6 Simple Health + Fitness Guidelines That Actually Work

6 Simple Health + Fitness Guidelines

The entire internet is filled with different fat loss tips, trends and topics. This can make it tough knowing either where to begin with a new health and fitness program, or if what you’re currently doing is good and/or working for your body.

As a fitness professional, I sometimes laugh at what is out there on social media and other times I get really frustrated at advice that is not sound information. It seems all of this healthy talk does one thing very well: over complicates things.

In one corner we’ve got pictures of people with super lean bodies who tell you that you too can look like this, you just have to workout 2-3 hours a day and count every single macronutrient you put into your body. And in the other corner we’ve got those who insist that going for a walk in the park and meditating will entirely change your world for the better. While the above opinions are not incorrect, it doesn’t mean they are the right fit for you.

So, what is?

The following six guidelines are simple, straight forward and proven to work. You don’t have to implement all six at once either. Begin with one until it becomes consistent and a habit, then add in another.

Six Health + Fitness Guidelines:

Strength train 2-5 days/week: Put simply, lift heavy weights often. This doesn’t mean go over to the rack of dumbbells and pick up the largest one you see. But when choosing your exercise routine, incorporate loads that will challenge you. I’m a big fan of short yet challenging workouts and am often out of the gym within 30 minutes. These workouts consist of big compound movements (squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups etc.) that get the entire body moving and working hard.

Choose foods that are in their natural, whole state as often as possible: You know the drill here, keep processed foods to a minimum. Eat foods that will nourish you and leave you feeling energized rather than bogged down and bloated. This may mean you do a little bit more cooking but there are SO many recipes out there that are delish and don’t take very long to make. Trust me, I am not a fan of being in the kitchen so meals that are easy to prep and cook are key and totally possible.

Have protein with every meal: This is one of my favorites. A lot of us underestimate the power of protein and how much we are actually eating. This is usually the first habit I will introduce a client to because increasing your protein intake has so many benefits:

  • Increase energy
  • Keeps you full for longer, decreasing hunger cravings later on
  • Increases metabolic rate
  • Maintain lean muscle mass when trying to lose body fat

Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep (or sleep quality) disrupts proper hormone function in the body which leads to: increased hunger (and therefore fat gain), increased stress, increased fatigue, decreased cognitive function and much more. Read more about the importance of sleep here. Also note that our bodies recover while we sleep. So for someone who is exercising it is especially important to get sufficient quality sleep. Tips for better sleep:

  • Get in bed a half hour earlier than usual
  • No electronics a half hour before lights out
  • Keep your bedroom very dark
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon
  • If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, see a doctor to have blood work done to see if there is an underlying cause that could be creating this symptom.

Drink enough water: Mild dehydration can cause daytime fatigue, loss in energy and concentration, can decrease strength, cause cramping and many other issues. The concerning thing here is that majority of us are a little dehydrated. It is recommended that we drink a minimum of 8 cups of water per day. This of course is dependent on the individual, someone who exercises daily should consume more than this. I normally recommend clients have .6 ounces per pound of body weight each day. However, as many of us don’t drink enough water to begin with this can seem like a lot. So start by simply adding in one extra cup (8 ounces) of water into your day. A few benefits of proper hydration:

  • Healthier joints and tissue (fascia)
  • Increased brain function
  • Helps the body process and transfer nutrients
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Suppresses appetite (increases fat loss)

I challenge you right now to figure out how much water you’re consuming each day. Is it enough?

Don’t stress, brush it off: Here’s the thing with health and fitness: it’s a part of life. Which means there will be days that just aren’t totally on point. Whether it be a crappy or missed workout, too many cocktails, a day where you ate literally everything in sight. Shit happens and we can’t always feel guilty or stressed about our actions. Being able learn from this but then move on and improve is where the true magic happens.

 

3 Simple Steps for a Healthier You This Weekend

With spring quickly approaching I am starting to hear some of my least favorite terms pop up such as “bikini body” and “beach ready.” People are going to see us prancing around half naked soon so better start watching what we eat!

 Our health is not temporary, but sometimes our actions toward it are. 

 What sense does that make? Yet we are constantly focusing on quick fixes that will make us feel good for a tiny bit before heading back to our normal (and less healthy) way of life. Take these examples, for instance:

 – 21 day cleanses: Our nutrition + exercise are on point during this, we feel and look great. But come day 22 you could probably be found at the local pizzeria and maybe be seen with a pint of ice cream afterward. But hey, you cleansed for 21 days so now you can reward your body and binge..yay!

– You’re going on vacation soon: Clearly we need to clean up our eating and hit the gym a bunch so we look better while laying on the beach. I get it, we want to look and feel good especially while wearing less clothing and there’s nothing wrong with that. What I do have a problem with is what happens next:

 – You’re on vacation: Which means we get to start drinking at 10am, continue cocktailing for the entire day and eating whatever we want because “we’re on vacation and totally deserve a break.” A BREAK FROM WHAT? Being healthy? Giving a shit about what you put into your body? Shouldn’t this matter all of the time?

 – It’s the weekend: Yay! It’s time for takeout, Netflix, sleeping in a little, going out to dinner and ordering whatever you want because it’s Saturday and who cares. Followed by 5 too many drinks and a hangover on Sunday. But no worries..because “tomorrow is Monday and I’ll totally start to be good again.”

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Health and fitness do not have to be all or nothing.
There is an in between.
Find it, learn it, live it.

 I used to be that Monday clean slate girl. I’d make sure nothing naughty was left in the house Sunday evening and the following morning I’d have a green smoothie with protein for breakfast and all was right in the world again. It’s no way to live. Treating our bodies with respect all year round is the best way to stay consistent and achieve results. Once you’re able to find that balance you will enjoy either a salad with grilled chicken or a hamburger and fries for lunch, no matter what day of the week or time of the year it is. 

 How can we find that in between ground where we’re mindful of our health but are still able to enjoy food we love? Since it’s Friday, let’s start with 3 simple guidelines for the weekend:

 1. Have protein with every meal. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and maybe a snack- you better believe there needs to be protein on your plate. 

 Why? Protein helps us to feel full longer after a meal so you’re less hungry later. It requires more energy to digest so we burn more calories after eating it. It also helps to manage blood sugar and insulin, and triggers protein synthesis helping us to increase lean mass which burns more calories each day.

 Need I say more?

 2. Exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes, maximum of 60. Let’s do this twice this weekend (I’m including Friday into the weekend so you’ve got 2/3 days to get this in). The workout you choose to do is up to you, but here are the parameters:

 -Choose a form of exercise you enjoy doing.

 -The more intense the workout, the shorter the duration. Maybe you’re going to do as many rounds of squats, overhead press, bent-over rows and mountain climbers as possible within 20 minutes. Great, go for it (but remember quality form over quantity of reps). Or perhaps you’d prefer to go for a walk with your dogs or a friend for an hour. Cool. Get moving, get outside and enjoy.

 3. Set up a drink maximum. Yes, we’ve got parties to attend and dinner with friends. That doesn’t mean you have to have a bottle of wine to yourself. Before you head out decide how many drinks you’ll indulge in. (I usually recommend a 2 drink max per event for clients, *hint hint*).

 Summer is right around the corner but that doesn’t mean the healthiest you has to be too. Start this weekend. Because maybe if you do these 3 things over the next 3 days, you’ll realize they’re not so bad. You’ll incorporate them into Monday, Tuesday, and then why not for the duration of the week, month, and your life (Yes, my hopes are high but not unrealistic).

 I want you to see, know and understand you can still have a blast while sticking to a few healthy habits– leading to consistency and an all out better-than-you’ve-ever-been you.

 Now go get it.  <3

Simple Pulled Chicken Recipe + 3 Easy Meal Ideas

The necessities for my dinner recipes: they must be easy, quick to prepare and gluten free. Cooking is not something I enjoy spending time on so if I see a recipe I like I’m usually tweaking it to cut the preparation time down. I also almost always double a recipe so there are leftovers for the following day or two.

The other day I had an “oh shit” moment. It was 5:00pm and I forgot to think about dinner! Well, we ended up ordering sushi but it prompted me to think about the following day and I decided I’d make pulled chicken in the slow cooker. We’ve now had it for dinner and lunch twice, all in different variations. 

Easiest. Recipe. Ever. = A very happy Cait.

What You Need:

  • 2-3lbs of chicken breast, depending on how much you want to make. I buy organic and free range almost always
  • 2 cups of chicken broth. I use Pacific’s Organic Bone Broth for the extra protein and nutrients. *Note: Can also use water. The amount of liquid you use should vary based upon how much broth you want left once it’s finished cooking. I like it with a good amount of broth so it keeps moist when stored. If the broth evaporates a lot I’ll add more in while cooking.
  • 1 yellow or white onion, sliced into small pieces
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of parsley and oregano 
  • *Note: I used 2.5lbs of chicken which made enough for 2 people, 2 dinners and 2 lunches each

What To Do: 

  • Place chicken breast in the slow cooker
  • Pour broth over the chicken
  • Add in onion
  • Sprinkle with salt, pepper, parsley and oregano
  • Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours
  • *Add in additional broth if needed so chicken breasts are mostly covered
  • 30 minutes before finished, put the chicken on a cutting board and shred apart with 2 forks, then put back in slow cooker for the remaining time

Pulled chicken

Now that we’ve got this yummy chicken, what can we do with it? I have no problem throwing it on a plate with some veggies and maybe some chips or fries for a little crunch, but that can get a little boring. Here’s what we had this week:

  • Chicken Tacos: Sautéed peppers and onions, shredded cheese (I used goats gouda..YUM), pulled chicken, finely chopped cilantro and avocado thrown on a tortilla (I like Udi’s gluten free, I also really like corn tortillas but am staying away from corn for the time being).
  • Chicken + Quinoa Bowl: Quinoa, pulled chicken, black beans and diced avocado mixed together in a dish. Add melted cheese on top and some extra broth to make this more of a soup consistency.
  • Chicken Salad: Put the pulled chicken over greens such as spinach, lettuce or baby kale. Add in chopped celery, walnuts and sliced grapes with an extra sprinkle of pepper on top.

Enjoy these and if you come up with a recipe of your own using the pulled chicken, tell me about it in the comments section or tag me with a pic on Instagram @CoachCait  🙂 

Super Simple Beef Bone Broth Recipe

“Have you tried making your own bone broth?” My Naturopath asked. Oh crap. No I hadn’t, but it has been on my to-do list for over a year now, if that counts. Yes, I’ve heard of the countless benefits:

  • Easily digestible and can help heal the lining of the gut due to the gelatin
  • Has a ton of minerals and nutrients that we just don’t get from the store bought version
  • Reduces joint pain and inflammation due to the glucosamine and other compounds from the cartilage
  • The collagen and gelatin keeps our hair and nails strong and beautiful
  • Homemade bone broth is healthier and cheaper than store bought
  • Easy to make

Ok, that last one is what got me. It’s easy to make? For some reason I’ve always envisioned it being a royal pain in the ass and taking up way too much time. However, after doing some research and reading “The Bone Broth Miracle” by Ariane Resnick, I realized there’s no down side to trying this out.

My gut sucks, to put it lightly. Having celiac disease which was undiagnosed for quite some time means I haven’t been absorbing nutrients properly for who knows how long which has lead to a lot of unpleasant symptoms. Apparently bone broth can start to heal not only my gut but add nutrients I’ve been missing back into my diet in a healthy and simple manner. Let’s give it a whirl..

(I started off with beef bone broth because I made short ribs in the slow cooker and had those bones readily available.)

What you need:

  • Bones. Grass-fed and organic, please. I wasn’t sure which to buy so I asked my local butcher and he gave me a lovely assortment of knuckle and neck bones which I added to my pound of short rib bones. (I just threw those in there because I had them). The butcher sawed them in half so they’d fit in the slow cooker easily. I had about 5.5lbs of bones in total. IMG_5240
  • 5 quarts of filtered water. If you are making a different amount, use the ratio 1 pound of bones to 1 quart of water. *Note: Every once in a while I’d add more water into the slow cooker once it evaporated, so that the bones were always covered.
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic *optional

What to do:

  • Roast the bones in the oven at 400 degrees for roughly 30-45 minutes (until they are browned) IMG_5245
  • Place them in slow cooker and add water, apple cider vinegar, water and bay leaves
  • Cook for 36-48 hours on low, adding water when needed so bones are covered and skimming the fat and film from the top as it cooks
  • *Optional: Add garlic during last hour of cook time
  • When finished cooking, let cool a bit and strain out the bones
  • Pour into glass tupperware
  • Once it cools a layer of fat will develop on top, this is good! Use this fat for cooking. IMG_5262

Storage: When pouring into glass jars leave an inch or so from the top. Always keep the layer of fat on top if you’re going to refrigerate for longer than 5 days as this helps keep from spoiling. Now I just finished making my first batch so I haven’t stored it yet, but I’ve read that with a layer of fat on top it can be in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. If you want to keep for longer then put it in the freezer for up to 6 months.

After having mine in the fridge over night, I was super excited when I cut through the layer of fat and saw the this jelly-like substance in the dish– that means it was done properly! IMG_5263

There are many uses for bone broth. I’m going to start out simple by drinking a cup each day, maybe adding rice and veggies to a bowl and putting some into recipes for some extra flavor. I’m quite pleased with the finished product and how easy it was to make.IMG_5265

Try this and let me know how yours turned out and what recipes you’re using it in!

10 Lessons to Live by in 2016

The end of a year is a time for reflection, a time to remember both high and low points — and to learn from both those moments. These are lessons I’ve learned in 2015 that I’m going to carry with me to make the most of 2016 and beyond.

People will doubt you. Brush off their negativity.

We all want to be accepted, whether it be by our parents, friends, or even a random follower on Instagram, it feels good to know that people approve of us and what we’re doing. However, not everyone is going to agree with all our decisions and actions, and that’s totally fine. When I left an amazing job a year and a half ago to start an online business, doubters were coming at me left and right. Man, it was easy to let people get inside of my head. Their concerns were certainly valid and I shared many of them: “How does a personal trainer take her business online?”, “How will you pay the bills?”, “Do you even know how to design a website?” And then there’s my favorite: “But you’re doing so well where you are, why on earth would you leave for something unknown?” These were all sensible points, and there were times (and sometimes still are) when I would have freak-out moments in response to them. But it turns out that the less I let these thoughts take over my mind, the less they mattered. After all, not everyone is going to approve of things we do and it can be really exciting and invigorating to be the one swimming against the current. It’s important to ask for advice and listen wholeheartedly, but at the end of the day you’ve gotta do you. Don’t let someone else’s fear get in the way of your dreams. A lot of us stand still in a world that’s constantly spinning. Don’t let that stagnant person be you.

(Read more on this topic here)

Learn to say No.

I know, you’ve got things to do. Your mother-in-law wants to have lunch; you need to help your brother’s girlfriend move into her new apartment; your neighbor just had a baby so you’ve got to cook her enough meals to last for two weeks. Yes, doing all of these can make you a good person when it comes to helping others. But what’s the point of being a good person if you can’t be good to yourself? We all have a lot on our plate, which makes it so easy to think we don’t have time for the gym, or to make a healthy lunch to bring into work the next day. Each of us needs to find what is important to us and to make time for it. The more you say “No” to things that don’t matter so much, the easier it is to say “Yes” to the things that do.

Trust yourself.

You will never get anywhere if you don’t believe you can. Lack of trust in one’s self is one of the biggest limitations when it comes to being successful. If you go out on the edge and give something all you’ve got, you’ll make it a lot further than if you don’t try at all. The beauty in self-trust is that we may not accomplish everything, but we can always learn and improve along the way, getting stronger as we go.

You “can’t”? Or you “won’t”?

Get the word “can’t” out of your vocabulary. If we think we can’t do something, it usually means we won’t. Let’s try it like this: “I can’t go to the gym today; I don’t have time” would translate into “I won’t go to the gym today”. Then we admit that we have made an active choice not to go. In fact, I could probably wake up 45 minutes earlier than usual and make time for the gym, but it is my decision not to, and therefore, I won’t go to the gym. Try this one on for size:
“I can’t eat healthy foods today because I’ll be at a party with lots of junk food.”  In a world without the word “can’t,” this would become: “I won’t eat healthy foods today because I’ll be at a party with lots of junk food”. You could eat something before you go to eliminate the amount of crap you have at the party, but it is your decision not to. Usually we “can,” but we “won’t.” There is a difference; own it

Life is messy. Let it be.

Anyone who has all of their shit figured out doesn’t have enough shit going on. I used to think that my house had to be spotless before I could sit down on the couch to watch a tv show. Then I got two dogs and a job and realized life went on even if there were some fingerprints on the coffee table. Things can and will get a little messy and crazy at times. Learn to deal with this part of life when you can and embrace the messiness when you can’t.

Twenty minutes is all you need.

I’m a personal trainer who doesn’t like spending a lot of time for my own workouts in the gym. So I plan workouts that last for about 20 minutes. This makes my workout very realistic and easy to fit into my schedule. Every single one of us can find 20 minutes for exercise in our day. If the workout is intense enough, 20 minutes is all you really need.

You’re not perfect and that’s ok.

We all have our own version of what being perfect is. But no matter which definition you apply, I can tell you that no one is constantly perfect. You may admire someone who seems to have it all together in every aspect of life, but that person has probably dealt with imperfections and foibles of his or her own. Social media is one reason many of us feel “less than” in this day and age. Sure, it is a great way to let others into our lives, but think about it — we mostly only show the perfect stuff: The selfie when I just got my hair blown out, my living room after I’ve finished cleaning it. How about that photo with the perfect family in which everyone is wearing the cutest outfits and biggest smiles? Well, perhaps their youngest had a temper tantrum three minutes before the photo was snapped. We aim to get to this perfect point in our lives and in doing so forget that where we currently are is real and fabulous. Leave perfect behind; you’re good enough right now.

Being comfortably uncomfortable is where the magic happens.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone is unbelievably invigorating. This took me a while to get used to. We like to feel safe, to follow a routine, to be surrounded by familiar faces. Doing something unknown is scary. Not too long ago I signed up for a seminar where I was going to travel alone and spend a weekend with a bunch of people I did not know. I was terrified; I even cried a bit and thought about cancelling. But I put on my big girl panties, flew into the unknown, and had the best time. I believe that self growth, independence, and success all happen tenfold outside of our comfort zones. We are certainly our own worst enemies when it comes to setting ourselves free.

Be kindmost of the time.

Of course we should treat others as we’d like to be treated; it’s a lovely concept. However, I don’t think it’s realistic 100% of the time. There will be things other people say and do that piss us off. How we respond and deal with these unpleasant moments is what makes us who we are. I think very highly of those who say “Always be kind.” But for me, I know life contains arguments and comments tossed around that aren’t nice. So I will focus on three things: being mindful of kindness; thinking before I speak; and apologizing for the moments when I’m human and say something hurtful. It’s a start in the right direction.

Forget goals. Find your tune and sing it!

Some people love setting goals; others think they’re bullshit. In order to do your best you’ve got to find what works for you. Maybe instead of saying you’re going to cut out processed foods for 2016, you decide that you’re going to eat foods that nourish you the majority of the time. A new year means we get to start off on a fresh, clean slate. I want you to find one thing that’s going to make you better over the next 365 days. This is your tune. Compose your personal aria on that blank slate, belt it out from the mountain tops. The possibilities are endless. Your possibility is endless. Never forget that.

Happy New Year.

 

 

The Perfect Pot Roast

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It’s no secret that I don’t love to cook. That being said, during the week I do make lunch and dinner (most days) because I like knowing what’s in my food and how it’s prepared. Also, when you’re saving for a wedding/house/life going out to dinner every night isn’t practical (although having nothing to cook and clean up sounds amazing). 

A lot of times I rotate through meals such as a big salad with grilled chicken, steak with veggies and quinoa, chicken and broccoli in gluten free pitas etc. The same meals over and over again get boring, which is why I pulled out my slow cooker from the closet and ran to Whole Foods to get some new ingredients. 

Over Thanksgiving I had bought a few boxes of gluten free stuffing so I knew I wanted to make something to go along with this, but instead of getting a big turkey breast I decided on a pot roast. It sounded yummy at the time and if it didn’t turn out delish, we usually have our favorite sushi place ready to dial 🙂

Luckily, there was no need for my salmon avocado rolls because this dish I made was really friggin good. Along with the gluten free stuffing (and gluten free gravy of course) we had broccoli too.

What you need:

3lbs grass-fed beef chuck roast
1 tbsp oil for sautéing (I usually use coconut or olive oil, or ghee)
1 cup red wine (make it a good one)
4 bay leaves
1 tbsp thyme
5 garlic cloves
1 small onion cut into chunks
4 stalks of celery cut into chunks
Salt and pepper for seasoning 

What to do:

  1. Turn slow cooker onto low setting.
  2. Season the meat with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add beef to pan and sear it until it’s brown on all sides. Place beef in slow cooker.
  4. Pour red wine into the very hot pan. There should be some bits stuck to the pan from the beef, mix this into the wine with a wooden spoon and let it come to a super quick boil. Then pour the wine mixture over the beef.
  5. Add the bay leaves, thyme and garlic to the slow cooker, make sure it’s surrounding the meat and in the liquid.
  6. Add the celery and onions and season with a little salt and pepper. Again, make sure the veggies are pushed to the side and in the liquid rather than sitting on top of the meat, this will create an awesome flavor!
  7. IMG_4954Place the lid on and allow to cook on low for 7-8 hours. If you don’t have that much time try cooking on high for 4-5 hours. I haven’t tried that yet but think it’d come out ok 🙂
  8. Once the time is up the meat should be really tender. Serve it with whichever sides you desire. (If you aren’t on a stuffing kick like I am, some rice, quinoa or sweet potatoes would be good) and of course lots of veggies!

This makes roughly 5-6 servings. Mike and I each had 2 dinners and a light lunch. My favorite part of this recipe is you can get it in the slow cooker at 10-11am and not have to worry about dinner for the rest of the day (minus the sides).

Eat up and enjoy!

 

 

The Healthy Pizza Alternative ( + It’s Gluten Free!)

I’m a BIG fan of quick and easy dinner recipes, and also making extra so there’s leftovers for lunch the following day. This flatbread pizza is amazing, if I do say so myself.

What you need:

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-1lb. chicken breast
-2 cups steamed broccoli
-3/4 cup shredded cheese (I use monterey jack or mozzarella)
-Flatbread or pita bread (I’m obsessed with MyBread Gluten Free..it’s so good.)
*This will make roughly 3 pizzas. Double the ingredients to have more for lunch the following day!

What to do:

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1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Cook whole chicken breasts on stovetop in a bit of olive oil on medium-high heat. Once almost cooked through, take out of pan and slice into small pieces.
3. Place chicken back into pan and sprinkle with garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano and continue cooking on medium heat.
4. Put flatbread onto baking sheet lined with foil and sprinkle cheese on top.
5. Cover flatbread with chicken and broccoli, add more cheese if desired.
6. Bake in oven just long enough to melt the cheese. 
6. Slice into quarters to easily eat and enjoy!
*TIP: Make an extra veggie to have on the side to get some extra nutrients in. 

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If you try this or make with your own toppings, take a pic and tag me on Instagram (@coachcait) or post to my Facebook page so I can see your awesome creations! 

 

Be A Badass Bride: Get Fit for “I do” and Beyond

I don’t think of myself as your typical bride-to-be. We’ve been engaged for two weeks and endless amounts of people have been asking me where the wedding will be, what theme I’m going with, what color the bridesmaids dresses will be? UM..I have no idea. 

But I could tell you exactly what type of hardwood floor and kitchen countertop I’d like in my future home, how I’m going to decorate my office and that there will be a kick-ass gym in the garage. 

So the other day I was looking at a bridal checklist organized by months up until the wedding (that we still don’t have a confirmed date for) and one caught my eye:

“Find the perfect dress.”

Oh hell. Can’t I just wear some Converse and Lululemon leggings? I kid, of course. I’m sure dress shopping will be fun, it’s just not something I’ve been dreaming of since I was a little girl. Then this thought popped into my head:

“I have to get into shape before I start trying on dresses.”

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WHAT? Did I really just think that? First of all, what does “getting into shape” even mean? If I really had to define goals for myself at the very moment, it’d probably be putting on some muscle; I’ve had low energy since my celiac diagnosis and my workouts have been lacking.

So basically I need to start lifting some heavy shit. But for a dress fitting….NO. To me, this frame of mind is just not ok. Perhaps the thought popped into my head because it’s so common to hear women say they need to lose weight, get toned or whatever it may be for their wedding day.

First off, how about we love ourselves as we currently are and if we do want to make a change, we do so for ourselves. So that beyond the hectic wedding planning days and the short five hours of the reception, we continue to go to the gym and eat well.

Living a continuous healthy lifestyle vs. getting fit for a special event.

It’s drilled into our heads. We set goals so that we look a certain way for something, rather than for ourselves. I know so many brides who come back from their honeymoon feeling like crap and having gained a minimum of a few pounds. Why?  Because we practically starve ourselves during the months leading up to the wedding and once that last photo is taken we’re eating and drinking everything in sight so we no longer feel deprived.

So how can we overcome this frame of mind?

1. Know that you are good enough, right now. Your fiancé did get down on one knee and ask you to spend the rest of your life him, and I doubt he said “Will you marry me, once you’re in better shape.” You are enough, just the way you are.

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2. If you want to change your body, do it for you. Not for the dress, photos or because you want to look better than your fiancé’s ex who is also getting married soon. Do this for you and let the new healthy habits become a part of who you are so they stick around long after your wedding day.

3. Put down the Skinny Latte and magazine, get off the elliptical and lift some heavy shit. Not sure where to begin when it comes to an exercise program? Start with these five workouts in my free workout booklet

4. Please, please don’t starve yourself. Instead of removing foods from your diet, add healthy ones in. Have two servings of veggies with lunch and dinner and make sure each meal has a protein in it. This way you can still eat some of the delicious foods you love while adding in extra nutrients, all without feeling deprived.

We all want to look good as we’re up at the altar saying our vows, I get it.  But the idea of getting in shape just for the “I do” doesn’t sit well with me. Yes, doing intense workouts and staying on top of my nutrition is something I’ve been thinking about a bit more than usual since I said yes, and that isn’t a bad thing. But forget doing it for the big day. 

I lift heavy and eat well because I want to be a bit more badass. There, doesn’t that sound better?

5 Ways to Dine Out and Not Feel Fat

I get it. Dining out while adhering to a nutrition plan is tough. The yummy warm bread on the table, delicious wine, tempting menu options..we’ve all been there.

IMG_4336Here are a few common struggles clients have come to me with:

 

“Cait, how am I going to be good when I go out to eat tonight?”

or..

“Cait, I have a trip planned and I just know I’m going to eat crap all weekend.”

or this..

“Cait, I have plans with friends who I love but every time we get together there is way too much alcohol involved, I know this isn’t going to end well.”

 
So let me tell you how I would have responded to these when I first began working as a Personal Trainer….
 
“Are you kidding me? I’m pretty sure no one is going to be force feeding you food or alcohol. Get a grip, find some willpower and eat only protein with veggies with a 1 drink limit.”
 
Now although this advice may still be true, it’s a little mean, not realistic and boring–I wouldn’t want to go to brunch or out to dinner with these guidelines. So here’s my take on this now that I’ve got much more experience and oh so much wisdom 😉 under my belt.
 
1. PLAN AHEAD: If you are going on vacation, pack some protein bars, nuts or other snacks with you. (Here are some of my favorites). This is an easy fix to what could be a sticky situation. Traveling can often mean the best food options are not available at all times, so take some of the edge off with your favorite bar instead of paying the food court at the airport a visit.
 
I do this one often: Don’t go to a restaurant ridiculously hungry. Have a little something beforehand! This can be anything from a protein shake or bar to a few slices of turkey breast or some fruit and veggies. You’re less likely to eat the entire bread basket and you’ll order from the menu with your eyes instead of your stomach. Speaking of the menu, look at it before you go. I enjoy doing this, it gets me excited about the cool new place we’re going to try. I usually choose 1-2 options from the appetizers and main course and then make my decision once there. This way I’m not persuaded by what others at the table are ordering, I’ve made up my mind.
 
2. STOP EATING WHEN YOU’RE ALMOST FULL: Wherever you are, don’t stuff yourself. It is ok to leave a bit of food left on your plate. Stop eating when you’re no longer hungry, I usually say at 80%. You know that feeling when you’ve eaten so much you feel like you need to unbutton your pants and lay down? Yeah, no one likes that. So don’t let it happen to you.
 
3. WHAT’S YOUR DRINK MAX? How many alcoholic beverages can you have before you’ll feel like crap (both mentally and physically) the following day? For some this may be 2, for others it could be a few more. Know how many drinks you’ll have before you get to where you’re headed. And don’t tell me you had planned on having 3 but somehow you ended up with 5, that’s just nonsense, you’re better than that. Take some control over what you’re putting into your body. A trick that works for some is this: if you’re going out with a significant other or friend tell them your drink max. So if you’re allowing yourself 2 glasses of wine and all of a sudden the waitress comes over to pour everyone a third, your friend will have your back and remind you “Hey, you’ve already had those 2 glasses.” Friends are the best.
 
4. WORKOUT BEFORE YOU GO: Put your body in a state where it’s going to use what you’re eating as fuel. How is this done? Exercise before you go. It should be an intense workout like intervals and doesn’t have to be long. 1 minute as fast as you can on your choice of equipment, 2 minutes at a lower intensity, repeat 7-10 times for a total of 21-30 minutes. The more intense your workout is the longer you will burn calories even after you’ve finished working out. This is called EPOC or excess post-oxygen consumption, it’s pretty cool and something we all should take advantage of.
 
5. YOU’RE GOING TO BE OK: So you went to an amazing dinner party and ended up not eating well and drinking too much. Now you feel awful not only physically but you’re pissed at yourself as well and totally guilty. Get over it. There’s nothing you can do about it now. Hopefully the food was delish and you enjoyed yourself, and it’s time to move on. Use this as a learning experience, get to the gym the following day and eat foods that will nourish and fuel you. Life will go on and your goals are all still attainable, I promise you that. 
 
Food is meant to be enjoyed, don’t drive yourself nuts over what you could and should be doing. Just do your best each day, you owe it to yourself.

3 Workouts You Can Do in 20 Minutes

Blog-20 min workout

I get it. You’re busy, we all are. Getting to the gym for an hour can seem next to impossible at times so we skip it…. again and again.

But who says workouts have to be an hour long? If you have 20 minutes to spare (yes, you do) then you have plenty of time to get in an effective workout. Short workouts are my favorite because I work extra hard, knowing it’ll be over soon.

Rules for 20 minute workouts:

1. Use exercises that’ll get you the biggest bang for your buck. This means multi-joint movements that utilize lots of muscles at once (think squats, lunges, push-ups). Big movements get our heart rate up and increase the metabolic demand on our bodies.

2. Challenge yourself. This could mean using loads that are heavier than you’d normally choose, moving faster through the sets, resting less etc. You want the intensity to be high so you burn calories long after the workout is over, this is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).

3. Don’t rest longer than you need to. This should go without saying since the workout is only 20 minutes long you don’t want to be resting for the majority of it.

4. Use proper form and technique. Always always always. Just because this is short and intense doesn’t mean the movements can look like crap. Choose quality over quantity.

Now let’s check out a few sample 20 minute workouts. Feel free to use these or make some of your own up using the rules above.

*Note: No matter the duration of a workout, please warm-up first. Even if you’ve just got 20 minutes, spend the first 5 doing something simple. This could be going through the exercises in your circuit with bodyweight only for a round or two, or you can try this:

-Foam roll, bridges, plank, downward dog, bodyweight squats (1-2 rounds 10-15 reps)

For each of the workouts below you can:

Perform these exercises one after the other and repeat as many rounds as possible within the amount of time you have. Take note of how many rounds you do so you can see your improvement each time you perform this workout.

OR

Set a timer and do each movement for 30 seconds-1 minute before moving onto the next, resting minimally between sets.

Sample Workout 1:

1a. Goblet squat x 10 reps
1b. Inverted row x 10 reps
1c. Push–ups x 10 reps

Sample Workout 2:

1a. Walking lunges x 8-10 reps each leg
1b. Bilateral bent-over row (both arms each time) x 8-10 reps
1c. Push press (dumbbell, kettlebell or barbell) x 8-10 reps

Sample Workout 3:

1a. Romanian deadlift or single leg RDL x 10 reps
1b. Chin-ups (or assisted chin-ups) x 10 reps
1c. Dumbbell bench press, alternating arms x 10 reps 

There may only be 3 exercises in each circuit but don’t let this fool you. Work hard and you’ll find out just how effective you can be in a short amount of time. The possibilities are endless when it comes to designing quick workouts like this, bodyweight or with an added load. Don’t let lack of time keep you from moving. Make the most of what you’ve got and get on with your day.

Want more quick workouts? Download my “5 fast, fat burning workouts” booklet here!

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