Friday, February 25, 2011

Testimonial #4-Carolyn's Come a LONG Way!

Carolyn is another FIERCE and FABULOUS friend of mine who has made some major changes in her life and lifestyle which now includes, you guessed it, Clean Eating!!! She also has her own blog, so if you'd like to find out more about Carolyn and her story click Fabulous Fitness.

I was first introduced to the concept of clean eating in December of 2009, however I didn't fully understand or embrace the lifestyle until June 2010. Once I started really incorporating the principles of clean eating, the results were so dramatic, I never wanted to 'cheat'. By taking sugar and processed foods out of my diet, I started sleeping better and had more energy during the day. In just a few months my complexion started to glow and radiate good health. My eyes looked healthier and clearer. I felt and looked 10 years younger in just three months. In 4 months of clean eating I went from wearing a size 12-14 to wearing a size 8-10. I continue to refine my diet to meet the changing goals I have for my fitness and well being.

I now use the weekend to cook all my favorite clean healthy recipes for the week ahead so that I can pack my lunches quickly and know that I have a lunch box full of delicious choices. My favorite foods to cook up on the weekend are: quinoa, sweet potatoes, hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken breasts, salmon patties and crustless quiche. 

Notice that Carolyn practices a clean eating MUST! Planning and Prep! It plays a huge role in being successful! Congrats to Carolyn for taking back control of her life! She is healthier and happier because of it...YOU can be too!
Remember...It's all about baby steps!  
Always...MAKE TODAY COUNT!!! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Testimonial #3~I Changed My Life!

Are you enjoying the testimonials? Are you getting the picture of how your body and your life can be different, better, when you feed it nutrient rich, whole food?
Here is another testimonial from another great and motivating fitness friend of mine. She is my cheerleader and is always lifting me up with her words and now it's my turn. Rachelle has lost an amazing 60...SIXTY...pounds in the last year. She is a busy wife and mother with 5 little ones at home which in and of itself amazes me! She took her life back and turned it around! Here is how eating clean has made a difference in her life! Enjoy!

Eating clean is something fairy recent for me, as in the last 4-6 months. I had heard of it before, but never got any more information on it. As my own journey went this past year with my weight loss and goals I was reaching for, I came across eating clean again and decided to look into it. At first, I was quite worried! I wasn't sure I could actually do it or how. I thought it would be something that I may have to do on my own, which would mean making separate meals... not crazy about that! I thought that it may be a lot of extra work... not crazy about that either! I thought it would be foods that wouldn't taste great and I really wasn't crazy about that either. Well, none of those things came to be true!  I actually found that although sometimes I make different choices for me, we could still eat as a family and only have to make one meal. For example... I just buy whole grain bread, brown rice, whole grain pastas or "clean" dressings. We can all have these and I don't have to "cheat" on eating clean. The extra work? Well, anything new takes some planning and getting used to BUT now, it really doesn't take any more time to cook and eat clean than it did before. As for taste...let me tell you... with eating clean, you actually get REAL flavors! I cook with more spices and herbs and I just love it...and here is the real kicker... our kids LOVE to eat clean!! They now always ask me if this meal or that meal or this snack, etc. is clean. When we were planning our Christmas menus, they were going through the cookbooks and figuring out how we could turn our favorite recipes into clean recipes! I love it! They are always thinking!! Now, they are not only making choices between good and bad (e.g. fruit vs.candy) but better and best (e.g. whole wheat vs. whole grain)! Yay!!!

Eating clean has also had a huge impact on my health! Let me tell you how I used to live... I was in pain pretty much 24:7... my hips, neck, back,legs, everything... the workouts help this. I used to have stomach problems. It was an odd day to not be doubled over in pain from cramping. I could really probably count the number of days a year on one hand, that I wasn't in pain! I also used to live with migraines which were also a common daily occurrence and these could be as "little" as living on IBuprofen or ending up in the hospital for a shot to control the pain. Another huge difference I have found is in my hands. I believe I have carpal tunnel, I would actually wake up in the night from the pain because my fingers wouldn't JUST go tingly, they would go numb and so numb that they hurt really bad! It was horrible! All of these things have been made better or have gone away because of my new clean eating habits. I also have SO much more energy when I eat clean. It is amazing that food can actually help your body heal itself and help it work the way it was really meant to!

Now, the only time I live with pain is from self inflicting it when I don't eat right! My body gives me feedback immediately about what it likes or doesn't like! I think it does that for most people... they just don't tune in and listen until there is some kind of illness- which often times can be too late! ~Rachelle

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Testimonial #2

Today's testimonial comes from my "soul sister," Diane. Our meeting was a divine encounter and I've been so blessed to call her girlfriend ever since. She's an amazing accountability partner who is full of wisdom and knows just what to say. Her testimonial illustrates those two qualities well. She's also a personal trainer and will kick your butt in boot camp!
I hope you are, once again, inspired by the words of another awesome fitness friend of mine!

As a personal trainer you’d think that I’d have it all together. Nope. I hate the scale. I love Doritos. I don’t count calories. I eat chocolate…sometimes!

What I have found out about myself with health and fitness has surprised even me when I allowed my honesty to surface! I don’t always like doing the things that make my life better, but I do love a better life.

One thing I’ve had to focus on is, what CAN I do, not what CAN’T I do? For each of us those answers will be different.

Eating clean and healthy has provided me with some pretty good life enhancers.

One: I can feel good about myself inside and out!
Two: I can breathe! Breathing is so much better! My immune system is stronger now. I used to be plagued with allergies and hay fever every year. Also, I rarely get colds or nasty sicknesses! When you give your body the opportunity, it will choose to be healthy if you put the right fuel in it!
Three: I can occasionally indulge in anything I want without guilt.
Four: I can wear my skinny jeans and feel good about it :-)

The gym or working out? Honestly, most days I’m really okay with going to the gym and working out or doing my own routine at home. But then there are days like today. I walked around the gym and purposely engaged in conversation to be rescued from the machines calling my name! It’s all good really. Not only are you making your arms, legs and abs stronger and keeping your butt up where it belongs by doing squats, you are creating a heart that can serve you longer and better throughout your life! Being in physically fit condition has allowed me these other life enhancers.

One: I can actually run around a play ground with my grandchildren without feeling the need to find the nearest bench for recovery.
Two: At family gatherings, I can actually participate in sports and not look like a dork.
Three: I can sleep better and play harder.
Four: I can wear my skinny jeans and feel good about it. :-)

The world system is not set up to make this journey of health and fitness easy on us. We have to take responsibility for this body we have been given and give it the best there is. Besides, nothing taste as good as wearing skinny jeans :-)!  ~Diane

Stay tuned...there is more to come tomorrow! Remember to Make Today Count!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Testimonial-It's Not All About Me!

It's easy for me to talk about eating clean but there are many others out there who subscribe to this same lifestyle. I thought you'd like to hear testimonials from some fabulous women who don't just talk the talk but walk, squat, run, lunge, push and pull their way to their best every day! My hope is that their words will help take you to that next level in eating nutritionally whole foods that your body needs to perform at it's absolute best every day!

My first testimonial comes from Rebekah. I love this girl! She inspires me, keeps me motivated and we push each other in friendly, yet competitive ways which keeps us both going day to day, week to week, month to month. She's a fitness friend I will cherish forever!

I’ve always considered myself to be a healthy eater, but wasn’t experiencing the changes I wanted in my body as far as lowering my body fat and building muscle without feeling like I was starving all the time. I was never a big processed food eater, but I would still have something most every day that was processed, such as packaged, low-fat burritos from Trader Joe’s, protein bars, no fat, sugar free Cool Whip, jello, etc. Beginning January 2011, I began working with a nutritionist who is teaching me about eating whole foods and eliminating all processed foods from my menu. After the first week of eating all whole foods, I felt like my body had gone through a cleanse and when I weighed myself, I was down 5 lbs. My stomach wasn’t bloated anymore and I felt lighter. Growing up I was conditioned to view my progress and my self-image by the number on the scale. It has taken me some time, but I’m nearly free from that perspective. I view the scale now as only a tool to chart my progress. The way I feel, how I fit into my clothes and how I look in the mirror are so much more important to me than how much I weigh. I’m now in my fourth week of whole, lean and clean eating and I feel better than I can ever remember! To date, I’ve lost 6 lbs. in three weeks. I have much more energy, a clearer mind, my body doesn’t feel starved, I don’t have the urge to binge eat, I don’t require as many hours of sleep, I have more time and energy to devote to my family, my friends and my attitude and emotional well-being has dramatically improved. Working out is important to me and I’m in the gym at least five days a week, but what I fuel my body with is the most important factor in achieving the goals I have set for myself. In turn, I’m building the muscle and lowering my body fat in the process. I feel like a winner and this way of eating is now my way of life! ~Rebekah

Posting new testimonials daily so check back daily! You'll continue to be motivated to shape up your daily diet and in return change your life in numerous ways! Enjoy and remember...Make Today Count!!!

Fitness Friday-No Equipment? No Problem!

BODY-WEIGHT SQUAT (legs) Put your hands on your hips or fold them over your chest. 1) From a standing position, feet about shoulder-width apart, squat down until both knees reach 90 degrees 2). As you lower yourself, keep your lower back slightly arched, head up, and stick your glutes out as if you were going to sit in a chair. Also, be sure that your knees aren't out past your toes as you squat--if they are, you're not moving your glutes back far enough as you squat. Once you reach the bottom position, flex through your quads, hamstrings and glutes to power yourself back up to a standing position and repeat.

WALKING LUNGES (legs) With your hands on your hips, assume a comfortable stance, feet shoulder-width apart, head up and torso erect 1). From there, step with your right leg straight out in front of you, as deep as you can go without moving your left foot. Plant your right foot and bend your right knee to 90 degrees 2). Then, flexing the muscles of your thigh, push yourself back up to a standing position and repeat the movement with your left leg. Alternate until you've completed 10 reps per leg.

PUSH-UP (chest) Put your hands a little wider than your shoulders. For regular push-ups put your toes on the floor, for modified push-ups put your knees on the floor.  Feet/knees and legs stay together, and raise up into an arms-extended position 1). Slowly lower yourself until your chest just touches the floor 2) return to the starting position and repeat. As you lower yourself, concentrate on feeling the stretch in your chest, and flex on the way up using slow and controlled movements! As you tire, the head naturally wants to extend itself toward the floor which makes you feel as though you are doing a push-up when in fact your are extending your neck. Watch out for this. Your elbows should be leading the way as the bend to lower your torso,

INVERTED PUSH-UP (shoulders) Place your feet or knees (easier) on a chair, step or bench. Place your hands out in front of you shoulder-width apart. Without moving your feet/knees, creep your hands backward until your body is bent almost 90 degrees and your head is facing the floor. Press up until your arms are straight--you should resemble an inverted V 1) slowly lower your head toward the floor until your arms are almost bent 90 degrees 2) and repeat.

CLOSE-GRIP PUSH-UP (triceps) Do these the same as you do the regular push-ups, except bring your hands closer so that your thumbs and index fingers form a triangle beneath your chest 1). As you descend, your elbows will point outward; once your chest comes in light contact with your hands 2), slowly return to the starting position and repeat. These can be tough, just do as many as you can!

LYING TORSO RAISE (lower back) Lie facedown on the floor and place your hands loosely behind your neck 1). Slowly raise your upper body until your chest is a few inches off the floor 2). You should feel your lumbar spine and lower-back muscles contracting as you rise up. Hold the top position for a two-second count, slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

NO WEIGHT CONCENTRATION CURL (biceps) Standing, grasp your left wrist with your right hand 1). Apply pressure with the hand as you slowly and deliberately curl your left arm 2). Once your elbow is fully bent, give your biceps an extra squeeze and hold for a second before slowly lowering. Complete all reps for one side before switching arms. Since you don't have the benefits of a weight, you need to do this exercise in a controlled manner, focus on keeping your working biceps fully engaged throughout each rep, and apply some challenging pressure with that nonworking hand.

BASIC CRUNCH (abs) Lying face-up, your knees bent and feet on the floor. Keep your hands behind your head 1) avoid the temptation to pull on your head. Curl your torso as you bring your shoulder blades up a few inches 2) squeeze your abs, and then slowly return to the starting position.  The longer your shoulder blades are off the floor, the more work your abs have to do.

REPEAT 2x's for a great full body, no equipment, strength training workout!