, overweight, or just feeling crappy all the time.


For lunch yesterday we had an Open face brown rice and lentil grain burger, Garden slaw with a kiss of red lady slipper apples… And sinfully delicious, chocolate, date truffles dusted in cocoa, coconut, and pecans…Sorry, no picture. We ate them all:) Next time …

After having lunch with her today (she prepared a meal for me personally in her very own home, what a treat!), I totally 100% can say I agree with her approach to nutrition and health and would recommend her to anyone looking for answers to their health & wellness dilemma’s or questions in general regarding nutrition and how macrobiotics can help.

She follows a vegan diet that consists of whole foods/unprocessed/prepared to avoid disturbing the enzymes/nutrients they contain that our bodies need. Her website is www.cookingwithkara.com and email is cookingwithkara@gmail.com. If you’d like to contact her in regards to your health or macrobiotics or whatever, she is amazing!

This Thursday she is offering (to anyone willing to commit & lives in the general Baltimore area) a 30 Day Cleanse/Challenge to get themselves on track and on the path to wellness. It will entail 6 consecutive Thursdays from 7-9pm in which she will teach cooking/prep/rotation know how & questions/answers and is supplying with a grocery list/plan to get you through the 30 days. It is similar to the ‘raw’ approach to diet in that you prepare foods in a way that your body can digest and obtain the vital nutrients it needs to function properly, but there is ‘cooked food’, look up ‘macrobiotics’ to get a better understanding or check out her website. If there was anything I’d ever suggest someone try out and give a go-ahead for 30 days, it would be this. She is ‘rolling out’ her business here and offering this 6 week (30 Day Challenge) FOR FREE only once. If you want to join me in this challenge, contact me a.s.a.p. so I can send you the details so that you can decide on whether you’d like to commit to this. Or contact Kara Mejia at the email I listed above.

Info, share with friends & family: 30 Day Natural Body Makeover beginning Thursday, April 26th, from 7 -9pm. This will be a 2 hour Introductory cooking and weight loss program re-introducing folks to the deliciousness of whole foods. It will run for 6 consecutive Thursday evenings and the best part…. It is absolutely FREE!!! For further details they can get in touch w/Kara directly by calling (706) 970-9505.

Kara also shared a book with me, in which I’ve already read a good amount of it, and I’d recommend to ANYONE and EVERYONE. It really helps spell out all the improvements/changes/ways to go about eating/diet to assist someone in becoming very knowledgeable on what is good and bad for the body! It’s called, ‘Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition” Third edition, by Paul Pitchford.

Health & Happiness!

Natty Mac

Insankness – Upper Body Workout – New Video! Tone Up & Slim Down!

It’s time to bring it! This video is RatedRAW, I named it ‘Insankness’ because it is insane and sick…in a good way! Enjoy, as Tony Horton says, “Do your best and forget the rest!”. Health & Happiness, Natty Mac;)

Do You Have the WILL POWER???

So, Do you have the will-power?Will-power to do what, Natalie? Well, the will-power to make new and positive habits that will benefit and improve your health, wellness and fitness.

Will you stick to your guns and stay on the right track by following the commitments you made to yourself?

What commitments?
 The commitments you chose to make; the lifestyle, nutritional and fitness changes you need to put into action in order to achieve your fitness goals.

I’m sorry….you can’t just start exercising and expect that this change alone will get you past your weight loss plateau or help you lose 10, 20, 30 pounds…it’s just not how it works. You have to make changes in ALL areas of your life in order to accomplish your fitness goals! You need to change your mindset, your diet, your lifestyle… I hate to tell you but you didn’t get where you are (if you’re not happy with where you are) by simply not exercising. Slowly but surely you made “unhealthy or destructive” changes in your lifestyle over time. And when you put all of these negative changes together you get your current state of health, wellness and fitness.

So What do I do to get on the right track to optimum health and wellness?
Remember we all started out “fresh, healthy and non-toxic” when we were born. Over time we all mature and change, we made lifestyle changes that had negative impacts on our mind and body. You need to figure out what changes you made in your life that got you where you’re at. So…if you are overweight, what did you start doing or not doing that caused you to slowly gain weight over the years? Eating fast food, having too much sugar in your daily diet, overeating, not drinking enough water/day, no nutrition in your diet (eating pizza, pasta, processed foods?!). What did you start doing that decreased your energy levels to almost nothing? No daily activity or exercise, toxifying your body with processed foods that are void of nutrition, too much work and lots of stress? Assess all areas of your life and figure out what you need to “fix” in those areas to improve your health and wellness.

Now it’s time to make positive changes in your life1. Write all of these “negative” changes you made over the years. Write down the actions you must take to reverse the destructive habits. For example: A negative change could be transitioning from eating healthy, well-rounded, home-cooked dinners at home to eating microwave meals or take-out for dinner. To reverse this, you must stock your refrigerator with ONLY healthy options and plan for the week ahead for what you will eat for dinner and prepare meals in advance when needed.

2. Now, you are going to write down your “I WILL’s” and “I WON’T’s” (What you will do & won’t do to have positive change in your lifestyle habits) on this piece of paper and place it somewhere that you visit daily (like your refrigerator!). Try to follow the commitments you made for the next 7 days. Re-evaluate them, and then commit to another 7 days. Repeat this process until you have achieved your fitness goals. And remember, jot down some longer-term goals (1 month, 3 month, 6-12 month) so you have an end goal to motivate you when times get tough!

Some areas to evaluate and improve upon to work toward optimal wellness:

Exercise: Work your way up to getting three to five 30-minute cardio sessions/week and three to five 30-minute strength training sessions/week.

Nutrition: Daily water intake, majority of diet from whole, unprocessed food, 3-5 well-rounded and balanced meals/day.

Lifestyle: Decrease couch potato time and increase healthy activity time. Work on managing stress and other areas of your life that have been lingering in the back of your mind, such as your social life, family life, career, hobbies and so on.

Good Luck, You ARE Capable, You MUST Commit, You MUST put it into Action!
Nat

Keep it Fresh, Make it FUN!

Change it UP!!! If you have recently implemented an exercise routine into your lifestyle OR if you have been exercising for years…this post is for you!

DO NOT LET YOURSELF GET COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR ROUTINE! Make it exciting and change it up often, now I don’t mean you have to every day or even every other session. But at least do a different exercise routine every week. You will see better results and you will feel it too!

SO…What if you runout of ideas? Be creative! Did you play sports as a kid or in high school? Do you have any hobbies? Download some new soundtracks for your workout. Use a different type of equipment (use a kettlebell or medicine ball in your next routine).

If you change it up, you won’t get used to your routine, and you won’t know what to expect or when to expect it. I know people all too well, and I do this myself as well if I do the same routine over and over…do you ever hold back because you want to leave some steam for what’s to come later on in your workout?! If you change it up, you won’t know what’s about to hit you later on in the workout and you will give each and every part of the workout your all, or at least I hope you will!!!

So in honor of today’s blog post I brought back some sport specific training into my workout. I used to play soccer a lot as a kid and absolutely loved it. So I took my soccer ball up to my local high school field and did a little training. I used some bodyweight techniques and meshed them together with soccer specific conditioning skills. It was a blast! I felt like a kid again and kicked my own butt while workin’ up a mean sweat. My favorite exercises of the day were soccer dribble sprints and soccer ball burpees!

Post your creative exercise routines here, I’d love to hear them!

Health & Happiness,
Nat

Quality Yet Economical Active Gear, Must Have’s!

Just as you would pick out an outfit for work or going out on the town, you should do the same when throwing on workout clothing and gear! First of all, it should be comfortable and specific to what you will be doing. Going for a run? Make sure you have pants/capris/shorts that are light, yet somewhat form-fitting and made for cardio exercise, it will make your run so much more enjoyable. Pick colors and text that inspire you to do your best and give your workout your all! You should feel beautiful and sexy in that workout clothing, not blah!
Performance tank tops are my favorite and I have a wide variety to choose from. Good shoes that are ‘sport specific’ are a MUST! Get a pair of running shoes at your local running store to avoid injury to your joints and make your runs more efficient. Also, getting some ‘trainers’ for when you hit the gym for strength training or cardio kickboxing or ZUMBA;) are good to have on hand so you don’t wear out your pricier running sneakers.

Arm bands to hold your ipod or music device are key to an enjoyable workout as well, music really helps push you through the burn! Also, a good water bottle (B.P.A. free!) that has a built-in filter is great so when you run out of water you can fill up from the sink and know that your water bottle is filtering out all the ‘nasty’ stuff! I got my Brita water bottle for just under $10.

Material quality is important BUT it does bring up the price a bit. If your watching your budget just get the moderately nice quality gear and you’ll be good to go! I absolutely love Under Armor & Lulu Lemon and have a good amount of their active apparel and gear in my wardrobe; however, I understand that all of my workout attire can’t be this expensive because I’m not a millionaire. So, I’ve found that Gap, Adidas, Reebok are brands that are good quality yet moderately priced. Also, believe it or not, Ross & TJ Maxx and also Marshalls & Kmart have decent workout apparel at very good prices.

I just got my ‘Ripped Ass Women/RawFitnessTV.com’ tank top today. I was a little apprehensive because I had no idea what the material would be like and how it would fit. Well, I was pleasantly surprised because it was really nice quality and fit perfectly! I ordered it a size larger than what I usually order (I got a medium, I usually get a small) and I definitely suggest ordering 1 size larger so it’s not skin tight. Click Here to view the tanks and t-shirts with RawFitnessTV.com motivational graphics!

The next time you go shopping for clothes, pick up a hot workout outfit to pump up those guns in style and feel beautiful while burnin’ those calories chicas;)!

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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