Snacking

protein

A habit impossible to break, snacking. We all have that part of us that loves to munch on something even when we are not hungry and I’m sure when i say this it will be music to your ears. ITS OK TO SNACK! Eating every 2 hours sounds like a lot but in reality smaller meals and more snacking is another key to weight loss and speeding up your metabolism

When i say snacking i do not mean picking up a cookie every 2 hours, make sure what you are snacking on is beneficial. My go to snack is almonds, and that is because of the amount of protein they contain along with carbs, they are a perfect source of energy! When picking up snacks I never snack on anything that does not contain protein for reasons i discussed in my “enough protein” post.

Find substitutions for your bad snack habits. Like I said this blog is not about perfection, the perfect diet, counting macros and a low body fat percentage. It is about bettering yourself! We all get hungry and have cravings. Whenever I am craving anything sweet, ill pick up a sweet fruit like pineapples or some grapes. If that does not cut it I will find something with dark chocolate, dark chocolate covered almonds or pomegranates are my go to dessert snacks.

When craving something salty I will have salted nuts of some sort, and if that does not cut it ill have some lightly salted kettle chips. It is not the healthiest, or perfect but it is better than eating a bag of lays. Once again this is just about the better choice, perfection is hard to achieve but if you just take it 1 step at a time before you know it you’ll stop craving the things you once did.

Advertisements

High-Intensity-Workout

So I’m sure you’ve heard time after time cardio is the most effective for weight loss. While cardio is effective, it can often be time consuming. Also when it comes to cardio, yes it burns calories but you also lose muscle. I often hear and see women say they go to the gym just to run to maintain or burn fat. 45 minutes on the treadmill and call it a day. While running is very beneficial when it comes to weight loss and your heart believe it or not, weights burn more calories. Get the fear of weights out of your head! building muscle burns fat quicker and speeds up your metabolism.

Cardio is good for weight loss, but it does not always keep the weight off if you stop for some time. If you stop working out your muscles, over time obviously you will lose some muscle mass but it becomes more difficult to gain weight, while cardio may help you feel and look skinny, lack of muscle does not keep the weight off.

I find that HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts happen to be more effective. Rather than steady cardio at the same pace for 30 minutes you can do a HIIT workout for 15 minutes and it will be just as effective as 30 minutes of just running. go on the treadmill, set it on the highest speed you can maintain, sprint for a minute or longer, slow it down start walking, put it on incline and repeat. Changing speeds challenges your body, and burns more calories for that exact reading. I find that running on incline is also very effective. It is not the easiest thing to do but I have challenged myself to go up a few levels of incline while running as fast as i could weekly. It gets easier and easier, and the easier it gets, I go up a few levels.

I’m sure you have heard the expression “your mind will give up before your body does”. And it is nothing but true! Your body is capable of so much more than you know. 2 weeks of challenging yourself at least 5 times a week and your body will be capable of doing things it has never done before. Some HIIT workouts seem unachievable but thats just your mind telling you that. They are often challenging but simple, and very much achievable. While you may hate it while you are doing it, you will most definitely not regret it after the workout. You will feel refreshed and accomplished. Try 2 weeks of HIIT workouts followed by some weight workouts and see how your body feels! you will not regret it, I promise!

Get comfortable with being Uncomfortable

sweat

I often hear people say “I want to go to the gym but I feel stupid” or “i want to go but I have no idea what I’m doing” “I don’t like people watching me workout. Let me start off by saying this, growth and progress begin when you get out of your comfort zone!

yes workouts sometimes feel silly or you don’t want to sweat in front of people, whatever the case is…it is all in your head! People are all in the gym doing the same thing, there is nothing i respect or admire more about someone in the gym other than seeing hard work. I like to see people sweat and gasp for air, I give credit to those who lift heavy and let out those uncomfortable faces or sometimes even grunts. It just shows that you’re working hard for your body, and care about yourself and there will never be anything wrong with that. You have to start somewhere and that somewhere starts with being uncomfortable!

If your workouts are a breeze and you look perfectly comfortable and content, you are not working hard enough! break a sweat, take heavy weights that are going to make you sore.

Waking up with my legs, back or whatever body part i worked out sore is such a rewarding feeling. Yes, it is painful and sometimes those leg days really get you limping but when pain occurs thats when progress occurs. I for one hate waking up after a day of lifting and not being sore, I feel like my body is just being maintained but not changing. That is not always the case, but just know it is a good kind of pain.

Get in the gym, even if it is for 30 minutes and sweat as much as possible. Never be embarrassed, nobody is watching you as much as you think they are. Focus on yourself and what you are doing, do not worry about your surroundings!

Enough protein.

shakeAnother main concern I hear from people is what to eat to build muscle. It is common for people to workout and think the proper diet is salads and fruit. Although that is never a bad diet make sure you are getting enough protein! To build major muscle it is important to make sure you are eating AT LEAST your own body weight in grams of protein, But again that is for major muscle gain.

I personally like the definition and tone up of muscle without the width of it. I keep my protein low, on leg day I will add an extra scoop of my protein powder because I like the look of a larger build on the lower half on my body. On days I workout my upper half, I keep the protein to a minimum. If you are considering taking protein because you think you don’t get enough from your meals make sure you review it. Protein shakes are often loaded with sugar, sometimes fat. Just because it is protein does not mean it is healthy. Personally I find that whey protein is the perfect one for me.

I know a lot of people wonder why theres protein thats feminine or for women. For an example luna bars are considered to be a feminine snack that is because they offer nutrients harder for women to get as well as the amount of protein. Luna bars are considered protein bars but for women because of the amount of protein. Men often lift and want to get big, they’ll grab a protein bar or shake with at least 20 grams of protein, while women get a lift in but do not want that build so they will have a luna bar (often has 8 grams).

When working out all we think about is protein and cancel out carbs, but completely cutting out carbs is never a good idea. Although cutting out carbs make you lose weight, it is not healthy. Low carbs and high protein however, is how you stay lean. Carbs before and after a workout is very necessary, especially before, after all carbs are our main source of energy.

Protein helps rebuild muscle, if you do not have protein after lifting you are not replenishing your muscle tissue, this is the main cause of injury when weight lifting. Another important thing to know about protein is protein synthesis. An alcoholic beverage slows down protein synthesis by 20%. This means that it is slowing down your muscle build. Now I know we are not all saints, and alcohol is not always an easy thing to cut out of a diet but on the days you drink have some extra protein a few hours before bed to make up for the alcohol drinking

The key to your goals is what you have after your workout. Your protein intake depends on what you are trying to achieve, more protein, more muscle gain. Hope this post helped!

Cardio

cardioLosing weight is never easy! Just remember, when working out the key to avoiding plateu is switching up your workout every once in a while. Routine at the gym is your enemy. you always want to challenge your body. If you are trying to lose weight cardio before and after a workout is key.

Even with cardio you have to switch it up! Treadmill, sprint for a few minutes, walk, switch to incline, try to lightly jog on incline and repeat. I find that just running a few miles on the treadmill is less effective but i really do see results when i challenge myself with sprints and incline.

Running outside is harder than the treadmill , if you want to challenge yourself, take a morning jog. Warming up for a workout is essential, and what better way to warm up then with a little running!

when doing cardio your body continues to burn more calories then it would usually throughout the day. thats right, the entire day! some studies show that it is actually longer, and that your body continues to burn calories for 32 hours after cardio. If you run daily than your body is almost always burning more calories.

If you want to lose weight while getting your muscle mass up then keep the cardio before  a workout at a minimum. On leg days I try to run for only 5 minutes as a warm up because then i can squat with heavier weights and if i feel like i need to burn off some fat then ill do more cardio after. Nothing to intense because although cardio helps you lose fat, it can make you lose some muscle as well.

I often dedicate at least 1 or 2 days to complete cardio at the gym and on those days i get some ab workouts in as well. I find that those 2 days actually do a lot for my body, especially if i switch up the cardio. I am usually switching back and fourth between cardio machines, and as silly as that sounds I really break a sweat and see results. It also keeps me going, when i get tired of one machine ill switch to the next, it challenges your body and burns more calories. Get that intense cardio in!

Habits

bad

Bad habits are easy to pick up, and hard to break. We all have our guilty pleasure, and for most of us, its food. Now let me start off by saying it is nearly impossible to eat completely clean right after eating junk and completely sticking with it. And even if you do succeed (god bless you if you do, you are stronger than I am) It won’t become a lifestyle, more of a forced thing.

The key to eating healthy is to not deprive yourself. Take it step by step. If you are a soda drinker, let that be the first thing you cut out. They say it takes 21 days for something to become a habit, so just get through those 21 days.

Slowly stop snacking on chips, pick up some cheese and crackers. Do not reward yourself with pizza and donuts after a workout because than you’re just missing the point. Don’t completely cut out carbs, or sugar, just lessen it one step at a time. Once you see your body changing and feel better you’re gonna want to go further, and you’ll actually enjoy it, it won’t be forced. But do not feel bad about having a slice of pizza, just do not have it everyday.

I found that once i cute out 1 junk food at a time I eventually just did not want it, before i knew it my body, mind, and energy was completely different. Now if i eat close to the way i used to my body responds differently, I get sick and nauseous, which is a good thing! It makes me crave it less.

Now I know most of us are working, in school, or whatever the case is, making food is time consuming! Forget all those fitness accounts telling you you have to meal prep, and count your macros and calories, that is torturous! This is not to achieve perfection, but to better yourself.

I have a simple solution that takes up less time. By the healthier choice! You stop by wawa or dunking for a morning coffee and need breakfast? Reach for a egg and cheese not a muffin or a donut. Dunkin even has one of those low calorie spinach wraps, and they are delicious!

Craving something salty? Pick up some salted almonds and snack on them. There is no need to deprive yourself of food or count every single calorie you intake, just make sure you are making the healthiest choice you can make in whatever situation you are in. There have been times where I had a lunch break but the only place close by was a wends….it happens! And what do you do? you pick the healthier option. Get a chicken sandwich, skip the fries! sure it is still fast food, but it is better than the double stack fries and soda you were going to get. Do not stress yourself over little mistakes, just improve day by day!

The Right Motivation

To start this journey let me start off by saying this. Motivation is the hardest part, it is not often people get excited to get up and get a workout in. Make sure you are you are your own motivation. Do this for you, not for a guy/girl, not to “fit in”, not because you do not think you have the “ideal” figure. Do it because you want to be the best version of yourself. Never hate your body or compare it to someone else’s. Maybe you want change, whether you want to lose weight or tone up, or just maybe even to just be healthy and feel better about yourself; make sure you love yourself every step of the way.

If you go into this with the mindset that you hate your body, nothing about this is going to be fun. Love the skin you are in now and watch it slowly transform. Picture yourself a year or two from now. What your body is capable of is amazing, your mind will stop you before your body does.

I say love yourself first before you start because the truth is, this kind of change takes time. If you hate the skin you are in now, all you are going to think throughout this process is “I am not good enough” “I’m never going to get there” and so on. You are not going to appreciate how far along you’ve gone, you are just going to see where you are not. Slow change is better than no change.

Get the images of models, and perfect actresses out of your head, what you see on the media is not real. Not everyone can achieve the same body, and that is ok! This is not about the ideal “look”, or impressing your ex, this is for you.

Inspire others and get inspires, once you see progress and how far you have came, you are not going to want to stop! be proud of yourself and your achievements, never compare them to someone else’s achievements. Truth is, there is always going to be someone out there better than you, do not compete. Be your own competition!