Get in Shape for Spring

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Winter is finally coming to an end. Finally! If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably put on a few pounds.

It’s easy to let good habits slide during the colder season as we turn to warm, comfort foods. Plus, those giant sweaters make it easy to hide growing bellies.

You might be dreading short sleeves and lighter clothing as spring approaches. Try not to dwell on the fact that you’re not your ideal size. Instead, take action and do something about it.

Be Active

Get a pedometer, Fitbit or Jawbone to track how active you are. Try to be a little more active every single day.

Exercise and activity doesn’t have to be limited to the gym. Go for a hike. Work in the yard. Take the stairs. Walk the dog. Try a standing desk. Play outside with your kids. You don’t need to be stuck at the gym to burn calories.

Every movement you do helps burn calories. They can really add up over time, which is why I highly recommend some sort of tracking device. Most people are surprised to find out their everyday activities can actually burn more calories than traditional gym workouts.

Find little ways to be more active every day. It will pay off as your clothes start fitting better and your weight go down.

Work Your Muscles

Cardio is excellent for burning calories, but strength training is key to firming the body, adding muscle definition, and increasing your metabolism.

The faster your metabolism, the faster you’ll burn fat and the faster you’ll reach your weight loss goals.

If you combine the metabolic boosting benefits of resistance/strength training with a healthy diet and an effective metabolic boosting supplement, you’ll lose body fat faster than you’ve ever imagined.

PS – the ladies over at Best Fat Burning Pills have written some excellent reviews on natural fat burners and metabolism boosters if you’re not sure which one is best.

Relax

Stress can stop your weight loss in its tracks. Stress increases cortisol levels in your body, which encourages stomach fat accumulation.

Pretty much the opposite of what you want!

Excess cortisol also increases the risk that your muscle tissue will start breaking down. The less muscle tissue you have, the slower your metabolism will be.

Take a long bubble bath. Sleep in on the weekends. Read that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand for months. Try yoga. Allow yourself time to relax and unwind to keep your stress levels in check.

Eat More Veggies

Don’t underestimate the power of vegetables. Vegetables are low in calories, high in fiber, and provide your body with all the nutrients it needs to burn fat.

When eating, fill up half your plate with vegetables and watch your body transform. I like to make a giant salad for lunch. You’d be surprised at how filling it can be if you add a little protein and carbs!

3 Ways to Prevent Exercise Injuries

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Injuries are the fastest way to kill weight loss progress in its tracks. I found this out the hard way when I injured myself just a few weeks into my new exercise routine. D’oh!

If you go from exercising very little to exercising frequently and at higher intensities, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to get an overuse injury.

Luckily, there are some steps you can take to safeguard against injuries when starting a new workout routine.

1. Change your routine

Cardio exercises often cause overuse injuries because you’re doing the same action over and over again, especially if you’re doing the same exercise every day.

Running is especially susceptible to injuries. So if you’ve been running every day, change it up a couple times a week. Try swimming, zumba or kickboxing.

Not only will changing your routine help prevent injuries, but it will also stimulate your muscles in new ways, which will help get you faster results.

2. Rest

Make sure you’re letting your body rest and recover in-between workouts. I’m pretty sure this was my downfall. I exercised on what was supposed to be my rest day and bam, blew my knee out.

Ideally, you should be taking at least one day off a week. You should also add a few light workout days in the mix so that you’re not hardcore training every single day.

You’ll be more mindful of your form if you’re well rested before your workout. And the more mindful you are, the less likely you are to injure yourself.

3. Don’t workout when you’re exhausted

Working out when you’re exhausted can be dangerous because you’re more likely to be sloppy and not paying as much attention to your body and your surroundings.

The chance of injury rises even higher if you’re doing repetitive exercises while exhausted.

Now let me be clear. This does not mean you can get out of working out because you’re kind of tired. There’s a big difference between slight fatigue and being completely exhausted.

What I mean is, if your body is exhausted because you haven’t been giving it enough time to recover between workouts or you’re getting over the flu, then give yourself a break.

Otherwise, get those leggings on and get to the gym.

3 No-Cheat Valentine’s Day Treats

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Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. I don’t know about you, but I find myself dreaming of a big old box of chocolate.

I absolutely going to indulge in some treats on Valentine’s Day. But there’s no need to throw my diet out the window to do so.

Here are three Valentine’s Day treats that won’t kill your diet.

1. Fruit dipped in chocolate

You can prepare your own chocolate dip to cut costs and calories. Plus, chocolate dipped fruit will have less calories overall than eating a whole box of chocolates.

Buy a high quality, dark chocolate bar and slowly melt it on the stove. Slice up some fruit. Strawberries, bananas and pineapples work well. Dip the fruit in the melted chocolate and place it on a rack to cool. Yum.

2. Berries with whipped coconut cream

Whipped cream is delicious, but dairy causes a lot of people to bloat and carry excess weight. Try coconut milk instead.

Place a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. The fats will solidify at the top of the can. Turn the can upside down so that the liquid is at the top. Open it and pour our the liquid (save for later or throw it out). Now you’re left with the yummy coconut cream.

Whip the coconut cream with maple syrup or honey just as you would whipped cream. Enjoy it over berries or fruit of your choice. Double yum.

3. Chocolate crepes with strawberries

These are so good and pack a protein punch. Mix a scoop of chocolate protein with 2-3 egg whites and 1 tsp agave nectar. Cook the batter just like you would normal crepes.

Top with strawberries and light cream cheese or whipped coconut cream. Triple yum.

4 Tips for Sticking With Your New Years Resolutions

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It’s a new year and many of us will have set resolutions to lose weight and get in shape. The problem is actually sticking with those resolutions as the year goes on.

Most people start out strong, attacking their goals head on. By the time February or March rolls around they’ve completely fallen off the wagon.

Been there, done that. I bet you have too, right? So how about this year we figure out what it takes to stick with it and finally get in shape.

Here are 4 tips to make it easier to stick with your New Years resolutions.

1. Set realistic resolutions

The chances of you sticking with your resolutions are big whopping 0 if you don’t set realistic resolutions in the first place.

Most people set goals that are too lofty and unrealistic, which sets them up to fail.

I am definitely guilty of this. I usually set idiotic resolutions like I’m going to live off carrots and celery for a month straight.

Yeah, that’s just not going to happen. So this year I am setting realistic goals. They include upping my carrot and celery game, but they also include the occasional cookie. Because life happens, right?

Evaluate how much time, energy, and financial resources it’s going to take to achieve your goal. Be real with yourself. I’d rather set a lower goal and actually achieve it than an outlandish goal that I have no chance in hell of doing.

2. Hold yourself accountable

Once you’ve figured out a realistic goal, it’s time to figure out how to hold yourself accountable. How will you make sure you actually do it?

You probably have other people in your life setting similar resolutions. Reach out to friends and family to find an accountability partner (or a whole group of them!). Set regular dates to check in with each other to hold each other accountable.

I started this blog as a way to hold myself accountable. It’s a lot harder to screw up when I know people are watching. I also enlisted one of the moms in my neighborhood who had mentioned she’s been struggling to lose weight too.

3. Get help

There’s a reason most people don’t keep their resolutions. Change is hard.

Acknowledge that the struggle is real. And then get whatever help you need to stick with it.

For example, I’ve been a junk food connoisseur and non-exerciser my entire life. I didn’t know very much about healthy cooking or exercising so I hired a nutritionist and personal trainer for 6 months.

I met with my nutritionist yesterday and I’m 100% sure that having them on my team is going to make things so much easier. Diet and exercise is crucial for weight loss and I just don’t know enough about either to do it myself.

4. Set mini goals

Last but not least, break your mega resolution into smaller chunks.

My goal is to lose 75 pounds. That is A LOT of weight. It’s not going to happen overnight, so I set smaller incremental goals to help keep me motivated.

My first mini goal is to lose 10 pounds.

Those mini goals will serve as benchmarks and help you track your progress towards your main resolution. Instead of looking at the long-term goal that seems impossible, mini goals remain in reach. You can also reward yourself for each one you meet. Shopping anyone?

So there are a few ideas to help ensure you meet your New Years resolutions. Put them in place to make this the year you finally see success. You can do it!