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carb cycling

Carbs are not the Enemy...

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Carbs are not the Enemy...

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight then you’ve probably heard someone talk about the evils of carbs and how they are responsible for making America obese. Okay, that may be a little dramatic, but carbs can get a pretty bad rap that I believe is totally undeserved!

While there are plenty of people out there who would like to demonize carbs in all forms, science is clear on the matter: we need carbs for our bodies to function optimally. So why all the fuss over carbs and their role in weight loss or weight gain?

Processed carbs like those found in sugary foods, white breads and sodas offer no nutritional value...so they are considered “empty calories.” To be fair, these foods certainly do play a part in America’s obesity epidemic. “Empty carbs” don’t fill you up so they make it far easier for you to overeat. They provide your body with little to no nutrition while leaving you craving more. This naturally leads to over-consumption and weight gain.

However, not all carbs are created equally. Complex carbs, like those found in fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts, and rice are necessary for brain function, energy levels and good moods. So, saying no to all things carb related is probably not your best plan of action.

That’s why carb-cycling can be an effective strategy for some people to assist in weight loss without losing muscle.

What is carb-cycling?

Carb-cycling is exactly what it sounds like: a cycle of carbohydrate intake. When utilizing this strategy, you will eat a different amount of carbohydrates on certain days.

Why carb-cycling?

Pure and simple, by carb-cycling you will eat to support the activity of the day to allow your body to function optimally. This allows you to fuel your body appropriately, burn fat, gain lean muscle, and keep your mind and hormones happy.

When you are exercising and cut out carbs completely, your energy levels can bottom out, you will experience brain fog, and you will find yourself unable to complete challenging workouts. In addition, people who restrict carbs often don’t eat enough. This will ultimately lower your metabolic rate (by losing muscle) and make it harder for your body to burn fat effectively. Plus...we all love carbs, don’t we? Living a carb-free life can be incredibly challenging for most people. While many are able to make the change for a short period of time, they find it difficult to sustain that type of lifestyle all of the time. Let’s be honest, we deserve to enjoy delicious treats occasionally.

There are benefits to having some low-carb days during your week. When you cut back on carbs, your glycogen levels quickly become depleted. Since glycogen is the first thing your body burns for energy, it will have to reach into its fat stores (for energy) because there won’t be any glycogen available (so you burn fat). A few days per week of eating low-carb with some HIIT workouts will do wonders for your body in terms of fat burning.

But, if you have TOO many low-carb days, you could find it incredibly hard to complete a challenging strength training workout. These are important for building muscle that will rev up your metabolism. Having a few days per week where you fuel your muscles to build by eating more carbs is ideal. This also give you a mental break and allows you to eat delicious fruits and the occasional treat!

Who can benefit from carb-cycling?

Your body needs the right formula of food just like your car needs the right formula of gasoline AND enough of it, especially if you are exercising. Carb-cycling can be a great nutritional technique to optimize your workouts and give you the best bang for your effort.

We all are unique individuals and function differently. Carb-cycling may not be the best fit for everyone. It is a fairly advanced food tracking technique because you have to change the way you eat multiple times per week. This may overwhelm some people who have not previously attempted to keep track of what they eat. Also, carb-cycling should be reserved for people who’s physical activity supports this technique. It should be guided by a nutritionist to ensure that this is done correctly and safely.

Carbs are not necessarily the enemy my friend. In fact they play an important role in helping you look and feel your absolute best. They keep your body running optimally and keep you feeling alert and energized throughout the day.

If you are interested in learning more about how to implement the right nutritional strategy for YOU, check out the next round of The Refine YOU Program.  The program is a 7-week online program that provides a customized nutrition plan and workouts to help you reach your health and fitness goals. It has helped countless men and women crush their goals, including me!

If carb-cycling is the right fit for you, I can help you implement this strategy and give you everything you need to burn fat and feel great, all while eating the foods you love!

Any questions? Feel free to contact me!

 
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Why Macros Matter...

Why Macros Matter...

What are Macros?

Macros stand for macro nutrients.  They make up the calories that we eat.  There are 3 that are important in our body composition; fat, protein and carbohydrates. 

Why they matter? 

To have a good body composition we want less fat and more lean muscle.   Just cutting calories isn’t the only answer. Don’t get me wrong… calorie deficits will help you lose WEIGHT initially but will eventually lead to muscle loss especially if you are not fueling your workouts.  To Improve our body composition, we need to improve the composition of what we eat.

Protein

The first one I’m going to talk about is PROTEIN.  Most of us associate protein with building muscle, when in fact, proteins are the building blocks for ALL living tissue in the body.  Protein IS important for muscle gain, muscle maintenance and repair. 

It is important to get enough protein in your diet but not too much.  A diet TOO low in protein will inhibit muscle gain and encourage muscle breakdown. A diet TOO high in protein will put too much stress on your liver and other organs because your body can only store a certain amount of protein at a time.  The leftover protein your body doesn’t need (when you eat too much) will be stored as FAT.  More is not always better when it comes to protein. 

Fat

NOT ALL FATS are not bad for you!

Fats help our bodies absorb vitamins, regulate hormones, and it is a good energy source.

Saturated fats are great sources for energy.  Only when you are eating a diet high in saturated fat AND high in carbohydrates is when saturated fats become a problem.  So a diet high in saturated fat diet AND high carbs is bad.  A diet high in saturated fats and lower in carbohydrates is totally fine!!!

Monounsaturated fats in macadamia nuts, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil, are healthy fats and help our immune system and cardiovascular system. 

On the other hand, trans fats and Omega-6 polyunsaturated fat, along with too little Omega-3 fats, can cause serious health problems like heart disease and cancer.  These are found in vegetable seed oils, salad dressings, and processed foods.  

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a source of fuel.  All the carbs you eat are eventually converted to glucose which your body goes to first for fuel. If your body doesn’t need it right away for fuel insulin decides where this glucose goes. First, it is stored in your muscle and liver.  When their storage tanks are full, the leftover that is not needed for energy is stored as fat.

A diet consistently too high in carbohydrates, without enough physical activity to use them for energy, will cause fat and weight gain. However, a diet consistently too low in carbohydrates can deprive your body for the fuel it needs for workouts and to gain muscle. This can adversely affect your workouts, your energy, your hormones, and metabolism.

Carbs themselves are not bad for you.  Your bodies need carbs, good carbs, in moderation!  Some carbs are better than others.  The carbs we get from vegetables, that contain more fiber, are healthier for us than eating processed food like chips and bread.

Why macros matter

Again, a healthy body composition is lower in fat and has a good amount of lean muscle. This is what gives us a strong lean body. Only paying attention to calories will not target fat loss or help you gain lean muscle. If you are eating low in calories and these foods consist of all processed foods high in carbs and fat with little to no protein, this will not allow your body to burn fat effectively or help you gain muscle.

Think of your body like a vehicle, you need enough fuel and the right kind of fuel to function efficiently and to run well. What makes up the calories you eat is very important to how your body runs, how your body burns fat, and how your body gains muscle. Your body needs the right amount of calories to function well and lose fat. Your body needs the right amount of fats, carbohydrates, and protein to lose fat, gain muscle and keep your hormones happy.

This amount if different for each person depending on their goals, their body type, and their activity. This is why finding a strategy that is right for YOU is important, not a one size fits all plan. Additionally, if you feel like you are constantly depriving yourself you will not stick to a program.  It is just a quick fix but in the long run you may gain it back plus more.

There are some things you should consider when you are trying to find a program or nutrition plan.  Find plan that is right for you and your goals. One that slowly changes your lifestyle with flexibility worked into the program.  Also, it is important to find a plan that helps you grow stronger, improves your energy, and decreases the cravings so you FEEL better and in control!

Talk to you soon!

Kim

P.S The Refine YOU Program is a 7 week online customized nutrition and fitness program designed to help you reach your health and fitness goals and is flexible enough to fit your lifestyle. It utilizes macro counting to help you learn how to eat to get the results you want and maintain these results long term. This means we pay attention to the carbs, fats, and protein we are eating.  This is different for every person taking into account a detailed client assessment. Counting macros allows the flexibility to eat the foods you enjoy, to treat yourself occasionally, and STILL get results.  You will receive a customized nutrition plan and workouts to implement for 6 weeks (plus one week preparation) get you the results you want and learn how to implement this as a healthy lifestyle change. Be the healthiest YOU possible!

 To learn more visit www.refineyou.co

No Guilt Carbs

No Guilt Carbs

The end of the week brings leg day for me! I usually save my leg day for Saturday to allow for some extra carbs in my nutrition.

Did you know that your carb storage tanks are in your muscles (and liver)? So having some extra carbs on leg day is a great way to build lean muscle. Complex carbs are best (steel cut oats, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes) but this is the day I work in an occasional treat with no guilt!

These are some of the things that my clients are learning as they are going through Refine YOU’s FAT (Fast, Attainable, Transformation) Program.

Little tricks like having your treats work FOR you and not against you is key for success LONG TERM.
Severely restricting your nutrition may be attainable short term, it is not a good long term strategy. Focus on finding techniques that will get you the results and that you can maintain indefinitely.

The next Program begins soon and spots are filling up. If you have any questions, PM me! I would love to hear from you and answer your questions. To check out more information about the program click the link here.

 #fridayfittip #fittip#legday #gym #fitness #workout #muscle#fitlife #fitmom #fitspo #getfit #letzgo#refineyou #gymrat #getfit #getstrong#gymlife #instafit #fitspiration #fitfam#girlswholift #fitfluential #fitnessblogger#indyblogger #findyourstrong #fatloss#weightloss

Spicy Beef and Peppers

Spicy Beef and Peppers

Looking for a quick and easy healthy low carb dish? Here is one that I threw together this weekend!

Remember, preparing healthy recipes does not have to be difficult and take a long time. This dish takes about 30 minutes!

This low carb dish is simple and can be made with low cost ingredients. I choose to buy all grass fed organic beef.

INGREDIENTS

1 Bell Pepper (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 green that was left over)

1 T Avocado Oil

1.5 lbs Ground beef

2 Cloves Minced Garlic

1 Can of Mexican style diced tomatos with green chilis (may use salsa)

1 T Chili Powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat Avocado oil in skillet on medium heat. Cook onion, and peppers. 

Add ground beef, minced garlic, salt and pepper until ground beef cooked through

Add tomatos and remaining spices. Cover and simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes.

Enjoy in a taco salad, in a tortilla, on a bed of seasoned cauliflower rice, or on its own.

6 servings total

1 serving

252 Calories, 6.5 g Carbs, 14.8g Fat, 24.7g Protein

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!

Staying on Track during the Holidays

Staying on Track during the Holidays

Stay on track through the holiday season.  Learn how to enjoy yourself with holiday treats and still improve your body composition.  

Healthy Tips & Recipes for Tailgating

Healthy Tips & Recipes for Tailgating

Are you ready for some Football?!

Football season is here which brings gatherings with family and friends and football tailgating fun!

With this fun comes some challenges. It’s hard for most people to be around a table of food without, you know what I am talking about... grazing. You are picking and eating all day long and before you know it you have eaten two day’s worth of food (which is typically not the healthiest food either).

I’ve put together a list of tips and recipes to enjoy a healthy, great tasting tailgate all football season long.

5 Tips to Staying Healthy at Tailgates

  1. Stay away from the table. It is as simple as that. Don’t stand next to the table the whole time. Stand away from the food so you are less likely to mindlessly pick up food and eat it.

  2. Keep a drink in your hand at all times. This drink should preferably be water. If it contains an adult beverage, try to stick with those that have less carbs and sugar like light beer, spirits and wine.

  3. Limit yourself to one plate.

  4. Bring a back-up. Bring something that you can eat as a back-up in case there are not any good choices available. This could be a protein bar, jerky, nuts, etc.

  5. Bring a healthy choice as your contribution. Bring a dish that is a healthy, delicious, option that you can eat if there are no other good choices available. (Keep reading for a few great recipe ideas!)

Your tailgate doesn’t have to be full of greasy, high calorie snacks. Try one of the below recipes I’ve personally made or check out the ones I found on Pinterest and enjoy guilt free!

Healthy Recipes for Tailgates

Nut Butter Apples

You’ll need:

A bag of your favorite variety of apples

Your choice of nut butter

Organic granola

Slice and arrange your favorite variety of apples on a tray or plate. Melt your favorite organic nut butter (almond butter or peanut butter) in the microwave until melted. Pour the nut butter over the apples and drizzle some organic granola over the top.

Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken Bites

You’ll need:

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes (approx. 1 in)

Half Pound of bacon cut into thirds

½-1 cup BBQ sauce

Toothpicks

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. Wrap each piece of cubed chicken with a small strip of bacon. Secure with a toothpick and place on your baking sheet. Brush BBQ sauce on top. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Lettuce Chicken Tacos with Avocado

You’ll need:

Head of Boston or butter lettuce

Two avocados

1 pound boneless chicken breasts cut into cubes (approximately 1 inch)

Mexican or poultry seasoning

Your choice of salsa

Wash and separate a head of Boston or butter lettuce. In a small bowl, mash the flesh of two avocados with a fork until creamy and spread this on each piece of lettuce. Add one tablespoon of avocado oil to a skillet on medium heat. Add cubed chicken breast with your favorite Mexican or poultry seasoning sprinkled on top. Sauté while turning frequently to prevent burning for 5-8 minutes or until thoroughly cooked and no longer pink in the middle. Put the chicken onto the lettuce wraps and top with your favorite salsa.

Black Bean and Sweet Corn Quinoa Salad - This black bean and sweet corn quinoa salad is one of my favorite sides to make for high carb days. Every time I make this even my kids can’t get enough! It’s got a kick to it and can be served cold or warm. I will also use the leftovers and add chopped grilled chicken breast and some shredded lettuce as a chopped salad mix.

Paleo Slow Cooker Meatballs in Marinara Sauce – A pitch in isn’t complete without some meatballs. These are easily made ahead of time and make great leftovers.

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites – A spicy side to be paired with Paleo ranch dressing and some celery!

Almond Crusted Baked Zucchini Crisps - These are just as addicting as a bag of potato chips, but are much better for you! They are baked and coated with almond flour instead of fried and covered in breadcrumbs. These baked zucchini crisps taste absolutely delicious.

Taco Soup - Taco soup packs a punch and is one of my go to recipes for a tailgate. Always a crowd pleaser especially on those colder days at the field!  

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms - These Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms taste just as good as they look! Stuffed with cheese, onion and sausage you get a kick in every bite.

By following these tips and recipes, you’ll be sure to have a healthy and fun football season. Interesting in getting healthy and fit before the Holidays but you don’t know where to start? Check out The Refine YOU Program which will provide you with a customized nutrition plan with workouts to give you the best bang for your effort and a jump start to a healthy lifestyle. Interested in getting more healthy living tips, exercises and recipes delivered to your inbox? Click here for more information.

7 Tips to Avoid Injuries

7 Tips to Avoid Injuries

Hello everyone!

I wanted to bring up a subject that has, unfortunately, came into focus for me these past few weeks and that is an injury. Ugh! I have been pretty busy, to say the least, and despite only running 2-3 days a week my foot started hurting. I backed off a bit, thought about it, and whoops! I realized the last time I bought running shoes was the end of November! I typically replace my running shoes about every 4 months or so. So yes, I am now not running at all and focusing my cardio on the bike and modifying my strength workouts until it gets better.  

This brings up the topic of injury prevention. The most common types of injuries from exercise are muscle strains, sprained wrists and ankles, shoulder injuries, tendonitis, shin splints, back strains and injuries and knee injuries.

Here are 7 tips on how to prevent overuse injuries and injuries while exercising.  

  1. For beginners, make sure you are healthy enough to start an exercise regimen and ease into it! For everyone, especially those over the age of 45, you should be evaluated by your physician before starting. Nothing good will come from someone who has not exercised at all in years and going to a high intensity class or crossfit gym. Choose a reasonable activity and start out at a lower intensity and shorter amount of time. See how you feel during, after AND the next day.  A little soreness is okay but more than that means you overdid it and you need to decrease the level.
  2. Warm-up, Cool-down, and stretch or use a foam roller. Prior to any workout you should warm up for about 5-10 minutes doing something light like jump rope in place, a brisk walk or light jog.  After your warm up get some stretching in or use a foam roller for at least 5 minutes. After your workout, do a 5-10 minute cool down with a few stretches.  
  3. Have some variety in your workouts. Don’t do the same thing or work the same muscle group every day. Alternate between cardio and strength days. On strength days, work different muscle groups so you have at least 2 days of rest. Don’t do legs 3 days in a row. For your cardio workouts, vary your activity. There are so many things that you can choose from: swimming, biking, walking, running, dancing, boxing, the list can go on and on! This variety prevents the overuse injuries like tendonitis, shin splints and muscle strains.  
  4. Use the correct form. Make sure you know what you are doing and using the correct form especially with strength training. I see so many people in the gym that really don’t know what they are doing with these weights. Protecting your joints and your back is KEY and good form is a big part of this. You can strain your back by your posture being off just a little bit. You can tear cartilage in your knees and shoulders if you are not careful. Work with a trainer at first to ensure you are doing things correctly or make sure you see a demonstration of the exercise before performing it yourself.  
  5. Use the right equipment. For strength training, if you are a beginner, using the machines at a gym would be better to start out with. They are very user friendly and allow less room for error.  Then advance to some free weights as you get stronger and are used to the exercises. Your equipment also includes what you bring to the gym and what you are wearing. Don’t wear jeans and loafers to work out in. Don’t wear pants and long sleeves outside in 80 degree weather. Make sure you have breathable clothing and wear supportive SHOES. For runners, you should be replacing your shoes every 300-500 miles. (Time just got away from me, that’s all!)
  6. Support your workouts with your nutrition. Make sure you have plenty of water to stay hydrated during your workouts. You should also be eating enough to fuel your body. If you are working out too hard and not eating enough, you will break down muscle and be more prone to injury.  This can also cause too much stress to your body and this will affect your hormones negatively. I can go on and on about hormones and how important they are in our health, but bottom line, we want to keep our hormones regulated. Eating the right foods is also very important. Certain foods can cause an inflammatory response in our bodies: dairy, gluten, processed foods, etc. Eating a healthy diet with enough protein and carbohydrates on strength days is needed to build lean muscle and prevent muscle breakdown.  Eating lower in carbohydrates and higher in fat is good for cardio days to promote fat loss or maintain low body fat. This is how the clients in my program get such good results, this is called carb-cycling.  
  7. Listen to your body. With weights, if it hurts or starts to hurt, don’t do it or talk with a trainer to make sure you are doing the exercise correctly. With cardio, if it starts to hurt, take a few days off or do something different. Make sure you are warming up and stretching. Taking days off can be difficult to do for those of us that really enjoy exercise. If you don’t take care of it right away, you will end up making it worse and you will be down and out for a longer period of time.  

Injuries, no matter how careful you are, can happen. If you follow my tips, you will hopefully be able to avoid them no matter your fitness level. If you’re ready to make a lifestyle change for a healthier and more fit you, let’s chat. Email me at kim@refineyou I specialize in working with members from all different backgrounds. Each member of my program gets customized feedback from me to optimize their health! What are you waiting for? LETZGO!

 

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!

Mexican Zucchini and Beef Recipe

Mexican Zucchini and Beef Recipe

Many people have the misconception that eating healthy means consuming bland fruits and vegetables with little to no seasoning. This recipe, which I found from Low Carb Yum, squashes that healthy eating stereotype! This is one of my quick go- to recipes when I am in a time crunch and needing something savory!  It's flexible, fast, easy and only requires a few ingredients and spices that pack a tasty punch. In the past I have substituted other vegetables instead of the zucchini when it is not in season.  I have thrown in other vegetables such as roasted Brussel sprouts, asparagus and broccoli. I have also used this recipe without any veggies on hand by using sliced onion and bell peppers.  Not only is this recipe low-carb friendly, but can be modified several ways. I’ve used the mixture in zucchini boats, with almond flour tortillas and have and added  some guacamole and salsa in almond flour tortillas!

Ideal for: Low-Mod Carb Day

Calories 272

Fat 17.5g

Carbs 5.6g

Fiber 1.5 g

Protein 22g

 

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yields 6 servings

 

Ingredients:

2 medium zucchini sliced and quartered

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

2 cloves garlic minced

1 can Mexican style diced tomatoes with green chilis

(salsa or diced tomatoes could be used)

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

 

Instructions:

Brown ground beef with minced garlic, salt, and pepper.

Cook over medium heat until meat is browned.

Add tomatoes and remaining spices. Cover and simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes.

Add in zucchini. Cover and cook for about 10 more minutes until zucchini is cooked, but still firm.

 

 

Viola! That’s all there is to it to enjoy a low-carb, savory weeknight meal.



 

Incorporate Your Favorite Foods with Moderation & Exercise

Incorporate Your Favorite Foods with Moderation & Exercise

How many of you are tired of these plans/diets that you can't stick with long term? You do great initially and get results then reality sets in and you fall off the wagon and gain it back, and sometimes gain it back plus some? Let me just say you are NOT alone!

There are many programs out there that are very restrictive. "Don't eat this" and "You can't eat that." How realistic is this to maintain long term? Don't get me wrong, you just can't eat stuff you know is bad for you all of the time, but let’s face it, these foods/drinks, are yummy! And they are enjoyable to eat, on occasion! How much fun is living if you can't enjoy yourself if you choose to? 

Let me tell you a story...
The other day was my strength-training day. I hit the gym, did a five-minute warm-up, did an abdominal routine and hit the weights and lifted chest, triceps and legs. I had a hankering for a Radler! A Stiegl Radler. If you've never had one let me just say... it’s GOOD! It also has 44g of carbs! 44! So I planned ahead and allotted myself two Radlers and worked the rest of what I ate that day around them by keeping track of what I was eating. I was able to drink two cans within my macro (macro nutrient) percentages that day and got what I wanted (YUM) with the knowledge that I didn't go overboard and I can still lose fat and build muscle.  

So the moral of the story is, you can do it! You can still enjoy what you like to eat on occasion and STILL LOSE FAT!

I know it sounds too good to be true, but my clients will back me up on this. My clients in The FAST, ATTAINABLE TRANSFORMATION-FAT Loss program learn how to keep track of what they eat and this varies on the activity of the day. There are some days that are higher in carbohydrates and other days that are lower in carbohydrates. This is called carb-cycling. This allows us to occasionally treat ourselves by coordinating it so it works for us, and not against us.  

To build lean muscle, our muscles need glucose from carbohydrates. Therefore on strength training days, we eat more carbohydrates. On HIIT cardio days, we want to force our body to burn FAT for energy instead of glucose for energy... so we eat lower in carbs on cardio days. 

What makes the program different?
The FAST, ATTAINABLE TRANSFORMATION is a jump-start to a lifestyle change. This program targets FAT loss by utilizing carb-cycling, intermittent fasting and workouts that promote fat burn and lean muscle growth. My clients have awesome physical results, but more importantly, they regulate their hormones and improve their hunger and energy levels. This makes it easier to maintain this as a lifestyle change. A program that teaches you how to work smarter, not harder.

Ready to join in and lose those stubborn inches?
The next Back to School Weight Loss Challenge program starts August 20 and ends October 7th. The top fat loss loser will receive a full refund for the program (a $200 value)! Register here today.