GO GREEN – How to fit more veggies into your nutrition (deliciously)

It’s the most wonderfully GREEN time of the year; St. Patrick’s Day is just a few days away, plants are
starting to pop through the earth’s surface and spring is soon upon us! What a perfect time to get those nutrient dense, healthy veggies BACK in the meal planning routine.

What’s the big deal about veggies?

Yes, we’ve all heard since the beginning of time that we MUST EAT MORE VEGETABLES. You’re probably trying your darnedest to hit the FIVE servings/daily you’re ‘supposed’ to throw down. So… why are the so important?

  • Most veggies are very low in calories and high in nutrient density
  • Some awesome nutrients you can find include; potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C
  • Eating a diet rich in vegetables may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke
  • Eating a diet rich in some vegetables may protect against certain types of cancers
  • Nutrition rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes
  • Eating vegetables rich in potassium may lower blood pressure, and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss
  • Eating foods such as vegetables that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.

The list goes on and on…

How to fit more veggies into your nutrition routine

Veggies at breakfast are a fantastic way to start the day. Think a bit outside of the box when making a quick meal in the morning or preparing your am meals before the week gets started. Some ideas for breakfast vegetables:

  • Omelets are the perfect hangout for protein AND load of veggies. Include onion, peppers, and leafy greens for easy veggie add ons.
  • Those scrambled eggs? Throw in some mushrooms and at the very end, top with a veggie dense salsa (yum)
  • Don’t discriminate against non breakfast foods in the morning. Leftover veggies from the night before or ANYTHING you have in the fridge are fine to start your day. Become a non breakfast, breakfast person

Salads are boring. You shouldn’t have to relegate yourself to iceberg lettuce, shredded carrot and a radish for you lunch time fueling session. Think a bit more about how you can ‘yummy’ your lunch. Here are some easy ideas:

  • Sandwiches are FINE. Load ’em up with all the veggies! Ditch the drab piece of iceberg and load that sammy with romaine/bibb or butter lettuce. Try a few tomatoes, cucumber, onion (unless you’ve got some close speaking engagements on tap for the afternoon), pickles, bean sprouts and a small shmear of hummus. Add a pice of turkey or chicken for some protein and you’ve got a healthy sandwich that sets you up all afternoon.
  • Try coleslaw as a healthy vegetable-rific side
  • Beef up your drab salad with more dense, colorful veggies. Throw together a monster salad the
    night before, with more dense/moisture driven veggies on the bottom. Try a jar salad; make multiple jars Sunday to eat for lunch throughout the week!
  • It doesn’t have to be complicated. Need a few more servings of veggies to satisfy your serving goals AND your stomach? Cut veggies. Put veggies in plastic baggie or environmentally safe container of your choice. Take veggies with you. Eat veggies. Use hummus or a low calorie dressing for a bit more flavor if need.

Ok, we’ve upped your veggies dramatically and it’s only 4pm. So how can we get some more fun veggies in at dinner that don’t take hours and don’t need waves of fatty dressings and dips. Bring on dinner:

  • ROAST the veggies. This method is quick, easy and I haven’t found a combination of veggies that has not been delicious when roasted. Throw on the oven to 375-400 degrees or so, chop your favorite veggies, salt/pepper and drizzle with EVOO. Throw them in and let them go while you finish off the rest of dinner. Use what’s in season or on sale at your local market!
  • Again, think a bit outside the dinner box. Instead of a protein, veggie and starch… use two vegetables, but one with a little more oomph to it. Try roasted broccoli and acorn squash, asparagus and sweet potatoes and get creative!
  • Finish pastas, lasagnas, grains and casseroles with leafy greens. Spinach, kale, collards, etc. are a great last minute addition to dozens of easy dishes. Throw them in, chopped, with a few minutes to go and you’ve easily got a serving that’s hard to notice.

But, what about the CHILDREN!

Sure, kids notoriously don’t like their veggies. But, there are ways around it. You could either go back in time and introduce a bigger variety of fruits/vegetables to them early on, throw lame steamed mush at them OR use some tricks to get them to eat the awesome healthy veggie things.

  • One of my favorite clients used a great trick teaching her kids about the importance of their food, and even better, vegetables. From early on she stressed the importance of a colorful plate. Fill that plate with COLORS, she reminds them. This drastically helps them make good decisions.
  • Chop/finely diced veggies fit well in most ditches, especially when they’re cooked INTO them. The veggies will take on the flavors of the dish. Season well!
  • Leafy greens are another easy, tricky way to fit in healthy vegetable things. Chop greens and throw them in lasagna, pastas, casseroles, etc.
  • Zucchini and squash are sneaky vegetables. Shred finely and add to many of the dishes listed here
  • Sauces (spaghetti, sloppy joes, etc.) are great sneaky places to add finely diced, shredded vegetables as well. The better they cook down, the more likely you’ll get away with it
  • Tomato sauce (pasta), salsa and pizza sauce are great places to tuck away the veggies
  • Broccoli and cauliflower are notoriously delicious veggies when given a cheesy kick. Create a small cheesy bit o’ deliciousness to top steamed broccoli/cauliflower OR try a Cauliflower Mac N’ Cheese.

Vegetables are a must have in your daily nutrition, but they don’t have to be boring, mushy or inedible. Your meal prep doesn’t even have to take hours to make it happen. Try to get in a serving or two at each meal and throw in one serving as a snack. One serving (1/2 cup) is nothin’! You can easily chop, dice, shred that much into your meals.

Grab some more of the green (and colorful) stuff from your produce department on the next grocery shopping trip. Try something new! You might not even realize you dig a veggie you once thought to be the devil’s work (aka brussel sprouts when I was a youngster… I can’t get enough now)!

Need more help with your nutrition? A guide. A plan. An assist? We do that! Ask Coach Amelia anytime or head over to our Facebook page (and temporarily free group LIVFIT Nation) now! LIKE us, stick around and learn all the awesome healthy things to help you LIVFIT!

4 Things you can do TODAY for Insta-Fitness

 

We live in an instant gratification present day gotta have it now world. Communication, news, photos, what your friends are up to, the perfect outfit, the perfect meal… the perfect life. But, not everything works that way. In fact, the best things are those that take time… and patience. The need for a quick fix and the health/fitness world clash wildly at one another. Fitness takes time. It takes consistency. Finding new muscles popping takes work, effort and patience.

But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some things we can’t do RIGHT NOW to hurdle us forward in the fight for fit. Make a few tweaks, additions, adjustments and implement them today to kickstart your fitness routine.

1. SET THE TONE

Good habits build healthy people, reach awesome fitness goals. You can’t be sporadic with your focus on fitness. It’s something you work on everyday in some way, over time (see opening to this article). Instead of flailing about with your ‘habits’, create some routine. Not only will this help you actually carry out said healthy habits, BUT it will help your overall pysche towards fitness AND life.

Start be creating a nightly ritual. Set the tone before you go to bed, so all you have to do is carry it out when the alarm goes off. How?

  • Prepare breakfast foods early in the week that you can just grab and heat in the morning
  • Pack your healthy lunch while you’re cooking dinner, also ready to grab in the morning
  • Put out your workout clothes near the bathroom. If you workout early, throw them on and go. If you workout late, put them in a bag with your shoes so they’re ready to snag on your way out the door in the morning
  • Make sure the little things are where they belong; keys on the hook, shoes by the door, work clothes selected, kids things sorted… so all you have to do is GRAB and GO

Make this a nightly routine. The first few times it may take a few minutes, but after just a week or so it will become a habit that you think nothing about. SET THE TONE for your day, either the night before or in the morning. Get each day off on the right foot because YOU decided so.

2. FOOD PREP/PLAN

As you just read; planning ahead, prepping and carrying it out consistently is a must. TODAY, you can start planning out how to eat all the awesome healthy things, create a grocery list, jot them down on a calendar and simply DO.

We created the 10 Day Recipe Kickstart for this very reason. You’re busy, you’re all over the place and it’s holding you back. But, take action today. Take a few minutes right NOW to plan. Here are some helpful tips from the guide:

  1. On a calendar, referencing your schedule that week, create you meal plan. Start with dinners; what’s east, delicious and can be used for leftovers the next day for breakfast or lunch.
  2. Round out lunches; what days will you use leftovers (making extra at dinner time), what days will you pack lunch and what days require you to grab on the go? Write a plan ahead of time.
  3. Breakfast doesn’t have to be a pain in the glutes. Make a batch of frittatas (mini or sheet), create breakfast burritos you can freeze/fridge and try overnight oats (ALL recipes in the GUIDE above). Keep it simple!
  4. Now, all you have to do is find a bit of time on the weekend (or an off day) to put some of these together. Cook the breakfast items. Chop veggies. Marinate meat. Etc.

Break out the calendar (or use the one we provide in the guide) and get to work TODAY!

3. LIFT THINGS UP AND PUT THEM DOWN.

If you’re ONLY doing cardio, you’re going to get just about as far as your pet hamster in its’ wheel with your overall fitness, muscle tone and overall health. Strength training in any form increases; health, sleep, strength, flexibility and muscle tone. It also helps with posture, overall body composition and even your overall state of mind. All while decreasing body fat AND the possibility of injury (in all areas of your life).

Simply said, if your goal(s) involve losing body fat, gaining lean muscle and improving your life… you’ve GOT to incorporate a strength training program in your fitness routine (Coach Katie touched on this in her blog, ‘If you’re not already lifting, start now’. To be honest, it doesn’t even have to be perfect to get started (hint: there’s an easy gym circuit in her blog to get you going). If that’s not the right program for you; find something simple online and have a personal trainer check it out, consult a personal trainer directly and even have them design one specifically for you. Either way; you MUST include lifting things up and putting them back down into your program. For your body, for your fitness and most importantly for your life.

4. GRAB the H2O’s

Did you know that the human body is comprised 60% of water? Not only that, it composes 75% of muscle tissue. WOAH. You need water to live. To move. You need water to thrive.

All functions of the body are directly affected by the amount of water we drink. The functions include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. Let dehydration set in and each of these important functions take a hit. Not only will you experience lower energy levels; but you can become more weak, feel deeper fatigue and even dizzy. This is a recipe for disaster for a great workout, and also how you feel throughout the day. You may not even realize the damage lack of water can do to your body, especially if you’ve never been much of a ‘water drinker’.

If you’re unsure as to whether you’re dehydrated or not, check your urine. Ideally, your urine should be ‘straw colored’; pale yellow and plentiful. The darker the urine, the more dehydrated you are. You can easily start this very moment on getting in more of the H2O good stuff. Grab water. Drink it. Repeat.

BONUS THING: Quiet the NOISE

No, you don’t need to turn your headphones down (although some doctors would tell you to). The NOISE we’re talking about is the avalanche of ‘information’ you receive on a daily basis that has to do with health, fitness, weight lifting, cardio, diet this, thigh gap that, cleanse here, drop there… AGHHH! Enough! The BIG secret to success with your health, fitness and physique is mainly… consistency. There are no magic potions. There are no super pills. There is no one thing that will drop 10 lbs in 2 days. These are simply trigger messages to STAY AWAY.

Focus on you. Focus on simple. Focus on what we learned today. Repeat.

No, there are no quick fixes towards reaching healthy and sustainable fitness goals. If your favorite magazine, late night TV spot or favorite Instagram star are telling you otherwise… you’ve got a long road ahead of you.

Make the choice, right now, to make a change. Change you can knock out TODAY.

I’m Coach A, owner of LIVFIT and love helping folks learn all the awesome healthy things to reach their fitness goals. Want to learn more? Check us out here —> LIVFIT OR email me directly anytime, my virtual door is always open —> amelia@livingfitly.com 

 

Meet Coach Katie, LIVFIT DC

by Coach Katie

Hello Everyone!

My name is Katie and I am one of the coaches of LIVFIT, currently seeing clients in the DC area. I'm from a small beach town in Southern Maine (yes a sandy beach in Maine), but have lived in our nation’s capital for the past 4 years.

How did I get here!? It's still crazy for me to look back and think that as a 5 year old running around the soccer field I would develop a career in health and fitness. Well, that is where it all started.

I played every sport I could and was driven to be the fastest kid out there. There was only one problem, I was built like a twig. As my teammates were getting taller and physically maturing, I wa
s not. During practices and games, I would compete as if I was the tallest and the strongest, but I would continuously get knocked on my ass and injured. After a few dislocated joints, many bruises and turned ankles I decided I needed to start strength training.

Fast forward a few years and I was graduating from college with a bachelor degree in exercise science. WOAH. I guess you can say I found my passion.

How did a kid from Maine end up in the nation's capital? Unlike most people in the area, it wasn't politics that dragged me down to DC, it was my passion for helping people. After finishing my bachelors in Exercise Science, I wanted to learn more. I wanted to learn every bit of information that I could use to help people feel strong, healthy and confident. That being said, I came down to DC for grad school.

“Wow! 6 years of school to become a personal trainer!?” – That's definitely a statement I hear a lot. It's often followed by the statement, “My buddy from home just got certified, he just had to pass an exam.” 

I know, I am crazy. I went through 6 years of school when I could have studied and passed an exam. However, that wasn’t good enough for me. When I say for me, I don’t mean my ego. When I say for me, I mean for my clients. My passion for fitness may have started in the weight room or on the soccer field, but it has developed into something much more important. LIFE!

I wanted and still want to help my clients live a happy, healthy life and I needed to be the most qualified to do so.

However, it's not the textbooks that fuel the fire to my passion it is the clients and the people you meet along the way. Throughout my 7 years as a personal trainer, this past year has been prett
y eye opening. I went from working with division one athletes, to training in a box gym to changing the lives of 'regular people' (although NO ONE is regular, everyone has an inner athlete). Sure, it's exciting to see someone bench press 225lbs with ease….

But have you helped a client get up and down off the ground for the first time in 5 years? Have you helped someone with
chronic pain start to feel pain free?

Those moments are the moments where you realize the importance of your job. The feeling you get when you truly impact someone’s quality of life is indescribable. 

Whether you're in the fitness industry or not... take the time to positively impact someone’s life and see how great you feel afterward, then you will truly understand why I do what I do and why I love what I do.

My virtual door is always open. You can contact me anytime (current clients, interested folks or if you simply have a few questions) via email at katie@livingfitly.com

Katie sees both private, in-home personal training clients as well as offering an expanding online coaching program. She is currently taking on clients in the DC area on a case-by-case basis. Inquire today!

We are heavier than ever. WHY?

by Coach Amelia

Even as a 15-year career private personal trainer, I was shocked to find out that most adults are now exercising more than they were just 5 or 10 years ago. Just 5-10 years ago! Sounds great, right? Well… then why are we heavier than ever? Why are we taxing our health care system now… more than ever? Why do we feel even more terrible about how we feel, look and experience the world now… more than ever?

heavier than ever

I mean, just look at these holiday commercials; adventure races, 5ks, super duper calorie tracking watches at every dollar point, in home DVDs, affordable cardio machines, online coaching at the ready, a booming personal training industry and more! So… what gives? Why are we heavier than EVER?

Better yet… what can be done about it?

Let’s take a closer look at the ‘why’.

1. We’re burning less energy throughout the day than ever before.

Sure, you could be ROCKIN’ out your 5-day split with one hour workouts, hitting all the metrics to drop the fats. But, they’re not budging. Why oh why! You probably also have a desk job that requires you to sit, hunched over, 8-10 hours per day. Yuck! Only 20% of jobs now require consistent movement and physical work in a regular work day. Burning 100 calories less per day just with your regular energy output, plus consuming 100 more calories per day… can add 10 pounds PER YEAR. Wow.

What can you do? Move more. Simple as that. Get up. Get out. Get moving. Set an alarm to get away from your computer. Schedule a walking meeting. Use your lunch or break to go for a 5-15 minute stair walk. Just, be mindful and move! Need some help? Ask a LIVFIT online coach for suggestions, and to get you MOVING in the right direction.

2. We’re eating MORE calories than ever before.

Check it out, ‘the average daily increase in calorie intake alone is enough to explain the rise in obesity’. Woah. Numero uno. We eat way too much. It might not even be your fault. Portion sizes are out of control in this country, because bigger is better right? We want never before seen steaks, sandwiches, burritos, sundaes and loaded fries! The only thing to outdo, is the past you that threw down monster level meals. Awareness is slowly eroding, because bigger and bigger portion sizes make ‘medium’ look ‘small’ and ‘grande’ look ‘poco’.

What can you do? Simple again. Be AWARE of how much you’re eating. That plate at Mad Mex (shout out to Pittsburgh) is HUGE and it’s filled with your favorite burrito that should ACTUALLY only be the size of your hand. Order a small. Use a smaller plate. Take half an order home. Split orders. For the love of all that is GOOD in this world (and for your health)… just. eat. LESS.

3. We’re eating more OUTSIDE of the house.

On average, Americans eat almost HALF of their meals/snacks/indulgances outside of their home. That’s 50% of the food we eat; we have no idea how many calories it contains, what’s in it, how much ‘bad’ fat it contains and worse… the gargantuan portion size it probably boils down to. Simple fact folks; we are awesome at eating at home, but we suck at choosing what to eat out in the real world.

What can you do? Again, it’s not your fault. Restaurants are making it pretty tough to stay on track with healthy eating. They don’t care about your health, they care about your money. Same rules apply. Look ahead. Make smarter decisions. Share a plate. Take half home. 

4. The world is riddled with evil sugar monsters.

Just like the monster under your bed as a child, sugar is always there. It’s always lurking. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And you know what, sugar is WORSE than the monster under your bed. Because sugar really DOES want to do you harm. Listen, small amounts of sugar won’t completely derail your progress, especially if you’re a generally fit person. The leaner and more physically active someone is, the better their body deals with simple sugars; and on the other hand, the more overweight and sedentary someone is, the more harmful high levels of sugar intake becomes.

What can you do? Good rule of thumb? Cut it out. Check labels of the things in your home for sugar. Eat less dessert. Use dessert and other treats as simply that… a small treat. Stay away from using sweets as a solution to a bad day. Get out and get some fresh air instead.

5. We’re drinking our calories.

Whether it’s a venti-crappa-carb-loada-fatta-chino, pop, cocktails, juices or even ‘healthy’ grab n’ go concoctions… we’re drinking a HELL of a lot of calories. 30 years ago we drank water, milk and juice. Now, it’s a waterfall of empty calories out there.

What can you do? Water, water, water. Drink more water. And then, drink more water. Ditch the high calories drinks, you don’t need them. Check labels for unneccessary sugar. And again… be aware. Do a little homework as to how many calories your whiskey laiden egg nog will cost you. Make adjustments. 

6. We don’t sleep anymore.

It’s trendy to be busy, to fill every waking moment (and hours beyond) with SOME sort of… something. Bright screens fill our days and well into our nights. We’re hooked on binge-worthy television, virtual reality gaming and social media fomo (fear of missing out). Guess what? You’re only missing out on ONE important component of living a healthy, happy life. Sleep.

Two awesome things happen when you sleep; your body is burning calories and a super helpful growth hormone is proudced. Not to mention, sleep provides you with more energy during the day, helps you reduce stress, makes you sharper and well… a much more pleasant person to be around.

What can you do? Get more sleep. It IS that easy. Take a look at your day. You can certainly carve out another 30 minutes to tack on your necessary sleep. Use a few minutes now to throw down a time audit to actually see where your time is spent. I guarantee you can find 30 minutes in the evening or night to get more sleep. 

What category do you fall into? Where can you improve? What might be holding you back?

At the end of the day, the likely culprits are that we eat more and move less. It’s a little more complicated than JUST those two components, but it’s exactly where you need to start.

Coach Amelia is a Certified Online Trainer, CPT, CES and FNS. She is owner of LIVFIT, with clients in both Washington DC and San Francisco, CA. She also coaches clients through the magic of the internet; helping them reach their goals from anywhere in the world. Want to chat more with Amelia? Drop her a hello at amelia@livingfitly.com!

5 Golden Strategies for Staying Fit through December

by Coach Amelia

We’re in the THICK of it; THE holiday season. Okay, this can go one of two ways. We can hit all the parties, eat all the food, drink all the drinks and wake up January 1st feeling like a bloated, beached,
I’ll never hit my goals’ loaf…

OR

We can get AHEAD of the madness. Listen, the holidays are awesome; whatever holiday (or not) that you may celebrate. It’s a time for family, friends, fur babies, snowflakes, shopping, snacking, sipping and more. You CAN do all of those things (I especially recommend chasing snowflakes), AND feel awesome January 1st. Wouldn’t you like to actually feel GOOD about yourself when 2017 hits, than be chasing some ‘resolution’?

belly-body-calories-diet-42069RESOLVE to step towards awesome – NOW.

‘Tis the season to look it in the face, enjoy it thoroughly and get STOKED for 2017. Check out our FIVE Golden Strategies for Staying Fit (or continue working towards your fit) this December.

TAKE ON A CHALLENGE

Set your sights on the future, by creating a plan for success now. Get involved with a group challenge, take on a challenge of your own or Google your holiday delight for staying in shape. The first step towards your fitness success is starting with a plan. A challenge builds in the plan automatically and you can put yourself, and your body, on autopilot. Get up, get to it, cross off the day and head towards the end of the challenge (and STRONGLY through the holiday season).

We built the Dashing through December Challenge for this very reason! Every day of the month is set up for building strength, torching fat and keeping you right on target through the holiday season. Check it out!

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-2-50-09-pm

SET A GOAL

Just like setting your sights on a challenge to keep you on track this month, setting a goal will also keep your eye on the prize. The workouts, nutrition, choices and days go much more smoothly when you have a real life goal attached to them. Jot down TWO goals for the month.

How do you want to feel January 1st?

How would you like to feel about your body?

How would you like to feel about your life?

Write it down. Take a photo of yourself now. Try on your favorite shirt. Use these as measurements for your goal(s). Use our LIVFIT Goal Setting guide to get you started, NOW.

MOVE MORE EFFICIENTLY

Okay, so we know it’s highly likely that you’ll consume a bit more calorically through the holiday season. More events, more dinners, more parties, more sugar (eek!), more goodies, more warm/comfy/delicious dishes… yeah, we get it. We’re feelin’ it too. So, what’s a easy way to fight back against the surplus? Rock it out in the gym, on the roads or wherever else you can get your workout on.

  1. Add intervals to your workout session. Include short bursts of higher intensity activity (burpees, sprints, box jumps, runs, etc.). This will help increase your heart rate, and get the body burning during AND after your session.
  2. Go harder, for shorter sessions. Remember, we said to move more EFFICIENTLY. Up the ante in the gym by increasing the intensity of your workout. Spending an extra 20 minutes walking on the treadmill is fine and all, but… ew. No need! Train hard. Keep things intense.
  3. Keep it moving throughout the day, get off your butt! Set an alarm to stand, walk, move. Take the stairs when you’re out and about holiday shopping, park as far as you can from the store entrance, or step up the pace when walking up hills. Anything to move move move with the time you DO have this busy season.

WATCH MORE TV

Wait, what? MORE TV? Yes. We know you’re streaming your favorite holiday shows and movies, but guess what else the magic of the interwebs can do for us? STREAM workouts! Check your favorite streaming services for Yoga, Circuit Training, Pilates and more. We KNOW you’ve planned to get outside; through bundled snow shoveling, track running, holiday shop trekking. But, we also know it’s getting cold. Don’t let your workouts disapear! Turn on the tube, turn on a workout and get in that session!

TREAT YOURSELF

Yes, you do reserve a reward for you hard work! BUT, let’s make it ‘non-food’ oriented. Sure, many people choose a big ol’ hunk of cheesecake after smashing their weekly goals. But, we can do much better. As you knock out each day of your plan this month, keep track of your progress. If you hit your goals for workouts per week, sticking to your nutrition, sliding on your favorite dress with ease… treat yourself to something for YOU. Try a few hours at the spa, a new (more fitting) workout tank, a new pair of training shoes… these are all awesome rewards, without the guilt/attachment to food.

Need a program to get you set up through the holidays and beyond? Let me know! Email me at amelia@livingfitly.com OR check us out —–> Online Fitness Coaching

LIVFIT This Holiday Season – Here’s how to start

Ring in the Holiday Season Without Dinging your Healthy Habits

by Coach Katieholiday-weight

Happy November everyone and welcome to the beginning of the holiday season. As we all know the holidays are filled with drinking, eating and traveling…the three things that can be the most detrimental to our fitness.  Instead of letting the holidays get the best of you, lets be proactive. LIVFIT this holiday season. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the festivities without overindulging.

EATING

It's the holiday season, so don’t restrict yourself from the foods that you love, enjoy them. Instead of scarfing down your plate as fast as you can, take your time eating and savor every bite. Some of the best foods are served during the holidays and if we eat too fast we'll barely taste the goodness of a home cooked meal. So…slow it down, and take the time to truly enjoy your food. When we slow down our eating we not only get to taste the festive flavors, but we give the body enough time to recognize when it's full.

DRINKING

holiday-drinkI don’t know about you, but my family parties involve alcohol, whether it's a holiday or not. I know
this may come as a surprisee to most of you, but alcohol is not usually what makes or breaks our healthy lifestyle. Yes, it has sugar. No, it's not healthy to drink massive amounts. Think about it the next time you drink eggnog. It's not the bourbon that makes it so delicious, it is the cream and processed sugars. Before you mix your holiday drink, think about the mixer that you are adding to it. Are you adding a fruit juice concentrate that contains no fruit whatsoever? Are you adding cream or eggnog that is comprised of saturated fats? DON'T GET ME WRONG if you love eggnog or fruity drinks have one, but keep it at only one… and make it a smaller size than usual.

STAY ACTIVE WHILE TRAVELING

Traveling is amazing, but it messes with the body and messes with our routine. Lets be real, we have a hard time fitting a workout into our normal schedule, so adding some travel plans makes it that much harder to be consistent. However, there is always time to do something active and being consistent is the only way you'll continue to see results. After you get off the plane, train or jump out of the car take some time to stretch. You don’t have to make it complicated, but try to hit every major muscle group.

Lower Body:

  • Hamstrings (back of legs) – reach to your toes.
  • Quads (front of legs) – bend your knee and kick your foot to your butt. Use your hand to grab your ankle and give it a pull. 

Upper Body:

  • Reach your hands up overhead as high as you can. Don’t be afraid to swing them around a little bit. Just make sure you aren’t close to anyone.
  • Bring your arms to your side, then grab your hands together behind your back right above or below your butt (depending on how long your arms are). Stick the chest out and push your hands behind you.

These stretches are simple, quick and can be done anywhere. In addition to the stretches go for a walk after dinner or any moment that you have the time. Walking after a big meal can help speed up the metabolism and can aid in digestion. It also gives you some alone time, unless you go for a walk with a family member and it can be a great time to chat while escaping bigger crowds.

If you are truly devoted to a healthy lifestyle try to add an in home workout. There are plenty of body weight exercises you can do that will elevate the heart rate and work the muscles. We love to post simple in-home/on-the-road circuits on our Facebook page, be sure you're following at LIVFIT! Something is better than nothing and the more consistent you are the more likely you will continue your fitness routine when you return from your holiday visit.

HAVE FUN!

Don’t be miserable throughout the holiday season! With a little physical activity and portion control you can still eat the foods that you love and drink the beverage that makes you happy without throwing away all of your healthy habits. BUT, the plan is to get ahead of the holidays. Don't let the season block your progress. Create a plan. Stick to a program. Be consistent. But NEVER FORGET to keep it fun!

Coach Katie is a certified personal trainer located in the DC Metro area. She is currently accepting clients on a limited basis, but also offers online coaching to her dedicated clients nationwide. You can reach her by email at katie@livingfitly.com OR check out more information on Private 1 on 1 Coaching and Online Coaching on our LIVFIT website. LIVFIT!

Scale it down. Lose the scale, not your mind!

by Coach Katie the scale

How many times have you started a training program and jumped on the scale only to realize you haven’t lost any weight? Just because you don’t lose weight or you even gain weight does not mean that you are failing. When you hop on the scale, that number you see does not accurately represent the fat that’s in your body. That number includes bones, muscles, blood, water (up to 60% in humans, woah) and all of the other things that are a part of the body in addition to your body fat.

We have become so concentrated on the number we see and think that being fit only means losing weight, but that is far from true. Wait, what!? I don’t have to lose weight? The human body is comprised of many things, but I am going to break it down to the two things we care most about when we exercise. Yes, you guessed it… Fat and Muscle.

When you look at the number on a scale does it tell you how much of the weight is fat and how much of the weight is muscle? No, probably not.

fat-v-muscle

Take a look at the picture here, it illustrates the different structure of fat and muscle. The 5lbs of muscle that you see is lean, dense and compact in comparison to the 5lbs of fat. You could gain 10lbs of muscle and lose 10lbs of fat, and your total body weight is going to stay the same according to that pesky scale. You could gain 10lbs of muscle and lose 5lbs of fat and that scale will tell you that you gained weight. But, wait. You LOOK leaner. You FEEL leaner. Your family and friends are commenting on the changes you’ve made with your physique, great job! We rest our case. Instead of using the scale to identify if your fitness program is working for you, use other methods that are more motivating and more beneficial when working toward your goal.

1. BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS

We look at ourselves in the mirror every day whether you admit it or not. How are you supposed to notice a difference when you see the transformation overtime? Before you get serious about your training program, take a picture of yourself. After you follow a strength training program with one of our LIVFIT trainers and start becoming a fitness junky, take another photo of yourself and compare it to the old one and admire all of your accomplishments.

2. ARE YOU FEELING STRONGER OR MORE CONFIDENT?

How are you feeling? Are some of the hardest exercises of your program starting to get easier? Do you have more energy throughout the day? Are you more confident in the gym or in your own skin? If you said yes to any of these questions, your program is working and you are already a stronger, more fit version of yourself.

3. HOW DO YOUR CLOTHES FIT?

Get your favorite outfit on and examine the changes. Is there a little more room in the waste line? Is your short a little baggy? Or…. Do your jacked arms rip your shirt? Do your muscular quads need a size 6, but your waste needs a size 2? That is nothing to complain about

Ok, you’re liking the idea here, you’re ditching the scale. Now, the first question to ask yourself when designing your fitness and nutrition program – IS YOUR ROUTINE MAINTAINABLE? We’re not about quick fixes here, we’re about sustainable habits to help you reach your goals, FEEL the difference and SEE how your favorite jeans fit just right. Make sure you’re setting yourself up for success without the scale. How long can you keep this up for? It takes time and effort to become a stronger, healthier version of yourself. If you continue to follow fad diets and unrealistic training programs, you will never achieve your fitness goals. You cannot build a house overnight. If you did, it is probably not safe.

As you “fall back into fitness” start tracking your results the right way. Step off the scale, pick up some heavier weights (check out my blog on why YOU should be lifting if you’re not already, (Why Women MUST Lift’) and physically challenge yourself at a realistic pace. If you have NO idea where to get started, join my completely FREE 28 day Game Changer Challenge for fat loss (email me and say ‘I’m in!’ for a shot at $250) or explore your goals with a personal trainer!

Coach Katie is a certified personal trainer located in the DC Metro area. She is currently accepting clients on a limited basis, but also offers online training to her dedicated clients. You can reach her by email at katie@livingfitly.com OR check out more information on Private 1 on 1 Coaching and Online Coaching on our LIVFIT website. LIVFIT!

You’re not losing fat – 10 reasons you may be doing it wrong

by Coach Amelia

1706629You’re not alone. Nearly 65% of people who successfully complete a fad diet will end up gaining all of their weight back that they initially lost. Does that sound like you? Maybe you didn’t try out the new ‘all fruit cleanse’, ‘super duper shake month’, or any other specific diet method. BUT, for some reason you just couldn’t, can’t or won’t lose that body fat. Whether it’s the last five pounds or the first, just a few pounds or over 100, there are some common reasons why your plan isn’t working. Sure, we know a balanced attack through nutrition and fitness are integral in reaching your goals. But, are some seemingly blaring issues holding you back from losing fat? Let’s take a look.

1. Too much exercise: Exercise, by the very nature of what it is, adds stress to your body. The primary goal is to add stress to your muscles so they recover and grow. This includes the healthy capacity of the most important muscle, your heart. But, too much stress can result in adverse affects not only for fat loss, but for overall health.

Quick Tip: Are you feeling cranky, lethargic or just ‘off’ even though you seem to be doing everything ‘right’? You may be over-exercising. Take a step back and evaluate your training. In fact, take a step back and a few days off. 

2. Overdoing the cardio: Fat loss is more than a math problem, those days are long gone. We used to do simple equations, burn more than we consume, right? Well, not so fast, it’s not that easy. Our bodies are way to smart to allow such a simple thing to happen. There are countless variables to take into consideration when thinking about fat loss. Calories in, calories out, quality of those calories in (nutrition), quality of that caloric output (long and slow or quick and intense) hormones, metabolism, genetics and more. But we’re not scientists, we’re normal folks that acquire information to make the best decisions and build the best plan that we can. Extreme amounts of cardiovascular exercise can put the body into a ‘save’ mode, unless we’re fueling our bodies correctly. Big picture, folks.

Quick Tip: Unless you’re prepping for an endurance race, ditch the long cardio sessions. Focus on shorter, higher intensity sessions. Grab your favorite machine or find your biggest hill and knock out some intervals (60 sec run, 30 sec sprint OR 60 sec hill sprint, 60 sec recovery, etc.).

3. Eating too little: Similarly, if we don’t fuel our bodies adequately, it may decide it needs to hang onto anything it’s got (fat stores) to function correctly. Don’t forget, we have a bunch of other important functions that our body must regulate before it even THINKS about allowing fat loss. You know; breathing, heart beating, maintaining mental capacities, circulation, and hundreds more. Fat loss is low on the meter of importance here. So, if we under eat, our bodies know it and save for later. This translates directly to keeping, and sometimes adding… fat.

Quick Tip: Track your nutrition for THREE days; two weekdays and a weekend day, then evaluate. You should be eating at LEAST your BMR (find it —–> here) in calories, and more when you factor in exercise.

4. Not getting enough sleep/rest/recovery: We mentioned ‘too much exercise’ as a very important, but common roadblock to fat loss. It’s close cousin? Not enough sleep/rest/recovery. It makes sense that our bodies change when we’re working hard; in our training, the way we move, how much we move. But, actually the progress is in our recovery. Sleep, lengthening, massage, down time and even meditation are huge players in the recovery process. Of these, sleep is king. Adjust your day to allow for 8 hours/night of sleep and reap the rewards of energy, health and that stubborn fat wasting away.

Quick Tip: Do a quick ‘time audit’. Jot down a rough schedule of your day and when you find ‘holes’, identify what you’re doing with those bits of time. Cruising Facebook? Insta-Snapping? That time adds up. Cut back to open up more time for restful sleep. 

Overweight Man Resting on Exercise Ball5. Intensity is too low: Wait, wait wait.. you just told us we may be working out TOO much. Now, not hard enough? Well, if the shoe fits. Take a step back and look at the quality of your workouts. Do you knock out 15-20 sets or…. 15-20 Snaps (@snapchat)? Are you admiring everyone else, or yourself for that matter, in those floor to ceiling mirrors? It’s not the number of workouts/week, it’s the intensity of those workouts. Are you dialed in, smashing your plan, with pace and focus? Then…

Quick Tip: Here we go with our ‘planning’ advice again. Walking in the gym without a plan sets you up for failure. Create a program, or have us create an awesome one for you (check out our online coaching) and stick to it. You’ll see the intensity in the gym naturally climb into the fat torching zone!

6. Not focused: Our world is FULL of distractions, far too many to list. But, there’s a good chance that you immediately think of a handful that could be derailing the quality of your workout. Unplug. If you need music, great, do it to it. But, this is ‘you’ time. Focus on your training program, your workout, your walk, your time.

Quick Tip: Let people know that you’re unavailable when you’re working out. If you don’t need music, don’t even carry along your phone. Eliminate the opportunities for distraction, so you can stay focused on your goals.

7. Not consistent: It doesn’t matter what training program (or lack of one) you’re on, if you aren’t consistent with that training. Here’s the BIG secret to fat loss; you simply must remain consistent. Mind blowing, huh? Really though; you WILL be successful if you remain consistent with your program, your coach, your plan. Through your fitness plan AND healthy nutrition, if you show up 80% of the time, your body has no choice but to show you some results.

Quick Tip: Follow. A. Program. Noticing a trend here? Your ideal program tells you what days you will be working out, complete the sessions. Check ’em off and don’t look back. We have coaches for this very problem. 

8. Program is not designed specifically for you: We are well aware of how many programs, challenges, methods and more are available on the internet. That’s wonderful. But, chances are that the one you’ve been following was not built specifically for you. There’s a reason why personal trainers exist. It’s to build specifically unique training programs for their clients. Every single person out there has a unique health/injury background, compensation(s), lifestyle constraints, training space, fat loss/muscle building goals. Cookie cutter programs are fine, but often not what’s going to do the trick for your next fitness goal. Do you want to be ‘fine’? Or, do you want to be your best? Chances are you’ll hit your training program head on, with much more intensity if it’s designed specifically for you.

Quick Tip: Seek out a qualified trainer and ask for a program. It doesn’t even have to be us (wink, wink). In all seriousness, if your gym does not offer program prescription, online coaching is a great new way to have a program written just for you. And, at a lower cost than your gym’s personal training solutions. And hey, I’m happy to help —–> email me at amelia@livingfitly.com!

9. TechniquePeople lifting barbells in crossfit gym is terrible: Chances are, if your technique could use some shaping up, so could you. Those exercises you’re knockin’ out each workout are the building blocks of your program, so treat them the right way. Grab a trainer or do some YouTube searching to be sure your form is correct, that you’re getting full range of motion (ROM) and the weight you’ve chosen isn’t too heavy (or too light, for that matter).

Quick Tip: If a LIVFIT coach isn’t there to help, YouTube is certainly a fine tool to double check your technique. A little caution though, be sure to search and view credible trainers when doing so.

10. Irresponsible cheat day: ‘Cheat days’ are just as commonly discussed as proper nutrition lately, and they could be a big reason why you’re not making the progress you deserve. If you’re on a fairly specific nutrition plan, or eat very well, your body actually can respond well to a day with higher calories and perhaps more carbohydrates. It snaps the body out of it’s normal, lower calorie, state and keeps it fueling the fire for fat loss. But, cheat days can turn into a disaster if approached incorrectly. In one fell swoop, you could derail your steadily healthy week by throwin’ down all you can eat buffet brunch, bottomless brews, a couple pieces of Mom’s best pie, a pizza and for good measure… a pint of that new Ben and Jerry’s flavor.

Quick Tip: Plan your cheat day ahead of time. Brunch is fine, please go at it, but mentally prepare yourself for what and how much you’ll eat. Pie is fine, but one piece is delicious enough. Same goes for a few brews or pieces of pizza. You can eat what you want! Always! BUT, do so responsibly on that cheat day.

Does anything here sound familiar? I’m sure a few raised an eyebrow. There are certainly some common themes though. For the best success in your fat loss process, plan plan plan. A program will help you stay on track, hold you accountable, help you stay focused and be designed specifically for your needs. Just a few little shifts in your process can be just what you need to start burning the fats!

Questions? Email me! Coach Amelia

Ladies, if you’re not already lifting… Start. Now.

by Coach KatieIMG_0914

“….so what do you do for a workout?”

Whether I'm working with a client, enjoying a beer with friends after work, or standing in line to get coffee this question always seems to come up. No, I do not run. No, I do not do CrossFit. No, I do not use machines. So what do I do for a workout? I lift weights! Ladies, if you're not already lifting... Start. Now.

When it comes to weight training, I like to follow some sort of a program. As a professional in the fitness industry, I spend most of my time writing programs and helping others reach their goals, and I forget to do the same for myself. However, there is much more structure to my program compared to someone who hops on the elliptical for 30 minutes. No offense to those who enjoy a long run on the treadmill while staring at themselves in the mirror, but cardio is just not my thing and it doesn't have to be YOUR thing to succeed. 

Here are 5 exercises that are necessary for my training program. Keep in mind, there are a lot of other supplementary exercises and movement patterns that I add to my workout routine, but this blog isn’t about my mobility work and rehab. I will save that rant for another day.

1. Deadlift:

Surprise, you don’t need a barbell! Grab a kettle bell or a trap bar to start out. The trap bar deadlift is one of the best ways to increase strength without putting the stress on the lower back. The deadlift recruits multiple muscle groups, which means it burns more calories!

2. Bench Press:

The bench press is a great way to add some variety into your program. You can bench with a bar, you can bench on an incline or you can grab a dumbbell and use one arm. My favorite is the single arm dumbbell bench press. It forces you to engage the core and helps improve shoulder stability.

3. Front Squat:

The front squat is like a best friend…It is not afraid to point out your flaws but will be the first one to praise your success. This exercise really tests your mobility and flexibility in the shoulders, hips and ankles and forces you to focus on the whole body.  Start with a dumbbell or kettlebell or even body weight before using the bar.  Holding the weight in a goblet position is a great way to teach the body proper movement mechanics while working on strength.

4. Single Arm Overhead Press:

I would like to take a moment and thank this exercise for teaching me that crunches are a waste of time. The single arm shoulder press is the perfect exercise to work on shoulder stability, strength and controlling the core. Add this exercise in after some front squats an you have yourself a total body workout.

5. Pull Up:

Pull Ups, another exercise that has changed my life. Do not be scared of them and use them as motivation. Let them fuel the fitness fire, because one you do one you will never want to stop. Keep this in mind… Just because you cannot do them now, doesn’t mean you will not be able to do them in the future. Start with some negatives or use a band and make the proper progressions towards a pull up. Neutral grip, chin up or wide grip… I don’t care and neither will you when you are looking down at all the others (literally) admiring your strength!

Now you know what I do for a workout and how you can incorporate these workouts into your own routine. Don’t be afraid to add some resistance training into your life, it will not let you down. You will not get bulky, you will not look like a man and you probably will start to enjoy your workouts.  Take a step off of the treadmill (safely), get yourself a LIVFIT trainer and spend some quality time with some weights. I can promise you that you will not regret it!

Looking for some help to create YOUR unique weight training program based on Coach Katie's Foundation Five exercises? Well, get on it! Check out what we can do for you here, and you can always email her directly by clicking below!

Simple LIVFIT Summer Smoothie

by Coach Katie

Happy summer everyone! As we all know to0 well, July is when the heat starts to kick it up a notch and we're left to fend for our comfort. The heat plays a big part in how we approach our training, but also our nutrition. Most of our clients cringe at the thought of prepping food over a hot stove, and by now... even a grill. We need some quick, easy, go to's! Here are some SUPER simple smoothie recipes to cool off in a delicious, nutritious way. They're great to put together at night for a morning kickstart, after a workout (recovery smoothie, yes!) or even to fill those long, hot summer afternoons. Throw in a scoop of your favorite natural protein powder for a muscle building kick. Check out a few of our simple LIVFIT summer smoothies!

MIXED BERRY AND BANANA 

WHAT YOU NEED:Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 8.43.41 AM

  • Sandwich Bags
  • One Bag of Frozen Pineapple
  • One Back of Frozen Mixed Berries
  • One Bag of Baby Spinach
  • One Banana
  • One Cucumber
  • Orange Juice

PEACH MANGO

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • One Bag of Frozen Peaches
  • One Bag of Frozen Mango
  • One Bag of Frozen Pineapple
  • One Banana
  • One Bag of Baby Spinach
  • One Cucumber
  • Orange Juice

TIME TO PREP!

  • Slice up the cucumber and banana
  • Evenly distribute the frozen fruit, banana and cucumber into the sandwich bags until ingredients are gone
  • Add a small handful of Spinach into each bag
  • Tightly seal the bags and place them in the freezer

BLEND AND ENJOY!

When you're ready for your healthy summer time-out smoothie, grab a bag out of the freezer and empty it into the blender. Add a mixture of half orange juice and half water then blend until smooth!

These smoothies have been a life saver. They are delicious, refreshing and keep me feeling full while working a busy morning schedule. If you are someone who likes to hit snooze a few too many times or are “too busy” to make yourself something for breakfast you NEED to try it out!

Coach Katie has great tips to keep you headed towards your fitness goals in person (DC) AND through her new online training program. Ready to get started? Contact her today!