Shape Magazine asked a Celebrity Trainer & I answered

Shape Magazine asked trainer Jen from the Biggest Loser these questions and as I read her answers, I thought, “I want to answer those questions!”  So I copied the q’s and here are my answers!

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If you could convince us to make one shift in our diets for the New Year, you’d say…

Drink more water.  I see people eat a meal.  Then I see people snack immediately after, saying they are still hungry.  I don’t think so.  Have a glass of water and see how you feel.  The goal is to drink 8 glasses, but if you are sweating every day, I’d suggest drinking a gallon of water per day.  Everything gets better with water.  When you drink more water, fatigue decreases, digestion improves and skin begins to glow.  What more could you ask for?

The smartest way we can kick-start our workout plan in the New Year is to…

Start small.  When you go from eating crappy and not working out to extreme diet & exercise, you are setting yourself up for a big disappointment.  Instead, aim for a 10-minute walk a few days a week and increase from there.  You will know when you are ready for more.

The biggest mistake we make in our workouts is… 

Speed over form.  That’s great if you can do 100 squats in 60 seconds, but are you driving your body weight thru your heels and squeezing your butt as you stand up?  Probs not.  Form is SO much more important, especially if you have injuries.  I go a little slower, because of a really stiff, pin ridden ankle and foot.  One wrong step and it’s like sending waves of pain up my spine.  I am able to do different exercises at a slower pace and it has saved me from injuring myself any further.  Train smart, not fast.

When you’re so not feeling up for exercise, your trick is… 

Putting on workout clothes and playing hardcore gangsta rap.  If I don’t feel like going to the gym, I’ll do an at home workout, starting with stretches to get myself jazzed up.  I’ll continue with planks, squats, lunges, leg lifts, pushups, crunches of all sorts, etc.  Even if I squeeze in 15 minutes, I’ll feel better.

Your best strategy for staying motivated is… 

Slow and steady wins the race.  I entered a 30 day Yoga Challenge a few years ago and it made me dread going.  It sucked all the fun out of something I found truly joyful.  I like to switch it up with yoga, booty barre, heavy weights, racquetball, walks and riding the bike.

The one workout move you dislike the most is…

Yoga poses on my belly.  I can’t stand them.  My hips are bony and they always dig into the ground and give me bruises whenever I do belly poses.  I also don’t like any poses where I get lightheaded.  I suffer from chronic vertigo, so getting lightheaded is a recipe for disaster in a hot yoga room.

The key to bouncing back after overeating is to… 

Not eat as much the next day and move more.  I overeat when I’m about to get my period.  Not by much, but I know that I’ll do better tomorrow.  When you binge and restrict is when you get into trouble.  Just do a little better the next day or meal and you are all good!

The best thing we can do for ourselves is… 

Move.  Knock fear on its butt.  Try something that you’ve never done.  Speak to strangers.  Travel.  Love more.  Move on.  Look forward.  Read.  Stay interested.  Welcome change.  Write.  Do yoga.  Those are my favorite best things.

The worst thing we can do for ourselves is…

Let fear make the next move for our future, like not doing anything.  Being scared of change.  It’s inevitable, things change, people change, relationships change, careers change, seasons change.  Staying in something, whether it’s a job, relationship, living situation or friendship where you are no longer happy is like a death sentence.  Detach, move away, and step forward.  The time is now!

Your biggest health regret is…

Struggling with food for so long.  From the age of 16 to 26 I had some pretty serious eating issues that I never got help for until 10 years had passed and the damage was done.  As a woman, it’s this mentality of, “I can get thru anything on my own and don’t need help from anybody.”  When that’s not true at all and no way to live life.  It’s lonely, scary and unhealthy.  I wish I would’ve asked for help sooner.

Do you train yourself or go to trainers? 

Both.  I make up my own routines in the gym and I LOVE going to classes.  I can work out on my own if I have good music and it’s not too crowded.  I read a lot and research a ton.  If you are interested in anything related to health and wellness, it’s not too difficult to find workouts you love.

The one celebrity you secretly wish to train is…

Melissa McCarthy.  She’d be hilarious and we’d have fun.  If you don’t laugh at least once during a workout, it’s not fun.  I like fun.  

If you had time for only one move, you’d make it…

Squats.  Fo’ sure. I love them.  I feel so strong when I do them.  I’m going to add another one.  Plank/forearm plank.  If you hold it long enough you can feel your lower belly start to engage and it’s tough to get that muscle group.  So ya, plank, squats or forearm plank or all 3, the trifecta of sexy.

 

Your turn!

If you could convince us to make one shift in our diets for the New Year, you’d say…

The smartest way we can kick-start our workout plan in the New Year is to…

The biggest mistake we make in our workouts is… 

When you’re so not feeling up for exercise, your trick is… 

Your best strategy for staying motivated is… 

The one workout move you dislike the most is…

The key to bouncing back after overeating is to… 

The best thing we can do for ourselves is… 

The worst thing we can do for ourselves is…

Your biggest health regret is…

Do you train yourself or go to trainers? 

The one celebrity you secretly wish to train is…

If you had time for only one move, you’d make it…

The Truth: We Are Addicted to Sugar

I know this truth down to the core of my former sugar-addicted self.  I was a candy freak.  I consumed thinking of the fat being free.  No fat = no weight gain.  But why was I gaining weight and not able to sleep at night?

My favorite movie was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  My grandfather was a candy salesman, but had to quit when my grandmother devoured all of his samples.  This sugar addiction was taught from generation to generation.  I remember picking out my favorite candy for special occasions, birthdays, the movies and than it became a daily consumption.

Sour Patch Kids, Sour Gummi’s, ShockTarts, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Blow Pops, candy necklaces, Nerds, cookies, ice cream, you name it.  If sugar was an ingredient, it was in my possession.  And don’t even get me started on Mug or Dad’s Root Beer.  A dear girlfriend of mine loved the R.B. as much as I did and we called ourselves, “the Root Beer Buds.”

In 2009 I went to Thailand to teach English.  I was exhausted, overheated and couldn’t stop myself from reaching for sugary foods and treats.  I kept trying to pump myself up, but even the most delicious scoop of ice cream couldn’t tame the sugar beast.

 I came home after 8 months of traveling and have never been sicker.  I also gained 20 pounds while food tasting at every opportunity and from the anxiety of coming back to the USA after traveling for so long.  I was terrified to come home, so I kept on eating.  Banana pancakes called my name from every street cart, so did anything fried, which I don’t even like, I was just nervous eating.  I didn’t know how else to deal with those emotions.  So I ate.  And ate.  And ate.

After logging in a food journal, I began to realize how much sugar I was consuming and how shitty it made me feel.  Even the Luna + Clif Bars I snacked on contained SO MUCH SUGAR!  The skinny peppermint mochas weren’t doing me any favors either.  The soy chai’s were murdering my adrenals and the cinnamon chip bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. made me bloat.  I thought I was just full and that a pregnant belly was normal after eating cinnamon roll  bread.

Poor little belly.  There were some issues in my personal life, a roller coaster relationship, no clear life direction and an emptiness in my heart that I kept trying to fill with sugar.  Once I realized the connection between my emotions and cravings for sugar, I was able to stop.

I’ve been free from sugar for a few years now and continue to create/bake concoctions that are diabetic friendly.  I made black bean brownies last year and people loved them until I mentioned they contained black beans.  Or the time I made cookies using coconut flour.  If you’ve ever baked with coconut flour, you know how hard it can be to swallow those cookies (no pun intended).  I felt like I was choking.  It’s safe to say, my quest for the best chocolate chip cookie with no sugar or nut flour remains unsuccessful.  But so many other great quests have been conquered.

Get help with your sugar addiction + don’t let yourself stay locked in your kitchen so you can eat cookies in private, like I did.

6 Tips to Lose Weight or Maintain During the Holidays!

The holidays are quickly approaching and anxiety is slowly rising…especially for people who have lost weight or are trying to maintain.  I get the feeling.  Treats are abundant and “no” only sounds good until you see your favorite goodie…

Simple tips to get you through the holidays without gaining weight:

1. Don’t eliminate, unless you know you will devour the entire thing.  If something is too tempting or you’ve sworn off sugar for the last year, don’t indulge and than feel guilty.  Remember that November + December come every year.  If you can take a bite, a breath, a bite, a breath, maybe one more bite and be done, than have at it!

2. Eat before you go to a holiday party.  This is a recipe for success.  I remember thinking, “I won’t eat all day, so I can eat whatever I want tonight.”  Perfect for a binge.  Do not do this.  You will slow down your metabolism and your body will be mad at you.  Bottom line: Eat like you normally do.

3. Bring a dish.  If you know there will be nothing healthy at the party, then bring a veggie platter.  This is my go to.  Cut up carrots, broccoli, radishes, celery + anything else that sounds good and bring 2 tubs of hummus for dipping.  If you really want to get wild, throw in a couple of gluten free crackers!

4. It’s okay to say no to parties.  As a fitness professional, I try to go to sleep before 10pm every night, so I can wake up @ 5 and teach @ 6AM during the week.  A lot of holiday parties start at 7PM or later, I might stop by for an hour or just say no.  Health is the most important thing and if you can squeeze it in, go, but if it creates a crazy feeling, opt out!

5. Lay off the egg nog, or just take a couple sips.  There are TONS of recipes for healthier versions of bad foods we love.  So look some up and you will be wowed at how many calories you are saving by making a modified version!

6. Cleanse.  I love when people ask me about the AdvoCare 10 Day Cleanse and think you are not allowed to eat.  I would NEVER not eat for 10 days, let alone 1.  I’ll probably do the 10 Days leading up to Christmas, so my energy is higher than normal and my body is nice and detoxed to start the new year.