Truthfully, I teach middle aged women to deadlift the same way I teach 15 year old boys and 35 year old men to deadlift.
I just want you to know that this lift is for you. It's not just for muscley dudes or perky 20- something Insta models. You, a middle-aged bad mama jama are gonna own this lift. Let's gooo!
This is solidly middle-aged me at 48 deadlifting 270lbs at a bodyweight of 127lbs. That's well over 2x my bodyweight.
What body parts does a deadlift work anyway?
Allll the parts:)
Deadlifts train your grip, your arms, your upper, mid and lower back, your glutes, your core, and your legs.
If you're thinking purely of aesthetic benefits, deadlifts are fantastic at lifting your booty, toning your thighs and chiseling your back. Of course they're useful in everyday life- moving furniture, boxes, bags, kids. Pretty much any time you're lifting heavy stuff up off the ground will be made easier as you train your deadlift.
The 1st Step in Learning to Deadlift: The Hip Hinge
First things first. Before you even pick up a weight let's get you grooving the right movement here. It's important to note that the deadlift is not a squat. It is a hip hinge. I remember being supremely confused about the difference between these two movements when I first started lifting. Here's a breakdown:
When hip hingeing your butt goes back, not down. Imagine that someone wrapped a rope around your waist, stood behind you and pulled. Which direction would your hips move? Would they go down towards the floor? Of course not. They'd go back, in the direction of the pull. That's the motion of a hip hinge.
Notice that in a squat you bend both your knees and your hips maximally, whereas in a hinge you bend your hips maximally while bending your knees minimally. Also take a look at my shins in this graphic; they're almost vertical in the hinge and angled forward in the squat.
Watch the video below to learn 3 drills you can do to learn to hip hinge:
1. The dowel drill
2. The wall tap drill
3. The door shutting drill
Video yourself performing these 3 drills and compare them to my video.
Does your form look the same?
No? Keep practicing. You'll get it!
Yes? Great! Well done. Moving on...
Cable or Band Pull Through
A great exercise to practice the hip hinge movement is the cable or band pull through. I'm gonna bet you think it's a little awkward One of my clients calls it "flossing her vagina."
I promise it's worth the weird:)
Here: watch how to do it with a cable and rope attachment. You can also do it at home with a resistance band.
How To Cable Pull Through:
Once you feel confident with your hip hinge you're ready to give the first deadlift variation a try.
Let's see it!
What if I can't get into position to deadlift the KB with that form?
Try this: elevate the KB up to a height that you can lift it with proper form. You can elevate it on plates or a box.
Here's a video so you can see all the parts in action:
Click to set custom HTML
If you have a trap bar available, give that a go next.
You'll stand inside of the bar so the weight will be closer to your center of gravity as opposed to either a sumo or conventional barbell deadlift where the the weight is out in front of you. The trap bar enables you to pull with a more upright position, which is just an easier position for many people to take. It is also less stressful on the hips, which makes it a great option for those with crankier hips.
Then you're going to take all the tension out of the bar. You'll hear people call it "taking the slack out of the bar." One way to think of it is like you're trying to bend the bar. I think this video will help you understand (it shows a barbell, but it's the same idea):
Ok, I don't want to alarm you, but things are about to get exceptionally exciting. Hold onto your hats ladies I'm about to share with you the ins and outs of my personal favorite lift, the Queen of the Deadlifts in my opinion. Her Royal Highness the Sumo Deadlift. Let's gooo...
In all seriousness, I like it so much because I'm stongest at it. You might find the same to be true for you, or maybe not. But in any case you should give both Sumo and Conventional pulling a go to see which you like best. And honestly there's room in your training for both.
A lot of what we've already discussed so far will apply to Sumo as well:
Seriously, you now know more about deadlifting than most people ever will.
Watch this sumo tutorial and then we'll chat about a couple things that are different with this lift:
Sumo Set Up:
We've arrived at our final deadlift variation, the conventional deadlift. Everything you've learned up till now is going to help you master this lift. The main difference between sumo and conventional is the position of your feet and hands. Instead of having your feet wider than shoulder width with your hands gripping the bar inside of your legs, you'll stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and your hands gripping the bar just outside of your legs. This change makes some of what we've discussed different. Here's a list of what will stay the same:
My Best Advice Yet
Film yourself deadlifting. From the side and from the front. It's siper easy to do. Just prop your phone up against a dumbell a water bottle. or whatever's handy. Look for these common mistakes:
Most Common Deadlift Mistakes:
by Kim Schlag
What Even Are Carbs?
If you go based on headlines you might think carbs are the superillain in the latest Marvel movie.
The real answer is far less exciting.
Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients that make up our food (protein and fat are the other two.)
Carbs are categorized by how simple or complex their chemical structure is. I'd list those categories and the various carbs in each, but I actually want you to read this article while awake.
Just know this: In the end, most carbs are digested into the sugar glucose before they're absorbed into the body. So whether you eat oatmeal or poured a few teaspoons of sugar into your coffee, they'll both end up as glucose.
Carbs are your bodies main source of energy. Interestingly, if you don't eat carbs your body will use fats and protein for energy. So while you can't survive without protein and fat you can survive without carbs.
Just because you can survive without them though doesn't mean you should, or that it's better. Carbs provide much in the way of micronutrients and fiber. Yay for health & pooping!
Also, if you like lifting heavy things or running really far, or generally sportsing hard you should know that carbs can help optimize your performance in all of your hard sportsing.
Besides, I think that we can all agree with Oprah...
Which foods contain carbs?
Why are people afraid of carbs?
Can't say for sure but some good possibilities include:
So, do carbs make you fat?
There is a growing body of scientific evidence, including a large randomized clinical trial published just last year, that shows that when protein and calories are matched there are not significant differences in weight loss between low-carb and low-fat diets. The same study also found no association between insulin production and weight loss.
I'm not sure how interested you are in reading actual studies but I'm going to link them below in case you are:) In any case, here's the take home point: Both low carb and low fat diets work for weight loss, so choose what you can stick with, remembering the critical point is total calories.
But what about eating carbs at night?
It still comes down to total calories. If eating carbs at night (or protein or fat for that matter) means you eat more calories than you burn in a day than, yes, you'll gain weight. But the same would hold true whether those calories were eaten at night or not. If you eat more calories than you burn, even if you eat them earlier in the day it will have the same effect.
But I have to eat carbs low on the Glycemic Index, right?
So the GI is a ranking of carbohydrates according to how fast they cause your blood sugar to rise. The higher the ranking on the scale from 1-100, the faster the food causes your blood sugar to rise. The idea many people have is that for fat loss low GI carbs are best.
Let's talk common sense first. If you look at the index you'll find that watermelon is ranked a 77 while Peanut M&M's are ranked a 33. Now in my fantasy world Peanut M&M's are a supreme fat loss food, but realistically speaking does it seem logical that you should consider Peanut M&M's part of a fat loss diet but shun watermelon?
One of the major problems with the GI is that it looks at food in isolation, yet that's rarely how we eat food. When's the last time you sat down and just ate rice for lunch?
As to the science, in studies that control for macronutrients and fiber there is no fat loss advantage to the low GI diet vs the high-GI diet.
What should you focus on when it comes to carbs and fat loss?
First do this:
Don't overthink this.
Carbs aren't the villain.
They're also not the sexy super hero played by one of the Hemsworth brothers either.
Yes, I mostly wrote that to have a reason to share this fine picture. But seriously, its food not a summer blockbuster. We can cut way back on the drama. If you start to feel worked up about it remind yourself that food doesn't have moral value. It's just food.
Email me any time if you have questions about how to put any of this into practice:)
Gardener et al: Effect of Low-fat vs Low- CarbohydrateDiet on 12 -Month Weight Lossin Overweight Adults and the Association with Genptype Pattern or Insulin Secretio. JAMA 2018
Karl, JP et al. effects of Carbohydrate quantity and Glycemic Index on Resting Metabolic Rate and and Body Composition During Weight Loss. Obesity. 2015
Recently I came across an article by a women's fitness magazine about meal combinations that would "kick start" your metabolism and burn fat. Articles about weight loss are hardly a rarity, but this one got me in the gut because it's exactly the kind of article that for dozens of years I'd seek out and think "Yes!! This is the missing piece! This is why I'm not losing weight. I'm not combining the right foods!" or "I'm eating at the wrong time!" or "I shouldn't be eating this entire food group! That's what I'm doing wrong!"
To be fair, the foods suggested in this article are all super nutritious and the benefits listed were spot on. Buuuut. And this is a BIG but, the idea that these specific food combinations are some kind of special magical fat loss formula is a problem. What if I combine these foods in the suggested manner and eat huge portion sizes? Will I still lose fat? What if I want to eat other foods besides these 16 listed foods sometimes (crazy, I know)? Can I still lose fat?
These kinds of fat loss "secrets" often end up just distracting us from the unsexy, not-at-all secretive actual principles of fat loss. Looking for some bit of weight loss magic personally kept me stuck for years. Lean in close and I'll tell you a secret..... there IS NO SECRET. And that is The. Best. News. Ever.
Why? Because if there's no secret, no hidden formula, trick or tip out there that we need to wait to discover it puts us firmly back in a position to TAKE ACTION. And action is what makes progress happen!
What action? When it comes to weight loss there is one overriding principle. That principle is this: if you consistently eat fewer calories than you need to maintain your current weight you will lose weight. I'm betting you've heard that before, right? I told you, there really IS no secret. Calories matter when it comes to weight loss. And if someone tells you they don't, then you should never ask that person for fitness advice again. Ever:)
Here are 4 actions you can take if you're ready to lose fat and keep it off:
1. Eat in a calorie deficit: A good starting point is to multiply your body weight (in lbs) by 12, That will give you a daiily calorie target. For example, if you weigh 150lbs you would multiply 150x12 to get 1800 calories. Consistently hit that calorie target each day. (If you have 50lbs or more to lose you will need to set that multiplier lower, like at 10X bodyweight.) Use a calorie tracking app such as My Fitness Pal or Lose It to track your calories. Don't get bogged down in all of the information those apps give you (ie how much sugar, carbs, fat, etc. you are consuming.) Just pay attention to the total calories and the grams of protein ( see #2 below)
2. Eat .7-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily. So our 150lb person would eat between .7x150 - 1 x150= 105-150g of protein each day. Getting in enough protein helps to maintain and build muscle. This is important because the more lean muscle you have the more calories you burn even when you're sleeping or just watching TV! Eating sufficient protein also helps to keep you full, which is obviously super key to being able to stick with your plan. Need a few protein ideas? Here ya go:
lean cuts of beef
lean ground beef/chicken/turkey
3. Eat mostly whole, nutrient dense food. Vegetables, meat, fruit. You know what I'm talking about:) If 80ish% of your calories comes from these kinds of foods then you can happily enjoy whatever junk food suits you for the other 20ish% of your calories. The key is to incorporate these foods into your daily calorie target. I'm partial to cake and ice cream, but if you're a chips and dip kinda gal, go for that. Really. Eating "fun" foods in moderation helps us to be able to maintain this way of eating over the long haul. Which brings us to #4...
4. Stick with it! Consistency is the missing piece for a lot of people. Be patient and stick with these couple of action items. I don't mean just for a week or a month. And I definitely don't mean only when it's going well. The people who succeed at fat loss are the ones who keep working even if the scale doesn't seem to be moving. They get right back on track when they get off. And they don't start looking around for the "next thing" to try. Consistency+patience=results. Remember that formula!!
So there you have it. Those are the nutritional "big rocks" you need to get in place to start smashing your fat loss goals. Exercise is also an important piece of the puzzle (one which I'll be addressing soon!) But a person can make serious progress with the nutrition piece alone, while the same can not be said about exercise alone. Most of us would rather spend a few hours a week killing it in the gym rather than paying attention to what we eat day in and day out, but that just doesn't get results.
Let me add in a bonus action item: Do not wait for just the right time to get started. It's never coming!! You think it is, I know. I did too. When the kids are older, when they're back in school, after vacation, blah,blah,blah. The list of a better time to start is never-ending, and always changing. It's not going away. Ever. So what's the answer? Start now, however imperfectly. I know that feels uncomfortable. We want to start out "just right." But doing something will always get better results than doing nothing. Every Single Time.
Let me know if you have any questions about getting started losing fat. I would love to get you answers and help you in any way that I can!
Cutey fruity turkey my
kiddos and I made
It's the start of Thanksgiving week and I'm sitting at my kitchen counter up to my eyeballs in paperwork: To-do lists, shopping lists, recipes, menus, invitations. The holiday season is about to start and I'm feeling pumped! The half-dozen weeks of festivities, excitement, and goodwill that start with Thanksgiving and don't end until we've brought in the New Year are always my favorite time of year. I love the music, the food and the knowledge that at this time of year it's socially acceptable to put glitter on absolutely anything.
The one thing I don't love about the holiday season is that I often lose sight of my personal fitness goals for a good month and a half. And that is a loooong time to set aside what I typically value enough to dedicate time to day-in and day-out the rest of the year. The past two years I've tested out a few strategies to find a better balance between enjoying the holidays and making continued progress on my fitness goals. So here is My Number One Best Strategy To Enjoy the Holiday Season and Simultaneously Make Progress on Your Fitness Goals (that would sound so much more fun if it were written in gold glitter.)
Embrace this truth: When we think of our nutrition and training in all-or-nothing terms, we often end up with nothing. That is especially true at this time of year. If we are super ridged in our mindset of what success looks like for any given day and unwilling to give ourselves a break, we often just give up. This example will hopefully make clear what I mean: Let's say you usually go to the gym 3-4 times a week to workout. Maybe you take a certain class or follow a specific routine and you're there about an hour each time. Now it's December 5th and you haven't made it even once so far this month. You've been busy and don't see that letting up anytime soon. There's no way you have the hour and a half it takes to get to the gym, train and get back home. So you think to yourself "January 1st I'll get right back on it," and continue on with your busy day. All or nothing. Either 1 1/2 hours to workout as usual or wait until the holidays are over.
But aren't there loads of other choices in between? What about 30 minutes at the gym? What about a 15 minute bodyweight circuit at home? What about going outside and doing intervals for 30 minutes? Heck, what about running up and down your stairs for 10 minutes? Something isn't nothing. Consistency is so important to success in fat loss and/or muscle gain. A little bit less exercise over the course of the holiday season is still loads better than waiting until January to do things "right."
It is the same with nutrition. After a few parties we might be tempted to just think "Ugh, so many calories. I've messed up so much at this point, and there're still many more events coming up. I'll get back to my healthy eating on January 2nd." We just gave ourselves liscense to go hog-wild for weeks! It's so counter-productive to our success. I tried eating the same way I do every other day of the year last December; focused on lots of water, vegetables and lean protein. Then at holiday events I enjoyed the things that were important to me. Rolls and butter with Thanksgiving dinner? Yes, absolutely. Random tray of store-bought cookies at a caroling party? No, thank you. It's not about all or nothing for me this holiday season. It's about keeping as many good habits in place as possible, enjoying every second of the indulgences I choose to take and being ok with the "not-perfect, but not-nothing either" results that brings. Happy Thanksgiving! I'd love to hear fom you- what strategies do you use to enjoy the holidays and stay committed to your personal fitness goals as well?
What is the most effective workout for fat loss? Easy. It's the one you'll actually do!
If you know me at all I bet you thought I was going to answer that question with "lifting weights." I do believe there is nothing quite like the power of the iron when it comes to changing our physiques. But....If you're currently not exercising at all or are only exercising sporadically the most important thing you can do to improve both your health and your physique is build into your week consistent, regular exercise. Here are 3 actionable steps to get you going:
1. Figure out what you like to do in terms of exercise. Bike? Swim? Lift weights? Dance? And, no, surfing the net doesn't count;) What exercise have you done in the past that you've enjoyed? (or at least not dreaded!)
2. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being "not gonna happen" and 10 being "I can definitely do that" think about the activity you chose in step one. Consider everything from child care to comfort exercising in front of others to equipment needs. Where does this form of exercise fall on the scale? I want you to choose something that is a 9 or above. If the exercise you chose in step one is below a 9, go back to step one and choose again.
Here's an example: Let's say you chose Zumba in step one. For step two you would think about all of the various factors that could affect you successfully making it to Zumba class. Maybe you like to dance, but at your current weight you're not comfortable doing that in front of others. You give yourself a 6 or 7 on the scale. That's not high enough, so head back to step one to consider your options. This time lets say you chose biking. You would then consider the various factors that could affect you successfully getting out for a bike ride. Your bike is in good working condition. The weather is currently mild. You have child care options. You rate yourself a 9 on the scale. Great, you're ready to move on to step three. (Actually here's an important step 2 1/2: always consult with your health care provider before beginning any new exercise regimen.)
3. It's time to schedule your exercise. Really look at your upcoming week. How many times can you reasonably commit to exercising? The important thing is making it a habit, not going all-in at the start and burning out quickly. Choose somewhere between 1-3 times weekly to start.
Now get out your phone and add it to your calendar. Seriously. Just like you would schedule in a doctors visit or a lunch date with a friend you need to calendar your exercise. Once you've scheduled your exercise session hold it to the same cancellation standards you would for any other important appointment. If exercise is on your calendar and you're considering skipping it, ask yourself "Would I cancel my child's pediatrician appointment for this reason?" If the answer is "no" then keep that exercise appointment with yourself.
Look, the reality is that we are busy people with lots of balls to juggle. There are probably three or four reasons at any given time that I could give for not exercising on a particular day, yet I rarely miss a scheduled training session. Why? Because I've made my health and fitness a top priority in my life. Remember, when we make being healthy and fit a priority, everyone else in our lives benefits. Our spouse, our kids, our friends, our boss- they all benefit from us taking good care of ourselves. How? Because we show up in our lives better when we feel, move, and look better. We can serve all of the people we love so much better when we are taking care of ourselves. It's mostly a matter of making the decision to do it and cementing that habit in our lives consistently.
So, three steps: Choose an activity you find relatively enjoyable. Rate it on the scale explained above and find one that is at least a 9 or above. Calendar it as an appointment with yourself and keep that appointment. You're worth it and you deserve it. Get after it!
Top ten answers on the board. Survey says...
1. I don't have time
2. It's too expensive
3. It's too hard with small children
4. I don't know where to start
5. I'm so out of shape and I'm embarrassed for people to look at me while I work out
6. I'm waiting for a better time to get started -when my kids start full day school, after vacation/Christmas/pumpkin spice season :)
7. It's too hot/cold/dark/rainy
8. I'm tired and just want to relax
9. I'm too old
10. It's boring
Have you heard these excuses? Have you used these excuses? Now please know that I get that some of these are valid reasons that exercising is challenging. No doubt about it. But challenging doesn't have to equal impossible. The old saying "If it's important to you you'll find a way, if not you'll find an excuse," is repeated so often because it's true. It's T.R.U.E., true! The choice is ours to make. Will we encounter one of these reasons not to exercise and find a way around, over, under or through it OR will we stop short and let the challenging nature of the situation excuse us from facing it? If you want to look better and feel better there's really only one choice.
Conquering these excuses is mostly a mental endeavor. Here are three strategies that can help:
1. Discover and remember your "Why." Why do you want to get fit? Be very specific. Is it because your health is compromised because of your excess fat? If so, how? High blood pressure? Diabetes? Do you want to get fit so you can keep up with your kids at the park? Do you want to be able to go clothes shopping and find things that look good on your body? Whatever your reason or reasons are write them down and put that paper where you'll see it often. When you find yourself making an excuse not to exercise, read your "Why" list.
2. Brainstorm solutions. Think of the top 2-3 excuses you typically make for not exercising on any given day. Write those down. Underneath write every idea you can think of to overcome that challenge. Pick the combination of solutions you think has the best shot of working, make a plan and then do it. If it doesn't work, head back to your brainstorming list and try again.
3. Do something today. Sometimes what we need is just a little momentum. We need a small victory to kind of get the ball rolling. So today; that's right-today(!) I challenge you to to pick any form of exercise and just do it for 20 minutes. Who doesn't have 20 minutes? Go for a walk, a bike ride, or a swim. If you have a gym membership and just haven't been going- go today. It doesn't even matter what you do once you're there. Just do something! I'm a big believer in the power of planning as far as fat-loss success is concerned. Meal planning and calendaring workouts are great tools, but while you're getting that planning going, just get moving. Whatever workout you do today is a million times more effective than the best laid plans for a workout another day!
Be stronger than your excuses ladies! If you've found this article useful, please pass it on to another woman in your life who could also benefit from it. And, as always, I'd love to know how these strategies work for you or how I can be of help to you in your fitness journey. You can comment here so others can learn from your experience or message me privately. In the next few weeks I'll be blogging and vlogging about some more specific solutions to the challenging obstacles that keep us from making the nutrition and exercise related changes we know we need to make. Now, get out there and move your body!
Ahhhh.... First Grade. The kiddos are so young and excited about life. It is a time of newness and huge leaps in learning. Unfortunately for one of my sweet children it was also the year of discovering that being called fat stings. After school one day this child looked up from the kitchen counter where homework and after school snack were happening and asked with great concern "Mom, am I fat?"
"Why would you think you're fat?" I questioned.
"Because Ava poked me in the belly in class today and said that I'm fat."
I have to admit that at that moment I wanted to poke this Ava girl right back. As a woman who couldn't remember a time as a mature adult when I wasn't concerned about losing weight, I was furious. I have definite memories of wanting to lose weight as a teenager, but as a first grader? I have no memory of body self-consciousness and whether my body was fat, skinny or in between at that young age. I couldn't believe we were having this conversation.
I actually can't remember the exact words I said at the counter that afternoon, but over the years since then, my children and I have continued the conversation about bodies; both theirs and mine. I've tried to help them be more comfortable in their skin than I was for a majority of my adult life. I'm not sure I'm getting it 100% right, but that's kind of the nature of this parenting gig, isn't it?
1. I have tried to make it clear that there are a lot worse things a person can be then fat. It sure doesn't seem that way in our society sometimes, but it's true. Mean, rude, dishonest, untrustworthy, lazy... The list goes on and on. Why is fat a go-to slur?
2. I have taught my sons and daughter that no one has the right to an opinion about their bodies other than themselves and their doctor (and for the period of their childhood, their parents). Period. End of story.
3. When I have spoken about my own weight loss I have spoken about it in terms of getting healthier and feeling better. It was obvious I was making huge changes in what I ate and how I exercised and I wanted to frame those changes in the positive way I was experiencing them. I try not to say "I CAN'T eat that," or "I HAVE to work out." I want the kids to know that I am making choices and there are some things I choose not to eat ever and some I choose to eat sparingly, but that in the end they are my choices, not something that is being done to me that I'm enduring.
4. I try to focus more on what my body can do then what it looks like. As I was losing the weight I didn't make a big deal in front of the kids about dropping a clothing size. I did, however, make a big deal about my gains in the gym. First pull-up? Who wants to come watch me do one? Squatted almost twice my body weight for the first time? That was definitely discussed when the kids asked me how my day was. So much emphasis is placed on making our bodies look a certain way, but I think it's much more empowering to shine a light on what we can do with those bodies, rather than how we can make them look. I think it's particularly good for my kids to see me work and work to be able to accomplish something physically that I couldn't do before. I share my victories and struggles with them as they happen day by day. And I encourage them to focus on what their bodies can do and what they can accomplish them.
5. We talk a lot about healthy food choices. I serve healthy meals sprinkled with occasional indulgences. We talk about food as fuel, eating when we're hungry- not just when we're bored, and how our food impacts how we feel. I want them to have an awareness of what they put into their bodies, how it impacts their health, and how it makes them feel without thinking about it in terms of food "making them fat."
My hope for my children is that they won't spend nearly the amount of time thinking about the number on the scale as I have in my life. There are so many more important and interesting things to think about after all. I hope that they will experience the excitement of stretching the boundaries of what their bodies can do. And I hope that the next time someone else tries to share an opinion about the shape and size of their bodies that they feel confident in ignoring that opinion.
How have you approached discussions of weight/ body image/ your weight loss journey with your children? I'd love to hear about conversations that went well and also times where you weren't sure what would be useful to say.
If you're looking to change your body composition, i.e. lose fat and gain muscle (otherwise known as getting "toned") then protein is your new best friend! Eat some at every meal and most snacks as well. Why? Protein helps us feel satiated and it's also the building block of muscle. There are lots of great lean protein possibilities: chicken breast, tukey, ground turkey, fish, eggs, lean cuts of grass-fed beef such as sirloin and flank steak, and lean ground grass-fed beef. The key is to prepare the protein in a way that keeps it on target for your body composition goals and is delicious at the same time. So adding any kind of sauce that is cream based or filled with sugar wouldnt be ideal. Staying away from any prepackaged sauce is the best way to go in my opinion. They are usually filled with sugar, chemicals and calories. Using herbs and spices, or making easy homemade sauces (again not cream or sugar based) is my prefered way of preparing protein. To make things super easy on myself, every week I grill, bake, or crockpot a big batch of one protein for a dinner and then use the rest for my lunches for the week, My very favorite chicken recipe is Hawaiian Chicken. I adapted this recipe from 2x Figure Olympia Champion Erin Stern's Hawaiian Chicken recipe. I usually make it on the grill, but I've also just thrown all of the ingredients in a crockpot and it was delicious that way too! One 4oz piece has 188 calories, 32g protein, 6g carbs, 3g fat and 1.4g sugar.
1/4 cup pinapple juice
2 Tablespoons reduced sugar ketchup
2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered ginger
2 teaspoons garlic paste or 2 minced garlic cloves
6 (4 oz) chicken breasts
Combine all ingredients except for chicken in a Ziploc bag. Mix well. Add chicken. Marinate in refrigerator 4-6 hours. Grill 6 minutes per side or until juices run clear. If you like your chicken with sauce on it, reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade before you place the chicken in the baggie and pour it on top of the grilled chicken breast.
Totally delicious and nourishing as well. Hope you love it! And if you do please pass it along to others in your life who may like it as well!
A few months ago a friend texted me upset about her weigh in that morning. I answered her nutrition and training questions, however, the advice I thought might actually help her the most had nothing to do with diet or exercise. It had to do with the way she was talking to herself. It was like one of the mean girls from that movie with Lindsay Lohan had taken up residence in her head.
Do you find yourself beating yourself up when you eat something you're "not supposed" to eat, when you eat too much, when you sleep in instead of work out, or when the scale won't budge? There's a saying that I see a lot on social media these days "You'll never get the body you want hating the one you have." Now, I bet it's actually possible to get a smoking hot body while talking trash about yourself. The problem with that plan though? I mean besides the obvious fact that that's just an awfully unpleasant way to live! Your mean-girl, trash talking voice will keep you from seeing what's really there even after you've smashed your goals. You'll still be in there finding flaws and jumping all over yourself for any perceived infraction. You will crave the next compliment on your figure, desperately wanting that positive affirmation from anyone willing to give it, that you're looking good.
So what can we do to silence our inner mean girl? This is the advice I shared with my friend: The next time you catch yourself in the middle of hurling a verbal molotov cocktail at yourself pretend you're talking to one of your children. What would that sound like? Imagine your child was working towards a goal and struggling to make progress, what would you say? How would you help? Can you imagine "helping out" by berating her or him? Of course not! What are some things you might actually say?
Keep on working at it.
You'll get there.
Be proud of how far you've come.
You've got this.
Don't give up now.
Don't worry about it.
Everyone messes up sometimes.
Just get back on track.
You know what to do.
I know you can do it.
Its just a small setback.
What if we said one of those things to ourselves the next time we overindulge, notice the scale not moving or discover that our pants are tighter than usual? It's interesting to me that self compassion often doesn't come as naturally as compassion for others. It takes practice to begin talking to ourselves this way. Imagine though reaching our physique goals and having our inside be just as beautiful as our outside, and best of all being able to see and acknowledge that beauty.
Be good to yourselves ladies! If you feel so inclined to share I'd love to know -what is your biggest nutrition or fitness struggle? FitGirl Total Transformations is all about finding sustainable solutions to women's fitness and nutrition struggles.
Since I'm on vacation I was able to enjoy one of life's little pleasures- browsing slowly through a bookstore. I ended up with an armful of books by the time I checked out, and have spent the last 5 days highlighting and writing notes in the margins of one of them. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, a New York Times bestseller, details how habits are formed and even more importantly how habits can be changed.
I am convinced that the key to successful, lasting body recomposition (fat loss+ muscle gain) lies in systematically changing our habits. So a book highlighting the relevant scientific research on the subject was a great find! If you've ever tried to stop biting your nails, start running every morning or give up drinking your daily sodas you well know that it is a lot easier said than done to change our habits. While The Power of Habit doesn't offer a step by step checklist to habit change it does list the key ingredients and ideas on where to start. I highly recommend reading the book in it's entirety, but in the meantime let me share just one important take-away.
Mr. Duhigg discusses a Harvard study of "people who radically changed their lives." One frequent occurrence noted during the study was that people "changed because they were embedded in social groups that made change easier." Think about that for a moment. What about being a part of a social group could make change easier? My guess was accountability. And perhaps that is a piece of it, but it's not what the Harvard study found.
So, what did they find? Belief. That's right! When a person joins a group and sees others changing it helps that individual believe change is actually possible. And that belief is key to permanent habit change. Todd Heatherton, one of the Harvard psychologists who conducted the study, puts it like this "[Change] seems real when we can see it in other people's eyes."
I can totally relate to this. Last summer I joined Oxygen Magazine's Oxygen Challenge. During this challenge participants had the chance to be lead by two amazing fitness professionals (I chose 2x Figure Olympia champ Erin Stern). Our coaches provided us with meal plans and training plans for three months. The opportunity to learn from Erin, combined with fabulous prize offerings is why I joined the challenge. An additional bonus, that I was unaware of when I joined, turned out to be the key to many participants' success. That unexpected bonus was a private Facebook page where we could interact with all of the other women on our team (and our fabulous coach as well!) We posted progress pictures, asked questions, shared successes, celebrated victories, consoled each other when we fell short, offered advice and a listening ear, and just walked our separate journeys together.
During this first Oxygen Challenge and the second one currently happening it has been a pretty common occurrence to see posts like this: I'm 40 years old, please someone tell me that it's still possible to lose the weight. I had a c-section, please someone tell me they've successfully gotten rid of the c-section pooch. I have a bad knee, has anyone been able to successfully do this program with a bad knee? In response to these posts would come dozens of responses, many with accompanying pictures showing that yes, all of these things were possible! I love reading the excited responses of the original poster and others like her who were wondering the same thing. Inevitably they express their thanks for others showing them that the change they desired was possible. They now believe it is possible because they see others like them doing it!
So the take home message, ladies? Don't go it alone. Find a community (even a community of one other person will do according to The Power of Habit.) Share your journey. Maybe you'll even end up being the one to help another believe that change is possible. And that is one of life's greatest pleasures.
I'm a NASM certified personal trainer who is passionate about helping women transform their bodies through strength training and sustainable nutritional habit changes.