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burn belly fat

Shaping up for Summer

Shaping up for Summer

Summer is here!

It is finally time to break out the swimsuits and enjoy the sunshine and warm weather.

If you’re like me, you kind of dread putting on the bikini for the first time. You are your own worst critic and our society doesn’t help. Everywhere you look on TV and social media you see these 20-30 somethings, rocking their bikini bods, with zero cellulite.

Forget all you see, and focus on how you feel! If you feel great, then go on with your bad self! If you feel you need some improvements in your body composition, your energy, and how you feel… here are some things to look for when you are planning on slimming down for the summer.

Set your goal…

If you goal is to slim down, you should have a reasonable goal.

Most people focus on weight loss and how quickly they can drop the pounds. I see it all the time! “I have lost 20 pounds in 10 days!” That is 2 lbs a day! Studies have shown that a safe amount of weight loss is no more than 2 lbs per week! Yowzah! If you see anything advertising that type of weight loss, my recommendation is to turn around and walk the other way.

If your goal is to trim up then your focus should be FAT loss not weight loss. If you are cutting calories and losing that much weight (more than 2 lbs per week) you are most likely losing muscle by depriving your body of the calories that it needs. This is basically a form of starvation. While this may help you lose the pounds initially, it is impossible to maintain, is not healthy, and it will ultimately backfire by messing up your hormones.

When you focus on FAT loss and not weight loss, you will maintain your muscle tone while slimming down at the same time. If you implement some strength training 2-3 times a week, you will build lean muscle. Why is this important? Muscle has a direct relationship with your metabolism. The more muscle, the better your metabolism and the more calories your burn at rest. On top of burning more calories, you improve your overall health, you get stronger, and you look more tone. Win, win, win!

If you don’t have much to lose and just want to get rid of that extra layer, you may not lose any weight or you may even gain weight on the scale. BUT… you will fit in your clothes better and you will look slimmer.

This is why I always encourage my clients not to weigh themselves and to be sure to take before pictures of themselves. At the end of my program they are always so shocked at how many inches they have lost compared to pounds. On average in 6 weeks they will lose around 6 -8 pounds but 10-13 inches and when we put before and after pics side by side, the difference is amazing!

It is very important to set reasonable goals that you will be able to maintain.

Speaking of maintaining...

Whatever you decide to do to reach your goals should be realistic and something you will be able to maintain as a lifestyle.

So many programs and products push for that “quick fix.” “Loose a ton of weight in X amount of weeks,” “the six week fix,” “the two week cleanse,” “the 60 day challenge.” Then, these programs have you severely cutting calories, or working out 6 days a week, or only drinking shakes all day and having one meal of actual food per day, or all of the above! How realistic is this to maintain for the rest of your life? Not so much!

From a fitness standpoint, you want to work out enough to get results without overdoing it. If you work out too much, you can increase your chance of injury and you can put too much stress on your body. If your body is stressed out you will store fat and not burn fat. My recommendations for workouts are different for each person because not everyone is the same. However, on average this is 2 days of cardio interval training, and 2-3 days of strength workouts. (NOT every.single.day.)

Nutrition. Is. KEY. Not how often you are working out.

Your nutrition influences everything…

Your Hunger

Your Energy Levels

How you burn fat

How you gain muscle

How much inflammation you have in your body

Your immune system

Just to name a few!

Finding a nutrition strategy that you can live with for the rest of your life (not just 6 weeks, or whatever) is your first priority.  You need to restore balance in your body and allow your body to function like a
Well-oiled, fat burning machine! You also need to be able to enjoy food! Who wants to live the rest of their life freaking out every time you see something you want to eat but CAN’T. Heaven forbid you eat carbs!

A great way to regulate hormones, lose the FAT, and be able to maintain it as a lifestyle is carb-cycling. Basically, carb-cycling uses carb depletion strategies (have you heard of keto?) on cardio and rest days to target fat loss. Then, work in a few higher carb days. These higher carb days are paired with strength workouts so that the carbs you are eating go to your muscle and not to your FAT! Those carbs are working for you, not against you! (cue the heavenly music) You can have your cake and eat it too!! If you want more information on carb-cycling click here.

If this all sounds overwhelming and you don’t even know where to start you are not alone. Reach out to a trainer with a nutrition certification or reach out to me! I have helped hundreds of clients with my online 7-week FAST ATTAINABLE TRANSFORMATION-FAT Loss Program. This program isn’t a quick fix but it is a jump start to a lifestyle change. There is daily support and accountability (by me personally) and there are many tools and options to help you along the way. I walk you through these techniques to maximize your results initially and teach you how to maintain this for life.

For more information about the program click here or if you want to reach me directly click here.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

Low Carb and High Carb for FAT Loss-Mark Sisson's recent blog

Low Carb and High Carb for FAT Loss-Mark Sisson's recent blog

I have been following Mark Sisson of Mark's Daily Apple for years. If you haven’t heard of him, he is pretty big in the “paleo, primal” world. His methods fall into the consistent low-carb lifestyle for most people. For maintenance, stay low-carb at least 80% of the time. For weight loss, very low-carb initially and low-carb pretty much all of the time. As far as workouts, he encourages mostly body weight exercises and sprinting occasionally.   

This will work… but it takes a lot of patience and sticking to it without falling off the rocker. How many of us can say we are patient? How many of us get frustrated if you don’t see results right away? Unfortunately, we live in a society where we just can’t wait. If we are working hard for something we want fast results.  

A healthy body is not one that weighs less. You need to have a good body composition which takes into consideration body fat percentage AND lean muscle. More muscle will make you weigh more, so looking at the scale is not the way to go. Muscle is more dense than fat.  It takes up less space than fat.

More importantly, the more lean muscle you have the better your metabolism is. This helps your body burn more calories. The more muscle you have, the stronger you are and the healthier you will be as you age. We aren’t getting younger. More lean muscle supports your joints and bones and puts you at lower risk for injury.  

In my opinion, the best and most efficient way (for us impatient people) to maximize fat loss while building lean muscle is to combine nutrition with exercise. Could you lose fat without exercise, yes! It is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise, stress, sleep and other factors. But to target the stubborn fat or accelerate fat loss, you need to burn the fat. To gain lean muscle, you have to hit the weights. Plain and simple? Not really.

Your nutrition needs to support your activity. You can’t go low-carb all the time and spend 5-6 days doing high intensity workouts. Your body can’t take it. You will push your body to the limit. If you do not have enough fuel for your muscles and you will put your body into too much stress. Stress will increase your cortisol levels and will put you in fat storage mode and not fat burning mode. It happened to me, and it will happen to you.  

The answer? Exercise enough to build muscle and burn fat without activating your body’s stress response AND eating enough to support fat burn and muscle gain. To do this, you carb-cycle.  

With carb-cycling, on cardio days and rest days you eat a diet lower in carbs, higher in fat and enough protein. We want to deplete our glycogen storage tanks and force our body to go to fat for energy and not carbs for energy therefore, burning fat.  

On strength days, you eat a diet higher in carbs, lower in fat and enough protein. We want to give our muscles enough glucose (carbs) and protein to build lean muscle. On the other hand, we do not want to eat too much because then we end up storing these carbs as fat. We also have to watch the fat intake on these days, because if you eat higher in carbs AND higher in fat, you will store more in fat. The carbs you eat on strength days, especially within a few hours of your workout, will be sucked up immediately by your muscles and work for you, not against you.  

Higher carb days are also great for our spirit. Eating low carb all the time doesn’t allow us to enjoy some of the foods we like. There is no fun in feeling like you are depriving yourself of things you enjoy. This leads to frustration and failure to stick a program for the long haul. Carb-cycling allows you to occasionally enjoy foods that are higher in carbs and having those carbs work for you, not against you.  

I am really glad Mark Sisson recently addressed this issue with his followers with this article. So many eat low-carb all the time and workout way too much. This will mess with your hormones and puts too much stress on your body and causes your body to store fat not burn it… the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. I don’t encourage the high intense, CrossFit type of workouts all the time, because they are a good source of injury and quite frankly, you don’t have to work out that hard.

My clients do some effective cardio 2 times a week with 2-3 strength workouts per week. These workouts in conjunction with carb-cycling target fat loss (even the stubborn fat around your midsection) and allows you to gain that muscle that is so good for your health!

If you are looking for a program that will give you the results you never thought you could get AND be able to stick with long term, then The FAST, ATTAINABLE TRANSFORMATION-FAT Loss program is for you. It is a 7 week online program that, when followed, can get you results!

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out my testimonials and before and after pictures on my website to learn more.  

Costco Favorites for Healthy Eating

Costco Favorites for Healthy Eating

Most of you know that what you eat is very important in living a healthy lifestyle. But do you know how important? Would it surprise you to know that it is not the calories that are important?  

The way your body looks is 80% nutrition and only 20% exercise, sleep, stress and other factors. It is that important. Furthermore, it is not how many calories you eat that is important, it is what makes up the calories you eat that is key. To have a good body composition (lower body fat and more lean muscle) you need to pay attention to the macro-nutrients, or macros, for short. These are fats, protein and carbohydrates.  

To eat healthy, it is not always easy. Healthy foods are typically not in a bag that you can just grab and go. If you are on the go, healthier choices are harder to come by when you need something fast.  The key to eating healthy is meal prep and meal planning. This means you plan ahead of time what you will eat for the day and sometimes even cook these items a few days in advance.  

I typically take 2 hours on a Saturday or Sunday to prepare ahead of time the main dishes for the entire upcoming week. I will grill some chicken breasts, boil some eggs, steam some veggies, prepare a rice dish and cook 1-2 other protein dishes like a ground beef skillet or a veggie/meat casserole of some sort. I will also pre-bag some nuts, carrots, sliced peppers and other healthy items to snack on. This way I don’t have to worry during the week about cooking a dish when I don’t have as much time. It also gives me peace of mind to not have to cook after getting home from a long day at work.  

Where do I get most of the foods that I prepare? Costco… yep, you heard it right.  

Here are some of the things that I routinely buy from Costco and some of my favorite staples that make my week go so smoothly in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  

 

Meats:

Protein is key in building muscle. Eating a good amount of protein also helps you feel full. Costco has a great meat selection. Grass fed beef, organic ground turkey, chicken breasts and they have HUGE salmon filets that I will typically cook half of then freeze the other half for later in the week or the following week.

Veggies:

Vegetables are KEY with keeping the macro nutrient percentages in check! Every lunch and dinner should contain a vegetable. No joke. With all meals needing vegetables, even getting and preparing them in bulk will not leave any leftovers by the end of the week.

I typically buy Brussel sprouts, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers (6 pack) which go in a lot of recipes, sweet mini peppers for snacks, baby spinach for salads and they have some great chopped salad mixes. When in season, I will grab spaghetti squash, zucchini and butternut squash (already cubed and ready to use). Have you ever tried to make your own cauliflower rice in a food processor… it’s a pain and it makes a mess! Costco has it pre-made! The chopped salad mixes I will use in salads I also will cook in a skillet with some extra virgin olive oil, some chopped chicken breast and seasonings.

Protein sources other than meat:

My protein sources from Costco don’t only come from meats, Costco also sells eggs by the 2 dozen. You will also find a great variety of jerky at Costco that is also organic.  

The supplements section at Costco can be overwhelming, but take it from me, you’ll find some of your favorites here. One of my favorite brands of protein powder and protein shakes (Vega) can be found here! They also have a wonderful selection of some great protein bars as well! LaraBars, CaveMan and Nature Valley to name a few.  

Pastas/Grains:

Pasta, the refined flour kind, is not the best for you. Did you know you know that you can still get your pasta fix by changing it up and using unrefined grains or vegetables? Costco carries Edamame Spaghetti noodles, quinoa pasta, as well as organic chickpea fusilli pasta which is higher in protein and great for those strength days that you need more carbohydrates!

Speaking of higher carb days, you will also find organic quinoa, brown rice and chia seeds which are the healthy unrefined grains that you should be eating. I like to throw some quinoa or brown rice in my salads for lunch to ensure I get the carbohydrates my muscles need.  

Ezekiel bread and gluten free bread can be found in the freezer section. If you’re going to eat bread, then flourless, sprouted, whole grain bread is what you should be eating. Ezekiel bread is a great source of protein! Most bread you will find is bread with flour and grains that are stripped of their nutrients.  

Fruit:

Fruits contain carbohydrates yes, but these carbohydrates are natural and not added. Fruit is a great source of carbohydrates and all of my snacks on higher carb days consist of fruit! I also add fruit in my salads from time to time which adds some sweetness and extra flavor.  

Did you know that avocados are fruits? I buy a bag (contains 6) per week of avocados! They are packed full of nutrients, contain healthy fats and are probably one of the healthiest foods you can eat! Great on toast (Ezekiel toast), with eggs, on salads, on sandwiches… on everything!

Since we are talking about avocados, of my other favorites at Costco is their 3 pack of Good Foods brand Guacamole! I put this on just about everything if I don’t have any avocado on hand or if I just want to spice it up a bit!

Nuts:

Nuts are a staple in my diet! They are high in fat and protein. Fats and protein will help you feel full so these are always a snack on my lower carbohydrate days! Walnuts, pecans, almonds, macadamia nuts, nut mixes, cashews, chocolate dipped nuts, you name it, they probably have it!

So, there it is… what I depend on to get through the week!

Previously I mentioned high and low carb days. If you are wondering what that is all about, I am referencing carb-cycling. My clients and I utilize carb-cycling to maximize fat loss in my program (The FAST ATTAINABLE TRANSFORMATION) and continue carb-cycling to maintain once we have reached our goals. This means some days we eat higher in carbohydrates and lower in fat and other days we eat lower in carbohydrates and higher in fat.  This is done in coordination with the activity or workout of the day. This regulates hormones, so we are less hungry and have more energy, and also allows us to eat what we want occasionally and STILL lose fat and gain muscle!

To learn more about carb-cycling and the other methods that are used in the FAST, ATTAINABLE TRANSFORMATION-FAT Loss Program, click here. The Back to School Challenge program starts THIS Sunday, August 20 and is a 7-week online program that combines a nutrition and fitness plan that maximizes fat loss by working smarter not harder.  LETZDOTHIS! 

Register Now for the Back to School Challenge

Register Now for the Back to School Challenge

The Back to School Challenge starts August 20th! If you’re on the fence about joining, keep reading.

How does it feel to be YOU on the inside?

How do you feel YOU look on the outside? Are you happy with the way your body feels and looks? If you are like most people, you probably feel like you could improve on some things.

YOU may feel that you feel fit and look good, but struggle with unstable energy levels and feel that something is just not right despite healthy eating and exercising regularly.

YOU may feel that you exercise all the time and eat healthy and it doesn’t reflect in the way you look or the way you feel.

YOU have, throughout the years, done this diet and that challenge, used this supplement and that product, and none of them have given you lasting results.

YOU have tried and tried and you still can’t get rid of that stubborn belly fat.

YOU feel tired, frustrated, struggle with cravings and you feel like you don’t have any control over the way you feel or the way your body looks.

YOU need long-term, life changing results now, and not a quick fix!

YOU need to be able to have flexibility to eat what you want occasionally so you can enjoy life!

YOU need the flexibility to exercise at your level and on your schedule.

YOU need to stabilize your hormones and control them to work for you and not against you.

YOU need a clear plan with guidance and support to help you along the way.

YOU need a way to regain control, feel better and to look and feel stronger than ever!

YOU need a FAST, ATTAINABLE TRANSFORMATION!

YOU need to Refine YOU.

Between vacations, cookouts and family adventures these past few months, you may have put healthy eating and exercising on the back burner. Get a jump start and Refine your Body, Mind and Spirit with our Back to School Challenge starting on August 20! Measurements, weight and before pictures must be done and submitted to me before the start of the program. Follow the program the best that you can! At the completion of the program, when new measurements, weight and after pictures are submitted and results are calculated, the client who has lost the most total inches will receive a full refund of the program, a $199 value! Hesitant or have general questions? Email me at kim@refineyou.com.  LETZDOTHIS!