Tag Archives | gym goddess

{Guest Post} Food & The Daily Battle

Welcome to Part II of the Women’s Health series here on Moi Contre La Vie. Today we’re going to hear more from Megan of Kaia F.I.T. Sacramento on the daily struggle to eat well. If you’re new to this series be sure to check out Megan’s bio {Guest Post: Women’s Health} and her previous post – Fashion of the Fitness World.

Part 2: Food… The Daily Battle

I love ice cream, especially cookies & cream. I love cheeseburgers and extra crispy french fries. I can put down a serious amount of pizza. I love crafty cocktails and champagne. I worked in fine dining restaurants for 10 years and was privileged to indulge in some amazing dishes and glasses of wine…

But now I work in the fitness industry. And I constantly try to balance my view of food… Fuel or Delicious Goodness? My answer is both.

The majority of the time, on the day-to-day, food is fuel. Looking at it that way leads me to eating cleaner, leaner, and healthier. I view myself like a machine and if I want to run properly, perform well in my workouts, and feel energetic all day, I need to provide myself with the best fuel available.

I personally feel the best when I eat multiple times throughout the day, always beginning with breakfast. I feel great when I eat lean meat and eggs, lots of veggies and greens, and fresh fruit. I like nuts and trail mix for snacks and dried fruit for dessert. Avoiding the starchy carbs, dairy, and sugar is essential to feeling good.

KaiaIV

However, coming from the restaurant industry, I love nothing more than a nice dinner out. I appreciate a perfectly cooked noodle and a salty piece of pork belly. And I absolutely love home-made ice cream and cookies at my mom’s house. These are the good things in life.

So, how do I balance it? When do I decide to devour a sandwich and when do I stick to a salad full of veggies? I practice MODERATION. I try to stick to healthy ‘fuel’ most of the time. When I treat myself to ‘carbs’ and sugar, I view it just that way… As a TREAT. I think it’s better that way anyway. I feel like crap when I eat sugar and bread days in a row and I stop appreciating it.

Everyone has to make their choices, each and every day. But awareness is where it all begins. If you never go without bread, dairy, sugar, alcohol, etc., how will you ever know how you feel without it?

Our go-to detox at Kaia FIT is 7 days without the following:

  • All starchy ‘carbs’ (bread, tortillas, rice, potatoes, etc.)
  • Sugar over 9g per serving (besides sugar naturally found in fruits/veggies)
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy
  • Processed Foods (if you can’t pronounce something on the label, avoid it!)

Eating clean is a great feeling and I highly recommend letting yourself experience it. And remember, “All things in moderation, including moderation.”

A big thank you to Megan for this great insight into her way of thinking about nutrition. It’s very easy to get into patterns of binging or restricting, so avoid all the negative side effects of both of those ways of eating and try practicing moderation as Megan has suggested.

What’s your personal approach to your daily diet?

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Beginner Fitness

In 2012 a reader came to me with a simple request – Could I help her ease into a workout routine that would put her on the path to overall better health? I documented a part of the process in the following series of posts – Want To Achieve Gym Goddess Status?, Part II, Part III, Part IV & Part V.

I’ve recently received a similar request and thought that 2013 would be a great time to share some of the details with my readers again because I think it’s such a worthwhile topic and achieving better health is widespread goal. I’m sure there have been countless New Years Resolutions related to this so why not get started on your path to health and happiness now?

In addition to providing short beginners workouts for the next few weeks, I’ll be recommending reading and do my best to keep you all motivated and inspired – Which is half the battle.

Workouts:

You want to ease into a new workout regime regardless of your current level of fitness, however if you’re not currently working out, attending classes, and/or running on a regular basis I would suggest starting with one or two small workouts a week and gradually increase to 3-5 as you start improving and feeling stronger.

Let’s start Week One with two short workouts to get us in the mood:

Day One

Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

Warm Down: 5-10 minutes of intervals on a machine of your choosing {See the suggestions under Warm Up}

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

*My recommendation is to turn this into a mini circuit workout – After your warm up do one set of planks, one set of lunges, and one set of squats, then repeat the process a second and third time to complete the circuit before your warm down.

Day Two

Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

  • Reverse Lunges {FitSugar’s Back to Basics: Stationary Reverse Lunge} 3 rounds of 10 lunges on each knee
  • Crunches {Dummies.com’s How To Do Crunches} 3 rounds of 20 – Be sure to watch your form & keep your chin & elbows UP form is important w/ this move
  • Leg Lifts {Shape Magazine’s Double-Leg Lower & Lift} 3 rounds of 20

Warm Down: 5-10 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

Nutrition:

Following diets, participating in cleanses, and going through detox programs are interesting ways to find out how your body responds to things, but they’re not a way of life. Learning to eat well & make smart food choices on a daily basis is going to do much more for you than any short-term healthy eating “fix.”

Depending on your typical diet transitioning to a clean eating regime can seem pretty daunting, so to make the switch more manageable I’ll just recommend a few tips and suggest some things to cut out of your diet each week.

To start, it’s time to get cooking! Your first goal should be to cut out packaged, processed, and pre-made food from your diet. Don’t panic! That doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to order Chinese again or never enjoy a handful of chips in the future, but if you want to transition to a clean diet the first step is to eliminate all of these types of foods. So your mission for the next two weeks is to start giving up anything processed, stop hitting the drive-through, and spend more time in the kitchen and less time at restaurants.

PumpkinSeeds

Here are a few alternatives:

  • If you like chips or salty other snacks – Try raw almonds, butter-free air popped popcorn, or baby carrots w/ hummus
  • If you crave the beta-endorphin rush of sugary treats, baked goods, or candy – Switch these high calorie picks for fresh fruit, natural almond butter, or homemade sweet treats like Choosing Raw’s Cinnamon Caramelized Cauliflower or Maple Cinnamon Candied Pumpkin Seeds

Homework:

Understanding why you feel the way that you feel and how to improve your health is important. Anyone can blindly follow instructions, but learning about health, nutrition, and your body will help you for your entire life.

So with the goal of educating yourself and expanding your horizons here are some interesting articles you might enjoy:

  • Healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and nuts & seeds {in moderation} are an important part of a healthy diet. Learn more about this subject by reading Natalie Jill Fitness’s Eating Fat Will NOT Make You Fat…
  • One of the things that impacts your health almost as much as nutrition and fitness is stress. You need to pay attention not only to how much stress you have in your life, but how you deal with it – How Stress Affects the Body.

Stress

So what do you think of this new series? Are these topics and the information I provided above interesting and relevant to your life?

Disclaimer: I am not a trainer, doctor, or dietitian nor do I have any certifications associated with physical fitness or nutrition. I’m merely an enthusiast {and former athlete} who reads & does research daily and has worked out alone or with coaches & trainers since the age of 6. I am lucky enough to have access to a handful of blogs, websites, and trainers to answer my questions though. Prior to making any dramatic changes to your fitness routine or diet I suggest that you consult a physician.

For more inspiration, my daily workout routines, and more Moi Contre La Vie you can find me on these platforms:

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Want to Achieve Gym Goddess Status?

A friend of mine, and one of the original MCLV readers & supporters, came to me with a request a few weeks ago. Could I provide her with some pointers for how to spend her gym time so that she’d be getting the best results? In the past six months she visited a nutritionist to assist with digestive issues, changed her eating habits and, with her husband, began eating a primarily plant-based diet. As she is working on stabilizing her diet, she also wants to start working on getting back into fighting shape after a brief hiatus from the gym.

With her blessing, I’m going to do a short series on her progress and how well she’s been doing with her new regime, which is easily adaptable for most beginners.

*Note: As Liz did, please talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness routine.

Day 1:

      10 minute elliptical warm up (level 7/incline 7 minimum)

      3 rounds:

  •             5 push-ups (on knees if necessary)
  •             10 sit-ups (chin up to ceiling)
  •             20 seconds plank
  •             25 jumping jacks (clap at the top)

      5 minute stationary bike warm-down

      Stretching

The purpose of this workout was to gauge Liz’s capabilities and determine how far she could be pushed. She was enthusiastic, worked really hard and by round 3 she was starting to get tired, which is perfect.

Day 2:

10 minute cardio warm up – elliptical (level 7/incline 7 minimum)

  • 20 crunchies
  • 20 bicycles
  • 20 leg lifts

5 minutes cardio – stair master (a fast pace, but not exhausting)

  • 20 crunchies
  • 20 bicycles
  • 20 leg lifts

5 minutes cardio – stationary bike (a fast pace, but not exhausting)

  • 20 crunchies
  • 20 bicycles
  • 20 leg lifts

10 minute cardio warm down – elliptical

Of the three workouts the first week this was the one that made Liz the most sore, it also made it clear that we needed to do some serious core exercises to give her the basic strength that she needs to stabilize herself during other workouts. For example, you need to have a certain level of strength through your core before things like heavy overhead weights or kettlebell swings are attempted so that back injuries don’t occur.

Day 3

10 minute cardio warm up (a fast pace – you shouldn’t be able to carry on a conversation well) 

5 rounds:

  • 10 squat jumps
  • 10 lunges (each leg)
  • 10 mountain climbers (each leg)

10 minute cardio warm down

The first week we stuck with just the three small workouts so that the introduction would be fairly painless and so that Liz wouldn’t be too sore to work even harder the next week.

Something to keep in mind when you begin a new workout regime is spacing your workouts and incorporating rest days in order to stave off exhaustion or overuse of muscle groups. See The Fitnessista’s take on Rest Days here, FitSugar’s advice here and Fitbie’s moderation suggestions here.

Also, please remember the importance of stretching to keep yourself limber and uninjured, see David Kirsch’s take here. Interested in some safety tips for beginners? Please check out Sparkpeople.com.

Stay tuned for week #2!

Disclaimer: I am not a trainer nor do I have any certifications associated with physical fitness, I’m just an enthusiast who has worked out alone or with coaches & trainers since the age of 6. I am lucky enough to have access to a handful of blogs, websites and trainers to answer my questions though, including the talented Gina at The Fitnessista and my boyfriend who is a certified CrossFit instructor. The workouts above and the ones to come are recommendations based on a specific individual’s needs and abilities, they should not be followed blindly or attempted without the consent of a doctor.

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