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?

mtab.jpg

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

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.

Self Love Every Day


We’re about four weeks out from the holiday season now and some people are still holding on to more than just their Christmas lights. Well you may be one of those families that keep their lights up well into February (Guilty! Lol) I’m going to be talking about a little more than Christmas decorations! I’m talking holiday weight! But, I say that with the utmost love and appreciation! Here is why and how you can start practicing self-love TODAY!

OK ladies, we all know it happens to everyone! When someone mutters the phrase ‘holiday weight’ we don’t naively look at them with confusion in our eyes and ask “What’s that?!” No, it’s more like an eye roll followed by a sigh as we meet their frustration with a “Here we go!” or “Tell me about it!” I mean let’s be serious! If someone gave you the choice of sitting on the beach sipping cocktails or sweating it out at the gym which would you choose? (I’m a bit of a workout freak but guuuurl I would still choose the beach cocktails!) It’s the exact same thing when it comes to the holidays. Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Year’s all full of delicious, rich, heavy, did I say delicious? Foods! Let’s not forget all the mulled wine, spiked nog, and seasonal brews! We have the choice of healthy veggies and lean protein or the previously mentioned food! I don’t even have to ask which you would choose!

The biggest thing though, is not the fact that we may have overindulged during the holidays but the loved ones we shared the food and great times with. During this Christmas I thought “I can totally make it through the holidays eating healthy, just watch” and I made it through Thanksgiving great! I made a healthy vegan Thanksgiving lentil loaf and nice cream for dessert and I silently gave myself a HUGE pat on the back. But, as Christmas approached it became harder and harder for me to resist temptation. We were surrounded by family, as we are every Christmas. Our time together was filled with beer and game nights, skiing trips, and day trips. Also, my mom is a baking machine so every time I walked into her house I almost had to shield my eyes from all the goodies that littered the tables and counter tops! Occasionally, believe it or not, I gave in and tried some of her creations and let me tell you, NO REGRETS!. On Christmas day we went snowboarding in a town that was MUCH smaller than I had remembered and since it was Christmas day there was nothing open but the ski resort. If you have ever been a vegan at a small ski resort you will know there is NOTHING they can fry up for you but potatoes! So, Christmas dinner consisted of canned re-fried beans and beer! But, it was all OK! The memories spent with family, even in the most unhealthy eating situations (canned beans and beer lol!), is far more valuable than a pat on the back for eating healthy all Christmas.

I’m sure your story was pretty similar too. Be proud that you spent the time with family. Be proud that you allowed yourself to enjoy small indulgences. I’m not saying it’s OK to OVER-indulge but it is OK to say yes to dessert or add something a little unhealthy to your plate on occasion. This could easily go overboard too and be turned into eating crap all day, every day, for the entire month of December. If that happened to you, oh well. Shit happens! But like I mentioned in my post “Resolutions Don’t Work” don’t beat yourself up over it. We cannot change what happened yesterday, or last month, or last year but we can change what we do right now, in this moment and how we will work on things tomorrow.

So how do you love yourself today despite how you may feel or how many pounds you gained?

  1. Stop obsessing over the extra weight!

I know your clothes may feel a little tight and you may feel like a bloated blimp. Believe me I have been there and I know I will be there again. It’s just normal. Most women will experience weight fluctuations throughout their life and it’s just how it goes. So, you can either obsess over the idea (or reality) of gaining weight, for the rest of your life or just start accepting the fact right here, right now. It’s OK!

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  1. You are still the beautiful and amazing you!

Just because you put on a few extra pounds doesn’t mean you are any less beautiful. I know when I gain a little weight I tend to fall into the obsession trap and worry so much about how frumpy and dumpy I feel instead of focusing on enjoying life despite how I perceive myself. When I gain a few pounds I often feel like I have to hide myself from the world until I am once again satisfied with my weight and how I look. THIS IS JUST BULLSHIT! Ladies, we need to stop letting our size determine how much we enjoy life from one day to the next. Housed within that beautiful shell is an even more beautiful soul and you need to let that shine as if the world depended on it! Cause guess what, it kind of does… but really, when we are so obsessed over how we look, which causes us to hide ourselves, we miss opportunities to experience the beauty of life or opportunities to brighten someone else’s day because we are stuck in a cloud we created ourselves. A cloud that not only did we create but we are the only ones who see it! No one else cares about the 5,10,15 extra pounds you put on they just see your personality, your kindness, your light, and how you make them feel. And quite honestly if someone is judging you for your weight or making rude comments about it, Forget them! You sure as hell don’t need that kind of person or negativity in your life.

  1. Where you are now does not determine where you will be tomorrow.

One of the biggest affirmations I say to myself when I feel yucky is “The more I love and accept myself, the more motivated I become to accomplish my goals” OK that’s a lie I’m not even that eloquent in my own head, it’s more like “Yeah I’m a little chunkier today, but I’m going to crush this workout and feel better tomorrow!” Your mindset absolutely affects your success today. So put your big girl panties on and get past the barriers you are creating for yourself and focus on crushing your diet, workout, or insecurities today! Then, wake up tomorrow and do it all over again! The best way to succeed from Monday to Friday is not to focus on Friday but to do your best today and take care of tomorrow when it comes.

  1. Finally, find small ways to show yourself love and appreciation today

Appreciate your beauty today. That might be something as simple as picking one thing to love about your body today and focusing on that throughout the day! Maybe you choose to do something that makes you feel beautiful like dressing up and going out or picking an activity that you excel at like singing, playing an instrument, dancing, or practicing yoga. Whatever it may be, do it, and appreciate your beauty and uniqueness.dba79b62-b9d6-4c88-a39a-66a0fc53daf8Now go out there and rock it girl! Own where you are then show yourself how much you are capable of accomplishing when you put all the insecurities and worries aside. Let your journey be an inspiration to others.

You ARE beautiful. Let it shine!

Have a wonderful #SelfLoveSaturday!

Sending lots of love your way,

Andrea B Fit

Stop Doing Nothing!

Good morning and happy Monday! I hope you all are having a wonderful start to your week!

I’m coming to you super excited and pumped to share some great news! Last night I finally became a Certified Personal Trainer! This is pretty exciting not only because I want to help so many people accomplish their fitness goals and feel great about their bodies but also because this has been a goal of mine for so many years! Accomplishing this goal had me thinking of all the other goals we seem to put aside because of life, money, energy, motivation, [Enter Excuse Here] etc. And when I finally completed something I have wanted for a long time I can’t help but think “Why did I wait so long?!”

How many times have we put aside goals possibly because we are too busy or maybe we have a false perception of your goals just being too big or challenging? Our fear often leads to inactivity and eventually we stop looking ahead at the goals we want and instead focus on complaining about the things in our life we don’t want and wish we could change. Or maybe we are just lead to complacency which is even more dangerous than failure!

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For me, my excuse or complacency was rooted in my focus on school. While I’m not saying that I should have been less absorbed or focused on school, I am suggesting the reality that school does not take up 100% of every day. I cannot tell you how many times I thought “I’m too busy right now to focus on that” which was a lie! I was never too busy for those college parties, or to waste a weekend away being lazy, or to watch TV! So why didn’t I just GET IT DONE?!

The reality is, none of this can be changed and I’m OK with that! I’m excited and overjoyed with my accomplishment and my focus is still on the future! So, how does this pertain to you? Well, it’s January and maybe you have set a resolution this year that you are ready to see happen this year! That is amazing! What are you doing right now, this moment to help in your success? It’s also Monday and if you told yourself Friday night as you were out having drinks and delicious oil drenched salty foods with friends that Monday you were going to start eating healthy. How are you planning for today to help you succeed in this goal? Whatever it may be that you want to accomplish start today! Yes, I understand you are busy! But, let’s be honest the problem is not limitation of time it’s a limitation of desire! Because if we want something enough we make time for it!! So make time for YOU today!

“The Problem is not limitation of time it’s limitation of desire!”

Finally my success is also potential for your success as well. I will soon be offering online personal training packages that you can take advantage of to help you accomplish your health goals! If you’re looking for personalized meal planning, training plans, one on one consultation, motivation or yoga guidance I’m your girl!! It is time you stop making excuses and start seeing real results! If you are interested in any of these tools to kick off your success send me an email and I will be sure to contact you first as things get rolling! Until then keep of the great work and keep setting small goals that will get your closer to your BIG goal this year!

Have a beautiful Monday! I hope today you show yourself and your body a little love and appreciation! Because you deserve it!

Lots of love,

Andrea B Fit

Vegan Nice Cream Recipe

Recipe Time! Since transitioning to a plant-based diet over 6 years ago I quickly learned that you have to be creative when it comes to cooking meals! All the time, every day, constantly trying new things. Which is great because you learn how to season and cook so many different, delicious and healthy foods that you can add to your vegan repertoire. If you’re not being creative you find you are eating a lot of the same boring beans, salads, soups etc. and nobody wants that.

If you’re anything like me the simpler the better! Sometimes we just don’t have the time to cook an amazing complicated meal but we still want the AMAZING! Don’t get me wrong I like to get a little crazy in the kitchen every now and then but on the daily, healthy, simple and delicious are just want I need.

For those of you out there with a sweet tooth this is the PERFECT simple, healthy, and delicious recipe! Vegan Nice Cream. Just like regular ice cream but a nicer plant-based version ;). The best part is it’s made from frozen bananas! It really doesn’t get any healthier than that!

I know what you’re thinking…” frozen banana ice cream? Come on, when I want ice cream I’m craving junk! This can’t possibly satisfy that craving.” Oh, but it can! And it will. I cannot tell you how many skeptical, dairy-loving, people I have made this for who later became Nice Cream believers! So, what have you got to lose? You might just gain a healthy ice cream alternative you can enjoy totally guilt-free!!!

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Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

3 Frozen Bananas (freeze without the peel!)

1 Cup Almond Milk (can use hemp, soy, coconut etc.)

Add-ins of your choice!

Today I chose to add a half scoop of Growing Naturals Organic Rice Protein in Chocolate and some cacao nibs

Other options: frozen or fresh berries, peanut butter, graham crackers, nuts, mint extract and chocolate chips, coconut flakes, espresso, the possibilities are endless!!

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Method:

Place bananas, nut milk, and add-ins you intend to puree into the nice cream into a blender. Blend until smooth. You may need to stop the blender periodically and mix with a spatula to ensure all banana chunks get blended. Pour into a bowl, top with additional goodies, and enjoy!

Those interested in the macros of 1/2 this recipe: Calories: 250 Carbs: 50 Protein: 9 Fat: 3.5 perfect fit into the high-carb, plant-based diet!

This seriously takes 5 minutes if you freeze the bananas ahead of time. When my bananas start to turn from perfect to kind of squishy that’s about the time I place them into the “To Be Nice Cream” freezer bin and they are ready for the next time I’m craving sweets!

Hope you enjoyed the recipe! Try it out and let me know how it goes! If you have some awesome Nice Cream recipes I’d love to hear about them!

Have a beautiful day!

 

Andrea B Fit