Wednesday, July 31, 2013

5 of My Fave Beauty Tips & Tricks

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when trying to establish a healthy lifestyle is the decision to wake up everyday and love yourself. Choosing to see past all of one's flaws and insecurities is especially hard for women.


Thank God for self-tanner and maskara — am I right or am I right?

Really and truly, though, it's so important to remember that you are worth it, and not just because L'Orèal tells you so. You are worth the life of God's only son. You are so valuable that God reaches down and blots away all your wrongdoings every single day.

Seriously, folks, if the epitome of perfection (Jesus) loves you that much, then I think we can find the strength to pick ourselves up and carry a little dignity.


And what woman doesn't carry herself a little better when she feels beautiful? Come on, now. You know what I'm talking about. Lord knows I got enough "fat days." You know those days when you don't get out of your sweats all day or even mess with your contact lenses because ... well ... you just don't feel like it?

Well, we can also have "fat-free days," or better yet, "friggin hot" days.


The key is to discover what really makes you beautiful from the inside out. You gotta get that part down first. After that, it's just glitter and lipstick and tons of fun.

One of my favorite parts about getting ready for my first NPC bikini competition was the three hours worth of primping and getting ready with my mom and friend. It's in times like these that we can let our hair down (literally) and just be at peace with our bodies.



With that being said, I have a few beauty tips and tricks to share. Let me know your faves in the comments below!

  1. L'Orèal Instant Bronze tanning lotion — This stuff is priceless. Actually, it's about $8.99 at Walmart, which is super-cheap compared to other leading self-tanners out there. It's absolutely the only tan-in-a-can I use, other than a Versa Spa, which I highly recommend. Get it here >>
  2. H. A. C. — Highlight. And. Contour. This acronym refers to the way you put your face make-up on. Once you get this down, you will wonder how you ever walked around with a pastey-looking flat face before ... sorry, that's kind've harsh. Watch a fabulous tutorial on the Maskcara blog here >>
  3. Teasing Brush — Maybe it's just here in Texas, but I think big, voluptuous hair is just downright sexy. With as much hair as I have, most people would think I couldn't have a flat-hair day, but girls, believe me. I do! But, ever since I found this perfect little hair utensil, I can make the perfect poof! Get it here >>
  4. Bronze your chest — For those of you who got the good boobie-gene, bless you. All my girls with mosquito-bites, say Ahhh! Actually, this little maneuver works for both types. Take your bronzer and create a "natural" shadow of cleavage above and between your breasts. Dust your shoulders, jawline and throat. You'll love the instant slimming effect it has!
  5. DIY Natural Face Toner — OMG, one of my favorite creations (because it's so oober-simple and cheap and totally "granola") is my facial toner. Grab a bottle or jar, and fill it 3/4 full of water. Fill the rest of the container with apple cider vinegar. Add in some essential oils like peppermint, tea trea oil, lavender or jojoba. Shake it up and wah-lah! I use a little on a cotton ball every morning and night. It totally brightens your face. (You'll get used to the slight vinegar smell, but feel free to use less and more oils.) 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Don't Be Chicken [Spice Up Your Protein]

I tend to keep a stock of canned chicken and tuna in our pantry for times when I open the fridge to get my perfectly-portioned meal-to-go and realize ...

Freaking Micah! He took my dang lunch!

It's times like these when I might slip a curse word, and then quickly ask for forgiveness and text my hubby, "Oh no, babe, you go ahead. Enjoy it," (as I repeat the verse "a righteous man is not easily offended" in my brain). 


Thankfully, I came up with a friggin' delicious and as usual, quick and easy meal to slap together in about less time than it takes you to instagram your latest manicure.

Buffalo Chicken Salad


Ingredients:

  • 1 can all-white chicken breast (sub tuna if you want)
  • 1 heaping tbsp nonfat, plain greek yogurt (sub light/fat-free mayonnaise)
  • Franks Red Hot sauce (sub buffalo wing sauce or other fave)
  • Water
  • Salad
  • Other tossed veggies


Directions:

  1. Drain water from canned chicken and dump it in a big bowl.
  2. Add yogurt/mayo and lots and lots of Frank's sauce. Mix it all up until it looks like chicken salad. *Actually only add a couple tablespoons of the hot sauce while mixing, and then add more until you reach desired taste.
  3. Toss up a salad on top with veggies, and chop it all up together until chicken and dressing is evenly distributed.
You can also make this 2-ingredient sauce up ahead of time and store it in the fridge for marinades, salad dressings and dips. It's great for chicken, fish, veggies and salads! 

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Good Morning Oats

It's always a good morning when I start my day with oats and worship. Pairing the two together warms me up from the inside out. I've shared how I like to combine my egg whites and oats in one chunky dish before, but I thought I'd show you exactly what I'm talking about.

Quick Note: Some of you have asked why my Crash Course to Bikini Program suggests egg whites and not the full egg.

Don't get me wrong, I agree that the yolk in the egg is nutritious and healthy, but in this program, we are focusing on shedding body fat quick. Forgetting the egg yolk in this 4-week meal plan allows you to consume the same amount of protein with less calories and fat. You're able to consume the nutrients the yolk provides from other foods in the meal plan without the extra fat/calories.

In your normal diet, I'd recommend a 3:1 ratio of egg whites to complete egg. If you can't get over throwing out the yolk (or you have issues dropping some of the yolk in your bowl and getting it all over everything like me), either opt for some liquid egg whites or use only 2 full eggs instead of my recommended 3 egg whites.

Okay, back to the feature presentation ... my delicious, hot and steamy oat-cake-bowl. 


When I haven't already prepared a big pot of steel cut oats to last me each morning for a week, I'll get out my bag of organic rolled oats. I actually prefer the taste of the rolled oats, even though they don't swell up as big as steel cut oats.

  1. Measure out 1/2 cup of oats in your bowl and cover with 1 cup of water. Sprinkle some cinnamon and stevia, and mix it all around. Then, add your egg whites. Mix it again until everything looks to be one consistency.
  2. Cover in the microwave for 1 minute. Take it out, stir it, and cook again for another minute. Mix it all up one more time and pop in the microwave for 30 second intervals again and again until your oat bowl contains the factor of fluffiness that you prefer. ... Seriously, they're almost puffy ... and cute. Hehe!
  3. Top with more cinnamon and some guiltless pancake syrup. You'll be licking the bowl and totally satisfied since this meal is filling and nutritious!


Say "good morning" because when you eat these chunky oats, you're going to be in a good mood.


Try it paired with a mug of hot coffee (mixed with almond milk and stevia) or chilled java on summer mornings. Crank up some Kari Jobe or Hillsong tunes, and thank God for the day he has made and for the unique purpose he has for you. 

Have you tried pairing your egg whites and oats before? What do you think?

Email me for questions about training, meal-planning, my teaching schedule or custom consulting services >>

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Homemade Protein Bars for Dummies

Some of my clients have trouble figuring out what to do with the 100 percent Whey Isolate Protein that I recommend in my 4-Week Crash Course to Bikini programEwww ... Mix it with water? Gross ...

Purchase the Crash Course to Bikini Program Now >>


Well, now, friends, I have a quick and easy recipe to share with you to make your very own, homemade protein bars. You can make these ahead of time or while you're meal-prepping. Once they're done, you can freeze them, refrigerate them or eat them right out of the pan like warm, gooey brownies ... errr ... protein bars.

This recipe is delicious as it is below, but feel free to change it up. After all, variety is the spice of life! Some good variables would be cocoa powder, flavored stevia drops, semi-sweet chocolate chips, berries, dried fruit (no sugar added), peanut butter, coconut butter, coconut flakes, Walden Farms fruit spreads/syrups, or ... Well, I can't think of anything else right now, but be sure and let me know in the comments if you think of something I haven't mentioned or if you have a question about a potential add-in.


Ingredients:
  • Almond butter (nut butter)
  • Oats
  • Whey Isolate Protein Powder
  • Cinnamon/Stevia Mix
Directions:
  1. Optional step: blend oats into powdery texture in food processer or blender.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well-blended.
  3. Roll out the dough onto a cookie sheet.
  4. Pop 'em in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  5. Ta-da!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How to Meal Prep Like a Pro

You may have heard the term "meal-prepping" after you purchased my 4-Week Crash Course to Bikini Program or maybe after simply clicking through a "#fitfam" or equivalent Instagram hashtag. Maybe you don't have a clue what "meal-prepping" means, but I bet if you knew how to meal-prep, it would change your life.


Bodybuilding pros and fitness athletes have been doing it for years, and now more and more of the general healthy population or "fitfam," as we are referred to on Instagram or Twitter, are implementing these meal prep principles in their own lives. You don't have to be on a meal plan to take advantage of meal-prepping. I think it's a great way to save time and money no matter what food you're eating.


Benefits of Meal-Prepping:

  • Convenient access to prepared meals throughout the week
  • Less potential of sabotaging your healthy eating streak
  • Ensures correct portions of food for each meal
  • Cost-efficient way to not waste food
  • Frees up more time for the rest of the week
Typically, I try to prepare my meals in bulk 2-3 times a week. Most of the time, I have to add an extra session to meal-prep because my hungry husband "accidentally" steals my chicken. You could probably get away with 1-2 different cooking sessions, depending on what you have going on for the week and which foods you include in your meals.

I'd encourage you, especially my Bikini Program clients, to try to prepare your meals ahead of time, and shoot for Sundays and Wednesdays. This timeline is convenient for most people who work during the week on a normal schedule. Cooking twice a week gives you room to change up your foods and prevents your food from spoiling if left over for more than five days.

My Meal-Prep Tips:

  1. Buy your protein in bulk. Eating clean for two can get expensive and time-consuming, especially if you're living with the Hulk like I do. Shoot, eating clean for one person these days is ridiculous. It's sad that the bad foods are always cheaper than good ones. But, one way to help you save time and money is to buy your proteins like chicken, fish, and whey isolate protein powder in bulk. While it may be a little bit pricier at the time of purchase, you will surely save money in the long run. We get chicken breasts and wild-caught cod/flounder frozen from Costco or Sam's. Most of the time, we can find the organic kind, but if not, we bless it in the name of Jesus. We save the fresh meat for special events or maybe weekend grill sessions, and then it's easier to buy organic. We like Sprouts or Kroger, which recently launched their own line of organic products, and it's fabulous!
  2. Use a food scale. It may take some getting-used-to weighing your food, but this trick is a life-saver. Most people aren't familiar with what a 1/2 cup or 6 oz. serving actually looks like. Plus, it looks different if you're measuring out oats compared to measuring fish. Plus, sticking to correct portions makes it easier to delegate each food out for each day. If I did it on my own, I'd probably mess up and eat all my oats in the first two days — gah, I love my oats!
  3. Collect tupperware (and old food containers). Tubs that contain foods like greek yogurt or cottage cheese are great recycled as your portable meal containers. This is a great way to save money, and not feel bad about throwing the tub away after you're finished. Less dishes = more joy!

  4. Choose one method of cooking for each macro. You might bake your chicken/fish or grill it. You might roast your veggies in the oven. You might microwave all your sweet potatoes. Or boil all your steel cut oats. Stick with one method for each food group, and cook them all up at once. The second time you meal-prep, try changing it up.
  5. Season your foods in the containers. I like to add my seasonings/condiments after I've cooked them and portioned them out. Don't get me wrong, I usually throw some garlic powder on everything (beware, vampires), but waiting until after I've portioned out my meals allows me to flavor some foods differently than others. For instance, I might add Mrs. Dash Chipotle Lime seasoning to my chicken and veggies for Monday's lunch, but I might add mustard and dill to Tuesday's.
I'm sure I'll come up with more tips for meal-prepping like a pro, but feel free to leave your comments and questions in the space provided below.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Don't Worry, Bai Happy

One of my few complaints about living in Texas is that we don't have stores that sell Bai beverages. Dangit! I first noticed this new energy drink on Instagram, where I saw one of my #FitFam followers post a photo of a new coconut-flavored energy drink.

Uhhhh ... What is that? And how do I get one? Like now?

Thanks to my new pals at Bai Beverages, who were so generous and kind to send me a variety pack to taste and review since I can't purchase them in stores here, I'm able to happily share with you one of my most recent healthy discoveries. (Thanks again, Bai!)

A Few Perks about Bai Beverages:


  • low-calorie (only 5 calories per serving)
  • pure, clean, organic energy
  • no additives
  • filtered water
  • antioxidants
  • no carbonation
  • no artificial sweeteners
  • GMO-free

It's hard to make a decision which flavor you want to purchase because there are so many to choose from. However, my favorite, hands down, is the Molokai Coconut.

Seriously, when I took the first sip, it was like I had been magically transported to Hawaii, where I was lounging on the beach, drenched in tanning oil. My skin may have even turned a shade darker after drinking it ... Okay, not really, but I did feel like I should be at the beach!

You'll notice all of my pictures are of empty bottles (my bad). That's because I couldn't slow down drinking them in time to take a quick photo.

Aside from the delicious, natural flavor of Bai beverages, I found their main ingredient quite interesting. The juicy, red fruit is the superfruit that protects the coffee bean. Bai uses this Indonesian coffeefruit to add antioxidants and refreshing fruit flavor to all their drinks. With every sip, you're getting a boost of natural energy, as well as sucker-punching the crap out of the free radicals floating around in your body (especially for those of you who work out a lot).

But how are the drinks so delicious with only 5 calories per serving?


Because someone, thank God, finally figured out how to sweeten drinks with Stevia instead of aspartame or sucralose. Bai uses a fancy-schmancy combination of organic Stevia and Erythritol, another natural sweetener. This makes their products low on the glycemic index and a good option for those of us trying not to waste our calories on liquids. (Bring on the protein, ma!)

If you haven't tried Bai beverages by now, go on over to their site and order you a case yourself. One thing I'm learning in my own journey of health and wellness is the need to support fellow health advocates like the team at Bai.

Isn't it funny how the smallest gesture can totally turn your day around? 


Maybe it's a smile, a compliment, a helpful hand ... Whatever it is, we all can make a difference in this world. So today, other than encourage you to spend money on a cool, funky drink, I encourage you to begin bettering yourself by putting someone else ahead.

"... Clothe yourselves in humility toward one another because God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble." — 1 Peter 5:5


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

FAQ: Summer Crash Course to Bikini Program


I'm ecstatic to introduce my Crash Course to Bikini Program, this summer's 4-week guide to healthy eating, meal planning, workouts, supplements and full-body fitness. In my program, you will find a daily meal plan and workout guide over a 4-week period. I challenge you to make a commitment to following this guide "to-a-T" for four weeks — that's only one month, folks!

My goal is to inspire you to learn how to read your body by figuring out how it responds to clean eating and hormone-resetting workouts, as well as discovering who you are in Christ as you push yourself to a new lifestyle. 


In my Summer Crash Course to Bikini Program, you get:

  • 4-week Meal Plan
  • 4-week Workout Schedule
  • Grocery List
  • List of Foods to Avoid
  • Supplement Suggestions
  • Tips on Staying Motivated
  • *Weekly consultation with me via email or Facebook
*Right now, I work full time in an office and my schedule limits me to consult as personally with clients as I'd like. However, I'm suggesting that clients at least send me pictures every week and to provide feedback in a field provided on their program.

How do I know if this program will work for me if I haven't seen it before buying it?


Well, my dear, that's a good question. That's why I'm giving you a glimpse into the program right here:

Sample Meal Plan



Sample Workout



Is this program okay for beginners?


Well, not exactly. The meal plan is definitely good for people of all levels. And to be honest, the workouts are tough. You're going to sweat like a fat kid eating cake! But, I would never discourage anyone from trying out this program — and not just because I created it — but because I think the resources here will truly inspire you to be better, and you will be. However, I don't want to downplay the level of commitment this program takes to see the maximum results. That being said, even if you half-@$$ this entire thing, if you're coming straight from the couch, you will see improvements, and you will like them.

Can I modify the workouts?


Absolutely! This program is not made to be another rule book you must follow or else you're in trouble. If anything, think of this program as a guide to learn about what's best for your body. The only way to discover that truth, however, is to try what I've recommended, give me feedback, and truly surrender all your fleshly feelings/desires to God here.

Per the workouts, specifically, my first suggestion for modifications would be to start with little to no weight on some of the lifting exercises, and/or start with one set (instead of three), and progress weekly. I'll even post videos on my Facebook page and on YouTube, so you can see different exercises and how to properly do them.

By all means, if you have an injury that prevents you from being able to do a particular exercise, then choose another activity. Feel free to ask me for alternatives if you have an injury or condition like that. 

Won't this kind of weight-lifting make me bulky and manly and ugly and gross?


Okay, ladies, this is such a myth — probably one created by some puny dude who had mommy issues and was intimidated by strong women. Okay, so maybe that's a little harsh, but seriously. I, like you, had my doubts about bodybuilding and weight-lifting, but I'll be the first to vouch that heavy lifting = sexy beast.

A woman will never have the kind of muscle structure that a man has unless she supplements with hormone modifiers like steroids. Our bodies don't naturally produce the levels of testosterone that men have to make their muscles "swoll." Maybe you've seen a girl that has this "bulky" look to her. She's probably either A) taking some kind of hormone enhancer or B) not eating clean. 

If a woman lifts hard and heavy, and eats clean, she will build muscle, which supports a fat-burning metabolism, and will actually speed up her ability to shed fat, revealing that muscle and producing that "toned" look most girls want. 

If you simply want to be thin without any muscular definition, I wouldn't suggest lifting, but my meal plans would still work. (Does anyone really want this?)

How do I get Amber Michelle Fit's 4-Week Crash Course to Bikini Program?


If you want to purchase this program, I'm currently running a special promotion for this launch and offering it for a $30 flat fee via PayPal. That's only $1 per day, people!

But wait a second. ("... But wait, there's more!" Just kidding.) Let me be frank: I'm not doing this to get rich, I promise you that. I don't want to turn anyone away, so if you can't afford to spend that much money on the program, please still email me and let me know. We will work something out. :) 

1. All you need to do is email me that you would like to purchase the program. Please include this in the subject line of the email:

PLEASE SEND ME AMFIT'S 4-WEEK CRASH COURSE TO BIKINI PROGRAM

^^^ Feel free to copy/paste that into an email right now!

2. I will email you back and send you an electronic invoice via PayPal.

3. After your payment has been submitted, I will email you a PDF of the program, as well as share your program with you via Google Drive, where you can access it from anywhere online and even on your smart phone. This way, you can also give me feedback in the spaces provided, and we can consult week to week.

Note: Please allow me 24 hours to respond to your email about purchasing the program and 48 hours on the weekend. I will do my best to return other email inquiries within 24 hours as well. I'd suggest starting the program on a Sunday or Monday, depending on when you receive the program.  

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