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carb-cycling

More evidence supporting Intermittent Fasting

More evidence supporting Intermittent Fasting

I wanted to share with you the results of a study that has just been published by University of Illinois at Chicago researchers in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging. Click here to go to the article.

The study demonstrates that daily fasting is an effective weight loss technique.
This is not the first study, nor the last, that shows the benefits of intermittent fasting. (I don't like using "weight loss" but that is what is used in the study. That is a story for another day.)

In a nutshell, this study was performed on overweight people (average BMI of 35), and just restricted their eating schedule to eating for 8 hours a day and fasting for 16 hours a day. It did NOT restrict what kinds of food they were eating. Just by shortening the amount of time they could eat, helped them lose weight because they were eating less. It was also easier for them to stick to it vs. other fasting techniques.

Obviously, I do not recommend this strategy... eating whatever you want, a bunch of pizza, ice cream, chips, etc. and then fasting the rest of the time. But, it does show that daily fasting, on its own, is a good tool to use in weight loss. 

Intermittent fasting is basically an eating schedule. The clients in my program strategically start intermittent fasting, at just the right time, and eat on this exact schedule... eat for 8 hrs a day and fast for 16 hours. 

Just Imagine... taking this eating schedule (intermittent fasting), and combining it with:
IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros)
Strategic customized workouts
Carb-cycling?!
You've got it! The best bang for your effort!

Sound too difficult? It isn't, if it is done correctly.
Think you'll be HANGRY? You won't be, if it is done correctly.

If you want to learn more about intermittent fasting and other health benifits of IF check out this video I did awhile back.

If you would like help implementing intermittent fasting or any of the other strategies mentioned into your lifestyle feel free to reach out! You can also visit www.refineyou.co for more information about these techniques and how they may be the answer you have been looking for.

Talk to ya soon!

Kim

What is Carb Cycling?

What is Carb Cycling?

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight then you’ve probably heard someone talk about the evils of carbs and how they are single-handedly responsible for making America obese. Well, the way a typical person consumes carbs, this is true to an extent. 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 some carbs for our bodies to function optimally. So why 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 and 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, weight gain, and causes hormone imbalances.


However, not all carbs are created equally. Complex carbs, like those found in fruits and veggies, 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 is such an effective strategy for weight loss.


Carb cycling is exactly what it sounds like: a cycle of carbohydrate intake. When utilizing this strategy, you rotate your days between higher carb days and low carb days.


Why should you consider carb cycling?
When you cut out carbs completely, your energy levels will 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 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 period of time, they find it difficult to sustain that type of lifestyle.


However, 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 because there won’t be any glycogen available. 1-2 days per week of eating low carb with some HIIT workouts will do
wonders for your body in terms of fat burning.
If you have too many low carb days, you will find it incredibly hard to complete a challenging strength training workout. These are important for building muscle that will rev up your metabolism. So, having a few days per week where your carbs are less restricted is ideal, specifically on strength training days.
Higher carb days increase your thyroid output and help you control hunger. Higher carb days are also important for lean muscle gain and prevent muscle breakdown. When you cycle your higher carb days with your low carb days, you will see fat loss, lean muscle gain, increased energy levels, and improvements to your overall body composition. You will also see improved insulin levels which will teach your body to store less fat.
Carb cycling isn’t quite as difficult as it seems and is best paired with strategic workouts for optimal fat burning. Low carb days can be challenging at first, but once you find some go to meals, you will find them to be a lot easier than they seemed. Higher carb days are easy to fill up with all kinds of delicious fruits and veggies to keep you energized and thinking clearly.


Carbs are not 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 would like more information about carb-cycling check out this video on carb cycling and hormone regulation!


Talk to you soon,
Kim


P.S. If you are interested in learning more about how to implement this nutritional strategy,
check out the next round of the FAST, ATTAINABLE TRANSFORMATION- FAT Loss Program
(http://refineyou.leadpages.co/refine-you-1/) Carb cycling is a huge part of this program and has helped countless MEN AND WOMEN reach their goals, including me! Let me help you take the guess work out of implementing this strategy and give you everything you need to burn fat and feel great all while eating the foods you love! Sign-up soon to secure your spot and be on your way to Refine YOU! LETZGO!
 

My Fitness Journey

My Fitness Journey

My Fitness Journey

How Refine YOU Started

I have had a lot of clients, friends and family interested in why I started Refine YOU and what Refine YOU is all about. Well, here it goes…

My journey in health and fitness really begins years and years ago. I am one of those people who has ALWAYS had to be careful with my activity and nutrition. I have always struggled to maintain a healthy weight and body composition and because of this I had an interest in fitness early on. I was a trainer, fitness instructor and enjoyed hitting the gym at an early age. I worked in physical therapy part-time while going to school. During this time, there were some people close to me in hospitals with serious health issues. This fueled my interest in medicine and my career as a physician assistant with a degree in health sciences.  

I am one of those people who has ALWAYS had to be careful with my activity and nutrition.

I began my physician assistant career in Emergency Medicine for 5 years then switched to orthopedics.  In my 16+ years as a physician assistant, I have seen and taken care of people of all shapes, sizes and personalities. One thing that has always struck me to the core, is how all these people could really make a difference in their lives if they would only make the right choices. Everything we put in our bodies and everything surrounding our bodies can affect our health short and long term. Many diseases and disorders are preventable by simply eating healthy and maintaining a healthy body composition. I have been passionate in helping my patients understand that their health starts with them and the choices they make.

Personally, throughout the years, I have always been active and working out in one way or another.  Weight training, step aerobics, spinning, half-marathons and marathons, interval training, etc. I do this to maintain a good body composition but I also really enjoy working out. It is my “me-time.” Time for me to just do and not think. It has, in a way, become a mental release for me.  

About 3-4 years ago (after having 2 children) I got to the point where I was doing high intensity workouts 5-6 days a week along with eating clean and low carb. It worked initially to get the baby weight off and then it backfired.  

About 2 years ago I noticed my energy levels plummeting, I was hungry ALL time and my cycles were off (big time) but my blood work and hormone levels were normal. Not wanting to go on hormone pills for cycle regulation, I ended up having a uterine ablation. This helped that problem, but I still felt tired and hungry all the time. Then, I started to gain fat. Yep! My clothes were getting smaller and not fitting despite all my healthy eating and working out.  

Something was wrong.  I went back for more bloodwork and this time my testosterone was LOW. I was offered a prescription for hormone cream which I was not going to use. Sometimes healthcare providers like myself can be the worst patients. I knew what the problem was. I had, in the back of my head, thought about what the problem was… but I was in denial. I was in denial until the lab result was right in front of my face.  

Sometimes healthcare providers like myself are the worst patients.

I did a lot of research, looked at a lot of studies and looked at a lot of programs and techniques. With my knowledge in healthcare and fitness I came up with a plan I could follow.  I took before pictures and went for it. 14 weeks later, I was shocked! I felt like a completely new person! No joke! I couldn’t believe how great I felt! Even though I wasn’t focused on the fat loss, my clothes were fitting again! I finally took after pictures and just couldn’t believe it! The pictures speak for themselves. I began thinking about how much of an impact this had on me and my life and had to share it with others! Refine YOU was born!  

My emphasis is to Refine YOU, Mind, Body, and Spirit. This program is a game changer on the inside and out. Emotionally, physically and spiritually.  

It is truly all about regulating your hormones. Your hunger hormones, insulin, cortisol and all the sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone, etc.). Working smarter not harder to target stubborn fat, increase your energy levels and stabilize your hunger.  

I am so happy and excited about this 7-week program which I named The FAST ATTAINABLE TRANSFORMATION-FAT Loss Program. It is a transformation because it changes your body to use fat for energy and not carbohydrates for energy. It combines carb-cycling, intermittent fasting, quality cardio workouts utilizing HIIT (to target fat loss) and strength workouts (to build lean muscle). It is a jump start to a lifestyle change and not a quick fix. No more yo-yo dieting, cleanses or omitting everything in your diet. It is not realistic to think that you are never going to have the foods you enjoy. This program teaches you how to work in what you enjoy occasionally and strategically so they work for you and not against you.  

My clients are having amazing results from this program and if you have the dedication to stick with it for the 7 weeks you will too! LETZGO!

 

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. Interested in getting more healthy living tips, exercises and recipes delivered to your inbox? Sign up for my newsletter today and get a free guide on how to maximize FAT loss.

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.  

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.