Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Procrastination - can you get away with it?

                          You may delay, but time will not. ~Benjamin Franklin
My friend Amanda over at http://www.runtothefinish.com/ honored me by asking me to do a guest blog about why I love competing in fitness shows......2 weeks ago!  I'm sure I'll put it off a few more days.  Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about writing a post for her awesome blog and I'm always excited to write about fitness......sigh.  So why have I been procrastinating?? My official excuse (which actually holds a lot of truth) is that it's tough to put all the reasons why I LOVE competing in Fitness, Figure, Bodybuilding type competitions in one short post, I could talk all day about the plethora of reasons I get up on that stage...but more on that later.  The fact is, I have plenty of idea's for the post, I can knock it out in about 45 minutes if I put my mind too it and use spell check:)  But the real reason is, I'm just a professional procrastinator! It's my MO!
       Procrastination works well for me.  I wait till the last minute and then I'm under the gun so I work quickly and efficiently.  However, there are some area's in my life where procrastination does NOT work, and believe me, I've tried my procrastination techniques everywhere!  I have found that saving money and getting in shape are the main two places I just can't procrastinate.  Here are a few examples:

When I was in the army, I knew 6 MONTHS ahead of time when a physical fitness test was coming up (2 min push up, 2 min sit up, 2 mile run)  did I start training ahead of time?  did I work on my 2 mile time with sprint workouts?? HA! No, I would wait until THE WEEK BEFORE and decide to try to do 500 sit ups a day to catch up on all the training I had skipped out on.....and go figure, it never worked. 

I have waited until the last minute to diet/train for fitness shows. Why? I don't know, I certainly knew I had a show coming up! They post the dates about a year out and you have to register far in advance. So why (on more then one occasion) have I found myself on the treadmill for 3 hours a day the week before a show trying to make up for all my procrastinating?  FYI, this is NOT the way to get the best results in ANY type of competition!

The bottom line is, getting in shape, losing weight, gaining muscle, flexibility, strength and overall strength all take time. A Long time!  So please don't put your health off one more day!  Don't wait till tomorrow to start that new diet plan, walking regime, weight plan, marathon prep, etc.  Procrastination and health don't work, take it from someone who tried a few times to mix the two!  I'd love to hear your stories about procrastination and how it worked out! Leave me some comments!  -Kelly

Monday, June 20, 2011

Do you SERIOUSLY want to put that in your body??

Hi All, It's been a while since I posted, Samara has been picking up the slack for me.  I've been putting in a lot of hours and the day job and then training as many clients as I can at night and I've started Prepping for my next show...more on that later :)  So, not only have I not blogged, I haven't been able to catch up on TV either!  I just got around to watching a three week old episode of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. That show makes me so angry I almost blogged last night, but it would have been filled with curse words!! I'm more calm this morning, but I've got to tell you, I'm really really upset about what we are putting in our bodies and the bodies of our precious children.  During last night's episode, he had a classroom full of kids and he let them make an ice cream sunday with all the usual fixins, candy bits, sprinkles, whipped topping, sugary sauces...you know, the good stuff:)  Then he asked them if they knew what they were really eating. There were over 250 ingredients in their sundays!!! I couldn't even pronounce the majority of those 250 ingredients.  You could see the look on the kids face change as it started to sink in.  He then went on to explain what those ingredients were actually made of...the shellac on the shiny candy coating - beetles! Other ingredients were derived from duck feathers, pig intestines and human hair...tasty huh??  By then the kids were gagging and I knew he had made his point.  People, please, read the ingredients and if you don't know what it is....DON'T BUY IT!  We are already exposed to so many toxic chemicals in our every day environments, please don't needlessly put more toxins in  your body!  So next time you are at the grocery, read the labels and avoid anything that sounds like it came out of your 9th grade chemistry class!!  Have a healthy day! -Kelly

Friday, June 17, 2011

Is this food good for me?

I was reading Everday Food last night and saw this disturbing note from a Cornell University study: that people thought that food stamped “organic” was healthier than another version that was not certified organic. Specifically, they believed that organic cookies had half the calories and more fiber than identical non-organic cookies! Yikes!

Kelly and I strive to eat organic foods when we can, as we are continually learning to be more aware of the things that we put into our body. But it still takes a mindful eye while shopping (and really, while creating your shopping list beforehand) to determine what your body actually needs, what is healthy, and what is, in Kel's words, ‘poison’ to your body (no matter how good it tastes). Yes, that’s a little dramatic, but some of us need that shock to be forced to see what we are doing to this vessel we’ve been given; our body.
There are several vegans and ovo lactos in my yoga teacher training class, as one would expect. During yesterday’s lunch, we had an interesting discussion led by one student about how he used to be a ‘Dorito vegan’ when he started; In order to cut out meat from his diet, he just lived on Doritos! He has since learned, and instilled within him, that to be vegan for him is more than just the shift away from meat, but also towards healthful eating.
I think this is an important shift in one’s mind that we could all strive to reach. Have you ever found yourself reaching for something that is labeled ‘organic’ or even ‘low fat’ only to realize that it may be worse for you than the original version? What steps do you take to be more mindful while shopping?

This is your last day to enter the Total Body Kit Giveaway!
Things I’m Thankful for Today
Calm in the midst of pressure
Study partners
Restorative yoga poses
Dry heat

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Meditation - is it for you?

I’ve never gotten into meditation before. The closest I can say that I have has been praying. But, until this week, I’d never been led through meditation as a guided visualization or concentration exercise. As I’m spending the week in yoga teacher training, we begin each day with one of these two methods of meditation. And in this short time, I’ve already realized many of the benefits. The first is just to clear the mind. I will readily admit (and ME will back me up, I’m sure), I can often empty the mind and find myself day dreaming or simply thinking of nothing. However, it’s completely different when you are being led through a guided concentration. I’ve found that focusing on creating a still mind brings the body into such a relaxation and clear direction that it provides much more benefit to the body. In just the few times that we’ve meditated this week, I’ve come out with peace, decisions, and answers to questions of the heart.

 I am a baby in the exploration of meditation, but am excited to pursue it further and learn more about the benefits.
Have you participated in meditation? What have you learned? Do you have your own form of meditation?

Don't forget that your last chance to enter to win the  Total Body Kit Giveaway is tomorrow!

Things I'm Thankful for today:
Restful sleep
Free Tickets to baseball games
Triple coupons
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Watching Lily lick MEs face to wake him up

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Samara's Love Letter to Nuun

Dear Nuun,
I love you.  I’ve only known you for two years now, but you’ve made such a huge impact on my life.  I would be so honored to spend a weekend with you, running my tail off, and sharing with others how you are a critical piece in my training and competing.
I met you in October 2009. I was training for the Florida Ironman and, being a procrastinator, waited until the month before the race to set my nutrition plan.  I’d been competing in triathlons for 10 years at that point, and whenever I’d tried to push it on the run, I’d always get huge cramps in my quads that would force me to pull back.  For such an enormous undertaking, I wanted to be sure to be the best I could, as well as be safe...my goal was to not kill myself.  This is where you stepped in. I vaguely followed a nutrition plan that I found online. This plan mentioned utilizing a low calorie electrolyte drink and listed you as a good example. I created my shopping list, ran to the bike store, and picked up my supplies, to include my first sleeve of Nuun.  I utilized you for the rest of my train up, but it was during the race that I noticed the vast difference in the way that my body reacted to racing with you by my side.  This Ironman was the first time I’d run a distance longer than a half marathon - and I did not get the normal quad cramps at all! Wisely using Nuun throughout my race helped regulate my electrolytes and keep my body up and running through the full 13 hours ~ mind blowing! You won my heart on this day and I will never turn back ~ I take you with me on all of my races!
A few months ago, I started a blog with my best friend so that we can share our enthusiasm for Healthy and Fit Living with others.  We are steadily building our base of followers and I would be so honored to share this once in a lifetime experience, participating in the Nuun HOOD TO COAST Relay Team, with our friends.
Sincerely yours,

Monday, June 13, 2011

FRIENDS - They can make you or break you!

Happy Monday everyone!  I love Monday's because it's a fresh start and everyone comes to the gym to make up for that extra burger and beer they had over the weekend:)  The topic of friends and how they can really make or break your fitness goals comes up quite often with my clients.  Often, when they start their journey towards a new healthy fit lifestyle, they find that their friends are not willing to go down that path with them.  Their friends don't understand why they dont want use food and alcohol for entertainment anymore, or why they want to go to the gym instead of Chili's on a Friday night.  They conjole you, "come on, ONE margarita won't hurt......a FEW cheesey Fries is not going to ruin your diet...."  It's tough, all of a sudden my clients sometimes feel like they've lost a shared interest with old friends.  My advice to them has always been to suggest healthier options to their friends. For example, instead of catching up with your girlfriend over a few beers, why not meet at the park and catch up while taking a brisk walk? If that doesn't work and you are feeling pressure from your old friends/family to mantain that old lifestyle that got you to the point you are at now......find new friends.  True friends should be supportive and help you to reach whatever goals you are aimming for.  I'm so blessed to be surrounded by people who care about me reaching my goals.  They support my healthy lifestyle and even putting up with me while dieting for competitions.  If you read Sam's last post, you already know she and ME are staying with me for a week and although all three of us are on extremely different (but clean) eating plans right now, we are all working to keep each other accountable, make sure the right foods and the right quantities are in the house and that we are getting out workouts in.  It's a huge weight off my shoulders to not have to worry that they won't approve of my lifestyle:)  Do you have supportive friends/family in your life or is it time to make some new friends ( always a good idea!!)  If you are struggling and need some new buddies to share your new found interests/priorities, why not meet some people by joining a gym, run club, 5K, blogs like this:) Fitness is a social activity, make the most of it!!! I'd love to hear from you! -Kelly

Things I'm grateful for today:
a big apple
Best Friends
Texas Sunshine

Friday, June 10, 2011

Clean Eating on the Road ~ can it be done?

ME and I started our road trip out west yesterday; we’re heading to Houston to link up with the other half of HFE, Kelly, for a week! I’ll be taking a week of yoga training and ME will be prospecting our living arrangements for the next <year in College Station. So, we’re spending two days on the road while I’m on the sugar free challenge and Matt’s on his clean eating plan; how are we managing, might you ask? Well, with some quick prior planning, we’re managing just fine, thanks.
Here’s what we’re living on:
~ Sammy’s Creamy Tuna Salad
~ Prepped salad mix
~ Sliced veggies (peeled cucumbers, celery, and carrots)
~ Almonds (a new awesome flavor -Habanero BBQ- I happened upon)
The above is what we eat while driving. We ate at Outback last night and had lean proteins and veggies while we wallowed away as our Miami Heat managed to lose yet another game! This morning, we had the perfect breakfast provided by our Residence Inn: eggs (scrambled and hard boiled), canadian bacon (my Zone loving mother would be so proud!), and fresh melon. We couldn’t have been more blessed, as I’m sure tomorrow they’ll have some nice fatty sausage in lieu of the canadian bacon - while delicious, not on today’s diet plan! ;)
Click here to try my easy Samara’s Creamy Tuna Salad.

Full disclosure: I've never road tripped without living on fast food before! So, we can all try something new!

~ Samara

Samara's Creamy Tuna Salad

3 cans tuna in water
2 avocados, diced or mashed
1-2 T mustard, to taste
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
Optional Add Ins:
~pickled jalapenos, diced
~diced celery, if you like some crunch
~steamed cauliflower, diced or mashed (optional ~ I just like to sneak those veggies in where I can and I had some leftover from breakfast)
~hard boiled egg/whites, if you want some more protein
Mix ingredients together and chow down. :)

Note: this is what I used because this is what I had, you can mix the measurements to taste...ie. more tuna, less avocado, etc. ~ go ahead ~ mess with it and make it your own!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sugar Free Food Choices

Yeah, they look just like Lara Bars! :)

One of my concerns at the start of the 10 Day Sugar Free Challenge was what I will use to fuel my body while I’m living the life as a nomad, on the road between gyms for classes everyday. The past few days, in the essence of time, I’ve been living on hard boiled eggs and cold oatmeal. And that’s fine, but I was looking for some bars to fill the void left by the sports bars I normally rely on. Well, yesterday, I happened upon the Crazy Healthy Granola Bars by Alex at Spoonful of Sugar Free. So, last night, I whipped up a version of her Reese’s cup version. Of course, I ate one (well, maybe one and a half) while cooking them and they were great. I’ve already eaten one this morning before my early morning Spin class! I don’t know why I hadn’t tried this sooner! 

For breakfast this morning, I wanted something new as well, so I whipped up an easy batch of Quinoa Cottage Cheese Pancakes. Easy and delicious!
No, those aren't choco chips.
 It's spinach;
leftover from multitasking. ;) 
1/2 c. Quinoa Flakes (gluten free and a good source of protein! yay!)
1/2 c. cottage cheese
4 egg whites or the equivalent of Egg Beaters Whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
Blend all of these ingredients in a blender and then cook just as you would any pancake. Serve with your choice of toppings (fresh fruit, pumpkin puree, agave nectar, etc.)
Modifications (add any of these items to the mix before cooking):
Gingerbread: pinches of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves (this is what I had this morning, with pumpkin puree on top ~ Yum!)
Fruit: blueberries, strawberries, diced apple (fold in the fruit after blending)
Apple Nut: diced apple and 1 T almond butter (blend in the almond butter and then fold in the apples)

Nutrition Facts (of the basic recipe before add ons)
Serving Size: 2 pancakes
Calories 183
Calories from Fat 27.0
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 0.5g
Cholesterol 7.5mg
Sodium 310mg
Total Carbohydrate 27g
Dietary Fiber 0.5g
Sugars 3.5g
Protein 14g

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Total Body Kit Giveaway

It’s GIVEAWAY time! Are you ready?
With summertime upon us, many of us are probably planning to travel. What is going to be your workout plan while you’re on the road? Do you have one? Well, let us help you with that! We’re giving away a Jillian Michael’s ULTIMATE Total Body Kit.

The kit includes ALL of the following:
~ 1 Speed Jump Rope
~ 1 Level 1 Resistance Ring
~ 2 Level 1 Resistance Tubes
~ 2 Level 2 Resistance Tubes
~ Medium Resistance Stretch Band
~ 2 Removable Handles
~ Door Strap Attachment
~ Mesh Carry Bag
~ Instructional DVD with Jillian
~ Exercise Chart
This whole kit won’t take up much space in your suitcase and now you’ll be assured you can get your workout in while you’re galavanting around the world! How does that sound?

Here’s how to win!
Please leave one comment per entry. We will pick a winner at random on 17 June and we will notify you by email to get your contact info!
MANDATORY (one of the following is required to be entered)
+1 Follow our blog
+1 Post a link to the giveaway on your Facebook page
+1 Tweet the giveway: @HealthyFitEdge GiveAway: Total Body Kit. Enter to win at http://t.co/RUHVmuX
+1 Like HealthyFitnessEdge on Facebook
+1 Follow @HealthyFitEdge on Twitter
+1 Post a link to our giveaway on your blog

Day 6 Sugar Free Challenge

So, yesterday, I stepped off the sugar free train; and the worst part: there was no real reason for it. I planned for my morning out on the town by bringing pre-cooked oatmeal, mixed with unsweetened almond milk and cinnamon alongside two hard boiled eggs. I went off on my day teaching classes, running errands, and a doctor’s appointment. During my errands, at Walrgreen’s, one of the weekly free specials was a SoBe Zero Calorie Water...which means sugar substitute. I planned to just stock that at home for after the sugar free challenge. Well, I got out to the car and as soon as I realized I was thirsty, had the choice between warm water from my Camelbak or the nice COLD and REFRESHING SoBe Water in the seat next to me. What do you think I chose? Yup, the SoBe water. Blasted! 

I’d love to say that was my only step off, but it got worse. When I finally got home from my final class of the day and it was lunchtime, I opened the fridge. Neither the yummy tuna salad (I’ll post the recipe later) from Sunday’s lunch or the roasted chicken breasts from the dinner called to me. What did? A hot dog! Yup! My favorite food. I bought two packs (they were BOGO last week, of course) to use as a cheat meal, but alas, I found one in my belly! I wanted another one, but forced myself to wait 20 minutes and see if I was really hungry for one...and of course I wasn’t. So, what did I learn from this? That I’m still not 100% in control of my will power. My solution...what I’ve done before, kept these things out of the house so they don’t tempt me. However, so as not to waste food, I’ve thrown them in the freezer so I’ll at least be forced to plan ahead if I want to cheat again. :)
My goal today is to try out the Crazy Granola Bar recipe that Spoonful of Sugar Free posted a few months ago. They look great and should help to power me through all of my classes without the added sugar! 
How do you keep yourself from being tempted by these little setbacks? Have you found some new quick recipes to get you through your busy schedule and still remain on track? Please share!

~ Samara 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

What?...There’s Sugar in That?

If you’re on day 2 of sugar free challenge with us...you might have found yourself asking this same question! While I may not be 100% sugar free in the last 48 hours, my awareness of sugar in foods is growing...and at least that is growth, right?! :)
As I left the house in a hurry for yoga this morning, I grabbed a bottle of Dry Roasted Almonds as some fuel for the day. My willpower was strong and I left that identical jar labeled “Sweet and Salty” Mixed Nut blend (which is my current obsession) right there on the island. An hour later, I threw a handful of these ‘dry roasted almonds’ into my mouth as I ran into the gym for BodyPump. After my Spinning class, I went to grab some more almonds - needed energy - but thought to look at the ingredients, just to check. Lo and Behold....halfway down the ingredients breakdown: SUGAR! Straight up! Why on earth would sugar be needed to dry roast my almonds? Darnit! Foiled again!
But while we’re looking at the ingredients of my almonds....why also are there so many other ingredients. As Kelly so eloquently put it: “The only things listed should be: Almonds, Roasted”. I’d maybe add some salt! But goodness! Now I’ve got to find sugar free ‘dry roasted’ almonds! 
Have any of you had these aha moments? Finding sugar hidden in your daily foods? Is this challenge helping you to check out those ingredients a little closer? 

My Goal for tomorrow: looking at the ingredients BEFORE I pop those snacks in my belly!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day One - Sugar Free Challenge - Don’t Freak Out!

Today is Day One of the 10 Day Sugar Free Challenge co-hosted by our friend, RunToTheFinish, and My Note to Self Today: Don’t Freak Out! 
Honestly, I don’t eat a lot of added sugar, however, when you get down to line items, as a fitness instructor, I live on protein shakes and energy bars to get me through multiple classes each day. I also rely on sports drinks to replenish all of the electrolytes I’m losing during multiple Spin classes - these three key items in my diet rely on sugar substitutes! So, when I realized that in order to do full sugar free for 10 days, I would have to cut these out of my diet, I freaked out a little. :) 
 After discussing it with ME and Kelly, and being reminded that we each need to do what’s best for our own bodies, I’ve decided to do a modified sugar free cleanse. Because Kelly is focused on building muscle in preparation for competition season, she’s cutting out all sugars and sugar substitutes with the exception of protein shakes. I am going to attempt to do the same. In lieu of my electrolyte drinks, I’m taking Salt/Electrolyte Tabs (which I normally only use during long/hot cardio sessions or during endurance races). To help fuel me through back to back classes at the gym, I’m going to use fruit and nuts. We’ll see how that feels after a few days of my new crazy gym schedule. We’ll keep you posted! Don’t Freak Out! (just a reminder)
 Are you joining us on the sugar free challenge? If so, what are your challenges? What are your plans to overcome them? 
With some prior planning and thought, I know we can do this!