Food

Reputation Re-haul: 5 Fattening Foods That Are Actually Good For You

Good-For-You-Foods-With-A-Bad-RepEveryday, there is someone out there that is unnecessarily avoiding certain foods. They don’t have an allergy and they don’t dislike the food, but in the name of weight loss or health, they are choosing to discriminate against them.

Blogs, news outlets and media figures like Dr. Oz are busy using scare tactics about perfectly-good-for-you foods, and with far fetched promises of shedding 20 pounds in a week. Some processed foods are marketed as “healthy” but they are far from it (see one of my previous posts) while other foods are given a bad reputation, sometimes based on studies that are simply taken out of context. Well I’m here to tell you that unless you have a real food allergy or intolerance, you shouldn’t be avoiding these whole foods based on what the uninformed word is on the street.

Below is a list of 5 foods that you may be avoiding unnecessarily, when in fact they are super good for you!

Continue reading “Reputation Re-haul: 5 Fattening Foods That Are Actually Good For You”

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Maximizing Weight Loss Goals

Progress-weightlossMeet my client Ali. She has been following my online coaching plan for the last two and a half months, and I am so happy to be working with her. She follows my strength and conditioning program to a T, and also eats according to her Macros (I calculate her macro-nutrient intake based on her goals and provide her with a flexible monthly meal plan).  In the past couple of months we have been working on body re-composition and muscle gain. She has experienced some weight loss, even though our focus has been on eating more and putting on muscle. Losing inches and body fat have been nice byproducts of the muscles she has been adding to her frame.

She is looking great, and from her feedback, she is enjoying the process. She definitely eats way more than she used to, and is only doing one day of cardio (I have her doing just 25 minutes) and weight training 3 times a week (she was working out about 6 times a week before working with me).

The nice thing about working with Ali is that she really pays attention to good form and follows the meal plan properly. She has cut out processed sugar and also trusts me enough to not want drastic dieting measures to just lose pounds. I could have had her drop pounds very quickly, but I didn’t want her to be miserable and skinny fat. Muscle definition helps build curves in the right places, and I wanted to give Ali the tools to live a healthier lifestyle in the long run. I wanted her to gain muscle so that she could burn fat even at rest, and I wanted her to be able to eat real food, full of nutrients and vitamins.

I find that a person has to be mentally ready to follow a healthier lifestyle plan. Most often people want to lose weight fast, and don’t actually want to put in the time for preparing healthy meals or don’t want to cut out some of the excess in their lives. They want the process to be easy, and unless they truly come to terms with some of the work that a healthy lifestyle entails, it is hard to see the kind of success that Ali is getting after 2 months. Losing weight and gaining muscle is not complicated, it just depends on how much you are willing to put into it. I can promise you, I give my one hundred percent to make the plan customized to your needs and easy to follow, but you have to be the one who wants it bad enough to put in the work.

Once you decide you want it, the sky is the limit!

If you need some time to get used to the idea of working for a stronger, healthier body, take a little bit of time to digest the following “Ways to maximize health and fitness goals” that I ask from all of my clients:

Continue reading “Maximizing Weight Loss Goals”

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Life is a Beach: Balancing Stress

Life-is-a-beachMy life has been pretty hectic lately. It would be so easy to just give up on cooking healthy meals at home, or to push my workouts to the bottom of my list or skip them altogether. But the truth is, eating out every night just to save myself an hour or two of prep does a big disservice to both my body and mind. Skipping that workout might save me another hour, but I will spend triple that amount of time feeling guilty, or lose even more time in the future with pain or injury from lack of strength training. I have a lot of work and studying to do and not being at my optimal best is really not an option for me.

Eating well should not be an afterthought. Making it to the gym for a quick 45 minute workout shouldn’t be a crazy concept and going to bed earlier to ensure you are getting enough sleep is crucial to your daily success. Taking care of your self is not selfish, it is only logical.

Don’t daily work tasks seem like mountains when you are tired? And don’t meetings with colleagues seem so much more stressful when you are hungry? Why set yourself up for failure by not taking the steps do a little prep work? Just remember, don’t create more work for yourself, instead think about working smarter.

5 Easy Ways to “Self-Care” and Prepare for a Stressful Day Ahead

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Breaking The Mold: Your Image Does Not Define You

working_out_body_imageHey you.

Do whatever you want. Really. Be anything you want to be… Anything. You. Want.

Don’t conform to the image that others perceive you as having, unless you have worked hard to project that certain image, but even then the chances are high that what they perceive and what you perceive are two completely different things. That’s just how it is, no two people can truly think alike, it’s not human nature, so again, just do whatever you want.

For instance, doesn’t it seem so silly that people assume if you have blonde hair, that you must somehow not value knowledge and learning? Or if you grew up overweight, and had bad grades in gym class, that you are destined to forever hate all types of physical activity. Maybe you had a bad gym teacher, maybe you were being bullied at that time in that class, or that your life experiences hadn’t shown you the importance of being healthy yet. Whatever the reason, now you can be whomever you choose to be.

Often others can’t handle this and they don’t know what to do with themselves when they realize you have broken out of the mold they had you in. That is not your problem. Your only task is to be happy, to pursue happiness and be happy with yourself. Simple right?

Lesson’s from my Hair Dresser

A few months ago, I was sitting in my hair dresser’s chair and he told me that he had been doing some construction on his home. My hair dresser is a very sweet man that works magic on thick, coarse hair like mine. He spends all day long talking cut and color, perms and highlights, while going home to his wife and raising his two sons, tending to his vegetable garden, using power tools to build a new addition to his home and watching soccer with a cold beer in hand. Continue reading “Breaking The Mold: Your Image Does Not Define You”

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A Healthy Body Image: Strong Mind, Strong Body

Strong not SkinnyAll through my university years, I was competing heavily in Karate. I was weight training 3 times a week, karate training 4 times a week, and running every other day to maintain my 117lbs to compete in the lightweight division. During the off season, I would go easy on maintaining my strict diet and I guess what you call “bulk” a little. I was quite lean, and probably a little under weight for my 5’5 frame, since I have never been able to get down to that weight again while trying to maintain a good amount of muscle.

I remember one Halloween party during the off season, a guy I had met at another party once before, came up to me and said “Wow, you’re looking so great! The last time I saw you, you were looking too skinny and too muscle-y!”

The problem with statements like that, is that this guy knew nothing about me and actually had the audacity to make judgement about my body. Some may think there is nothing wrong with statements like that, but for years it made me think twice about getting any stronger because I was worried about gaining more muscle, or being too big, or being too skinny, or trying to be everything to everybody.

Lucky for me, I had a strong support system of family, friends and coaches that always pushed me to be a better version of myself, and I eventually came to understand that other people’s opinions don’t count when you are making decisions to enhance your own life. After all, no one has to live your life but you, and since then I have learned to trust in my own judgement and experiences to make decisions about who I want to be and what I want to look like.

Now, I simply want to be strong, I want to be healthy and I want to be able to do things that I couldn’t do the day before. Also, I love to eat real food, not diet, lift heavy and keep adding to my PR, so if I had to listen to the opinions of everyone else, I would probably have to stop doing most of the things that I love… sorry, but all of the things that make me happy are non-negotiable.

I look forward to the day when we stop judging each other for being too big, too skinny, too muscular or too much of anything and just want happiness for one another. Let’s just workout to be stronger, to be faster, to be healthy and live long happy lives, and acknowledge that healthy comes in many different shapes and sizes.

To Being Positively Strong,

Sunny

 

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Using The F Word Helps Build Muscle

GoodFatsI want to build muscle. Why? Because muscle holds its shape so much better than fat does, helping me look more toned while burning calories even at rest… meaning that I can look strong, be strong and eat strong! And boy, do I ever love to eat.

To build muscle, I know that I need a few things in my arsenal. One, I need to lift weights, preferably heavy weights at that. Two, I need to meet the correct Protein, Carbohydrate and Fat amounts for my body type and exercise level. Three, I need motivation and patience to get up and keep going. Unfortunately for most people, they don’t realize that this muscle building formula requires that you follow all three steps to a tee. They try to skip over some of the steps, and that just isn’t going to work.

Most people assume that getting lean means eating a ton of protein and cutting all fats from their diet.  This is such a huge mistake to make and can actually set you back a bunch. Believe me, it took me years to understand this concept and I hurt my progress by not getting enough fats in my diet. If you don’t eat enough healthy fats, your body will use your protein intake as your main energy source. This is a huge problem for someone trying to add lean muscle mass as you want the protein you eat to go towards building and repairing the muscle tissue you worked so hard to workout. If your body is using protein as its main energy source, you may not reach your anabolic potential.

What is the proper amount of healthy fats to build muscle you ask? Continue reading “Using The F Word Helps Build Muscle”

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The Fit List: 10 Ways to Live Healthy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the longest time, I thought that being fit meant that I had to be super skinny and look like a runway model to be healthy. I was constantly battling a war against myself and confusing my curves, my strong legs and any muscle gain as fat.  It’s taken a long time to get here, to a place where I feel positive about myself, where I feel strong and know that I am healthy even though I don’t look like the typical girls in magazines.

I have realized that I need to fuel my body, that body fat is necessary for me to be healthy, and that exercising should not be about 2+ hours of cardio at the gym everyday.

Here is a list of habits that I have had to develop to pave the way for living positively, healthy and strong:

1. Drink more water. Everyone says this, but it is hard to do. I had to make myself wear 10 elastic bands on my right wrist for every glass I drank, I would transfer a band over to my left wrist every time I drank a glass… until it became a habit to drink 10 glasses a day.

2. Get fat back into my diet (I always thought fats were evil, everywhere I turned, the media told me fat was bad!). I did this by cooking with olive oil and coconut oil and taking a fish oil capsule every day. Getting healthy fats in my diet was a necessity to helping clear my skin (it balances your hormones), it made me more regular and I could concentrate on my work better. It was also instrumental in helping me build muscle.

3. Eat carbs!  Cutting carb intake might be okay for two weeks max, let’s say if I want to cut some fluffiness before bikini season, but it is never okay to go on a low carb diet for long periods of time, especially not when you are working out and strength training.  Believe me, you will be a happier, more positive person with carbs in your diet.

4. Calculate the exact macro-nutrients needed for my body. I did this after learning how to calculate my daily macros using the “If it fits your macros website”.  Then I was able to plan healthy meals that included lasagne and cookies in my daily meal plans.

5. Lift weights, and lift heavy. Majority of women do not get all Schwarzenegger with weight lifting, instead they start looking lean and curvy. No manliness and more fat burn at rest, I promise.

Continue reading “The Fit List: 10 Ways to Live Healthy”