Establish True Balance In Your Body And Stop The Aches And Pains Of Everyday Living

Life is challenging.

We sit at a computer, drive, spend hours looking down at our phones, recover from surgeries or accidents, suffer from various diseases that prevent us from being athletic not to mention the regular and repetitive daily activities that come with our parental or work responsibilities.

We can’t keep doing the things we did in our twenties to stay in shape because as we get older, we need to accommodate for these life changes

I have been in fitness my entire life and even I can’t do the things I used to in my 20’s, (nor do I want to!).  But I’m still fit and strong and still try to achieve my life and fitness goals - so I need to work with how my body is NOW and for me that means minimal impact exercise.  Running is a great way to lose weight, but it hurts my joints. So I have created a better method, which can get me back to running again, if that's what I choose to do. 

Understanding muscle imbalances and why we experience pain is the key to a balanced and holistic lifestyle.  It’s vital to find safe and progressive tools to take the body from a pain state to a level of strength and flexibility.

Driving or sitting all day creates tight muscles in the lower back and inactive muscles in the glutes. These inactive muscles stop doing their job, which creates nerve impingement, resulting in pain!  Quite simply, to move from a place of discomfort and limitations to restored movement and strength, you need to lengthen the muscles that are tight and tighten the muscles that are loose!!  

And this is the focus in my True Balance Method. 

You need to understand the exercises that could be compromising your vulnerable areas for examples -  BURPEES...  We hate them for a reason!  They are hard on almost every joint in your body, if the muscles, supporting your joints, are not properly firing. 

Everyone is unique but with my method you can identify your vulnerable areas and recognise the muscles that need work and the ones that need releasing.  

My True Balance Method is also based on a balanced approach on nutrition.  

I’m not a fitness competitor anymore, so I can’t eat like a bodybuilder.  I have a family and social life and I want to live and enjoy food - not be terrified by it.  I have tried every trend out there because the marketing is so enticing. But everytime, without fail I bounce back, gain weight and need to find balance again.  Over the years my method has allowed me to be smart about what I eat but still enjoy foods I love and crave.  

My method teaches you how to eat, how to increase your metabolism and I also provide you with tips and guidelines, as well as recipes I love and enjoy.  

A simple approach to nutrition that can also be customized for you to not deprive yourself of the things you love.  My approach is not a quick fix, it takes time, but it will pull you away from the constant yoyo and nutrition spiral that is extremely hard on your body.  

The True Balance Method is a 14 week course with an exercise library, bi-weekly work out schedules, weekly recipe tips and nutrition hacks as well as direct access to me (to get your questions answered) in weekly online video conferencing calls.

The True Balance Method will be available soon!

To find out more about the True Balance Method, please enter your details below!

Learn the common stretches and yoga poses that may be causing you problems and what to do instead!

Flexibility training has numerous benefits, however, if done incorrectly, they can cause injury.

You may be wondering… ‘if these stretches are dangerous, why do people do them?’

Some of these moves mimic athletic activities, such as hurdlers.  If you used some of these stretches back in college when you were an athlete, it doesn’t mean you should try these moves later in life. Your joints may have since been compromised or perhaps, you may not be as ‘trained’ as you were years back.

Here are some controversial stretches, that may be potentially dangerous, especially if suffering from any knee, hip, back, neck or shoulder pain.

 

DON’T DO THIS...

TRY THIS INSTEAD...

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Inverted Hurdler’s stretch: This stretch places high stress on the inside of the knee (medial collateral ligament) and may cause pain and stress on the kneecap (patella).  

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This stretch still focuses on the hamstring and slight upper back, without putting strain on this knee.  When stretching, it is important to not take the body to a full pain position, be gentle with the stretch and allow the body to relax before moving deeper into the stretch. Hold stretches for 30 seconds on each leg.  

 

TRY THIS INSTEAD…

DON’T DO THIS...

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Straight-Leg toe touch: This position places the vertebrae and cartilage discs in the low back under high stress. Any client with a history of herniated discs or nerve pain that runs down the back of the legs, should avoid this stretch. In addition, those with poor flexibility may stress the ligaments of the knees through hyperextension.

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By bending the knees, relaxing the head down, and gently falling forward, you release the tension on the ligaments behind the legs, as well as, reducing pressure in the discs in the low back.

 

DON’T DO THIS...

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(above) Arching Quadriceps: This stretch was design to stretch the quads and hip flexors, however, it places high stress on the kneecap and joint.  Avoid, if there is any history of knee pain. To avoid any damage to the knee cartilage, use other techniques to stretch the quads and hip flexors.

(right) If it is challenging to grab the foot, use a strap or towel to help assist. Keep the knees pulled in together and stand tall.  (right above) When laying on the floor, try to keep the back flat on the back. Keep the neck relaxed on the floor. Gently pull the knees into the chest.  

TRY THESE INSTEAD..

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AVOID THESE COMMON YOGA POSES WHEN EXPERIENCING NECK OR SHOULDER PAIN

DON'T DO THIS...

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Plow Pose:  Very common in Yoga, but due to the inverted nature of this pose (head is lower than the hips), it stresses the neck and spine. This position should be avoided if there has been a history of any neck or spine issues. As well as, those who suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension).  

TRY THIS INSTEAD...

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Sit on a ball, gently roll forward and have the neck hang down between the knees. This will allow the back to stretch, while using gravity to create space between the vertebrae in the neck.

 

TRY THIS INSTEAD...

DON'T DO THIS...

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Shoulder Stand: Another inverted Yoga pose, which puts the neck, shoulders, and spine in a high stress vulnerable position. Should not be performed if someone does not have perfect technique, has ever suffered from injury, or is hypertensive.

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It is very beneficial to circulated the blood and pull the blood down from the legs, however this can be obtained without putting so much strain in the neck.  Try putting the legs against the wall with the spine straight on the floor. If this is too hard on the back of the legs, bend the knees, and rest the lower legs on a surface, level to the knees.

 

When experiencing neck pain, try light stretches for the neck to release tension. Check out the video below for some suggestions! 

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Being More Mindful

I just returned from my annual retreat to Costa Rica.  It’s the perfect place to fully detach from the chaos of life, whilst also being able to focus on personal health and wellness.  

I took several families away for a fully organised trip so that we could connect with each other and participate in active adventures to push through our fears, try new things and be in nature.

While we were there, we were immersed in Costa Rican culture and it was interesting to see their views on the environment - did you know that Costa Rica is making straws illegal?

That’s how aware they are on the pollution issues.  

Have you heard or seen the mass of trash in the Pacific Ocean, they say it’s twice as large as Texas!  That’s ridiculous.

I came home from my trip and had more trash from my family in two days than what we had in Costa with a group of 23 for a week.  I need to try harder. I realized that just using a zip lock bag for my kids sandwiches, 39 school weeks in a year, 5 days a week for 2 children uses roughly 390 zip lock baggies a year - just for sandwiches!!  

If we are lucky only 20% of zip lock baggies can even be recycled.  So all of those baggies are going to the landfill. However, I can go to Target and buy a $3 sandwich container which is reusable, costs less and has much less impact on the environment. It’s these little things -  trying to be more mindful - that makes a difference.

I realize that our lives are busy. We can’t go fishing in the morning to catch our dinner or pull some fruit from the trees for breakfast.  This is what we experienced in Costa Rica and just one of the reasons why it would be amazing to live in a place like this. However, we must make do with the circumstance that surround us.  

Baltimore lacks some of the healthy advantages of Costa Rica, so I need to plan my meals for the week, go grocery shopping, buy foods that require packaging to stay fresh long enough for me to feed my family.  

We ship our food in from other countries or across the states and that requires preservation.  But somewhere along the way people stopped being mindful of all our waste. ‘Just recycle it’ is the phrase, there are more cans everywhere labeling mindful recycling.  But what would be so much better, is to use less plastic.

It’s not hard, it may be a little inconvenient, but recycling it is the best we can do at the moment.  Using less plastic, zip lock baggies, straws, waste; is what we need to aim for.

I challenge you to pick one thing this week and be mindful of the impact it can have on our environment. The easy thing to do is order some sandwich containers on Amazon, but then we get a huge box with air-filled plastic baggie packaging to prevent this little sandwich container from breaking... we can drive to the store, use gas, which contaminates our environment...  or just not worry about it, pretend to not care.

We have to do something, or our children’s children will have a trash can for an ocean.  It’s gross! There is an entire world, we know little about under the sea, and they deserve better.  

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* Featured photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

A healthy alternative to coffee to keep your energy up!

There are a ton of energy products on the market today that can boost energy, but often leave a hard crash and struggling the rest of the day.  

Honestly, if I could sleep in everyday, wake up without an alarm, have highly nutritious meals prepared for me throughout the day and my work day ended prior to picking my kids up from school, then I wouldn’t need ANY caffeine assistance.  

Unfortunately, that’s not the case for me and I guess it’s most likely the same for you! When I need energy to inspire and motivate other people, I need it NOW.

Over the past five years, I have been using Advocare as my clutch.  I don’t experience withdrawal nor am I dependent.

It’s particularly useful when I have failed to take ideal care of myself such as after a late evening of fun with friends and I need to teach kickboxing at 8 am on a Saturday morning… or if I was up all night with a sick child and I need to teach group at 5.30 am, (followed by getting the kids to school, working all day, picking the kids up, then working again in the evening till 8).  

These types of days can be rough, and at least 65% of the time I need help with more energy. Coffee just makes me tired - I love the taste, but I can’t depend on it for more that emotional support.  

Enter Spark!

FOR AN ALTERNATIVE TO COFFEE...

AdvoCare Spark® is a unique multi-nutrient system that was developed as a nutritional source of energy and enhanced mental focus.* It's loaded with 20 vitamins, minerals and nutrients that work synergistically to provide a healthy, balanced and effective source of energy that won't overburden or over stimulate your body - and it now comes sucralose free with stevia options!

AdvoCare Spark: replaces coffee


Ingredients: Vitamin A (as beta-carotene), Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopheryl acetate), Thiamine (as HCl), Riboflavin, Niacin (as niacinamide), Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine HCl), Vitamin B12 (as cyanocobalamin), Pantothenic acid (as calcium pantothenate), Zinc (as zinc bis-glycinate), Copper (as copper glycinate), Chromium (as chromium citrate), Choline (as bitartrate and citrate), L-Tryrosine, Taurine, Caffeine, Glycine, L-Carnitine (as tartrate), Inositol. 

OTHER INGREDIENTS: SUGAR, NATURAL FLAVORS, CITRIC ACID, LUO HAN GUO FRUIT – EXTRACT (MONK FRUIT), XYLITOL, SILICON DIOXIDE, REBAUDIOSIDE A (STEVIA EXTRACT), BEET ROOT POWDER (FOR COLOR).

 

FOR PRE WORKOUT...

Another of my favorite products by Advocare is their pre-workout supplement.  

PRE combines comprehensive ingredients that work synergistically to form a multi-purpose pre-workout supplement.

It’s a unique blend of amino acids, b vitamins and caffeine from green tea extract work together to support energy production and mental focus before a workout.*

Capsicum extract, the active component of chili peppers, helps promote thermogenesis and the maintenance of a healthy metabolism.*

In addition, PRE contains 30mg of the antioxidant Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) to help your body convert food into energy plus chromium, an essential nutrient involved in metabolism of fat and storage of carbohydrates.

Benefits -
Supports energy levels*
Enhances mental focus*
Promotes a healthy metabolism*

Pre-Workout Multinutrient Dietary Supplement

Ingredients- Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid), Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine), Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 (as cyanocobalamin), Chromium (as chromium citrate), Amino Acid Blend: (L-Tyrosine, L-Aspartic Acid, L-Citrulline, Glycine Propionyl L-Carnitine HCl), Green Tea Extract (leaf - Camellia sinensis), Caffeine (from Green Tea), Coenzyme Q10, Cayenne (fruit - Capsicum annuum L) Capsicum Extract‡

OTHER INGREDIENTS: SUGAR, NATURAL FLAVORS, CITRIC ACID, GUM ARABIC, SILICON DIOXIDE, BEET ROOT POWDER (FOR COLOR), REBAUDIOSIDE A (STEVIA EXTRACT).

‡CONTAINS: CAPSICUM EXTRACT - (FROM CAPSIMAX®) IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF OMNIACTIVE HEALTH TECHNOLOGIES LTD.

FOR STRENGTH TRAINING

Want more strength?  Feel like everytime you go to the gym you don’t have the drive to push as hard as you want?  I’ve recently fallen in love with this product!

Muscle Strength™ Supports the repair of lean muscle mass and helps enhance muscle growth during strength or weight training.*

Muscle Strength™ is specifically designed to improve the results you receive during weight training or strength training.* The key ingredient HMB (hydroxymethylbutrate) is a crucial compound which helps stabilize muscle cell membrane during intense workouts.* Additionally, botanical ingredients provide nutritional support to help muscles adapt better to physical stress, enhance endurance, and speed recovery.*

Benefits
Enhances muscle growth in conjunction with strength training*
Helps decrease recovery time between periods of intense workouts*
Promotes muscle strength and endurance*
Aids in maintaining lean muscle mass*

 

Muscle Strength™ Dietary Supplement

Ingredients: Calcium ß-Hydroxymethylbutyrate, Suma extract (root - Pfaffia stenophylla), Green tea extract (leaf - Camellia sinensis), Ashwagandha extract (root - Withania somnifera), Maca root (Lepidium meyenii), Dicalcium phosphate, modified cellulose, croscarmellose sodium, stearic acid, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, silicon dioxide, aqueous coating (of hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose, microcrystalline cellulose and stearic acid)

ABOUT ADVOCARE

AdvoCare has formed a strategic alliance with Informed-Choice to certify the products that carry the Informed-Choice logo are banned substance free. AdvoCare values its relationships with the athletic community. With testing on the rise for performance-enhancing substances, both at the amateur and professional levels, this alliance allows athletes to make informed choices about what they put into their bodies. Informed-Choice has specialized anti-doping experience. Their WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) experienced laboratory adheres to standards for sports supplements and has analyzed more samples for banned substances than any other lab in the world. The AdvoCare program exceeds industry requirements and is key to opening doors to new business.

Banned substance free certification positions AdvoCare as a leader in the sports performance and nutrition industries. The Informed-Choice certification program fosters business growth, adding a layer of credibility for AdvoCare and its Distributors.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. To ensure your receipt of genuine AdvoCare products, purchase only through your AdvoCare Independent Distributor or through www.advocare.com.

*Featured Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

Change

Change is something we can except or fight, regardless we need change to grow.  On a cellular level, change occurs with every breathe.  Change can be scary because it can create turmoil, fear and anxiety about the many possibilities.  But if we can trust ourselves and the path we are following, we could let go of the challenge of change and let it all happen naturally.  

*Featured Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

What is your core?

      Core is a popular word used these days in referring to reduced pain, fitness and overall wellness.   Core stabilization is essential for proper load balance within the spine and pelvis.  Lack of strength in some of the deeper core musculature means loss of power, loss of technique, and the propensity towards injury.  The “core” is the group of trunk muscles that surround the spine and abdomen.   This is where we generate, absorb, and transfer forces to and from our extremities.  So in a sense, the “core rage” is smart because working your core is the most important training you can do for your body!

What’s better, stretching through Yoga or strengthening through Pilates?  

It depends on your particular balance of muscle strength and flexibility.  Yoga is great for flexibility and balance, and pilates is great for building a strong integrated core.  Yoga can be very hard on the body if you are already too flexible as it can cause more instability in the joints.  However some bodies need to lengthen before they can begin to get stronger.   When muscles are too tight, range of motion is decreased, leading to decreased performance and increased injury risk.  It is important to discover where you are tight and where you are weak, then build a program around these areas of concern.  Pilates is a great place to start, because it is generally gentle enough for a beginner and can also be very challenging for someone who is more advanced. 

The following exercises are a great start to getting the core and hips more stable and stronger.  For some these may be very challenging, and that is fine.  Do what you can and improve each week with practice.  For others, this may be too easy, and that is great because you are now ready to move into more functional movement exercises.

How do you stabilize your core?

Lay on your back and bend your knees, feet flat on the floor.  Place the fingers on the hip bones then move 1/3 the way in towards the belly button. Pull the belly button into the spine, and flex the abdomen muscles.  While engaging the core muscles, hold for one minute, while focusing on breathing.  Let the side and back of your lungs fill with air while keeping the front of your ribs knitted in and not pushing up. This should begin to feel natural.  Engaging your core should not cause you to stop breathing.  Now practice this exercise while standing, brushing your teeth or walking up the steps.  

Training starts with the basics

Basic Strength - First Workout

When first returning to working out after that rather longer than suspected break, its important to start at the beginning. Even if I have taken a break for a few weeks, I always return to basic strength.  Its an excellent way to measure strength gains or loss, endurance, recovery time, proper form with or without pain, agility and balance.  Having a first workout that you can always refer to will also help you to motivate, because when you walk into the gym for the first time in a while, its a set system you can lean towards.  It is also a safe workout, ensure that you wont pull a muscle or get some awful injury that will keep you out of the gym for the next three months.  Finally, this workout will not make you overly sore, permitting you don't go too heavy on your weights, which can also keep you out of the gym for the rest of the week. Overall, here is my first workout for you.  Let me know how you do and if you have any questions!

First Workout:

Try for 3 sets of 10 reps, either upper to lower switch or right to left then switch

Dumb bell (DB) Squat (or body weight, depending on level of fitness and form)
DB Chest press 

Split Squat (BW or DB) (right then left) - remember chest over knee but back is straight!

DB Single Bent Over Row (right then left side) - Unless you have trouble stabilizing the spine, then use the machine with a straight back or single standing cable row

Hamstring Curl - (Dead lift is great if you are clear on proper form, Ball hamstring Curl is also a great alternative)
Close Grip Pulldowns - focus of the the shoulders pulling back and down, full range of motion, its not the weight that is important here it the range of motion in the shoulder blades

Bench Side to Side - foot on bench the back foot moves up and over the bench (switch) 
Standing Shoulder Press - (DB) keep palms facing the face, do not do anything overhead if have neck or shoulder injury

Standing Bicep Curl DB
Tricep Rope Extensions
Pelvic Thrust with Hip Lifts

Abs: Reps of 20-30
Rollups
Crunches with legs up in the air
Hip lifts with legs in air and hands under butt
Bicycles
Plank

Why AdvoCare

Not to keep throwing out there ‘my time in LA’, but it truly was a learning experience for me.  I started my Masters in Nutrition while I was living there, and man, what a great place to get crazy on fad diets.  I studied every crazy diet under the sun; Madonna’s Macrobiotic diet; No grains; No fruit; Only grapefruit...how about the 40 day lemonade diet?  Yeah, that's healthy! All my studies left me confused and mostly terrified to eat anything at all.  Going to the grocery store was a fearful and frustrating experience. I was convinced that I was bloated because I was lactose and gluten intolerant, and therefore had to cut everything out!  I alternated that response with just not caring and eating anything I wanted, then over-exercising to compensate for my lack of ‘commitment’. It was enough to make a girl crazy! These days, I don't have the time, even if I wanted to over-train.  I am sometimes overwhelmed  with running my business, taking care of my clients, my two children, and my home, and I'm usually the last person that gets tended to.

 

When I learned there was a program out there that actually made nutritional sense and met normal criteria for eating, I was all over trying it out!  With the AdvoCare program,  I love that you can eat any fruit, whole grains, any vegetables, and  lean protein.  During the cleanse phase, alcohol and caramel colored beverages (coffee, black tea and sodas) are prohibited, and nothing bleached, so no white rice or white pasta because it's important that your food consists of clean nutrients. You use common sense as far as portion control and your metabolism gets a boost  through eating three meals and two snacks every day. Then, AdvoCare has these amazing products to help cleanse,          

Cleanse Phase:

On Days 1-10 of the 24-Day Challenge, you will take three products.

Herbal Cleanse System:

The AdvoCare Herbal Cleanse system can help rid your body of waste and prepare the body for optimal nutrient absorption with its unique blend of herbal ingredients.* Using a systematic approach, this 10-day system guides you through the daily steps for thorough internal cleansing and improved digestion.*

Each Herbal Cleanse box includes these two key products: ProBiotic Restore™ capsules and Herbal Cleanse tablets. 

For the complete system, use these two products as well as AdvoCare Fiber for the duration of the 10 days.

OmegaPlex:

The second product you will use in the Cleanse Phase is OmegaPlex®, which is a high-quality blend of essential Omega-3 fatty acids for overall wellness.* Omega-3 fatty acids are essential components of heart, nerve, muscle, skin, bone and immune health. As with all of the AdvoCare products, OmegaPlex® meets high standards for safety and efficacy so you can be sure you are getting some of the purest Omega-3 fatty acids on the market.*

AdvoCare Spark:

AdvoCare Spark® is a unique multi-nutrient system that was developed as a nutritional source of energy and enhanced mental focus.* It's sugar free with more than 20 vitamins, minerals and nutrients that work synergistically to provide a healthy, balanced and effective source of energy that won't overburden or over stimulate your body.*

These three products work to cleanse and prepare your body for the Max Phase, days 11-24.

Note: Do not take thermogenic products (MNS® color packets, ThermoPlus™ and AdvoCare® Slim) while in the Cleanse Phase. 

Other AdvoCare supplements may be continued, although they should be taken at least a couple of hours after the AdvoCare Fiber.

Max Phase:

After completing the Cleanse Phase, it’s time to move into days 11-24: The Max Phase. The Max Phase is about fueling your body in order to achieve maximum results. During this phase you will take three products that work together to provide you with sustained energy, appetite control, core nutrition and overall wellness.

Metabolic Nutrition System™ - MNS®

During the Max Phase, you can choose from three Metabolic Nutrition Systems which all provide sustained energy, appetite control, core nutrition and overall wellness.*

If you’re not sure which system to use, AdvoCare recommends beginning with MNS® 3, which provides you with a foundational level of appetite control and energy.* For a higher level of appetite control you can choose MNS® C, and for more energy you can choose MNS® E*.

All three formulations include: CorePlex® (our multivitamin), OmegaPlex®, ProBiotic Restore™ , thermogenic components and additional wellness supplements.

Meal Replacement Shake:

Skipping meals is a common mistake people make in weight-management or wellness programs. The Meal Replacement Shake is a healthy, delicious solution. Each shake includes 22-24 grams of protein, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 5-6 grams of fiber, 26 vitamins and minerals, and 50 percent of the recommended daily allowance of calcium. They come in several great-tasting flavors.

AdvoCare Spark® (An additional box of AdvoCare Spark® completes the Max Phase.)

Companion products can be used in conjunction with the products that come with your 24-Day Challenge Bundle. Although not officially part of the 24-Day Challenge, these products are fantastic complements to the program and can help target your specific needs.* 

Catalyst:

Catalyst provides a blend of essential branched-chain amino acids and L-glutamine to fuel your body with the muscle-building components it needs.* Catalyst helps repair and protect muscle, and provides the essential amino acids needed to maintain and promote lean body mass, endurance and strength.* Catalyst helps rid the fat and retain muscle when used in combination with a healthy diet, exercise, and other AdvoCare products such as Meal Replacement Shakes or Muscle Gain™.

ThermoPlus:

ThermoPlus® is an innovative weight-loss enhancer that contains key botanical extracts to help support efficient metabolism and suppress appetite.* Together, they provide powerful support for stimulating fat oxidation and healthy metabolism when used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise.*

Carb-Ease® Plus:

Carb-Ease® Plus is a full-spectrum product that helps support weight management and body composition.* Carb-Ease Plus contains ingredients that help inhibit the breakdown of fats and particular carbohydrate molecules so that the body is less likely to absorb them.* It also helps maintain weight and healthy blood glucose levels by reducing the negative effects of excessive carbohydrate consumption.*

After the 24 Day Challenge:

Generally, I try to stay healthy by eating right and exercising but stress prevails and I don’t make all the best choices so I do the cleanse every three months and it easy and effective to help me lose those extra pounds and rebalance my system.  

* Featured image courtesy of Advocare

Why Drinking More Water Helps To Lose Your Water Weight

When I was working at Equinox in California 2005, the trainers were given an opportunity to use a Hydrostatic Testing (Underwater Weighing) machine.  This is the only way to truly measure your body fat because it uses a two component model which separates the body in two distinct components: 1. bone, muscle and connective tissue (more dense than water) and 2. Body Fat (less dense than water).  Interestingly enough, the hydrostatic testing method has been around for over 50 years and is based on Archimedes principle which states "when a body is submerged in water, there is a buoyant counter force equal to the weight of the water which is displaced”.  

Anyway,  the results were amazing!  I actually got in an argument with a body builder because my body fat was less than his but he looked far leaner than I did.   My body retains water, now body fat too.   But water has always been my nemesis.  No matter what, I will be great about drinking water and eating low sodium foods, then drop off for one day and BAM, I'm back where I started.  FRUSTRATING!

So here is why this happens.  The body cannot “store” water - the body uses its own water for many important functions but expects us to provide a continuous supply of fresh new water regularly to function properly.  When we do not, there becomes an imbalance of sodium and potassium, so the body produces a hormone to try and “retain” water by keeping your kidneys from filtering it.  This seems to be more common among women.  Maybe because we are more hormonal, but that’s for another blog!  

Signs of water retention:

  1. Thinner in the am then you are in the afternoon
  2. Color of your Pee - cloudy or dark
  3. If when pinching the skin, you receive a layer that is not condensed but seems to be more fluid rather than the muscle or fat
  4. Not thirsty all the time
  5. Salty foods do not taste salty

Tips:

  1. Drink water before every meal. Many times dehydration is disguised as hunger.
  2. Check your pee color in the am, then continue drinking water early in the day until your urine is clear.  After that, don’t stop drinking water; just cut back so you don’t exhaust the kidneys.  Avoid drinking too much water in the evenings, so it does not disrupt your sleep schedule. 
  3. Keep your sodium moderate, and replace salt with spices such as garlic, ginger, fresh vegetables, black pepper, chives, cilantro, or low sodium Spike. You’ll find you don’t even miss the salt after a while.
  4. Aim to drink a minimum of 1/2 ounce of water per lb. of body weight per day.                  For example, 100 lbs=50 oz.
  5. Cold or room temperature water, depends mostly on raising your core body temperatures during activity.  I tend to run cold, so I like room temperature water.  Drinking water is the important thing; how you drink it is your choice. 

Importance of drinking water:

  1. Water lubricates joints and organs
  2. It maintains muscle tone
  3. Keeps skin elastic and soft
  4. Water regulates body temperature 
  5. Dilutes and transports impurities to and from cells
  6. Keeps the brain working properly 
  7. Transports nutrients to and from cells
  8. Water helps your liver convert fat into usable energy

AKA Drink More Water :)

*Featured Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

Balancing Your Life

Seems impossible, right?  Finding happiness, getting enough sleep, exercising, eating right, enjoying a social life, being a parent, taking classes, improving on your career path -- these are all things that are essential but extremely challenging to find the time to do.  It’s not easy.  I know that there are many times that I feel overwhelmed and tired, and I self-destruct by eating three times the calories than I’ve burned that day.  For me, the key to finding balance is planning and preparing for an effective schedule. 

Schedule your week ahead of time. Go to the grocery store so you have what you need to eat healthy, plan your workouts, tape your shows so you can get adequate sleep, book time with your friends, get a massage.  Figure out what is not working in your schedule and change things around.  If you are oversleeping every time you want to work out than you are not a morning person.  Try working out at a different time like during lunch or in the evening.  It won’t be easy at first, change never is, but it will get easier over time if you are consistent.  “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, after all!  It seems like many of the people I train are looking for a quick fix.  “Can I train three times a day for the next two weeks, to lose the 30 pounds I gained this year?”  If it took you a year to gain them, do you really think you can lose them in a few weeks and keep the weight off?  What is healthy about extreme diets and over exercise?  How can you find balance unless you are healthy?  

I’m no expert on the topic but I continue to try each week to get a little better at obtaining my goals in a way that won’t make me crazy.  I know that one or two workouts a week is a lot better than none.  I know that if I do not go to the store, I will eat fast food.  I know that if I don’t make time with my friends, life gets away from me.  I’m learning how to be a mother; I can’t plan for the sleepless nights, but I can try to nap.  Being a wife, a mom, a business owner, and maintaining a household are all challenging, but I know without taking care of myself everything falls apart.     

Here are a few tips to make things a little easier. 

  • Stay away from processed foods because the sodium count promotes water retention.  When you retain water, it doesn’t matter how much cardio you do, you will not lose weight.  Keep a large bottle of with you all day so you can track how much you drink.  I recommend at least 2 quarts a day.  The coolest thing about drinking water; the more you drink the thirstier you become.  Added bonus to cutting down on processed foods and drinking more water; food will taste salty! 
  • Always eat breakfast within an hour of waking up so you can get your metabolism revved up for the day. Hungry or not, you have to train your body to be hungry.  Once you start eating multiple meals, your body will burn the calories you eat instead of storing them, and you’ll feel hungry more often.  
  • Schedule workout sessions, even brief ones.  Once you have gotten into a regular workout routine, exercise will not seem so challenging, your energy levels will improve, and you may even start enjoying the rush you get when you push your body.  

So you see, as you train your body to do the right things, all you have to do is listen to your body to keep it moving in the right direction.  The struggle to creating balance is just finding the right routine for your life.  Make the time for what you want and put yourself first!

* Featured Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash