Sunday, May 31, 2009

Small steps=lifestyle change

Sometimes it's the little things we do in our every day life that are the easiest to change. When trying to achieve a healthier lifestyle, I always recommend making small changes to your every day habits. Over time, they become habit, thus your new lifestyle. Here are a few things you can start with...okay, well, maybe a lot of things!! Just find a couple that works for you:

  • Walk to work
  • Walk during your lunch break
  • Walk instead of drive whenever you can
  • Take a family walk after dinner
  • Mow the lawn with a push mower
  • Walk your dog
  • Replace Sunday drive with a Sunday walk
  • Get off the bus one stop early and walk.
  • Wash the car by hand.
  • Run or walk fast when doing errands around the house.
  • Pace the sidelines at your kids' athletic games.
  • Walk to a co-workers desk instead of phoning or emailing.
  • Make time in your day for physical activity.
  • Talk a walk break instead of a coffee break.
  • Perform gardening or easy to do home repair activities.
  • Bring your groceries from the car in the house one bag at a time.
  • Play with you kids at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Dance to music.
  • Walk briskly in the mall.
  • Take the long way to the water cooler or break room.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Drink water before a meal.
  • Snack on fruits and vegetables instead of chips and cookies.
  • Do crunches, push-up or hand weights while watching TV.
  • Keep a comfortable pair of walking shoes in your car or office.
  • Stretch before bed to give you more energy in the morning.
  • Grill, steam or bake instead of frying.

Okay, I have more, but I think you get the picture.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Blast from the past

So...I'm reviewing my old blogs on my Spark Page to help motivate MYSELF. Yes, I need it, bad right now. I came across one date December 7, 2006 called "Fitness Trainer in me" Here it is:

"I'm so critical of myself and my body. I'm so obsessed with it. And that's not the bad part. I am critical of others as well. I just want to whip everyone in shape I see. In my sorority I am the physical and mental health chairperson and I am on them. But I think I was appointed because I don't take slackers. We as a whole--all of America--needs to take better care of ourselves. Losing weight is just one element. When I see someone overweight I just want to hold their hand and take them to a gym, or give them advice on how easy it is to cut calories. With friends, co-workers, whoever, I am always criticizing how they eat and the lack of exercise. Hey, I'm not perfect, but it's the personal trainer in me trying to get out. My fitness idols are my soror A.J. Johnson. She's awesome! I've seen her in person twice but have not met her yet. She's where I would like to be. She's about my height, but so tiny (with a six-pack, my ultimate goal). She's probably a size 2 or less. I don't want to be that small, but toned and motivated like her. I keep saying I'm going to take classes and do what I have to do to get my license, but keep getting distracted. One, I want to be the fittest possible before I dish being fit to others. I just have my bad days, which is fine, I just shouldn't turn them into bad weeks. I think once I'm a trainer, that will validate me being critical of others--and maybe they will take me serious."

I said that? Hmmm, I was something else. That was 2.5 years ago! I was thinking of becoming a trainer, now I AM A TRAINER!! Here's a pic of AJ Johnson in case you are wondering who she is...
She is an actress/dancer and now celebrity fitness trainer. She was in several movies, but most famous for House Party and Baby Boy. She's probably the #1 reason I decided to become a trainer, even before Jillian Michaels was on the scene. She is the truth!! It helps that she is a member of my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. When I finally do meet her in person, I have to tell her how she has changed my life.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tales from a yo-yo dieter

Oh, yes, I am...WAS...a yo-yo dieter. I have been super skinny, 103 pounds at age 22 in college. And my highest point 165 in my 30s. Geesh! The years in between I had lost and gained many many times. Once I took my before picture I was like...THIS STOPS NOW!!

I may not get a super, smokin' hot body, but I was going to get in better shape. One of the most famous yo-yo diets ever is my musical idol (and body inspiration) Janet Jackson. For years most people know that I have been obsessed with Janet Jackson's body. In fact, this is just one of the pics that motivated me to get in shape.
But Janet Jackson is the ultimate yo-yo dieter! Her weight has fluctuated since she was a teenager. She's not naturally thin....she works hard to get her body in tip top shape for magazine and album covers, tours and whatever. When she is not working on a project, Janet just lets herself go. Check out her before and afters....

Or should I say after and before?!? This is when she was small and then gained. She was 117 and gained and got up to 160!! Here's one of her at 180 pounds dropping to 120.

Yeah, what an idol to have! Janet, Janet, Janet...but, what she does is motivate me to end the cycle. Stop yo-yo dieting! I will keep my hot body once I get it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Make Me a Size 0

This is what a co-worker wants me to help her with. Are you kidding me? Whew! Okay, she's already like a 2, so what gives? People, what is the fascination with being super thin? Is this real or just what we see on Hollywood actresses? Now don't get me wrong, I want to be thin too but there has to be a limit. I'm currently a size 4, love my size and just working on toning and firming everything up.

But what is in a size? It's just a number! Is a size 0 better than a size 2 or a 4? Does it really matter. If you have a great body at a 2, why would you desire to be a 0? Just to hear that non-number rattling in your head? Does it make you feel superior over the 4s, 6s, and 8s?

The way I see it, you'll never be happy with your body at any size if you continue to chase some number. Mine was a specific weight. I wanted to be 110 pounds. I'm so close, but not there yet and it's draining me. I have come to realize that, that number really means nothing to me. I am loving my body at 120 and losing a few more pounds is not going to make me love it more. I worked hard to lose over 40 pounds now, so from here on out I appreciate the little things about my body.

No, I don't have a flat stomach. Yes, my arms are still flabby. My legs aren't muscled, my glutes could stand some lifting. But I still LOVE my body. I appreciate the little cellulite on my thighs and the stretchmarks on my hips. I no longer am afraid to wear my two-piece swimsuit. I'm not super skinny like a model, but I feel that I have a body many strive for. A healthy, normal body.

And a s a personal trainer, I'm not doing my clients justice by helping them get to extreme lows. Make you a size 0? Hoe about I make you healthy and we keep it at that.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Before and Afters

This is probably the most important thing you ever will do. Take some pictures!! I took some that I thought I would never show another person. I mean, there were fat rolls and everything. Pretty gross. But guess what? Looking back, I am not that person anymore so they do not scare me. Well, in a way they do. They scare me to NOT ever go back there. Here is one of my befores....

Now here is my after. See what I am talking about. Take those pics and then post them proudly.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Addicted to Beach Body!!

I first started Turbo Jam in July of last year. After the first workout I was like, "This is tough!" I was hooked! I love how it was the perfect mix of dance and kickboxing. I loved both. Chalene has an addictive personality too. You want to work out with her.

A few months later, I got turned on to Hip Hop Abs. The "hip hop" element I didn't think about, it was the "abs" I wanted! Anything that works the abs is good with me. So bringing in two elements I love, dancing and core training, was sure to be a hit. The moment I pressed pay I knew I found my perfect match! The dance moves were addictive and I found myself doing them whenever I heard music.

I quickly ordered Level 2 and it was better that the first. More importantly, I was seeing results!! Not only was I losing inches, but I could see the formation of my abs. Hot momma!

So of course becoming a Beach Body coach was inevitable. I hope to spread my love of fitness to others. Next up will be trying Slim in 6 and see what results I will get. Taking before and after pictures on Sunday morning, BEFORE I pig out for the holiday

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gotta make the list!

I always run into problems with my eating when I am not fully stocked with the good stuff in the kitchen. When the fridge is bare, I don't want to make a meal out of the few eggs I have left, and some dull veggies (usually frozen because the fresh is used first.) When I am all out of veggie burgers, fresh fruits and veggies, and the good whole grains, I grab the junk. Which means I stop and grab chips, cookies, candy or even fast food. Ugh!

Clean foods is the goal, which means shopping the perimeter of the store mostly. Only time I go through the aisles is for things like tea, cooking spray or oil, and maybe some condiments. Here's a quick list of items you can include on your next grocery lists.
Whole grain products:
sprouted grain bread
brown rice
whole grain pasta
quinoa whole
wheat pita bread
whole wheat tortilla

dry beans
vegetarian burgers
raw nuts

Fruits and veggies
fresh fruit (whatever you like, my faves are apples, oranges, bananas, grapes cherries, watermelon, peaches, strawberries, and pineapple)
frozen fruit (frozen pineapple, strawberries and berries are the best for smoothies)
fresh vegetables (green beans, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, cabbage--I love the cole slaw mixes, cucumbers, bell peppers, salad mixes, tomatoes, onions, eggplant)
frozen vegetables (frozen corn--limit this, peas, broccoli, okra, mixed peas and carrots)

olive oil
cooking spray
mustard (any variety you like, I like the spicy kind
hot pepper sauce (I like spicy food!)
low-carb ketchup (this is not technically clean, but I can't resist myself)
natural peanut butter
real fruit jam

fat free milk
plain, nonfat yogurt
low fat cheese
low fat cottage cheese
eggs or egg substitute

Pretty simple.
Here's what my meals looked like today:
1/2 cup brown rice
4 scrambled egg whites
1 slice fat free cheese
2 strips Morningstar veggie bacon

Snack 1:
1 cup mandarin oranges
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
crushed raw cashews
(See the pic! This is my fave snack of all times. I love the way the raw cashews taste slightly buttery, a little sweet and just perfect paired with the cottage cheese and oranges.)

Trader Joes soy nuggets (4)
frozen okra
2 rice cakes

Snack 2
1 string cheese

1/4 serving tempeh
bbq sauce
sauteed spinach

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A hard lesson about six-pack abs

As a personal trainer, I get this question a lot. A whole lot! It's the number one question, next to I need to lose 10 pounds. The reality of six-pack abs is, it's not possible for many of us. It ain't easy! Is it possible? Yes. The question is, are you willing to do the hard work.

If you think you can do 300 crunches a day and enjoy flat abs and a super hot six-pack, sorry to tell you the truth of the matter. It ain't happening! Ab exercises are not the number one thing you need for flat abs. It requires hard work, commitment, dedication, and something you may not have any control over: genetics.

Abdominal muscles consist of three layers. The very deepest layer is the transverse abdominal, which acts as the body's girdle, providing support and stability and plays a critical role in exhalation. Next is the rectus abdominal, which flexes the spine. Closest to the surface are the internals and external obliques which turn the trunk and provide the body with rotation and lateral movement. ALL of these muscles must be incorporated into an effective ab training program.

First, you have to drop your body fat, which will decrease the layer of fat around your abdominal. To do this you must:

1) Do regular cardio exercise. This includes, walking, jogging, biking, dancing, swimming or any other cardio activity, just make sure you are consistently doing it.

2) Strength training the ENTIRE body. Don't just focus on working the abs. Treat the abs like any other muscle. You wouldn't do 50 dumbbell curls, would you, so why do 50 crunches??

3) Have a healthy, low-calorie diet. This includes eliminating breads, pasta and high-sugar foods. Eat whole foods and stay away from processed food.

You must get all three of these, especially your diet, right on a consistent basis in order to get even close to flat abs. Now listen to this, because I'm about to burst some people's bubble: even after doing all the above and you still don't have flat abs, don't be surprised. Many of us will never see the six-pack abs because:

*The body fat level required to get flat abs is lower than you can sustain with your current lifestyle/schedule

*The body fat level required is lower than healthy for your body to function.

This is why fitness athletes sometimes follow very strict diets for only a "limited" amount of time. They CANNOT sustain the lower body fat and be considered healthy. The body fat is drastically too low, and for women, can even interrupt menstrual cycles. Many times when you see a model on the cover of a magazine with six packs glistening, it's a result of some extreme elements like dehydration, carb-depleting, or cutting weight like pro wrestlers and boxers do.

The goal to get flat abs may:

*Require more exercise than your schedule will allow and more than you can mentally handle.

*Require more attention to your diet than you're willing/able to expend.

*Require more strict adherence to diet and exercise than you have time or energy to spare.

*May not be in your genetic cards.

So do you give up? Don't give up on exercising and living a healthier life, but maybe giving up on the ideal six-pack abs is exactly what you need to make your life better. Ask yourself these questions.

Do I really want flat abs?  Am I willing to work as hard as I need to get them?

If I will work that hard, am I willing to accept that it still may not happen, even if I do everything right?

If I did get six-pack abs, what will that change in my life?

What will flat abs actually do for me?  What would happen if I let go of this ideal and focused on other goals?
For me, I have tried to achieve six-pack abs with the hundreds of crunches myth. Now that I am a lot smarter about it, I want to ATTEMPT to get them the correct way. I am open to the belief that I may not achieve them, but I will NEVER SAY NEVER. Not until I have given it all I've got.

Here are my abs right now. I have a long, long way to go!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

1st Blog!

Well, what a day it is already!! I was so busy yesterday I don't think I have much energy today. But somehow I will find it. I had to wake up very early on Saturday, get my little ones ready and we were off by 7 a.m. to the train station. My sorority and I took a day trip on a train about an hour out of St. Louis and then we were back by a chartered bus. I had a little bit of a nap on the bus back. Then we were off again to the mall. We ate at my favorite, Chevy's, and I pigged out like I wasn't the healthnut that I am! Huh! I paid for that bigtime!! My stomach hurt so bad!

We then went to see Wolverine, and me still being bushed, slept a bit there. I was fighting to stay awake and enjoy the movie. I guess I got the gist of it because it was a pretty good movie. Then, instead of going home to hit the sack, we stayed and shopped a bit. We all got new outfits and me a pair of shoes. Finally, I headed home, but do you think I could sleep? NO!! We watched a movie and just relaxed, AND then I finally got to sleep.

All that to introduce myself to my new fitness blog!! Saturday's are usually rest days for me. When the weather is nice, I like to add an afternoon walk, so I can't wait for that. But today is the day that I feel refreshed. On My Spark People page, I was delighted to see that I was honored with Spark Motivator of the Day!!! Woohoo! This is the third time for me and I love it each and every time. It means so much to me! It means I am doing my job. I am motivating others. So I had to start my blog today and see if I could reach even more people. I might come back later today and detail my very strenuous workout I am planning. Gotta get the body right!!