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3 Habits Guaranteed to Change Your Body

A few people have asked me recently if I could recommend one thing to my clients to lose weight, what would it be? While there’s no magical solution to transform your body overnight (sorry guys, but change does take time), there are a few key things you can do that will have a guaranteed impact on your physique.They asked for one thing, but I’m going to give you three. Ideally, you would do a combination of all of them, but even adopting one of these habits has the power to change your body.

1. Cardio

While I disagree that cardio is the end-all be-all to lowering your body fat percentage (you can spend hours upon hours on the elliptical and still technically be “skinny fat” a.k.a low body weight but high fat mass), cardio does play an important role in weight loss. Especially if you’re just starting out with an exercise routine, cardio is important to increase your cardiovascular endurance and burn fat. The recommendation is to shoot for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week. Better yet, try to mix it up and do a little bit of both moderate- and vigorous-intensity cardio to keep things interesting and your muscles guessing.

2. Weight lifting

There seems to be a common misconception that lifting weights will make you bulk up like a bodybuilder. There’s a reason why bodybuilders spend so much time in the gym lifting crazy heavy weights – it take a LOT of work to get jacked like that. Adding resistance training with free weights to your workout routine will only help your fat loss process. Not only does it help you tone and define your muscles, building lean mass while you’re reducing your overall fat mass, it also helps boost your metabolism so you’ll continue burning calories for hours after your finish your workout!

3. Counting calories

Speaking of calories…. This seems to be the one that people struggle with the most, but it’s really the most fundamental to weight loss. Losing weight essentially means burning more calories than you consume, and the only way to be sure you’re doing that is to calculate just how many calories you’re consuming each day. You can calculate how many calories you should aim to consume each day by using a simple online resting metabolic rate calculator. Keep of journal of what you eat for at least a week to get an idea of how many calories you typically consume on an average day, and then make the necessary tweaks to try to reach your daily allotment. MyFitnessPal.com is a really useful tool to help you track and manage your caloric intake on your phone, so you have no excuses! ;) It’s important to note that not all calories are created equal. You can hit your daily max eating only junk food, but that won’t get you the results you want. Try to get your fill on nutritious “real” food with the proper breakdown of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

Even adopting just one of these habits will have an affect on your body composition, but hitting the trifecta will earn you the best results. If you’re hesitant about biting off more than you can chew, start small. Try counting your calories for a week and making the appropriate adjustments before introducing a cardio or weight lifting routine. Or next time you finish your treadmill sprint at the gym, hit the free weights for a bit. Making small, sustainable changes will bring about lasting results.

Sample High-Intensity Interval Workout!

Looking for a quick cardio fix? Do you have 10 minutes? Try this high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout for a quick boost!

  • 0:00-1:30m        Jumping Jacks
  • 1:30-2:00m        Rest
  • 2:00-3:30m        Mountain Climbers
  • 3:30-4:00m        Rest
  • 4:00-5:30m        High Knees
  • 5:30-6:00m        Rest
  • 6:00-7:30m        Burpees
  • 7:30-8:00m        Rest
  • 8:00-9:30m        Squat Jumps
  • 9:30-10:00m      Rest

Extra credit – keep track of how many of each exercise you do, then try to beat your record next time! You can do it!!!

What is your “Why?” and Other Thoughts on Motivation

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Imagine you’re 15 miles in to your first-ever marathon, wondering what it was that ever possessed you to subject yourself to such a tortuously long race. Or maybe you’ve just been sweating it out hard on the treadmill for 20 minutes and the ‘stop’ button is seductively staring you down. Imagine you’re 2 sets in to your 3-set workout, thinking about dropping your weight to about half of what you should be lifting, or ditching the last set altogether to finish up early. In those moments, when you feel your resolve slipping away and nothing sounds better than giving into the temptation to stop or slow down or give up, you find yourself asking “why?” Why am I doing this? Why should I keep going? Why not go easy on myself? Why not give up?

It’s nearly impossible to achieve any goal without having proper motivation. Our reasons for living a fit life are as diverse as we are, and in times of doubt and temptation and weakness, it’s important to know what your “why” is. Whether it’s to rock your bikini on the beach this summer, to cross the finish line at a race you’ve always wanted to participate in, to play with your kids without having to stop and catch your breath, or maybe to add a few more years to your lifespan, your “why” is what will keep you focused on your way to achieving your goals. It’s what will make you turn those moments when you feel like giving up into the moments when you push yourself the hardest. (more…)

Let’s Be Honest: It’s Not Easy, But It’s Easier Than You May Think

On this journey to achieving health & happiness, I always want to be honest with you. Let me begin by honestly admitting that this blog won’t always be a constant source of motivation and positivity that will instantly inspire you to throw out your junk food, stock up on organic meats and produce, and make you enjoy kicking your ass at early morning workouts. Because, honestly, it’s not that easy. It’s one thing to say it’s easy, but anyone who’s tried drastically altering their lifestyle knows that it isn’t true. Especially not for people like me who love chocolate and wine and sleeping in late and could spend an entire day on the couch watching every episode of Friends back-to-back without feeling the urge to hit the gym. Honestly.

In my experience, living a fit life can be hard. It takes time and effort and sacrifice and commitment and patience. It can be hard to take the time on the weekend to plan, shop for and prep your meals for the week. It can be hard to push yourself during your daily workout when all you want to do is sleep, and it can be hard to choose cardio power hour over happy hour at the end of a grueling week. And it can be really hard to stick with it when you’ve been working so hard and still aren’t seeing the results you want. It’s hard to stay focused and sometimes, trying really sucks. I know this. All I’m saying is that it’s worth it. With the right mindset and motivation, it can get easier.

If you get only one (or 3) thing(s) out this blog, let it be that 1) you’re not alone, 2) that you don’t have to be perfect, and 3) that living a fit life – as annoying and inconvenient as it may sometimes be – is entirely worth the hassle. Honestly. (more…)

Journeys Begin with a Single Step

All my life, I’ve been reluctantly labeled a perfectionist. This drive to achieve unrealistic heights of perfection has led me to some of the greatest accomplishments of my life: earning my Bachelor’s degree from Santa Clara University, graduating ahead of schedule (with honors), landing a great job in my desired field at an amazing company right out of college, marrying my high school sweetheart, traveling to new places around the world, building a great life and making a name for myself in a budding new career. It’s also ushered me into some of the darkest moments of my existence thus far: battling depression and anxiety for most of my adult life, and struggling with body image and eating disorders in my late teens and early twenties.

The past several years have become an unfinished ‘coming of age’ tale as I guide myself to let go of my unattainable idea of perfection and accept myself for who and what I am – flaws and failures included. Throughout this journey, I’ve learned to distinguish between what I can and cannot control, to pay attention to what makes me feel good about myself, and to be proactive about living the life that I want for me.

Like most people, the most fundamental thing I want for my life is to be happy and healthy. Luckily, I’ve discovered that these two things often go hand in hand. There are plenty of things in this world that we can’t control. What we can do is make a commitment to ourselves to choose to live a fit life, and to be grateful for the infinite benefits that a healthy and active lifestyle affords us.

This blog is a testament to my commitment to love my fit life. My hope is that it inspires others to make a commitment to their health & fitness, and practice daily gratitude for the life they create for themselves. It’s not about trying to do every single thing perfectly, but rather doing what you can every day to live fit, and to love your fit life.