Cauliflower-Carrot Patties & No Equipment Bootylicious Workout!

Oh boy did I do an amazing workout today! It’s SO beautiful out here in Baltimore, so instead of hitting the gym I worked out by my pool on my patio. This workout was just with my body weight for the most part, so you can get off the couch and do this workout while you read on to learn about Cauliflower-Carrot Patties! ‘Learn while you Burn’ baby!
Workout:

Part 1: (Strength/Toning) 1-3 Rounds (I did 3 Rounds)

1. 10 Reps/Leg Forward Lunge

2. 10 Reps Plie Jumps (Wide stance, toes point out, sit down into squat and power/jump up)

4. 10 Reps/Leg Reverse Lunge

5. 10 Reps Squat Jumps (Same as plie jumps, but feet are shoulder width apart and toes point straight forward not out)

6. 10 Reps/Leg Step Ups (Step up onto a chair, bench, or even from kneeling down on one knee-up to standing)

7. 10 Reps Side Bridge Lifts – 10 Reps Side Bridge Leg Raises (Right Side) (Lie on right side, on right elbow, right leg bent, left leg straight, raise hip up and down off mat for 10 Reps; then hold hip up (Side Bridge) while you raise left leg up and down 10 Reps)

8. 10 Reps Side Bridge Lifts – 10 Reps Side Bridge Leg Raises (Left Side)

9. 10 Reps/Leg of Elevated 1-Leg Hip Lifts (Lie on back, place feet/heels up on chair or bench, raise left leg straight up, now raise hips/butt all the way up by pressing right heel into edge of chair or bench, lower hips down and up for 10 reps)

10. 20 Reps/Leg Donkey Kicks (Get on all fours, come down onto elbows, flex both feet, now press heel back and up like you are trying to kick a door closed behind you, do 20 Reps w/Right leg than 20 Reps w/Left leg)

11. Perform a Wall-Sit for 100 seconds

Now do #1-11 for a second and third round.

Part 2: Cardio – Do each exercise for 20 sec effort, 10 sec rest interval twice than move onto next exercise. Perform 1-2 rounds of circuit below for a good cardio & fat burn after toning those bootays!

1. Pendulum Hops (Come into an ‘Upside Down V’ or ‘Downward Dog’, bring feet close together, raise one leg out to side, as you lower that leg to center hop other leg out to side, resembles pendulum on clock)

2. Pike Jumps (Come into ‘Upside Down V’ position again on mat, bring both feet to left side of mat, hop feet up and over to right side, keep hopping side-side of mat in upside down V for 20 sec)

3. Squat Thrusts (Come into plank up on hands, feet together, hop feet apart and up toward hands, then hop feet back and together, repeat)

4. V-Up Bicycles (Lie on back, hands behind head, knees up/feet up so legs make right angle, twist torso to bring right elbow to left knee as you extend right leg out and raise upper body up off mat to make V with body, return to start, now bring left elbow to right knee as extend left leg out and raise up, keep alternating)

5. Prisoner High Knees (Standing, hands behind head, do high knees)

6. Kick Ups (Sit on bum, place hands behind you flat on mat, raise one leg up and bum off mat, as you lower raised leg, hop other foot off mat and kick that leg up, alternate and repeat)

7. Plyo-Jacks (Do jumping jacks but reach down to tap ankles when you hop feet out)

8. 1-Leg Hop (Right Leg) (Balance on right leg, squat down on right leg and tap shin, power up and hop up)

9. 1-Leg Hop (Left Leg)

10. Sandbag Rotation Swing (Use KB/Sandbag/or Backpack filled with weight) (Stand in wide stance, hold weight, swing weight down between legs as you bend at waist, swing weight up to chin level as you squeeze your bum/core and bring upper body vertical)

Now on to the recipe!

Cauliflower & Carrot Patty:

  1. 1/2 C Grated Cauliflower
  2. 1/2 C Cooked Mashed Millet
  3. 1/4 C Grated Carrot
  4. 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  5. A few drops Ume Vinegar or use Tamari/Soy sauce
  6. 1 TBSP grated onion or chopped green onion
  7. Dash oregano, basil & 1 TBSP fresh cilantro
  8. Optional: 1 TBSP Vegenaise or substitute vegenaise for 1 TBSP ground roasted pumpkin, sunflower or flax seed OR 1 -2 TBSP mashed chickpeas
  9. 1 – 2 dashes cumin powder
  10. Combine all ingredients and make into patties.
  11. Put 1 -2 TBSP Sunflower oil in pan over medium-high heat. Don’t let oil get so hot it smokes.
  12. Pat a little bit of coconut flour (or any flour you want or have) on your cauliflower cakes (to help them brown).
  13. Throw cauliflower cakes in pan when pan is hot. Cook until browned on both sides.

I served up my cauliflower-carrot patty next to a side of my zucchini pasta! So good!

Health & Happiness, Nat

Grain Burger – Fantasty!

For the main entree, I cooked up the famous ‘Grain Burger’!
Grain Burger:

  1. Brown Rice: 2C serves 2 people
  2. Beans (1/4 beans:1 rice) *re-cook beans w/dash salt
  3. Spanish oregano
  4. Roasted ground pumpkin seed w/dulse flakes
  5. 1C grated carrot, celery, onion
  6. Juice from bean stock
  7. Garlic (a couple dashes)
  8. Onion powder (I didn’t have any so I added green onions)
  9. Red pepper flakes (dash)
  10. Cumin (a few teaspoons)
  11. Combine ingredients into patties and roll in Oat Flour (I used coconut flour)
  12. Cook in pan in toasted sesame oil (I used sunflower oil)
  13. Plate up with chopped cilantro on top & a squirt of miso mayo!

As you can see I substituted a few ingredients for what I had in my kitchen. I used adzuki bean pate, but you can use chickpeas or lentils that aren’t pureed. Also, I used brown rice but quinoa works as well. If you don’t have spanish oregano just use regular oregano. These are so yum!

Let’s talk about Alkalinity, Acidity & Inflammation! Yeah!

I know, I know…this topic probably sounds like it has nothing to do with you or your fitness goals. Am I getting too ‘technical’ on you? Well deal! Because you need to know about ‘getting more alkaline’ and getting out of an acidic and toxic and inflamed state. So take a few minutes out of your day and read on. (Next post will be about the ‘constricting’ and ‘expanding’ properties of food, I promise).
Blood pH Level ranges from low pH (acidic) to high pH (alkaline). Our body fights to keep our blood pH level between 7.35-7.45 via its internal regulating systems. If the blood pH dips below 7.35 it turns too acidic (acidosis) and above 7.45 too alkaline. So why do I care about this?

“A diet rich in alkaline foods help reduce inflammation in the body…chronic inflammation can negatively impact your health. Experts seem to agree that one of the first ways to reduce inflammation is by assessing your diet and adding in alkaline foods and removing the acid ones.” While, it’s said that acidosis leads to diseases, brain fog, poor mood, irritability, poor digestion, low energy, excess weight, aches and pains and it is said that cancers thrive in an acid state…so this is why pH is so important. Once I got the acid-forming products out of my life, my quality of life improved, do you want to improve your quality of life?

So, what do you do? Counteract acidity by consuming foods that bring your pH up to the alkaline side of the scale. The average western-diet is acid-forming. Coffee, animal meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, bread (even whole wheat), pistachios, peanuts, butter, margarine, artificial sweeteners, sugar, beer, liquor, wine, canned food, microwaved food, processed foods are all foods to stay away from because they are highly acidic! Click this link–> Look on the internet for a chart of acid-alkaline foods.

Almost all vegetables are GREAT for you and alkaline forming, fruits are to be eaten in moderation. Fruits that are alkaline forming are avocados, fresh lemon & limes. Almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seed, and sesame seeds are alkaline forming too. Flax seed and Olive oil are alkaline. Get a pressure cooker, and start cooking up your grains and beans/legumes from their whole and untouched/unprocessed states. Such as whole buckwheat groats and lentils which are on the alkaline side of the spectrum. Again, look up a chart online and make note of what is acid and alkaline forming.

You may read this and say to yourself that getting rid of these ‘foods’ or changing the way I eat to be more ‘alkaline’ would be too difficult. But let me ask you this, “is there not more to life than the food we eat and the clothing we wear…?”. The food you eat should be the fuel to power you through your day!

Is it not harder to go to the gym, stick to your exercise routine 100% day-in and day-out and not see results because you haven’t changed your diet in a way to align with what you want to achieve with your health and fitness? Is it not absolutely frustrating when you feel like crap when you wake up in the morning, and you have a whole day ahead of you of work and errands and life to deal with? Wouldn’t you like to wake up and feel ready to take on the day? Sleep better? Feel energized after a meal instead of tired and weighed down? Walk out your door, look up at the sky and see ‘true blue’ for the first time? Be so clear-minded and on-point that you tackle work stress, work problems and work duties like you’ve never been able to before? Shed excess weight that you can’t seem to lose no matter what exercise routine you do, no matter how many minutes you walk/run a day, no matter how many spin classes you do, or crazy starvation diets you put your body through?

YOU CAN achieve optimal wellness, YOU CAN experience a better quality of life, it all depends on whether you MAKE THE COMMITMENT TO, whether or not you decide that you’re fed up with feeling like crap everyday and you decide that you’re ready to make the changes you need to make to achieve your goals. We all hit rock bottom at some point, but if I were you I’d start before I hit rock bottom.

Once I learn something, I implement it into my life in a way that will make a positive impact on my well being. How can you learn something that is life-changing and not use that new information in how you live your life? Many people out there read about and learn things that could make a positive impact on their well being and the environment, yet they just move on and don’t do anything about it, they are numb, maybe they’re scared, maybe they haven’t hit rock bottom yet. Don’t be numb, don’t wait until you hit rock bottom, don’t wait until you get some horrible health diagnosis from your doctor, you were given life…one life…to be ALIVE, feel ALIVE and see ‘true blue’!

 
This may be controversial, some may reject this topic, I don’t care and don’t knock it until you try it. What I do care about is helping others ‘see the light’. I’m sharing what I know and learn in hopes to help others have a better quality of life. Take what you will from what I tell you, but just remember you were given one life…to live, be well, and do well…
 
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,

Natty Mac

Chocolate Pudding? Superfood? Why Yes!

I had an epiphany today about food, nutrition and how EVERYONE should start viewing the ‘eating process’. The macrobiotic challenge has greatly helped me to have this ‘epiphany’. I changed my eating habits A LOT, from what I eat, how often, when, why, how and so on. I’ve cut out all animal products (gone vegan) and for the most part have cut out anything that is processed, meaning everything I prepare or cook is truly a ‘whole food’ in its natural state. At first it was really challenging to make these changes…I didn’t know what to eat, how to prep meals, I got a little frustrated but pushed through and am SO GLAD I stuck with it 100% because the experience has been life changing.
EVERYTHING I eat or drink is to ‘fuel’ my body. Each ingredient in my meals and snacks serve the purpose of contributing the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, carbs, fats, proteins, etc that my body needs to function at optimal capacity. AND THIS IS THE REASON I FEEL AMAZING. For the last 20 days, everything I have eaten has had some purpose in feeding my body what it needs to function, when you do this amazing things begin to happen. And it has only been 20 days, imagine what 3 months will hold.

My epiphany: Every meal or snack and every ingredient in that meal or snack should have a purpose, fuel for Raw Zucchini & Pesto Lasagnaoptimal performance.

When I wake up, my tea energizes me to start my day and my 16 ounces of water I chug first thing in the morning hydrates me. My breakfast of buckwheat groats gives me the sustained energy I will need for work and my exercise routine. Each meal/snack also has cooling or warming effect depending upon the season (warm/cold/winter/summer). Food, my meals/snacks, fuel me for the next few hours of activity. BUT…the big change, the epiphany…these meals & snacks are so much more fun to make, more satisfying, delicious, have variety, can be ‘sweet’ or ‘savory’, and are SO easily digested because there aren’t any animal products, artificial ingredients or highly processed crap & they are in their natural and ‘whole’ state so that I can receive ALL the nutrients from each ingredient. In turn…the outcome is a clear mind as I’ve never experienced before, energy like I had when I was a 5 year old, weight-less feeling, joy, and as my new friend Kara says ‘seeing the deepest, coolest, most vivid color blue as you’ve never seen it before’.

Master Macrobiotics in 10 easy steps!Depending on how much time I have, I can whip something up that’s good for my mind and body. Or take my time to make an elaborate meal. I HAVE MORE VARIETY NOW THAN I DID BEFORE! Some people may say that I’m on a restricted diet…this is incorrect actually. Look at my pinterest boards, the vast array of recipes and options for all meals of the day is endless and in NO WAY restricted.

In fact, I find the ‘macrobiotic way’ more satisfying. I can even have dessert now! If you stick to the ‘macrobiotic way’ you will shed any excess weight, feel amazingly energized and clear minded and get to enjoy in a variety of satisfying and delicious meals and snacks. I don’t know about you but this is way better than eating oatmeal for breakfast, salad for lunch and chicken and broccoli for dinner every day!

I made my new favorite dessert today, I call ‘Superfood Chocolate Pudding’. So easy to make and tastes AMAZING! Perfect for this time of year (Spring/Summer), has healthy fats, low G.I., loaded with vitamins/minerals and cools you down while satisfying that desire for something sweet and tasty.

“Superfood Chocolate Pudding”

Makes 1 serving.

  • 1/2 Organic Avocado
  • 2 TBSP Raw Cacao
  • 1-2 TBSP Lacuma Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla bean or alcohol-free organic vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup filtered water
  • Optional- 1 TBSP organic shredded coconut

Put all ingredients in your magic bullet, blender or food processor and blend. Enjoy! Add fresh mint leaves to the blender for mint chocolate pudding! Or fresh squeezed orange juice. Options are endless!

I encourage anyone to do their research and give the ‘macrobiotic way’ a real try, give it 100%, give it 30 days, it will be worth it.

Health & Happiness,

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 😉

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;)!