I have a thing for athletic shoes, it’s no secret. However when I find a shoe that I really really love, I have to share it. I posted yesterday about these Nike Free TR Flyknits, on my Instagram & I had some questions regarding where I found them, and the fit of the shoe. I couldn’t be happier to share more about them…I have people ask me all the time which shoes I feel like are best for circuit training & cross training. I think these are an AWESOME choice. They are structured, due to the normal fit of the Free TR style. However, they have the comfort of the flyknit as well, which is my favorite. I have other Nike Free TR’s, & I found these to fit the same way the others fit. I would say they are true to size. Nike has done it again, & once again, I’m a huge fan!
I LOVE to travel. It is one of my favorite things to do. I love a weekend road trip. I love a tropical vacation. Heck, I love a day trip. It’s always so fun to explore new places with the people that I love! For a lot of people, “vacation mode” of life instantly comes with going on any sort of vacation. I’m all for relaxing every now and again, but I tend to feel better when I move…even on vacation. Actually, especially on vacation. My eating tends to be far from my, “norm” when I travel, so I always feel better if I can get some sort of a workout in. Being active has become a way of life for me, no matter where I am. The following are some ways to get some exercise in while you are on vacation, no matter where you are!
- Explore on foot or on bike. If possible, rent bikes to ride around your new territory, or choose to walk from one place to the next instead of driving or taking public transportation. Even if you can’t fit in the time for an actual workout, you can get a LOT of exercise by simply walking! Sight seeing or traveling on foot can allow you to really take things in.
- Get up early & get it done. If you really want to get your workout in before you get your vacation on, make time for it. It’s as simple as that. Chances are as the day goes on, you will get busy & it won’t be as likely to happen.
- Find new trails or hikes. With the amazing technology we have in our day, it’s SO easy to google awesome trails, hikes, parks, and other sights where you can get a great workout. Find a set of stairs you can run up and down, or a city hill you can run up and down, and what could be better than walking or running beachside? It’s as easy as that.
- Get your body weight exercise on. If you aren’t wanting to brave the unknown, you can easily get your workout on in your room. A workout of pushups, burpees, high knees, lunges, squat jumps, sit-ups, & planks takes very little room & can be very effective.
- Bring some DVD’s. There are a lot of at home workout programs that you can bring with you that are perfect to do right in the comfort of your tiny hotel room.
- Explore hotel or local gyms. I always think it’s fun and adventurous to seek out new workout spots. Try out the hotel gym, or look up local gyms that have great reviews!
- Find a stair well. I have done this on several occasions in a hotel. Plug in your headphones and run up and down the stairwell, pausing at the top or bottom to do some jump squats, pushups, lunges, planks, or tricep dips. Stairs are an awesome workout!
- Go shopping. You might laugh, but doing laps around a mall or shopping center can get a lot of steps in!
Don’t let a change in your location or your schedule throw off your workout routine! You can be active & get a GREAT workout in, no matter where you go!
There have been many a Sunday where my dad would come home from church and make a fresh batch of guacamole. It is one of those things that I feel like I could eat on almost anything…I LOVE it. He has taught me well, so I though I’d share his delicious recipe. The Best Ever Guacamole:
Ingredients: 2-4 large avocados (pitted & smashed to desired consistency), 1 small chopped tomato, 1 TBS cumin, 1-2 tsp garlic salt, 1-2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper. (Anything else you want to add…cilantro, lime, peppers for some spice, etc.)
Blend together & enjoy!
My favorite (insert a GREAT deal of sarcasm here) things that people say to me are similar to the following…
- “You are so lucky to be born with legs like that.”
- “I wish I just only liked healthy food like you do. It’s not fair that you don’t crave unhealthy stuff. That must be SO much easier for you.”
- “You are so lucky to have all the time in the world to work out. I bet if I had all the time you did, I’d be healthy too.”
- And one of my personal favorites…”If only I was naturally fit like you are. You are really lucky to have those genetics.”
And on and on…you get the point. Now, let me just clear some things up real fast: I’m not writing this post to pat myself on the back, nor to say that I’ve reached some picture of fitness that is to be strived for. I still have LOTS of room for improvement & I have goals that I’m continually working for. I’m writing this post because I want to clear up some misconceptions about, “being fit,” and living a healthy lifestyle in general.
No, I was not just “born with legs like that,” I don’t “only like health food,” I certainly don’t have, “all the time in the world to workout,” & I am not just blessed with “fit” genetics. All of these things couldn’t be further from the truth actually.
Making exercise a habit is a choice. I hate to break it to you people, but most people are busy. Everyone could come up with some excuse or another as to why they don’t have time to workout on one day or another. Just to put things in perspective; I work full time most mornings I start 6 AM. When i’m not doing private training sessions with clients, running boot camp classes, and working with distance clients…I am writing programs, creating meal plans, answering an influx of questions, researching, and working on new healthy recipes. I’m telling you this so you understand that despite my schedule, I CHOOSE to work out 6 days a week. Some days I LOVE my workouts. It’s therapeutic, it feels awesome, and I feel accomplished. Other days. I feel tired, it sounds hard, and I’m not as thrilled about it. HOWEVER, I have made it a habit. I have learned something. Exercise is like medicine for me. I need the daily movement. I think most people are the same way, or would be if they would get into the habit. I’m not saying you have to be %100 hard core all day, every day. I am saying that making time and effort for exercise is an absolute choice, and one that is worth making.
If you want results, you have to put in the time. I laugh at those shirts I see that say, “I just woke up like this,” because I think some people think that about those who are in shape. No. Actually, I didn’t just wake up like this…it’s not genetics. Unfortunately, society has allowed this notion that “genetics” is to blame for their weight gain, or their lack of muscle tone, etc. This is a misconception. Science actually will tell you that while your genetics will determine WHERE you gain weight, or where your body fat is distributed…but every choice YOU make for good or for bad is what is determining how you look/how healthy you are. Your decision to get up and work out or to skip your workout for some TV determines that. Your decision to eat an unhealthy meal vs your decision to eat a healthy meal determines that. I really try to teach my clients to take control of their decisions, own up to the truth and reality of their situation, and move forward making positive decisions…realizing that THEY are in complete control of how they look and feel. Or at least they can be. It is a choice. The truth, is that you are not just going to wake up like that. You have to wake up, and CHOOSE to be that way.
Eating healthy is also a choice. I get asked all the time about if I ever just binge on crappy food. There are definitely occasions where I will eat things that I don’t consider, “healthy.” If you know me, you know how much I LOVE candy. I love sugar. I love cereal. I love ice cream. I love all sorts of foods that taste delicious. I’m a human after all. However, I really do choose to limit the intake of crap. The truth is, I’ve learned that eating whatever I want doesn’t bode well for me. I CHOOSE to eat healthy regularly. Truthfully, I also genuinely really do like vegetables, salads, grilled chicken, and other healthy options. I was the weird kid in elementary school that brought bagged veggies & salads for lunch. Weird, I know. However, just because I like healthy foods, doesn’t mean I don’t like the unhealthy stuff. I actually like it quite a bit.
So, how do I stay motivated? How do I consistently make healthy choices? I don’t have some healthy super power. Wouldn’t that be awesome though? Creating a healthy lifestyle really is a possibility for everyone if you really want it. The following tips may be helpful if you are wanting to create that healthy lifestyle for yourself.
- Start small. You might not be able to change everything all at once, but you can certainly start with one thing. Pick something to focus on: cut out the sugar, increase your veggie intake, stop eating out at unhealthy restaurants, drink more water, set a goal to workout for 30 mins every day, etc. Once you’ve mastered one thing, add in another positive habit. Establish habits, not just blips at attempts to change.
- Be consistent. One week of making good decisions is awesome, but most likely won’t show a ton of results right away. You have to be consistent for a while in order to see changes. Unfortunately, being consistent during the week can even be blown by three days of unhealthy habits on the weekends. Consistent…means consistent all the time.
- Find support. Get a workout buddy, enlist a significant other in a challenge, get your family on board, join a gym, find a group fitness class that you love….having a positive support group can be life changing when it comes to sticking with something.
- Make eating healthy taste good. You don’t have to dread all of your meals because they are “healthy” foods. Find ways to flavor & prepare foods that taste good to you. Don’t be afraid to try new options.
- Realize that eating out & eating healthy actually can be in the same sentence. It’s all in what you choose.
- Stop thinking that your current state is “just the way you are.” Change is always possible. It just depends on how willing you are to work at something.
- Make healthy a habit. One thing that has helped me consistently make positive choices is the fact that the changes that I have made are a lifestyle, not a 30 day program I’m gritting my teeth through…which will be followed by a lot of binging. Choose to live your life a different way. You may surprise yourself at how well you adapt.
- Do something to move every day. Even if it’s small. Your body will appreciate you for it.
- Realize that you aren’t just going to wake up like that…and that’s ok. However, you can wake up and choose to be “like that,” whatever that means. Fit people choose to be fit. They work at it. It’s also important to understand that “Fit,” isn’t a size, or a weight, or a certain shape…it’s an effort and a lifestyle. It’s a possibility for everyone.
- Consistency allows for more freedom. I realize that consistency sounds restrictive, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Because I am as consistent as possible the majority of the time, my body allows for treats every now and then, days off when I need them, and it doesn’t send me flying of course. I feel like this is the level of fitness that most people want to reach, a level where you feel great, where you are fueling your body well, where exercise is a habit, but where there is also a little wiggle room….where you can still live!
So, no…you probably won’t ever just, “wake up like that,” with no effort, but you surely can wake up and CHOOSE to be whoever you want to be! You have to find the place where your motivation comes from consistently making healthy choices.
I always laugh w/my clients/friends/family about how we always tend to gravitate toward starting over at the beginning of a week, a month, or a year. “I’ll start eating good again on Monday.” You’ve said it, you know you have. I think we all have. While it may be the beginning of a new week, and a great time to start getting things back into gear, these are a few things you can do at ANY time to clean up your diet RIGHT NOW.
- Start your day with a high quality breakfast. Don’t skip breakfast. Don’t eat cookies for breakfast. Start your day off right. It sets the tone for your whole day. I highly suggest a high protein meal, and you can read why HERE.
- Ditch your full sugar soda. I recommend you stop drinking your calories all together. It doesn’t fill you up. It adds in a TON of sugar, which is a big contributor to weight gain, and it’s usually just additional empty calories. I recommend to all my clients that they should drink 100 oz of water per day. You can read why I recommend this HERE.
- Watch your portions. I believe in intuitive eating, I do. Not everyone should have to measure out every single bite they eat. It’s good to eat when your hungry, & eat enough so that you feel full. However, with the super sized portions, bulk packaged bags, & wide availability of convenience foods…portion control has gone out the window. Think about it, how many times have you found yourself reaching endlessly into a bag of food for one handful after another, until you don’t know if you’ve had 1 serving or 11. It happens. When you are conscious of your portions this will be far less likely to happen.
- Try not eating candy. I’m not saying you have to get rid of it forever for the rest of your life, but I dare you to try and eliminate it for a bit. You may be surprised at the things you end up skipping over that you normally would have eaten in minutes.
- Get your dressing/condiments/”extras” on the side. The “extras” add up really quick. Try getting your dressing on the side, and dip your fork. Get your condiments on the side, and YOU will be able to control how much you use. Take a look at what you eat regularly…are you topping everything with cheese? mayo? dressings? tortilla strips? croutons? These add up real quick!
- Get rid of some of your “processed” options. Processed foods tend to be higher in unhealthy fats and sugars. When you get rid of some of these and focus your meals around whole foods, fresh produce, & lean meats you will be way better off!
- Skip Dessert. GASP. I dare you. Have some fresh berries, fruit, or nothing at all instead.
- Cook at home more. Now, I’m a huge believer that it is VERY possible to eat out and eat healthy. However, I know that I am always more in control when I eat at home. I know exactly what is going in my food. It’s clean, portion controlled, & there aren’t any hidden additives I might not be aware of.
- Use salsas, spices, & seasonings instead of dressing. Flavor is the key to healthy cooking. Healthy food SHOULD taste good. It’s all in the way you prepare it. Get creative. Put a little thought and effort into it. One of my favorite ways to spice things up is with fresh salsas. They are so low in calories, & they are packed with taste!
- THROW OUT THE CRAP. This is the biggest one right here. If you have a pantry full of oreos, a freezer full of ice cream, & a candy jar stocked with your favorite treats. You will most likely end up eating oreos, ice cream, & candy. If it’s not there, it’s far more likely that you won’t be eating it. Set yourself up for success, not for failure. Fill your fridge & pantry full of fresh produce & healthy food items that you can grab when you need healthy options.
I recommend that all of my clients aim to get 30 grams of protein for breakfast as soon as they wake up in the morning. This can be difficult because most, “breakfast foods” that people naturally go to are higher in carbohydrates, and not as high in protein…cereal, toast, bagels, fruit, even oatmeal…all fall into this category.
Foods that are higher in carbohydrates tend to spike your blood sugar. Raised blood sugar levels are then followed by a release of insulin, which functions to bring the blood sugar levels back down. Insulin is also known as a storage hormone. It drives sugar into our cells which will either be used or stored. The sugar in cells, is what is used for energy in our exercise and our daily movement in general. However, if enough calories aren’t burned throughout the day (if that sugar isn’t used up), it is what ends up contributing to the storage of fat….and weight gain.
Because this surge of insulin follows after a raise in your blood sugar occurs, it’s likely that after eating a meal that is high in carbohydrates you may find yourself craving sugar again shortly after to raise your blood sugar levels back up again.
Protein on the other hand, has a very different effect on the body. Protein doesn’t change your blood sugar and insulin levels, causing raises and crashes through the day. Protein requires more energy from your body to be digested. It is beneficial to your cells because it is what your cells are made up of. Protein is more satiating, and will keep you full, longer. It is beneficial for muscle repair, and helps to build lean muscle. Is is also beneficial for brain function due to the neurotransmitters it contains, meaning a high protein breakfast will improve your brain function throughout the day.
So what are some great ways to get your protein in ASAP in the morning? ……all forms of eggs, veggie omelets, jerky, lean meats, leftover chicken, lunch meat, protein bars (I like Questbars because they are the cleanest option w/the least amount of sugar) &, protein shakes. A lot of the time, the hardest part is switching up your old habits to some new ones!
Y’all know that I love food, & I love to eat out. Eating out usually means spending time with the people I love eating all sorts of delightful things while doing so. I often here people say, “I could eat healthier if I just didn’t eat out so much.” Well, the truth is, eating healthy is a decision, regardless of whether you are at home/work/with family/at a restaurant/in your car/or wherever else you may find yourself. Life is busy. You have to decide to be consistent with your healthy choices, no matter where you may be. Some simple tips I have to make healthy choices when eating out are:
- Go with LEAN protein and veggies. – This can help eliminate a lot of options on the menu that are extremely processed, high in carbohydrates, high in starch, and high in sugar. Grilled chicken, fish, lean cuts of beef, and vegetables are available almost everywhere. Lean protein doesn’t mean deep fried. Lean protein doesn’t mean in sandwich form, ditch the bun/tortilla & eat it solo or wrap it in lettuce.
- Skip the bread basket & the chips & salsa. – When you sit down to a table, you are usually hungry. Instead of reaching for the basket of free warm bread that is CALLING your name, drink some water, and get your order out there asap. You can add hundreds and hundreds of calories to your meal before you even start eating if you dive into the high calorie extras first.
- Watch the extras. – Speaking of extras, sometimes the “extra” things, (cheese, chips, dressing, sauces) can add hundreds of calories. A lot of the time, they don’t even do a ton for the flavor of the meal. You’ll help yourself out by leaving them alone.
- Salads aren’t always the best option. – Salads can be EXTREMELY healthy. They can also be EXTREMELY unhealthy. Lots of little things can add up quick when you factor in a half a cup of dressing, cheese, tortilla strips, croutons, guacamole, eggs, etc.
- Always get your dressing on the side. – ALWAYS. You don’t need all of it. Vinaigrettes are a better option than creamy dressings. Dip your fork in, or drizzle a bit on top. Use salsa if it is an option. Salsa has a ton of flavor, and is super low in calories.
- Check the nutrition facts before you go. – You may be surprised to find some of the items you thought would be “healthy” are not. Being in the know is ALWAYS a better idea.
- Don’t be afraid to make special requests. – Most eating establishments are more than happy to accommodate your healthy eating requests. Ask for things to be grilled, ask for cooks to use olive oil instead of butter, ask for your veggies to be steamed…etc.
With these tips…here are some of my favorite healthy eating options in Utah…you may recognize a few of them from my IG account.
Cafe Rio: Grilled Chicken Tostada/no rice/no beans/extra lettuce/extra pico/guacamole/dressing on the sideThe Habit: Grilled Chicken Club wrapped in lettuce w/avocado/tomatoes/mustard/no bacon/no mustardAubergine & Company: create my own salad/mixed greens/broccoli/tomatoes/beets/zucchini/sunflower seeds/dressing on the sideWhichwich: Turkey lettucewich/allthe veggies/pesto/dijon mustard/black pepper/oreganoJason’s Deli: one trip side salad bar/spinach/beets/mushrooms/peppers/broccoli/zucchini/mushrooms/cucumbers/1 egg/cottage cheese/ground black pepperCubby’s: Apple Pecan Salad/no cheese/dressing on the sideBajios Grill: Small Honey Chicken Salad/no rice/no beans/corn/caramelized onions/extra lettuce/extra pico/mango salsa/guacamole/dressing on the side Chipotle: Chicken Salad/no rice/no beans/grilled vegetables/corn salsa/extra pico/dressing on the sideTacos 180: Cascabel chicken salad/fire roasted poblano sauce/cilantro/carrots/jicama/cucumbers/pickled onions/salsa/dressing on the sideWild Zucchini Grill: Chicken salad/mixed greens/grilled vegetables/sundried tomatoes/mushrooms/lots of balsamic tomatoes/zucchini/cucumbers/peas/green beans/corn/dressing on the side
Good luck making smart choices, & happy eating!!
- Love Me Like You Do – Ellie Goulding
- Time of Our Lives – Pitbull, Ne-Yo
- Electric Love – BORNS
- Sugar – Maroon 5
- Pieces – Ella Henderson
- Heartbeat Song – Kelly Clarkson
- Stuck On a Feeling – Prince Royce
- Burning Bridges – Ludacris, Jason Derulo
- Uma Thurman – Fall Out Boy
- Let’s Get Lost – G-Eazy
- Shots – Imagine Dragon
- Can’t Stop Dancin’ – Becky G
- Huarache Lights – Hot Chip
- Delirious – Vistoso Bosses
- Like Mariah – Fifth Harmony, Tyga
- Nigh Changes (Afterhrs Remix) – One Direction
- Up – Olly Murs, Demi Lovato
My sister & I are always on the lookout for new recipes to try out for Sunday dinner. Sunday dinners have always been a tradition in my family that I love. It’s so fun to cook together, eat together, & just spend time together. We decided to attempt some healthy chicken strips this past Sunday, and they ended up being so delicious. The kiddos even gobbled them up!
ALMOND CRUSTED PALEO CHICKEN TENDERS
- Coconut oil/olive oil cooking spray
- 1.5 cup sliced almonds
- 3 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 lb chicken tenders or chicken breasts pounded thin & cut into strips
- Preheat your oven to 475. Line a cooking sheet with foil & spray generously with coconut oil/olive oil spray.
- Combine almonds, paprika, garlic powder, dry mustard, salt, & pepper in a food processor. Pulse until the almonds are very finely chopped, and the spices have combined together. Drizzle the olive oil in until combined. Transfer this mixture to a shallow dish.
- Combine 4 egg whites into a small bowl, and whisk together.
- Dip chicken tenders in egg white mixture & then dredge in the almond mixture.
- Place coated tenders on the foil covered baking sheet & spray with cooking oil.
- Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken fingers are golden brown & chicken is cooked through.
I have teamed up with the people at Carrabbas to try out their gluten free menu. There are a lot of people with special allergies or dietary needs that worry about eating out because of cross-contamination, or a lack of options. I LOVE when restaurants will cater to people’s dietary concerns, allowing individuals to eat with out any worries at all. Carrabbas has done just that. They have created an entire gluten free menu. You can click HERE to see the full online version. There are a TON of different options, all of which can be ordered directly off the menu, without any alterations at all. I saw a lot of things that I want to try, and definitely will try. However, I started off with a simple dish that I found to be very tasty, and right up my alley. I went with the wood-grilled chicken, served with a side of steamed spinach. I loved that this was simple, lean, & green. The chicken was delicious and flavorful. There is an option to order the 5 oz portion or the 10 oz portion. I went with the 10 oz, so I could take half of it home for leftovers. I can’t wait to go back & try more of their gluten free options!