Monday, December 28, 2015

Creating Callouses

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, December 18, 2015

All I Want for Christmas is Protein Pancakes

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

Christmas Treat Protein Pancakes

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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



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


Thursday, December 17, 2015

2015 Christmas Cooking Party Recipes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 14, 2015

The First Thing to Change for Weight Loss

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

The Battle is in Your Mind

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


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

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


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

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


Identifying Your Core Habits

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

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

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

Making New Habits

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

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

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

For example:

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

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

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Best Ways to Recover Post-Workout

Protein

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

BCAA's

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

Epsom Salt

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

Essential Oils (Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Francensince)

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

Probiotic and Proleolytic Enzymes

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

Collagen/Gelatin

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

Myofascial Release

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