Monday, September 29, 2014

I Like to Eat

As a traveling, independent personal trainer, I get the opportunity to visit a lot of different gyms here in New York City. I train clients in their apartment building gyms, office gyms, and specialized training gyms. I tend to overhear conversations other trainers have with their clients not because I'm nosy (okay, maybe I'm kind of nosy), but because these gyms tend to be small enough where at times, I feel like I'm on top of someone else's session. A reoccurring statement I often hear is "I don't know, I just like to eat! So I'm never gonna be that thin." "I like to eat!" What???? You like to eat?!?!? Wow, me too! I like eating! I like not feeling hungry because being hungry means I get hangry, and tired, and low on energy, and weak, and snippy, and my stomach hurts, and my workouts suck. I like delicious meals that aren't always considered the most healthy calorie wise, but they are healthy for my soul because they taste so delicious and I can't be a robotic healthy eater all the time. I like to eat things like fresh fruits and veggies, but I also like to eat pizza and drink a great glass of wine with it.

Listen, guys, we are human. Humans are supposed to eat. Humans are supposed to LIKE to eat. This is because we need to nourish our bodies to stay fit, healthy, energetic, and happy. We (especially women) are supposed to have some fat on our bodies because it's healthy! Our bodies store some fat because our bodies want to make sure that in case you aren't eating due to some massive famine or nuclear holocaust, it can survive for longer. For women, the extra fat is there not only in case food isn't always available, but also to help support a baby should you get pregnant and there is a famine and it needs something to feed the human that is growing inside of you.

That's the realness right there! That is the the most basic reasoning for hunger--sustaining human life. The crazy thing about needing to eat is now that we have magazines, television shows, movies, and internet telling us what is appealing visually at the moment (I say at the moment because you know the trends change over time--i.e. Marilyn Monroe to Twiggy, "Twiggy" butt to "Anaconda" butt), and that's generally not very human attainable. We see flat, 6-pack abs on a magazine cover, then look at our own midsection and we might think that not eating is what we should be doing. We might think that eating is bad. That "I like to eat" is a statement that is farfetched or taboo. Guys, it. is. NOT.

When you see those muscles that pop out of someone's stomach on a magazine cover, a lot of times, it is because the model has dehydrated themselves to the point where their skin looks tighter on their muscles and more appealing for the cover. Or let's face it, it's just plain photoshopped! Body builders often take the dehydration approach as well, so that in competition, they look as defined as possible. Google "body builder dehydration" and the Google at the bottom of the page will extend several 'o's.' I.e. there are a lot of resources that will help you learn how to get super defined for a competition and not drinking water is one of ways to do that. What?!?! That's crazy talk. The human body is around 60% water. So how is dehydrating a good thing for you? Also, what happens when that model drinks water again??? Those 6-pack abs become an illusion. AN ILLUSSSIIOOONNN!!!!!

You can be lean and not dehydrate and not starve yourself. You should never do either of those things. You should be drinking lots of water to flush your system of toxins. You should be eating lean proteins, fruits, veggies, and whole grains to support your muscle mass. If you aren't eating enough, your body tends to hold on to fat and start to cannibalize muscle just in case that famine/nuclear holocaust happens and you need the fat as a last resort/last ditch effort for your body to to save itself. It's true! Isn't that horrible? So eat!!! Your body wants you to reassure it that the next meal is coming and it doesn't need to store fat, just in case...

Stay tuned for the Part II of this blog post for great ideas and options to stay lean and mean and EAT!!!! And you don't have to have 6-pack abs to be lean. Being healthy means a lot of different things for a lot of different people. Some people will hold on to more fat than others and that's okay. That's life. That's YOU.


Monday, May 12, 2014


Welp. Here I am. 90 days since my last blog post after promising I would check in. Whoops. For those of you who care, I'm sorry about that. I've learned that planning a wedding is pretty time consuming after all. It's not necessarily the planning that can be the most time consuming. It's the events that surround it; the extra hours spent on the internet researching stuff like the most comfy heels to wear on your wedding day; the family drama that get's conjured up...Things that take energy that drained me unknowingly so that when the day was over, instead of blogging, I watched an extra episode of Mad Men or just hit they hay early. I will also say that this winter, as you all know, was the worst in the history of time. Some days it was just so draining to traverse New York City, there was energy for nothing else.

So here I am today after a long winter, a long 90 days, and 33 days before my wedding, ready to tell you about my P90x3 journey!

I started P90x3 because my former University of Arizona college roommate, Rosi Reeves, Beachbody Coach, fitness blogger, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, was posting about forming a P90x3 challenge group on Facebook on the regular around the holidays. I was looking for something new, something to do in my apartment (no gym required--my favorite way to workout), and something that would require minimal time but maximal effort. Because of P90x's stellar reputation, I thought it would be a great challenge. I also wanted to do the research on P90x3 by doing it myself for my clients and anyone reading this blog to let you know what I thought of this program. I'm not usually into workout programs like this (I'll go into why later) and wanted to give you my thoughts as a fitness professional. So off I went. I bought the package and at the end of January, I began.

P90x has 3 different programs to follow: Classic, Lean, and Mass. I started with Lean because I want to be lean. Done, right? But after 3 weeks of doing it, I realized I missed using weights and really wanted to get stronger. Prior to starting P90x I was doing a program through Fitness Blender (if you don't know about Fitness Blender, click on this link immediately to get started with free workouts from married personal trainer team, Kelli and Daniel--such great workouts and again, FREE). In this program that sort of resembles P90x, I started using weights again after a hiatus of doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts only, like Insanity. Although just using your body weight is a great way to train, I started to see a little more results using weights again so I wanted to explore that more with P90x. So after week 4, I switched to the classic program. Here's what I discovered:

1) 30 minutes really does get it done. Recent research shows that if you keep the intensity of your workouts high and/or very focused, you really don't need more than 30 minutes. This is because you usually work your hardest in the first 30 minutes of your workout, and if you know you only have to do 30 minutes and not an hour or more, you will push your hardest to get the most out of your time.

2) A varied workout plan really is the way to go. It's best to switch up your workouts between weight training, yoga, pilates, HIIT training, upper body days, lower body days, recovery days, and stretching. P90x likes to call it "muscle confusion" I like to call it smart training. You never want your body to get used to any exercise because our bodies are smart and they will always take the path of least resistance. Once your bod gets used to an exercise, it will exert the least amount of energy to keep energy in reserve for later. You need to do the work to tell your body to push harder to see and feel change.

3) Doing exercise plans like Insanity might be good in the short term to see results, but they will never be a long lasting routine in your life. This is because you will get burnt out doing the same kinds of workouts day after day. Also, doing HIIT training every day is not good for your body. Your body needs time to recover from such high intensity work so you should really only use HIIT 2-3 times per week.

4) You can still get a great yoga or pilates workout in 30 minutes. Recently I've been heading back to my 60/90 minute yoga classes with Yoga Works  and although the benefits of the meditation time, a class environment and a live instructor are invaluable, I noticed I got just as good of a yoga workout in my 30 minutes using P90x. This is because P90x just cuts right to the chase so there isn't a lot of time to ease into the workout or relax afterward--something I definitely missed early on in the program, but got used to as time went on. If I needed that time, I just gave it to myself before or afterward on my own.

5) Programs like this aren't best for everyone. I don't always think that workout programs that Beachbody provides are the way to go for a couple reasons:
A) If you aren't a personal trainer or you haven't been to a personal trainer to know how your body should be moving the correct way, you can really get injured by any in-home program. This is because Tony Horton (the creator and instructor of P90x) isn't there to see how you're moving in the moment to help you adjust your body to perform the exercise correctly. You might not know that you're doing something wrong and it can cause potential problems or injuries. Also, because P90x3 goes so quickly, there's not a lot of time for proper instruction and in trying to get through it, you might not know what you're really supposed to be doing and repeat improper form again and again.
B) You start to believe that you need to do this program and nothing else to see results. When you're done with the program, you might feel lost and either let exercise go completely or keep moving from program to program, never really knowing how to simply live your life and keep your fitness going on your own. Even as a trainer who creates several different workouts for my clients every day, since finishing the program, I feel a bit out of it. I find myself going back to the program and pulling workouts from the DVD sleeve instead of doing something different on my own. It's liberating to have the freedom to do what I want, but I also feel like a child who has lost her mommy. Not a feeling I want to have!

6) That being said, programs like this can be great motivators. I loved having my P90x group, led by Rosi, to check in with every day. Every single day for 90 days we all wrote about our workout for the day on the group Facebook page. On days that I just didn't want to do my workout, I did it anyway because I didn't want to write to the group that I failed to get my butt in gear. I also loved being able to cheer on my fellow P90x'ers when they were having a bad day. It felt like we were all in it together and really wanted everyone to succeed.

7) P90x3 is a great program that you won't get too burnt out with in the end. When I finished Insanity, I was burnt out. Done. Toast. And that was only 60 days. With P90x3, after 90 days I didn't feel too crazed. Yes, I was really ready to be done and excited to finish, but I probably could have kept going if the plan was longer. This is because the workouts are so different from day to day and week to week so boredom isn't really ever an issue. Sure, there are workouts you would prefer not to do and workouts you don't like, but there are also a lot of workouts you're excited to do and try. I really loved that.

As far as results go...I don't really know that P90x got me where I am now or if it was just a combo of cutting calories since August/September of last year and adding weight training back in. I do feel much stronger and fitter, that's for sure. Since starting P90x3 my fit test results say it all--I am more flexible, I'm now up to 45 pushups before failure from 33, I can do a couple chin-ups (with maybe a little bit of cheating) and I went from doing 27 bicep curls to 40 bicep curls with 10lb weights to failure. My upper body hasn't always been my strongest so I can say I'm proud of that.

I don't usually share pics of my bod, but I thought it was worth sharing me after doing Insanity 6 days a week for either 40 minutes to an hour and kind of eating what I wanted in June of last year, to me keeping a closer eye on my diet and doing more focused training for only 30 minutes a day.


Diet and exercise as a combo is key. And so is focused exercise. You don't need to spend hours at the gym to get fit. I'm not perfect but I think you can probably see that although the results aren't crazy, they are there.

Go ahead and give P90x3 a try! If you need help, you can always ask for it from me and I will be happy to answer your questions. Or you can contact Rosi, my beachbody coach and I promise she will help you through it!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Happy New Year, Weddings, and Accountability!

Well hello there after a long hiatus! Happy New Year! Yes, I know we are days away from February so I'm a little late to the "Happy New Year" party. I've been settling into my 2014 joyful, excited, elated, overwhelmed, nervous, stressed and the list of adjectives could go on. In June I will be getting married. It's pretty much the biggest thing that's happened in my life thus far so let's let this pressure cooker begin! We got engaged in November and decided on a location in December so we are doing the 6 months out as opposed to a year, thing. I guess things are supposed to feel rushed but...they don't. I mean, I've never done this before so I don't know how it's supposed to feel but I wouldn't say rushed is one of my main feelings. When I tell people that 6/14/14 is our wedding date, reactions are something along the lines of "wow, that's so soon! Why the rush?" Honestly, all of the parties I've ever planned I started planning maybe 2 weeks out AT MOST, so 6 months seems pretty reasonable to me.  It's a lot, for sure. Even as I write this blog I'm going back and forth on gchat with my fiance about wedding photographers and getting distracted by random stuff on Wedding Wire. But rushed isn't the feeling. Maybe because we are getting married on St. John in the US Virgin Islands things are a little easier. We didn't need to book a venue 18 months out (that I couldn't find an available and affordable venue in New York or North Carolina 11 months out was shocking to me as I first started looking) and everything seems to be on "Island Time." My type-A, New York "getitdonerightnowandaswerallmyemailsrightnowandallmyphonecallsrightnow" mentality is seriously being tested, but it's good for me. I'm slowing down when I didn't even know that slowing down was a challenge I faced because fast is the norm for me in daily life. The only thing that is making me anxious are the people around me questioning how we are going to get it all done in time. Or even reading wedding magazines that always have this arbitrary countdown at the beginning of every issue. 3 months out I must order [insert random wedding thing here] and if I don't, it will all fall apart!  My rational self knows everything will come together and we will have a beautiful wedding with no rush at all. But sometimes it's hard to trust when others question me or I let myself get sucked in to worry for no reason at all.

So to bring things full circle, what I'm realizing is, feeling a certain way because others question me or feeling rushed to be somewhere in my life physically, mentally, emotionally, because I'm "supposed" to be there, always comes up for me. To bring it in the physical realm of things,  it's easy to feel pressured to look a certain way because of what we see on a magazine cover or because of someone we know in our lives who we allow to become the standard of how we should look. I mean, good god! At this time in my life, I'm supposed to look the best I've ever looked because I'm the bride. Hello, pressure! I hate that the standard has become, "diet, exercise, diet before your wedding because you'll never look this good ever again!" Why does that have to be true for everyone? I get it. I do. You're being professionally photographed and it's one of the most important days of your life where all of your friends and family are looking at you and you want to look and feel great. Understood. But don't let all of that just surround an event. Hold onto that feeling all the time! Feel and look your best and your healthiest every day of your life. Do you really want to look back at wedding photos and think "well, that was it! I hit my peak and it's all downhill from there!" Don't let a wedding, 10 year reunion, ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, or anything else dictate why you are pursuing healthy living. Let your every day dictate your health and well being. Or let whatever that event/person is, be a motivation to start and keep going.  Don't abandon the wellness you created for yourself when it's all over. Like I always say, when you're healthy the direct side effect is that you'll look great too. Just carry that feeling with you always!

As for where I am on my fitness "journey," I just started P90x3 two days ago. It's P90x's newest program that launched in December and it's only 30 minutes a day! I didn't start this program specifically because I'm getting married (although, yes, I most definitely want to feel beautiful and fit on my wedding day) but because personal trainers need trainers, too! I need to shake it up a bit and I'm excited to research something new for myself and my clients. Also, since planning a wedding feels like a part-time job that requires so much attention, 30 minutes a day of intense, focused exercise seems the way to go when my extra time has vanished.  Also, ALSO, my dear friend and former college roommate Rosi Reeves--a certified strength and conditioning specialist and the most motivating trainer I know (check out her amazing website here)-- got me excited about P90x's newest program. She started this awesome accountability group via facebook to help a few of us stay on track and check in daily about our workouts. Although I'm usually a lone wolf when it comes to working out, I do love having a community to check in with to help motivate and encourage me on days when I would rather be doing anything but working out. You don't have to join an accountability group to stay on track, either. Something like group fitness classes, signing up for a 5K race, or meeting with a personal trainer (heeeyyyy!) are also wonderful ways to help keep you on track. We can't always do it on our own nor would we want to, so make it a challenge to yourself to find a community, (or start one!) big or small, of fellow fitness encouragers!

Okay, back to wedding stuff and then onto my 3rd day of P90x3. I promise to check in on this blog more often to let you know about my progress and I promise I won't talk wedding too much. Geeze! Stop yelling at me! ;-) BE WELL!!!