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healthy living

One Minute Daily Fitness Challenge Week 3

One Minute Daily Fitness Challenge Week 3

Join me on Instagram and Facebook in my stories every day for the next 6 weeks for a less than one minute daily fitness challenge. Set the alarm on your phone and join us in taking these small steps toward a stronger and healthier YOU!
This exercise challenge will be different every week and target different areas of the body. You will be given modifications for ALL levels (beginner-advanced) and some change ups for the more advanced in my stories! 

The first week was Push-Ups and last week we did a one minute squat hold. The week we’re changing it up to a one minute plank!
Join me in my stories every day and do a plank for one minute. ☝️

The video Demonstrates a few versions of the plank. The advanced version is on your hands/elbows and feet. You may put your knees down for the intermediate version. For Beginners you can put your hands or elbows on a bench or chair and hold the plank.

Healthy Halloween Treats

Healthy Halloween Treats

My favorite season is among us! I just love the fall! The cool crisp air, all vibrant colors in nature, fall festivals, pumpkin patches and the excitement and giggles of my children dressing up for Halloween. One thing that I am not such a fan of… all that sugar! I know, I know, it’s Halloween and what’s Halloween without trick or treating and the candy! Well if your house is anything like ours, we get enough candy to last us for months!  

I visited some of my favorite blogs to compile a few choices that bring on the FUN but don't bring on the refined sugar for your next Halloween party that you host or attend.

Check out this super easy, fun idea from Sparkles to Sprinkles! This would be a great school snack for Halloween or a party!

This is not a snack to leave sitting out for a long period of time but is quick, easy and healthy with bananas and dark chocolate chips from Spaceships and Laser Beams. Also check out the clementine pumpkins that only require a clementine and celery stalk!

Popcorn Witch Hands from Toni Spilsbury are great for co-workers and kiddos! Fill a non-latex glove with something to represent the nails (think candy corn, nuts, almonds, raisins. etc.) and fill with popcorn! Throw on a spider ring or other Halloween ring and you’re set! 

Head to one of my favorite stores to stock up on healthy finds, Costco, and pick up some mandarin orange cups to make these fun Jack o' Lantern Mandarin Oranges. All you need is a Sharpie to draw any Halloween character including bats, witch hats, Frankenstein or the word “boo.”  

This will surely be a hit! Pineapple on bottom, then mandarin oranges add some full-fat whipped cream, and… maybe one or two pieces of candy corn on top.

These are perfect for a weeknight meal as well and are festive! Simply grab you favorite stuffed pepper recipe and just cut a jack o' lantern into the pepper!

Replace the ole’ boring veggie tray with a pumpkin themed veggie tray.  

How cute are these Apple Mummies from Two Healthy Kitchens?! I suggest using Honeycrisp apples as they tend to not brown as quickly when peeled!

If you have any other great festive, healthy Halloween treats please comment below and share! And in case you're heading to Costco to pick any of these supplies in bulk, check out my blog where I outlined some of my favorite healthy finds that you can pick up too!

As I always say to my clients, moderation is key! Don't deprive yourself of your favorite treat this Halloween, but instead find a way to incorporate it with your diet and exercise to enjoy guilt free.

Have a happy, healthy and safe Halloween!

 

10 Tips for Women for a Healthier Lifestyle

10 Tips for Women for a Healthier Lifestyle

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month.  It is a good reminder for us busy ladies to take a moment and focus on our health. Women are so busy juggling careers, children and homes, just to name a few.  We can get caught up in the day to day grind and push our health and maintenance aside.  

Let’s put you front and center and let’s take care of YOU!

Here are 10 tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

1. First and foremost, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the following are the American Cancer Society’s Recommendations on breast cancer screenings:

  • Women with an average risk of breast cancer – most women – should begin yearly mammograms at age 45.

  • Women should be able to start the screening as early as age 40, if they want to. It’s a good idea to start talking to your health care provider at age 40 about when you should begin screening.

  • At age 55, women should have mammograms every other year – though women who want to keep having yearly mammograms should be able to do so.

  • Regular mammograms should continue for as long as a woman is in good health.

  • Breast exams, either from a medical provider or self-exams, are no longer recommended.

  • Still, all women should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and report any changes to a healthcare provider right away.

For more information visit The American Cancer Society.

2. Keep up with your screenings.

Medical exams and screenings by a physician are recommended routinely to screen for other diseases and disorders.  Some of these will be screening for other cancers, monitoring and screening your blood pressure, cholesterol and thyroid to name a few.

3. Maintain a healthy weight.  

This is probably the MOST important thing you can do for yourself to live a longer and healthier life.  Being overweight increases your chances of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, breathing problems and osteoarthritis to name a few. In my years in practice as a physician assistant, I personally see this on a DAILY basis.  I’m not saying that all overweight people have these problems, but it certainly increases the risk if not now, then eventually.  Because I deal with this daily, this is one of the primary reasons I created Refine YOU, my online fitness and nutrition company.  I want to impact and change as many lives as possible by helping my clients regain control by regulating hunger, regulating hormones and losing fat.  The FAST, ATTAINABLE TRANSFORMATION is a reasonable, doable lifestyle change with a jump start at the beginning.

4. Drink plenty of water.  

Stay away from artificial sweeteners, sodas, etc.  Everyone should be drinking at least half their body weight in ounces of water daily. A tip I like to tell my clients is,  every time you pick up that water bottle you should take 8-10 gulps of water before you put it back down again.

5. Maintain a healthy body composition.

This is along the lines of maintaining a healthy weight, but takes it one step further. Maintaining a healthy body composition means less fat and more lean muscle. This is for adults of ANY age. There are many benefits of having more lean muscle mass with strength training.  Having more lean muscle improves your metabolism which means you will burn more calories at rest.  For every pound of muscle you gain, your body can use about 50 extra calories per day.  Building muscle also protects you from injury to your bones and your joints. Not only does a lean, tone body look better, but it also allows you to live a longer more independent life as you age.   

6. Eat clean.

Refined grains (processed food, bread, chips, crackers, wheat) are unnecessary in our diet for fiber or nutrients. We can get all the fiber that our bodies need from fruits and vegetables. Refined grains are made up of lectins, gluten and phytates which cause mild to severe inflammatory reactions in our bodies. These reactions can affect our thyroid, digestive tract, immune system and liver. Gluten is the one we hear about the most but they are all unnecessary and can be harmful. If we cut refined grains out of our diet it decreases our risk of problems such as diabetes, heartburn, hypertension and helps us get rid of pesky stubborn fat. Dairy products commonly contain hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and GMO’s. They also contain a high amount of carbohydrates and lactose that can cause sensitivities.

7. Your nutrition should focus on the Macro nutrients and portion sizes.

In my opinion, this is the KEY to maintaining a healthy weight and body composition. Your body composition is 80% what and how you eat and only 20% exercise, sleep, stress and other factors. This is NOT just counting calories. This has more to do with what makes up the calories you are eating… the amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat (the 3 macro nutrients). Eating enough protein will help you feel full and encourage muscle growth. Keep in mind, not all fats are bad for you! A diet higher in healthy fat in combination with lower carbohydrates, will stabilize your hunger hormones and encourage your body to burn fat for energy and not be dependent on carbohydrates for energy.  Once you are dependent on fat for energy you will also have the added benefit of not have the energy fluctuations during the day.  To learn more about what Macros are and why they matter, check out my blog

8. Get enough sleep.

The lack of enough sleep may affect your body in more ways than you realize.  It puts you at risk for weight gain and puts more stress on your body which will increase cortisol and will put you in fat storage mode. It can increase your hunger by affecting your hunger hormones (ghrelin and leptin) and affects your mental state by increasing risk of depression, impairing judgement, makes you forgetful and makes you foggy.  The lack of sleep will also cause you to look older and we all don’t want that!

9. Keep your mind active.  

Studies have shown that you may delay the development of dementia and memory loss as you get older by keeping your mind active. Having a hobby that you enjoy, doing stimulating puzzles, playing games, reading books and learning new skills are great ways to keep your mind active and healthy.

10. Keep the stress low.

Stress has a negative effect on your mind, body and spirit.  The American Psychological Association (APA) states that the more stress you have and the longer it lasts, the worse it is on your body.  Reducing your stress levels can not only make you feel better now, but helps protect your health long-term. Some strategies the APA suggest to reduce stress are: identify what’s causing the stress and get rid of any tasks that are not essential, build strong supportive relationships, walk away when you are angry, rest your mind by participating in yoga or relaxation exercises and get help if needed.  

My career as a physician assistant in healthcare is something that I enjoy tremendously. I have a deep passion in helping people. This extends to my company Refine YOU and the FAST, ATTAINABLE TRANSFORMATION. I get great joy in helping clients who want a change. They are struggling to lose fat, they have tried this or that program and/or supplement with no results, they have hit a plateau and they struggle with low energy and feeling hungry all the time.  They just want lasting results, they want to feel better, and they want to be healthy… Refine YOU has the answer.

The next round of the FAST, ATTAINABLE TRANSFORMATION begins October 21st with prep week.   What better way to start the Holiday season!? LETZGO!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

 

Intermittent Fasting could be the Answer!

Intermittent Fasting could be the Answer!

Looking for something to boost fat loss?  Are you wanting to make healthier choices? See how intermittent fasting could be the answer!

Fasting…

Well its nothing to be scared of and might be the answer you need if you’ve been frustrated about your hormones, energy level, hunger levels or you’ve tried everything and cant loose those inches!  I’m gonna dive into what it is and why it might help you!  

Intermittent fasting is exactly what it sounds like: short periods of fasting, intermittently.  There are different methods of intermittent fasting but it is usually fasting between 16-24 hrs.  I like to think of it more like an eating schedule.

This goes against Much of what we’ve been taught by the health and fitness industry. We are often told to workout intensely, eat every 2-3 hours, and restrict our calories.

Unfortunately, while this will get results initially, it will also mess with your hormones in some pretty significant ways and eventually slow down your metabolism. I know this because it happened to me, and because medial research has shown that this can have negative effects on your body.

Your body is always in one of two states: fasted or fed. When you eat several meals throughout the day, your body is always in a fed state. While in the fed state your insulin levels are elevated, which makes it more difficult for your body to burn fat effectively and your body becomes dependent on eating frequently.

However, after about 12 hours of not eating, your body goes into a fasted state. When you fast, insulin levels drop and human growth hormone increases. When you increase your growth hormone it helps your body burn fat and gain muscle.

You also increase the function of lipase which helps your body break down fat. Short term fasting also improves your metabolism which allows you to burn more calories which also helps your body burn fat.

Studies have shows that intermittent fasting causes weight loss, loss of inches around the abdomen, AND causes less muscle loss than just cutting calories alone.

Studies have also show that IF (Intermittent Fasting) can improve BP, cholesterol, trigycerides, and inflammation and reduce the risk of heart disease.  IF also has important benefits for brain health and may increase growth of new neruons in the brain and protect the brain from damage. Fasting intermittently also helps your cells get rid of waste material and influences genes that prevent disease.

Bottom line… Intermittent Fasting

  • Helps you burn FAT
  • Prevents muscle loss and breakdown
  • Improves your metabolism
  • Is beneficial to your overall health

Fasting might sound a little scary, but I promise you...it isn’t as bad as it sounds!

There are several different types of intermittent fasting schedules from daily fasting to 24 hour fasts every few days or once a week. In my program, my clients start fasting a certain way and at a specific point in my FAT loss program.  If a person that is used to eating a high carb diet and eating every 2 hours trys to fast… they will be miserable, hangry, and end up giving up and overeating to make up for how hungry they are. 

Therefore, my clients start IF in my program at a point where their insulin has been stabilized and they are already going to their fat stores for energy.  This is when we implement intermittent fasting to boost fat loss and muscle gain.

I will be honest, a lot of clients are apprehensive about beginning to intermittent fast. They are shocked that when they do start, they are not hungry like they thought they would be and it is not as difficult as they thought. We do not eat less when we are fasting, we are just eating all of the calroies in a shorter amount of time.

Intermittent fasting isn’t scary, but a simple way increase your energy levels and turn your body into an effective fat burner.

When you combine, intermitteint fasting, carb cycling, and the correct workouts together you get a HUGE bang for your effort. 

Smarter not harder.  Efficient and effective.  Lasting results and lifestyle changes.  Improveing your health long term.  This is what my program the FAST ATTAINABLE transformation FAT loss program is all about.

I would love to help you on your journey. Whether it be loosing fat, regulating hormones, or learning how to make healthier choices. 

Hope to hear from ya soon! LetzGo!

Kim

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

Fat Vs Muscle

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Fat Vs Muscle

Hey gang!
Do you struggle with the scale? Are you constantly weighing yourself and getting frustrated? You are NOT alone in this battle.  You need to know about fat vs. muscle!

Fat vs Muscle!
In the pic, both of these "people" are the same height and weigh the exact same. The person with more muscle and less fat is visiably smaller than the other even though the number on the scale is the exact same. This is because FAT takes up more space than muscle so if you have more FAT you will look... larger. Also, fat is less dense so the more fat you have the more "loose" your body appears.
More lean muscle supports bone health, burns more calories at rest, as well as helping you look fit and toned.
Muscle does not build by itself. You will not build much muscle by running an hour everyday. Nor do you gain muscle by severely cutting your calories. Your muscles need a certain amount of protein and carbs to grow. To help you body build lean muscle, your nutrition and your activity should support this, not hinder it.

When participating in a program, do not set yourself up for failure by using a body weight scale as the only method to track your progress. 
Remember, the number on the scale may not budge, or it may go up, but the way you FEEL combined with results of other measurements can show that you are succeeding in so many ways! If the scale is not budging, especially in my program, you are most likely gaining muscle, losing fat, losing inches, and fitting into your clothes better. During my program, I encourage my clients to NOT weigh themselves and despite this I always have a few that do.  Then, they contact me frustrated that they are not losing weight. I reinforce to them the importance of not weighing themselves and the importance of losing the inches and not focusing on the scale.  At the end of the program the measurements are in. They are amazed at dropping 13+ inches to up to over 20 inches and only losing less than 10 lbs!

What matters most? The scale? OR dropping sizes in your clothing, feeling more energized, sleeping better, improving your sex life, lowering your blood pressure/cholesterol, bettering your overall health, etc.?  It might be difficult to break up with the scale and rely on other methods, but once you do, it is totally worth it!

Do not let the scale or unrealistic expectations rule your life and pull you away from reality! You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than a picture of someone else that you think you should look like. Your mind, body, and spirit deserves more! Once you step away from the scale and focus on what matters... the way you feel, you will gain control and a sense of satisfaction.  The most important transformation that takes place is the transformation that is not visual but the one that happens in your mind and spirit. 

If any of this seems impossible for you to do on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are not alone in this struggle.  Get your family involved or a friend. Enlist the help of a health professional, like myself, with a program for you to follow and tools to guide you to success. Having someone there for guidance and having support from others who are in this journey with you, a "tribe," is a game changer. This is the primary reason my online fat loss programs go in "rounds." Every 7 weeks a new program starts and everyone, even though everyone has their own program, they go through it together. We share recipes, celebrate each other's wins, and lift each other up when we are down.

With any program or change, take it all in and learn from your wins AND failures. Remember, to achieve long term results, it is important to approach a new program with a good mindset and with a positive attitude. After all, this is a lifestyle change not a quick fix.

The Refine YOU Program is a jump start to a lifestyle change. It is a 7 week online program that is customized to your needs, your goals, and your level. We incorporate cutting edge nutritional strategies along with effective workouts to lose fat, gain muscle, regulate hormones, and improve your hunger and energy levels.  To learn more about the program, hear from some of my clients, or to contact me click here. I would love to help you on your journey gain control and live a healthy lifestyle.

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Spicy Ground Beef with Butternut Squash

Spicy Ground Beef with Butternut Squash

My meal prep included one of my favorites courtesy of www.myheartbeats.com

Spicy Ground Beef and Butternut Squash.

This recipe I will do anytime I come across butternut squash already cubed at Costco.

I saw it... I bought it... I get to make it!  If you do get the squash from Costco I typically just double the recipe and that will use up the entire container of squash. I have also done this recipe with brussel sprouts and asparagus in the past but I just love it with the squash! I'd say this recipe is 5 servings so the macro breakdown is 

Calories 250 NET Carbs 8g Fat 15g Protein 20g

2tbsp avocado oil

1 onion

1 serrano Pepper minced

4 garlic cloves minced

1 tsp salt, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp pepper

big pinch of nutmeg

1 lb ground beef

1 lb cubed butternut squash

Small handfull of minced fresh sage

1. Heat oil over med heat 2. Add the onion and pepper to brown 3. add garlic spices and beef and mix well 4.Once beef brown add squash and mix well. 5. Reduce heat to med-low and cover lid for 10 min until beef is cooked through and squash is cooked. 6. Add fresh sage, mix well, and serve.

This recipe is a great low carb staple!

#healthyeating #healthyfood #cleaneating #healthyliving #healthychoices#healthylifestyle #fatloss #fitfood #eathealthy #cleaneats #nutrition#glutenfree #healthylife #cleanfood #paleo #mealplanning #mealprep #refineyou #fatloss #keto #carbcycling

 

All aboard the Almond Train!

All aboard the Almond Train!

If you haven't gotten aboard the Almond Train, you need to do it ASAP!  Find out all the healthy and delicious options almonds provide us!

Looking back at 2017

Looking back at 2017

As the year is coming to an end most of us are reflecting back on the year and looking forward to next year and what it will bring.

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!

 

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.