The Key to Fitness

This post is part of the GenFit program, an online fitness course designed to help you meet your health and fitness goals. After reading this, if you are inspired to take charge of your life, to become fitter, leaner, and stronger, send me a message and I’ll tell you more about the program. GenFit is a place where I share even more ideas to help you achieve your health and fitness goals; and comes with a small community of people to help encourage and support you on your journey. Are you ready to be the best version of yourself? 

Welcome to the end of this fantastic six part Clean Eating series. I have saved the secret weapon to continuing your fitness journey from now on until the final post. So, do you want to know how to achieve your fitness goals whether it’s to lose weight, gain muscle, and get healthy. The secret is…consistency!

I know, you probably could have guessed that. But if you have been on your journey for any amount of time, you know that this is a huge challenge. I know how you’re feeling because I have always struggled with staying consistent. So often we are great for a week, then good for another week, and the whole thing goes to the toilet for a little while. Then what happens? We start all over for the next month, or right before the next big event, or the next new year. But we have to be consistent so we don’t have start all over. Because this is easier said than done, I want to share a couple ideas you can adopt to help you stay consistent in your food and fitness.

Food

Be prepared: Remember the beginning of this series? It was about being prepared with your food. It helps to avoid food emergencies which then reduces the risk of fast and convenience foods. Get into the habit of having a prep day and always be prepared when you go to the grocery store.

Be realistic: I am strongly against arbitrary self denial. If I’m focused on a specific goal for a defined amount of time, I will refrain from certain foods. What I mean is, if it is a month before a warm weather vacation, I’ll refrain from french fries, pizza, and chocolate. However, if I’m just living my normal healthy life, if I want a slice of pie for more than 48 hours, I’m going to eat a slice of pie. Don’t think you are going to never eat ice cream again, that’s just depressing.

No “cheat day“: To piggy back off of my last point, don’t give yourself a cheat day. I wrote a post with some of my favorite breakfast recipes and one of the things I share is that breakfast can set the standard for the day. So, if you have a bowl of Lucky Charms for breakfast, don’t let your day be a throw away. Still go to the gym, eat a nice quinoa bowl for lunch, and have a healthy salad for dinner. I also don’t like we call them “cheats” let’s call them indulgences. Allow yourself an indulgence meal every so often, not a cheat day.

Fitness

Workout in the morning: The best time to workout is in the morning. There is some science behind that concerning one’s hormone levels, but like breakfast, if you start the day healthy you are more likely to stay healthy throughout the day. Getting up early is a great habit to start and with all that time, hit the gym.

Be accountable: I have mentioned my dear friend more than once, he has convinced me to sign up for a half marathon. He had me download the Strava app and it helps him keep track of me. I don’t like running, as I’ve said before, but he’s great at holding me accountable to my training program. If he notices I haven’t been training, he lights a fire under me.

Recover well: One of my greatest struggles in my fitness is muscle recovery. If I have a killer workout and wake up the next morning unable to brush my hair or stand in the shower because I’m so sore, I’m not pumped to go to the gym and do it all over again. So to help with recovery make sure you’re stretching, foam rolling, and getting enough protein. You’ll still be sore, but not deathly sore.

Embrace this key and use it during your fitness journey, it is definitely the most important thing when it comes to living a healthy life and achieving your health goals.

This post is part of the GenFit Program coming soon. If you’d like more information, let me know! If you missed an of the other posts in the Clean Eating series, here’s what you missed:

If you enjoyed this post, please consider commenting, subscribing, sharing on social media, and making a contribution to my Patreon.

Thank you, have a sparkly day!

fitness

Portion Control

This post is part of the GenFit program, an online fitness course designed to help you meet your health and fitness goals. After reading this, if you are inspired to take charge of your life, to become fitter, leaner, and stronger, send me a message and I’ll tell you more about the program. GenFit is a place where I share even more ideas to help you achieve your health and fitness goals; and comes with a small community of people to help encourage and support you on your journey. Are you ready to be the best version of yourself? 

Today we are discussing a topic that is pretty difficult in our society. In a world of Big Macs, Double Whoppers, and $5 Foot-longs, how are we supposed to have portion control? How do we know how large a portion is? Is it the same as a serving size? What is the point of it all? Well, stop asking me so many questions, it’s a little overwhelming! When I first came across the concept of portion control, I didn’t know what to do. I’m from one of those households that said a plate need to be cleaned before you could be excused. So all I knew was that I needed to eat everything, regardless of portion. Unfortunately, this can have a disastrous consequence for your waistline. So here are a few helpful thoughts when it comes to portion control.

  1. Don’t skip meals: You ain’t gotta tell me twice! Like we talked about with meal prepping, you never want to find yourself in a food emergency. Making sure you are eating all your meals will help you avoid a binge.
  2. Eat more raw fruits and veggies: One of the things I often try to do when I’m trying to cut a few pounds is to include raw fruits and veggies into each meal. They have high water content and tons of fiber which helps to fill you up, but tend to  have proportionately fewer calories.
  3. Measure your food: This one is tough but has tons of benefits. I use these containers to measure each of my food groups to help me manage my intake. We’ll discuss how to use these in the GenFit series. They can work wonders for training the eye on how much food we should actually be eating.
  4. Don’t eat out of the bag: Eating chips and cookies straight of the package is a horrible idea. First off, we’re trying to limit these foods all together. But when you are eating them with no regard for serving size can be even worse. Put things on a plate or in a bowl to get an accurate estimate of your intake.
  5. Eat out smart: One of the biggest challenges to a new fitness journey is the eating out. No one wants to be a hermit while dieting, so don’t When you get  your plate, have in your mind that you’re going to get two meals out of it, one for now and one for later. Eat half and ask for a to go container. A little tip is to ask for any condiments on the side so you don’t have to eat soggy food later.

Honestly, portion control is one of the most important things concerning your fitness journey. I’m not a person who believes in arbitrary self denial but I am in favor of eating with wisdom. If I want french fries, I’m going to have french fries. But I’m not going to McDonalds and ordering a large fry. I’ll make them at home and be conscious of how many I’m consuming. Eat what you want, just don’t eat as much as you think you want.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider commenting, subscribing, sharing on social media, and making a contribution to my Patreon.

Thank you, have a sparkly day!

portion control

Meal Prepping

This post is part of the GenFit program, an online fitness course designed to help you meet your health and fitness goals. After reading this, if you are inspired to take charge of your life, to become fitter, leaner, and stronger, send me a message and I’ll tell you more about the program. GenFit is a place where I share even more ideas to help you achieve your health and fitness goals; and comes with a small community of people to help encourage and support you on your journey. Are you ready to be the best version of yourself? 

Your health journey is your own. I am here to provide the tips and tools that can help you on that journey. It all STARTS here but you have to make the daily DECISION to stay healthy. The decision to be fit is you own, and I can’t make it for you. What I can do is give you support and encouragement while you take steps each day toward achieving your goals.

This week must start with a trip to the grocery store and some meal prepping. Here are a few tips to help you out:

  1. Stay on the perimeter: Most of the healthy whole foods are found on the perimeter of grocery stores while the isles have all of the over processed, artificial, sugar added, junk foods. Now, you will have to go down a couple of those isles for things like whole grains, but focus on the outside where you can get fruits, veggies, and proteins.
  2. Don’t shop hungry: This was my first key to success. I ate before going to the store and was able to actually stick to my grocery list. Focus at the store is essential! I don’t know about you, but if there are Oreos in the house, I’m going to eat them. And if I go to the store hungry, I’m going to buy Oreos. So eat right before you go so you aren’t tempted.
  3. No kid food: Unfortunately dino nugs, smiley fries, Lucky Charms, and cookie dough are not on the shopping list. Instead of reaching for these (not so) child friendly items, focus on fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds. You can even grab chocolate covered almonds to help get rid of that cookie dough craving.
  4. Know your schedule: We want to avoid food emergencies. How often have you been driving from one place to another and find yourself starving in the car. The fantastic convenience of fast food, is a nightmare for our bodies. So, if you know what your schedule will be, you know you need to have snacks in the car and an easy to grab breakfast that doesn’t include Pop Tarts (because of number three).
  5. Be prepared: Life sometimes throws wrenches at us and just because we thought we were going to have time to make a nice home cooked dinner, the world may have other plans. That’s why I like to keep leftovers in the fridge or freezer so that I don’t find myself in a food emergency.

Meal planning and list making is a habit that does take a little effort on the front end. I have found that the more I do them, the easier it becomes. Part of the reason for that, is I have a few foods I know I like my family likes. I can always go back to old tried and true lists. But that takes patience and diligence.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider commenting, subscribing, sharing on social media, and making a contribution to my Patreon.

Thank you, have a sparkly day!

meal prepping

Label Reading

This post is part of the GenFit program, an online fitness course designed to help you meet your health and fitness goals. After reading this, if you are inspired to take charge of your life, to become fitter, leaner, and stronger, send me a message and I’ll tell you more about the program. GenFit is a place where I share even more ideas to help you achieve your health and fitness goals; and comes with a small community of people to help encourage and support you on your journey. Are you ready to be the best version of yourself? 

This is the third post in my Clean Eating Series, created to inspire everyone to take control of their eating and make wise choices. This post is about label reading.

Reading food labels is really important because we want to put good balanced food into our bodies for fuel and nutrition. We don’t want to fill ourselves with garbage or too much of something good. So here’s what to look out for at the grocery store.

nutrition

  1. Serving Size: This can be tricky; companies like to have really small service sizes to trick you into thinking something has few calories. Take a look at things like candy, chips, and cereal.
  2. Calories: Now a calorie is not a calorie, as we’ll talk about in the Spring into Fitness group. But things in packages, generally aren’t the kind of good calories we want to consume. Be aware that recommended daily calories for the general public is 2,000.
  3. Calories from Fat: These are often empty calories, so keep them as low as possible. These aren’t the good fats like avocados and almonds.
  4. Total Fat: This is the number of grams of fat. There are three different types: saturated, unsaturated, and trans. Unsaturated are good fats that help the body. The other two will fill your arteries.
  5. Cholesterol: You need some cholesterol, it used by the membranes in your cells. But too much can give  you heart disease.
  6. Sodium: Again, sodium, in moderation is excellent. It helps the kidneys and keeping fluids in your body in balance. But too much can also lead to heart disease.
  7. Fiber: This is good stuff! It helps to regulate your digestion and aid in expelling waste.
  8. Daily Value: The daily value on the table is for the general 2,000 calorie diet. I recommend not paying too much attention to them because chances are, your ideal caloric intake isn’t 2,000. You are an original!
  9. Carbohydrates: Carbs have a little bit of a bad reputation, which is really unfortunate. The body needs carbs for energy, it is the body’s favorite fuel. But you don’t want to eat too many because they’ll get converted into fat if not used. One thing I always check is subtracting the amount of fiber from the number of carbs. That gives you a more accurate view carbs for fuel your body will use.
  10. Protein: This is the final macronutrient we’ve talked about on this list. All of them are necessary for your body to function optimally. Protein is used for muscle recovery and is used by the body’s cells.

Ingredients

Now let’s talk to about ingredients, don’t eat things you can’t pronounce. It’s that easy, if it’s a tongue twister, it’s probably because it was manufactured in a library, not grown in a garden. God gave you real food to eat, not science experiments.

Avoid GMOs when possible. They are genetically modified foods and 80% of packaged food contains GMO ingredients. The problem for you is they can cause toxicity in the body or you may have an allergic reaction. As for the environment, they can cause resistant insects and be harmful to biodiversity.

Next is MSG. It stands for monosodium glutamate and is a flavor enhancer. But some tests suggest it causes you to crave more of this chemical. Although the FDA says it has no long term consequences for those who aren’t pregnant, it does admit some short term consequences like headaches, swelling, sweating, and chest pain. None of that sounds healthy.

The point to take away is to be suspicious of foods in bags and boxes. Remember this weekend when I said to focus on the perimeter, this is why. Fruits and veggies are your best health food. Eat more things that grow and fewer things that have been manufactured in a laboratory.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider commenting, subscribing, sharing on social media, and making a contribution to my Patreon.

Thank you, have a sparkly day!

 

Produce More Produce

This post is part of the GenFit program, an online fitness course designed to help you meet your health and fitness goals. After reading this, if you are inspired to take charge of your life, to become fitter, leaner, and stronger, send me a message and I’ll tell you more about the program. GenFit is a place where I share even more ideas to help you achieve your health and fitness goals; and comes with a small community of people to help encourage and support you on your journey. Are you ready to be the best version of yourself? 

Welcome to the second post in this Clean Eating series. I hope you all drank plenty of water yesterday and are working to adopt the habit of water consumption. One of the tips I gave for getting more water into your system was to eat more raw fruits and vegetables which have a high water volume. Today we are going to be talking more about the importance of putting more produce in your diet.

  • Potassium: This fantastic micronutrient can help reduce blood pressure, lower your risk of developing kidney stones, and decrease bone loss. Potassium can be found in sweet potatoes, soybeans, and spinach.
  • Fiber: Fiber can be found in pretty much all whole fruits and vegetables. It is great for bowel function but also helps to keep you fuller longer with fewer calories than a cheeseburger.
  • Folate: Folic acid is vital to the formation of red blood cells, you know the oxygen highways of the body. You need those. You can find it in avocados, broccoli, and lentils.
  • Vitamin A: This is a beauty nutrient. It is great for skin and eyes. Carrots, apricots, and liver have high amounts of vitamin A.
  • Vitamin C: We know vitamin C is found in orange juice which is delicious. It helps to heal wounds quicker, aids in iron absorption, and can foster healthy teeth and gums. Strawberries, sweet peppers, and kiwi have tons of vitamin C.

There are so many different micronutrients the body uses to function optimally. A well balanced, clean, diverse, and colorful plate at every meal can do wonders for your overall health. Now that you know how good all these things are for you, here are a few tips to help you get into the habit of eating more fruits and vegetables.

  1. Have smoothies: This was the game changer for me. Having a fruit smoothie after a workout helped me get my day started, gave me plenty of energy, and can curb a caffeine addiction. Pumping all those micros through the body is great! But do it early and within 30 minutes of a good workout. All that fruit is a lot carbs and sugar so consume with wisdom.
  2. Snacks: One thing you’ll probably notice in our meal plan, is all the fruits and vegetables for snacks. The fiber is great for keeping you full and the natural sugars are good for energy.
  3. Shop twice per week: If your schedule and geographic location allow, take a midweek grocery trip I found this super helpful for things like bananas and avocados which can go bad quickly.
  4. Fill with veg: Being a midwest girl, I was raised to center my meals around the protein (usually some kind of beef), some carbs, and a bit of green. I recommend you think of your veg first, then the protein, then the carbs at lunch. If weight loss is your goal, I recommend not eating carbs after 6:00pm. But I’ll talk more about why and how to do that in the Clean Eating Challenge.
  5. Go meatless: Have meatless meals and meatless days planned into your meal plan each week. This will push you to consume more fruits and vegetables to remain satiated and energized.

Here’s the thing, you need plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet to be healthy. Your food should be pretty, full of fun colors and textures. But that shouldn’t be from artificial colors and chemicals.

In the comments below, let me know what some of your favorite fruits and vegetables are. If you enjoyed this post, please consider commenting, subscribing, sharing on social media, and making a contribution to my Patreon.

Thank you, have a sparkly day!

produce

Can We Hydrate with Beer?

This post is part of the GenFit program, an online fitness course designed to help you meet your health and fitness goals. After reading this, if you are inspired to take charge of your life, to become fitter, leaner, and stronger, send me a message and I’ll tell you more about the program. GenFit is a place where I share even more ideas to help you achieve your health and fitness goals; and comes with a small community of people to help encourage and support you on your journey. Are you ready to be the best version of yourself? 

Welcome to day one! Water is so important to our bodies and our fitness journeys. It’s pretty boring and bland but there are so many ways to dress it up. I know you have heard a million and ten times that water is good for you, that you have to drink water everyday, and if you go three days without water, you’ll die. But why is that? What is it about clear water that we have to consume for optimal health. Because juice has water…and so does beer, surely you can just drink your beer and receive all the hydration you need for the day, right? Negative! Here are the top ten reasons you need to drink water each day.

  1. Promotes Weight Loss: The reason many of us are here is to lose weight and tighten up. Often we misidentify dehydration as hunger. By remaining hydrated you can cut out some of the unnecessary calories you are consuming.
  2. Naturally Detoxes: Water also flushes out any nasty junk floating around inside you. The water improves kidney function which is responsible for passing toxins from the body. Which, by the way, can also help you lose weight.
  3. Assists in Toilet Time: This may be a little bit of a TMI but water can help lubricate your intestines and loosen your bowels to aid in smooth and regular deifications.
  4. Improves Physical Performance: This week I have asked you to get your body moving. Below you’ll see a one minute workout for today. Be sure to drink some water to give your muscles the energy they need.
  5. Increases Energy: The brain needs water, the brain is mostly water. When you feel a little cloudy and fuzzy, it could be because your brain is depleted of water.
  6. Cures Headaches: Again, when you’re dehydrated, your brain is cross with you. Give it some water and it’ll be pleased with you.
  7. Improves Mood: I don’t know about you, but a hungry, thirsty, sleep deprived Lexie, is very unpleasant to be around. Once you get some water into your system, you can seriously improve your attitude.
  8. Clears Skin: Who doesn’t want beautiful, clear, radiant skin? Because you are hydrating the skin from the inside out and flushing toxins out of your body, your skin will make some serious improvements as you drink more water.
  9. Boosts Immune System: We have had a killer flu this year, literally. Water can help boost and strengthen the immune system, allowing the body to fight off infections like the flu.
  10. Nourishes the Body: Out of all of these, this was the one that surprised me the most. I had never thought about the fact that when your body is hydrated, your circulation is improved. Thus, allowing nutrients to travel more easily throughout the body.

So those some of the benefits of water. But I know what  you’re probably thinking, “I already knew water was good for me, what are you going to tell me that makes it more palatable?” There are several ways one can dress up their water. Here are some of my favorites. But if you are looking to make your water goblet a blank canvas and  you are the artist designing the perfect glass of water, here are some recommended paints for your masterpiece:

  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Orange
  • Strawberry
  • Kiwi
  • Cucumber
  • Grapes
  • Watermelon
  • 100% fruit juices (no sugar added rubbish)
  • Mint Leaves
  • Basil
  • Grated Ginger
  • Rosemary

Adding these delicious and fresh ingredients can help you get more water into your daily routine. But there are some other tips I want you to keep in mind.

  1. You should carry a bottle with you everywhere. This can help reduce or eliminate the temptation to stop and grab a bottle of pop (I’m from Chicago, you may call it soda), or Snapple.
  2. When it comes to how much water you’re drinking, try this little formula: take your body weight in pounds and divide it in half. That’s the number of ounces of water you should be drinking each day. So for example if I’m 140 pounds, I should be drinking 70 ounces of water per day, which is almost 9 cups per day.
  3. Of course, because we are on a health and fitness journey, we have to workout. During exercise, drink 7-10 ounces for every 10-20 minutes of exercise. This will help replenish what you lose in sweat. So for our 140 pound person who is working out 30 minutes a day doing one of the GenFit programs, he/she will need to consume ounces per day.  That’s about 91 ounces or just over 11 cups per day.
  4. Sparkling water is acceptable if it is 0 calorie and only sparkling water, no additives. You can add what you like from the list above. This is great for people trying to kick a pop habit.
  5. Eat more raw fruits and vegetables. These are high in water content and can help hydrate you. Especially things like iceberg lettuce and watermelon.
  6. Can we do one more toilet talk? Your urine should be a nice pale yellow and not have a smell. Now, if you are on a medication or have a condition, this may not be the case. So if you are drinking plenty of water but are not seeing what you’d expect in the toilet, talk with your doctor. Note: those little vitamin C tablets will also give you orange and smelly pee.

Hopefully I haven’t overwhelmed you with too much information or freaked you out about all this water. It is really good for you, so try to get into the habit of drinking more water and less of everything else. The body is made up primarily of water, not red wine or Coke.

Try some of those water infusions and share it on social media, tag me @TheGenFem. If you enjoyed this post, please consider commenting, subscribing, sharing on social media, and making a contribution to my Patreon.

Thank you, have a sparkly day!

water

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