Iron Sharpens Iron, In and Out of the Gym

Fitness has really changed over the years. It is no longer a one, or two, person thing. Going to the gym used to be a solo sport (like bodybuilding). It used to mean going to the gym alone, getting on a treadmill alone and hitting the weights alone – or if you are lucky, you’d meet a friend or trainer. But no one worked out in groups of 10 and 20 unless they were taking Jazzercise.

Group workouts have always been around, but it used to be a thing for the girls. And, going to the gym for men, oftentimes meant lifting a few weights and sitting with a few guys in the sauna.

jazzercise

Now, with the help of weight loss reality TV, people realize just how much we are capable of. People are more willing to work harder in the gym – and now they don’t have to do it alone. Going to the gym today means joining a workout community. It means meeting a group of people to sweat it out together, cheer each other on and to push each other to be their best.

Boot camps, group workouts (like CrossFit) and conditioning gyms train in groups too. Personal trainers are now group trainers. This group style of training has added a lot of accountability, which helps drive people to perform better, stick with the program and develop lasting relationships. It’s a totally different experience – and it’s working better than any solo workout program ever did.

While there is still a need for one-on-one training and there are still people who like to put their headphones on and just get in their little world, there is good news for all the people out there who need more support, more motivation and more of a push to do their best once they show up (which, honestly, is 90% of us!).

Power in Numbers

iron sharpens ironAt my gym, this community feel is cultivated through our BCx Boot Camp programs. Unlike aerobics classes or other group classes where people come and go as they please, when you join our boot camp program, you are committing to spending the next 6-8 weeks with a set group of people – sweating, straining, pushing, dieting, running, lifting and learning.

You go through it together as a tight-knit family, so you immediately have 20 friends who understand what you are going through and striving for. When you don’t show up, you are missed, so there is more accountability than any “drop-in” class. And, you are only having to commit to this stricter regimen for a brief season, so it makes it feel more doable. Like I always say, “you can do anything for 8 weeks”.

women flexingThis is why many gyms are going to more group training like this. There is power in numbers – and you are never doing a workout with out a trainer right there with you pushing you, directing you and encouraging you.

You are actually getting more quality training for less than personal training. While it may be more expensive than a regular gym membership, more people are getting better results so it’s money well spent. While other people are throwing away a monthly membership not getting anywhere, you are more likely to make the most of your investment.

To Be Alone or Not To Be Alone

I believe there is a little bit of danger that goes with working out alone. There is no one to hold you accountable. There is no one to say “one more rep” or “don’t stop”. There is no one challenging you to try something new or to set higher goals. There is no one who is let down when you decide to skip the gym. Before you know it, you can look back and realize you are in the exact same place you were several years ago because you were just going through the “gym motions”.

2 Is Better Than 1

two-is-better-than-oneCan I encourage you, IRON SHARPEN IRON – in and out of the gym! The Bible constantly encourages us to not go through this life alone. It’s not that you have to go to church to grow spiritually, and you don’t have to go to a gym to improve your body physically. HOWEVER, is it easier? Is it better? Is it safer? Could it help you more? Absolutely. Iron sharpens iron.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

If you are in a place of complacency, maybe it’s time to make some changes. Whether it’s your fitness, your spiritual walk, your work or your family life, surround yourself with others that will help you grow and develop into the man or woman you desire to be – inside and out! Join a fitness program for 4-8 weeks. Plus in a group, like a bible study. Don’t try to go through this challenging life alone.

FIT SNACKS: Say Yes to Jerky

The Fit Fix For Your Snack Attack

Why are all the great tasting snacks ALL carbs and NO protein? Chips, crackers, cookies, candy and even fruit – are nothing but carbs. However, there is one snack that people forget about which is totally PACKED with protein, and low in fat, calories and carbs. It’s Jerky!

One of the first questions people ask when I mention eating jerky is “but doesn’t that have a lot of sodium in it?” Well, maybe this will surprise you, but Jerky doesn’t have any more sodium than flavored popcorn or other popular chips like Bar-B-Q corn chips, cheddar and sour cream flavored potato chips and even many crackers. It even has 100mgs less sodium than most of the highest quality lunch cut meats.

If it helps put things into perspective, a 1/2 cup of condensed chicken noodle soup as about 890mg of sodium and a single 1/4 pound cheeseburger has approximately 1200mg. Jack Links Chicken Jerky, however, has only 280mgs of sodium in comparison. Even a single serving of your favorite light salad dressing can be close to that.

So now that the sodium topic has been addressed, let’s talk about all the awesomeness that goes with eating Jerky! First, you’ve probably heard of Turkey Jerky. Now there is Chicken Jerky, which is leaner and super tasty – and happens to also have about half the sodium as traditional beef jerky.

Our Wild Side:

We live a wild life constantly on the go Go GO! That is why jerky always makes it on our travel snack list. I love to take our Jerky to the beach, on road trips and on all our outdoor adventures. While protein shakes and bars are also a good way to get extra protein in, I get tired of all the sweets. I want my salt fix and I NEED my protein fix too – and with jerky, I get the best of both worlds!

8 Great Reasons to Say Yes to Jerky

 

1. It’s high in protein. (11gms of protein!)
2. It’s easy to get. You don’t have to special order the stuff! You can get it anywhere – including convenience stores.
3. It’s convenient. It’s the only way to eat meat on the go without having to lug around a big lunky cooler or insulated lunch bag.
4. It’s low in carbs(6g), fat (1g) & calories (80!)
5. It takes time to eat. Chewing on jerky takes time, making for a longer snacking experience.
6. It comes in a resealable pouch so you can nibble on it throughout the day.
7. It has a long shelf life (over a year!)
8. It’s perfect for outdoor adventures because it doesn’t spoil.

What’s In My Beach Bag

jack links water bottleLiving in a beach town, I visit the beach often. It’s one of my favorite outdoor activities. I love to enjoy the sea breeze, warm sun and searching for sea glass! If you were to ever bump into me at the beach, here is what is in my bag 99% of the time.

  • LOTS of Water
  • Jack Links Turkey or Chicken Jerky
  • Almonds or String Cheese
  • A green apple or a plum
  • Baseball hat (to protect my face!)
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip Gloss & Powder (just in case!)
  • iPhone (of course!)

My Favorite Jack Link’s Flavors

  • Jack Link’s Chicken Jerky: Lean white meat chicken breast seasoned and marinated with cracked black pepper along with sweet and savory spices.
  • Jack Link’s Turkey Jerky: Solid strips of lean, white meat turkey breast seasoned and smoked over mesquite. This little beauty is 98% fat free. A perfect little something different.
  • Jack Link’s Sweet Teriyaki Turkey Jerky: Soy, ginger, a little onion and a whole lot of perfectly smoked turkey. The very best of East meets West.

Follow Jack Links & Share Your Wild Side!

Jack Links Website:

http://www.jacklinks.com/

Chicken website:
www.jacklinks.com/say-yes

Twitter: @JackLinks
https://twitter.com/jacklinks

Facebook: Jack Link’s Beef Jerky https://www.facebook.com/jacklinksbeefjerky

Instagram: @JackLinksJerky https://instagram.com/jacklinksjerky/

 Giveaway

jack links jerky gift boxCOMMENT below and tell me why you #SayYestoJerky for a chance to win a Jack Link’s gift pack that contains:

  • Jack Link’s Chicken Jerky
  • Jack Link’s Turkey Jerky
  • Jack Link’s Sweet Teriyaki Turkey Jerky
  • Water bottle
  • Headband
  • Sweat towel
  • EOS lip balm

Contest ends August 15th!

 

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Jack Link’s.

Upper Body Workout

Shoulder raiseIf you are looking for a killer upper workout you can do with very little tools – this workout is for you! You can do this entire workout with a yellow and green Boydlastics band (for women & a green and red band for men) – or 2 sets of light to moderate dumbbells. You could even do this workout with 2 big water bottles or 2 big cans of soup! Give it a whirl.

Think Fast!! The key to this workout is constant movement with very little rest. (No rest DURING sets 1-3. Only rest after the completion of all 3 rounds in each super set (or circuit). You only rest for the allotted 10 seconds during sets 4-6, and after the completion of each super set (circuit) of all 3 rounds. This is a fast paced, circuit style workout. Sweat – and tone!

Tip: Increase your intensity by doing each super set (circuits 1-3) for time – or race a partner through it (without compromising form). Use the GymBoss to manage your 20 seconds & 10 second intervals during sets 4-6. Remember, you are trying to get as many reps as you can in 20 seconds. Have Fun!!

Upper Body Workout

 

To clarify the workout, this is how the routine would go. Click on each exercise to watch video instruction. The whole workout should take you 50 minutes to an hour.

Target Muscle Groups: Shoulders, Chest, Arms, Abs & Core,

Set #1 
10 Shoulder Press
10 Push Ups
10 Mountain Climbers
X 3

ABS CIRCUIT:
10 Crunches
10 Bicycle Crunches

Set #2 
10 Lateral Raises
10 Shoulder Taps
10 Burpees (with the jump!)
X 3

ABS CIRCUIT:
10 Crunches
10 Bicycle Crunches

Set #3
10 Rear Delt Raise
10 Plank Up, Up, Down, Down (elbow to hand plank)
10 Alternating T-Plank
X 3

ABS CIRCUIT:
10 Crunches
10 Bicycle Crunches

Set #4
20 seconds of each with 10 seconds rest
Shoulder Press
Lateral Raises
Rear Delt Raise
X 3

ABS CIRCUIT:
30 Crunches
30 Bicycle Crunches

Set #5
20 seconds of each with 10 seconds rest
Push Ups
Shoulder Taps
Plank Up, Up, Down, Down
X 3

ABS CIRCUIT:
30 Crunches
30 Bicycle Crunches

Set #5
20 seconds of each with 10 seconds rest
Mountain Climbers
Burpees
Alternating T-Plank
X 3

ABS CIRCUIT:
30 Crunches
30 Bicycle Crunches

Get Your Weight Loss Breakthrough: 7 Ways to Speed Results

woman_scale_happyAre you waiting on a weight loss breakthrough? Are you constantly in search for the newest training method, latest supplement, best trainer or fitness trend? Are you looking for an easier way to lose weight and get fit? Do you see other people who seem to get results and constantly wonder what they are doing, and want to try their way too?

Let me save you loads of trouble. Not to say you shouldn’t explore other training methods and learn more about nutrition – you SHOULD! However, you need to be careful about trying to search for an answer you have already received, search for truth you’ve already heard, and search for the best advice that you’ve already been told.

I’d like to take you on a journey back in time in order to make my point because I feel this same type of story happens in fitness all the time. People are searching for an answer, not liking the answer they get, and they keep searching – only to delay results because they are delaying in their obedience.

I’m talking about Moses and Pharaoh and the plagues (click here to read the whole story). It’s a perfect example of rebellion – and I think we often become rebellious in our fitness journey too. We rebel against the diet, rebel against the workouts, we rebel against our trainer …and when it’s all said and done, we blame everyone else but our own rebellious self when we are plagued with guilt, poor health and unfavorable results. Isn’t it time you end the vicious cycle?

7 Ways to Speed Up Fitness Results:

!. Don’t Wait to Learn the Hard Way

learn the hard wayWith Moses, his message to Pharaoh was “let the people free”. With each plague that followed when Pharaoh didn’t obey, Moses returned with the same message “let the people free’. JIm Gallagher, our pastor, reminded us this week that after God has already told you something, He’s not going to keep speaking to you if you keep ignoring him. He’s not going to give you a different message. He’s not going to change His mind. He’s not going to go against His word. So, we need to quit looking for ways around things. We need to quit looking for compromises.

Sadly, this is often the case with our own clients occasionally. Granted, I’m way less patient than God, eventually there comes a point when I have to quit investing in people who won’t listen. Unfortunately, people will often keep asking me the same questions (just worded differently), but my answer is always the same. And, eventually, I quit talking altogether. Unfortunately, it often takes a person several failures after attempting trying it their way, or any other way, before they listen. And some will never ever even attempt to do it right at all.

Do you find yourself asking everyone their opinion about fitness? Do you find yourself hearing the same thing over and over? Maybe someone’s trying to tell you something.

2. Accept the Truth

Girl_Not_ListeningSo many people struggle with what they think is a “lack of direction”, but it is oftentimes more about the struggle they have with responding appropriately to the direction they’ve received.

How often do we refuse to accept the truth? Fitness is based on truths, not opinions. We can have opinions about fitness all day long, but in the end, results are based on proven scientific truths. You can keep asking for information, but it’s likely you’ve already heard the right information but just didn’t want to accept it, or haven’t been willing to apply it.

In the story of Moses and Pharaoh, Pharaoh got direction but simply didn’t want to follow it. As a result, he went through a LOT of trials trying to do things his way.

3. Avoid Selective Hearing

selective hearingSome of us have selective hearing. We hear what we want to hear and mysteriously miss the rest. The same way we sure hear all the promises (like when a trainer promises you “can get stronger” or when scripture says, “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me”, we also ignore all the specific correction or guidelines that lead up to that reward (like “eat less” or “deny your flesh”). Oh no! THAT, we don’t hear.

Even Pharaoh got to a place where he was willing to compromise (which is basically picking and choosing what he was willing, and not willing to hear and do. But, he wanted the same results. Are you doing everything you know you should be doing, or only the stuff you are willing to do (and pretending to not hear the other stuff?

Definition of Compromise: Accept standards that are lower than is desirable.

What are you holding on to that’s causing you to possibly compromise? If you compromise (lowering your standards of) your actions, you are compromising (lowering your standards of) your results.

4. Quit Procrastinating

funny frog faceThe funniest thing ever (to me) is that after the plague of frogs came and Pharaoh actually entertained obeying God, but he said “tomorrow”. Really? He wanted one more day of sleeping with, eating with, and stepping on frogs? This makes me wonder what is in my life that I’m saying “tomorrow” about.

What is in our pantry that we are refusing to let go? What belief system are we refusing to change? What habit or part of our lifestyle are we holding on to? What does God keep telling us over and over that we may not be doing or that we may need to start doing? Do we really want to sleep with the frogs one more night?

5. Be Honest with Yourself

One of the issues with a lack of obedience or “following a plan” is not being honest with yourself. I love how Pharaoh said (after, mind you, he’s experienced the SEVENTH plague because of his disobedience), “I have sinned this time.” (Exodus 9:27) This statement cracks me up! But, we hear this all the time in the gym.

A client will say “I totally messed up this week” – when the reality is, they’ve been messing up like crazy, but they won’t either be honest with themselves or they aren’t willing to be honest with us. Some people actually may not really know just how bad they are messing up because they aren’t even willing to accept it MAY be their fault.

The truth really will set you free. If you aren’t getting the results you want, are you willing to accept maybe it’s something you are missing, or doing wrong? What are you hiding from others, and maybe even yourself?

6. Stop pointing the finger

blame your trainerI have to laugh at how Pharaoh’s people saw Moses as the issue, not himself, saying ““How long shall this man be a snare to us?” (Exodus 10:7). How funny is this?! Moses wasn’t the problem. He was just the messenger. The problem lay within the people who were ignoring the messenger.

Are you ignoring the messenger? Are you hearing what your trainer is saying? If you aren’t getting results, it’s not their fault. The are just a messenger. You are responsible with how you respond.

If you are still plagued with weight issues, don’t look for the message to change, look at what YOU can change.

7. Back to plan A

plan aMany people are searching for a Plan B – a different route to the same destination because they refuse to take the Plan A route (even if Plan A will take you there faster). They are looking for a prettier route, a more fun route, an easier route – but Plan B is deceiving. That route has too many distractions, it will only delay your arrival.

For Pharaoh, he wanted a Plan B. He wanted to figure out a way to please God and himself. Ironically, doing it Pharaoh’s way was clearly not working. It was time to submit to God’s plan, but he wasn’t having it.

When it comes to fitness, Plan A is the scientific right way based on basic truths. Eat less, do more. Eat clean, avoid junk. Work hard, but don’t rely on hard work to erase your mistakes in the kitchen. Make correct and healthy decisions 7 days a week, not 4, 5 or 6. Make a lasting change, which requires a lasting change. This is a lifestyle, not a season. It take discipline, it takes work, it take perseverance, it takes determination, it takes surrender. And, it will all be worth it.

The sooner you submit and take the right path, the sooner you will reach your destination. The sooner you will live without the plague of unhealthiness in your life, the plague of sickness, the plague of weakness, the plague of no energy, the plague of discouragement. You will finally be set free. But in order to be set free, you have to, like Pharaoh, be willing to set your pride aside, put your rights aside, soften your heart and mind, and submit.

Low-Cal Burrito Bowl

Mexi-Mango Chicken BowlIf you get a burrito at your favorite restaurant (like Chipotle), you are blowing a whopping 300 CALORIES just on the tasteless 13″ flour tortilla alone! Ironically, if you trade white rice for brown rice, your calories go up even more because the brown rice is actually higher in calories than the white rice. Then, if you decide to get some good healthy fats, watch out – because their guacamole will pile on 230 more calories. Even if you skip the rice, and attempt to make it “healthy”, it’s likely your creation will still stack up to be over 800 calories. So much for good intentions!

The best way to really stick to your diet is to duplicate some of your favorite restaurant meals at home. You can get all the flavor of your favorite burrito without the calories, and without the unwanted fat, in your own kitchen. Here are a couple of ideas – one meal idea for lunch and another similar meal (with a few tweaks) for dinner.

TIP: Make your meal extra special by picking up some key ingredients from the pros. Most restaurants sell their salsa or hot sauces so you can add restaurant flavor without the extra restaurant calories.

These 2 meals have helped us get our mexican fix in while dieting.


burrito bowlAfternoon Bowl – 362 Calories
(22.3p, 43.4c, 12.1f)
Layer ingredients in a bowl in the following order:

1/2 cup Jasmine Rice
2 T Black Beans
1 T Sour Cream
3oz Pulled Chicken
1/2 cup shredded Lettuce
1/4 Sliced Avocado
1/8 cup Finely Diced Onion
1/4 cup Finely Diced Mango or Pineapple
4 T Fresh Salsa
2 T Jalapeños

burrito bowlLow-Carb Dinner Bowl – 275 (20.7p, 24gc, 12g)

Layer ingredients in a bowl in the following order:
TRADE 1/4 cup cooked jasmine rice for a bed of Shredded Lettuce
SKIP the Black Beans
3 oz Pulled Chicken
1/4 Sliced Avocado
1/8 cup Finely Diced Onion
1/4 cup Finely Diced Mango or Pineapple
4 T Fresh Salsa
2 T Jalapeños
1 T Light Sour Cream

Make it even leaner by cutting more carbs (ditch the fruit) and add another ounce of protein!

Now Is The Time to Fight Aging

take all supplements Steve and I have always been into health and fitness since we first got married. However, Steve has always been more apt to take vitamins than I have been. Why? I honestly think it’s because of his 6 years of education, which was mostly in exercise and nutrition.

Steve has always understood the power of taking vitamins and minerals. While I’d be quick to take protein or something that delivered fast noticeable results, I was slower to take stuff that didn’t give me instant results. But, when I recently started studying a vitamin and supplement course to be a Certified Supplement Nutritionist, I learned a lot about the power of vitamins and minerals – especial antioxidants. As a result, it made me want to take EVERYTHING! Today, I’m way more apt to invest in more of the “behind the scenes products” and invest in my health.

Now, in my mid-forties, my goal is to be better about taking vitamins and doing more to fight the affects of aging – from working on my skin, to working on my body (and not just my appearance, but my overall health). One of the things I am going to be trying is MitoQ, which is a brand new antioxidant.

MitoQOver the next 8 weeks, Steve and I will both be putting the MitoQ skin serum and capsules to the test. As I have researched MitoQ, I have become super impressed with what I have found. While, like most medicines (for example, Viagra), it wasn’t originally created for it’s anti-aging properties. However, with over 30 million dollars in research, they discovered it had a significant impact on optimal cellular function, which provided the energy a cell needs to repair itself.

The MitoQ serum will reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, scars, brown spots and skin discoloration, as well as reduce the thinning of the skin that occurs with aging. The MitoQ capsules support optimal cell function and heart, liver and brain health. MitoQ also boosts energy, and reduces the cellular free radical damage that, over time, causes us to age and can manifest as disease.

I’m super stoked to try MitoQ and to start fighting my fight against aging. I’m determined to look and feel my best no matter what my age is!

What Are Antioxidants?

free-radical-neutralizedAntioxidants are a substance that removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism. Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals, which many experts believe to play a roll in the development of blood vessel disease (atherosclerosis), cancer, and other conditions.

We are exposed to free radicals through pollutants, through by-products of normal processes that take place in your body (like burning sugars for energy and releasing digestive enzymes to digest food), and when the body breaks down some medicines. Antioxidants are believed to help manage or prevent of some medical conditions, such as some cancers, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, and some arthritis-related conditions. MitoQ‘s secret agent is it’s powerful antioxidant delivery system – to help get the antioxidants get into the cells.

Anti-Aging Tips

Ernestine ShepherdWe often say things like “50 is the new 40″, and when I look at Ernestine Shepherd (left), it makes me feel more like 70 is the new 40! Honestly, look at her! She doesn’t look like a grandmother, she looks so youthful in so many ways – and she doesn’t have to be the only one feeling fit and healthy over 50!

When I was researching anti-aging techniques for this blog, I looked to the medical field for solid advice – and they all recommended diet and exercise above ALL other methods. While there are tons of anti-aging products that are awesome, these top 5 tips trumped any medical procedure or Hollywood fad.

1. Exercise. When I say exercise, I don’t mean you have to look like a physique competitor. I mean you need to take the time to purposefully exercise your heart and lungs, and challenge your body’s muscles. Cardiovascular exercise is essential for good heart health. Strength resistance is excellent for increasing bone density, as well as it helps protect you from injury. If you want to stay looking and feeling as young as possible, exercise must be a priority for you. It truly is the fountain of youth.

2. Eat healthy, and I’m not just talking about avoiding fast food. I mean avoid as many chemicals as you can and eat as much whole food as you can. Choose healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, fish oil, nuts and seed oils, etc) over unhealthy saturated fats. Choose fruits and vegetables over breads and processed filler foods. Eat healthy lean meats instead of fatty meats. I mean eating for fuel, and not just for taste alone. Sure, food can taste great, but we really “are what we eat”, so we need to eat healthy if we want to be healthy!

3. Control your weight. Excess weight is hard on the body – even if it’s excess muscle. It is important to get rid of any excess stress on the joints and to reduce fat around the organs so they can work properly. Practicing portion control is a big part of controlling your weight. If you can lose weight and maintain a healthy weight, you will notice a more youthful appearance to your skin – and, if you exercise, your body will look much more tone. Even if you never get a face lift, you can do a body lift in the gym!

4. Supplement what you are missing. Supplements are not intended to replace whole food. They are made to help give you what you are missing. That’s why they call them “supplements”. You are supposed to supplement your diet with them. Many antioxidants are in in fruits, but not everyone eats the amount they need – and, if you are dieting, we tend to not get every nutrient we need since we are restricting calories. So, it’s super important not to just take sports supplements to enhance performance, but to take health supplements to support your overall health. One of the things you will notice over the years is supplements will just keep getting better. Invest the extra money to get quality supplements that your body will absorb and that actually work.

Put up your best fight

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of MitoQ. The opinions and text are all mine.

Cleaner Diet, Cleaner House

I am amazed how my diet and fitness routine affects every aspect of my life. As some of you know, we are working on a top secret TV project (the kind where we could tell ya, but we’d have to kill ya lol …or, more like, pay the network a million dollars). Well, part of that journey was purposefully eating like most Americans – and BOY did our life suffer!!

We physically felt awful, we got lazy, we found it hard to keep up with chores and we just weren’t as disciplined in other areas as we normally are. No wonder people who eat like that are too tired for the gym – we were too! But, almost immediately after returning to our normal healthy lifestyle, we suddenly had more energy, less aches and pains, and found more discipline to do things we had put off for weeks.

Less Time, More Productive

productivityIt’s ironic that now that we have to do meal prep, log food, workout more, etc., that we find more energy to clean the house, cook more, have more time to study our Bible and do tasks that have been on the hit list for a while. We cleaned out our pantry and our 2 refrigerators. I cleaned my closet and i completely gutted my office shelves and organized tons of paperwork for work. Steve tackled things he’s talked about doing for months, and we both are so much happier! It just made me realize how much we need structure.

We all love our freedom, but in many ways, it puts us in more bondage than the strictest diet ever could. Temporary freedom leads to more of a lasting bondage. A bondage of feeling bad, being lazy, lacking drive, being a slave to our body and even depression and despair. However, when we are in a good solid fitness and diet routine, we feed our body the proper fuel it needs to perform better. Instead of driving a big fat Cadillac that only can make it 12 miles, we turn into a Prius that can take us clear into another state! Plus, when we get back on a regular schedule, it’s like we are following road maps instead of wandering around aimlessly.

Freedom in Structure

structureI think about kids and school. Summer break is awesome and seems like it should be fun (FREEEEDOM!!!!), but the whole family, normally, is more than ready for everyone to get back to a routine, structure, regular bedtime hours, eating patterns and a normal schedule. What seemed like work and stress when school was in session now seems like freedom and fun.

Fall clothes shopping, seeing school friends again, kids aren’t asking friends to sleep over every night, parents finally get a break and welcome the good ole excuse “no honey, not on a school night”. lol  Isn’t it the same with our health?

I’m amazed of how much I welcomed eating well again. I had so much fun cleaning out the fridge and getting new groceries. I was like a school girl getting ready for the first day of school. I was excited and ready! Like facing a new school year, I was ready for a fresh new start!

I was also amazed by how amazing clean food tasted – better than the best cheat meal I had the entire time we were “off”. It was like my body craved real nourishment, and it paid off. I’m no longer sluggish. I’ve already lost 4 pounds and I feel like I can conquer the world. Freedom in being “Off my diet”. Pfffft!! No way!

Why?

lazinessWhy does this happen? Why does our diet and fitness impact our work life, home life, etc.? I believe that any time you practice discipline with your food and diet, you are refusing to serve your flesh, making it is easier to practice discipline in all areas of your life. And the same goes for the opposite.

When you allow yourself to not practice self-control, you lose control in other areas too. You get lazy in every area and it’s amazing how your life can really fall apart quickly, all because you allowed yourself too much freedom.

Part of our fall is simply from poor food choices that make it difficult to perform well. The other part is just giving your flesh and inch, and it wanting to take a mile – it got its pizza, but now it wants a nap, it wants comfort, it doesn’t want to do the dishes and it definitely doesn’t want to wake up early to run.

Clean It Up 

If you have lost focus, if you feel like you have lost drive and aren’t being as productive as you should be, start with clean eating and getting in a regular fitness routine. As you begin to practice self-discipline there, make a list of other areas you need to make a priority and start making it happen. The healthier you get, the easier it will be. And remember, if you don’t want to be a slave to food or laziness (your flesh), the best way to kill something is to starve it. Don’t give your flesh even an inch. I promise, it will always want a mile!

 

“…he must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. Titus 1:7-8

Lose 10lbs in 10 Seconds: 4 Ways to Appear Thinner Fast

My blog title may seem a little too good to be true at first glance, but keep reading, because what you are about to read can literally change your appearance in a matter of seconds. Yes, you won’t actually LOSE 10lbs, but with these tips, you’ll look like you did!

When it comes to belly bulge, the first thing that comes to mind is FAT, but that isn’ always the only problem – and sometimes it’s not the problem at all. I’m talking about the dreaded pooch. Belly fat and a pooch can be two totally different things. It’s one thing to have fat, but you can have a pooch and not even be overweight. Or, you can look even heavier than you are simply because you have both belly fat AND a pooch.

If you feel like you have Poochitis, then this blog is for you!

Here are 4 simple tips to get thin fast!

1.  Suck In – Often times people don’t have as much belly fat as they appear, they just don’t hold their stomach tight. Even worse, it seems “letting it all hang out” is almost a trend, especially with teens. Kids paint on their skinny jeans that happen to stop right below their belly – and they just let their stomach poke right out and do whatever it wants. With hip-hugging pants and low-rise bathing suits, their pooch us more exposed than ever. If they simply would tighten their abs and suck in, they’d easily appear to drop 5-10lbs in an instant.

Tummy Tip: Maintaining a tight belly doesn’t happen overnight, it takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it is. Post notes around the house, and even in the car, to remind you to suck in. Eventually, your tighter tummy will be your new resting posture.

2. Eat Small Meals –  It’s hard to suck your tummy in if you eat too big of portions and walk around stuffed all the time. If you want to maintain a flatter stomach, limit the size of your meals and snacks so your stomach isn’t loaded up with digesting food. It’s not just the last meal you ate either. You have food in your stomach and intestines from several snacks and meals that push out on your abdominal wall. If you want to suck in with ease, don’t fight a stuffed gut.

Tummy Tip: This graphic, from The National Post, is supposed to show us just how big Starbucks’ new Trenta cup size is, but I think it reminds us how easy it is to fill up our stomach. If our stomach’s average capacity is 900 ml, then no wonder we feel fat after having a small sandwich and a Big Gulp. Our stomach is completely overstretched, making it close to impossible to hold our stomach in.

3. Tone Up – If you want to maintain tighter abs, you’ll need to work your abdominal muscles. Doing ab exercises tightens and strengthens the muscles needed to hold your stomach in. The more you do them, the easier it is to hold your stomach tight. My favorite tummy tighteners are Plank exercises. Try our “Plank & Simple” at FitStudio for a killer core workout that will help you tone and tighten your midsection.

4. Improve Posture – Look at how poor posture automatically makes someone appear to have a belly. Picture standing up straight as if you are taking the slack out of your stomach. When you are hunched over, your folds of skin and fat accordion together. Yet, when you stand up tall, you lengthen you body and tighten the slack in your skin, giving you a much thinner appearance. Plank exercises also help improve posture, strengthening and elongating the core.

Tummy Tip: Have a friend take a photo of you standing normal. Then have them take a picture of you standing with really bad posture, as well as really good posture. Compare the 3 photos to see the difference good posture will make in your appearance.

Get More Belly Busting Tips in 60 Seconds at FitStudio

NEWBIES BEWARE: Don’t Get the Fit Head

There is a normal process of events and attitudes people experience when they start living right and making positive changes. And it can get worse and worse the longer you do it if you aren’t careful.

What do I mean? Well, in both cases, your attitude can draw people in (to what you are doing), or push people away. Basically, you are a witness. You may be a good witness or a bad witness.

Proud vs Pride

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 29:23

be proudThe first thing that happens when you start a new workout is that you gain a natural sense of pride. You are proud of yourself – and you should be! However, being proud of yourself can quickly turn into pride, and pride can destroy you and everyone around you.

I am the first to admit I am a lot quicker to do a Facebook post about something I’m doing right, than something I am doing wrong. Every once and a while, I’ll “check in” Calvary Chapel Vero Beach on Facebook and my flesh will rise up with pride as if I’m saying “look at me. I’m a good girl. See me spending time at church?”

Although the reason I post those things is not to show off how great I am, but how great God is, because I want others to see what He’s doing in our life, I still have to check myself. And, we need to check ourself in the same way with how we act along our fitness journey. Are we simply proud of ourself and trying to encourage others that “if we can do it, you can too”? Or, are we allowing a more unhealthy, ugly pride to grow within us?

Right vs Self-Righteous

closed mindsFor if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Galations 6:3

If you allow your pride to get out of control, you can easily become very self-righteous – and that, my friend, is a very dangerous place to be.

DEFINITION: Self-RighteousHaving or characterized by a certainty, especially an unfounded one, that one is totally correct or morally superior.

I think everyone knows exercise is beneficial. It’s the “right” thing to do, but doing right and being self-righteous are two different things.

When a person starts working out, they begin to learn a lot. The more things they learn that are right and good, the more they realize what is wrong and unhealthy.  Sadly, many people will begin to look down on anyone around them who is not doing what they are doing – when, ironically, it probably wasn’t too long ago they were doing the same thing.

If I were to be completely honest, it’s difficult not to judge an obese person eating a 4 scoop banana split loaded with chocolate syrup and not think “what are you doing?!” We want everyone to discover what we’ve discovered. We want them to feel good as we feel. We want them to experience weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, but we are never going to affect people positively with negative actions and reactions.

Most of us, at some point in our life, were just as blind to healthy living as they were. We may not have gained 100lbs but we have all abused our body before to some degree. We must always extend grace. We can’t compare ourselves to others and continue to lift ourself up above others because we think our “sin” is not as bad as another person’s “sin”. We can’t judge them and look down on them for not knowing what you now know.

As you continue to learn how to eat and workout, I warn you to guard yourself against becoming judgmental to others who haven’t jumped on the fitness train yet. You can’t beat everyone over the head with a dumbbell and food scale every day and expect them to respond positively. You have to quietly lead by example and be patient, waiting for others to be ready for change.

“People will be ready for change when the consequences outlast the pleasure.”

Good Example vs Bad Example

GOOD EXAMPLEAs you continue on your quest for a healthy fit life, you must realize you are a fitness witness whether you like it or not. The same way my life is an example of what a Christian looks like (whether I like it or not, and whether it’s a good one or not), you too are faced with the same fate. You are an example. Are you a turn ON or turn OFF?

Are your social media posts inspiring or annoying? Are you sharing your fitness journey or bragging about it? Are you making a positive impact or a negative one? I think the best way to make sure you are on the right path is to look at your “recruits”.

How many people have you “converted”? How many people were once unbelievers and now a huge believer in fitness? The best way to see if you are doing the right thing is to look for, what a Christian calls, fruit. An apple tree is of no real value unless it grows apples. A fitness witness is of little value unless it grows more fitness.

Who have you helped today? Or are you just helping yourself?
Are you so focused on your own workout you aren’t willing to help someone else?
Are you willing to completely skip your workout altogether to help a total stranger in the gym?
Are you willing to make a healthy meal and share a recipe with a coworker who needs guidance?
Just how much are you willing to sacrifice to help others?

Never forget why you started, and that you too were once as lost as they are. Extend grace, love and support. Decide today to be a good example and not get the big fit head. :)

(How To) RUN and Not Be Weary

I Will Wait

Doesn’t everyone want to run and not be weary, walk and not faint? Doesn’t everyone desire to be strong? What does strength require? It requires trust.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

woman on scaleMany versions of this scripture interchange trust with wait, however, I think many people don’t really know what it means to “wait’. But trust requires waiting, and it’s in the waiting that we get strengthened.

Waiting doesn’t mean do nothing. Waiting means to continue running, enduring, pressing on, WHILE waiting for the next step – the harvest, the payoff, the answer, the confirmation, the reward.

Let’s look at this scripture first in context of trusting God. You can’t trust God and not wait on Him to answer your prayer. You can’t fully trust God and doubt His ways, or the path you are on, no matter how uncomfortable.You can’t truly trust Him and directly disobey Him either. Trust requires complete surrender, it requires patience and it requires obedience.  You either trust He’s got this, or you don’t. There is no middle ground.

Trust & Obey

doubt killsWhile a trainer is no God, a good trainer should lead you in the right direction. If you truly trust your trainer, you will continue to follow their direction and stick to their program. You won’t do just some of the things they tell you, you will do them all. You won’t argue, you won’t try to hold on to your old ways that got you in bad shape to begin with.

Proof of trust is completely letting go. You can’t possibly trust your trainer (and in the science of fitness) and continue exploring other solutions or do your own thing. You can’t trust the process and try to skip steps or look for shortcuts. You can’t truly trust the process and quit. You can’t trust and rebel.

If you don’t trust, you will grow weary. Your doubt will make you faint. You can’t possibly run this race with 100% effort if you don’t believe you are running in the right direction.

You can’t possibly run this race with 100% effort if you don’t believe you are running in the right direction.

Whether you are struggling with weight loss or a personal difficulty, you can be impatient, and try your own way, OR you can trust and wait – and BE STRENGTHENED IN THE PROCESS!

How Do You Keep the Faith? How Are You Strengthened?

Track Record This is easy! When I find myself doubting, I just look at the facts. This is when I get strengthened. With God, I look at His track record. Every single time I’m obedient and faithful, He has provided and answered prayer. Every time I’ve been in a hot mess, I can see where I was out of line. I’ve proven, over and over, that I cannot be trusted and He’s proven over and over that He can.

With fitness, every single time I have been obedient and faithful, I got the result I wanted. When I didn’t get results, it was because I wasn’t sticking with the plan, I wasn’t giving it my all, I wasn’t willing to completely “obey”. I was cheating, I wasn’t being disciplined or I wasn’t being patient enough, and I quit too soon.

I may not ENJOY the process, but I love the reward. The right way isn’t always the easy way. Oftentimes it is even harder at times. However, I know I can’t get the reward without going through the process and I can be strong knowing I’m doing everything I’m supposed to be doing.

I look back at the times I have been the happiest and strongest. In my case, it’s when I’ve been right with God and right with my health and fitness. If I’m not where I want to be, I go back to when I felt my best, when I had the most peace, and I repeat everything it took to get there in order to get it back again. I don’t try something new, I don’t’ try an easier way to get it back, I do what is proven, tried and true.

Run with Confidence

If you REALLY trust, you will happily wait, and won’t even think of abandoning your plan. You can boldly say “I wait confidently with great expectation”. This confidence will give you the ability to RUN and not be weary, WALK and not faint. You can give your 100% because you know you are running in the right direction.

Run and not be weary

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