Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Health-Conscious Holiday Gift Guide

This is a guest post for Zyn22, the hottest (both literally and metaphorically) cycle class I've ever taken. To be honest, it's hard to refer to it as a cycling class because it's more like a dance class. You just happen to be riding a bicycle at the same time. You can find the original blog post here.

Photos taken after my first Zyn22 experience.
Despite my attempts to plan enough in advance for the holidays, in order to prevent the feeling that the day has been stolen from my control-diseased death grip, Christmas always seems to fly by in a flurry. Instead of stressing over wrapping gifts and scheduling enough time to travel among all seven houses we're supposed to visit, I've learned it really is "the thought that counts."

While ideally, I'd like to present a Pinterest-inspired cocktail and wreath to every person I know, my own sanity depends on consciously preserving my creative energy and sticking to the basics. Sometimes, that looks like going to dinner with friends we haven't seen in a while. Sometimes, it's rearranging my schedule to attend a Christmas production at church. Regardless of the extra tasks the holidays inspire, one thing I try my best to do is make sure my gifts are meaningful. That being said, it's important to find ways to make each person feel special. And that, my friend, requires real thought and study for each person to whom you're giving a gift. Nevertheless, these tasks never fail to bring me and those I love true joy.
I have the Ninja Food Processor.

Below, you'll find my ideas for the gym-rat, cardio-bunny or meat head in your life. (The following are in no particular order.)

1. Time (or Effort) Saving Kitchen Utensils

If you know me well enough, you know that the posts/pictures you see of my kitchen creations and meal ideas are simply facades of what naturally occurs when you put a hungry girl in a kitchen full of healthy food. By no means do I intend to pretend that I'm naturally-gifted when it comes to cooking — in fact, I burned the rice on the stove while writing this blog post. Most of the time, my kitchen gadgets deserve credit for any likes or retweets of my recipes/treats.

Here is one of my favorite gadgets.
Aren't these Bia Brasil pants funky?
2. Sweat Swag (AKA Workout Wear)

No matter how confident you are in your own skin, everyone still has days they feel "off" in their workouts. It's those days that something as simple as a new outfit can keep you from skipping leg day. Maybe for you, it's not the outfit, but it's shoes. You can't deny that having a fresh new pair of kicks on when you walk into the gym makes you feel like a million bucks.

Side note: Make sure you really know a person before buying them clothes. The last thing you want to do is buy someone something they feel obligated to keep but don't really like, and that's where a gift card comes in handy.
  • Check out this pair of pants in the Zyn22 line that I can't live without!
Danceaton is like Zumba on steroids.
Below are some of my personal favorite brands.
3. Gym Gear

This takes exercise to the next level.
  • Jumprope
  • Lifting gloves
  • Gym bag (with space for dirty clothes)
  • Towels (embroidered)
  • Heart Rate Monitor
  • Gym boss/Timer
  • Water Bottle
  • Wireless Headphones
4. Reasons to Relax

I always enjoy a good OTF workout with the other coaches.
This may be my number-one personal choice for things I wish to receive. My feet will never be over-rubbed, that's for sure! Many of us workoutaholics don't know how to make time to rest, and this kind of gift can really make someone feel special. Unless your friend is someone who doesn't like people touching them, you can't go wrong with this gift. An added touch would be to find a place that's near your friend's gym or work, so that it's convenient for them to go, or better yet, pre-book their reservation.
  • Reflexology gift certificate
  • Massage gift certificate
  • Spa day pre-booked
  • Manicure/Pedicure

5. Tickets for New Adventures

Groupon and its friends in the online coupon world are great resources for finding deals on new gigs like yoga classes, Zumba classes, rock climbing, body surfing, barre, kickboxing, martial arts and other fun and unique workouts. They're awesome because you can purchase a set of classes for you or for someone else in advance, which helps to keep you and/or your friend inspired to try new things. Keeping your body guessing is one of the best ways to keep your muscles and mind fresh, which makes you feel and look better.

Below are some of my personal favorites.
Talk about core strength!





Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Team A.M.Fit Christmas Cook-off Recipe Round-Up

The question of the hour last night at Team A.M.Fit's Christmas Cooking Party was, "Are you going to post these recipes?"

To that, I answer with a resounding, "Yup!"
My wonderful clients chowing down together.

Buffalo Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 2 bags frozen cauliflower (or 1 large head fresh)
  • 1/2 cup Frank's Buffalo Hot Sauce
  • Pam cooking spray
  • Garlic/Onion powder (optional)

Directions:

Spray cookie sheet with Pam cooking spray, and spread cauliflower on tray. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees, until pieces are slightly brown. Toss roasted cauliflower in a separate dish, spray with Pam again, and season with garlic powder and/or onion powder. Mix with Frank's hot sauce and bake again in the oven until warm.

Veggie Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
  • 2 cans beans (I used black and red)
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 bag frozen vegetables
  • 1 packet Mrs. Dash gluten-free chili seasoning
  • Mrs. Dash Chipotle Lime seasoning to taste
  • Garlic/Onion powder/sea salt (optional)

Directions:

Place all ingredients (undrained) in a stock pot or crockpot and cook on low for 1 hour. You may want to add 1 cup of water if it gets clumpy, but this may result in more seasoning. Let simmer with occasional stirring.

Cheddar Kale Chips

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag pre-washed, cut kale
  • Orville Reddenbacher's popcorn seasoning (I used cheddar flavor)
  • Pam cooking spray
  • Sea salt/Garlic powder/nutritional yeast to taste

Directions:

Spray cookie sheet with Pam cooking spray, and spread kale across tray. Spray Pam on top of the kale until every piece is shiny and almost drenched. Sprinkle seasonings on kale, and roast in oven for 7-10 minutes at 400 degrees. Watch for it to get crispy. You don't want it to be black.

Gluten-free, Egg-free Cookie Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tsp butter extract (and maple extract is optional too)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • stevia to taste
  • 2 tbsp sugar-free chocolate chips

Directions:

Spray iron skillet with Pam cooking spray. Use blender or beaters to mix up all ingredients except chocolate chips. Pour batter into the iron skillet. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top, and bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes. Watch for it to get golden brown on top and you should be able to put a fork in it without it gooing around. Let it cool a little in the skillet before trying to get it out with a spatula.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Go-Pro Balls

Ingredients:

  • 4 scoops strawberry whey protein (I used Metabolic Nutrition)
  • 1 cup peanut butter (I stretched 3/4 cup all-natural with water)
  • 2 cups oats
  • stevia to taste
  • shredded coconut (for rolling)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together, drizzling water as needed to moisten the protein powder and oats. Be careful not to add too much. Depending on your peanut butter, you may not have to use any at all. If you get too much, just add more oats. Roll into balls, and refrigerate on a tray until serving/eating time.
Three of my clients who had just rushed from OTF class.

New friends discover they've met each other before.
Aside from spooning healthy foods into our faces, we chatted about Genesis Pure, superfoods, Orangetheory, supplements, protein and stevia. Thanks to everyone who came out to support Team A.M.Fit. I hope you felt a little extra special. You deserve it!
My longtime friend and online client Emalee, rockin' her beautiful blue dress!
Below is the video on YouTube of how to make my Superman Shake.



For more information about Team A.M.Fit and my services, please click on the tabs below, or fill out the inquiry form by clicking on my photo in the top right side bar. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What's Down-Right Ridiculous about #FitFam

After I read Greatist's article by fitness expert on "The Brutally Honest Body Image Lesson that Should Be Taught in School," I felt convicted of some of the points she makes about identifying the reasons for working out. Are you training to look better and/or feel better? And do you enjoy your training or do you dread it? These are questions that need to be revisited periodically if you've joined the #fitfam.
This is a photo from the "Greatist" article mentioned above.
When I began training for my first fitness competition, I started tracking my progress via Instagram (IG). Immediately, my feed was filled with #eatclean #traindirty #getupandgrind #meatheads. I fell in love. But, one of the lessons I've learned (and many times over again), is that too much of this kind of  messaging we see, read and post can become less "inspiring" and more misguiding.

Do the photos you see and the captions you read help you with your daily grind? Do they inspire you to work harder in the gym or educate you on how to eat healthier? 

What you'll see on my Instagram profile
Many of them probably do, and to that — more power to ya! But if you see an image or read a message that makes you feel bad about your body, then the person who posted it is probably not looking to inspire anyone, but is probably trying to fuel their own tank by getting some kind of positive feedback.

I often go through my feeds and unfollow so-called "experts" or "coaches" who don't post resources that can help me and my homies on our health and fitness journey. If you know what I'm talking about, then why the heck are you letting that crap fill your feed? ... Or worse, fill your head!

That being said, here are my top tips for for setting apart your fitness journey from the #haters and #selfies out there.

Be the Best YOU that You Can Be

This is an idea that must be renewed every. single. day. Literally, I wake up and ask God to remind me to thank my body for supporting me in all of the torturous activities I do. I also ask God to purify my motives for working out and instilling discipline in my nutrition.

When I think of my fitness goals, I have to be careful to remember that my ultimate goal is to glorify the Lord with my body. Any goals to reshape my body can get so convoluted by the messages sent to me via social media, magazines, and my own critical chatter box that I lose sight of why I train my body in the first place.

You will never be at peace with your body if you're too busy trying to change it.

I need to be sure I'm not trying to change my body to be like anyone else's but just be the best ME I can be. I'm pretty sure I will never have that perfect hour-glass shape with a 8-inch difference between my waist and butt. And maybe the best fitness plan for you doesn't entail super-heavy-crossfit-style lifting, but rather a combination of aerobic conditioning and body weight movements, like a little of this, a little of that, etc. Whatever it is, own it and do it!

Set Smaller, Achievable Goals

One of the biggest challenges I see for my clients in personal training versus group training is the lack of accountability available between me and the client. I can only call, encourage, text, email and push a person so long. To these people who have trouble sticking with a fitness/nutrition program, I advise setting specific, measurable goals.

Instead of thinking, "I want to get stronger and feel leaner," think "I want to be able to do 20 pushups in a row without stopping." 

Here are some ideas for goals:

  • To fit into a certain size of clothing
  • To gain/lose inches
  • To lose body fat percentage
  • To be able to do a specific exercise for a specific amount of reps/time
  • To be able to run/walk a specific distance in a specific amount of time
  • To be able to lift a specific amount of weight
  • To be able to cook a specific amount of meals on my own
  • To eat at home a specific amount of times per week
  • To bring my lunch to work a specific amount of times per week

Stop Following Social Media Stars

Is it just me or does everyone and their dog on Instagram (IG) claim to be some kind of expert, guru, competitor, professional, etc.? I have to be careful here because I understand IG is one of the most influential spheres for those in the #fitfam. Many are just trying to share their story and what's worked for them. I'm one of them! My passion may have turned into my career, but I have to constantly edit myself on IG to make sure whatever I'm posting has the potential to help someone else or serve as some sort of valuable resource for one looking to get fit from the inside out.

Too many people on IG are posting selfies in their undies and hashtagging it #discipline or even worse, including some kind of inspirational caption that has absolutely nothing to do with the aforementioned, borderline soft porn. 

Some of the photos on my Instagram
When it comes to messages like that on social media (and traditional media), my advice is to remove it from your line of vision. Don't entertain that kind of messaging by liking or commenting. In fact, the best thing to do is de-follow these "friends." Unfortunately, these kinds of people are probably more insecure than any of us.

The best thing to do is surround yourself with people and messaging that give you either practical instruction or sincere inspiration, and pray for those who don't. 

Other tips for sticking to your #grind and finding your place in the #fitfam:

  • Track your progress with pics and measurements
  • Appoint people to keep you accountable
  • Record your reps/sets/weights/distances/speeds/etc in a journal or on your phone
  • Join a group fitness class or atmosphere
  • Plan your meals for the week and prepare meats in bulk
  • Schedule your cheat meals or "flexible moments" around events or parties
  • Focus on what you can eat instead of what you can't eat
  • Focus on strengthening your spirit, soul and body in every workout
If you or someone you know struggles with negative self-talk or wants to make the steps necessary to get healthier, click on the tabs above for more information about my services or the gyms where I coach. If you have questions, don't hesitate to email me. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Classes in November!

November is the beginning of many days of feasting. Fight back that food with an extra workout or two. See the calendar below to catch me coaching at Orangetheory, Cypress Waters or Granite.

Classes held at Cypress Waters will now be $5 per class, and you can pick up your fitness class punch pass, paying for all four classes this month ahead of time if you prefer, on the first day of class, Nov. 4.

Note that Cypress Waters' classes are labeled "Butts & Guts Boot Camp," but the class format will be TBD according to the participant demand. Potential classes may be Yoga with a Twist and/or Kickboxing. 


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rest for the Weary (My Week of Vacation)

The digital "dings" and cyber "swooshes" have resumed on both my cell phone and iPad. My vacation must be over. But, it's not all pouts and tears, because I can honestly say I'm ready to be home. 


In the past, I've taken a day or two of rest after a competition or a photo shoot, but it's been more than two years since I've taken three or more consecutive days of rest. The last vacation we went on was skiing, and I didn't allow myself any breaks from a competition-prep diet, so I'm not counting that. 

It took me weeks to mentally prepare for all-inclusive buffets, swim-up bars and all-night discotecas. I wanted to be beside my husband every step of the way on vacation, not two steps ahead of him hitting the gym before he wakes up - like I usually do. 


And I was! I totally slept in, just about every day. I ordered piƱa coladas and room service. I ate some crap... Like fried, greasy crap. I ate lean protein and vegetables the majority of the time, just because the food variety was crazy-good, and I could still eat clean, delicious meals. But, that didn't mean I had to play it safe for everything. 

I feel like by day 4, my mind had finally relaxed. Up till then, I was analyzing every reflection of myself in the mirror, comparing myself with every Latino beauty queen strutting the sand and tallying every mimosa or French fry that touched my lips. I think it took four days of purposeful indulgence and relaxation for me to run low on the negative energy that had consumed my mind - the stuff way in the back that I cover up with task lists, jobs to work and goals to meet.

Despite all of my progress, both physical and spiritual, I found out I still struggle with low self-confidence.

When I first started shows and bodybuilding, I made the typical muscular gains and then got "shredded," and I felt pretty good about myself - better than I'd felt in years! And I think part of me thought, "I did it. I've overcome the battle of a poor self-image." 


Now, I'm sure that the battle never ends. The Lord's presence in me just gets stronger, and the devil's just gets weaker.

I would totally recommend taking a week-long hiatus to anyone in the fitness industry who struggles with overtraining, anxiety or deeply-rooted perfectionism. It took me a long time to truly detach, and I think somewhere like an all-inclusive resort in Mexico is a fabulous way to do it. You don't have price tickets to talk you out of purchasing a drink or meal, and you've paid for everything up front, so you feel like you need to get your money's worth. 

We traveled to the Hard Rock Cancun, which was freaking awesome. They treated everyone like rock stars. We got our nails "did," we got a mud massage, we got a private jacuzzi, and we got access to unlimited drinks, bars, clubs, restaurants, beaches, and pools. We also got access to a stellar gym, sauna and steam room, in which we trained three days, but only for about 30 minutes each time (I promise). 


I'll definitely miss Cancun, but it's truly a pleasure to be coming home now (I'm writing this on the plane). My hope is to approach every class, session, workout, meal and encounter with others with a renewed mind, one that says, "You truly are a rock star."

If you or someone you know struggles with negative self-talk or wants to make the steps necessary to get healthier, click on the tabs above for more information about my services or the gyms where I coach. If you have questions, don't hesitate to email me. Thanks!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

October Class Schedule with Team A.M.Fit

Catch me if you can in October! There are lots of opportunities to join Team A.M.Fit this month, whether it's at Orangetheory Fitness in Coppell, Granite Park in Plano or Cypress Waters in Dallas. More information on my schedule and classes can be seen on the calendar below or from inquiries sent to me via email.

Please review the calendar below to view October classes before emailing me. I look forward to seeing new faces in class this month!


Getting a Grip on Grace

One of the most common complaints I hear from clients is the weakness of their wrists when they start lifting weights. 

"Hold on, I need to rest my wrist for a sec," they say. "My grip keeps giving out."


I know this feeling all too well. I encourage them to try to hold it for one more rep, often watching them end the set with a flick of the dumbbells and a gasp of air as they drop the weights on the floor. One of the hurdles to making progress in the gym is strengthening your grip on the dumbbells, so that you strengthen the muscle group(s) you're training.

I'll often give an empathetic nod to my clients like "Ya, I know what it feels like to have your grip give out before your legs do during lunges ..." or some other exercise like that. So, what do you do?

I can't help but relate this weak grip we have on dumbbells to the grip we have on understanding God's grace for us as his children. If we only knew how strong we could be if we relied on his capabilities instead of our own. His power is limitless, and his mercies renew every day. The grace he so freely offers us is truly amazing.

Why do I feel the need to have to plan every little thing and complete every little mundane task on my to-do list in order to feel accomplished? Why do I still struggle with relying on my own power and strength to try to complete my God-ordained calling?

In Pastor Morris' Amazing Grace series, he describes grace as the unmerited, undeserved, unearned gift from God. No matter how hard we work in this life, we will never do anything good enough to receive his grace. If we ever attained anything at the level of "good enough," then his grace wouldn't be so amazing.

I feel like most of us know how good God is, but we just need to be reminded of the grace he shows us in the little moments of life that we tend to think, "It's okay, God. I got this one," — as if God needs our help.

I may be able to work on my strength training and lift a heavy dumbbell every now and then, but I can't carry this burden called life. That's why I have to wake up every day and lay all my anxieties down at the foot of the cross. It's a humbling process, let me tell you — especially for those of us who tend to be performance-driven.

My hope is that my journey inspires just one person to change their mind about Jesus and the price he paid to bring us to a place where we can receive God's grace. Even if it's someone just watching me post scrumptious food porn on Instagram or 20-minute workouts on Youtube. Whatever vessel God uses is good enough for me.

If you or someone you know struggles with receiving grace in the area of health or fitness, don't hesitate to email me or check out the list of services I provide. Don't forget about my latest online health plan, the Fearless and Fit program. I appreciate every like, share, pin and tweet. Blessings!




Thursday, September 4, 2014

New Schedule for September

Now, there are even more classes for you to attend at locations like Orangetheory Fitness, Granite Park and the Neighborhood of Cypress Waters. Some are free and some require a reservation. See which ones you can attend by clicking my schedule below.



Check out the new additions to Sundays at the Neighborhood of Cypress Waters. These classes are free for this month, and are on a trial basis, so if you're eager for a free, fun workout, come join us by the pool deck. Bring a friend and put in a good work, so we can continue the classes here.

For more information about Team A.M.Fit and other services, please click on the tabs at the top of the website and/or email me with your questions. Thanks!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Girls Who Lift

We've all seen the cute tanks sporting the gym lingo like "Strong is the New Skinny," or "I <3 Squats," or maybe even, "Bench, please" (I have that one.). Whether it's on Facebook or Instagram, squat-worthy booties are gracing the screens, promoting weight lifting for women. Obviously, it's totally hip for girls to lift weights now.

Two of my clients are now best friends after working out together.
Part of me truly loves the extra attention gymrats like me have been getting lately. Everyone wants to know how to get healthier, and how to get stronger. Women, especially, are getting sick of spending hours on the elliptical every day and are picking up a pair of dumbbells instead. It makes my heart happy.

But, the other part of me is a little soured on the fact that every time I meet with a new client, my thoughts about girl-on-girl conflict are confirmed. It's worse than it's ever been.

So many of my clients have shared with me that the minute they start to change habits that have to do with their personal fitness and nutrition, they start receiving criticism from some wannabe, misunderstood, turn-up-my-nose, Negative Nancy at work or school or next door.

"So, why are you eating that again? Do you think you're fat? Wait, what is that you're eating?"

The rebellious part of my flesh that sticks up for the underdog wants to tell those Nancies to back off and mind their own business. Thank God I have Jesus!

But really, why do we girls have to cut each other down so easily? Myself included, why is it that our womanly-human nature defaults to "OMG, Becky, look at her butt. It is so big"?

This girl is a perfect example of someone who has transformed her life despite criticism.
Girls who lift each other up are the only successful ones in the gym. Those are the girls who not only lift weights, but they also lift people up by going out of their way to encourage others, especially those who don't deserve it.

In Ephesians 4:31-32, Paul says to "put aside all bitterness, losing your temper, anger, shouting, and slander, along with every other evil. Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ."

Ladies, let's shut our mouths unless we have something nice to say. Let's use our mouths to speak life into one another. Let's face it. As much as I try, I will never look like, speak like, move like, dance like, eat like, workout like, anyone else but ME. We are not in competition with each other. We are our own competition, and all we can do is better ourselves. It's just a lot easier when we're all on the same team, helping a sister out, instead of trying to stealthily trip each other along the way.

If you or someone you know is a victim of "Girls Who Don't Lift" and want to join the "Girls Who Lift" club, holla at ya girl. Team A.M.Fit is an avid supporter of "Girls Who Lift," and we do things together. For more information about my services, please don't hesitate to email me or find more information on my Facebook page or Instagram

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Nutrition 101 and Go-Pro Balls

Last Saturday, I had the privilege of teaching two nutrition clinics to members of Orangetheory Fitness Coppell. While I learned that half an hour was not near enough time to talk about all the facets of healthy eating and properly fueling your body, I did get to share some valuable information with people who are genuinely interested in creating healthy habits.

One of my long-time clients and dear friends came with me and shared her testimony on how intuitive eating and whole foods have changed her body and life. I also spent some time in "show and tell" mode with several of my favorite food items from home.





I have to say that the best part was getting to share a delicious and easy-to-make treat with members. My Go-Pro Balls are a simple way to consume enough protein before and after workouts, and are especially good for people who need a quick snack in between point A and point B.


I made these particular balls two different ways, one recipe has more fiber and carbs, while the other has slightly more fat but more protein. One is pumpkin peanut butter and one is chocolate peanut butter. Both are freaking delicious!

Each ball has less than 30 calories, but if I was to make them just for myself, I'd make them a little bigger so that you'd only need to eat one and not want to eat 14.

Go-Pro Balls

Ingredients:

  • 4 scoops protein powder
  • 3 cups oats (dry)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or 4 tbsp powdered peanut butter + 1/2 cup water)
  • 1/2 can pure pumpkin
  • 2-3 tbsp honey (optional)
  • stevia to taste (optional)
  • Sprinkle of sugar-free chocolate chips (optional)


Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until the batter becomes sticky. 
  2. Roll into 1-inch balls and line on tray to refrigerate for 1 hour. 
  3. (Makes 36-48 balls)

Friday, August 1, 2014

New Schedule for August

We're into the last days of summer, which makes me very sad! Those old folks weren't lying when they said life gets faster the older you get. ... And that's why we work out ... so we can feel good even when we're old!

That being said, I hope you can catch me in one of my classes. Check out my schedule below, and let me know if you're interested in scheduling a free consultation for nutrition or fitness. Remember, you can find a list of my services on the tabs above.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Base, Push, All Out!

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1)."

At Orangetheory Fitness, we coach students in a wide range of fitness levels. One thing that stays the same no matter if you're a walker, jogger or runner is that each student moves among three different paces on the treadmill: base, push and all out.

While each person's base pace may be different, the move to the next level follows the same parameters. In unison, each member takes the plunge from their comfort zone and each does so with the same dreadful gasp, hoping they may whip their legs back and forth quick enough to keep the tread underneath their feet.

No matter if it's your first OTF workout or your 100th, you won't be able to get a good grasp on how you did in the workout if you don't commit to a base pace and stay there throughout the 60 minutes.
After suffering through several OTF workouts and coaching them, I've concluded that this entire concept correlates with our spiritual walk. We must be on beat with the Holy Spirit and set our pace to His pace in order to see any progress over time.
If you haven't had your own Orangetheory experience, the following OTF principles may help you understand the correlation.

On the treadmill, everyone chooses whether they will walk on an incline (PW), jog (J) or run (R). From there, we coach you through three paces:

1. Base: The lowest speed/incline level that you set for yourself — something you can maintain for about 20-30 minutes. You should be at about 71-83 percent of your max heart rate (75% effort).

2. Push: About 1-2 mph faster than your base pace (J/R) or 4-9 percent incline (PW). This pace feels uncomfortable. You should be at about 80-91 percent of your max heart rate (85-90% effort).

3. All Out: At least 2 mph faster than your base pace (J/R) or 10-15 percent incline (PW). This feels like hell. You should be death-glaring your coach and visualizing scraping their eyeballs out. Oh, maybe that's just me ... Excuse me (100% effort).
"You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess (Deuteronomy 5:33)."
The Lord calls us to invite His Spirit to walk with us every day. We have to choose to be on his level and strive to imitate Christ by demonstrating the fruits of the Spirit. We have to choose our pace in life, and if we choose God's pace, he guarantees blessing.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10)."
When I get on that treadmill, I fight the urge to decrease my pace and constantly challenge myself to bump it up a little more each time. I'm inspired not only by a desire to improve my physical fitness and physique, but also because I believe there's a peace and joy that develops after suffering. It's more than just a relief that it's over, but it's an awareness that because I am free in Christ, I can be joyful in all circumstances.

So, next time you're on the treadmill next to me and I'm screaming or glaring or fatiguing, remind me to "Bump it up," and I'll do the same for you!

To book your free first class at Orangetheory Fitness Coppell, call 214-300-9983. Tell them you're a part of Team A.M.Fit and they will let you know when I'm teaching. For more information on A.M.Fit services, browse the tabs above or email me your inquiry. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

'Fearless and Fit' Program Now Available!

It's nearly Independence Day, and I feel like summer just started. Nevertheless, you still have time to hit the pool and steal some sun for a few more months. Actually, this time of year is my favorite time ever because the days linger on until 8 or 9 p.m. I love it!


If you're one of those grumpy people who dread summers because of the relentless heat, I don't know what to tell you. We're in Texas! But if you dread summer because you're insecure about getting in a bathing suit, I have good news. I can help you!!

The "Fearless and Fit" Program is a lifestyle-oriented plan to inspire you to overcome your insecurities and change the way you think about fitness and food. If you can change your mind, you can change your actions, which in turn, helps you establish healthier habits that will keep you looking just as fit on the outside as you feel on the inside.

What does it include?

>> Daily Meals with a flexible eating plan and grocery list
>> 20 Recipes for dinner, sides, shakes and even dessert
>> 6 Workouts with a glossary of exercises
>> List of Recommended Supplements and HealthKick Discount*
>> Fearless and Fit tank top**

How do I purchase it?

1. Copy the text below and paste it into an email with your name and shipping address in the subject line. Mail it to me now!
I would like to purchase the "Fearless and Fit" program and I agree to pay $50 in exchange for the digital document. I also agree that I will choose to see myself as a pretty princess who deserves to be taken care of, treated right and desired. I believe that I can and I will reach my goals to live fearlessly and get fit from the inside out.

2. Wait for me to send you the digital document and an invoice for $50 to be charged via PayPal***

*Discount applied to purchases made at HealthKick Nutrition in Coppell, and limited to supplements recommended on Team A.M.Fit.
**Tanks and sizes limited to availablitiy; first come, first serve.
***If you are in the DFW area, you may give me a check or cash or discuss other options with me individually.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Book Your Party with A.M.Fit!

Many of you have experienced the flirty and fun workout we call "Cardio Dance Party." Now you can totally take it to the next level by inviting all your friends and showing them what it's all about.



Whether it's for a birthday, bachelorette, wedding, graduation or just a girls' party, you won't find another way to combine a kick-butt workout with a ton of entertainment. Cardio Dance Party is a 1-hour workout featuring a series of popular songs with simple yet athletic dance moves to get your butt bumpin and your heart pumpin'!

Choose from the following classes:

  • Cardio Dance Party
  • Kickboxing
  • Pilates
  • Yoga

No matter which class you choose, booking a private party is a unique idea to surprise a friend, daughter or sister, in order to make their day extra-special.

Other services offered for private parties include:

  • Nutrition education
  • Cooking demonstration
  • Healthy Refreshments (custom to your desires)
  • Props/Theme Attire
  • Photography

If you or someone you know struggles with getting fit from the inside out, consider contacting me for fitness/nutrition consulting. If you're in the DFW area, stop by one of my classes at Cypress WatersRob's FitnessGranite Park or Orangetheory. If you're a girl, and you like to have fun, consider booking your next party with me. These and other services are provided by Amber Michelle Fit, LLC.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

3 Mistakes Made in the Weight Room

1. You're Lifting Too Light.

Where's your purse? Seriously. Go find it. Pick it up and guess how heavy it is. My guess is that it's probably close to 10-12 pounds. And you carry around that sucker everywhere you go and maintain the physique you currently have.

If you want to change your physique, you're going to have to lift something heavier than your purse.

2. You're Lifting Too Slow.

If you can barely make it through one set without stopping to rest, then you're probably not keeping your heart rate high enough for an extended period of time. This is the only way you can maintain your fat burning metabolism post-workout. You must keep your heart rate high enough so that you stay at about 75 percent of your maximum heart rate (220 - your age) for 25-35 minutes and about 15 minutes worth of pushing it to the next level at 85-90 percent of your maximum heart rate.

Don't stop. When you feel like an idiot running from one machine to the next, you're doing it right. When people think you're crazy, you're doing it right.

3. You're Not Lifting Free Weights.

Free weights engage your core a little more than machines. For instance, let's look at the difference between the squat rack and the Smith machine. One has a free bar with plates that go on either end. You and only you (maybe you're friend Sue) are the only stabilizers underneath that weight. It's up to your body and balance to shift the weight down and up. The Smith machine is for kids.

Well, maybe that's a little harsh. The Smith machine just takes away the core stabilization technique required in order to lift the weights without the help of the pulley.

Using dumbbells forces you to use your core with no help from a machine. Plus, free weights are usually a little more true to the number on the side. A 30-pound dumbbell is usually more accurate than 30 pounds on the cables.


*4. You're Not Lifting at All.

This point is obviously a bonus point ... And it's one that probably doesn't apply to you if you're still reading this. However, if you're reading this and you have no idea what I'm referring to in points 1-3, you may need to keep reading.

The importance of weight training is crucial to building a better body from the inside out. Yes, I'm a huge advocate of cardio and lots of it. But what I can honestly say, is that it wasn't until I started lifting weights heavy and focusing on strength, that I noticed my body finally transform into a shape I liked.

Lifting weights and putting your muscular endurance and strength under pressure can actually re-shape your body. Turn your ghetto booty into a blue-jean-poppin' bubble. Tone your arms and shoulders to establish an upper body frame, which in turn makes your waist look smaller. If you are curveless - like me - you will appreciate this new shaping repercussion more than you know!

If you or someone you know struggles with getting fit from the inside out, consider contacting me for fitness/nutrition consulting. If you're in the DFW area, stop by one of my classes at Cypress WatersRob's FitnessGranite Park or Orangetheory. If you're a girl, and you like to have fun, consider booking your next party with me. These and other services are provided by Amber Michelle Fit, LLC.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mexican Rice Recipe

Don't you hate it when you look in the fridge and can't find anything you want to eat?


Or, what about when you're scrambling between classes/work, and you know you're going to be starving later, so you're searching to have something prepared lest the food monster emerge from within your dark and eerie soul...? Anybody?

I just love when diet desperation blossoms into a beautiful kitchen creation.

I'm telling you, guys, this frozen cauliflower will work wonders. I've posted several recipes or little meals featuring cauliflower subbed for the typical bread/potato/rice carb, and you can bunch this one right along with the others. Maybe it's my tattered and abused palate but you just can't mess this up.

Mexican Rice (Feat. Cauliflower)

Ingredients:

  • Frozen cauliflower (1 bag)
  • Diced green chiles (1 can)
  • Bell pepper (I used one red one)
  • Mrs. Dash Chipotle Lime seasoning (tons of it)
  • Garlic salt


Optional:

  • I used some frozen okra (about 3/4 cup).
  • I added some pre-cooked chicken breast to it (awesome). I'd also try canned chicken.
  • If I had some, I would have thrown in some salsa.


Directions:

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. Uncover the dish, chop up the ingredients, and serve with salsa, fat-free sour cream or even atop a bed of greens.

I wonder what it would taste like mixed with some beans???

If you or someone you know struggles with getting fit from the inside out, consider contacting me for fitness/nutrition consulting. If you're in the DFW area, stop by one of my classes at Cypress WatersRob's FitnessGranite Park or Orangetheory. If you're a girl, and you like to have fun, consider booking your next party with me. These and other services are provided by Amber Michelle Fit, LLC.


Pizza Poppers

My biggest struggle for my inner-fat-kid is the unique flavorishesness (new word) of the Italian cuisine called pizza. People all over the world crave the pallet-pleasing combination of cheese and bread. It doesn't matter if you're Italian, Greek, American, Mexican, African, Pomeranian ... We all desire a slice (or seven) of the most famous cheat-worthy meal of all.

But, we can't all afford to give into that craving every time we get it. In those instances, we make pizzalicious posers like this.




Seriously, y'all, this ain't your sister's cauliflower crust pizza (I happen to love making that but ain't nobody got the time for that when you teach umpteen classes a week). This is the bomb dot com.

Ingredients:

  • Tofu-like, egg-like, whatever-they're made from - Won ton wraps

For Sauceless Spinach & Cheese (makes 4-6)

  • Frozen spinach (one bag frozen)
  • Fat-free cream cheese (one 8 oz. block)
  • Garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, salt, garlic)
  • Cheddar seasoning/Ranch seasoning

For Pepperoni & Cheese

  • Canned tomato sauce (1 can)
  • Canned tomato paste (1 can)
  • Onion/Pepper mix (frozen blend) (1/3 cup)
  • Fat-free mozzarella
  • Italian seasoning
  • Reduced-fat turkey pepperonis

Directions:

Mix all components of each stuffing batch together in separate bowls. I cooked the tomato sauce on low in a sauce pan first. I cooked the spinach and cream cheese in the microwave for 5 minutes. Then, I added other ingredients as I filled the wraps.

Pinch the corners of the wrappers together with wet fingers (dipped in water). Place on greased baking sheet at 400 degrees in the oven. It took about12 minutes for them to get crispy and golden and scrumptiously super-cala-fraja-licious-expi-aladocious!

You can't mess these up! I'm like the equivalent to a four-year old in the kitchen! Watch this video on YouTube here. Follow my Youtube and IG channel for more easy-breezy beautiful recipes like this. You might catch some behind-the-scenes action from my all-star videographer husband too.

If you or someone you know struggles with getting fit from the inside out, consider contacting me for fitness/nutrition consulting. If you're in the DFW area, stop by one of my classes at Cypress WatersRob's FitnessGranite Park or Orangetheory. If you're a girl, and you like to have fun, consider booking your next party with me. These and other services are provided by Amber Michelle Fit, LLC.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Free Fitness Classes in June!

I have been a home-owner and hobo in the past year, and I can now come full circle by becoming an apartment-renter at The Neighborhoods at Cypress Waters. Come check out my new crib (and more importantly new studio) in your next training session, private party or free class.

Did someone mention "free?"

Yes! All classes held at Cypress Waters will be free for residents and their friends/family for the month of June. Check out which classes you can attend by viewing my coaching schedule below.



Other classes include sessions at Orangetheory Fitness. If you have a question about class or an idea for class, please do not hesitate to contact me. I'm always open to new ideas and welcome feedback from my fearless and fit friends like y'all!

If you would like to be on my contact list for the most up-to-date changes to schedules and sessions, please email me and let me know. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Called to Love, Not Compete

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
On stage during the Ronnie Coleman Classic.
Last week I competed in my fifth fitness show, a competition where athletes are compared according to muscular physique and overall attractiveness. The division I compete in, called “Bikini,” is the newest division to these bodybuilding shows, and often compared to a beauty pageant. I like to say it’s a beauty pageant for girls who lift weights rather than girls who run.

In all five of my fitness shows, I have been disappointed with my placement. After months of killing it in the gym, sacrificing weekends, eating saltless fish and endlessly explaining to friends and family what the heck I’m training for, I can’t help but feel a little disenchanted with losing. Rejection is a tough beast to tackle — especially five times in a row.

I keep getting this nauseating feeling .... This is it? This is what I’ve been training for? … Did I miss something?

Fortunately, God is faithful. He has placed encouraging people in my life to remind me why I train hard physically and spiritually. I have to remember why I started training for fitness shows in the first place. My motivation and goals may not be the norm … like training to win a local show, take top 2 or 3 at nationals, and then be rewarded a pro card, going on to be a sponsored athlete and shoot scandalous yet sexy advertisements for whey protein in my booty-bearing Nike shorts.

My husband and I are all hugs with our friends from the gym after finals.
I’d still be sitting there with a trophy and pro card, saying, “Uh, so what can I do with this lil doo-hickey again? Do I get a free gym membership?”

For me, the fitness shows were a pit stop on my journey to get fit from the inside out. 

Sure, they have helped me set a hard goal to achieve a certain level of fitness at an appointed time, but they are not the mountaintops for which I’ve been striving. I’ve been caught up in the hype of being on stage, performing for my own glory instead of staying true to why I started … for God’s glory.

Prejudging at the Europa Supershow.
The past two weeks have been a good measure of my trust in God and more importantly, his patience with me. I’ve been convicted of drawing my worth from what other people think about me and trusting myself to perform well enough in everything I do, that I can make people like me … that I can make people want to exalt me.

What I need to fall back on (and what I’ve been reminded of after losing again) is that every time I’m exalted, God slips into the background. But every time, I’m on my knees, God receives the glory.

You see, we have to understand that we all have a calling on our life, and those who honor God with that calling, he will honor (1 Samuel 2:30). Once I understood that my value as a fitness trainer is not defined by whether or not I win a fitness competition, my worldview changed. I don’t want to live my life well for the betterment of my self, but I want to help others live well (1 Corinthians 10).

Honoring the calling God’s given me involves enriching other people’s lives by them just being around me. 

People should be brighter, happier, full of life, just being in our company because we are so saturated in God’s presence.

What I’ve come to realize is that these shows have had a tendency to steal my joy and make me move out from underneath God’s covering. If there’s still a place for these competitions in my efforts to honor God with my calling, I’m totally open to it, but I’m not going to purposefully train for a show just to compete and compare myself to others. I’m going to train because my body does not belong to me. It belongs to God, which means I need to work my butt off to keep it clean and in prime condition.
“Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19, The Message) 
Everyone has a ministry, a message and a mission, and for some reason, God revolves those elements around fitness and the body for me. 

Today, it’s relatively easy to see how God is working all things out for my blessing. ... Not everyday is as clear. Some days I feel frustrated and tired and sore, and I may even question God. But instead of comparing myself with those around me or the other trap — comparing myself to what I think I should be — I’m choosing to do three things with my calling. I’m going to trust God steadily, hope fervently, and love extravagantly. Everyday is a journey, and the closer I get to God, the clearer it becomes to me of who I am.

If you or someone you know struggles with getting fit from the inside out, consider contacting me for fitness/nutrition consulting. If you're in the DFW area, stop by one of my classes at Rob's FitnessGranite Park or Orangetheory. If you're a girl, and you like to have fun, consider booking your next party with me. These and other services are provided by Amber Michelle Fit, LLC.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

How to Turn a Healthy Discipline into a Holy Desire

I often coach my classes and clients reminding them that they are in control of their body, and they tell their body what to do — their body doesn't rule them.

Here I'm summarizing the 5 zone heart rate interval training program at Orange Theory Fitness. 

While most of the time, I'm emphasizing proper form and hoping that my instruction will remind them to keep their back straight and head up in a dead lift, my statement has a two-fold meaning. Your will determines how you live your life, and your willingness to change your body begins in the mind.

God gives us free will ... the power to choose. In everything we do, whether we realize it or not, we are making a choice. Some choices we make out of habit and others we take more time to consider our options.

The choice to wake up at 5 a.m., and work out may not be something I feel like doing, but I make the choice to do so (or sometimes I do) out of discipline, because I trust it will not be done in vain but rather done as an investment in the future of my physical body. What I've discovered about my physical disciplines, is that the more I connect it to my spiritual disciplines, the more blessed I am.

I think clearer. I feel deeper. I rest easier. I receive wisdom. I literally glow — or so I've been told.

In Ephesians 5, Paul tells us how to open up our heart and mind to the power of the Holy Spirit, so that our will mimics his for our life. He tells us to speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, urging us to discipline ourselves to live in worship. This passage struck a chord with me ...

Fitness is widely agreed to be a physical application of discipline, but worship? I've never thought of worship as something I might discipline myself to do. When I worship God, I usually do so because I feel like it. But what about when I don't feel like it?

We must instruct ourselves to humbly worship and tell our soul to not grow weary.

Even when we feel tired and frustrated and restless and anxious, if we lean on God's promises and choose to discipline ourselves both physically and spiritually, his word is always fruitful. He is always faithful.

We don't always feel like working out or eating healthy. But, just because you don't feel like it, it doesn't mean it's acceptable to to not do it. What if we always did what we felt like? I feel like our society would look a lot more like the one in The Purge. ... Not so pretty.

Here I'm giving a cooking demo on how to use whey protein in simple recipes.

Living the healthy way may not be your first choice according to your flesh. Shoot, when it comes to my flesh, my first choice usually involves sugar and frosting and a braid-shaped roll.

Do it out of discipline at first and soon enough, it will become your desire.

Just like we must learn to make habits out of healthy eating and exercise, we must learn to make habits out of worship. We expect to get stronger after choosing to work harder in the gym, and we should expect to get stronger when we choose to humble our hearts and worship God.

It may not be your first choice to put everything else on hold and praise God, especially when circumstances have you confused or even angry with Him. But your spirit controls your mind and your body. You tell it what to do. Command it to worship. Command it to grow. If you do it out of discipline at first, God has a way of shaping it into your desire.

Practical Tips for Physical & Spiritual Disciplines

  • Spend five minutes in the morning praising God and claiming his victories in your life.
  • Jot down 5-10 foods that trigger you to lose self-control and toss them out of the house.
  • Organize your closet and/or drawers, so that your workout clothes are near the front.
  • Make one small change to your nutrition a week (i.e. eating breakfast consistently).
  • When you catch yourself getting stressed, stop and vent to God before venting to anyone else.
  • Instead of immediately giving into a food craving, tell yourself you will wait until the next day before eating it, and if you wake up still wanting it, you will allow yourself to have it. Most of the time, you wake up and the craving is not near as strong.
  • Make appointments to work out with someone who positively influences your attitude.
  • Keep yourself accountable by telling people when you're going to exercise and what your goals are.
  • Download the Bible app and listen to the audio version while lifting weights.
  • Make a playlist of worship songs with a high tempo and beat.
My hope is that my stories inspire you to press on with your own story, and that my heart song plays loud enough that you know that this journey keeps us all engaged at our own level. None of us ever reaches the end because that would indicate we could reach our full potential. I believe our God is consistently sparking a light in us that may waver in the wind but never, ever burns out. We are constantly growing in Christ and deepening our relationship with him. 

My prayer is that you find how to write your heart song of worship in a way that speaks to your passions and your hobbies, as well as a place that gives you a desire to worship the Lord with your body, and get fit from the inside out. 

If you or someone you know struggles with getting fit from the inside out, consider contacting me for fitness/nutrition consulting. If you're in the DFW area, stop by one of my classes atRob's FitnessGranite Park or Orange Theory. If you're a girl, and you like to have fun, consider booking your next party with me. These and other services are provided by Amber Michelle Fit, LLC.


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