exercise


On a diet? Eat MORE…That’s Right, I Said It

Congratulations to one of my virtual clients, who just reported that she’s lost 10 lbs in two months!

A great achievement. We’ve been focusing on tracking her food with an online journal, making healthier choices, and moving more. Notice how I use the phrase “healthier choices” and not “major diet over-haul,” because making small changes is more conducive to creating lasting healthy habits. Most days I have to remind my client to eat MORE calories, not less. Why would I do such a thing?

Lose Weight While Eating the Most Calories Possible

For years, fitness mags have encouraged ladies to eat a 1500 calorie diet to lose weight. This advice is doled out to us with no regard for our current weight, height, activity level, and muscle mass. Should an active woman who is  5’7″  tall eat the same amount of calories as a 5’2″ sedentary woman? Hell no!

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If you’re looking to lose weight by solely using a cookie-cutter, restricted calorie diet, you’re setting yourself up for failure:

  • The potential for muscle loss is greater
  • You’ll feel your energy slump
  • Your workouts will suffer
  • Sleep patterns can be disturbed
  • You’ll find that maintaining your new lean body is even more difficult than your initial weight loss was.

And if you’re an active person of a healthy weight just looking to change your body composition (less fat, more muscle),  a low calorie diet will keep you spinning your wheels faster than your favorite Fly Wheel instructor.

Disclaimer: THIS IS A JOKE. NEVER DO THIS. UNLESS YOU WANT A LIFETIME BACK PROBLEM.

In addition to adjusting daily calorie counts to best fit your body type, keep in mind that once you have hit your goal weight, your calorie needs will DECREASE. A person carrying less mass needs less energy. Einstein said that, folks.

This is why it’s best to figure out what you specifically need to lose or maintain weight with a total energy expenditure (TEE) calculator  and go from there. There are a few really good calculators out there. I like this one: http://www.health-calc.com/diet/energy-expenditure-advanced because it allows for several factors like sleep, activity, and exercise intensity. You may be surprised at how many calories you need to eat to maintain your weight! Once you find out what your daily needs are, you can decrease your calories to create a deficit. I recommend using a food journal to keep track. If you don’t like to journal, I ask that you just try  it for one week, in order to give yourself an idea of what it’s like to eat within a calorie range. Finally, please don’t attempt to cut more 300- 500 calories per day. Slow and steady is the way to go!

The Winter Blues

Oh New York City, I love you but you are gross today!

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I skipped the gym today. Frankly, just maneuvering around the dirty snow and muddy, mystery puddles feels like a workout.

If you also didn’t get out to the gym today, here’s a quick a link to my Youtube page where you will find my glute video. You can also view it below. All the exercises featured can be performed at home, which means no leaping over dirty slush. Yippee!

There’s some other exercise ideas on my Blitz Your Body workout page. Check them out, and if you have any questions, or anything you’d like to see, let me know!

Facebook.com/blitzyourbody             Twitter @AmyBlitz1                Amy.Blitz@gmail.com

28 Day Blitz!

There’s a myth out there that people naturally slim down during the hot summer months…something about the higher temperatures making it too uncomfortable to overeat. Yeah right! Personally, the warm weather makes me want to eat more fro-yo, and go to more happy hours. When you factor in vacations and long weekends, the little indulgences can really start to add up.

I can’t be alone in this. In fact, I know that I am not. In the past few weeks, I’ve been asked by a number of people to create a month-long challenge that will inspire a healthier lifestyle, and help shake off that extra summer weight.

So, here we go…

The 28 Day Blitz

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No sugar is pretty self explanatory. It also means no white bread or pasta–these foods convert too quickly in your body, and spike your insulin levels, just like sugar does.

No fast or fried foods– a no-brainer.

Nothing highly processed– no soda, no scary Kraft products, nothing “light” or “fat free”…if it comes out of a package and has a ton of unfamiliar ingredients, stay away.

No junk: cookies, crackers, bagels, pizza, burgers, fries, cupcakes, ice cream,  frozen yogurt (yes, even fro-yo!)

So what can you eat? This is NOT a deprivation diet. I want you to eat REAL food and measure your portion sizes. Your exercise goal, if you accept, is to move your body five days a week. These five days can include a long walk, your favorite yoga class or intense HIIT training, you just have to get going.

Take this month to clear out the junk in your cabinets AND in your “trunk.”

asstrunk

I couldn’t resist!

And since I don’t want you to feel totally deprived, give yourself one “cheat” meal and one “cheat” snack each week. Also, you’ll notice that I haven’t banned booze. But let’s try to limit alcohol to 1-2 glasses of wine a week.

Every week I’ll feature a workout, healthy meal ideas, and encouragement to help you through the next 28 days. If you want to really get serious, measure/weigh yourself, or take a “before pic” before you officially start. By October, I hope you are looking and feeling better than ever!

So, what do you say?

Talk to me FB.com/blitzyourbody or Twitter @AmyBlitz1

Work Your Core and Clean Your Floor!

I love using Gliders to pump up my core and leg training. If you haven’t seen them, they look like this:

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Actually, I don’t own my own pair–and not every gym has them. So when I’m in the mood to glide, I just grab a towel and get moving. In the exercise below, I have placed a towel under my toes while in the plank position. Then I pike my hips, return to plank, and drive my knees from elbow to elbow to work my obliques. Check out the video here:

Vegetarian Update!

Adjusting to vegetarianism has been a bit challenging for me. I thought that simply replacing meat with beans would be a breeze. But in reality, my body has had a difficult time processing all of the fiber I’ve been putting into it.  After two weeks, I started to feel the effects of all the Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower. Not to mention the avocados, nuts, seeds and beans I was eating as well. My stomach became distended, and I felt gassy and uncomfortable. Not good!

Here’s a list of my favorite veggies and fruits and their fiber content:

Vegetables (1 cup servings)

Broccoli and cauliflower, 5 grams

Brussels sprouts, 6 grams

Kale, 3 grams

Sweet potato, 4 grams

Fruits 

Medium apple, 4 grams

Banana, 3 grams

Avocado (half), 9 grams

Mango, 5 grams

These foods are delicious and wholesome. Their fiber content will fill you up  and keep you regular. You should include these in your diet, (just not all at once, every single day)– like I did!

So, to review: when you increase your fiber intake, go slow, make small changes, and  drink a lot of water to help all of that fiber make it’s way through your system. Your tummy will thank you!

I’m So Bad…And That’s Ok!

I came across a blog the other day about the problem with “diet mentality.” You know, that feeling of failure and lack of willpower that comes from being “bad”at the dinner table. The declaration of a food fail or “food shaming” seems to be the way some of us relate to each other lately as we all try to squeeze into our skinny jeans.

Amy Schumer totally nailed it in her April 8th sketch on her show that highlighted this trend. If you haven’t seen it, check it out here:

 

Amy-Schumer

Love her!

Does confessing our food sins really make us feel better? Or does it actually hinder real progress by constantly focusing on our failure? If we always take for granted the good things we do and only stress about the negative, then how can anyone expect to actually stick to a healthy lifestyle?

Let’s change our mindsets. Eating healthy and exercising is a reward for our bodies, not a punishment for being ‘bad’. True, it’s easier to just hang on the couch. And sometimes it’s difficult to pass by the good cupcake place without stopping in. But eventually it becomes easier to make the choice of good health. And when you do, you should CELEBRATE IT! And if on one of those days you actually go in and get the damn cupcake, don’t beat yourself up afterward.

Read the original blog post from WeightPsychology.com here: http://www.weightpsychology.com/blog.php

As for my own diet experiment with Paleo: it’s still going well. Vin and I are both cooking up some amazing food!

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Paleo Crispy Buffalo Chicken with Bacon Wrapped Asparagus.

Made by Vin. Recipe at http://stupideasypaleo.com/

 I had a major cheat with some pizza the other night since we were out celebrating my girl Lisa’s birthday.

AND THAT’S OK!

The 3 Month Diet Challenge: Starting With the Dawn of Man…Paleo!

When I’m asked about various lifestyle diets (which happens pretty often), I always repeat the same mantra: “Everything in moderation”. I’ve always been  proponent of a well-balanced diet that includes every food group, including the occasional Cadbury Egg. But lately there has been a lot of discussion about going back to basics and cutting out grains, meat, dairy, etc. Hmmmm. What if there’s something I’m missing regarding the grain free lifestyle? Is a meatless existence really the way to go?  It’s time to put my money where my mouth is, and try out some of these diets.

For the next three months, I’m trying out the most popular lifestyle diets. In April, I’m taking it back to the Flinstones era, and trying out the Paleo Diet. In May, I’m doing a complete 180 and going vegetarian. Then in June, I’ll take it one step further to vegan. Along the way, I’ll blog about my experience, updating you on things like ease of  the plan, what I’m eating, expense, my energy level, and any changes in my body.

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The Paleo Diet is not new. The book was originally published in 2002, but has really started to gain more popularity due to the explosion of cross-fit, which promotes the diet to its devotees.

So, What Exactly is the Paleo Diet? 

paleo foods

In a nutshell, the author of the book states that advances in the modern age to mass produce grains has resulted in the loss of humanity’s original way of life. We as a society are suffering from diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes because our bodies are not designed to eat a grain based diet. In order to restore health, vitality, and weight loss (if desired) we must act like cavemen and return to the diet we are genetically programmed to eat.

Not Permitted: dairy, grains, seed-like grains (quinoa, aramanth), sugar, cereals, starchy vegetables, legumes, processed foods, vinegar, beer, liquor

Permitted: Lean meats, fish, seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts (4 oz a day), wine (1 glass). Also, trace amounts of raw honey is permitted.

Finer points

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This is  not a low-carb “Atkins” style diet where you can go crazy on bacon and bun-less cheese burgers. The author stresses the importance of choosing grass fed, lean cuts of meat, wild caught fish, and Omega 3 enriched eggs. You are allowed to use oil, but only moderate amounts of flax, olive or coconut oil. Salt must also be limited or avoided altogether. Also, the book states that in the beginning stages of the diet, you are permitted 1-3 cheat meals a week. The author concedes that this type of diet will be too strict for 100% adherence. I’ll keep the cheats to a minimum.

An Important Note

Since I work out at least five days a week and will be running a half marathon in mid-May, I will be doing Paleo Diet for Athletes. The only difference is that this plan permits starchy fruits and vegetables, energy gels during exercise that is over an hour, and whey protein for post workout shakes.

One Last Thing

Up until last year, I never touched a diet book and worried when any of my clients read one. Then last spring I decided to try intermittent-fasting and read “The 8 Hour Diet”. Despite the the book’s lack of hard scientific facts, I gave it a try and was actually pretty impressed with the results. In fact, to this day, a year later, I still do mini 14-16 hour fasts a few times a week. I’m not sure if I will continue this for the next three months while I change up my diets, but if I do, I’ll let you know!

fastfoodcavemanNo! He doesn’t want fries with that!

Secret to a Flat Belly-Fast! (Did that get your attention?)

Now that I have your attention, I just want to complain one more time: it’s still cold. But I think that pretty soon we’re going to be complaining about how hot it is, right? In the spirit of wishful thinking, I’ve been working on my core a lot lately. I didn’t want to wait much longer to start working on my lean, mean summer body, and you shouldn’t either.

A quick note before we talk about getting a ripped six pack. Despite what the supplement companies state there is no magic pill to help you lose stomach fat. There is also no magic food that you can eat that will help in that department either. The only way to melt fat from your midsection is to eat a clean diet of lean protein, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. You should also be diligent in your cardio, (AT LEAST three days a week), and strength train your total body at least twice a week for overall tone and balance.

Try these exercises to start sculpting a tight midsection. Start now and you’ll be thanking me in June.

Crossover Crunch

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Works abdominals, internal and external obliques, the “waist” muscles.

Lay on your back with your knees bent and hands behind your head. Place you left ankle on your right knee. Crunch up and moving diagonally, bring your right elbow towards your left knee. Contract your abs at the top of the motion. Lower to start and repeat on that side for 12-20 reps, depending on your fitness level. Switch sides and repeat.

Hanging Leg Raises

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Works abdominals and hip flexors

This move is a advanced. Fortunately for beginners, most gyms have a captain’s chair which you can use to do this same movement. If you’ve been working out for a while, hang from a chin-up bar with your hands in either a wide or narrow grip. Before you start, pull your shoulders away from your ears. Raise your knees up to a 90 degree angle from your torso, then lower down with control. Each rep should be slow and deliberate, don’t swing through the movement.  If you are  having difficulty hanging from the bar, look around for ab straps, which you can place under your armpits. Try this one for anywhere between 3- 8 reps, unless you are super awesome and can perform double digit reps.

Dead Bug

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Works the deep core muscles and stabilizes the lower spine.

Lay on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor and tighten up your core muscles. Extend your arms above your shoulders and your legs over your hips. Beginners should keeps their knees bent, while more advanced exercisers can straighten out their legs. Inhale, and lower your left leg and your right arm until they are about an inch away from the floor. Exhale and return your limbs to the original position. Switch to the right leg and left arm. Perform this move for 8-10 reps per side. Maintain the position of your spine throughout the exercise.  If you feel this in the lower back, keep your knees bent throughout the movement or keep your arms at your sides.

Try each exercise for 3 sets. Let me know how it goes!

Who Cares if You Run Slow?

Happy Friday! I had to share this article from Competitor Magazine because it was about me. I too am guilty of being self-deprecating when I discuss running. Years ago, when I first started running, I was so proud of being able to do it that it never occurred to me be self-conscious about my pace. It wasn’t until I started participating in races that I felt slow compared to everyone else.  At the same time, I am a cheerleader for my friends and clients. I would never allow any of them to disparage a running achievement, whether it be a 5k or marathon, regardless of their finish time.

I never gave much thought to how my negative thinking could actually effect my running. It’s time for me to be my own cheerleader and leave the negative thoughts behind.  Give this article a read and let me know what you think.

Hope you have a great run this weekend!

http://running.competitor.com/2014/03/training/slow-is-a-state-of-mind_70265

Personal Trainers: Step Your Game Up!

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The other day I was putting my client through drills on a treadmill when another trainer put his client on the adjacent treadmill. Then he disappeared. A few minutes later he reappeared with a fresh cup of coffee in his hand. Yes, he had actually left the gym, gone to the nearby store and gotten himself a cup of coffee while his client worked out.

The next day, at a completely different gym, I watched a trainer stare at his smart phone while his client performed floor exercises. He looked at his phone for so long, I began to suspect he was watching a TV show on that thing! Meanwhile, his client politely waited for him to be finished before asking “what next?”.

There are already a ton of articles out there with headlines that read ‘How to Spot to a Good Personal Trainer’ and “When to Fire Your Trainer’ for people contemplating hiring one. This isn’t one of those.

This is for the trainers. Step up your game. We have a lot of competition these days with boutique classes like Barry’s Boot Camp and Flywheel, not to mention DVDs like Insanity and P90X, all of which promise people the same thing we do: results. Instead of phoning it in during your session, give your client 100% of your attention. Most people are too polite or feel awkward about pointing out that you didn’t.

I have a lot of pride as a trainer. I want my clients to get stronger, move better, and get the results they are after. I also want them to feel like they are my priority for the hour they booked with me.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not writing this to point out that I AM GREAT and how terrible everyone else is. I have several friends who are personal trainers and they are the most knowledgeable and caring people I know. A lot of trainers are experts in the industry and total professionals.Which is why it is so disturbing to me to see clients wasting their time and money with people who could care less about them and their progress.

Trainers, outside of sessions, let’s continue our education and consult with each other when one of our clients has an issue we have never seen before. Let’s stay engaged with our clients even though it’s 6:00 am and the gym is empty. Let’s bring our ‘A’ game each and every hour, for each and every client.

Trainers, do you agree? And for the people who have been clients, have you ever had to fire your trainer for bad behavior?

 

 

 

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: A Recap

Vin and I just returned from our vacation in Puerto Vallarta. Of course, after this horrible winter we needed some time to relax and get some sun. But I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t make it my goal to be active.

Our room had an amazing view and even though we were on the 8th floor, we were able to hear the ocean. It’s enough to lull anyone to sleep , so we spent little time indoors, choosing instead to rock some outdoor action.

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Ok. Most of that “action” took place on a beach. Sure, I love to lay out on the sand with my book and a couple Pacificos (under an umbrella,of course). However, I couldn’t stay still all day, every day. So I scheduled trips for the mornings, so that we could be back on the beach by at least 2 pm. On the itinerary: a horse back ride through the Rio Cuale Valley, zip lining, and a snorkeling trip that included hump back whale watching. Our resort also provided ocean kayaks and paddle boards which we definitely took advantage of!

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On days that we didn’t have a trip scheduled, I made my way to the gym. It was pretty bare-bones, so I used the patio outside the gym to do dips and push-ups, followed by  a little running on the treadmill. But I preferred to get my exercise by exploring the area, so I asked around about hiking trails. I heard a rumor that there was a beautiful, easy-to-access waterfall that was just a short bus ride from our resort. “Easy-to-access” is definitely a subjective term, since it took us at least 3o min just to find the beginning of the trail! Finally, we found our way to a rocky and rusty old trickle of water, and were a little disappointed to discover that the “river” bed was dry. But we turned it into a rock scrambling hike and made the most of it.

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  The absolute best excursion was the zip lining. We hiked up a bit up the Sierra Madres and then made our way back down using 11 zip lines. Our tour guides cracked us up with dirty jokes as we zipped through the valley, over 600 feet in the air.

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This was as fun as it looks.

 Since our return coincided with the arrival of March, I hoping that NYC would warm up a bit and we could move past this horrible winter. Wrong!

Ugh!

Ugh!

I’m already making plans for the next trip. Does anyone else look for vacation deals as soon as they get back from one?

photo (2)Ahhh Puerto Vallarta, I miss you already!

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