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Goal Setting: Far Stretch From Reality?

FitnessGoals At the beginning of my fitness journey, before I had any formal education on health and fitness, I had a photo (cut out of a magazine) of young Gisele Bundchen hanging by my desk. While doing homework I would glance over to Gisele’s picture and study her long, thin legs, her bony, protruding shoulders and angular features on her face. I would promise myself that I would go for a run and hit the gym everyday, that I would look like her by summer and vow to eat healthy, cut sugar and that the only snacks I would consume would be carrots and celery sticks.

I’ve always had a dedicated spirit and would push hard at the gym, watched what I ate, but no matter what, my body never ended up looking like Gisele’s. Instead my legs would add muscle, get shapelier and though my stomach would get flatter and flatter, my hips would not budge an inch. What was I doing wrong?

Actually I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but what I should have been doing is setting realistic goals to my body type and lifestyle. I’m only 5 foot 5 and I’ve always had thick legs and wide hips, so the photo of 5 foot 11 Gisele Bundchen was not an attainable goal for me. If I had chosen to tack up a photo of lovely Jennifer Lopez and aimed for her body shape, then it would have been a more realistic goal and I would have been able to stay motivated for longer periods of time.

Being fit and healthy comes in all shapes and sizes. Continue reading “Goal Setting: Far Stretch From Reality?”

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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”