A healthy lifestyle blog by ACE Certified Group Exercise Trainer.

Why are we sitting around so much?

Here's how many of our typical days as a working woman or even stay at home mom goes:

Morning - Wake up, shower, eat, drive to work or drive kids to school
8 - 10 am - Sit at a desk at work (or sit on the couch at home)
10-10:15 am - Walk to the bathroom and back to desk
10:15 - 12:00 pm - Sit at desk some more
12:00 - 1:00 pm - Walk to the breakroom, or drive home and sit for lunch
1:00 - 3:00 pm - Sit at desk some more
3:00 - 3:15 pm - Walk to bathroom
3:15 - 5:00 pm - Sit some more at work or sitting in the car driving to pick up kids, sitting at their after-school activities
5:00 - 6:00 pm - Make and eat dinner
6:00 - 10 PM - Sit around at home and watch TV

This is just an example, but it does highlight how many of us do a whole lot of sitting around. Unless we have a certain career that involves a lot of movement, many of us sit at a desk or on our couch for a large portion of our day.

Too much sitting can be linked to cardiovascular disease, Type 2 Diabetes, obesity and even cancers. The good news is that there is also a mountain of evidence that shows injecting short activities in your day can have a big impact on improving your health.

As a Tabata Bootcamp trainer, we are taught about doing "Metabolic Makeovers" with our clients.

So here are some ideas to inject some movement into your day:

  1. Always do your 6 minute tabata workout or other quick workout to start your morning.
  2. Park as far away from the door as possible at work, grocery store, etc. If you live close enough and the weather is nice, try walking to run your errands. I try to always walk to my Redbox to return movies. I walk my daughter to daycare if the weather is decent.
  3. If you work at a desk, set your outlook alarm every 30 minutes to remind you to get up. Walk around. Stretch. 
  4. Every time you answer your phone stand up and pace by your desk. This forces you to get out of your chair.
  5. Increase your water intake. This will ensure you have to get up to go to the bathroom every 20-30 minutes.
  6. If you have an hour long lunch, try eating for 20 minutes, walking the remainder 30-40 minutes. Take your ipod with a book on tape or your favorite music, or take a coworker with you!
  7. On the hour at work or at home, do 10 pushups or tricep dips.
  8. If your kids have activities like soccer, band practice, dance class, etc., don't sit while they are doing their activity. If you can walk around the field, building, parking lot, etc. while you wait.
  9. After you eat dinner, make everyone in the whole family go for a quick walk around the neighborhood. If it's getting dark too soon, do the walk before dinner.
  10. Instead of watching TV just sitting, try doing a TV workout - during every commercial do jumping jacks, jog in place, etc.
Here's some additional ways to incorporate exercise:

Denise Austin's Office Workout


Healthy Pumpkin Protein Bars

I made these pumpkin protein bars from Jamie Eason's Live Fit Series on Bodybuilding.com. They are super good!

With this fall weather moving in and Starbucks serving up pumpkin spice latte's I'm in the mood for pumpkin goodies.

These bars are packed with protein. I ground up my own oatmeal for the oat flour (since they don't sell it where I live). I added the walnuts like Jamie suggested and sure enough, they were delish!

Image: bodybuilding.com

For the full recipe and menu plan visit the site. I am thinking about trying her Live Fit plan. Has anyone else done it? If so what did you think? 

Why Starvation Diets Don't Work and My Review of the Seven Day Slim Down

I purchased the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan a few months ago and I've been using some of their recipes and tips, but not following it to a T. Then I got this wild hair to try the 7 Day Slim Down (7DSD) that is one of the main components of their nutrition plan. I thought, "Hey, let me give this a go and see what's up!"

I completed only 4 days of the 7 day slim down and then I had to adjust the plan and I will explain why. The premise of the plan is mostly lean protein and dense green veggies, some fruit, and a bit of dairy the first 2 days. No starchy carbs. No bread/cookies/crackers/pasta/potatoes/etc.

Days 1-3 I followed the plan strictly. I felt a bit hungry on days 1-3 but nothing unbearable. On Day 3 I woke up 3 lbs lighter, not bloated at all, flat tummy. It felt amazing! By the end of Day 3 I wanted the yogurt I'd been eating after dinner on days 1 & 2 but didn't cave. I got most of my workouts in on all 3 days.

On day 4, I woke up cranky. Like seriously cranky. And hungry. I followed the plan until dinner but I was craving carbs so insanely bad. I couldn't work out, I felt weak. By 5 pm we decided to go out to dinner and I caved in. I had 5 tortilla chips and ranch dressing on my salad. I had lean pork tenderloin and roasted veggies (not a bad choice!). I went home from dinner feeling guilty for "cheating" but to be honest, my body felt SOOO good. Like heaven. So I thought to myself, "I wonder how many calories this 7DSD comes out to per day???" I googled a few things and found this video.

Needless to say, it peaked my curiosity. Enter Myfitnesspal app. I plugged in everything I ate from day 2. It came out to about 1300 calories. Not bad, considering 1200 is the lowest possible recommended amount. BUT if you calculate the TWO 30 minute Cardio Sessions they recommend, you'd burn around 300 minimum, maybe even more, and be down to 1000 calories. That's called starvation. Not good.

Then I decided to calculate day 6/7 calories (even though I hadn't gotten there yet) just to see... It came out to a whopping 689 calories without exercise. That is not ok. That is not healthy.
Let me explain why this is not good. If you restrict your calories so much you will trick your body into thinking you are starving. Your body is thinking, "What the heck is going on here? I guess I better hold on to every last calorie that makes in this place since it might be my last." That really messes up your metabolism. I am not a dietitian or doctor so I don't know how many days of starving it takes to really take a toll on your body, but I don't want to take that chance. It's not worth it. I can do the cutting starchy processed carbs, maybe even limiting dairy to 1 serving a day, but I do not condone getting less than 1200 net calories a day. That's crazy. Even on the week before you get married or do boudoir photos for your hubby. That's just crazy.

So let me also say that I really like the Tone it Up girls, I'm not downing their programs completely. I really like the workouts, the recipes, the community, etc. I just don't like the 7DSD. I do however think that you can modify it to make it work better for you.

I like the idea of no starchy carbs for a few days, especially if you want to see bloating cut down (before a wedding or big event, photo shoot, etc.). Carbs hold water, so get rid of them and you won't be walking around with as much water weight. I don't think you can live on 1000 or 700 calories per day. But what you can do (and what I did) is: add extra servings of protein and veggies at lunch and dinner, add nuts or beans if you are hungry, add healthy fats like olive oil/avocado, etc. Don't run and grab a bag of chips or fries, but add extra calories via the healthy stuff!

So I won't be doing a 7DSD exactly like the TIU one again, but there are good things that you can take from it and use to your benefit to create a quick pre-event slim down that's safe and healthy and look your best.

Color Run Fun

Had a blast at the Color Run in Albuquerque this weekend. I took Jenna and jogged it with the jogging stroller.

There's no better feeling than passing cute 20 year old girls with my jogging stroller! A good time was had by all.


Me and my sweetheart
At the starting line

Pre-race jitters!

Post race & colored! 
"You want some pink on your face?"

Can you tell which color was her fav?

Nana & J
Post-Race (Me & My girl)

The Dangers of Your Coffee Creamer

One of the hardest things for me to let go of when transitioning to eating "cleaner" was my beloved Coffee-Mate creamers. Even just thinking about it has me salivating! Liquid gold, I tell you! But these liquid and powdered creamers you find at the grocery store are basically just a crap storm of oil and chemicals...yummy.

Not to mention, most people use way more than the recommended serving size of a tablespoon of liquid or  2-4 teaspoons of powder. The calories and fat content in creamers add up quickly, sabotaging your diet for the day!

Let's talk ingredients. Here's an image of the nutritional info for one of my favorite liquid creamers, Thin Mint. First unknown ingredient on the list is.... Partially hydrogenated soybean oil. What is this, you ask? Just a fancy name for Trans Fats. Unlike other fats, trans fat — also called trans-fatty acids — both raises your "bad" (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your "good" (HDL) cholesterol. Can you say heart-attack?

As quoted by the Mayo Clinic, "Scientists aren't sure exactly why, but the addition of hydrogen to oil increases your cholesterol more than do other types of fats. It's thought that adding hydrogen to oil makes the oil more difficult to digest, and your body recognizes trans fats as saturated fats."

That's comforting!

Not all fats are "bad" for you, and you really do need the "good" kind of fat in your diet. A great article explaining fats is on the Harvard School of Public Health page. But medical groups across the board agree on limiting out intake of trans fats is important for heart health and cholesterol. Very important. Especially for women - heart disease is still the #1 killer!

Next on the list we have mono and diglycerides. Monoglycerides and diglycerides are food additives commonly used to combine ingredients containing fats with those containing water, two types of ingredients that don't ordinarily combine well. Food manufacturers typically use them to extend a product's shelf life. Made in part of fatty acids, they are similar to triglycerides, the predominant fat in food according to the Harvard School of Public Health, except they are classified as emulsifiers rather than lipids. No studies found that they are harmful to people, but still it's another chemical that we are ingesting which is not in line with clean eating principles.

Then we have a few more ingredients we can't pronounce: Dipotassium phosphate is a chemical used as an ingredient in foods to control acidity and prevent coagulation. It is most commonly used in the production of cheeses and non-dairy creamers, not to mention fertilizers. Yep, fertilizers. 

Lastly, we have good ole' carrageenan. This stuff is a derivative of Irish moss, a type of seaweed found along the west coast of Ireland and the east coast of North America. It is used as a thickener, emulsifier, and stabilizer in many foods and drinks.  Researchers debate the safety of carrageenan, and several studies link it to malignancies and digestive problems. Bottom line, is that there are researchers who think this is bad for you. Eat at your own risk.

So lets think about this for a minute....in order to make coffee creamer last a long time, mix well with our coffee and not clump up, and maintain a thick consistency, we have to add a bunch of processes chemicals. And if you think the powdered kind is better, it's not! One of the ingredients in powdered creamer is even flammable

Don't worry, you do have a few alternatives! Plain old half-and-half, milk, or cream. Sure you are getting a small dose of animal fats, but at least no sugar or transfats or processed chemicals. And we do need some fats in our diet.

Or you could go for coconut milk/cream, almond or rice milk. Both can be quite flavorful. One thing to remember is that even healthy almond milk or rice/coconut milks can contain the chemical additives to extend their shelf lives. So look at labels and decide for yourself. Maybe you can find an almond milk that doesn't have the carrageenan, but it might have the dipotassium phosphate and the mono/diglycerides, but it's a healthier trade-off. It's up to you, but make informed choices!

Need some sweetness added to your cup o joe? I prefer the natural sweetener stevia, or even just plain sugar. One sugar packet is only 15 calories. I say 15-30 calories is better than eating cancer causing sweet'n'low. Skip artificial sweeteners or syrups they are just plain bad for you. They are also linked to making people feel more hungry after eating them, which defeats the purpose!

*Note- I am not a dietician or nutritionist. Always consult your physician when making changes to your diet/exercise plan. This blog provides opinions for informational purposes only.

The Adventures of Designing Stroller Classes!

I thought it was going to be a piece of cake working up my stroller fitness classes. Boy was I wrong! It's been an ongoing process figuring out what works...and I am still trying to figure it out.

My original plan was to hold them at a park here in Grants, Truman Park. It's not the nicest park (there's some grafitti,etc.), but it has a walking path that goes around and plenty of shade. I took the girls there to "test" out a class.

This park was a bad idea. There are NO bathrooms. No port-a-potties, nothing! It's kinda crazy. Even if you make your little ones go before you leave the house, inevitably there will be a need for a potty at some point. So that location was OUT! I found out the hard way and ended up sprinting to my house.

Next obstacle was the battling the complex mind of a toddler. When we got to the park, my kids did NOT want to be in the stroller. They saw the playground equipment and had to make use of it. So I thought, "I'll let them play while I push my stroller around sans-kids and try out my class format." That was a big FAIL too because my little ladies wanted me to play with them! My youngest kept chasing me crying while I was going around the park, "Mamamamama!!!" INSERT CROCODILE TEARS.

So I have come to the conclusion that this camp will be an evolving class. We will try things. Things may not work. Kids may not like some stuff. We may have to adapt. But we'll figure it out and get a workout in regardless!

So for any moms out there interested in exploring the unpredictable world of Stroller Fitness, come try it out with me! We're starting September 9, Mondays & Fridays, 10 am - 10:45 am.

Bring a stroller, water/snacks for the kids, a blanket or mat or towel to put on the grass, and appropriate clothing for mom & kiddos.

Image Credit