The Dreaded Text Message Swap

FullSizeRender (16)Being a twenty-something in 2015 is not as easy, fun or as dramatic as reality TV makes it out to be.   We’re broke, confused, trying to fit in and understand what it means to be an acceptable human being in society. Now throw in being single trying to find that other acceptable match and you’ve added another handful of awkward WTF moments.

There is really no gentle way of saying this, but dating is a bitch.  Not only have I met plenty of assholes but I definitely have had my fair share in being one.

Take the other night for example, I was minding my own business trying to find my abs in the mirror when I get a text message from a recent heart breaker, The Douche. To be fair I know in my heart this man is a good person and I really don’t have hard feelings towards him, but it’s just kind of funny to refer to him as The Douche.

So here I am trying to find the best lighting to enhance my ab self-esteem and The Douche finds a way to make my heart fall out my ass when I see his name pop up on my phone.

“What does he want? Does he miss me? He’s thinking of me? Of course he is thinking of me.  In fact, he is probably counting all the ways he messed up and about to beg to have me back…”

::Opens Text Message::

The Douche: Hey…

Oh my god, I knew it.  He is totally in love with me…

Me (playing it cool): Hey, what’s up?

The Douche and I proceed to have a conversation and I began to notice his way of attempting textual seduction. “hmmm”, I thought, “let me just play neutral and act dumb.  This will pass…”

So I do and he backs down for a minute until another opportunity occurs to be flirtatious again.  Let’s pause this story for a second – Men, in what world do you live in where you can hurt a woman and then come back and think it is OK to reminisce over the “fun times”?  Let’s just make something clear,  until you apologize for breaking her heart you’ve lost all privileges in talking to her like you are together again.  Moving on…

I continue to neutralize the conversation in hopes that he would prove his interest in me as a person and not a body, but grew increasingly disappointed when he proved that he was thinking with his Junior.  In typical female fashion, I was giving my bestie the play by play, word for word, breakdown of what was happening. As I am expressing my frustration to her I say, “I feel like he keeps trying to be flirty and sexy and I’ll just ignore it. So he will change the subject but wait for another opportunity in hopes I bite.” Immediately after I hit send my heart falls out my ass again (yes, it’s possible).  I didn’t send that to my girlfriend….I sent that to…

THE DOUCHE!

 

Anyone who has experienced the dreaded text message swap knows they have two choices:  try to find a quick come back to explain this message and how it has nothing to do with him like he will believe it OR just chalk it up as a loss and laugh your ass off.

Me: Well, that’s awkward. I was talking to my girlfriend.

The Douche: lol nice job

Me: LMAO….yep….

And that was the last time my heart fell out my ass and I am not so sure I will be seeing that name pop up on my phone anymore. Ah well…another funny story in the books.  I’ll just thank the Universe in advance for giving me a good laugh anytime I think of him the near future.

Oh….#thesinglelife

Continue Reading

What You Should You Do When Your Friends and Family Don’t Support Your Fitness Goals?

FullSizeRender (15)

This sounds like a tough question, doesn’t it?  Most of us would like to think that we have an amazing support system around us that nurture and encourage healthy behaviors.  Truth is many of us lack this basic component.  You want to eat chicken and vegetables for dinner.  They want to order pizza.  You want to go to a yoga class.  They want to go to the movies.  Your significant other complains that you spend “too much time” at the gym.

At some point in your health and fitness journey you will probably encounter this problem.  And it’s not limited to our fitness.  Throughout life we must deal with individuals who don’t support out goals in education, career, social life, etc.  It’s easy to label these people as “haters” and disregard their negativity.  But how should you handle it when it’s the people closest to you?

The first step: don’t argue or fight with them about it.  This may seem counter intuitive, but it’s honestly not worth fighting over.  If you decide to turn down junk food, favor a walk outside instead of watching TV, or pass on happy hour to go to the gym you are going to receive a great deal of judgment and confusion from the people around you.

When your friends and family argue with you or come off as confrontational, it is best not engage in the negativity.  It’s understandable that you want them to see things form your point of view, but the truth is they can only understand what they are familiar with.  You are breaking with your old habits and this is confusing to people.  An outpouring of emotion from you will only make the situation worse.

Rather than pleading with your loved ones, try to articulate things from your point of view.  Share your vision of your future and the behaviors you want to change.  Explain that your health and fitness goals are important to you.  Reassure them that you understand the time commitment and are aware that your other responsibilities in life cannot suffer.  This last part is extremely important when the unsupportive person is their own spouse.

Choose your company wisely.  The saying goes that we are the sum of the five people closest to us.  This is true in regards to all aspects of our life including fitness and health.  We inherit our eating habits from our parents and family.  We pick significant others whose lifestyle is compatible or similar to our own.  If the majority of people around you are not healthy and active chances are you won’t be either.  You may not be able to distance yourself completely form the negative people in your life but you can cultivate new relationships that are more nurturing for your goals.  Commit yourself to the idea that not everyone is going to be on board.  It is not your job to win them over.  Your job is to make progress and achieve the goals that you set.

Explain to your friends and family the way you will feel if you don’t pursue your own fitness journey.  Letting them know that you will be filled with regret if you do not make changes to your health may help.  This is something we can all relate to.  Even if they don’t understand your current health kick, they will surely understand the emotions driving your need to change.

Be prepared to go the distance.  If you are not immediately obtaining the results you were seeking, your family will expect you to give up after a certain amount of time.  They will find obscure and indirect ways to question your commitment to see if you are still working on your goals.  This process will frustrate and annoy you.  It will test your ability to handle outside pressure as well as your own emotions.  Listen to you inner voice.  The same voice that spoke to you in the beginning will guide you through the tough times.

Avoid Comparisons.  People who are not supportive will be quick to point out shortcomings or things they perceive as failures.  The only person you have to answer to in this situation is yourself.  Remember that their approval is not needed.  You aren’t doing this for anyone but yourself.  This is an opportunity for you to grow strong and focus on the vision of the healthy lifestyle that you created in the beginning.   This could prove to be a pivotal moment in your journey.  Devote your energy to your progress.

Continue Reading

Homemade Chicken Gyros

Every now and then I try to get a little domesticated and put together a real meal
Don’t get too excited.  Ok, well do because this meal was delicious!  I present to you….

 

IMG_5226

 

Calories: 441 kcal

Fat: 18.3 g
Carbs: 39.3g
Protein: 30.3 

Serves about 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_5225 (1)Tzatziki Sauce

1 (16 ounce) container Greek yogurt

1 cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill weed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

salt and ground black pepper to taste

 

 

  • Place Greek yogurt, cucumber, dill weed, 2 cloves garlic, white vinegar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and black pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth and set aside.

 

IMG_5224

Chicken

4 cloves garlic, minced

lemon, juiced

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into strips

 

 

 

  • Whisk together 4 cloves minced garlic, juice of 1 lemon, red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and oregano in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.  If it taste too bitter/salty then add more pepper!
  • Stir in chicken strips and toss to evenly coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  It’s important to give it the full hour.  I didn’t plan well the first time and cut my time short and the chicken came our bland.
  • Preheat the oven’s broiler.  Remove chicken from the marinade and shake off excess.  Place chicken on a large baking sheet.
  • Broil the chicken in the preheated oven until lightly browned and no longer pink in the center, 2 to 4 minutes per side.
  • Transfer cooked chicken to a plate and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and place each pita bread into the skillet until warm and soft.

IMG_5223 (1)

 

Putting It All Together

6 (6 inch) pita bread rounds

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 tomato, diced

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped

 

 

 

 

  • Serve warmed pita bread topped with chicken strips, yogurt sauce, tomatoes, onion, and lettuce.

Enjoy!

Continue Reading

11 Things Your Personal Trainer Wants You to Know

1. It’s Important that You Have a Specific Goal.

If you’ve ever met with a personal trainer or fitness professional chances are they asked you what your goal was.  It might seem cliché but having a specific goal is the first step to making sure that you will see results.  If you don’t know what you want the end result to be, you don’t know how to move forward.  No goal = no plan.  Too many people come to the gym without a specific goal and wander around aimlessly and then wonder why they don’t see results.  Ask a trainer what their goal is and they will say it right off the top of their head; I want to bench press 315lbs, I want to decrease 2% body fat, or I want to get my marathon pace under 9 min per mile. People who are successful with their health and fitness goals have just that: A GOAL.  Get a goal and get a plan.  If you are interested in speaking to a personal trainer take some time and think about what exactly you want to accomplish.  The more thought you put into it the better your trainer will be able to design the most optimal program for you. P.S. “I just want to tone up a little bit” is not a real thing and therefore not a real goal. 


2. Most personal trainers and fitness professionals are 100% commissionable employees.

Common courtesy tells us that it is not polite to talk about money.  Even in the fitness world there is debate among trainers as to whether or not it’s okay to explain our pay structure to our clients.  But I’m going to put this out there so that it is crystal clear.  We are 100% commission.  What does this mean?  It means that the company we work for does not pay us a dime.  In fact, we generate profits for the company.  Most companies take a large percentage of whatever revenue the trainer generates.  As much as 51% in some cases and this isn’t necessarily a bad deal.  The company provides us with an awesome facility, state of the art equipment, as well as a captive audience of members who are all potential clients for us.  People seem to have this misconception that we get paid to hang out at the gym and wait for people to show up and want to work out.  This isn’t true.  If we aren’t making a sale or training a client we aren’t getting paid.  It’s not that we don’t want to take time out of our day to talk to you; it’s just that we have to stay busy and be as productive as possible to maximize our pay.

3. Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition

No matter what you think you cannot exercise your way out of bad nutrition.  You can train with me five days a week and not see results if you aren’t paying attention to what goes in your mouth.  Nutrition is the most difficult component for the majority of people.  For this reason, any trainer who is worth a damn should be talking to you about your nutrition.  If your trainer isn’t fire them immediately.  Most people don’t realize, but nutrition is an opportunity to improve your health and fitness just like exercise is an opportunity.  Most of us only exercise one time a day, but we eat multiple times per day.  There are many more opportunities to improve our health throughout the day with good nutrition than with exercise.

4. You are capable of working out on your own. I know you can do it.

Your trainer is a big component of your support system.  For some people their trainer may be their only support and motivation.  It is a proven fact that individuals who hire a personal trainer are more likely to stick to a fitness and nutrition plan and reach their goals than people who don’t hire a personal trainer. That being said, the majority of your success will be dictated by your behavior outside of the gym.  There are 168 hours in a week.  Even if you train with me three hours a week that still leaves another 165 hours for you to hold yourself accountable.  You need to be coming to the gym on the days you aren’t scheduled to meet with me.  You need to stay active on the weekends and avoid binge eating and drinking.  Go hiking, bike riding, yoga, etc.  I don’t care what you do but just do it consistently.   You can’t expect me to be held responsible for your lack of results if you are sitting on the couch and pounding beer and cheeseburgers on your off days.  Get it together.

5. The price is not open for negotiation. If you want to barter go to the flea market.

All trainers have a fixed hourly rate.  Most gyms and health clubs have a tier system that dictates the trainer’s price and commission percentage.  Our charge rate is our charge rate.  When I tell you my hourly rate this is not an opportunity to make a deal.  Many trainers these days have at least a four-year college degree in a health/exercise science field.  They most likely hold multiple advanced certifications.  We attend workshops and do research on our weekends.  We collaborate with other trainers to elevate our own skill set.  We have invested tens of thousands of dollars and countless hours into educating ourselves and honing our craft.  So when you ask if you can pay us less we seriously get offended.  If you’re not prepared to invest in your health then don’t insult me by asking me to work for less money (this goes back to the whole commission thing).  Now, there are some exceptions.  Most gyms will offer discounts for special events, new clients, or during times when business is slow.  Keep in mind it is always at the trainer’s discretion if they want to discount their rate.  If you want a less expensive trainer I will be happy to point you towards someone with less knowledge and experience than myself.  Just remember you will get what you pay for.

6. I want to lose 10lbs……….TODAY!

Any trainer can get results for their client quickly.  Keeping the weight off is another story entirely.  Lasting weight loss and improvements in health are made through behavio
r change.  Changing behavior is not an easy thing to do as it takes time for old bad habits to be replaced by new better habits.  It definitely doesn’t happen over night.  When your trainer tells you you’re not going to lose 60lbs for your family reunion in two weeks it is because we care about your long-term health and success.  Drastic weight loss is not healthy for the body and it increases the likelihood of regaining all the weight you lost plus usually an extra 5-10 lbs.   All good trainers know this and want their clients to lose weight safely and keep it off throughout their life.  If a trainer tries to sell you a fantasy of overnight success chances are they’re a fraud.

7. We’re not meatheads…ok, we’re not ALL meatheads

The stereotype of personal trainers as muscle bond jocks who spend all their time lifting, drinking protein shakes, calling everyone “bro,” and dropping heavy weights on the floor at the gym is a passing reality.  Most trainers these days are highly educated and extremely skilled at what they do.  Many of us are actually hardcore exercise science nerds.  Even some of the most muscular trainers at the gym probably have a great deal of knowledge and if you give them a chance they will explain the sliding filament theory of muscular contraction in the most epic detail.  If you don’t know what the sliding filament theory of muscular contraction is…ask a trainer.

8. Eat food and drink water before showing up for your workout…seriously.

I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I have seen a client go completely pail in the face, become nauseous and get light headed 20 minutes into the workout. Come to find out they have had less than 500 calories of food and virtually no water the entire day and it is now 6pm in the evening and they are dying.  Food is energy!  Water is essential for normal metabolic functions and your body does not perform well without either of these things.  You will not build muscle and lose body fat if you are constantly in a caloric deficit.  Not to mention you will have no energy to invest in your training.  Eat your protein.  Drink your water.

9. Don’t overestimate your knowledge because you watch workout videos online.

I once had an individual tell me that he could learn how to do my job after an hour of watching YouTube videos.  No kidding!  Well, I guess I just seriously wasted four years of my life and tons of money getting this Kinesiology degree!  Bullshit.  I have forgotten more science of how the human body functions than the average individual could ever hope to learn.  Please don’t insult my intelligence and disrespect my entire profession.  Trust that I am the professional in this situation and know what I am talking about.  I don’t show up at your place of employment and tell you what to do, do I?

10. Respect Our Time. It has a Price Tag Attached to It.

This is one of the worst parts of the personal trainer job: The Last Minute Cancellation.  Trainers work off appointment only.  We aren’t just waiting around for people to wander into the gym.  If you cancel on us last minute we are left with an unpaid hour.  As I stated earlier, we don’t get paid if we aren’t training so we then have to scramble to try to fill that hour with something productive in order to not lose money.  We know that life throws curve balls and it’s okay when it happens occasionally and it’s a legit reason.  Unfortunately, it still happens all too often.  Most gyms have a 24-hour cancellation policy that allows trainers to charge for a session.  This is their way of protecting their employees’ paychecks.  Even then, most trainers are very understanding of real life circumstances and will give you a chance to make the session up.  But if we charge you for it don’t be angry because there is nothing worse than multiple cancellations in a day.  These sessions add up and can negatively impact our paychecks in the long run.

11. We Take Your Goals Very Seriously.

When you set your sights on a specific goal we become invested in it emotionally just like you.  We may look like super fit, cool, strong people and sure we are now.  But many of us have experienced a time when we were less healthy and fit.  We know what it’s like to be unhappy with your body and physical appearance.  It is our priority to see that you get results.  We are genuinely bothered when the scale doesn’t move in the right direction just as much as you are.  We also understand that this is a process.  It’s important not to be too attached to the number on the scale and stay faithful to the process.  Stick with the healthy behaviors you have been working on and you will be successful!  Seeing you reach your goals is what we love most about our jobs.  It’s what makes us tick; it’s the reason we do what we do.

Continue Reading

Cheat Meals. Letting Go. Can I Do It and Still Make Progress?

As a trainer I am constantly asked if “letting go on the weekends” is ok.  Well, this depends on your definition of “letting go”.  One “cheat” meal or even two “cheat” meals in an entire weekend isn’t going to derail your fat loss/muscle gain.   Drinking with the purpose of getting drunk and eating shitty ass food whenever you want as if your stomach is a black a hole will.

What is your definition of a cheat meal?

Having a meal that is not tracked and enjoyed to satisfaction without guilt is not cheating. Eating a meal(s) to the point where you need to unbutton your jeans is just unnecessary.  I personally hate using the words “cheat meal” because it makes it seem like you are doing something wrong and shameful.  I refuse to allow something like a big chocolate chip cookie make me feel like I am guilty of something.  When did we allow food to make us feel bad about ourselves? Do you hear how stupid that sounds??  There is nothing shameful in enjoying food and not worrying about what it may or may not do to your body.   Food is not the devil so let’s not be dramatic over the word “cheat”.

Let’s go back to your goals.  

Are you serious about changing your physique and why? If answering that question fires up burning motivation then why do you want to spend an entire weekend eating like shit and being lazy? What purpose does that serve? Get your shit together and prioritize people!  Stop giving food so much power that you allow it to take over what is important to you.   Food is food and it will always be there.  You will always have access to sweets, take-out and alcohol so stop acting like this is an all-you-can-eat-because-the-world-is-coming-to-an-end buffet.

Please, please, please, I beg of you, please don’t be that person that tries to justify your binge weekend with all the working out you did. Good Lord, that is NOT how this works!

 

First of all, your workouts should just be part of your “being alive” routine not used as a way to negate you calories. But because I know you (yes, you!) pray that your binge weekend can be made up we’re going to put this into perspective.

Below is a list of yummy-shitty foods and how long you would have to do burpees for to burn it off.  Why burpees? Because they suck, they’re hard, they burn a lot of calories and everyone hates them.

  • Slice of pepperoni pizza (298 calories): 30 minutes of burpees
  • Cheeseburger (423 calories): 42 minutes and 20 seconds of burpees
  • Medium-sized McDonald’s french fries (380 calories): 38 minutes of burpees
  • Grilled cheese (580 calories): 58 minutes of burpees
  • Homemade chocolate chip cookie (89 calories): 9 minutes of burpees
  • Red velvet cupcake (496 calories): 50 minutes of burpees
  • Half a cup of vanilla ice cream (230 calories): 23 minutes of burpees
  • Half a bar of dark chocolate (300 calories): 30 minutes of burpees
  • 5-ounce glass of red wine (115 calories): 11 minutes and 30 seconds of burpees
  • 12-ounce bottle of beer (150 calories): 15 minutes of burpees
  • 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola (143 calories): 14 minutes and 20 seconds of burpees

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m not trying to do 23 minutes of burpees to make up for a half a cup of vanilla ice cream.  Let’s be honest, most people here aren’t trying to whip out a half of cup and fill it to the brim with ice cream if they are “letting go”.   I am not saying the food listed above is bad or should be avoided because life would suck that way.  But in terms of “cheat days” we’re not talking about having one grilled cheese; we’re talking about having the grilled cheese, with 10 homemade cookies, 7 bottles of bear and a late night run to McDonald’s.

So…you tell me? Is a cheat day good or bad for your progress?

Continue Reading

How Much Protein Do I Need?

FullSizeRender (13)

This is a common question that I get asked almost everyday.  Protein intake varies depending on the individual and a plethora of other factors such as age, activity level, type of activity, and how much lean mass you have.  Individuals with higher activity levels or who engage in intense, heavy lifting and/or high volume endurance training or who have a high amount of lean mass obviously need to eat more protein.  All individuals need to intake a minimum amount of protein for normal bodily needs and functions.

A general rule of thumb is to intake protein based on body weight.  The majority of textbooks and research that I have come across state that individuals need anywhere from .37-.50 grams/lb of body weight.  Since I am a 130 lbs (129.9 lbs to be exact) I need to intake anywhere from 48-65g of protein per day just to maintain normal health and function.  This method is not exact at all, however, due to the fact that it does not take into consideration activity level or lean body mass.

Why is it important to consider lean body mass?

A more specific method of calculating how much protein you need is using your lean body mass.  Lean body mass is defined as all the tissue in your body other than fat (bones, muscles, water, organs).  Lean body mass requires more protein because, unlike fat mass, it is metabolically active.  To calculate this you need to have your body fat measured either through bio-electrical impedance or skin folds calipers.  Once you know your body fat you can calculate how much lean tissue you have.  I am 130 lbs and 15.4% body fat.  This means that of the 130 lbs that I currently weigh I am storing 20.02lbs of fat and the other 109.98 lbs are lean mass.  This is the number you will use to calculate your protein needs based off activity level.

Why is activity level important?

During activity and exercise we stress the skeletal muscle of our body.  In fact we actually damage the tissue by causing small micro-tears in the contractile proteins.  Skeletal muscle is comprised mostly of protein and we need dietary protein to repair and rebuild existing skeletal muscle or even build new muscle mass if this is part of your goal.  Use the amount of lean tissue you have to calculate protein requirements:

Sedentary – multiple lean body mass by .5

Light activity (e.g. walking) – multiply by .6

Moderate (30 minutes of vigorous activity 3 days per week) – .7

Active (1 hour per day 5 days per week) – .8

Very Active (10 hours of vigorous activity per week – .9

Athlete – multiply by 1.0

Since I have 109.98 lbs of lean body mass and I am considered to be Very Active during a normal week of exercise and daily activity I need to be eating roughly 99g of protein per day.  This is more than double the minimum 48g of protein recommended prior to considering lean body mass and activity.  So you can see why it is extremely important to take these additional factors into consideration to ensure that you are getting adequate protein. Lack of protein can leave your body unable to repair and recover from exercise.  Rather than constantly being consumed with counting grams of protein, focus on adding protein to every meal and snack.  In taking even a small amount of protein will help to reach the levels you need for your body on a daily basis.

Continue Reading