4 Easy Ways to Reach Your 2019 Fitness Goals

diet tips goals mindset Jan 26, 2019

Remember that ‘new year, new me’ determination you felt on January first? If you are finding that your resolve isn’t quite as resilient mid-month, you aren’t alone. In fact, according to U.S. News & World Report, a whopping 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Here are four strategies to help you resist the urge to quit and stick to your get-fit goals.

Plan Ahead

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Start each week ready with the right resources to set you up for success – this includes your food, exercise, and sleep intentions. Apps like MyFitnessPal are great for tracking your meals and movement. I talk about how My Fitness Pal can help you stick to your resolutions here. Schedule alerts/reminders for yourself to get your water or steps in and block the time on your calendar for exercise and bedtime, just as you would for a doctor’s appointment or work meeting. You will be more apt to stick to a regular...

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Eating Out? Top 5 Strategies for Healthy Restaurant Options

diet tips Jan 13, 2019

One of the quickest ways to derail your diet is to eat out. It’s difficult to know how much oil, butter or other ingredients are used when preparing meal. Does that mean you can never eat out again? Hells no! But you do need to take some precautions and properly planning to ensure you keep your eating on track. Here are 5 simple tips to help:

  1. Look at menu before you get to restaurant.
    How many times have you gone out to eat with friends and start chatting before being able to thoroughly vet the menu? Then you’re left scrambling to order when the waiter shows up. The best way to keep that from happening is to go online and see if the restaurant has their menu posted (most do). Quickly scan to ensure you have healthy options or begin to strategize how you can customize your order.

  2. Choose grilled, steamed, baked, or braised.
    When selecting lean protein (which should be a good portion of your meal), opt for grilled, steamed, baked, or braised. These options typically...
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10 Tips to Lose Fat Fast

diet tips Jan 12, 2019

Ready to get lean and mean as quickly as possible? Follow these tips and you’ll drop unwanted fat in no time!

  1. Eliminate Sugar: Processed foods like cookies, cake, and candy contains lots of empty calories. Cut the sugar and you instantly cut those low value calories Whenever possible use Stevia, a natural calorie-free alternative.
  2. Reduce Carbs: Losing weight is a matter of calories in versus calories out. This means you either need to decrease your calories or increase your calorie expenditure. One way to do that is to reduce carbs or look for low carb options like using low-carb wraps instead of bread for sandwiches.
  3. Incorporate HIIT: Burn calories fast and furious with high intensity interval training. Spike your heart rate for 20-40 seconds, then take 60 seconds to recover. Repeat 10 times for an intense 20 minute workout. Run, bike, row, or use a jump rope.
  4. Build Muscle: Lift weights to build muscle (you will not get big and bulky!). The more muscle...
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5 On-The-Go Snacks for Portion Control

diet tips Jan 10, 2019

Staying on track can be hard when you live a busy lifestyle. Between work, kids, running errands, and just everyday tasks trying to stay healthy can be a real challenge! Here are some snacks you can grab quickly while on-the-go that won’t completely derail your progress but will also help you stay full and feel satisfied.

1. Optimum Nutrition Cake Bites

Need something sweet to get you through the day? These cake bites contain about 7 grams of protein and are only 80 calories. These are great for satisfying your sweet tooth and keeping you on track. They come in a pack of 3 so you can eat just 1 or all 3 without feeling guilty! I personally love the birthday cake flavor and chocolate covered cherry, but red velvet and chocolate covered donut are both close seconds.

2. Goodness Knows Snack Squares

Another good option to satisfy your sweet or savory craving is Goodness Knows Snack Squares. They have four squares per package with nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate and at...

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5 Steps to Easy Meal Prep

diet tips Jan 09, 2019

Meal prepping doesn’t have to be a chore or take all day. When you plan ahead and take some time to outline your meals, you’ll find that following your eating plan is much easier and stress free! Follow these simple steps and you’ll have healthy meals ready to go all week long. 

1. Look at your weekly grocery store sales flyer and outline your menu for the week.

I plan all of my meals based on what’s on sale. I have several go-to meals that I know my family loves that will also fit into my diet plan. Then you can figure out what to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. It helps to generally eat the same meals each day with some minor changes to keep from getting bored.

Here is a sample of what a typical week looks like for me. I usually keep my meals and snacks the same and just alter them each week. It makes prepping and logging much easier.

  • Breakfast – 4 egg whites + ½ cup oatmeal
  • Lunch – 2 rice cakes, mini guac, 4 oz...
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Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

diet tips recipes Jan 09, 2019

Ingredients 

  • 2 lbs chicken breast 
  • 3 bell peppers 
  • 1 onion 
  • Fajita mix (or make your own)

Instructions

  • Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.
  • Spray with oil. 
  • Slice up everything and spread it in an even layer. 
  • Sprinkle fajita seasoning over everything. 
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 min. 

Eat over greens, rice or in a tortilla. Top with salsa, fat-free cheddar cheese or nonfat Greek yogurt.

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Instant Pot Protein Coconut Rice Pudding

recipes Jan 08, 2019

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1/2 cup sugar (OR 2 tsp liquid Stevia)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • 1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz)
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Directions:

  • Put Instant Pot on saute mode, add butter and allow to melt.
  • Add rice and stir to all of the rice is coated
  • Add coconut milk, regular low-fat milk, 1/4 cup shredded coconut, and sugar (or Stevia) and stir.
  • Set to pressure-cook high for 14 minutes, do a quick release.
  • Turn pot off, then hit saute again.
  • Whisk together the evaporated milk and egg in a small bowl.
  • When rice pudding is bubbling, add half of the milk/egg mixture and stir gently to combine.
  • Add remaining 1/4 cup of shredded coconut once mixture is bubbling again, followed by remaining milk/egg mixture.
  • Allow to bubble, stir gently until combined so there is no liquidy egg/milk mixture left
  • Turn pot off and immediately transfer coconut rice pudding to bowls so it...
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What Does it Mean to Be Healthy?

diet tips goals misc Jan 04, 2019

Check out this guest post from Cristina Panagopoulus. If you’re in the Chicago area and want an in-person trainer, be sure to look up Cristina.

What does it mean to be healthy? 

Being healthy is a broad term. There is no "one" way to be healthy BUT there is a way for you to be healthier. I always tell clients that making smaller steps in the right direction can do wonders. For example, if you eat out every day for lunch try bringing your lunch instead. Or perhaps you don't care for vegetables. Start incorporating them week by week. Try something new at the grocery store you don't normally eat. Being healthy, for the most part, is making small steps to living a long life. Make your food instead of buying it pre-made. Eat out once a week. Exercise 4-5 times a week. Eat more vegetables and less processed foods. Taking the steps to change your lifestyle will keep you living a healthy life.

How can people stick to their New Year’s...

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My Top 3 Tips to Get into Competition-Ready Shape

cardio diet tips goals Jan 03, 2019

My Top 3 Tips to Get into Competition-Ready Shape

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to compete in another bodybuilding competition this summer and my ultimate goal is to get my pro card in one of tougher natural federations called the OCB (Organization of Competition Bodies). The OCB only allows competitions who attain their physique without the use of drugs or diuretics. This it what makes this competing with this federation more difficult and more rewarding

I work full-time, manage a family and still find the time/effort to prep for figure competitions. It’s not always easy, but anything worth achieving usually isn’t easy. It’s doable even with a crazy lifestyle.

Tip #1 - Make your goal a top priority and have a deadline.

When I plan to compete, I need to select a federation, date, and location. Normally I try to pick shows that are close to home so there is minimal disruption for my family. That said, I also try to be realistic about how much weight I...

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5 Tips on How to Handle Buffets Without Wrecking Your Diet

diet tips Dec 23, 2018

Have you ever had a work meeting or been on vacation and stuck eating at the proverbial buffet? Maybe you’re at a party, holiday gathering, or other event where eating at a buffet is your only option. Here are five tips to keep your diet on track without making you feel like you’re missing out:

  1. Take an inventory -- Look at your options and visually figure out your plan of attack. Walk along the buffet and see what’s available. You want to stay away from fried foods and heavy creams or sauces as these are very calorie dense foods with little nutritional value. Next you will want to look at the veggie options because they are going to fill you up faster with less calories.
  2. Use a small plate -- Opt to use a dessert plate versus a dinner plate. It will allow you to fill up the plate without feeling like you’re skimping.
  3. Focus on veggies and lean proteins -- You will be able to get the most bang for your buck with vegetables and lean proteins....
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