Thursday, May 19, 2016

How Pregnancy Frees Me from Body Image Obsession

Under 16 weeks pregnant, I'm well aware that I know nothing about being a mother — and this article is not about glorifying moms (although they deserve much appreciation). I'm also well aware that while my body is changing and has (only to my knowledge apparently) changed from what it once was, I still probably don't have a clue about the lasting effects that will take place five months from now. However, my hope is that what I've learned through prayer, reflection and purposely seeking peace with my body might inspire you to think differently too.

If you've been in any of my Orangetheory or ZYN22 classes, or even my boot camps or coaching sessions, you more than likely have heard me mention something to the effect that the battle to get stronger is in your mind. That's why it's essential that we as self-improvers learn to start thinking about what we think about.

Reflection: to pause and reflect on matters of the mind and decide if we need to change. 

I truly feel like God's given me a revelation on how to value body image and how to stay balanced in a world that glorifies "self." There's self-help, self-improvement, self-love, self-esteem, self-independence ... And if you're not sure you agree, the evidence can be seen in the abundance of "selfies." While I believe these are all good ideas for people to think about, and maybe even a good place to start, I'm recently aware of a new idea.

What if getting stronger and finding true joy isn't about looking within oneself?

When I first started my journey into a life of fitness and nutrition, I loved it because of the results I saw in my character, discipline, prayer life, and oh yeah, the physical results were pretty sweet too. Truly though, I devoted my career to helping others learn how to find a strength from within, which still rings true. But, isn't there a boundary between looking to God working within you for strength and looking to yourself and only yourself? Yes, there is.

Digging Deep on the Outside

Before getting pregnant, I battled body image issues (literally up to the day I found out I was pregnant). I think we all will to a certain extent, but this struggle had me completely obsessed. Although I'd made strides over the years to accept my body, independent of what others said or thought about it, I still criticized myself (and probably worse so).

The motivation for self-improvement toted by media, Instagram-queens and the rest of the world advocates one to challenge his or herself to look within, decide how bad you really want something, and go for it.

"The only one stopping you is you; the only way you won't get there is if you don't think highly enough of yourself."

When I try this, I end up obsessing over aesthetics, how my body looks in comparison to its older self, which yes, is an improvement from previously comparing my body to others', but still has me disapproving of what I may see.

Pregnancy has flipped the scales on my perspective of body image and self-improvement. The challenge of pushing myself outside my comfort zone to get stronger and leaner is no longer a front runner in my mind. In fact, the thrill of working out to "make gains" or "burn fat" has been replaced by the thrill of possibly inspiring someone else or finding an opportunity to make someone see his or herself differently.

Being pregnant, my attention is instinctively not on me, but someone else — my baby, rather. Although I'm concerned with my personal health, my motivation is not to simply improve myself, but to protect and serve the one inside me: in essence, I find myself thinking about the baby and its needs more than my own.

I feel freer. I feel like I can eat intuitively, not afraid that I'm going to gain weight, because I know I'm supposed to gain weight. In fact, I really haven't thought much about that. I've been able to think more about how I can improve the healthiness of my baby and therefore, the vessel in which it grows and on which it relies.

Humility is exactly what God calls me to have in my thought life even when I'm not pregnant. It's something I want to replicate outside my thought life, and actually, I want to put it into action more and more. The pressure I used to put on myself to be lean and often, the leanest, no longer takes priority. Hopefully, that pressure will one day be gone forever. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the journey God has me on, learning what it means to humbly put others first.

Looking Back From Where I Came

One thing I always recommend to my Team A.M.Fit clients and people in my classes is the importance of reflection. It's vital to look back at where you came from. When I read my journal entries from the last couple of years, I can see the improvement in my thought life. I used to get upset seeing someone "better" than me, which is subjective, trivial and and shallow anyway. My next stage in self-improvement involved me being happy for others but only getting upset when I failed to "better" myself from one season to another. The problem with that is that our bodies go through different seasons, not to mention the fact that the idea of self-improvement to the body still revolves around aesthetics and to put it simply, still revolves around SELF.

A rider in one of my classes mentioned to me that she loved hearing the message in my rides that drove her to not look inside oneself to get motivated, like most people encouraged, but that I advocated going outside oneself. She put this message in words I haven't used before, and it deeply impacted me. That's exactly what I feel like God's teaching me through pregnancy, teaching fitness classes and being a wife.

Before, I encouraged myself and others to look inside oneself to find motivation to push past pain, but I'm finding out how valuable it is to look outside oneself. If you truly want to experience peace, it's the only way. What's ironic about being pregnant is that you're looking outside yourself figuratively but inside yourself literally - hah.

For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Signs You're on the Verge of Plateauing (and need to reset your hormones)

Many of you have heard my story on getting pregnant naturally after two years of trying infertility meds. I truly believe that my pregnancy is a miracle from God (it always is, isn't it?). But for real, I had messed up hormones from years of dieting and excessive exercise for competitions, and before that, toxin-filled nutrition like most other 90's-fruitloop-eating kiddo's. For the past year, I've been intentionally praying for God to heal my body, and while I'm not exactly where I want to be with my body, I believe I've learned quite a bit about healing one's hormones, and literally, getting stronger from the inside out.

About 8 weeks pregnant here (more progress pics to come)
I've experienced all of these signs from jacked up hormones (or the lack thereof all together). The six weeks before I found out I was pregnant, I had been eating a super high fat, low carb (no sugar - yes, no fruit), and moderate protein diet. I'd also been seeing a chiropractor, which I believe in too. And remember, I'd been praying consistently and working on my relationship with God. But all these things together truly changed my body and healed my hormones.

So, here are five warning signs your hormones might be causing you a plateau in your future fat loss endeavors.

1. You Daydream of Napping.

Hormones in the thyroid control your metabolic rate, hunger cues and ability to burn fat; but if you constantly run on overdrive, you run these hormones dry. Your body doesn’t sense when you actually need hormones like cortisol (fight or flight hormone) because you constantly run on it. If you live on "busy" mode (guilty), chances are your cortisol levels have been maxed out. You probably feel fatigued all the time and have difficulty getting motivated to workout or even function in life. Chronic fatigue is a real thing, but it's often caused from a history of dieting, excessive exercise without recovery or a nutrition regimen lacking in certain nutrients. Healthy fats are essential to hormone health, so lean, shredding-style diets could be harmful over a long period of time. Certain supplements and toxins (household products, artificial ingredients, etc) could also make or break you and zap you of your energy.

2. Hunger Takes Over.

Eat a snickers, Bob. You’re turning into a diva!” Okay, maybe not a Snickers, but definitely check in on your “hanger” factor for the day. You can’t out-train a bad diet, but neither can you out-train an excessive diet. Many times, people who feel this way are missing healthy fats, and so they eat more protein and carbs, but still don’t feel satisfied. Healthy fats like avocado, eggs, nuts, salmon and coconut oil help give your body the building blocks to hormones, which are necessary for ultimate fitness, to train your body to burn fat.

3. Everyone Ticks You Off.

So now we know that constant food restriction makes you hangry. This hanger can lead to real anger and extreme mood swings. When I was training for my fitness competitions and closing in on the show date, I'd go from super-cool gym rat to freaking out about the smallest things to crying over the dumbest things. I was in starvation mode for a little too long, not to mention I feared taking a day off from exercise. All of that wears out your stress hormones, which makes you even hangrier. Not to mention that not getting enough sleep (7+ hours) can cause your cortisol levels to rise again. Recovery from workouts and muscle rest are essential, so give yourself a ticket for a day (or three) off.

4. Depression Becomes Real.

I think it's totally normal to have bad days. However, the closer I get to God, the less bad days I have. I've learned to change my mind to find that every struggle, every sense of hopelessness, is an opportunity for God to do something amazing. So, that's my number one tip on that subject. But, I will say there are other scientific causes for depression, a chemical imbalance in your brain. Thes imbalances can result from toxins stored in fat and added sugar in your diet. Sugar causes depression - straight up. So does excess alcohol. Excess alcohol doesn't mean you're an alcoholic, but if you drink 2-3 times a week, you could be adversely affecting your hormones and actually putting the odds against your sex hormones. Detoxification is critical, especially after extra sugar and alcohol. A quick way to detox is to get rid of all processed foods, cut carbs down to veggies/fruits only, no dairy and no meats. Load up on healthy fats and eggs. Drink tons of water with lemon and supplement with Vitamin D, C and a probiotic with live active cultures. Bam!

5. Your Regularity isn’t Normal.

Speaking of detox, did you know that the G.I. tract is your primary toxin excretor, so if things aren’t functioning 100 percent, then you have problems storing toxins, which typically hide in fat. Bloating is one symptom; less than two bowel movements per day is another. What? Yes, more than one is a gross, yet coveted, healthy habit. Probiotics, fermented foods, cruciferous veggies, sweating, and fiber can all help. It also might help to get a food sensitivity test done or eliminating certain foods from your diet for a while. (ex: dairy, meat, grains, etc).

For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Healthy Finds at Sam's Club

Grocery shopping can be a real headache when you're trying to be healthy. Even the healthiest of stores stock shelves full of foods with toxins, artificial ingredients and sneaky sugars. I've found a few simple approaches to shopping quickly and cost-efficiently at Sam's. Below, I've posted a video of some of my favorite food finds you can buy in bulk at your local Sam's Club. I'm sure Costco has similar items as well.

Team A.M.Fit Omega 3 Trail Mix

  • 8 cups walnuts
  • 6 cups sliced almonds
  • 8 cups pecans
  • 8 cups Energy Trail Mix (from Sam's)

This makes 2 gallon bags full of trail mix, which comes out to about 64 1/2 cup servings or 128 1/4 cup servings (probably a better serving size).

For tracking macros, refer to the breakdown below.

1/4 cup serving | 189 calories

  • 4.5 g protein
  • 6 g carbs (3 g fiber/ 3 g net carbs)
  • 16 g fat

For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Why Your Body Won't Get Lean

Do you feel like you're killing yourself in the gym to torch calories? Or maybe you feel like you follow all the rules of your healthy habits for a few weeks and then get burnt out? If you're banking on your will power, then you might get somewhere, but probably not to your ultimate goals. If you want peace with your body and peace with food, then you have to change your mind about dieting and exercise.

Your body burns carbs primarily instead of fat.
Traditional diets and low-fat eating can often lead to hormonal imbalances. When your body is underfed healthy fats like salmon, flax, coconut, avocados and almonds, your body resorts to storing fat and burning only what's absolutely necessary, thus slowing down the metabolism. Try implementing more whole foods, healthy fats and less carbs.

You eat too much after exercising.
I'm not one to advocate limiting the amount of food one eats, but sometimes, we can overestimate how many calories we torched during exercise and end up overeating afterwards. This can happen especially easily if you're under-eating during the day. You also don't want to get into a habit of rewarding yourself with food after you workout. Instead, find different ways to reward yourself like a new pair of shoes.

You restrict and reward.
Have you ever told yourself, I'm never eating _____ again? That kind of restriction sets you up for failure. Food is not bad. Some food is better than others, but telling yourself you can never have something you like won't help. Instead, try finding alternatives to the foods you crave, and eat those regularly. And then, the occasional indulgence in something less healthy won't kill you.

You're drinking greens full of sugar.
Pre-made green drinks are notorious for hiding tons of sugar. Kinds like Odwalla and Naked sneak in more than 50 grams of sugar. It doesn't matter if that sugar stems from real fruits or not; it's still sugar. The problem with sugar is that it spikes blood insulin levels and desensitizes your body's hormones from cuing fat to free up as fuel.

You're mindlessly eating.
Multitasking is no foreign idea to most of us. If you're like me, you can text, sweep, launder and let the dogs out all at the same time. When it comes to eating, however, you want o narrow it down to just one activity. Studies show eating slow, enjoying your meals and turning off all distractions help you have more self-control during meals, as well as help you notice hunger/fullness cues more easily.

You're skipping meals during the day.
Not only does this put your body into starvation mode, it often triggers make-up hunger pains late at night, when your body should be going into fat-burning/restorative mode. You see, most people eat something full of carbs in the morning like cereal or a granola bar or yogurt, OR they don't eat anything at all. The body's blood insulin levels spike in the morning and then completely fall during the day, causing your metabolism to once again slow down. Instead, plan ahead. Prep meals on the weekends or one evening a week. Research easy recipes or snacks to take to work or in the car.

For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

MyProtein Supplement Review

When your life revolves around when and how you're going to workout for the day, it's especially important you have supplementation to keep you ahead of fatigue. That includes things like protein powder, BCAAs, quick snacks and high functioning apparel (ain't nothing worse than a pair of leggings that slide down your thighs). With so many supplement companies throwing new things at you, promising lean gains and supernatural fat-burning, it's easy to get lost in which brands are legit. I'm happy to review MyProtein supplements and comment that yes, they are legit.

The MyProtein supplements: BCAAs, Whey Isolate, Protein Bars and Shaker cup
MyProtein supplements has taken over the market in Europe and is quickly expanding in the U.S. With a shipping plant in Chicago, supplements can get from them to you in less than a week. My experience with MyProtein was very positive, from the initial contact made by a very friendly MyProtein representative all the way to the performance of these snazzy blue workout pants.

Aside from the supplements, MyProtein has done a great job at educating visitors to their website on each supplement they sell. They have research explaining why you would want to take any of the supplements listed, and references for where that information came from. I love that they care so much about the integrity of their products and actually informing people, instead of just claiming to be the best. They also give you free shipping when you spend $70 or more.
The mugcake I made using Vanilla Whey Protein Isolate by MyProtein

Impact Whey Protein Isolate

  • Over 22g protein per serving
  • Comes in a HUGE variety of flavors including Rocky Road, Coffee Caramel, and Blueberry Cheesecake (tons more too)
  • Sweetened with sucralose
I really like this protein. I'm a huge advocate for whey isolate (highly absorbable and bakeable), so that's a no-brainer. Ideally, I wish it was sweetened with stevia and free of the soy lecithin, which is an emulsifier, but other than that, there are not a bunch of crazy ingredients. I even noticed on some of the other unique flavors, they use natural coloring agents like beetroot coloring to make things red. I was sent the vanilla flavor, and it tasted delicious. I enjoyed it in a normal blended protein shake (water, ice, stevia and protein), and I made a mug cake (coconut flour, cinnamon, stevia, baking powder, flax and protein). Both worked seamlessly.


  • 0.5 lb bag of aminos (easy to scoop)
  • Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine (good for protein synthesis and to prevent muscular breakdown)
  • Comes in 10 flavors including Berry Blast, Blue Raspberry and Raspberry Lemonade
  • Sweeteened with sucralose
I got to try the Sour Apple flavor, and while I normally don't like that flavor, this one was pretty good. It was less sour and more just "apple-y." It actually tasted like apple juice. My husband really liked these BCAAs. Again, I'd prefer stevia-sweetened products and no artificial food colorings. 

Protein Chox Bars

  • 22 g protein per bar
  • 5 flavors including lemon crunch and cookies and creme
MyProtein protein bar: chocolate caramel flavor
Caramel Peanut: Protein Blend (Milk Protein Isolate, Hydrolysed Gelatine), Milk Chocolate Couverture (17%) (Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Whole Milk Powder, Cocoa Mass, Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin, Flavouring), Caramel (14%) (Sweetened Condensed Milk, Glucose Syrup, Non-Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Sugar, Caramelised Syrup, Emulsifier: E471; Salt, Natural Butter Flavour (Milk)), Humectant (Glycerine), Glucose Syrup, Peanuts (6%), Peanut Flour, Fructose, Rapeseed Oil, Flavouring, Sodium Chloride, Antioxidant (Mixed Tocopherols).

I got to try the above flavor, Caramel Peanut, and it tasted pretty comparable to other protein bars. My husband actually loved these, and he's already eaten like 14 of them. I'm not a huge fan of these protein bars because they have so many artificial ingredients in them, but the biggest reason is because they have 13 g of sugar. So, if we're rating taste, I'd give them an 8/9, but overall, about a 5 — pretty comparable to a FiberOne protein bar.

Shaker Cup

What's not to like about the shaker cup? It's great.


At first, I'm not going to lie, I was a little afraid of these leggings. I thought they would fit too snug in the waist and be uncomfortable, but they were actually really easy to exercise in. Plus, they looked cuter on than I thought. They're dry-fit, and definitely resisted wetness during the workout. They have several patterns available, and the best part is they are totally affordable — less than $40!

Whether you're brand new to the exercise game or a seasoned gym rat, I'd recommend browsing the MyProtein website and giving some of their supps a glance. If you're set with supplements, then you still might be interested in the web of articles and research they have available, which is really interesting. They've already got quite the team lined up with fitness professionals like Brad Gouthro, Bradley Martyn, Nina Ross, Michael Kory and Chris Lavado.
*I was not paid to review these items, nor do I receive any monetary compensation to endorse these items. I did, however, receive these items free of charge.

For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out.`

Monday, December 28, 2015

Creating Callouses

Have you ever had a callous? When I first started lifting weights, I quickly noticed how torn up my hands would get. Often, the pain of my flesh rubbing against the rough metal would overpower the pain of the actual exercise and make me pause for discomfort. Then, I discovered lifting gloves. Those gloves are like miracle-mittens. I can lift for hours straight without any noticeable discomfort on my hands. However, I still have callouses. While the gloves may be a buffer between my hands and the rough dumbbells, those dumbbells still leave a mark.

In my journal today, I wrote down a verse from Isaiah that made me think of my callouses. God spoke to Isaiah words of encouragement as His people were readying for battle.

"Fear not, for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes I will help you. Yes, I will hold you up and retain you with my right hand of rightness and justice." — Isaiah 41:10

God's basically telling His people that they can count on Him to support them through difficulties. Because God's Word is living, it can be applied to us today. I felt like God was telling me that although I go through seasons of struggle and heartache, God is with me. I can count on God to be a buffer between me and my pain, so that I create callouses, marks left behind from the struggle. Those same callouses, like the ones on my hands, make it easier to walk through that same pain the next time, with less discomfort.

You see, the callouses are not only reminders of where we've been and what we've come through, but they're also our own buffers against the pressures of this world. Once you've made it through one hardship, if you face it again, you can walk through it with less heartache than before because God's enabled you to create callouses. I feel like this is just one of the ways God promises to help us through whatever storms we face in life. He never promised that life would be easy, but He does promise to be with us and share the load.

So, in your efforts today in the gym or in life, remember that God is always with you. He wants you to need him. That's why he allows us to go through pain. In our weaknesses, or even simply in times when we cannot fix the problem around us because of our limited human abilities, we can rest in the assurance of knowing we were created to go through it with Him.

In the past, I've had a hard time resting in that assurance. What I've learned is that resting my spirit is just as important as resting my body. The unwinding of my mind helps me to remember that I can't achieve anything on my own, but that it's only by the grace of God, do I do anything of significance. Sometimes, it's as simple as closing my eyes, whispering "Thank you, Jesus," and claiming his victory in my mind.

I pray that you find that peace, because if you know Christ, it's already inside you. He instills that in us when He comes into our hearts. It's up to us to find the time to rest in it, and often, walk in it, choosing to remain joyful no matter what circumstances are around us.

For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out.`

Friday, December 18, 2015

All I Want for Christmas is Protein Pancakes

I don't know about you, but all I want this Christmas (and every Christmas) is healthy food that tastes delicious ... Okay, maybe I want a little more, but this definitely makes me happy. And who doesn't like a lil Mariah Carey remix?

Christmas Treat Protein Pancakes


  • 1.5 scoop whey protein (Cellucor snickerdoodle or other)
  • 2 T coconut flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • stevia/cinnamon to taste
  • 1/3 - 2/3 c water
  • vanilla butter and nut extract (or other kind)


Mix dry ingredients together. Add water slowly until you have the consistency you like. Add a few drops of extract. Mix until blended. Pour in heated pan and flip after 1-2 minutes. Use coconut oil to grease pan for a little extra heart-healthy fat. Serve with pancake syrup of choice (mine's Walden Farms).

For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out.`

Thursday, December 17, 2015

2015 Christmas Cooking Party Recipes

Cheers to all who celebrated Team A.M.Fit and another year of healthy inspiration at last night's Annual Christmas Cooking Party. As promised, I've included the recipes below. They'd make great additions to the traditional meals served over the holidays.

Snickerdoodle GoPro Balls
Makes 24 medium balls or 48 small balls
  • 4 scoops Cellucor Snickerdoodle whey protein
  • 1 c all natural peanut butter
  • 2.5 c oats
  • 1 c pure pumpkin
  • stevia/cinnamon to taste
Mix dry ingredients together first. In a separate bowl, microwave peanut butter to make it easier to mix in. Combine peanut butter and pumpkin, folding it all together until well blended and all sticky. Pop in fridge for 1 hour or so. Bring back out to form into small balls. Line them on a baking tray and keep in fridge (up to one week) or freezer (up to two weeks). 

Caramel Pie Butter
  • 1 c (or 1/2 can) pure pumpkin
  • 1 c all natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp caramel extract
  • stevia/cinnamon to taste
Blend all ingredients together using hand mixer or blender/processor. Keep in fridge (up to one week). Use as dip for fruit, spread on rice cakes, protein pancakes or by itself.

Low Carb Turkey Enchiladas
Makes 11x14 pan of enchiladas
  • 1 lb. extra lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 package low sodium taco/enchilada seasoning (Mccormick's or Mrs. Dash)
  • 1/2 head cabbage (separate in big leaves)
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 1 can organic enchilada sauce
  • 1 c nonfat cheese (cheddar/feta/whatever)
  • Mixed veggies (for topping)*
Cook ground turkey on stovetop in pan. Set oven to 350 degrees F. Mix in taco seasoning packet (follow packet instructions). Set meat aside. Spray baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Fill cabbage leaves with spoonful of meat and cheese and roll each up, placing the fold-side down into the baking dish. Pack dish full of the cabbage roll-ups, and top with enchilada sauce. Top with veggies if desired (think spinach, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, etc.) Be sure to cover all components with sauce, and if desired, sprinkle with more cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 mins. Uncover, check cabbage to be almost clear, and bake another 5 minutes uncovered until cheese is melted.

Superfood Enchilada Casserole
Makes 11x14 casserole
  • 1/2 head cabbage (peeled in strips)
  • 1 package low sodium taco/enchilada seasoning (Mccormick's or Mrs. Dash)
  • 4 c kale/spinach
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 1 can organic enchilada sauce
  • 1 c nonfat cheese (cheddar/feta/whatever)
  • Mixed veggies (for topping)*
Set oven to 350 degrees F. On stovetop, sautee all veggies except cabbage with 1 tbsp EVOO or coconut oil and 1/2 package of seasoning. Once cooked, set aside. Spray baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Layer cabbage leaves on bottom. Layer kale/veggie blend on top. Layer with cheese and top with enchilada sauce. Continue these layers until all ingredients are gone. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 mins. Uncover, check cabbage to be almost clear, and bake another 5 minutes uncovered until cheese is melted.

Mexican Cauliflower Rice
  • 2 bags frozen cauliflower (1 bag)
  • 1 can diced green chiles (1 can)
  • 1 red bell pepper (I used one red one)
  • Mrs. Dash Chipotle Lime seasoning (tons of it)
  • Garlic salt
Mix all ingredients around in a casserole dish. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. The mushier it is, the easier it is to take a knife and chop it up like rice. You can also cook cauliflower in crockpot on high for 2-3 hours. Then, blend cauliflower in food processor. Transfer it back to crockpot, coat in chipotle lime seasoning and chili powder. Serve with salsa, fat-free sour cream or even atop a bed of greens.

PROats (Cake)
Makes 1 single serving unless multiplied for cake
  • 1/2 c oats*
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder*
  • Stevia/cinnamon to taste
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract**
  • 1/2 c water (or more)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (optional)
*1:1 Ratio for multiplying recipe to make cake
**Vary extracts for different flavors (i.e. maple, pumpkin pie, caramel, etc.)

Mix dry ingredients in a microwavable dish, and cover with water. Stir until batter consistency. Store in fridge until ready to bake. If making a single serving, cover and pop in microwave for 1 minute. Remove and stir if needed. You can cook another 30 seconds if it hasn't risen. If baking a cake, bake in oven for 15 minutes at 300 degrees F, or until it rises. 

For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out.`

Monday, December 14, 2015

The First Thing to Change for Weight Loss

Diets don't make for lasting change. A lifestyle haul is typically necessary to keep the weight off for good. However, it doesn't matter how good your health coach is, if you don't learn how to change your mind, you will never change your body.

The Battle is in Your Mind

Will power is like a muscle. It takes practice and repetition to strengthen will power, and you can't use it constantly without it fatiguing. If you have a tendency to ebb and flow with your weight and committment to a "healthy lifestyle," then you probably have some distorted thinking.

Don't be embarrassed; I think we all suffer from stinkin' thinkin'. In our minds, we have limited mental real estate, and the more stressful life gets, the less room there is to differentiate thoughts that keep us in survival mode and thoughts that free us to contemplate change. When we feel insecure or threatened, we tend to resort back to our core principles, of which were often taught to us at a young age without our say at all.

For instance, when I was a little girl, the oldest and only girl of four kids, my parents used to dote on the fact that I was such a good helper. I helped change diapers, finish homework, clean up messes and counsel family members. My self-value was then shaped by an ability to take care of other people. As an adult, I've struggled with over-exerting my efforts to take care of people and carry their problems. If I'm not able to fix a problem for someone, then I feel like I'm failing at being a human being, and more so, failing at an expected position of being the one who makes others feel good and encouraged. I developed a core principle to take care of people, which was originally a positive attribute, but with the unraveling of life (and sin), distorted my thinking. Because that kind of thinking defined who I was for so long – or at least I thought it did — any time I tried to let go of controlling people's problems, I fought against it.

Your core principles affect your beliefs about your health and body. You may be limiting the grace you give yourself to transform your body because you've yet to give yourself grace to transform your mind.

I see it in many of my clients inquiries. Several people go back and forth with me on whether or not they want to purchase a program or commit to coaching. They might email me about the things they don't like about their lifestyle or body, and ask for help. But when I respond with points of action, they disappear from the entire Internet world. Usually, these people are the ones victimized by this brain battle. For whatever reason, they don't really want to change.

Identifying Your Core Habits

You might have a tendency to think you've got better things to do than truly get healthy. It starts out as "I don't have time to workout like some people because I have kids and a job; I'm just stretched thin already." But you're really telling yourself, I've got more important things to do than learn how to prepare food and cook healthy. When you have inner dialogue like this, you're exercising a resistance to change by limiting your beliefs. You convince yourself you don't need to change, when really you're most likely acting out of a lack of a want to change.

Priorities reflect people's principles and values. If you value work above your health, you might often say to yourself, "I'm too busy to cook meals." This kind of thinking often results when we fear making changes to our habits. Instead, we end up practicing another habit; for example, someone may get really good at working hard and late into the night and think "I'm too busy to cook dinner," or "I work so hard and don't have time to cook dinner." We deepen the need to work hard, prioritizing one's work ethic above other things, like the domestic habit of cooking. In turn, we tell ourselves working hard at my job is more important than learning how to cook healthy. This thought process has its benefits in the beginning. It helps you continue to work hard and might help you make deadlines or finish work under stress. It also may be an outlet on which one uses to focus energy to protect oneself from thoughts of insecurity or low self esteem. But when one decides they want to start valuing their health more, this thought process works against them.

Maybe you tell yourself "I can't workout because I'm already too fat and tired and I hate treadmills." But, you're really saying, "I don't want to workout." Maybe you think, "What's the point of working out? Everyone in my family's fat." If we were to dig a little deeper, you may actually uncover a fear of working out, and then at a deeper level, you realize you have a fear of man (or fear what others think about you). When we get to the root of our resistance towards habitual change, we learn how to cut those roots, decide what we really want to do, and plant new thoughts toward those goals.

Making New Habits

It's important you recognize areas of your life that you limit yourself with this kind of self-protecting mental game. To do so, you have to be open to it. You have to begin thinking about what you're thinking about.

If you plan on changing your habit of eating out 4-5 times a week to cooking dinner at home 3-5 times a week, you should anticipate your mind giving you excuses why tonight's not a good night to start. If you think you can't cook because you're just way too busy, then the next step is to learn how to simplify the art of cooking. It may be that the only experience you have cooking is some really extravagant, complicated recipe that you found off Pinterest that took you hours to prepare. Well, that can convince just about anyone to get in the car and pick something up. Maybe you realize you're just not sleeping well and it's a lack of rest that's the real issue, not the timeliness of cooking.

There's an abundance of available knowledge around food and cooking, so learning which foods to eat and how to prepare them are not the real issues. Once you can pinpoint the real problem, you will easily begin tackling some of the tactics to cooking healthy.

For example:

  • Plan a list of meal ideas for the week (nothing fancy; just a list of items like "fajita style chicken/salad or egg whites/veggie scramble)
  • Go grocery shopping at least once a week (on a full stomach)(with a list)
  • Wash and cut all produce before putting it up
  • Plan a time you're going to stop and eat, so meals stay in your schedule and aren't just an inconvenience; they're planned, to-do items (don't skip them)

For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Best Ways to Recover Post-Workout


  • Protein is the building block of muscle tissue. It helps rebuild sore muscles and make them stronger. Strong muscles take up more space in the body and help to elevate your metabolic rate so you burn fat at a faster rate than people with less muscle mass. That's how you can weigh more than someone else but look a whole lot leaner.
  • Without enough protein, your muscles will not be able to develop as well, not to mention your blood sugar instability. After exercise, protein will help you maintain your focus, energy and feel satiated.
  • Typically, those who are exercising to gain muscle mass and burn fat should try to ingest his or her body weight in grams of protein per day. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should try to eat about 150 grams of protein per day. 
  • Protein powder is convenient, cost-efficient and lasts a lot longer than other sources. My faves are Dymatize ISO 100 Birthday Cake, Species Isolyze Cinnamon Donut and Syntrax Nectar Double Stuffed Cookie (duh).
  • For tips on how to make protein powder taste like Heaven, try making my #TeamAMFit GoPro balls, or learn my top picks for snacks packed with protein.


  • If protein builds muscle tissue, Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) build protein. There are 11 essential amino acids, of which are all necessary for your body to retain muscle, especially after cardiovascular activity.
  • Drinking BCAAs (typically around 30 grams per day) helps your body continue to draw energy from fat stores instead of tearing down muscle for energy. This is especially important for endurance athletes, who are staying within 65-85 percent of their maximum heart rate (aerobic zone) during the majority of their workouts. 
  • You can find BCAAs in many flavors that taste like something CrystalLight makes. My favorite lately has been MAN Dorks.

Epsom Salt

  • One of my favorite, most comforting ways to soothe sore muscles and unwind from a great workout is to soak in a bath. Use Dr. Teal's Foaming bath soap or pure epsom salt from the grocery store. There are many varieties, and I'm sure they all work.
  • Magnesium sulfate, or epsom salt, naturally eases tension and calms down spasms in the muscles. It also purifies your skin. Many brands include essential oils, which help to relieve tension as well.

Essential Oils (Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Francensince)

  • Beyond the buzz around essential oils, you'll find these natural remedies truly do promote overall wellness. Above are my favorite essential oils, of which I add to my bath or body wash. Each one has its own unique "fix," but in general, they aid your body in building up your immunity and fighting stress.
  • During exercise, your body is in a critical state of stress. This stress is the good kind, forcing your body to work harder at getting stronger. If that stress lingers along in your day, add these oils to your daily regimen. You may also want to try some magnesium powder like this kind by CALM.

Probiotic and Proleolytic Enzymes

  • Your muscles and mind are not the only parts of your body under stress during exercise. Your guts take a beating too. It's important the lining of your stomach and intestines are secure and strong, so your body can digest food efficiently and not absorb the lactic acid produced by catabolic muscles (breaking down of muscle tissue). Make sure your probiotic has at least 14 billion CFUs of bacteria like this kind by PB8.
  • Proleolytic enzymes help your body absorb nutrients, digest food, fight bad bacteria and reduce inflammation (like the kind caused by a good workout). They've also been known to increase range of motion between joints, which Dr's Best or Wobenzym-N are reputable brands.


  • Adding collagen to your supplement list will help your joints as well. Collagen is like a buffer between your joints. Over time (and a whole lot of intense exercise), your joints may lose collagen, making some movements painful. I add this powder to my protein shakes or oats, and it helps brighten my skin, hair and nails as well. 
  • Another aid for joint pain and protein — that may come in handy in the kitchen — is gelatin. Many people use Great Lakes gelatin in healthy recipes not only to increase the protein macros, but also to hold things together, kind've like oil.

Myofascial Release

  • If you've never foam rolled, you may not know what I'm talking about here. But, if you have, you immediately identify with me when I say that I have a love/hate relationship with my roller. Smoothing out your muscles with a roller moves the lactic acid and tightness out of your muscles, breaking down that tension so your body can safely excrete it. You can find foam rollers as cheap as $10 on Amazon.
  • Physical therapy exercises called myofascial releases can remove back pain, knee pain, hip pain, neck pain and pretty much any other common symptom from exercise. Most often, people think they've torn something when really they just need to release the pressure in that area.
  • To watch how-to videos on myofascial releases, I strongly recommend this YouTube channel by Kai Wheeler. She's a genius!
For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out. 
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