Author Archives: fitwithadele

12 minute at-home dumbbell workout

This has been the year of 20 minutes or less workouts for me. Having a baby and managing work, relationships, and everyday tasks, all while doing so on less sleep, has forced me to accept shorter, less frequent workouts.

Although I will say they have done their job as I am feeling much stronger at 10 months postpartum. No longer do I have the freedom to workout whenever I please and that is something I definitely took for granted before.

I have found that even when I am at the gym I tend to use minimal equipment such as bands, kettlebells and dumbbells because I get the most for my time with workouts like the one I am sharing today.

My warm-up usually consists of 10 air squats, 10 walking lunges, some mobility work for the hips, and a couple core exercises like deadbug, plank, or side plank. It takes about 5-7 minutes which is not ideal but better than nothing when I only have 20-30 minutes.

This 12 minute workout requires a timer and a set of dumbbells that you are able to press overhead.

Set the clock for 12 minutes and complete AMRAP (as many rounds and possible and pretty) in 12 minute.

12 Dumbell Thruster

24 Reverse lunges total (alternating sides)

Track how many rounds you get and try to beat that during your next workout.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

 

 

5 non-fitness ways I reduce stress

While I love to share health, fitness, and eating tips on a regular basis I also believe that health is more than what you eat and how you workout. Health is the way we take care of ourselves outside of nutrition and exercise and how we manage our stress.

Today I am sharing 5 non-fitness ways I reduce stress.

Time outside, in the morning, with my dog.

I spend time outside.

There is something about being outside and getting some fresh air or sunshine that enhances my mood. Depending on the time of year this could look like going outside to play, taking a walk, sitting outside at a restaurant, or hanging out in the backyard.

I connect with others.

Being that I tend to be more introverted I typically find myself re energized by alone time. I like shorter bursts of interactions with others and can get easily drained by being around too many people or being social for too long.

On the flip side, I can easily get too caught up in my thoughts and worries and feel lonely when I don’t reach out and connect with someone for too long. This could be a phone call or reconnecting with  a friend or family member in person. Even a friendly interaction with a stranger at the store makes me feel more positive about humanity.

I write.

Whether it is a few things I am grateful for, a note to a friend, journaling an experience or my fitness blogs and emails, I write weekly. I find that expression through words can be a powerful outlet.

It allows me to reflect, vent, educate, and share with others as well.

I stare at my dog.

Just kidding. But kinda. 😉

My dog Lulu is my fur child and she is the best of company. She is loyal, enthusiastic, forgiving, and the most selfless creature. Research has actually suggested that time with pets is a form a stress relief. I wish I could take her everywhere with me and I know she wished she could go everywhere with me too.

My morning cup of coffee.

Ok it is not the coffee itself that helps me reduce stress. In fact I am sensitive to caffeine and if i drink too much it makes me more anxious.

It is the routine around coffee that I love so much. Mornings are the time time I feel the most energized, positive, and productive (as long as I can wake up on my own terms even if it is 5 am).

Having a baby has changed this greatly and it has been a bit of a struggle to recreate this time.  I wish I could take the way I feel in the morning with me throughout the day, everyday.

Tell me: What is your favorite way to reduce stress?

10 quick tips to navigate any gym with confidence

Back in 2001 I walked into a gym intimidated as anyone could be for essentially my first “real” training session and started working with a trainer named Jack.
 
He was the epitome of a bodybuilder from the loose fitting Golds Gym tank to the beach blonde hair to the tan. I told him I needed to work on power cleans and sprints for volleyball season and he took me through a body part split routine. Regardless I learned a lot.  
Looking back, I remember struggling with the 10 pound dumbbells for a shoulder press. Fifteen years later I am rocking the 20’s for shoulder presses and have built some serious gym confidence though it didn’t always feel that way EVEN the first few years as a personal trainer myself.
Without saying a word about confidence Jack taught me a lot about weight training and walking through a gym like you owned it.

I know in the beginning without Jack, I felt a little intimated, overwhelmed, unsure about what to do, or ridiculous if I couldn’t figure out a machine.

I kept my distance from areas that were populated more by males or bodybuilders. I would walk straight to machines or areas I felt comfortable even if it wasn’t challenging me as much.

Today I want to share with you 10 quick tips to help navigate the weights sections at any gym, including etiquette, what to do’s and the how-to’s of building a better workout so you exude confidence and get in better shape even when you might feel a little out of place. I know I sure did for awhile.

Ask if you are unsure. Personal trainers and gym staff are there for a reason. If you are unsure if a space is available for general use, are wondering where you can stretch, are not sure how to sure how to use a cardio equipment or machine, just ask. Knowledge builds confidence even in little bits. And sometimes just knowing how to use a machine or where to rack the weights makes all the difference. I still go into unfamiliar gyms and certain pieces of equipment perplex me. There is always something else you can do.

Clean up after yourself. Just as you would at home clean up after yourself, same goes in the gym. It is courteous and respectful to other gym goers, though you will notice many do not follow this advice. Put mat or exercise balls away. Put the free weights back on their rack and if a machine requires you to add plates of weight, be sure to return them to their proper storage spaces.

Be aware of your space. Even if you are not using a piece of equipment but perhaps doing an exercise by it, be sure to give that machine, bench or free weights section enough space so other gym goers can access the equipment. If you are unsure just imagine how close you would want someone working out to you and then decide from there. Also, if someone is invading your personal space it is ok to politely ask them to move a couple feet.

Don’t be afraid of the free weights section. Sometimes machines feel safe and comfortable because there are minimal adjustments and it may feel intimidating to jump into the free weight section maybe because you are not quite sure what to do or because you are only grabbing the 10 pound weights. Who cares? It doesn’t matter how much weight you are lifting to start, it matters that you are there breaking out of your comfort zone. You belong in that space as much as anyone else and there are plenty of great exercises to choose from. Feel free to take those weights to other parts of the gym to use, just be sure to return them.

What to do with those benches? Often the benches by the free weight section are designed to be flat or at an incline depending on the exercise. They may adjust differently at different gyms and for certain exercises. Try not to use the benches as a place to set your water bottle or towel if you are not using it but doing an exercise next to it. For example if you are doing bicep curls give an appropriate amount of space so others can use it.

Exercises you can perform on benches include dumbbell bench press, incline press, shoulder press, dumbbell row, just to name a few.

Sharing equipment. It is perfectly fine to ask someone to share equipment, mostly for easy to adjust machines, especially if you notice someone on it for an extended period of time. Simply ask if you can jump in between sets and most people have no problem with it. Be sure to adjust to your correct weight and wipe it down quickly if you notice that person is extra sweaty or if you are extra sweaty. Typically if you see someone with really heavy weight on a bar it is probably best not to ask as it will take too much time to adjust and switch the weight.

As for saving equipment be aware of saving two pieces of equipment while working back and forth in between sets if you notice someone hovering like they might want to use it. Make a offer to share.

Squat racks. Squat racks are areas that are designed for people to do pull-ups and heavy lifts, like squats, where they actually need the rack to load and unload the weight. If you are starting with very light weight you may want to use another straight bar that many gyms have available. Once your weight increase above 40 head on over to the rack where the bar is 45 pounds. It doesn’t matter if you are not lifting heavy weight but don’t do exercises in there like bicep curls, stretches or exercises that you can do in other places. Many gyms only have a couple racks and are precious to those who want to use them.

How to select exercises. If you are looking to get the most out of your workout choose exercises that are multi-joint exercises, meaning they are working multiple muscle groups across more than one joint. For example, a shoulder press is working from your elbow and shoulder joint. A squat is working from you hip and knee joint.

These exercises target multiple muscles groups and you will get more out of these movements, then say bicep curls and tricep presses. These are fine to do but my advice would be to save them until the end as a bonus circuit after you have finished the bulk of the workout.

Also to keep balance in the body and not overdo one particular group, use the following guidelines. Pick one exercise from each category.

Upper body push – Chest Presses, Incline Presses, Shoulder Presses

Lower body bilateral – Squats, deadlifts

Upper body pull – Rows, Pulldowns, Pull-ups

Lower single leg stance – Step-ups, Lunges

A workout could look like this:

3×12 Superset

Dumbbell Bench Press, Squat

Lat Pulldown, Reverse Lunge

When you should go up in weight. Sometimes it is confusing to know when you should go up in weight though a general easy to use guideline is this for a set of 10-12 reps. If you get to 12 and you feel like you can do 5 more it is too light. If you only get to 6 or 8 it is too heavy for this particular workout. If you go up in weight and can only make 9 reps, keep shooting for 9 reps until you can do 10-12.

You belong there as much as anyone else. Remember there is no rule for how fit you have to be to use the weight room. Walk into any weight room and own it like you belong there, because you do. Sure you may have questions but if confidence is keeping you back, all you have to do is believe in yourself and others will follow suit.

How to transition eating from diet to lifestyle

IMG_4143

Have you tried a diet before? I have. Quite a few actually.

Atkins for maybe 3 days. I was miserable and hungry and instantly knew it was ridiculous.

A detox. Made it only a day. Same result, same feelings.

The Slim Fast diet. Actually made it 2 weeks on this one, mostly because I did like the chocolate shakes.  I freaked out one night and wondered what I would eat ongoing if I didn’t buy the shakes. Again realized it was ridiculous.

The Clean Eating diet. This one seemed rather innocent actually, like most whole food meal plans. I was eating quality amounts of foods, often throughout the day. My hunger felt in control and my energy good enough. Then I realized I was scared to use ketchup, eat dessert other than my Sunday night treat meal, and was in pure agony trying to make food decisions at social gathering and at dinners away from home.

I know diets don’t work long term. Our country is screaming loud and clear that diets don’t work by  our health epidemic and food obsession and search for the one plan that will actually work. I have chats with friends and clients who know diets don’t work and then the next week I see their Whole30 post on Instagram. Sigh.

Diets don’t work long term but we try to do them anyways.

Here is the thing. It doesn’t really matter what anyone else says. If you feel a diet can help control your eating, benefit your health, or improve your life in some way, you are going to try it and experience it for yourself until you make up your mind. Which is fine. No judgements because everyone is entitled to their own experience.

Here is where I can help.

Today’s post is going to cover how to transition yourself off a diet so you can actually apply what you learned from it (because you probably did learn something even if it was that it didn’t work), continue to get results, and trust yourself around food without a meal plan, without a food list.

I am not a doctor. I am not a registered dietician.  I am not here to diagnose anything or tell you what to eat, in what amounts, at what times.

I am here to share concepts and tools that can benefit you by relinquishing the need to be on a diet, on a meal plan, in control all the time.

The ideal end results? A lifestyle that is less obsessed around food, dieting, and quick fixes, a mindset that is in for the long haul, and a body that follows.

Here are 3 “food for thought” insights to help get you outta the diet mindset and into a lifelong way of eating, chocolate and wine included.

Food matters, habits matter more.

It matters that you eat quality foods in appropriate portions but this advice alone will not help you long term. It matters, but habits matter more.

Habits are not bad but they are tricky.They somehow emerge without your permission and develop without your knowledge.

Habits can be good because once they become automatic they require you to think less. The brain likes effortless. The key is to adopt habits that serve your life, your goals and desires.

Snacking at night is a habit. Even though you may not want to be doing it, it feels very easy for the brain and will take a lot of effort to break.

Playing with your dog or kids before bed instead of snacking is also a habit. It too can feel effortless and resisting that fridge will not feel quite so draining.

When you think of habits you want to change, think of ways you can improve them first. Be better before strict. You do not have to resort to changing everything.

If you constantly forget to eat breakfast could you just start by grabbing a yogurt on your way out the door instead of trying to make a full breakfast?

If night time snacking is your enemy could you allow yourself to have a banana and peanut butter or an egg and 1 piece of toast or something along those lines that feels satisfying?

It may seem like a lot but if you are going to snack your way until bedtime these 200 extra calories will be a huge improvement.

IMG_1018

Expose yourself to the food you fear.

Diets always have rules. There are always restrictions. There are always tools that keep us tracking something. Eat this, not that. Eat only 40% of calories from carbs. Count your calories and don’t go over. Count your calories to match your activity level.

I don’t think tracking is bad but I don’t think it is something that most can fit effortlessly into their lifestyle, or would want to fit into their lifestyle. In any sense this can become an obsession. There was a time when people didn’t think quite as much about what they ate and were much healthier and happier.

So instead of analyzing what you should and shouldn’t eat all the time, I challenge you to this.

Expose yourself to the food you fear. Are you scared that you will eat the entire pizza instead of just 2 slices? Are you unable to keep ice cream in the house because it will only last a day? Do you eat all the chips and salsa before your dinner arrives?

Chips and salsa use to be my kryptonite and I use to eat them all! I would get so upset with myself that I banned chips and salsa from my life not allowing myself to have even 1.

One day at a Mexican restaurant I wondered in my head if I was really going to never eat chips and salsa again and how depressing that felt based on my simple fear of no control. So I allowed myself a 3 chip rule, and whenever exposed would allow myself 3 chips but not a single one more. I did this for years. Now I can happily be presented with them and not only control  myself but not count either.

I eat knowing that a few will satisfy me and leave me feeling good physically (no bloating and being stuffed) and good emotionally ( not regret, guilt, or self shaming).

Give it a try. A piece of chocolate a day. A glass of wine mid week when you think you should only save a bottle for the weekend. Your favorite snack that you always go overboard on.

Set an initial number to follow and then see how it plays out over time. You may overindulge the first few times but don’t give up. Keep practicing until that food no longer has control over you.

Delay gratification.

The term delay discounting is a term and concept I learned from one of my favorite books on self control, The Willpower Instinct, by Kelly McGonigal, which states that the longer you have to wait for a reward (in this case food) the less it means to you.

Future food rewards don’t seem to mean as much to us humans as having the food right this very moment. Neuroscientists have actually studied this concept and when we put a delay on food our brain treats it like a future reward not immediate gratification. To put it simply it means less to us.

You can implement this starting this very moment. Whether it is avoiding donuts in the office or you are headed to the fridge after dinner: try waiting 10 minutes before you eat what you want.

Create some distance and remove yourself from the kitchen, the office, or cover up that candy jar calling your name. Once your 10 minutes are up stop trying to resist and see if you still want what is calling your name.

Or could you perhaps delay that another 20 minutes? Or all day?

Sometimes you may choose to indulge and that is ok but sometimes you may realize that your desires were more about having something instantly than having anything at all.

 

Listen, I get the temptations with diets. They fill us with hope. It feels like this time will be different. This will be the time when all your food struggles dissipate and you can finally have the food freedom and body you are seeking. You can envision the person you want to be come and set yourself up with very high expectations.

Committing to a diet makes us feel good before anything is even done and is often the most rewarding part of the process. I truly believe they can teach us what works or doesn’t work for our bodies but only you can learn through your experience.

If you do use a diet just to get motivated, have some control and direction remember the following:

Habits matter more than food rules and lists. Focus on habit change as much as you focus on eating healthier otherwise your old pattern will show up down the road guaranteed.

Exposure yourself to the food you fear so you are not spending your life in a constant battle with it. It’s fine to resist bread for a week but are you really going to avoid it forever?

Delay your desired food to test yourself to see if you really want it. This is a great tip you can apply anywhere.

As always would love to hear your thoughts.

 

exercise considerations for moms post baby

Daily walks have been my go-to postpartum.

I always like to remind mamas that once you are postpartum you are always postpartum and the idea that postpartum is just the first few weeks or months is a disservice to us all. 

There are an increasing number of legitimate resources (will link a few below) to help moms recover post baby that have more to do than simply dropping the weight and getting back to their pre baby body.

They are about restoring function, regaining strength and helping moms return to everyday activities and activities pain and symptom free.
Don’t think that just because you are not still in the early stages postpartum that its too late to work fitness and activity back into your routine.
What about the mom 8 months post baby having back pain or feeling like she has zero core strength and stability?
What about the mom 1 year postpartum leaking on her run? This is common but not normal.
What about the mom 2 years or 5 years postpartum who feels out of shape and just want to get
back to being strong and healthy?
I hope that this piece will help all mamas whether they recently delivered or have a 4 year old, return to fitness and activity in a slow and sane path without putting so much pressure on themselves to return to a certain look or type of exercise immediately.
This is the goal of my FREE 5 – Day Back to momME course that I put together to help moms who use to play sports or just had a very active lifestyle get back to activity and reduce the stress, overwhelm, and pressure they put on themselves.
Back to momME (meaning you). Sign-up here. Starts Monday, July 3rd.

Exercise considerations for moms post baby.

6 – week Dr. clearance

The 6 week clearance from our doctors is a misconception that the visit indicates that we can return to the exact activity (duration and intensity) that we were doing pre pregnancy.
I mean we can, but is that the smartest, most effective or sane way for moms to regain strength? Just because you can do something does it mean you should?
If you went in for a surgery you would have a progressive routine that would return you back to activity. You wouldn’t just sit around for 6 weeks and then go for a a run the next day.
Same for post baby. Just because you have not hit the 6 week mark doesn’t mean you can’t do a few gentle exercises to restore pelvic floor, core, and overall strength and just because you hit the 6 week mark doesn’t mean it is a good idea to go back to CrossFit full force.
There should be progressions to  return to activity. Keep in mind that returning to fitness slowly will get your stronger and back to your goal quicker in the long run.

 Consider function over aesthetics.

There is more to consider than just losing baby weight or fat. It took you 9 months to grow a baby and I it could take 9 months plus to return to where you were before. Consider that you body may be different now too and that is ok.
It is easy to get caught up in just losing the baby weight but like I  mentioned above it is important to restore the health of your body to make sure it is functioning properly and supporting you in ways it needs to, not only if you want to be active but for motherhood itself.
If you have issues with your body, aches, pains or things that just feel off, go see a women’s health/pelvic floor physical therapist and don’t let anyone tell you that its just normal and the way it is now.

Start small but think big.

The best way to return to activity is to start small.
Build your foundation first. I linked a series of videos below from Physical Therapist Julie Wiebe
on breathing, alignment and pelvic floor health as this is not talked about post baby but so essential to women’s recovery.
Ease back into exercise by incorporating these principals. And no matter you choice of activity you will want to gradually build strength. I chose exercises like clams,bridges, squats, and band pulls early postpartum and once I felt stronger progressed by adding reps or weight.
Consider exercise selection and how you perform the movement.
Are high impact exercises like running and jumping best to start with?
Will full push ups put to much pressure on the abdomen?
Is alignment considered in overhead movements like shoulder presses and pull ups?
Are crunches the most effective exercise for core strength or are they being performed because
the misconception is they will flatten the stomach?
What is the purpose of the exercise you are doing?

Pay attention to other factors.

 
Start to re frame the way you think about exercise and your workouts.
Are your expectations that they should be a certain amount of time or a certain level of intensity?
How is your diet? Are you eating enough?
Are you nursing?
Are you sleeping average or terribly?
Do you have a strong support system to support your return to activity?
Who do you follow on social media and how are they subconsciously causing you to put pressure on yourself to achieve a certain look?
Do you compare yourself to other women and their body and how they are working out?
Start to think about how you can reframe your thoughts around your body, exercise, and where you are are postpartum. And check out the info below.
Here are some great resources from Julie Wiebe on how to regain core strength and pelvic floor function.

Unconventional health and fitness tips to help you stress less

Take everything you think you know about diet and exercise and ignore it for just a moment. Can you do that?

Forget about calories. Forget about diets. Forget about trends. Forget about good and bad foods. Forget about healthy fats and lean proteins. Forget about the best method of exercise to get results that you read about yesterday. Or how many minutes you need to work. Or what exercises are supposedly the best for a flat stomach. Erase it all for just a moment.

What if you could just take a moment here to start with a clean slate, a fresh start? No matter what choices you have been making with food, no matter if you have or have not been getting your workouts in, you can always start fresh, right here, right now. Not tomorrow or when you are less busy, but now.

Old habits are rooted deep within us. And in order to break those habits we have to relearn ways of eating, exercising, and most importantly thinking about these components all together.

Regained weight, failed attempts at goals, binging on your last meal, missed workouts, messing up yet again, are all self perceived failures that are actually your own unique collection of lessons and information that you can pull and learn from.

The key is you have to change something, anything. Yet as humans we are kind of funny. We tend to fall into old habits and do the same thing over and over and expect the outcome to be different.

In the eating and exercise world it looks like this.

Trying a super strict diet. Falling off plan. Not caring. Eating whatever, whenever. Get fed up with body and choices. Try a strict diet again.

Thinking you have to do more and more with exercise and workout everyday only to fall off the wagon, take a break for weeks or months and then start again trying to do more and more exercise.

Researching more and more information about diet plans and exercise but never actually doing them.

Losing and gaining the same 10 plus pounds over and over again.

Feeling gross about our food choices, then just eating more pizza.

Feeling gross about our bodies and how they feel but never doing anything about it.

Talking about all the weight you need to lose but never following through.

These are all invaluable lessons (in disguise because we learn what doesn’t work) but we will never learn if we never have the courage to step outside what we are currently doing, and do something different.

But where do we start? How do we do something different when the same crappy eating and exercise tactics are pushed in our face day in and day out?

Today I want to share with you my favorite pieces of unconventional advice that I hope will broaden your perspective around eating and exercise and help you break the cycle you are currently in, if you are feeling stuck, feeling unmotivated or feel like you have tried everything.

Expose yourself to the food you fear.

Or the food that you think you shouldn’t eat. Think about it. What happens when I tell you not to think about a purple giraffe?

You think about a purple giraffe. What happens when you tell yourself to not eat chocolate? You probably think about eating chocolate.

This isn’t just some odd coincidence, there is actually a term for it in psychology called The Ironic Rebound which essentially says that the more you push away a though, the more likely you are to think about.

Alternatively, giving yourself permission to think a certain thought, or think about a certain food, reduces your chances of acting on it.

This is part of the many reasons of why diets are so ineffective from a psychological standpoint. When we forbid or remove certain foods from our diets, chances are we crave and want them more.

So the solution I propose is to allow yourself to be exposed to the off limit foods you have set for yourself. Things like bacon, butter, chocolate, bread, etc. There is a caveat though and that is portion control.

Allow yourself to have a small piece of something, lets say a peanut butter cup or a piece of bacon, and practice. Practice like you would other skills in life and practice again even if you end up overeating one day.

I use to forbid chocolate (my favorite indulgence) and now I eat 1-2 pieces a day and never overdo it. And when the holidays come around with all the pretty candies I could care less. I actually turned down chocolate the other day when it years past I wouldn’t have been able to say no because I had felt so deprived from it.

Do something and do something you like (or tolerate).

For exercise there are certain methods that will deliver better results than others and if you ask me, weight lifting is your golden ticket above everything else. Any person who crosses my path with exercise questions will get the run down of the benefits of resistance training.

I am a firm believer, however, that if you can’t dig deep into your soul to find a way to enjoy it, you won’t stick with it. If you hate all movement find something you can tolerate a few times a week. Doing something is better than doing nothing. Getting off you bum and being active whether dancing, walking, swimming, yoga, even gardening is moving and moving is better than sitting.

If you enjoy it and you feel happy and healthy with your body, keep doing it. If not explore other options.

Don’t count (minutes, macros, calories).

What if you went through a day and didn’t count anything? The time you worked out. The calories you ate. The macronutrients you consumed. Sure it works for some people, but again, the point of this whole post, if what you are doing is not working, try something different.

I had a new client ask me if a half hour session was even worth it. I told her that 30 minutes of pushing yourself is better than 120 minutes of not. Counting the time on the clock does not always indicate a better workout.

Speaking of counting. Counting calories is necessarily accurate is not always that accurate.

Precision Nutrition shares some great insight on an article I will link here about why. Calories on food labels are averages not exacts and can often be higher or lower. We don’t always absorb all calories the same. The calorie load can be change by how you cook your food. We all absorb calories differently. And honestly, we are not all so great with portion size. Whenever I measure out a cup of pasta it makes me sad and I usually add a little bit more and call it a freebie in my head.

Identify your biggest struggle.

Again, erase all the rules about food and start by identifying your biggest challenge. What gets in the way of doing what you know you need to do?

Do you skip meals during the day and overeat at night? Focus on starting your day with breakfast and having go to snacks during the day.

Is it hard for you to get up in the morning for your workout because of your Netflix marathon the night before? Limit yourself to one episode.

Do you make poor choices at home because you stock your cupboards with foods that don’t make you feel great? Make a grocery list of healthy choices.

Focus on that one set back alone before changing everything all at once. Once you have conquered that challenge you can then move on to your next obstacle.

You don’t need to try to do everything perfectly, just a couple things really well.

This is not your normal advice but I hope it has give you a greater perspective than the diets, rules, and cookie cutter advice you get everyday.

Sign-up for weekly fitness and nutrition insights here: bit.ly/fitlifeweekly 

Healthy and Convenient Grocery Shopping Guide

IMG_8137

Do you ever wander aimlessly around the grocery store wondering what to buy? Or get bored with your meals? Or overcommit yourself to cooking all week and then end up not doing it at all?

Today I want to share with you tips to make your grocery shopping the last thing you have to worry about and, more importantly, how to make it work for you. It doesn’t matter what foods, meals, or lists work for someone else if you can’t implement it into your life. I will share my method and then break it down for YOU.

For me personally I don’t try to plan every single meal of the week. I usually end of buying too many ingredients, use some for different meals, and end up feeling overwhelmed and only getting to one or do.

Instead each week I pick 1-2 new meals to try (if I feel like it), with minimal ingredients, and than focus mainly on my staples. My meals and food staples being foods I enjoy, that make me feel good physically and emotionally, aka, no guilt.

When I think about planning my meals in general I know almost all my meals will have a fat, protein, and carb source and I will try to include a vegetable of some sort. (This resulted in years of coming home and trying to eat only meat and vegetables, only to end up ravenous and snack all night. I know I need carbs at dinner).

I then try to choose snacks that I know keep me satisfied and that are not easy to overeat. Popcorn, crackers, pretzels, and sometimes even nuts can be easy to overeat and don’t really fill me up or give me any nutrients so I tend to skip those. I know that protein bars, yogurt, fruits, proportioned packages of nuts, and sometimes little snack packs of veggies and hummus or fruit and cheese will automatically make the list.

This is how I break it down besides my 1-2 new meals I want to try. These are my staples and I look for them also every week.

Proteins

Ground turkey, beef, or bison.

Chicken breast or rotisserie chicken.

Eggs, egg whites, yogurt, cottage cheese.

Protein bars.

Turkey burgers.

Carbs

Sweet potatoes or potatoes. Sweet potato fries.

Rice or quinoa.

Ezekiel bread or Dave’s Killer Bread.

Oatmeal.

Fats

Avocado.

Peanut butter or almond butter.

Nuts.

Different kinds of cheese (feta, parmesan).

Olive oil when needed.

Veggies and fruit I like

Spinach, broccoli.

Zucchini and squash.

Diced onions.

Baby carrots.

Berries, bananas, pears, apples, peaches when in season.

Other things that make it into my  cart.

Single serving of chocolate milk.

Dark chocolate.

Frozen waffles.

Marinara sauce and pasta.

Chicken broth.

Grocery shopping becomes very easy and simple when you have your staples and then you can experiment with a new recipe here or there. The more simple the plan, the better I can stick to it.

I can then spice up my meals. For example.

Add avocado to my turkey burger.

Add greek yogurt, chives and diced bacon to my baked sweet potato.

Make some pasta and meat sauce with a sprinkle of cheese.

How to make this work for you.

Plan your 1-2 new meals that you want to try each week (if you do).

List all the ingredients.

List your favorite protein, carb, and fat sources so you have a variety of foods you enjoy that you can pair together.

List your favorite snacks that make you feel good, physically and emotionally.

In the beginning this does take a little extra work but once you start to implement it into your life you wont even have to think about it. That is a habit and once you get a good habit to stick (one after the other) you are on the path to success.

 

Sign-up for weekly fitness and nutrition insights here: bit.ly/fitlifeweekly

 

How to train smarter, not harder + an at home workout for you

You don’t have to run yourself into ground to get an effective workout.

Being a former athlete I was conditioned to workout intensely, 6 days a week, hours on end with a don’t stop mentality. This is not to say that intense training does not have a place, because of course it does.

But going harder is not always smarter. Here are 4 quick tips on how you can adjust your training to benefit both your body and your mind.

Slow down your movement and work on form. This seems like a no brainer but next time you are at the gym or working out at home actually try to do this.  Pay attention to if you are compromising form and if you are choose a different exercise.

We tend to want to barrel our way through sloppy movements just to say we got it done but the body is amazing at overcompensating and if you constantly training a sad looking push up, you are going to get really good at a sad looking push up.

Take more days off. You get stronger while you are resting and recovering, not when you are working out. I love this perspective from Ryan Andrews at Precision Nutrition. “Gym time is simply a stimulus for change. This stimulus will only create results if we recover enough between workouts. The quicker and more efficiently we can recover, the sooner we can spur further progress.”

To get the most out of your workout be conscious of scheduling in rest days.

Find an appropriate recovery routine. Recovery is not just about taking a day off. Recovery includes your warm-up, your cool down, what you eat and how much you sleep. If you feel you are overtraining you are most likely under recovering. My personal recovery routine includes:

  • Mobility and core exercises pre-workout.
  • Plenty of rest in between sets (for my personal goals).
  • Stretching and foam rolling post workout.
  • Eating a good sized snack or meal with carbs and protein within an hour post workout. This is one of the best times to eat, so be sure not to skip it.
  • Plenty of rests days.
  • A massage once a month.
  • A weekly Pilates or yoga session if I see fit.
  • As much sleep as I can manage!

Can you tell this is a bit of a focus for me? 😉

Rest More

Prioritizing sleep is as much, if not more,  important than eating healthy and working out.  This article even says that exercise may reduce the risk of cancer but those benefits will slip away, it sleep is lacking. Yikes!

Sleep deprivation messes with your hormones which in turn can effect your hunger, energy and cravings. And for me personally, I know that if I am sleep deprived I feel hungrier, my energy is low so eating makes me feel better and my cravings are through the roof.

If you feel like you have hit a plateau but are doing everything right, check you sleep and stress levels.

If recovery is an concern for you try adding one of these focuses into your routine. It seems counter intuitive but sometimes doing less will give you more.

In the meantime I have include an at home strength workout routine for you! Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

 

At Home Full Body Blaster

10 Reverse Lunges right leg

10 Reverse Lunges left leg

10 Deadbugs

10 Push-ups

Repeat 3-5x through

 

easy snacks for busy moms on the go

My first 3 months of motherhood taught me one thing about food. You never know when you will have a chance to eat or for how long.

I vividly remember one morning a few weeks in when I put the babe down for her nap and practically sprinted to the kitchen and started grabbing things out of the fridge and cupboard to put together a meal. I was starving and had no idea how long she would say asleep.

I inhaled my meal that I put together in minutes and she stayed asleep for another two hours. Ha! But it could have been one of her 15 minute cat naps, you just don’t know.

I have become even fonder of snacking than I was before but if I don’t play the snack game right I will end up snacking for hours on end, a few crackers here, a few raisins there, and never really feel the least bit satisfied.

With that I put together a few of my favorites snacks that are so easy and convenient that you don’t even have to think about anything, you just grab and go.

Yogurt.

My two favorites are Siggi’s yogurt and Fage 2%. Both are higher in protein to help keep you full and satisfied. Top with granola (Purely Elizabeth is my fav), chopped apples or berries, shaved chocolate or whatever sounds good to you.

 

Protein Bars.

The whole food foodies and clean eaters are angrily reading this right now about to say that protein bars are not healthy and are glorified candy bars. Maybe some of them but the idea with protein bars is that they are super convenient. If you are looking to add more protein to your diet and you like the way they taste then these are a great option for you.

 

Protein snack packs and such.

I have not eaten a snack pack since 5th grade but recently I am loving this quick and easy done for you option. These are from Costco and could practically be a meal but have apples, sunflower butter, cheese, and hard boiled eggs. Other varieties have grapes and apples, pretzels and cheese, veggies, and hummus and pita chips.

 

Meat and Cheese plate.

This one you actually have to open some containers, unless you put them in baggies in advance. Here I have a piece of salami, a couple slices of garlic chicken breast from the deli, and some cheese. Crackers are a good addition too to round out this filling snack.

Banana and nut butter.

A good old banana and peanut butter or in this case almond butter in an on-the-go packet. Some carbs to give you an energy boost and some fat to sustain it.


Lastly one that you actually have to prepare but will be so happy you did.

Egg veggies muffins.

  • 5 eggs
  • Âź cup of egg whites
  • ⅓ cup of broccoli
  • 4 mini sweet bell peppers
  • Âź cup of onion
  • 2 tbsp of feta cheese
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • Âź tsp of smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pulse the veggies in a food processor (or chop finely if you don’t have one).

In another bowl whisk the egg and egg whites together.

Line your muffin tin with muffin liners, spray with a non stick spray and fill cups about ž full.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Freeze extra if you can’t use them all at once.

How I returned to exercise 0-5 months post baby

Daily walks from 10-40 minutes were my go-to during pregnancy and after.

Returning to exercise postpartum is more than just about getting clearance from your doctor and returning to your normal routine. It is more than just about dropping the baby weight, more than just kegals, and more than the general advice to just strengthen your core.

If I had been pregnant even just 3 years ago I would have felt the need to push my body more during and after pregnancy but I have learned so much in the past couple years and want to share some important guidelines and how I returned to exercise 0-5 months postpartum.

I do understand that many pregnant women want to “get their pre baby body back” and lose the “baby weight” and I don’t discount those goals and desires but there is a lot more to consider that your body will thank you for in the long run.

Regaining function of the body is one of the most overlooked aspects when moms return to exercise and that starts with strengthening pelvic floor and your core muscles. Core muscles referring not only to the abominals but the diaphragm, pelvic floor, and glutes. All these muscles help support the spine and pelvis and help stabilize the body.

If you are not so concerned with returning to fitness within the first few months after baby is born that is totally fine too but I do recommend including some alignment and breathing exercises in your daily routine to help regain stability and function of the pelvic floor and core. 

Even if you are past 6 months postpartum and have not returned to fitness simply start from the beginning. Don’t skip steps, evaluate your body and how it responds to increased activity, and have some patience and compassion for yourself.

The first week postpartum I started with 2 exercises.

Alignment and Breathing.

Alignment.

You can think of alignment as posture and this will be extremely important especially with all the hours you spend baby carrying, picking up and putting down, and baby gear loading and unloading.

Feet hip distance apart (think hip bones not the width your hips).

Stack the ribs over the hips so your are not flaring the ribcage out or tucking them down either.

Think of a string on your bum that you gently pull to “un tuck” your bum. Imagine your pelvis is a cup of tea. If you are holding it in front of you, you don’t want the tea to spill out the backside. You want to tilt the pelvis (cup of tea) forward just slightly to untuck the bum.

I know it is hard as a mom when you have so many things to think about during the day but try to check in with your alignment/posture occasionally to ensure you are keeping form (picking up baby, holding baby, picking something up off the ground). Even if you check in 1 time per day that is 150 times over the course of 5 months which is definitely better than 0.

Breathing and pelvic floor connection.

Kegels are often recommend to keep the pelvic floor strong but a more effective way goes beyond just clenching the pelvic region repeatedly. It is teaching the pelvic floor to engage and release with the breath not in isolation.

Your pelvic floor should relax on your inhale and your ribcage should gently expand. On your exhale you should feel your ribcage relax and feel your pelvic floor lift. This is a gentle movement that should not be used at full force.

I didn’t put any pressure to myself but just practiced breathing in my aligned position throughout the day whenever I thought of it when I was nursing or picking things up off the ground.

3 weeks postpartum.

In the beginning I cannot emphasize rest to recover enough. During this time I started to add in exercises like heel slides, clams, bridges, air squats, light upper body resistance band work incorporating the pelvic floor work, alignment and breathing. These exercise were done in 1-2 sets a day on days I could fit them in.

1 to 3 months postpartum.

At this time I started low intensity resistance/strength workouts and walking a few times a week on days I had more sleep. More being 5-6 hours of combined sleep. 

I kept the sessions under 30 minutes and again paid attention to alignment, breathing, pelvic floor engagement, and how my body felt during and after exercise. I rested a lot during my workouts and took 2-3 days off in between strength workouts. On days I had horrendous quality of sleep I did not workout.

A note on getting clearance from your doctor. This is not necessarily the time to return full force to exercise. Do check-ins with how your body feels during exercise, after, the day after, etc as the weeks go by before you bump up the frequency or intensity.

4-5 months postpartum.

I have recently added different lifts back into my strength workouts like assisted pull-ups, deadlifts and front squat with lighter weight. I still keep up my walking and really don’t do any cardio.

Note on returning to cardio. Be cautious with higher impact activities like running especially if you have any issue like leaking, pain, etc.

No matter what anyone says, even a doctor, these don’t have to be the new normal. Seek help and remember that the seemingly slow path will me more effective in the long run than trying to do too much too soon.

For more support in mom land join my free Facebook community Moms Supporting Moms. Also receive simple health, fitness, and self care tips that you can implement seamlessly into your busy mom life. Join here.