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Reverse Diet Update

A little over 6 weeks ago I competed in my second fitness competition and I promised to update you all on my reverse diet journey. If you haven’t ready my post Healing Your Slow Metabolism head on over and take a look. In my post “Healing your slow metabolism” I discuss reverse dieting and how it can help you speed up your metabolism and minimize the likelihood of gaining fat while adding calories. Today I want to discuss not only my results but what I experienced while on this reverse.

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Here are my body composition results: Six weeks post-comp I am only up 5 pounds from my stage weight and up 2% body fat. Although this is not a huge difference I still plan to alter my reverse diet next time.

One of the biggest obstacles I experienced during my reverse was still feeling crazy hungry and frustrated with only adding 50 calories a week. I started my reverse at 1400 calories and found that during the first week on 1450 led to a lot of ‘F*$% it’ moments where I decided not to count macros and just have a meal I desired. I had many ‘slip ups’  during the first 4 weeks because I was just so damn hungry! Quite honestly, even though I didn’t stick to my plan 100% I was OK with the fact that it didn’t go as smoothly as I wanted. This is life people, we have slip ups, we get it wrong.. A LOT but, these things don’t have to define us. I had some days where I thought “I’ll just have one beer” then one lead to two, followed by french fries and ice cream. Oh well! In that moment I did not make the best meal choices but how I proceeded made all the difference. The most important thing I can ever do for my health is not to beat myself up over a few extra calories or more importantly a few extra pounds!  Each day was a new opportunity to get back on track and find balance once again. So I got my booty in the gym and made sure to prep healthy food… oh and I stayed away from the beer! ha ha. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves.

In the end it took me 4 weeks to realize “hmm.. maybe I reversed too slow?” YES!!! Next time I give this reverse diet a go I’ll be experimenting with adding 100 calories per week and work with it from there. I plan to do another cut cycle followed by a reverse soon but not for a fitness competition this time. I feel like taking out the adrenaline and anticipation of a competition will help me to really focus on my goals and how my body responds.

Wherever you are in your own fitness journey today I hope you remember not to be so hard on yourself. Maybe you are frustrated with how slow your progress is. Keep your head up, consistency will lead to success and not matter how slow you may feel your progress is, in the end it is still PROGRESS! Maybe you are frustrated with the fact that you didn’t stick to your intake goals. Brush it off, today is a new day, DO NOT deprive yourself, eat well, and kill your workout! You will begin to feel better and get right back on track. Whatever it may be that makes you feel frustrated, forget about it. You cannot change yesterday, but you can choose what you do with today.

Get out there and rock it!

Lots of love,

Andrea B Fit

 

Healthy Choices While Working From Home

Hey guys!

I’m back! Sorry for the long silence I have been absolutely swamped with school lately. As much as I wanted to get a new blog post out my guilty conscious kept telling me I should be studying instead! These past two weeks have been filled with final exams but, I am happy to say I aced my exams and can now get back to some writing! Yay!

I know it’s been awhile since I answered a fitness question so I’m going to get back to it with the topic of: Healthy choices while working at home.

While I do not 100% work from home (while I would like to), I have been a stay at home mom. When my son was born, I was a stay at home mom for a little over a year until I started my working on my Master’s degree and teaching yoga. I know how hard it can be to make healthy choices when you are cooped up at home, especially in the winter. Let’s discuss some helpful ways to stay fit while staying home.

  1. Clear out the Crap: This is pretty much my go to rule ALWAYS! And I will probably come back to again. Don’t keep junk in your home! Just don’t do it! Here is a perfect example: A few weeks ago my husband had the opportunity to order Girl Scout Cookies at work, being the thoughtful loving man he is, he decided to order one box of gluten free cookies for himself and one box of Thin Mints for me. Well I was very thankful that he thought of me when ordering, I did not realize how deadly a temptation those things are! Not only are they tempting but they are such a light and thin cookie that after having one you wonder if you even had it in the first place! Sadly to say the box of cookies only survived a little over a week. Damn you Girl Scout cookies!

 

So, the lesson here is that even some of the most resilient people can revert back to the self-control of a 4 year old when faced with the right temptations. Clear out the crap, or should I say CRACK from your cupboards it will help you so much in the long run.

 

  1. Meal Prep and Meal Plan: When you work at home or are a stay at home mom chances are you will be visited by boredom, overwork, or complacency at some point during your day. I remember being a stay at home mom, there were days I didn’t even want to get ready. Although, I still got things done there were moments of restlessness that I just wanted to do something different. I had days where I felt like I did the same things day in and day out and this left me feeling unmotivated and quite frankly unpretty. During these times of frustration it can be extremely hard to make the right choices for your health. Or maybe the issue isn’t frustration but boredom. Meal prepping your food and meal planning for your day can help to eliminate poor nutritional choices out of boredom, frustration, or just being too tired to cook.

 

Meal prep your food ahead of time so you always have healthy, home prepared foods ready for when you are hungry. Having 3-4 dinners prepared for the week allows you to just grab and enjoy the foods that may have been a hassle to prepare in the midst of your busy week. PLUS, since you already got rid of the crap in your home you now have only healthy choices! Yay!
Meal planning is also a big part of healthy choices. Planning out the food you will eat during your day, in the morning or the day before, will help you stay on track with your goals. Maybe your goal is to hit a certain calorie intake, a certain serving of fruits and veggies or just simply eating only home cooked unprocessed meals, planning will ensure success!

 

  1. Move Your Muscles: When you work from home chances are you spend a lot of time at a desk or computer. When we spend a good amount of our day sitting this causes poor circulation causing us to feel tired, achy, stiff, sluggish and quite honestly it doesn’t help us accomplish our fitness goals. Set aside time during your day to get your booty moving. However you do this is up to you here are a few ideas:
  • Taking a morning and afternoon walk
  • Every 3 hours of work take a 15 minute HIIT break
  • Schedule your morning gym time and add an afternoon walk
  • Do some lunchtime yoga
  • Every hour do 25-50 of one exercise (crunches, push-ups, squats, lunges, burpees, mountain climbers, etc.)

Incorporating movement into your day will not only move some blood and help you feel better but will help you work more efficiently as well. If you have a friend that also works from home maybe challenge each other to stay active daily by setting step/distance goals, squat goals etc.

Secure Your Success: Make goals and stick to them. Make these changes your new habits and keep them for long term success. Each week avoid the junk that hinders your healthy eating success, meal prep and meal plan looking forward to keeping your promises to better yourself, and move to stay motivated and healthy.

There are many perks to working from home but ensuring we do not become complacent is very important. I hope this was helpful. What habits have helped you stay fit working from home or taking care of your family from home? Please share, I would love to hear from you!

Hope you have a wonderful week! I promise I you will be hearing from me again soon!

Lots of love,

Andrea B Fit

 

Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Hi all,

Good afternoon, I hope you all are having a wonderful week. Today I want to share a recipe of mine that is super simple, super delicious and super healthy! This is a recipe that I LOVE to make pretty much any day, any season, any time. Unfortunately, most of the time it is difficult to find organic Brussel sprouts so when I do find the organic kind I go crazy! Like 4-5 bags crazy ha ha!

In this recipe I use flavored balsamic vinegar. A few years ago a shopping center near my home had an olive oil company open in one of their small shops. The first time I saw it I didn’t think much of it because I personally don’t use a ton of olive oil. One day I stumbled in and checked the place out to find they had EVERY flavored balsamic vinegar under the sun! I went a little crazy sampling balsamic vinegar because I LOVE balsamic and use it on everything! This was the start of a new and BEAUTIFUL relationship!

Today I stop in every few months and grab some of my favorite flavors as well as try out all the new flavors they add. One of my all-time favorite is a lavender flavored balsamic and on the lighter side a champagne white balsamic that has a bit of a fizz sensation to it! So unique and delicious!

If you have a local olive oil company I strongly urge you to check it out! You seriously won’t believe how many amazing flavors there are! If you are ever in Albuquerque take a stop into ABQ Olive Oil Company they truly are the best.

Here we go for the recipe. Once you find those, round, green beauties at the grocery store give this Brussel recipe a go.

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Brussel Beauties I had the other day with a Foodies Griller Burger. YUM
Ingredients:

As many Brussel sprouts as you desire

1 tbs agave (or honey)

3 tbs flavored balsamic vinegar

 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425. Wash sprouts and cut them all in half and throw them into a large bowl. Mix the agave and vinegar and pour over sprouts. Mix ingredients until the Brussel sprouts are fully coated. If you desire more sauce mix it up 1:3. In a glass baking sheet spread the sprouts out and pop them in the oven for 25 min. Peak in a add time if needed until they are slightly toasted and tender. These are AMAZING on the grill too! Enjoy!

Healing Your Slow Metabolism

Good morning all!

I hope your week is going absolutely amazing! For many of us we are starting to feel the warmth of spring moving in! For some of us not so much, if you’re in the North East I’m sending you lots of love and warmth as you push through the snow storm! ❤

So this week I want to talk a little about healing your metabolism. Last week I wrote about fitness struggles and I will continue sharing what others have shared with me this week. So stay tuned! Also, this is a great opportunity for you to ask any questions you would like answered if you have any! Today however, I really want to focus on a topic I think MANY women struggle with, healing your slow metabolism.

In my experience, I have seen a lot of women struggling with eating a very low amount of calories (1500 or lower per day) and STILL struggling to lose weight. Why is this?! If you are essentially not eating much food at all why is it so difficult to lose weight?

In this post I will first discuss how eating a calorie restricted diet not only leads to binges but damage to your metabolism. Next, I will discuss a method I personally use when coming out of a competition prep diet to boost your metabolism, limit weight gain, and eventually begin working on losing weight.

First things first:

Why am I not losing weight?!

The Binge/Deprivation Cycle

If you have read any of my previous posts, you may be familiar with the thing I like to call the “Binge/Deprivation” cycle. What I mean by this term is the cycle many people get into when trying to diet. The thought “this week I’m not going to any sugar” or “I overate last night, today I only need to eat 800 calories or only smoothies for 3 day”, Sound familiar? What happens next? After depriving ourselves of food we love or food in general! It almost always leads to a binge!

In my own life, when prepping for a fitness competition there is always some degree of calorie restriction or elimination of certain foods. I consider myself to be pretty strong willed, which gets even stronger when I know I’m going to be up on a stage in a tiny bikini! During prep, I am human and I still have cravings but, I have found some really successful ways to combat these. I would be lying however, if I told you I don’t look forward to the night after the show when I can have my beer and pizza!

This lifestyle of competing in shows is tough and it takes a ton of self-discipline not only leading up to the show but after! The reality of rebound after competition is very likely and even for some of the most disciplined of athletes, it is a struggle. So if you are stuck in this cycle don’t feel like you’re the only one on this planet that has ever suffered from it. You are not alone and you can break the cycle and return to healthy eating habits. We must start by eliminating the deprivation step and slowly begin controlling our binging tendencies.

You Are Killing Your Metabolism

The second downfall of a calorie restricted diet is the damage it does to your metabolism. As you begin to limit the amount of food you take in on a daily basis you may not see the effects right away, you may even lose a little weight. Fast forward a few years down the road when you have been counting every calorie that enters your body to hit the 1400 mark and you’re still struggling to lose the weight you have so desperately wanted to for years! What’s the deal?

Humans are made to survive and the human body is such an amazing, complex, miraculous thing that was created with such precision. There are processes that happen every second inside our bodies that are so complex and choreographed perfectly. Consider the miracle of something as simple as respiration, the transportation of oxygen into our bodies via the lungs that is then transported into the smallest of cells simply because there is a difference in concentration is phenomenal! We don’t even have to think about this and it happens!

Our bodies were made to survive. When it gets cold our bodies create heat by shivering and raising the hairs on our skin to limit heat loss. When we are hot our pores open and we begin to sweat in an attempt to cool the body. When we are thirsty our bodies begin to limit the loss of water through perspiration and elimination. When we are hungry our metabolism slows to preserve resources.

After sticking to a calorie restricted diet for years your metabolism has slowed as a basic defense to keep you alive! This is not a bad thing, we should appreciate that our bodies are functioning and surviving the way they should! However, if you are trying to lose weight this basic survival mechanism is not helping you out. So, what do you do now in order to lose the weight you have been holding on to?

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Reverse Dieting

In order to lose weight after abusing your metabolism for years you must begin the process of healing your body, mind and metabolism.

The first, and most important, step in the process starts in the mind. You MUST stop beating yourself up and hating your body TODAY! There is no room for that here. You must remember that you are a beautiful, creative, amazing being created with a purpose and passion that MUST NOT be kept within you simply because you are unhappy with your body. Whether or not you are happy with your body you need to stop hiding yourself from the world! Your spirit is literally crying out asking to be expressed and shared and your journey will only become more beautiful if you let it shine! Let it shine today because you are BEAUTIFUL! ❤

Next, we begin healing our body.

After my first fitness competition I did not anticipate the weight gain that would follow if I returned to my normal eating habits. I know, this is a pretty basic thing but somehow I thought I was the exception. In turn, my metabolism was still slow but my appetite was not and I not only gained weight but, I felt heavy and tired all the time. I just wasn’t digesting all the food I was putting in. It did not occur to me until a few weeks later that I should have approached my diet coming out of the competition the same way I approached it going into the competition. Just as I slowly decreased calories and specific foods going into prep I needed to increase these things in the same manner. Hence, the term: Reverse Dieting.

How exactly does one reverse diet?

As I mentioned before, for my first fitness competition I did not practice reverse dieting and thus experiencing the effects. After starting my reverse diet a few weeks post competition I began to see my weight gain slow and eventually halt. In the end it was my delayed reverse diet that kept me from gaining a ton of rebound weight and overall struggling in my journey.  This time around I have started my reverse diet 2 days after the competition and overall things are going really well. (If you are interested in seeing the progress of my reverse diet I will be sharing frequently via Instagram and Facebook)

Here is what my reverse diet looks like: for the next few months I have been adding 50 extra calories to my diet each week. Every week on Sunday I add another 50 calories to my previous set point and see how my body reacts. (I personally do not utilize a low carb diet so messing with my macros is not a huge factor but for those who are currently limiting carbs try adding 20-30g of carbs each week until you are consuming about 50-60% of your calories from carbs.) Second, the food I consume is important! I cannot expect to come from a very clean diet to eating junk and not see ill effects. Right now I am choosing 2 desired foods to have each week. This week I have had one dessert (Lenny and Larry’s Complete Cookie) and will have 2 beers (Fresh microbrew to be enjoyed on St. Patty’s!).

Each week as I add these calories I will check in with my body and see how things are working out. A small amount of weight gain is normal as a ‘show leanness’ is not maintainable for most people. But, overall you do not want excess weight gain.

During this time it is also important to return to your normal fitness routine! You cannot expect your metabolism to work for you if you’re not working with it and staying active.

Here is how you apply this to your life!

  1. Take a look at your set points right now. Maybe you’re aiming for 1500 calories a day and only 30% carbs. If you’re using My Fitness Pal great! If not, start. My fitness pal will show you how many grams of carbs you are aiming for at 30%.
  2. This week at 50 calories to your diet. You are now aiming for 1550 calories.
  3. Next, add 20-30 grams of carbs to your diet. (Let’s say you’re at about 113g bump it up to 143g)
  4. If you have a set fitness routine stick to it. If you don’t have one start one maybe aim for 3 days a week this week then add another in 2-3 weeks. You can stay at 4 days a week or even better hit a 5 day a week routine in another 2-3 weeks. Consistency is best do aim for something that is doable for you!
  5. See how you feel the next week after manipulating your diet. If you’re interested in checking your weight check it after 2 weeks and no sooner, this allows your body to adjust. If you feel bloated after week one maybe subtract 10g of carbs and only add another 20g the following week.
  6. Don’t freak out if you gain weight at first, this is normal. Just stick with it. This is a process, especially if you have been depriving yourself for years!
  7. Continue this process until your calorie intake is between 1700-2000 depending on activity level and your body. Some people may even have a higher set point over 2000.
  8. Keep up the great work and celebrate doing something good for yourself and your body!!<3

**REMEMBER: You are ALWAYS working on improving the quality of foods you are putting in your body. If you are eating 1500 or 2000 calories of junk, IT’S STILL JUNK and this will not help your journey to success. Aim for whole, unprocessed foods and see how cleanly your body runs and feels.

Alrighty, well that is all I have for you today! Please share your experience, struggles, questions etc. I want to hear it all! As always, I hope you have a beautiful day and a restful weekend!

Lots of love,

Andrea B Fit

Curbing Your Sugar Addiction

Hey guys! Hope your week is going really well!

A couple months ago while I was focused on beginning this blog I reached out to some friends and asked them what their biggest struggle was when it came to fitness. Over the next few weeks I am going to be sharing those struggles as well as solutions that have worked for me! Maybe you share in their pain or maybe you will just learn a thing or two about things you never really thought about! I hope you enjoy this series!

Today I will be talking about curbing sugar cravings. A friend of mine expressed that one of her biggest struggles is her craving for sugar, especially soda. This is such a common struggle in fact many sources will qualify sugar as an addictive substance! If you struggle with sugar cravings you are NOT alone.

When talking about solutions to fitness struggles I like to use simple ways of remembering them, they might be silly, but hey they work! So, lets begin. I’m going to use the word itself SUGAR to lay out solutions to curbing your sugar cravings and taking steps toward sticking to your goals and no longer feeling overcome or ruled by the sugar monster!

S- Stop buying it. So this may seem like a pretty simple step but it’s one many people do not take. Yes, I know you have families and your husband likes soda or your kids like cocoa puffs. But, let’s be honest, they don’t need to be eating that junk either! In my house its always been just a habit that I don’t buy sugar/junk and that’s just how we have gotten used to it. That’s not to say that we don’t crave sugar or have a treat every once in a while but, when we do have a sugar craving we have to make the extra trip to go out and get it, or actually make it,  so the likelihood of us having sugar is a rarer occurrence because of the added effort. This also makes certain that our craving is something that is worth being satisfied versus just having a craving on a whim and mindlessly grabbing for the sugary substances. First things first, it’s time to have a talk with the family and let them know there are going to be some changes around the house. These changes don’t have to be all at once, maybe this week you stop buying soda, next week pop tarts or sugary cereal, cookies, whatever it may be. If it’s not around you are less likely to indulge or overindulge.

U- Use substitutes! I am not talking about that cancer-causing shit in the pink packets either! One of my biggest examples is always making nice-cream instead of having ice cream. I am currently prepping for a fitness competition and have had vegan nice-cream twice in the past 3 weeks! Sub your base for bananas instead of dairy. Instead of having soda find a fizzy fruit water or have kombucha. Instead of having cookies make some healthy quinoa crisps with chocolate chips or heck, have a piece of fruit! It’s quite simple to find substitutes for your favorite sugary substances, my favorite go to is Pinterest, but most times a yogurt with fruit or a cup of blueberries does the trick to satiate my craving. Find what works best for you!

G- Get Active. This is pretty much my solution to most things. Feeling down? Get active. Frustrated? Get active. Feeling chunky? Get active. Craving junk? Get active. Craving sugar? Get Active! It really does help. Start a fitness regimen and you will be surprised how your cravings for sugar will lessen. When you know your workouts are going to suffer if you eat the wrong foods you will think twice about the foods you eat. I have always been very active and there is nothing more frustrating or demotivating than eating crap one day and having your body feel like a ton of bricks the next day when you go to work out. It really slows your inertia and leads to crappy workouts and overall just feeling like crap. When you get active you become more conscious about the food choices you are making.

A-Awareness and Applaud. First, start becoming aware of the amount of sugar in the foods you consume. Everyone has seen the pictures that depict the amount of sugar in a soda with a pile of white sugar. It’s pretty gross really. Take a look at the sugar content of those foods you’re having trouble giving up, consider what this is doing to your body and maybe return to step 2 and find a substitute or just give it up all together. I promise the less sugar you consume daily the less you are going to crave it! Whatever steps you take, applaud your efforts no matter how big or small! Lifestyle change doesn’t happen overnight, the key to sustained success is realistic progression that works best for you and your lifestyle! Celebrate every step and remember why you are doing any of this in the first place.

R-Recipes. Last step to curbing your sugar cravings is finding and trying new recipes. There are so many healthy, delicious, and simple recipes out there that are similar to your favorite foods. You can make protein truffles, cookies with dates instead of sugar, black bean brownies, fizzy drinks with MUCH less sugar, healthy cakes, you name it! I mentioned above how much I have been enjoying nice cream during my competition prep, I have also enjoyed pancakes on numerous occasions! This part is SO doable! Plus you get to have a little fun creating new, healthy dishes in the kitchen. Best part is your health and well-being come out first!

These are some of the tricks I personally use to curb my sugar cravings, I hope this was helpful. If you have any tips I would love to hear them! Let me know what you thought and if sugar is keeping you from obtaining your fitness goals start with step 1 and work your way down. Come back with your progress report!

Have a beautiful week and restful weekend!

Lots of love,

Andrea B Fit

How Our Words Affect Others

Hey guys! Sorry for the long silence lately! I have been so unbelievably busy the past few weeks and despite my strong desires to write I just couldn’t find the time! 😥 But! I’m here today so let’s get to it!

Today I really want to talk about how our words affect others.  A couple weeks ago I came across a post from an athlete I highly respect that really stopped me in my tracks and left me feeling down about myself and my journey. I’ll get to the details about that in a second but today’s post I really want to discuss the reality of how others opinions and words affect us. When it comes to the fitness world there are so many opinions out there. Some people are truly there to build others up, some people are there to build themselves up, and yes, there are even those that intend to tear others down. While I’m sure others intentions may not clearly be one or the other the reality is, our words affect others and sometimes in ways we never imagined.

Let’s start with a little background. A couple weeks ago, I shared a post called Getting Away From The Calorie Restriction Mindset For Weight Loss that detailed my experience with my first fitness competition and the obstacles I came across following the event. Before doing my first competition I would have never imagined I would enjoy doing them so much! My biggest goal following the show was to fine tune my training and diet, to not only gain muscle but, avoid drastic calorie restriction while leaning out. What I found following the show was that although I was still motivated I didn’t quite stick to my goals as strictly as I would while actually preparing for a fitness competition. I needed to light a fire under my own ass by actually getting back into a competition. So, late last year I decided my next show would be in March.

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Earlier today I posted a progress photo of myself on Instagram announcing that I will be competing March 11 as well as admitting that I waited until the last day to register for the show. To be honest, I was still scared to put myself out there and actually be accountable for something! I kept asking myself “Am I ready?” “Will I lean out in time?”. While I am still not 100% sure of the answers to these questions I knew to find the answers I had get out there and find out by experience! So here we go!

One of my biggest mindset obstacles came a month ago. One of my funniest habits I have before a workout is to jump on Instagram and find inspiration from all the strong female athletes! I know it’s silly but for some reason I really get excited about going and getting strong when I see all the successes of others! It almost provokes the mindset of “I can do this!” Anyway, I came across a post from an athlete I really respect that was ranting about how fitness competitions are an art and essentially if you cannot afford a coach then you’re wasting your time. While I understand the importance of a coach and I know that having one would take my prep and physique to the next level, at this point in my life I just cannot afford one. So, yes I prep myself. While this may give me a disadvantage it is where I am at right now and I have to appreciate that and be thankful for what I can do. This athlete’s post left me feeling so unbelievably defeated. I honestly thought about skipping my work out because, even if for a moment, I thought “What’s the point?” and I wondered if my attempts of training myself were only seen as comical by others who could afford a coach!

“The person who has the right to do something, is the one doing it.” -Jill Coleman

Needless to say I felt pretty bad about myself and my attempts. Luckily a few months before this happened and before my starting this blog I took an online seminar with a woman named Jill Coleman and the seminar was called Action Academy. One of the quotes that resonated with me strongly was the quote: “The person who has the right to something, is the one doing it.” Using this quote Jill discussed how, in our endeavors we often doubt our abilities by saying “Do I have enough credentials” or “Will others even care about what I have to say?” Jill also discussed the criticism of others and how we often worry about what other people will think of our efforts or if they will judge us thinking “Who do they think they are to being doing _____”. So we doubt are abilities and fail at taking any action out of fear. This quote led to my AH HA moment. If I could personally thank Jill for speaking these words prior to my obstacle I would hug her! Because, at that moment when I thought of this quote my determination was renewed and I knew that no matter how the competition went I could be SO PROUD of myself for taking the leap, training hard, and gaining experience I would otherwise have not gained because of FEAR!

I share this experience with you to show just how greatly our words affect others, even people we have never met. You can build others up or you can tear them down. My utmost hope of this blog and Andrea B Fit is that somehow I will be able to encourage you and build you up. I hope that I can help you see that anything is possible. Just as JillFit was a place for me to find encouragement when I was discouraged I hope I can cultivate that same atmosphere of acceptance, encouragement and positivity. When it comes to any of your goals there will always be critics but I hope you find it within yourself to persist. We will always have doubts but when we allow fear to stop us we miss out on so much opportunity! We won’t always do it perfect and we have to be OK with that reality. Give it your all anyway! Then be so proud of your efforts no matter the outcome. You can choose to do nothing out of fear or you can do something and see what happens!

As I go into the last two weeks of prep before my March 11 competition I will continue to work hard and be so happy with all of my progress. When comp day comes, whether or not I place, I have already won just for pushing past my fears, trying something new, and taking my journey to a whole new level.

If you have ever experienced something similar I’d love to hear from you. How did you deal with the defeating thoughts or fear? What is your go to encouragement to keep pressing on?

Have a beautiful, healthy day!

Love,

Andrea B Fit

 

*A special thanks to Jill Coleman whether or not she ever knows the effects of her positive words!

Getting Away From The Calorie Restriction Mindset For Weight Loss

Hey All!

This week I wanted to talk about another mindset the plagues the fitness world. Calorie restriction.

I’ve been in the fitness industry for a while now and when you spend any amount of time around fitness related businesses you start to notice the different mindsets people adopt throughout their fitness journey.  My last two posts discussed one of the biggest mindsets people adopt, the low-carb mindset for weight loss. Today I am going to talk about the dramatic calorie cutting mindset for weight loss. While I have always been aware of the calorie cutting mindset throughout my life this idea did not become shockingly realistic until I did my first fitness competition.

In May of last year I jumped on to a stage in a tiny fitness competition bikini after working my BUTT off for 12 weeks to prep. This was my first fitness competition and was held at the gym I worked at during that time, so it was an amateur competition. For the most part I had a ton of fun, I really enjoyed getting to know and work alongside many of the amazing, strong, dedicated members. In the end I had the time of my life getting out of my comfort zone and getting up on stage to show off all the hard work I had put in. I was the only vegan competitor so most of my dietary training was done by myself and I participated in one training session a week. Throughout the entire program I didn’t have any drastic calorie restriction until the last two weeks. Which in my opinion were the hell weeks that set me up for so much damage later on down the road.

I started off the training for the competition with only a little bit of body fat to lose. My instructions for the majority of the training were to “maintain” weight. At the time my body fat percentage was about 16% so this was a good place to be. As the last few weeks to show time approached I began wondering when would be the right time to start ‘cutting’ fat in order to get lean enough for show time. Despite consistent questioning of the head trainer when I should start cutting I was assured it would be better to wait a little longer. Three weeks out from the show approached and apparently this became the ‘right’ time to cut… calories. At this time I was instructed to cut 300 calories from my current set point for one week and the last two weeks before the show my caloric intake was cut to 1200 calories! While I knew beyond any doubt in my mind this was not the best or healthiest way to cut weight before a show I submitted because, did I mention? I was TWO WEEKS away from show time and I surely wanted to be ready.

During this two weeks of 1200 calorie consumptions I felt tired and a little weak but mostly just tried to consume a shit ton of water to help with the hunger pangs. I also considered myself lucky because despite my low caloric intake I was still consuming my normal diet (just a little cleaner) and I was still pooping. I know TMI right?! But, this is real! Many of the other competitors were eating fewer calories, as little as 900, that mostly consisted of grilled chicken and plain ass steamed broccoli. And, let me tell you they were feeling the pressure…. of NOT POOPING! The discussions of constipation were a bit funny at first but after some time I really began to feel bad for them. Mostly because constipation is not only uncomfortable it’s dangerous!

Speed up time a little bit and we come to the day of the show. Our instructions for this time were NO WATER, NO FOOD the day of show. OK… While I did submit to the bullshit 1200 calories for two weeks I was not having this. Without much discussion of my intentions I ensured I ate my normal breakfast the morning of the show, I kept hydrated as I normally would, and I even brought healthy snacks for later during the day to keep myself from being hungry. As show time approached I did get so nervous to the point I didn’t really have an appetite but otherwise I kept hydrated. About 2 hours before we were to get on stage one of the employees brought in “snacks” in case some of the competitors were getting weak or nauseous in order to get them through to show time. These snacks consisted of ice cubes (as not to hydrate too much), Rolos, Snickers, suckers, Jolly Ranchers, and other processed mini chocolates. OK, let’s pause for a moment…. WTF!! I know you have got to be thinking it too! Instead of being instructed to bring healthy snacks and water incase these starved, weak, tired competitors got hungry they were given JUNK! Not to mention most of these women (and some men) had been on obscenely ‘clean’, calorie restricted diets for weeks then were essentially given crack at the last moment to ‘sustain’. Can you imagine what this would do to a person in the days following the competition?

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Competition day came and went; although I did not place I was so happy with the fact that I took a giant step out of my comfort zone and did something I had never done before. However, the effects of my “hell weeks” started to become so evident. If you have ever been on a calorie restricted diet you begin to notice your metabolism begins to slow because of it. Before the show I essentially ate whenever I wanted when I felt hungry and ate mostly healthy foods while also satisfying my cravings for sweets, beer, and other treats when I felt the urge (couple times a week) while maintaining a weight I was happy with and felt healthy at. After the show I wanted to return to my normal eating habits, so I did. I also went on a bit of a beer drinking bender too! Not excessive but enough to add some extra weight and make my clothes fit a little tighter.

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At the beginning of the process I really began to feel frustrated. I had worked so hard to get to where I was and for what? One day on stage? No, my progress should not be something to achieve for a short time then let go after that peak is reached. If I am not able to maintain this progress then surely I cannot maintain this lifestyle. I began to think about the effects this process had on my body and would have if I continued to compete in the future. For a while, I have to admit I figured this competition was my one and done its time to move on. Then I began to wonder what can I accomplish if I started discovering what my body can do on MY OWN terms?

During this time when I put on a little weight I began to appreciate my body just the way it was. I knew that in order to get back on the wagon and sustain what I had before the competition I had to release these defeating thoughts. I found I felt negative about my body and as if all the work I had put in for years had somehow dissipated. These thoughts were not only detrimental to my mood and self-worth they were not helping me with my motivation to eat healthy or get my workouts in. This experience is where the post Self Love Every Day stemmed from. Although some people may say the idea of self-love every day is bogus, they are wrong. Yes, we may wake up in the morning look in the mirror and be frustrated, unhappy, or nitpicky about the person staring back at us but we CAN choose to change the mindset in order to have a healthier state of mind and state of being. After all, choosing things to hate about yourself today is the exact same thing as COMPLAINING! We all do it, but what does complaining do for us? Nothing, that’s what. Complaining leaves us in a bad mood, dampers the mood of those around us, is defeating and worthless. We complain when instead we should consider “How can I change the situation?” sometimes your situation is out of your reach and you just have to find change the way to look and experience it. However, most times you can do SOMETHING about the situation. This is always true when it comes to self-esteem and your fitness journey. You can think “Gosh my hair is a damn mess today!” and continue your day feeling un-kept or worse ugly or you can say “Right, my hair is a mess I’ll enjoy this unique twist for the day” or “Sweet! Maybe more people will avoid mindless chit chat because I look like a crazy person! I can get so much done today!” ha ha see you can take it as near or far as you’d like! Now, how about your body? You can wake up and say “Ugh, all my clothes feel tight, I feel so fat I wish I could just wear a huge shirt and warm ups!” and you can hide yourself and feel crappy all day or you can say “Yes, my clothes feel tight, I sure enjoyed some awesome times with friends and food to get here (or awesome cake), today I am going to choose a healthy breakfast and do an extra set at the gym.”. Whatever it may be, STOP COMPLAINING, and start changing your situation and perspective. This is exactly what I did. I have come farther and accomplished more than I ever would have done if I would have felt disappointed in myself and kept hating where I was in my journey.

Alright, back to the main point of this post, calorie restriction. While most people will say the only way to lose weight is to consider basic math. If the calorie input is less than calorie output, you will lose weight. Ever been there? Wondering why you work your butt off in the gym and restrict your calories only to find you don’t lose a single pound so you go on a binge thinking “F this what’s the point in it if I don’t even lose weight?!”. I HAVE! For many years I was right there. If this is, or has been you, then let’s stop the cycle today. Instead of changing how much you put in your body let’s change how your body uses it. Instead of jumping on the treadmill for hours on end try picking up a few weights. Building muscle will actually speed up your metabolism! A body with more muscle burns more calories at rest then does a body with little muscle. As you start to put a little more muscle on your body you will not only burn fat and be more TONED, you will be able to consume more healthy foods during the day to sustain yourself. You can actually get back to eating a healthier amount of calories daily. That 1500 calorie diet you have been trying to maintain for years won’t suffice anymore and with your new strength you will begin to crave foods that fuel your body well instead of junk.

In this post I used my experience with a fitness competition to display the mindset that plagues the fitness world. But, you know as well as I do intense training for a competition is not the only place this mindset exists. I’ve seen numerous trainers in many different places use this ‘technique’ to make people lose weight, but when left to their own devices (without a trainer checking their weight weekly) the potential for a client to rebound is great. There are other options. Options where you re-define your body’s set point in order to not only lose weight, but better sustain weight loss. Step away from this mindset today there is a happier, healthier place waiting for you on the other side!

Has this mindset plagued you before? How did you get out of it? If you haven’t gotten out of the mindset what is something you can do today to get where you want to be?

I hope my experience was helpful in your journey! I hope you can find encouragement as well that you don’t always have to feel hungry to lose weight. Have a beautiful day! Smile, laugh, eat well, and be well!

Lots of love,

Andrea B Fit

Having Your Carbs And Eating Them TOO!

Good Morning! And Happy Hump Day!

Alright, so last week I did a post titled The Low Carb Lie and in it I discussed the data showing how a low carb diet can be dangerous and unhealthy. This week I will talk about how you can begin to walk away from the low-carb mindset, begin loving carbs again, and still lose weight and accomplish your fitness goals.

I’m going to make this post easy to digest and remember by using the mnemonic C-A-R-B. We will discuss the chemicals we put in our body that are causing weight retention, the benefits of eating carbs, and ways to replace your guilty pleasures with healthier options! Here we go!

C-Chemicals

First and foremost the most important thing you can do for your health and body today is begin to eliminate chemicals in your diet.

When I was in middle school I remember I had a drama instructor who wouldn’t allow any snacks in class unless they had less than 10 ingredients. At the time, I did not understand why she did this; I was just annoyed I could not eat my Hot Cheetos in class. As an adult I know exactly why she implemented this rule, because she cared. You should too, here’s why.

Now when you think of carbs you may draw to mind things such as breads, desserts, croissants, etc. Yes, these are carbs but these are also crap. Next time you are in the grocery store and are choosing which bread to take home for sandwiches, flip that loaf over and read the ingredients. Chances are you won’t even know what half the ingredients are! Whether you are a chemist or not doesn’t matter, but it does matter what this junk is doing to your body. The simple truth about these chemicals is (just like you) your body has NO CLUE what they are! Your body does not use them for energy or break them down like they would other foods. Processed food cannot be processed by your body. Instead you either hold on to the chemicals and start building up toxic sludge in your intestines, you poop them out (if you’re lucky), or they get stored in fat and put away for a time when your body can deal with the toxicity of this junk.

One of the biggest things I emphasize to my clients in their journey to a plant-based diet is a WHOLE FOODS plant-based diet. The best thing you can do for your body is to get foods as close to their pure form as possible; as close to the form in which they come from the earth. This also includes eliminating conventionally grown foods because they are sprayed with weed and bug killer (Chemicals), irradiated, and often sprayed with other chemicals to increase their shelf life (more chemicals). I understand buying local and organic can be expensive! Start small then slowly grow the amount of organic food you buy. We have a rule in my house what we put in our bodies takes priority over other things such as what we put on our bodies or the luxuries we enjoy like picking up coffee or going out to eat. Your health, your family, your happiness are worth a few extra bucks at the grocery store! And when times are tough and the budget is tight there is always beans and rice!

I promise you, when you begin to eliminate the chemicals you put in your body you will begin to shed unwanted weight that your body NEEDED to hold on to, to literally save your life. If it’s in a carton or box chances are it has chemicals so you may have to spend a couple trips to the store really reading those labels. I suggest definitely checking out your local health food store. Eventually you will start to find the best substitutes and it will just become second nature. If you just can’t find any good substitutes keep reading, I got your back.

A-All. As in all the carbs!

When you start to eat foods without chemicals the sky is the limit. Really, all carbs are great to be included in your diet. Organic Basmati? Go for it! But it’s white? But it’s pure! Avocados? Yes. Yes. YES! But, the fat? But, it’s good healthy, naturally occurring fat not something that was produced and refined in a factory. Fruit? Of course! Eat as much as you would like. But… No buts! The sugar that occurs naturally in fruit is NOTHING like the high fructose corn syrup in that soda or the refined cane sugar in sweets! Yes, you may have seen that bullshit image of the sugar packets lying next to a piece of fruit representing the sugar in each fruit. I cannot tell you how this image infuriates me! The sugars you find in a packet at a restaurant are not the same as the sugars in fruit. Your body processes each very differently. Wheat? Although it is my personal choice to refrain from wheat (it just kills my stomach and leaves me super bloated) there is nothing wrong with wheat either. Just ensure you are buying organic because wheat crops are highly processed and by the time most wheat makes it to us its almost unrecognizable to our bodies.

Of course don’t solely eat rice, bread and potatoes all day but don’t label these things as ‘bad’. Choose lots of fruit and vegetables then add in the rest!

R-Reap. Reap the benefits of a high-carb diet

When switching to a high carb diet you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Satiation: you will find that you feel full after meals and can sustain for longer periods of time without feeling starved. Thank you fiber!
  • Energy: You will find that you actually feel energized after eating and you will have the carbs needed to fuel your active body.
  • Performance: Since switching to a high carb diet a few years ago I noticed a drastic difference in my workouts! I felt strong and energized and could therefore work harder during my workout instead of feeling as though my body was heavier than a bag of bricks. If I am feeling tired I will often have a small snack before working out which is usually enough to get me going.
  • Less Bloating: One of the biggest things I come across in the fitness world is the thought that veggies make you bloated. Yes, if you chase your steak with veggies chances are you may get bloated due to the fact that the meat you ate takes FOREVER to digest leaving everything to sit and ferment. But, honestly the purer my diet is (meaning least amount of processed foods) the less likely I am to feel bloated.

 

But, you don’t have to take this from me try experiencing it all for yourself!

B-Build

Ok, this last point is targeted at those guilty pleasures we talked about before. Sometimes you go to the store and you find that no matter how hard you try to find a pizza, chocolate cake, or potato chips with limited chemicals you simply cannot find anything! It happens. For me, my guilty pleasures are pizza, ice cream, and potato chips. Sometimes I give in to the junk but if I’m having a really fit savvy week, I plan ahead. I search out recipes or alternatives to make at home that will satisfy my craving without ruining my week. Some of my fit hacks include cauliflower pizza crust, banana nice cream (recipe on blog), sweet potato or zucchini chips in the dehydrator, or OMG… gluten-free, vegan protein pancakes! My mouth just watered. I have even found recipes for black bean brownies! Whaat!?

So get creative! You can have a little treat that is also healthy and guess what?! You end your day feeling proud of yourself for rocking your diet and fitness!

Alright, that’s all I have for you today. I really hope this was helpful and you found encouragement to maybe start entertaining the idea of loving carbs again.

If there are any guilty pleasures you would like to see healthy recipes for in future posts comment below! I love getting creative in the kitchen!

Have a beautiful week! Keep up the great work!

Lots of love (and carbs),

Andrea B Fit

The Low Carb Lie

Low-carb,

Many of you women out there know exactly what I’m talking about. You may have even uttered the phrases “I’m staying away from carbs” “Carbs are my weakness” or “That has too many carbs for me” LADIES!! WAKE UP! While I am not saying you are crazy for thinking this (I am guilty of thinking these exact same things myself) I am bringing to light the fact that we are CONDITIONED to think that carbs are what make us fat! It cannot be more WRONG! Yet most girls grow up hearing their moms or other women talk about the evils of carbs.

I want to tear my hair out at the amount of trainers or health professionals that put their clients on obscenely low calorie and low-carb diets assuring them it’s the best way to lose weight. Not to mention they leave their clients thinking that achieving KETOSIS is the key to all their health problems! (I may have vomited a little in my mouth at the word.)

In this post I will discuss low-carb diets and ketosis; what they are, their benefits, and their side-effects. In my next post I will detail just how you can begin to love carbs again, feel healthier, AND yes, still lose weight!

Alright so what’s the deal with low-carb diets anyway?

Let’s have a quick talk about metabolic pathways. The body has a process of taking the foods we eat and turning them into nutrients we can then use for energy. Our bodies derive glucose from carbohydrates, fatty acids from fat, and amino acids from protein. In normal fed circumstances our bodies either use these compounds for energy or they are stored as glycogen (carbs and protein) or fat (all 3 have potential to be stored as fat). When our body is starved of food for more than 3 days our glycogen stores have been depleted and our body starts to use fat stores for energy. The liver breaks down fatty acids and produces ketones to fuel the body when glycogen is absent. These ketones are also produced when our bodies are starved of carbohydrates, which lead us to the term ketosis. The state of ketosis is when our bodies, in the limitation or absence of carbs, begins to utilize ketones as fuel for the muscles, heart, brain, and all other organs instead of glucose.

Just to review, low carb diets induce ketosis, ketosis mimics the same metabolic breakdown as STARVATION. Ketosis is starvation without actually starving yourself.

Now, let’s take a step back from the science of low-carb and talk simply about how it makes you feel. A simple google search of “symptoms of ketosis” will yield information such as:

  • Bad Breath
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive Issues (main issue being constipation! Fun)
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased Performance
  • Keto-flu (flu-like symptoms)
  • Nausea
  • Leg Cramps
  • Irritability
  • Excess Thirst
  • Heart Palpitations

The list goes on! But don’t worry if you find yourself on a webpage that advocates in favor of a low-carb diet they will assure you that in time these all will pass.

Ok, I’ll be real, I have done the low-carb thing before thinking it would be the key to achieving and maintaining weight loss. I felt like shit the whole time! I was tired, hungry ALL the time, dizzy, nauseous, and holy crap was I grumpy! This alone was enough to convince me that it wasn’t worth it, and then I started eating carbs again…. Anyone want to take a guess what happened? No, you don’t have to guess do you? Because you have either been there or seen a friend who has experienced it… chimpmunk-itis. Meaning the abnormal swelling of the entire body especially the face which makes one look like a chipmunk! (Taken straight from the Andrea Brogdon dictionary of health related words) We laugh now, but at the time it was not funny. At all. Lol. But Really.

Long-term effects of a low-carb diet

When it comes to looking at health information my inner biologist likes to go straight to the source (scholarly articles/studies) because quite honestly when you get info from a third, fourth, or fifth source the info often gets skewed. Not to mention the censorship of mainstream media and information which makes it difficult to sort through the crap, but that’s a whole other can of worms. So I’m going to give it to you straight and try to avoid the boring scientific mumbo-jumbo.

Benefits of low-carb:

Brain: After looking at tons of sources about how ketones affect the brain I found almost no significant effects on a healthy adult brain as compared to glucose. I have to be honest this was the first organ I wanted to know if function was impaired when running off ketones instead of glucose. I did however stumble upon studies examining the effects of a ketogenic diet on epileptic adults and children which found a low-carb diet to be effective in reducing the number of seizures patients experienced. (1)

Weight-loss: The reason most people submit to a low-carb diet is weight loss. Most people will experience weight loss but, there is always a threat of rebound (as mentioned above it is not pretty. Recall: chipmunk-itis). However, many people are happy with the weight loss they experience on a low-carb diet while getting to eat tons of savory, fatty foods.

There are also claims to energy benefits and appetite suppression with a low-carb diets.

Risks of low-carb:

Heart: Studies conducted on the effects of ketogenic diets on blood lipids found that levels of “bad cholesterol” (LDL) and total cholesterol were elevated while levels of “good cholesterol” (HDL) were lowered. LDL- cholesterol is considered a major contributor to lipid accumulation in arteries. This suggests that long-term adherence to a low-carb diet can mean an increased risk of heart disease.(2) This increase in LDL can also be due to the higher consumption of animal protein which leads to the next two risks.

Bowel Cancer: We cannot ignore the link between colorectal cancer and diets high in animal protein. Most low-carb diets are high in meat and low in fiber (hello constipation!). Not only does this cause stagnation in your bowels but, high meat consumption is linked to bowel cancer. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables are shown to have protective effects against many cancers including bowel, breast, pancreatic, lung, and stomach. Low-carb diets highly limit fruits and veggies! Not to mention all the great fiber you get from other grains that are limited or eliminated altogether. (3-8)

Bone Health: A diet high in meat can also lead to acidity in the body which can affect bone health. Meat, which contains Sulphur amino acids, can cause a change in blood acidity causing increased calcium, potassium, sodium and ammonia loss in the urine. (9,10,11) You’re literally peeing out necessary nutrients!

Kidney Stones: low-carb diets raise blood cholesterol and free fatty acids increasing the risk of kidney stones. (12) Kidney stones are not only painful but they are dangerous! Patients with Kidney stones run the risk of rupturing a Kidney if the stone is dislodged or becomes too large.

Phew, that is a lot! Honestly, I started this blog post with the intention of a small discussion about low-carb diets and ketosis but the nerd inside me just couldn’t help going down the rabbit hole of scholarly articles and health studies. I originally thought I would write all my thoughts about ketogenic diets down in one day but this post ended up taking me over a week. Why? I am passionate about the subject, most of all I am passionate about women’s health. I’m so tired of women thinking that carbs are making them fat. This kind of thinking only leads to a deprivation/binge cycle and it’s just destructive. Weight loss aside this kind of diet can be downright dangerous to your health in the long run. There is a better way I promise.

I hope I was able to present all this information in a helpful way. If you’re inner nerd is also intrigued by periodicals feel free to check out the works cited below!

As mentioned previously keep a look out for my next blog post detailing how you can start loving carbs again and achieve your fitness goals on a carb-full diet!

Hope your week is absolutely amazing!

With love,

Andrea B Fit

 

Works Cited:

  1. Kinsman, S. L., Vining, E. P. G., Quaskey, S. A., Mellits, D. and Freeman, J. M. (1992), Efficacy of the Ketogenic Diet for Intractable Seizure Disorders: Review of 58 Cases. Epilepsia, 33: 1132–1136. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1157.1992.tb01770.x
  2. Freedman MR,  King  J,  Kennedy    Popular diets:  a scientific review.  Obesity Research 2001;9  Suppl  1:1S- 40S.
  3. Bingham   Meat, starch and non-starch polysaccharides and large bowel cancer. Am J Clin Nutr 1988; 48: 762-7.
  4. Sandhu M,  White  ,  McPherson  K.  Systematic  review  of  the  prospective  cohort  studies  on  meat  consumption  and  colorectal cancer risk: a meta-analytical approach. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2001;10: 439-46.
  5. Norat T,  Riboli    Meat consumption and colorectal cancer:  a review of epidemiologic evidence.  Nutr  Rev  2001; 59: 37-47.
  6. Truswell   Meat consumption and cancer of the large bowel. Eur J Clin Nutr 2002; 56 Suppl 1: S19-S24.
  7. Hill M. Meat cancer and dietary advice to the public. Eur J Clin Nutr 2002; 56 Suppl 1: S36-S41.
  8. McIntosh   Cereal foods,  fibre  and  the  prevention  of  cancers. Aust J Nutr Diet 2001; 58: S34-S48
  9. Barzel US,   Massey      Excess   dietary   protein   can adversely affect bone. J Nutrition 1998; 128: 1051-3.
  10. Lemann Jr    Relationship  between  urinary  calcium  and  net  acid  excretion  as  determined  by  dietary  protein  and  potassium: a review. Nephronology 1999; 81 Suppl 1: 18-25.
  11. Wang X, Zhao X. The effect of dietary sulphur–containing amino acids on calcium excretion. Adv  Exp  Med  Biol 1998; 442: 495-9.
  12. Cotter DG, Schugar RC, Crawford PA. Ketone body metabolism and cardiovascular disease. American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 2013;304(8):H1060-H1076. doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00646.2012.

My 3 Favorite HIIT workouts right now

Hey all, happy #TipTuesday!

Today I will be talking about HIIT workouts, why they are so great, and sharing with you my 3 favorite HIIT workouts right now!

HIIT- High intensity Interval Training. If you are new to the term HIIT you’re in for a treat or curse (you decide)! HIIT is also synonymous with death BUT if you’re looking for a killer workout to maximize caloric burn that can be done in a short amount of time then you’re in the right place! (Excuse the morbidity! lol)

Image result for Funny HIIT memes

The basic structure of a HIIT workout is a period of high intensity work at about 80-95% effort followed by a period of low intensity work at 40-50% effort. The most common length of a HIIT workout can range from 20-60 minutes. Most of the time I incorporate a 20 minute HIIT workout 3 times per week but occasionally will add in a 45 min HIIT workout if I’m feeling a little crazy!

Some of the main reasons people choose HIIT workouts over regular endurance training is:

  1. Higher Caloric burn: the main reason there is a higher caloric burn with interval training is not only because of the high intensity work but also because you continue to burn calories hours after you complete your workout. This happens because after performing HIIT workouts your body experiences a wonderful thing called EPOC: Excessive Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (aka after-burn) which is the amount of oxygen your body utilizes in order to restore itself back to homeostasis. Essentially your metabolism continues to work long after you complete your workout which equates to MORE CALORIES BURNED! Which is a wonderful thing.
  2. Cardiovascular Endurance: Just as any cardio exercise your heart will thank you! High intensity work also helps to improve endurance which will be very evident the more you perform HIIT workouts. Its like pushing your breaking point every single time you workout (hence the death references above).
  3. Fat loss without muscle loss: This one sounds too good to be true but let me tell you why this happens with HIIT workouts. HIIT has been shown to increase the size and number of mitochondria in the body. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell which take in oxygen and nutrients and produces ATP (energy) for the body’s cells to utilize. This increase in mitochondrial density translates to more energy for our muscles to use during exercise AND rest.  In a study by Christopher Perry et. al they found that after a 6-week period of HIIT the ability for the body to burn fat for energy increased and the burning of carbohydrates decreased. To summarize HIIT is great for energy utilization and fat burning!

These are just a few of the benefits of HIIT workouts, now I will share with you my 3 favorite ways to reap these great benefits!

The first workout can be utilized in pretty much any kind of cardio exercise including: running, swimming, cycling, stairs, walking etc.

Workout #1: Pyramid

1 min warm up

10 sec sprint

20 sec jog

20 sec sprint

20 sec jog

30 sec sprint

20 sec jog

40 sec. sprint

20 sec jog (then reverse)

30 sec sprint

20 sec jog

20 sec sprint

20 sec jog

10 sec sprint

20 sec jog

Repeat for 20-60 min

Cool down 1 minute

 

This next workout can be completed using an aerobic step or a park bench.

Workout #2

High: Jump Squats

5 sec. rest

Low: Crunch

5 sec. rest

High: Step Up (Right Side)

5 sec. rest

Low: Bicycle Crunch

5 sec. rest

High: Step Up (Left Side)

5 sec. rest

Low: V-ups

5 sec. rest

High: Box Jumps

5 sec. rest

Low: Leg Lifts

5 sec. rest

High: Burpee Box Jumps

5 sec. rest

Low: Russian Twists

Repeat to desired length 20-60 min.

 

This last workout can be done anywhere with no equipment!

Workout #3

High: Jump Squats

5 sec. rest

Low: Push Ups

5 sec. rest

High: Jumping Lunge

5 sec. rest

Low: Bicycle Crunch

5 sec. rest

High: High Knees

5 sec. rest

Low: V-ups

5 sec. rest

High: Skaters

5 sec. rest

Low: handstand hold, plank, or wall plank

5 sec. rest

High: Burpees

5 sec. rest

Low: Russian Twists

 

Repeat to desired length 20-60 min.

 

Definition of Workouts:

Step Ups: Place right foot on step or bench, move your weight into the right foot and step up onto step or bench. Place feet side by side or bring left knee into chest. Repeat for interval then switch to other leg.

Box Jumps: Stand with feet together, squat low then jump onto step or bench with both feet. Either jump down with both feet or step down one foot at a time.

Box Jump Modification: Step up with right foot then left, step down with right foot than left. Alternate which foot you lead with.

Burpee Box Jump: Stand in front of bench or step. Complete 1 burpee then finish with jumping on box and jumping down. Repeat.

Burpee Box Jump Modification: Stand in front of bench. Squat then walk feet back to plank, walk back to squat, then step up on bench. Finish by stepping down from bench.

Skaters: Start in a small squat. Jump sideways to the left, landing on your left leg. Bring your right leg behind to your left ankle, and don’t let it touch the floor. Reverse direction by jumping to the right with your right leg.

Handstand Hold: Kick up into a handstand against a wall and hold.

Wall Plank: If you are working up to a handstand hold. Start by positioning yourself in a plank facing away from the wall. Begin to walk your feet a couple inches up the wall. Position your feet in a spot where you will be able to hold (The lower your feet the more ab engagement the higher your feet the more upper body/shoulder engagement)

Hope these are helpful! Let me know if you incorporate HIIT workouts or if you try them out let me know what you thought! I love hearing from you guys! ❤

Enjoy!

Lots of Love,

Andrea B Fit

 

References:

Perry, C.G.R, Heigenhauser, G.J.F, Bonen, A., and Spriet, L.L. (2008). High-intensity aerobic interval training increases fat and carbohydrate metabolic capacities in human skeletal muscle. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 33(6), 1112-1123.

Gibala, M. (2009). Molecular responses to high-intensity interval exercise. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 34(3), 428-432.