Friday, August 28, 2015

Stop Impulsive Eating with New Food Finds

Have you ever gotten so hungry, you black out? Me neither, but I have gotten so hungry that when I am finally in front of food, I eat like a maniac and don't even recall what I've stuffed in my face ... kind've like a blackout. Oops ....

Ya, well, it's important that you learn how to prepare yourself for those unexpected traffic jams, never-ending corporate meetings, snail-like crawling carpool lines and any other time you find yourself in a bind. If you don't, you could be snacking on one bite-sized snickers too many, OR losing track of the mindless snacks that can keep you from meeting your nutritional goals (and cause you to stop losing fat).

For more help on setting nutritional goals and meeting macronutrient quotas, read this

Below, you'll find some of my recent favorite ways to stay prepared and stocked for any long haul. These new grocery finds are great purse-stuffers or gym bag accomplices.

Starkist Tuna Packets
Tuna fish packets have always been a staple in my nutrition routine. (Yep, I'm the stinky one.) I'd rather be stinky and skinny then fat, though. Get over the fish thing, friends. These packets are so convenient and packed with lean protein.
Find them at your local grocery store.

FlatOut Wraps
Use these wraps for making individual pizzas, sandwich substitutes, tortilla substitutes, or cut it apart and bake it in the oven like chips. Now, you can find these with even more protein if you have a hard time getting in your protein macros.
Find them at your local grocery store.

OhYeah Victory Bars
Quest bars have a new partner in crime. Not really, but these Victory bars are just as scrumptious. My favorite kind is the chocolate chip cookie dough (duh).
Find them online at Vitacost.com or at HealthKick in Coppell.

GreatValue Stevia-Sweetened Packets
Walmart made my day with this one. They come in tons of flavors, and you don't have to feel guilty about ingesting artificial sweeteners or chemicals. Dump that powder in your water bottle and stay hydrated all day.
Find them at Walmart.

Sweet Spreads Cashew Butter
This nut butter has me oohing and ahhing every time I eat it. For some reason, I've found that one tablespoon of Sweet Spreads satisfies me. My husband keeps it in his lunch bag and eats it on a rice cake, banana or with an apple almost every day. It's the good kind of fat.
Find them at HealthKick in Coppell or their website online.

Quest Chips
One of the most common complaints from my clients is that they can't squash their craving for something salty like crackers or chips. Quest Chips give you the crunch factor you're looking for with no weird ingredients and 20 g protein. With flavors like Sour Cream & Cheddar, Barbecue and Salt & Vinegar, you can have it all. It's a no brainer!
Find them online at Vitacost.com or at HealthKick in Coppell.

Mori-Nu Tofu
Blend this chunk of tofu up with a blender or mash it with a big spoon. Add stevia, sugar-free instant pudding, cocoa powder, greek yogurt, fruit, or basically anything you want to flavor it with. Once you get it to be pudding-like, you can keep it in your fridge (in a mason jar or a recycled salsa jar) for an easy on-the-go snack.
Find them online at Vitacost.com or at your nearest grocery store in the refrigerated section.

Dave's Killer Bread
I love that they sell this at Sam's Club. There's nothing worse than finding something really yummy and healthy but you have to sacrifice a tank of gas and pay like $30 to get it. None of that here, my friends. You can find this organic, whole grain-stuffed bread in a two-pack at Sam's. It's not carb-free, but it's a great source of fiber, energy and no weird ingredients.
Find them at Sam's Club.


For more tips on health and wellness, follow me on TwitterInstagramPinterest and Facebook. If you're interested in custom programs, fitness classes or health coaching, check out the Team A.M.Fit services.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

10 Reasons You're Not Seeing Results


One of the most common complaints I get from clients regarding their recent healthy lifestyle change is their frustration with trying to make changes to their daily nutrition and/or exercise routines and not seeing any results. After trying to "go healthy," for a certain time period, some of these people often throw in the towel, claiming they aren't feeling any better than they were before. And, many of these clients are the ones who may shed a couple pounds in the first week or two, but then plateau very quickly.


Below, you'll read my top trending mistakes regarding health and wellness from people who are just trying to live healthy. Do you identify with any of these?

    1. You restrict then rebel. This is the most widespread mentality when it comes to trying to change one's dietary habits. People often want to see things as black or white; right or wrong; good or bad. Food can't be thought of in that fashion. You see, when you tell yourself a certain food is off-limits, all of a sudden that's exactly what you crave. It's the forbidden fruit. You have to learn what your body needs, what tastes you actually like and how certain foods make you feel. It's called becoming an intuitive eater. God created our bodies to run perfectly, and if you teach your body how awesome it will feel if you feed it correctly, you won't need to restrict so much, and then you won't have to rebel by binging on Cheetos. 

    2. You cut calories too low. Many clients see they make progress when they eat around 1,500 calories, so they assume they will make even more progress at 1,000 calories. Unfortunately, your body learns to adapt to whatever you put it through. In turn, it will go into "starvation mode," meaning it's storing every thing you eat as fat most likely. Restricting your calories too low often makes your body plateau and makes you hangry ... not a good feeling.

    3. You perform metabolism-mashing cardio. Steady state cardio like jogging, elliptical-ing, spinning, etc. can be good in moderation. However, you must add strength conditioning or weight lifting to add muscular endurance instead of mere cardiovascular endurance. If you train your heart to endure half an hour of intensity 3-5 times a week in the same way every day, your body will learn how to work less to endure it, thus burning less and less calories. You see, your body is constantly paranoid you're going to die, so it's always looking for ways to survive and store energy. You have to shock it by performing high intensity interval training (HIIT) and incorporate weight-resistance exercises to add muscle mass. Watch this for more exercise ideas.
    "Natural" chips like these aren't always the best choices.

    4. You believe all consumer marketing. Buzz words like "all natural, organic and gluten-free" promise you better health, yet some of these products can't back up their claims. Just because something is labeled with one of these buzz words doesn't mean it's not full of sugar, processed ingredients or fat. It's important to learn how to read the ingredients label and know which chemicals/artificial ingredients can be avoided. Just because something is marketed to be healthy, it doesn't mean it is.

    5. You miss out on protein at breakfast. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle. Muscle raises your metabolic rate, which helps you burn more calories. A higher metabolic rate means you can eat more and look better. It's a no-brainer. If you don't have protein at breakfast, you're more than likely either eating higher-sugary-carbohydrates or skipping breakfast all together. Either way, you've spiked your insulin/glucose levels and you're teaching your body to crave sugar. Protein helps to stabilize your blood sugar, making you feel full and kickstart your metabolism. Something like whey protein isolate (added to oats or a smoothie), egg whites (3:1 ratio to whole egg), or plain nonfat greek yogurt (mixed with stevia, etc.) is a good choice. Read this for more breakfast ideas.

    6. You aren't burning as many calories as you think. Some days, you feel exhausted. On those days, you may think you worked out really hard and probably burned nearly 500 calories. But, you may have not burned as many as you feel. It's important that you learn how to perceive your exertion (1-10 scale) and know you should feel like you're working around a 5 for about 35 minutes and around a 7 for about 15 minutes and around a 9 for about 5 minutes. That's an intense workout, and intensity is what you're missing. This is especially important for those who work at a desk or in a car. 

    7. You overdose on at night. This mistake often occurs when you've fallen into the restrict/rebel mentality. If you're restricting all day, then you often get tired at night and rebel. If you haven't eaten enough nutritious calorically-appropriate meals during the mass of the day, then you make up for it at night. This causes one to feel bloated, lethargic and probably unable to fall asleep. The lack of sleep causes your stress hormone to release and causes you to plateau or even gain weight. If you scatter your eating throughout the day, you won't be starving at night and can eat an appropriate amount of food without feeling guilty.

    8. You eat too much sugar. Just because you don't have a sweet tooth or sweet treats aren't your thing doesn't mean you're off the hook. Unless you're consciously reading food labels and/or tracking your macros, you're probably eating more sugar than you think. Carbohydrates in general are made of sugars — even vegetables. The more complex the food (think your average cereal; it's been cultivated, processed, refined, enriched, etc), the higher likelihood it is to have hidden sugars. Even something like a salty cracker. It probably has hidden sugars. Juice, fruits (in juice or syrup), processed foods, grains/pastas, cereals, cokes, sports drinks, energy drinks, pre-made coffees or lattes, are all adding to your daily sugars. 

    9. You still drink alcohol. Sorry, friends. This one is a biggie! Even people who are following healthy nutrition to a T won't see results if they make this mistake. One of the best choices you can make is to avoid alcohol 80 percent of the time. Sure, you can still enjoy a drink every now and then, but it's best if you drink at special occasions like once a month. Alcohol has no nutritious purpose in the body whatsoever. In fact, it's an enemy. It kills your body's ability to stay hydrated, burn fat and retain lean muscle mass.

    10. You lose focus when it's inconvenient. One of the best ways to keep fitness/nutrition fun, interesting and relevant is to always be striving towards a certain goal. Those goals must be specific. One of the easiest ways to get off track is to find yourself in a social situation with friends who don't care what they eat and make you feel bad for being different. Being the healthy one may not always be convenient, and actually, you may have to learn to prepare for life a little differently, but you have to ask yourself if your goal is worth it. 

    For more tips on health and wellness, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. If you're interested in custom programs, fitness classes or health coaching, check out the Team A.M.Fit services.

    Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    21 Days to a Healthy Home

    Today I'm releasing my newest online program, specifically designed to help families declare their health in the home. For only $75, you can purchase A.M.Fit's "21 Days to a Healthy Home," a 10-page e-book consisting of charts, recipes, menus, workouts and tips to whip your family into shape.


    As an avid self-improver and fellow #FitFam participant, I'm well aware of the countless programs and resources available to promote wellness — many of them free of charge. However, I believe my programs promise a page or two diving deeper into the psychology of health and the battle we all face to consistently choose wellness over the world. You see, the world tells us it's easy to be healthy.

    Follow these five steps and you will look just like the girl in the picture. You know, the one with six-pack abs and a butt that makes even Ryan Gosling blush.

    The truth is that a healthy home means you stake claim to producing an atmosphere that values physical wellbeing, prevents illness, promotes strength and most importantly, advocates becoming the best YOU possible. It all comes back to love: love for yourself, love for others and of course, love for the God that knitted you together in your mother's womb.

    In "21 Days to a Healthy Home", I hope you discover what it takes to pass on a legacy of wellness to your kids and their kids, and in the process, learn some simple techniques to lose fat, gain muscle and feel better. To purchase this program, please complete the registration form.

    Once I receive your inquiry, I will invoice you for the $75 registration fee. Once the payment has been received, you will find your e-book delivered in your inbox at the email you provide. If you have questions, comments or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me.

    The Value of Tracking Your Food

    My post-cardio breakfast, documented via IG.
    A healthy lifestyle consists of making the healthiest choice you can for the majority of your decisions regarding nutrition and exercise. It doesn't mean you never eat what you want or take a day to sit on the couch. A healthy lifestyle is determined by the majority of your choices, not the one poor choice you made in a moment of weakness.

    That being said, I'm constantly reminding myself and my clients this concept. As a trainer and coach, I'm a huge advocate for setting small goals to change bad eating habits and introducing good, healthy foods/exercises before taking away the not-so-good. In order to do this, I encourage people to reflect on their new nutrition habits, taking note of how certain habits/foods make one feel. In turn, one begins to teach his or her body what it needs, and the body begins to crave those healthier foods. One can become an intuitive eater, rather than someone following a strict meal plan or diet.

    I often steer clear of having my clients track their calories or record numbers of any kind, actually, because it tends to make people think in terms of black and white ... or ... right and wrong. I don't want my clients to think some food is right and some food is wrong. There are foods that make you feel light and energetic, and there are foods that make you feel fat and bloated. If you choose to eat pizza for lunch, it doesn't make you bad or wrong. Was it the best choice you could have made? Probably not. But, maybe you really wanted it. And if you want something that's "restricted" or "prohibited" because it's not on your diet, guess what? You're going to want it more badly than any time before. That's why I feel it's necessary to keep track of the foods you eat, writing them down or recording them in a digital diary/mobile app.

    Benefits of Journaling Food

    • Keeps you accountable
    • Identifies eating habits
    • Challenges you to make goals
    • Makes you think about why you eat what you eat
    • Improves your relationship with food
    • Slows down the process of eating food

    Recording the foods you eat day to day gives you a sense of your habitual eating choices. It can also remind you of the tiny bites here and there that you eat you may not consider when you're going about your day. In my experience, tracking your meals or foods, for a time-being of course, helps to reduce mindless eating. You see, we don't want our minds to be consumed by food, but we do want to improve our relationship with food. And sometimes, you have to discipline oneself by reflecting on specific choices you make throughout the day.

    I recently started using the calorie-counter, macro-tracking app on my iPhone called MyMacros+. I had experience the widely-used smart phone app MyFitnessPal, but decided I wanted something a little more straightforward when it comes to tracking macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat). I actually really like MyMacros+ and think it's a valuable tool in becoming an intuitive eater. I've been pulling up the app while I'm eating or cooking, and it's helped me to think twice about the foods I really want to eat, as well as slow down while I'm eating. Instead of scarfing down the whole bag of mixed veggies, I stop at 2/3 of the bag - haha!


    I also find it way more valuable to track macronutrients instead of overall calories. It's important to realize that each person burns energy differently. A person who runs primarily for exercise, and whose goals include training for a race or marathon, for instance, will need a different number of carbohydrates than a person whose goal is to primarily lose weight and reshape his or her body. If you're unsure what your macronutrient goals should look like, I encourage you to visit www.iifym.com. That website has a nutrition calculator free to use, that enables you to input your personal information and determine your macros based on your goals.


    Tracking your food doesn't have to become a full-time job. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at how quick it is to use MyMacros+, and I'm sure other ways of recording meals are just as easy. It literally takes me like 3 minutes post-meal (or while I'm eating) to plug in my foods. And that's including time to scan barcodes or look up unique foods.

    If you want help getting started or you're interested in a custom program, please don't hesitate to contact me or fill out my inquiry form (links on the right sidebar). 

    Friday, July 17, 2015

    The Best Way to Love Yourself (and the World)

    If there's one thing the majority of my clients have in common, it's the mindset of insecurity and negative self-talk. And let's be honest. It's not just my clients. It's my friends, my family, and sometimes, even me.
    Post-Zyn class, sweaty and beautiful.
    One of my most recent clients mentioned to me that she loved her program because she saw the therapeutic nature of it. It's the same reason why we love Zyn22. We call it #sweattherapy. You cannot be successful in a journey for improving the physical health of your body without improving the spiritual health of your body. And it all begins in the mind.

    Unfortunately, the world we live in doesn't exactly paint a picture of hearts and rainbows for our feeble mind. My eyes are constantly bombarded with images of society's standards on beauty, sex and what it means to be successful. More times than not, these depictions do not line up with what I know to be true according to the Bible.



    Humor me for just a minute Try to stay with me as I share something that crossed my mind the other day ....

    Let's take two words: World and Word. Phonetically-speaking, the only difference is the letter "L." Let's make tha letter "L" represent two other words: Lie and Love.

    All it takes is the removal of the letter "L" from the word "world" to get back to "word." Let's say that letter stands for Lie, the deception that the world's standards are true and definitive. Remove the "lie," and your left with "Word." What I'm saying is this: Instead of comparing oneself to the world's standards, hold oneself accountable to the truths and statutes in the Word of God.

    The truth is, God's word is free of lies. We can trust it completely, and should shape our lives around God's standards and statutes. However, that doesn't mean we must depart from the world we live in, shunning anyone still struggling with measuring up to society.

    Reflecting on God's blessings and his teachings on a hike in Colorado.

    No, in fact, if you put a different L-word back in ... Let's say this time the letter "L" stands for "love," you get "World" again. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, He gave his only son." We are called to love the world, to be transformed and then show that love to the rest of the world. What God doesn't want us to do is get caught up in comparing ourselves to those who are conformed to the world or those who are not being transformed by the truth, Gods Word.

    For the most part, worldly people or affairs make it pretty obvious if they are trying to uphold the Word or not. The thing is, how can you differentiate the two if you don't spend any time studying the Word? Don't succumb to the L-word LIE, but instead, fill your spirit with God's Word and spread the L-word LOVE!

    For more discussion and insight on strengthening the body, soul and spirit, follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Check out my services by clicking the tabs above. 

    Thursday, July 2, 2015

    Independence Day Do's and Don'ts

    Every holiday, the health-minded are faced with challenges to their normal rise and grind routines. In America, most holidays involve some sort of lounging, boozing or feasting, and that just doesn't sync well with a health-hustlin' fool like me. That being said, here are my top tips for not totally surrendering all the hard work you've put in this summer to stay fit from the inside out this 4th of July weekend.

    This is what I was doing last year's 4th of July... Independence Classic Fitness Competition.

    Stay Active. Find some sort of exercise, sport, fitness class, or activity to enjoy. Whether it's a sand volleyball game, a water volleyball game, some frisbee throwing, flying a kite, walking the dogs, or whatever — opt to go instead of sit. Or, at least earn some sitting and lounging time by getting in a good, earned sweat (Texas humidity doesn't count, y'all).

    Stay Hydrated. Not only should you drink extra water during the hot summer months to fight heat exhaustion, but also because it will help you feel full. When you're water depleted, you may fill flat and light for a little while, but if you're going to be outside or in the sun, it's important to always be drinking something like iced water (try adding lemon/stevia), iced tea, or another stevia-sweetened beverage (try Bai5). Holding a cold drink keeps one hand from picking at chips and cookies, too! Plus, the more you're full of water, the less you will indulge in gains-killing alcohol (which makes you fluffy and puffy).


    Stay Prepared with Food. Usually, grilled options are great. Think turkey burgers, bison burgers, chicken breasts, zucchini, squash, bell peppers, onions, and (organic) corn. If you're heading to a friend's house or party, always bring something light and fresh you can munch on. I usually bring a giant salad full of spring greens, spinach, blueberries, strawberries, broccoli, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, onions, carrots, and pack a bottle of light dressing or something to top it with. If it takes you bringing your own stocked cooler, do it. It's worth the extra effort.

    Stay Protected from the Sun. If you're going to be out and about in the sun, either wear some organic, all-natural sunscreen or cover up with a hat and some sun-repellant apparel. Skin cancer is no joke, y'all.

    Despite the simplicity of the above tips, I hope they help at least remind you of a couple things you may have already known, or maybe inspired you to do something different. Happy Independence Day, friends. Let's take a moment to thank our ancestors and all those who have sacrificed for our freedom.

    For more information on Team A.M.Fit or my services, please explore the tabs above or shoot me an email. Follow me on social media too!

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015

    How to Hack Restaurant Remorse


    One of the biggest challenges to maintaining a healthy diet is going out to eat. Let's face it. Restaurant food doesn't exactly scream, "Eat me and I'll make you thin!" In fact, it's probably closer to something like, "Eat me and I'll make you fat ... muah hahahaha (evil laugh)."

    It's time to take back your seat at the booth and enjoy some time away from your own kitchen every now and then. With a few tips in your pocket — and a little extra cash — you can enjoy restaurant food just like those crazies who could care less about clean eating.



    Mexican Restaurants

    Look for something that that has a lean protein (pollo, carne, bistec, etc) with vegetables (vegetales). Ask for no cheese or oil. Opt for a ranchero sauce or salsa instead of anything cream-based. Corn tortillas over flour tortillas, and if you can skip them all together, even better. Steer clear of the rice and beans, and add a side salad with pico de gallo instead. Ask for celery or carrots to dip in salsa instead of chips, or another option would be to ask them to remove the chips all together.

    Italian Restaurants

    Watch out for the bread served here. If you desperately want some, give yourself one piece and order a salad or soup to begin your meal while everyone else is chowing down on empty calories. Ask for light dressing to be tossed if served family style. Look for items on the menu like broth soups (not cream-based), chicken (grilled or baked) or fish (grilled or baked). Steer clear of anything breaded or blackened. Choose marinara over alfredo, and try to fluff up your meal with as many vegetables as possible. Ask that your meal be cooked with little to no oil. Use balsamic vinegar when necessary.

    Asian Restaurants

    The sauces served with entrees at Asian restaurants are probably your worst offender because in general, these options are pretty safe. If it's something other than brown, garlic or teriyaki sauce, ask for it on the side, and then dip your bites into the sauce. Choose brown rice over white, and opt for more vegetables if you can. Steamed chicken is better than any other kind, and confirm it's white meat only.

    Miscellaneous

    Be weary of anything fried, blackened, crispy or breaded. Ask your server how things are prepared and if there's any cheese or oil it's tossed in. When ordering sides, go for the steamed veggies, and to flavor it up, ask for a side of one or more of the following: balsamic vinegar, salsa, marinara sauce, mustard, ketchup, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, ranchero sauce, salsa verde, buffalo wing sauce or Sriracha sauce. Ask if "turkey" burgers are all-white meat or not. When ordering burgers or sandwiches, remove half the bun/bread or ask for it to be served within lettuce wraps or atop lettuce. If you have an option, try the bison burger. ;)

    Salads

    First of all, don't fall for the whole "It's a salad; it must be healthy," scheme restaurants tend to push. Many salads can total up to as many if not more calories as burgers, pastas, etc. That being said, you can totally get your greens made just like you like it with a ton of flavor. Find a salad option that will require the fewest tweaks. Something with a lean protein and mostly veggies. It's best to ask the server to remove any cheese, croutons, fried onions/noodles, and bring the nuts and dressing on the side. If you forget to do everything but the last part — dressing on the side — you'll still save a TON of unnecessary calories.

    Soups 

    Some studies show that slurping soup before your meal can help you feel full quicker, which means you ingest less calories and avoid over-eating. Look for broth soups filled with vegetables and lean protein. Be cautious of tomato soups, cream-of-____ soups, and anything with cheese.

    Omelettes

    Fix your eyes on the omelette that has the most veggies in the description. Think peppers, tomatoes, onions, spinach, mushrooms, etc. Order it with egg whites or egg substitute instead of regular eggs, and ask for the cheese on the side (or skip it all together). Don't put any ham or turkey in there because you'll get enough protein from the eggs themselves. Be sure to tell the server to use little to no oil. If you're really hungry, ask for a cup of oatmeal and/or fruit to go with it.


    Fruit Parfaits

    There are few things that I order straight off the menu, and a fruit parfait still ain't one of them. You'll be better off ordering a cup or bowl of fruit and a side of fat-free or light yogurt. Mix it together yourself and sprinkle a little stevia or no-calorie sweetener on your own, and you'll probably shave off 100-200 empty calories.

    Desserts

    I don't know about you, but a meal is not complete unless my tongue has tasted both the savory and the sweet. Instead of devouring the piece of cake or milk shake, order a side of fruit and a coffee or tea. Better yet, prepare something sweet at home and have it waiting on you. Don't know what to make? I've got a TON of recipes here on my blog or on my Instagram. Save the restaurant desserts for your next treat meal.

    For more health and wellness tips, follow me on social media and view my 'Services' tab above. Please like, share and comment on this post. I'm on Pinterest, so pin it. I'm on YouTube, so go watch my videos. ;)

    Thursday, May 7, 2015

    Team A.M.Fit Class Calendar for Summer 2015

    Who's ready to get sweaty for summer? Below, you'll find the current calendar for all A.M.Fit classes held at a variety of studios. Please note that this schedule has quite a few changes from the previous class calendars, withe addition of classes at Granite Park, Orangetheory and introducing Zyn22. You may be interested in reading a description of each class.

    G | Granite Park Three
    O | Orangetheory Fitness Coppell
    Z | Zyn22 Fort Worth

    Monday

    G | 11:30 am-12:15 pm Butts & Guts Bootcamp (Ali)

    Tuesday

    G | 12-12:45 pm Butts & Guts Bootcamp (Kayla)

    Wednesday

    O | 7:30-8:30 am OTF (Amber)
    O | 8:45-9:45 am OTF (Amber)
    O | 10-11 am OTF (Amber)
    G | 12-12:45 pm Kickboxing/PiYo (Amber)


    Thursday

    G | 12-12:45 pm Butts & Guts Bootcamp (Kayla)
    O | 4:30-5:30 pm OTF (Amber)
    O | 5:45-6:45 pm OTF (Amber)
    O | 7-8 pm OTF (Amber)
    O | 8:15-9:15 pm OTF (Amber)

    Friday

    O | 8:45-9:45 am OTF (Amber)
    O | 10-11 am OTF (Amber)
    G | 11:30 am-12:15 pm Butts & Guts Bootcamp (Ali)
    Z | 5:30-6:15 pm Zyn22 (Amber)*
    *starting May 15

    *Saturday, May 23
    O | 8:45-9:45 am OTF (Amber)
    O | 10:15-11:15 am OTF (Amber)
    O | 11:30 am - 12:30 pm OTF (Amber)

    For more information about group classes or other Team A.M.Fit services, please see the tabs above.

    Sunday, April 26, 2015

    The Cost of Comparison

    One of my biggest responsibilities as a health and fitness professional is to find ways to motivate people to make healthy choices. This responsibility can be as surfacey as a reminder about the dangers of sugar, and this burden can go as deep as inspiring a soul-search. It's probably the most rewarding part of my job, and it's what makes my work kingdom-worthy instead of just worldly.

    Truth be told, most of my readership and resources come and go from social media like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. I'm sure you're aware that you have your friends, and then you have your social media friends. And let's be honest, a lot of my inspiration comes from scrolling through pictures on these sites. And that's how I do what I do. But, no matter how many #fitchicks or #chickswholift I follow, I'm constantly barraged by feelings of insecurity.

    The question of inspiring others (and how to do it better) has me thinking ... Which of my posts are truly motivating and which of my posts are self-seeking (you know the kind that are simply looking for a high five or compliment)?

    #SweatySelfies are the only kind I know how to do.
    I hope that the more mature I get (in age and in Christ), the less trivial, self-serving, vain posts I have and the more genuine, wisdom-bearing posts I have. It's you guys that keep me accountable, in the same way I hold my students, clients and class participants accountable. That being said, I feel the need to address one of the most dangerous pitfalls to health and wellness — comparison.

    There are two kinds of comparison. One is positive. When comparing yourself with your former self, it helps us to learn from our past and differentiate right from wrong. The other is negative. When comparing yourself with someone else, it causes us to engender either pride or inferiority.

    Self-comparison is a legitimate way to become teachable, coachable. For example, as some of my Transformation Challenge participants send in progress photos, I'm comparing their bodies week to week. This kind of comparison reveals how they've grown, succeeded, and exemplified discipline. It allows me to praise them for their progress and encourage them in their weakness.

    My burden for this post is to encourage you to stop scrolling through social media and picking out what you want to be like and what you don't. Stop following people who post daily selfies and ask you to love yourself at the same time. That's simply contradictory. My other burden is to ask you what would be motivating for you to keep discovering the beauty and strength inside of you that makes you who you are, unique to all other creatures? How can I help? Which of my Instagram posts are helpful and which are not? 

    Your Attitude Reflects Your Attention

    I've been told real-life pics remind folks we are only human too.
    What are you paying most attention to? Is your constant self-loathing and match-ups to thrice-filtered IG celebs to blame for your feelings of insecurity and discouragement?

    We trick our brains into thinking that the more chiseled abs we see, the more we're going to want to diet and exercise. It couldn't be farther from the truth. 

    I don't know about you, but pictures of half-naked models do not motivate me to work harder at being healthy. In fact, I've noticed the more time I spend scrolling through pictures of bathroom selfies featuring badonk-a-donk barbies, the more crappy I feel about myself. The more crappy I feel, the less I want to work out, and the more I want to sit on the couch with low-fat ice cream. (I have no idea what this logic is ....)

    Your Frustration Reveals Your Fixation

    Whatever you concentrate on is what determines your mood and attitude. Your frustration reflects your fixation. 

    Fixing your mind on your feelings (reflection of the soul) is dangerous. Feelings are fleeting and often sculpted by our situation. Your mind will deceive your heart, leading to the betrayal of your deepest core principles.  Fixing your eyes on your situation is dangerous too. Instead, feed your mind with the Word of God and His promises. They never fail and are unconditional.

    So, this is my real responsibility — to fill you with light, a light that reminds you the cost of comparison and the value of denying the flesh. When you choose something based on feelings, your chances of doing the right thing are 50/50. But when you make a choice with knowledge based on a kingdom-vision, God's faithfulness will sustain you in all things, independent of your feelings and situation.

    For more resources on health and wellness, follow me on social media (tabs above), and check out my Services tab. Please like, share and comment below. Thanks!

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015

    16 Ways to Spice Up Your Oatmeal

    It’s common knowledge that oatmeal is one of the “safe” foods to eat while dieting. Even in my own transformation, I remember religiously eating my oats and egg whites every morning for breakfast. What I also remember is the desire to turn those oats into something much more aesthetically and tastefully appealing. 

    'Oat-Cakes' pictured above — one of my favorite breakfast items to make.

    Oats are a great source of B-vitamins, as well as a premier source of carbohydrates, which are needed to fuel the body for activity and the brain for thinking. Oats and quinoa both help to keep you feeling full, since they’re higher in fiber. And, despite their high count of carbs, they are extremely low - almost none - in sugar, our arch-nemesis. ;)

    Instead of sloshing the daily grind of oats made with hot water or milk, try some of the following Oatmeal Mash-ups for the ultimate breakfast, sure to light your metabolism for the rest of the day.

    Savory Oat & Egg Muffins
    If you’re not up for something sweet when you awake, try using the oats as a crunch-factor/filler for an egg muffin to-go! In a mixing bowl, blend 1 cup oats, 2 tbsp flax, 1 carton of egg whites (or a dozen), 1/2 cup chopped peppers/onions, 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms, 1 cup spinach and garlic/salt/pepper to taste. Once all ingredients are blended, pour the mixture into a greased muffin tray. Bake at 325 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden on top. These are great to freeze/refrigerate, so you can grab one on-the-go with an apple or other piece of fruit. 

    Quinoa-Berry Breakfast Duo
    Opt for a whole different grain. Quinoa is a complete protein and is packed with nutrients to keep you feeling full and prevent your blood sugar from spiking. Soak your quinoa with part hot water or unsweetened almond milk, similar to how you prepare oats. However, add a teaspoon of cinnamon, stevia, vanilla extract, and 1/3 to 3/4 cup oven-roasted blueberries (tossed with coconut oil/cinnamon), and your mouth will be watering for days. Make for one or prepare in bulk in the crockpot.

    Oat-Cakes
    Grind up your old-fashioned oats into oat flour (with blender or food processor). It takes less than two minutes. Use 1/2 cup oats, 2 tbsp flax seed, cinnamon/stevia to taste and 3 egg whites. For an added protein bonus, toss in 1/2 scoop protein powder. Mix in a bowl, and cook over griddle like pancakes. Drizzle with some sugar-free maple syrup like the kind by Walden Farms or mix half of that with 2 tbsp powdered peanut butter, and top ‘em off. The amounts above make for 1 serving (about 3 small pancakes). 

    For some easy add-ins to your normal oatmeal routine, check out the list of super-flavor ingredients below. Be sure and use my discount code at Vitacost.com to get $10 off.

    Assorted Extracts: vanilla, almond, coconut maple, etc. - Just because a recipe calls for vanilla extract doesn't mean you have to use that particular flavor. Experiment and have fun! Stay a while on the baking aisle, and look at all the glorious flavors abundant in extract form. Change it up, mix 'n match… just don't add too much. While they're very low in calories (an entire teaspoon of vanilla extract has about 10 calories), overdoing it can give your food an alcohol-y flavor! Yikes!

    Fresh or Frozen Fruit - This will have you feeling so fresh and so clean, clean! I especially like to add fruit to my oats when I make them in the crockpot. It's so easy! You can add frozen and use less water, or fresh too. Cook it with chopped peaches, apples, pears, figs, dates, berries, or wait until they're cooked, and top it with fresh varieties. The calorie count varies depending on the quantity and variety, but everything in moderation.

    Protein Powder - If you're looking to add lean muscle mass, you're familiar with whey protein powder. This add-in is especially important if you feel hungry midmorning. Your morning oats will last you a lot longer with a spoonful of protein powder! Look for kinds with 0-2 g sugar and 100-120 calories per scoop. A 2-tbsp. portion is all you need -- about 35 calories, 0.5g fat, and 6.5g protein. Try vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter cookie... the choices are endless!

    Powdered Peanut Butter - Peanut butter, to me, is heaven. And so is this PBslim by Vitacost.com! It's made from defatted peanuts, so you don't have to worry about the typical 16 g fat and upwards of 200 calories per 2-tbsp serving. A 2-tbsp. serving of powdered peanut butter has about 50 calories and 1.5g fat.

    Almonds or Pistachios - Instead of peanut butter, add the real thing. The heart-healthy fat count in almonds and pistachios may actually help you feel more satisfied. Still, add these nuts in small doses, 'cuz the stats do add up. A quarter-oz. serving is the perfect amount, with 40 calories and 3.5g fat.

    Mashed Banana - One of the easiest ways to sweeten up your oatmeal and make it creamier is to you add some mashed banana. A quarter-cup adds 50 calories and 1.5g fiber. Add a little cinnamon and you're done.

    Canned Pure Pumpkin - Puréed pumpkin adds fiber and will make your oatmeal thick and creamy without a pumpkin pie flavor — unless, of course, you add pumpkin pie flavoring like nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. A quarter-cup serving of pure pumpkin adds about 20 fat-free calories and 2g fiber. Just be sure to get the kind with only "pumpkin" listed on ingredients, not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling, which is higher in calories and sugar.

    Unsweetened Cocoa - For those of you who don't like chocolate, watch out. If you do, then you'll love adding unsweetened cocoa powder to your oats. Each tablespoon of the powder has 15 calories, 1g fat, and 1.5g fiber. Don't forget to add a little stevia to really bring out the flavor.

    Egg Whites - Like you saw in my go-to recipes above, liquid egg whites are one of the easiest ways to dress up your oats. Stirring liquid egg whites into the mixture while it simmers gives you a slightly larger serving with extra creaminess and a nice protein boost! A quarter-cup adds about 30 calories and 6.5g protein.

    Sugar-Free Maple Syrup- A drizzle of this sugarless sweet stuff will perk up your oats and your mood in the morning. My favorite brand, Walden Farms, comes in several flavors like maple, chocolate, caramel, blueberry and strawberry. Swirl in 1 tbsp. for 0 calories and 0g fat.

    Nonfat Plain Yogurt - I actually prefer this one on top of my oats instead of mixed in. Layer some yogurt on top of some chilled oats for an extra-creamy, whip-like experience. Sprinkle with cinnamon/stevia. Mmmm! (You can also just add a dollop on your hot cereal.) Awesome! A 1/2 cup has about 80 calories.

    Sugar-Free or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips - This one's for my chocohaulics ... Because what makes the morning more bearable than knowing you're eating chocolate for breakfast? A little goes a long way with these lil suckers. Add a teaspoon for around 25 calories and 1.5g fat.

    High-fiber bran cereal - You can totally add cold cereal to your hot cereal. Yes, it totally makes sense. And once you try it, you will agree. Look for high-fiber, low-sugar varieties. Cold cereal adds a crunch-factor when sprinkled on top of your oatmeal, not to mention a major dose of fiber. A quarter-cup on average has 30 calories, 0.5g fat, and 7g fiber.

    For more recipes, workouts and wellness tips, follow me on social media (links above) and view my other services
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