The Power of Protein

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Protein is one of the most important things we can feed our bodies. It’s known for it’s ability to burn fat and build muscle. Behind the scenes, protein is the building block of every cell in the body, ranging from your bones to your skin, and it keeps your body in top shape. Not only is it essential to our body’s functionality, it also has several awesome side effects that will have you looking and feeling healthier.

Let’s discuss some of the great things protein can do for us:

1. Lean Muscle Gain – Exercising purposefully damages our muscle tissue, only to be repaired and grow back stronger. Our muscles are a powerhouse for calorie burning; therefore, the more protein we fuel our bodies with, the more calories we can burn. When we begin replacing fat with muscle, our bodies burn calories to maintain healthy, lean muscle.

2. Speeds up your Metabolism – That’s right! Did you know that eating enough protein each day can actually aid in speeding up your metabolism, which will help us burn fat quicker? It takes a greater amount of energy to process protein than it does carbohydrates, so our metabolism increases when consuming higher amounts of protein.

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3. Weight loss and Weight Maintenance – Consuming higher amounts of protein will boost fat loss in your body while helping you maintain lean muscle. On the flip side, for those who just want to maintain their current weight, protein helps regulate our appetite. Unlike fat and carbohydrates, protein makes us feel more full for longer periods of time, resulting in reduced cravings.

4. Quick Recovery – Because of the breakdown our muscles experience when we exercise, we need to fuel our bodies with protein to help grow and repair our cells. Protein provides necessary energy to help speed up this process. Most people believe that protein will enhance athletic performance, but that isn’t the case. However, it can aid in increasing muscle recovery, which makes our muscles stronger, quicker.

5. Overall Health – Protein has been proven to help balance hormones and acts as a natural remedy for anxiety. Studies also show that it helps improve our response to stress. As I mentioned before, protein is a building block to our cells, including our skin, hair, and nails. Our hair and nails are actually made up of mostly protein.

A few things to consider when consuming large amounts of protein in your daily diet:

  • Be sure to eat protein throughout the day, not just at one meal. This helps your muscles rebuild throughout the day.
  • Having several sources of protein will make your goals much easier. Consuming protein shakes numerous times a day will get old, quick. So explore other options! There are many types of food that provide our bodies with important vitamins and nutrients.
  • Protein supplements are a great way to help us reach our protein goals. The key word being supplement. Drink protein powder as an addition to your diet as opposed to solely relying on it. Do not exceed more than 2-3 shakes a day. Drinking too many a day can lead to digestive issues and can cause bloating.
  • Women tend to skimp on food with large amounts of protein because of their caloric density, but eating a balanced diet with a significant amount of protein yields many great benefits, including weight loss.
  • The USDA recommends a daily intake of 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women at a minimum. This is just a starting point and is based on an average activity level and an average weight individual. For people that are doing more intense exercises or attempting to lose weight, a higher level of protein is recommended.

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Because protein is a macro-nutrient, our body needs a large amount of it. Our bodies don’t store protein like they do carbohydrates and fats; therefore, we need to consume large amounts of it daily. Now knowing the benefits of protein, it shouldn’t be hard for us to want to eat more of it. It’s just a matter of working it into our diets. There are tons of foods that you probably already eat that are packed full of protein. Start taking a closer look into labels and be sure you are getting enough protein to help aid in the achievement of your fitness goals!

If you liked today’s post, please take a second to share it on social media so others can learn about the great things protein has to offer our bodies!

 

xx

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10 Tips To Help You Find The Time

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In previous posts, I’ve mentioned the importance of making time for fitness. It’s tough! We’re extremely busy – taking kids to school, working full time jobs, making time for our families, cooking dinner, etc. And not only does exercising require time, it requires energy. In this post, I’m sharing 10 tips for finding time to exercise.

How do I find time to exercise? I’m a mom, wife, teacher, trainer, nanny, and waitress, so working out is impossible, right? Wrong. Life will always be busy. If we tell ourselves we will pick it up when things slow down, you’ll never begin.

Here are 10 tips that I’ve personally used to help me make the time for my health and fitness. If you have any additional tips that you find helpful, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

  1. Scheduling workouts – Write your workouts in your schedule. If it’s on my calendar, I’ll actually follow through. I forget about meetings that aren’t on my calendar. The same is true for my workouts.DSC_0271
  2. Ditch the gym membership that has you driving to workout. You can exercise just as well in your house. (Get inspired here) When you eliminate the 30 minute round trip to and from the gym, you’ve added time to workout.
  3. Accountability has been my biggest game changer. I was hesitant to get a personal trainer, but the accountability alone was worth the money. Aside from providing expertise, my trainer keeps me on top of my diet and constantly checks in to make sure I’m on track.
  4. Invest in your fitness – This tip will fluctuate with your budget, but I’ve noticed I have more motivation to workout when I have new equipment or new athletic attire. Making small investments along the way will keep you excited for your workouts. You can use the money you’re saving on ditching your gym membership! Making these investments also keeps me dedicated since I feel like I’ve wasted money if I don’t actually use my purchases.
  5. Join a group – Meet friends to do your workouts or create a group text with like minded individuals with the same goals in mind. This can serve as another form of accountability outside of a personal trainer. The more pressure you have to workout, the better.
  6. Multitask  Can’t miss the latest episode of The Bachelorette or Suits? No problem. Workout while you watch the show! This will, of course, be easier if you are working out from home.
  7. Limit your screen time – Watching TV and social media can be huge time wasters. We are constantly on our phones or computers. Put away the devices and pick up the dumbbells. Also, I’ve found that checking emails or looking at Facebook while exercising takes away from my workout. I now tell myself to put the phone up until I’m finished. This motivates me to get through my workout quickly so I can get back to a text or email.
  8. Work out in the morning – Not only does it give me energy, but it also gives me back my lunch break or evening. As the day goes on, my to do list seems to pile up, and it makes it easier to skip out on a workout that night.
  9. Bring the family If I can’t workout early in the morning or at night after my daughter goes to bed, I come up with a fun, full body workout that my daughter can do with me. She loves it and knowing she is watching makes me push myself even harder. Take advantage of opportunities to get the family involved in your workouts. Going hiking or throwing a ball around in the backyard totally counts!DSC_0291
  10. Challenge a friend – There’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition. When bragging rights are on the line, we tend to find motivation. After getting a Fitbit, I quickly became obsessed with the number of steps my friends were getting. It really kept me on my feet.

These are just a few tips you can try to help you find the time to exercise. Show me your calendar, and I’ll show you what’s important in your life. Shouldn’t your physical health be one of your top priorities? Stop making excuses and start making time for yourself and your body!

 

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5 Reasons Women Struggle With Fitness

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Before October of last year, I knew I needed to take control of my health and fitness, but something came up on a daily basis that prevented me from starting the process. Then, one day it hit me; those things weren’t holding me back from becoming fit, I was holding myself back.

Women tend to struggle with making lifestyle changes for many different reasons, but I feel these five points have crossed all of our minds. I am here to break down these excuses and encourage you to take the next step in rejuvenating your health.

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1. We don’t have time

This was my primary excuse. I have four part time jobs (crazy, I know) and a family on top of that. The weekends are as packed as my weekdays, and I can barely find the time to breathe, let alone workout. Women have a lot of responsibility. As mothers, our job doesn’t end when we come home. It’s easy to feel burnt-out between working and taking care of a family. After reading countless blogs that told me to take time for myself, I decided to listen. Working out has become my “me time”. I get to lock myself in my room for 45 minutes or go for a run around the block. That’s the beauty of creating an at-home gym (Get inspired here). Other perks of an at-home gym include no travel time to and from an actual gym and no hours to abide by. This allows me to save my workouts for the end of the day after my daughter has gone to bed or early in the morning before she gets up. That way, I don’t lose out on any family time, and I don’t have to worry about child care.

2. We don’t see quick results

Everyone would obviously love to see fast results, but the truth is, it doesn’t happen overnight. Real change takes time. Making these changes requires a lifestyle change, not a 21 day program and you’re done. You’re unfortunately not going to lose 20 pounds in a week. Keeping this in mind from the beginning helps ground our expectations and prevents us from becoming disappointed when the weight doesn’t just fall off.

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3. We get bored easily

It’s easy to get bored with the same old gym routine you’ve done a thousand times. Your muscles no longer hurt and you start to lose the drive to workout. Well, this is an easy fix! Mix it up, ladies. YouTube is a great place to get mini workouts or find new moves to add to your current workout. Our bodies like change, so be sure to add new things as you go. You can also increase your weights and reps to get that nice burn in your muscles back. Your workouts should always remain challenging if you want to continue to see results.

4. We compare ourselves

Both men and women are guilty of this. We compare ourselves to others. I think it’s great to have a role model or an image of how you want your body to look, but keep in mind that we are not all built the same. Set realistic goals, and once you reach them, make new ones. Your biggest competition should be yourself, not a three time, gold award winning weightlifter.

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5. We don’t want to get bulky

I am guilty of this. We use the excuse of not wanting to become bulky to skip certain workouts or the workout altogether. For example, when I first began training, I could rationalize skipping arm workouts because I didn’t want manly-looking arms. This isn’t an excuse because in the event you’re gaining too much muscle, you can always make adjustments to your workout. Remember, we workout to tone (assuming this is your goal), not gain large amounts of muscle. Plus, while many of us begin training to lose weight, after the weight is gone, don’t you want something to show for it?

 

As women, we can find a million reasons to not workout, but I challenge you to find at least one reason why you should. Take that and turn it into a reality. Use your reason to fuel your fire and get started today!

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What You Might Be Missing

DSC_0223With today being close to 9 months since I became fed up with being out of shape, I thought it would be a good time to discuss an often overlooked piece to your fitness goals: determination. Let’s face it, passively pursuing a fitness goal, or any goal for that matter, does nothing but put a hole in your wallet with nothing to show for it.

It’s not enough to merely want to lose weight or tone your muscles. You have to be willing to do everything it takes to reach your goals, not just part of them. You have to enter into a fitness lifestyle with goals set in mind and a “can do attitude” to back them up. You have to be willing to push yourself further than you originally expected and never allow yourself to give up.

Determination must be something that sticks with you throughout the process. The second you lose it, you start to lose confidence in yourself. Even when you miss a workout or eat a box of Oreo’s, your determination should get you back on track. You won’t allow a setback to prevent you from reaching your goals.

Your results will drive your determination and your determination will drive your results. They go hand in hand. If you truly want to see a physical and mental change in your health and fitness, the sky is the limit. Believe you can make those changes and don’t quit till you have reached every last goal you set for yourself.

“A dream doesn’t become reality

through magic; it takes sweat,

determination, and hard work”

TIP: I’m a visual person. Therefore, I have learned that having an end-goal in mind makes the steps to get there less painful. I know it sounds cheesy, but find a picture of someone that exemplifies a visual image of your goals. Either print this picture out or burn it into your memory. Going forward, anytime you lose focus, look back at this picture and remind yourself of your goals and why you can’t quit today’s workout after 5 pushups.

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This Isn’t Me

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After a phone call with my mom, I decided to share a struggle that many teens, as well as adults, face on a daily basis. When I was in high school, I never thought I was pretty, tall, skinny, or smart enough. I was never enough for anyone. My mom asked me today if I was eating enough because of a photo I posted. She said I looked too thin. At first, I was upset that she would even ask, but then I remembered who I used to be.

I believed all of my failed relationships were because of the way I looked. All of my friends were thin and gorgeous, and I felt like I could never compare. High school was a rough time for me, and in this time of figuring out who I was, I developed an eating disorder.

It started with my goal to lose weight. This quickly spiraled out of control. While I was losing weight, I was also losing who I was. I changed completely. I started to fish for the next complement, and after a while, losing a few pounds wasn’t enough. I began making a trip to the bathroom after every meal to purge the food I had eaten. Depriving my body of food gave me the sensation of control over my appearance.

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My sister quickly caught on and knew I wasn’t being myself. She tried talking to me about it, but I made excuses and wanted nothing to do with her advice. Then, our mother got involved. When a lady from Long Island tells you to do something, she means business. She provided me with a reality check that was long overdue.

She reminded me that God made me a beautiful, young woman and that searching for temporary praise from others wasn’t a fix for my underlying issues. She helped me address my past so that I could overcome my desire to become someone I wasn’t and accept who I already was. She reminded me that I was only 17 and had my whole life ahead of me.

In my attempts to lose weight, I was exercising too much and not eating nearly enough. I was constantly sick and at an all-time low. I can say without a doubt I will never go back to my old ways. It was never worth it, and it was only a temporary fix. After having Ella, the appearance of my stomach started to bother me. However, this time it was different. I wanted to make a change, but a positive one. I wanted to go about losing weight the right way, the healthy way.

I have since started a flex diet, and I have started working out again. I’ve lost inches in my waist and weight. (See results here.) I’ve honestly never felt this good, even when I was at my skinniest in high school. I have energy and have started to gain muscle.

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Reflecting on my past, I understand my mom’s concern because she was with me in my darkest days. While she knows I am not that same person, it’s her nature to worry about me. I can’t blame her. She was slowly watching me take my life until she put her foot down and wouldn’t allow it to progress any further. She saved me, and she doesn’t want to see me go down that road again.

Over the years, I’ve learned to love myself and the skin I’m in. I can have control over my appearance but in a positive way. My disorder was simply a cover for much deeper issues from my past. I was seeking help in all of the wrong ways. I have since dealt with those issues and its helped shape who I am today. I have confronted my past and allowed my future to be brighter than ever.

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In the United States alone, 20 million woman will develop an eating disorder at some point in their lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, there is help. If talking isn’t working, get other loved ones involved. Talk to them about getting the help of a professional and encourage healthy alternative methods of weight loss. Most importantly, remind them that they are beautiful even when they can’t see it.

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Healthy Creates Happy

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I’ve been slacking when it comes to my fitness blogging, but don’t worry, I have something up my sleeve for the future. I’ve been working hard and can’t wait to share my results with you guys. However, this isn’t that blog. Today, I want to share with you how becoming healthy has become my happy.

We all have a hobby we love. Over the years, mine has changed several times. I’ll usually start something and then drop it within a few weeks. With the demand of my jobs, it’s hard to set aside time for myself. Juggling every day life and then adding in extra activities starts to become a job in and of itself.

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I’m writing today to encourage you to not let go of the things you love. Make time. Otherwise, you’re going to find yourself becoming bitter. Life only gets busier, so don’t put off the hobbies and activities you enjoy. If it makes you happy, it’s worth finding the time in your schedule. Don’t feel guilty either. You’re allowed to do something for yourself.

For me, I have grown to love exercising and improving my health. It’s become my passion, and my body is thanking me constantly. The better I am with my workouts and diet, the more energy I have. Overall, I feel better; my body feels better. This fitness journey has rekindled my interest in running, a favorite pastime of mine. I am now challenging myself and constantly attempting to beat old records.

I look forward to my workouts. I usually wait until Ella goes to bed and Evan practices his golf swing in the garage. It’s just enough time for us to enjoy our hobbies while not taking away from family time. I don’t have to worry about people judging me. That’s the beauty of turning your bedroom into a gym. I get to enjoy peace and quiet and a great workout all at the same time. I also feel like I’ve accomplished something for the day, so there is no real loss here.

Now, I’m not saying everyone should enjoy exercising. Let’s face it – some people will never find happiness in bench presses and squats. My point is this: make time for yourself. Do the things you love. It doesn’t have to be everyday, but if you can squeeze in a few hours for hobbies each week, I can assure that you’ll be a happier person.

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What is your happy? If you don’t know, explore and see what sticks. Mine may be working out, but the possibilities are endless!

Happy National Women’s Health Week! I hope you’re working extra hard this week ladies!

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A New Level of Confidence

Today was check-in day with my trainer. I sent her the same information I do every week: measurements, weight, pictures, and an update on my diet and workouts. She then sent me a side by side comparison of where I started and now. Wow! What a difference.

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It’s true: you are your own worst critic. Through this process, I have questioned myself on many occasions. I felt like I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, but when I saw that photo, I completely changed my mind. The picture from three months ago didn’t even look like me. I was truly blown away by the difference.

I’ve always been extremely self-conscious about my body. Never in a million years did I see myself telling my trainer she had my permission to post my picture on social media. Today is different. I am proud of my success and change. I allowed her to post the photo, and the positive feedback I received was just as inspiring as seeing my transformation. I received several texts, private messages, requests for more information, and sweet words of encouragement.

I loved it. My confidence has shot through the roof. Today, I walked out of the house not only feeling content with myself, but truly feeling good about how I look. It is such an amazing feeling, and I never want lose this confidence.

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