Making the best of 2018
Happy New Year! This time of year is full of resolutions, pledges to be a “new you” and plans to create a better year than the year before! However, it doesn’t have to be a passing trend or 5 minute resolution that you drop the 2nd week of January! Instead of resolutions, take time this week, the first full week of the year and make intentions, and then goals to support those intentions. Use a journal (I love the Self Journal from Best Self), white board, poster etc. Whatever speaks to you and will help keep you accountable to these goals intentions. So how do we go about setting intentions and goals? First, think about how you want to feel this year- what attitudes and feelings do you want to cultivate and create? Then set goals and actions to help make those intentions realities! For example, I want to create more happiness and confidence in 2018 so that I can persevere no matter the situation and not give into dramatics. To do this, I will be journaling, meditating, sticking to a clean eating plan which effects my mood, and making sure I work out for at least 20 min 6 days a week which also boosts my happiness and mood! Using a daily journal is a hobby I have done in the past and quickly fallen off, so to keep myself accountable this year I am really trying to stick to it as I know it helps! Need help setting intentions and goals? Let me know! I would love to help!! Xxoo Meg
Why I hate Dieting
Happy Tuesday Y’all! Today I want to talk about why I hate diets! A few weeks ago, I wrote about Intermittent Fasting, and how well it has worked for me, so now I want to go into why it has worked so well! I went on my first diet at 16, I had gained a few pounds on a mission trip to Africa and despite the fact that I was an athlete, I wanted to become healthier and more knowledgeable about how I fueled my body. So I bought a bunch of South Beach Diet cookbooks and my foray into dieting began! Since then, I have tried and failed almost every fad diet of the last 10 years, not even because I needed to lose weight, but because it was trendy to be on said diet. Which brings me to why I hate diets so much! Eating healthy and fueling our bodies shouldn’t be a trend. We shouldn’t feel a societal push to be healthy, we should eat healthy because it feels good for our body! I love certain parts of Whole30, but know it’s not realistic for me lifestyle wise, high fat low carb diets? I am way too active to be low carb! And my body craves meat so while I love vegetarian dishes, I can never commit to vegetarian ism long term. I have figured out an intuitive way of eating that allows me to stop feeling guilty, because I’m listening to my body and fueling it accordingly! Are you stuck in the dieting rut?! Let me know, I would love to help you! xxoo
Spinach and Artichoke Chicken Thighs
happy Thursday! I am always looking for healthier twists on some of my favorites, and this week that came together in the form of spinach and artichoke chicken thighs! I’ll jump right to the chase and share the recipe! 4 bone in skin on chicken thighs 1 white onion chopped 1 bag frozen artichokes 1 bag spinach 2 tbsp butter 1/2 can coconut milk 1/4 c White wine garlic, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper to taste Start by sautéing onions 1n 1/4 of the butter, once they start to yellow, add chicken thighs. Cook for about 15 minutes, and then flip thighs for about 5 to brown the skin and crisp it up a bit! Then add in artichokes and spinach. Sauté for another 2 min before adding coconut milk and spices. Let simmer for about 5-8 minutes and then add in wine. Simmer for another 5-8 minutes and then you are done! Serve over rice y’all this was even better as leftovers for lunch just now- flavors are perfect and the spinach/artichoke combo pairs perfectly with the richness of the chicken thighs and coconut milk! Let me know once you try it! xxoo
Happy Tuesday! Today I am popping on to talk about Intermittent Fasting. I have fasted in some sort or other for years, whether for medial or religious reasons, as well as the unhealthy fasting that comes with stress and personal pain. But as this way of eating has grown more popular, I wanted to learn more about it in order to implement into mine and my clients eating. The best part of IF, is that it is not a diet, instead it is a pattern of eating that I have found incredibly freeing and has allowed me to focus less on what I am eating, instead I focus on eating to fuel my body when it is truly hungry! The popular IF trends right now have people fasting 16-18 hours, which I have found to be a tad too long for me. Instead 14 hours has been my magic number. Basically I stop eating around 9pm and then eat again around 11-12pm depending on my day! This has allowed me to truly feel hungry, and I feel like my body is truly using the food I eat for fuel. When we eat, our bodies can’t use all the energy from food immediately. The leftover energy must be stored away for later use. Insulin is the key hormone involved in the storage of food energy. Insulin rises when we eat, helping to store the excess energy in two separate ways. Sugars are turned glycogen and stored in the liver. The liver only has so much glycogen storage, and the excess glucose gets stored as fat. When we fast however, the insulin levels fall, allowing our body to start using stored energy as fuel. This causes the body to use the excess glucose that was stored as fat.Insulin levels fall, signaling the body to start burning stored energy. Our bodies use Glycogen because is the most accessible energy source. Glycogen is broken down into glucose, which can power the bodies cells for up to 36 hours. Once that has been used, fat is broken down and burned as energy. In the past two months I have found more energy, been able to sleep better, and lose a few pounds! More than the weight loss which was secondary, I’ve gained more muscle tone without changing my workouts and have had less “unhealthy eating” self talk! I was worried at first that it could trigger my history of disordered thoughts and habits, but instead it has helped free me of those beliefs. I have more food freedom now that I am able to truly see food as energy, and am no longer just eating to eat. If you are interested in learning more about IF, I’d love to help you navigate it! Shoot me an email or DM!
Secret to Success: Don’t Quit!
Today’s post is inspired by a quote I saw on Facebook, but also by a pattern I have been noticing in my work both as a counselor and personal trainer. Often, when pursuing a goal exercise or athlete related, we think about either making our goal or failing to make it. However it is not that black and white, which is why this quote struck out to me so much this morning. Each goal is a journey, and like any journey, we are going to take breaks or make a pit stop that sets us back, however the only time the journey ends is when we decide to quit. Exercise should not be a temporary activity just until you lose “the last 5 pounds” and then you go back to a sedentary lifestyle. In that scenario, exercise is the break or the pit stop- not the journey. Exercise can be a powerful thing- it allows us a 30-60 minute break in our day when we can breathe, focus on our body, and thank our body for all it does through something that is good for it. It should be a lifelong habit, a way of life. Obviously not all forms of exercise are sustainable forever because of wear and tear, but there are options for everyone 98% of the time. That being said, none of us are perfect and so we will take our days off, which sometimes turn into months or years. We will have our cheat food days when we eat pizza and ice cream and drink too many beers. These days- the days we let go and allow ourselves the freedom to not exercise, or not adhere to strict food guidelines- these are NOT failures! They are simply the detours on our journey, and are often necessary for adherence to any program. Many of my clients, express guilt or a feeling of a failure after these days. They shame and guilt themselves, believing that they have failed. But then with some renewed motivation, they begin again. The pattern here is this nasty feeling of shame and guilt. Instead of being an actual motivating factor it just cuts even deeper into ourself esteem. Instead, remind yourself of the journey you are on- for lifelong health, a peace of mind and to be happy with who you are! That means embracing those times of “failure” and work them into your program. If you know you are going on vacation or celebrating, or just have a day where working out isn’t possible- work that into your week. Bring healthy food/snacks or allow yourself the space to indulge a little bit without judgement. Take a walk on the beach or wherever you may be on a trip and enjoy your surroundings! Savor the food you are eating, and enjoy the company you are with! At the end of the day- it is these experiences we remember and cherish! The only failure is in giving up on yourself and quitting! So enjoy life, enjoy healthy food and exercise and enjoy the little detours!
Homemade Cashew Butter
Happy Tuesday! Today I’ve got a great recipe for all of you who love nut butters! This recipe came out of nowhere yesterday, when I realized I had forgotten to buy my favorite Mixed Nut Butter from Trader Joe’s. I was testing oatmeal protein cookies and wanted a nut butter topper and was all out! A quick check of my pantry showed that I had roasted cashews and so I decided to try making my own! It was a win, unlike the cookies which were not... oops! Once I committed, I decide I wanted more than just regular cashew butter, I want honey cinnamon cashew butter- best decision I’ve made in awhile! So may I present to you: Honey Coconut Cinnamon Cashew Butter Recipe: 2 c warm roasted cashews 2 tsp honey 3 tsp coconut oil Cinnamon to taste Throw the cashews on a cookie sheet and roast at 350 until warm. Once warm, add cashews into food processor. At first it will create a cashew “flour” which will then turn into a Ball, and as the oils release becomes nice and creamy- takes about 10-15 minutes. Once you have the desired consistency add in the honey, coconut oil, and cinnamon and blend! It will be warm- which is delicious, so let cool if you want it to be normal spreading temperature! Then put on EVERYTHING!! Enjoy and let me know what you think! Xxoo Meg
Opening Ceremonies Korean Recipe Round Up
The Olympics are my favorite sporting event, and since 2000, I have celebrated the tradition of watching the Opening Ceremonies with the food from the host country. What started as takeout from Outback Steakhouse for Sydney in 2000, has morphed into Opening Ceremonies viewing parties for London, Sochi, Rio, and now PyeongChang! I had never made Korean food before Friday night, but I love most Asian cuisine and make a lot of Chinese and Thai inspired dishes , so I was excited to bring a new flavor into my repertoire! I will definitely be making these dishes again.... with the only change being actually hunting down wonton wrappers for my egg rolls. When I couldn’t find them at Kroger, I instead grabbed rice paper. While rice paper is great for yummy spring rolls and wraps.... frying with it is not advised unless you have a lot of patience and time. Anyone following my instagram storied Friday night can attest to my frustration with the egg rolls, but they tasted delicious even if they didn’t look... pretty! Here are the recipes I used to create my feast: https://dinnerthendessert.com/korean-ground-beef-egg-rolls/ https://www.koreanbapsang.com/2010/05/bulgogi-korean-bbq-beef.html https://www.pickledplum.com/korean-sticky-chicken-recipe/ https://www.thespruce.com/korean-pancake-with-scallions-2118966 My friend Sam made these delicious Sesame noodles as a vegan treat and they were so good! https://www.simplylakita.com/spicy-kimchi-sesame-noodles/?utm_content=buffer8debb&utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest.com&utm_campaign=buffer I also made Korean Short Ribs and Bao buns from Trader Joe’s! It was a delicious start to PyeongChang 2018, now go Team USA (and team GB)!!!!
As a personal trainer and sport psychology consultant, I focus a lot on mental toughness. This is a subject you hear most about in the sports real, however I have found that it is neccessary for everyone in every walk of life. we are all going to be thrown obstacles and make mistakes, but true success and toughness is navigating through these to constant grow into your best self. Mental toughness is is a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances and emerge without losing confidence. To build mental toughness, these are the attributes that need to become part of your daily routine. Motivation: Why are you in you doing whatever it is that you are doing, be it work, health, athletics etc? What drives you every day? Identifying these factors will help you when you feel like you are losing sight of where you are going and help keep you on the right path. Goal Setting: What do you want to accomplish? At the beginning of each month, write down your goals and intentions for that month. These may be short term goals or smaller goals that add up to a longer term goal. Track your progress weekly with a goal journal. Self-Talk: One of the most important skills is self-talk. We often undermine ourselves by giving strength to negative thoughts and beliefs about our selves without even realizing it. I have seen this especially in women, using self deprecating comments and thoughts as a defense mechanism for insecurities and self doubt. It can be so hard to stop these thoughts, as they are often deeply ingrained in who we think we are, however gaining control of our negative thoughts, and building more positivity and confidence in the way we think about ourselves is key. Relaxation: Take time to breathe, and calm your self . Start by taking 5 deep breaths in through your nose and our through your mouth. While doing this allow yourself to focus only on the sensation of breathing, how it feels to expand your lungs, and feeling the relief that comes with each exhale. This is a simple practice that you can do virtually anywhere when you are feeling that you are just go through the motions, feeling at a dead end, or losing sight of your goals Spending 5-10 minutes each day with quiet diaphragm breathing will allow you to calm anxiety and anger. All of these skills will help you to build mental toughness and persevere through whatever life throws your way!
If you are interested in health or fitness at all, odds are you have heard of, or already do, meal planning. Meal Planning is a great way to stick to your goals and stay on track each week with healthy eating! Plus it is cheaper and saves both time and money! Going in with a plan is always a better and more efficient way to shop, so come up with the recipes you want to make and figure out what you need from the store! Pick out a time to shop and prep that is the same or close to the same each week. This will help you stick to a routine. Prepping can take a few hours, so its often done on the weekends when there is time to cook and shop! Knowing your weekly schedule can also help you plan, like if you know you have lunch or dinner plans during the week, shop and plan accordingly! I do my grocery shopping on Monday mornings each week and then usually cook that afternoon during my break. When I go to the grocery, I go with about 3-4 recipes worth of ingredients written down, and that allows for meals for both lunch and dinner mon-friday. I usually have a smoothie for breakfast so if I’m out of those ingredients I will stock up as well! This week my menu is as follows: Trader Joe’s Sundried Tomato Basil Chicken Sausages 1 Red Bell Pepper 2 zuchhini I cooked the sausages until almost cooked, then sliced them up and threw them back in the pan with the veggies. Once cooked through, put in Tupperware and let cool before topping and putting in the fridge. Ground Turkey and Zoodles 1 lb ground turkey 1 frozen package Trader Joe’s Zoodles 1 orange pepper chopped 1tbsp avocado oil Cook zoodles according to the package, while doing that brown ground turkey in avocado oil. Once both are cooked, add zoodles into ground turkey and add in chopped peppers, I also added in 1 tbsp of scallion dill cream cheese (could use Kite Hill dairy free cream cheese) for a flavor boost! Chicken Stirfry 1lb Trader Joe’s organic chicken tenders 1tbsp teriyaki Sliced shiitake mushrooms Chopped zucchini 1 yellow pepper chopped 2 c brown rice Chop up tenders and pan cook, once almost fully cooked, add veggies. Cook rice in a rice cooker or stovetop according to directions. Roasted Green Beans 1 bag frozen green beans 1tbsp olive oil Red chili pepper flakes Combine all ingredients and roast until green beans are cooked through- about 30 min. Once everything is cooked an cooled, separate accordingly and then you have a full week of meals to eat and enjoy!
The Benefits of Circuit Training
My favorite way to train hands down is circuit training. It allows me to fully challenge myself and clients without ever getting bored! A good circuit should include aspects to build strength and get your heart rate up at the same time. Here are a few ways to create a killer circuit for your next workout! 1. Use strength training and plyometric exercises I love circuits that alternate strength and cardio. For example I love a squat circuit that progresses from squats, to squat pulses, to squat jumps or jacks. This type of circuit burns the gluteus and provides for the perfect muscle activation and burn! Sample Circuit: Squats Squat Pulse Squat Hold Squat Jump 2. Pick 3-5 exercises and do 3-4 rounds I love including multiple circuits in each workout (usually 2-3) and so I will choose 3-5 exercises in each circuit. I will usually create these based off of what muscle groups I want to work. I love 3-4 rounds because the first round is to learn each move, the middle one or two circuits are for really getting strong in each move, and the last round is for complete burn out. 3. Set a timer I am a terrible counter, especially when training, as I tend to get a little chatty! I will usually set a timer for 45 seconds- 1 minute for each exercise. This sounds hard (and my clients will tell you it is) but it allows me to really push myself in each round to get as many reps as I can get in! 4. Use various Fitness Tools I am always playing around with different equipment, but I do have a few favorites! TRX, Step360 and Kettlebells are my favorite pieces of equipment to use in circuits. These often incorporate multiple body parts as well as full body stabilization which increases the overall burn. Plus using new or different tools allow you to be constantly changing and challenging your muscles- which is neccessary for avoiding plateau or gym boredom. Sample Circuit:
TRX Narrow Rows on 360 with a squat hold
360 Burpeesx3 5. Throw some treadmill intervals in Love a Barry’s Bootcamp or Orange Theory but can’t always make class? You can recreate those killer circuits by throwing treadmill (or rowing) intervals in between weight circuits! Not a runner? You can customize it so do hill intervals on a walking speed that is slightly faster than your normal pace! This is a great way to get high intensity cardio in, especially if you want to start running because you can include walking and running intervals to build endurance. Sample Circuit: Sprint Interval Circuit: 30 s sprint 1 min fast walk or jog recover 45 s sprint 1 min fast walk or job 1 min sprint 1 min fast walk or jog 45 s sprint 1 min fast walk or jog 30 s sprint 6. Use Compound Moves To maximize my circuits as well as workouts overall, I love combining moves (also called compound moves)in order to challenge myself more and burn more in each circuit. The more muscles you work, the more calories you burn which is always a plus! In addition to an increased in caloric burn, compound moves provide dynamic flexibility, improved coordination and efficiency, and elevates heart rate. Examples of Compound Moves: Deadlift to a High Pull Squat to a Bicep Curl Single Leg Deadlift with a Tricep Kickback Reverse Lunge with a Shoulder Press These tips will help you create an awesome circuit workout to build strength, increase heart rate, and burn both calories and your muscles! It is in these circuits that we create the lasting change in our bodies.
At Home Workouts
Happy Tuesday! It’s another snowy day here in Nashville and other places, which among other things, means it may be an excuse to not workout if your normal routine is thrown off! Not to worry, I am the queen of at home workouts! Working in a gym all day, I often find less motivation to work out there and more at home! So I have developed at home workouts using weights and body weights in order to get what I need when I need it! In today’s social media based world, its so easy to go on Pinterest and insta and YouTube and find awesome workouts you can do at home! Which is why I am so excited to launch my YouTube channel featuring only workouts to be done at home! These workouts will vary in length and intensity but can also be modified to your needs and Fitness level! Today’s workout is structured around build-up circuits and plyo AMRAPs. There is a 3 min AMRAP warm up to get your heart tease up and muscles warm! Circuit 1 and Circuit 3 are meant to warm up your muscles before the second and fourth circuits which are based on combo weighted moves. Do 1 and 3 one time and 2 and 4 three times! I used 5lb weights, but lighter weights or no weights are fine! Listen to your body and what you can do! [embed]https://youtu.be/sZnRvpCYaik[/embed] Enjoy and enjoy and let me know how you did! xxoo Meg