An ongoing love affaire with all things fashionable, tasty and fun

Posts tagged “beginners fitness

{Guest Post} Food & The Daily Battle

Welcome to Part II of the Women’s Health series here on Moi Contre La Vie. Today we’re going to hear more from Megan of Kaia F.I.T. Sacramento on the daily struggle to eat well. If you’re new to this series be sure to check out Megan’s bio {Guest Post: Women’s Health} and her previous post – Fashion of the Fitness World.

Part 2: Food… The Daily Battle

I love ice cream, especially cookies & cream. I love cheeseburgers and extra crispy french fries. I can put down a serious amount of pizza. I love crafty cocktails and champagne. I worked in fine dining restaurants for 10 years and was privileged to indulge in some amazing dishes and glasses of wine…

But now I work in the fitness industry. And I constantly try to balance my view of food… Fuel or Delicious Goodness? My answer is both.

The majority of the time, on the day-to-day, food is fuel. Looking at it that way leads me to eating cleaner, leaner, and healthier. I view myself like a machine and if I want to run properly, perform well in my workouts, and feel energetic all day, I need to provide myself with the best fuel available.

I personally feel the best when I eat multiple times throughout the day, always beginning with breakfast. I feel great when I eat lean meat and eggs, lots of veggies and greens, and fresh fruit. I like nuts and trail mix for snacks and dried fruit for dessert. Avoiding the starchy carbs, dairy, and sugar is essential to feeling good.

KaiaIV

However, coming from the restaurant industry, I love nothing more than a nice dinner out. I appreciate a perfectly cooked noodle and a salty piece of pork belly. And I absolutely love home-made ice cream and cookies at my mom’s house. These are the good things in life.

So, how do I balance it? When do I decide to devour a sandwich and when do I stick to a salad full of veggies? I practice MODERATION. I try to stick to healthy ‘fuel’ most of the time. When I treat myself to ‘carbs’ and sugar, I view it just that way… As a TREAT. I think it’s better that way anyway. I feel like crap when I eat sugar and bread days in a row and I stop appreciating it.

Everyone has to make their choices, each and every day. But awareness is where it all begins. If you never go without bread, dairy, sugar, alcohol, etc., how will you ever know how you feel without it?

Our go-to detox at Kaia FIT is 7 days without the following:

  • All starchy ‘carbs’ (bread, tortillas, rice, potatoes, etc.)
  • Sugar over 9g per serving (besides sugar naturally found in fruits/veggies)
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy
  • Processed Foods (if you can’t pronounce something on the label, avoid it!)

Eating clean is a great feeling and I highly recommend letting yourself experience it. And remember, “All things in moderation, including moderation.”

A big thank you to Megan for this great insight into her way of thinking about nutrition. It’s very easy to get into patterns of binging or restricting, so avoid all the negative side effects of both of those ways of eating and try practicing moderation as Megan has suggested.

What’s your personal approach to your daily diet?


Beginner Fitness

In 2012 a reader came to me with a simple request – Could I help her ease into a workout routine that would put her on the path to overall better health? I documented a part of the process in the following series of posts – Want To Achieve Gym Goddess Status?, Part II, Part III, Part IV & Part V.

I’ve recently received a similar request and thought that 2013 would be a great time to share some of the details with my readers again because I think it’s such a worthwhile topic and achieving better health is widespread goal. I’m sure there have been countless New Years Resolutions related to this so why not get started on your path to health and happiness now?

In addition to providing short beginners workouts for the next few weeks, I’ll be recommending reading and do my best to keep you all motivated and inspired – Which is half the battle.

Workouts:

You want to ease into a new workout regime regardless of your current level of fitness, however if you’re not currently working out, attending classes, and/or running on a regular basis I would suggest starting with one or two small workouts a week and gradually increase to 3-5 as you start improving and feeling stronger.

Let’s start Week One with two short workouts to get us in the mood:

Day One

Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

Warm Down: 5-10 minutes of intervals on a machine of your choosing {See the suggestions under Warm Up}

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

*My recommendation is to turn this into a mini circuit workout – After your warm up do one set of planks, one set of lunges, and one set of squats, then repeat the process a second and third time to complete the circuit before your warm down.

Day Two

Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

  • Reverse Lunges {FitSugar’s Back to Basics: Stationary Reverse Lunge} 3 rounds of 10 lunges on each knee
  • Crunches {Dummies.com’s How To Do Crunches} 3 rounds of 20 – Be sure to watch your form & keep your chin & elbows UP form is important w/ this move
  • Leg Lifts {Shape Magazine’s Double-Leg Lower & Lift} 3 rounds of 20

Warm Down: 5-10 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

Nutrition:

Following diets, participating in cleanses, and going through detox programs are interesting ways to find out how your body responds to things, but they’re not a way of life. Learning to eat well & make smart food choices on a daily basis is going to do much more for you than any short-term healthy eating “fix.”

Depending on your typical diet transitioning to a clean eating regime can seem pretty daunting, so to make the switch more manageable I’ll just recommend a few tips and suggest some things to cut out of your diet each week.

To start, it’s time to get cooking! Your first goal should be to cut out packaged, processed, and pre-made food from your diet. Don’t panic! That doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to order Chinese again or never enjoy a handful of chips in the future, but if you want to transition to a clean diet the first step is to eliminate all of these types of foods. So your mission for the next two weeks is to start giving up anything processed, stop hitting the drive-through, and spend more time in the kitchen and less time at restaurants.

PumpkinSeeds

Here are a few alternatives:

  • If you like chips or salty other snacks – Try raw almonds, butter-free air popped popcorn, or baby carrots w/ hummus
  • If you crave the beta-endorphin rush of sugary treats, baked goods, or candy – Switch these high calorie picks for fresh fruit, natural almond butter, or homemade sweet treats like Choosing Raw’s Cinnamon Caramelized Cauliflower or Maple Cinnamon Candied Pumpkin Seeds

Homework:

Understanding why you feel the way that you feel and how to improve your health is important. Anyone can blindly follow instructions, but learning about health, nutrition, and your body will help you for your entire life.

So with the goal of educating yourself and expanding your horizons here are some interesting articles you might enjoy:

  • Healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and nuts & seeds {in moderation} are an important part of a healthy diet. Learn more about this subject by reading Natalie Jill Fitness’s Eating Fat Will NOT Make You Fat…
  • One of the things that impacts your health almost as much as nutrition and fitness is stress. You need to pay attention not only to how much stress you have in your life, but how you deal with it – How Stress Affects the Body.

Stress

So what do you think of this new series? Are these topics and the information I provided above interesting and relevant to your life?

Disclaimer: I am not a trainer, doctor, or dietitian nor do I have any certifications associated with physical fitness or nutrition. I’m merely an enthusiast {and former athlete} who reads & does research daily and has worked out alone or with coaches & trainers since the age of 6. I am lucky enough to have access to a handful of blogs, websites, and trainers to answer my questions though. Prior to making any dramatic changes to your fitness routine or diet I suggest that you consult a physician.

For more inspiration, my daily workout routines, and more Moi Contre La Vie you can find me on these platforms:


Guest Post: Women’s Health

Raise your hand if your New Years Resolutions – officially or unofficially – include anything similar to these:

  • Eat healthier
  • Go to the gym more frequently
  • Lose weight
  • Get in better shape

That’s what I thought.

So with all of our ambitious and health-oriented resolutions in mind I’m planning a few new series during 2013 to help motivate and educate us with regard to health, fitness & nutrition – (1) A series of guest posts from people in the health & fitness industries, (2) A Beginners Fitness series w/ reading materials, workouts, and nutritional information for you to consider, and (3) A series of posts documenting the trials & tribulations I face while attempting the Whole 30 program at the beginning of 2013.

To help get us started with Fitness Friday & put us in a healthy, motivated mindset so we can start 2013 at our best, I’d like to welcome Megan:

My name is Megan and I’m very excited to have the opportunity to guest blog for Moi Contre La Vie! When I was asked to write a few pieces for this blog, I found myself a little dumbfounded, searching for a topic interesting and worthy enough of the site. It surprised me that I felt this way since I blog at least three times a week on my own!

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I manage and coach at an all-women’s gym called Kaia FIT Sacramento. I write 3-4 pieces a week for our website and find my inspiration from the amazing women of our gym community. I realized this inspiration fits perfectly in with the concept of Moi Contre La Vie and my blog topic was staring right at me the whole time!

At the top of the Moi Contre La Vie site it reads, “Celebrating Fashion, Food and Fitness,” and these are three of my favorite things! I will be writing a 3-part series on these topics and how they relate to my life as a fitness trainer and how they affect the women I’m surrounded by. Before my first post, however, I thought I’d share a little about myself and how I came to be where I am.

I’m 26 and married to an amazing man named Nick. Nick is a CrossFit trainer and ultra-runner. His passion for fitness, health and science has been one of my favorite parts about him since we met and I owe much of my success in the fitness world to him.

I was always an ‘active’ person… Dabbling in yoga and running, hitting spin classes at 24 hour fitness if I didn’t get off work at the restaurant too late the night before. You know, the typical college girl routine.

But none of it was ever enough. I loved the feeling of working out. Not the feeling AFTER a workout… But the terrible, breathless, burning feeling DURING it. And I know I wanted to feel it with more intensity.

Enter Kaia FIT.

A friend of mine started at Kaia FIT Sacramento as soon as they opened their doors and was absolutely loving it. Never mind her amazing results physically, her entire attitude and outlook on health and fitness had changed! I knew I had to give it a try….

And I never looked back. After a few months I went to certification and began coaching. A year later I’m managing the joint and have made it my full-time career!

Coming up: Fashion… Of the fitness world!

Thank you so much for the introduction Megan – We’re all looking forward to reading your next post. If you have any specific questions that you’d like Megan to answer please let me know!


Links You’ll Love

Fashion:

Jackets and blazers and coats – Oh My! Chic jackets, blazers, and coats in brilliant jewel tones, soft velvets & corduroy, fun patterns, formal tweeds & brocades, and freshly pressed trenches will all make appearances this Fall, so get a head start with WhoWhatWear’s Street Style with Adam Katz Sinding: Chic Outerwear.

Sweatshirts don’t have to be boring or gym-worthy, this season you’ll want to find a sweatshirt with a cute patterned or retro design to pair with your separates. Bright colors, fun nostalgia-inducing graphics, even highschool letterman-style sweatshirts will be hitting the streets – Trend: Sweat Chic.

There’s nothing quite like seeing what one of your fashion idols has their closet to get you in the mood to revamp your own wardrobe! Luckily for us Harper’s Bazaar is taking you on a tour of DJ, model, and Chanel ambassador Leigh Lezark’s fashion collection – Closet of the Month: Leigh Lezark.

When you’re fashion-obsessed the passion for fashion doesn’t stop with clothing and accessories, it extends to ever facet of your life. Like Tom Ford said: “Fashion is everything. Art, music, furniture design, graphic design, hair, makeup, architecture, the way cars look – all those things go together to make a moment in time, and that’s what excites me.” So let’s enjoy this tour of a fabulous, fashionable, organized home – The Brunette’s My home, my essentials.

One of the reasons that I love doing Style File posts is that you get to recreate and put a fun, fresh spin on an outfit that someone you admire has worn. Whether it’s a celebrity, a model, a blogger, or a fashion editor, you’re taking the time to really look at their personal style and try to recreate a look that you love. Smile For Style agrees and has shared her picks for this killer look from Revenge start Ashley Madekwe – Get Her Look: Ashley Madekwe.

Health & Fitness:

If you could make some small changes in your life and boost your mood and ultimately your happiness, wouldn’t you? Best selling author Gabrielle Bernstein shares her tips – From simple things like starting the day with positivity to practicing self-love. Happiness 101: 6 Ways To Be In A Good Mood All The Time.

I don’t know about you, but I like to hold onto Halloween for as long as possible, and that means making Halloween-style treats wellllll after the holiday itself passes – Sweet Vegan Treats For a Happy Halloween.

Taking some time for a calming yoga routine each day could not only help you cope with everyday stress, it could also give you a great energy boost – Yoga Moves for a Pick-Me-Up from Women’s Health.

The ladies over at Tone It Up! are known for their great outdoor & beach workouts that you can do with little to no equipment and their latest, Halloween inspired workout is another fab example filled with bridges, planks, and cardio – Your Tone It Up Tuesday SpOokTacULaR Workout!

Pizza is the ultimate comfort food but unfortunately it’s not usually on the approved foods list for the conscientious, healthy eater. But what if it could be? Check out these killer veggie-filled recipes and get cooking! Green Garden Pizza, Garlic Flatbread/Pizza Crust, Heirloom Tomato & Sweet Corn Pizza & Swiss Chard Pizza from Gluten Free, Soy Free Vegan.


Links You’ll Love

Health & Fitness:

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Packing lunch during the week is a great option to save money and make sure that you’re getting a healthy, nutritious meal mid-day to keep you going. I like to do some work in the kitchen during the weekends to prepare for the week {Sunday Prep}, you can also get some killer tips from Choosing Raw – Monday’s Lunchbox.

Thinking about jumping on the treadmill or elliptical for some cardio and neglecting the machines and weight racks are you gym? Think again! I’m a huge advocate of not only changing up your gym routine on a regular basis but of foregoing machine cardio for walking and weight training. If you don’t believe m just read this piece from Natalie Jill Fitness: Only WEIGHT and INTENSITY Will Change Your Body – You HAVE to lift HEAVY if You Want to Lean Out and Change Your Body!

Fitting in a workout is a MUST during the hectic holiday season – It reduces stress, gives you some much-needed alone time, produces endorphins, and keeps you healthy & fit so you can enjoy the holiday festivities with your friends and family. Regardless of whether you have an hour or 15 minutes available, or if you even have time to make it to the gym – Make time!

Fashion:

I love the old Hollywood, film noir feel of killer black & white photographs. The subjects somehow always manage to appear chic and timeless, regardless of the year, the pose, the style of their clothes… I just can’t get enough and neither can A Fashion Friend – It’s Better In Black & White.

Have you ever been tempted to run off to Paris so that you can live a fashionable, glamorous life? If the answer is yes, you probably shouldn’t click on these links because you will most likely run off to Paris to live a fashionable, glamorous life.

As you may know – I adore stripes – Whether they’re the traditional nautical variety for Spring or demure pinstripes for the office. So why not take this fabulous print into the Fall season as well? Harper’s Bazaar definitely agrees – Shop the Street Style Look: Summer’s Stripes for Fall.

Are you a jeans girl? There are so many varieties this day in age there are almost endless choices when you head into a store and start to peruse their denim department. 70’s flare, wide-leg, cropped, skinny, cut-off, distressed, boyfriend, boot cut… Check out Love Me Jeans for some serious denim inspiration and worship – What’s your favorite pair?

We’ve all had the rule “No White After Labor Day” repeated ad nauseam over the years, but is this a rule for our grandmothers and not for our generation? Well The Man Repeller is making quite the argument against this rule with her fabulous photographs from Nolita – Accent In White.


Links You’ll Love

Fashion:

Outerwear is always one of my favorite parts about dressing for Fall, and with all of the fun patterned and colorful blazers in stores this season I’m even more excited than usual. Not sure where to start? Time to check in with the experts! The Glitter Guide’s Fall Shopping Guide: Blazers.

One of my new favorites to keep an eye on during Fashion Month is Russian designer and photographer Ulyana Sergeenko. Her style is dramatic, eye-catching, and perfectly over-the-top. And luckily for us fashion lovers she’s just one of many chic up and coming Russian fashionistas making the scene these days! You’ll thank me after you check out all of these lovely ladies in Bougeotte’s Modern Russian Czarinas Are Being Born.

Beauty lovers have been buzzing about the new Courtin-Clarins beauty blog that launched last month. If you haven’t gotten a chance to see what these French beauties have to say now’s the time! WhoWhatWear – The Scoop: Claire & Virginie Courtin-Clarins.

Patterned pants and all-over-prints on suits and shorts suits are all things that I’m excited to wear this Fall and next Spring, so why not check out some fabulous versions worn lately to get you in the mood? The Next Evolution of Fashion’s Print Obsession: The Printed Suit.

I recently discovered a fun new fashion blog that I’d love to share – Advanced Style was created by Ari Seth Cohen and celebrates the fabulous fashion of the older generations. As someone who grew up on Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant movies, couldn’t wait to start working after college so I could have a formal wardrobe, and dresses up to travel – this is right up my alley. I love the formality and classic approach to fashion celebrated  by previous generations and this website is a great place to find stunning photographs of just that. Enjoy!

Health & Fitness:

I remember thinking at 18 that 30 was so old but now as I’m swiftly approaching the big three-oh my thinking has changed – I’m looking forward to the things that I’m going to accomplish in my thirties, the goals I’m going to set, the places I’m going to visit. Needless to say I was thrilled when I saw this article – Does life really begin at 30?

Sweet potatoes are a great favorite of mine – I love that there are an endless number of recipes that you can make with them, from snacks to savory dinner to sweet desserts. Versatile and delicious, what more could a girl want? More recipes to try of course! 10 Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes: Easy and tasty sweet potato recipes, each with about 300 calories or less.

Finding new recipes, reading about food, health & nutrition, and finding great food blogs written by creative, passionate people are some of my favorite pastimes so I was thrilled when Green Thickies posted a list of the their favorite blogs – Some I already knew and others I eagerly looked up. I had dozens of recipes printed in minutes! 🙂 Check out 8 Best Vegan Blogs for links and recipes to try!

Sometimes when I look at a recipe I’ll immediately think “no” in my mind when I look at the amount of oil, butter, or sugar being recommended. Rather than count certain recipes out, we can substitute healthier, nutritious ingredients for the more calorically dense, fattening ones. Apple sauce is one of my go-to ingredients to lighten up a recipe, but for Fall why not try pumpkin? How to Substitute Pumpkin Puree For Butter and Oil.

Speaking of pumpkin, this was one of the first pumpkin recipes I made this season when Trader Joe’s started stocking the shelves with canned pumpkin – How To Make A Quick Healthy Pumpkin Pie Fudge. So. Good.


Links You’ll Love

Health & Fitness:

Dark Chocolate Cherry Zucchini Bread

I was quite the little baker this Summer and I have to say that this was one of the tastiest and most creative recipes that I tried out – Dark Chocolate Cherry Zucchini Bread.

A short, energizing yoga workout is a great way to de-stress and stretch out after a long day at the office in your desk chair – Women’s Health yoga video.

Love Thy Self! Gala Darling agrees and wants to help you – 10 Radical Self Love Exercises To Boost Your Summer Lovin’!

A vegetable stir fry with either a grain or soy, tempeh, or tofu is one of my favorite quick & easy mid-week dinners so I enjoy finding new sauces and combinations to try out, like Peas And Thank You’s Szechuan Broccoli and Quinoa.

You don’t need a full hour for a workout to be beneficial, fit in some walking and short bursts of exercise whenever you can! Before work, during your lunch break, before a class starts – Get Fit In Only Fifteen Minutes.

Fashion:

Being able to break out all of your jeans is one of the fun things about Fall dressing. Check out FabSugar’s The Ultimate Fall Denim Guide — Every Trend, Cut, Color, and Fit.

My favorite part about Fall is the outerwear – I love full ankle-length coats, peacoats, trenches, blazers, basically anything that I can get my hands on – Coat Check: How to Take Your Look in a Ladylike Direction.

Most of us wish we could get more sleep, so why not save a few precious minutes in the morning by speeding up your beauty and makeup routine? How To Do Your Makeup In 5 Minutes (Really!)

Dressing for work doesn’t need to be boring, from colorful separates to chic suits to fabulous sheath dresses, Harper’s Bazaar has the answers – Stylish Work Clothes.

Our 6 Favorite Breast Cancer Awareness Products

Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness month with some stylish pink finds – From beauty products to accessories and jewelry, no matter what you’re in the mood for you can support this great cause. Mama’s A Rolling Stone – Our 6 Favorite Breast Cancer Awareness Products.


Guest Post: The Paleo Lifestyle

I’m a strong believer that each body has different needs and requirements. From allergies and intolerances, to dietary preferences, to work and sleep habits. Both our lives and our bodies dictate how we should fuel ourselves, and listening to your body is something that you need to learn to do. And that’s why I believe in trying different diets. Not diets as in crash diets – diets as in lifestyle changes that allow you to experience different ways of eating, that give you the opportunity to discover the best and healthiest lifestyle for yourself.

Personally I’ve tried a number of different diets and excluded various foods over the years, from high raw to mostly vegan to gluten-free. I want to feel my best every day – I want to sleep well, wake up rested & not need caffeine to open my eyes, have energy throughout the day, not suffer from headaches, and be alert & able to concentrate. And believe me when I say that it can be a long journey of trial and error to determine what foods will give you all of that.

Today I’m here to introduce Kyle Lawlor, one of the co-authors of the Tumblr blog Eat. Drink. Paleo – Two foodies who fell in love and are now transitioning to a Paleo lifestyle. If you look up “Paleo Diet” in wikipedia or check out the Paleo Diet website you can get a full list of do’s and don’ts, what you can  and can’t eat, and why the Paleo supporters think that their lifestyle is the best choice out there. But what those websites won’t/can’t/don’t tell you is how this lifestyle will make you feel, how hard the transition is, what the noticeable benefits and downsides are, and how you will feel on a daily basis.

But Kyle can.

This is his story of discovering Paleo eating, making the transition, joining CrossFit, and how those choices have affected his daily life and outlook:

My journey to a healthy paleo lifestyle has taken far longer than I wish it would. I look back and kick myself for not doing this sooner but as is constant with me, I have to do everything in my own time or I will never stick to anything. I came across the Paleo Lifestyle when I joined American River CrossFit in July 2011. At the time I weighed 280lbs and I still (unfortunately) stand only 5’8 ½”. I was out of shape. I was constantly out of breath from even the simplest of tasks. I didn’t sleep well. I snored like a band saw. And worst of all, I looked terrible! When I started at CrossFit it was terrible. My body hadn’t felt so sore since JV Spring Training for football. My quads hurt, my back was tight, and my shoulders felt like they would drop off at any moment. The funny thing is that at first, a lot of what I was doing in CrossFit was just moving myself. My first month involved very little weight training, except for my own 280lbs. But I stuck with it and kept going. Soon I started seeing improvements. My clothes began fitting better and the pain I felt after workouts transitioned into soreness. The only problem was that my gut didn’t go anywhere and the scale hadn’t changed much. The reason was a simple one, one that I never really shared with neither my trainers at the Box nor my girlfriend, Rochelle. Every night after attending the 6pm class at ARCFIT and working my ass off I would stop at Wendy’s or Taco Bell on my way home and demolish a couple bucks worth of fake food before pulling into my drive way. THEN I would go inside and eat the dinner Rochelle would have prepared for us. To understand why I did this we need to take a quick trip down memory lane.

Fast forward to February 2012! I read The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf and it changes my life. I had been living a 20% Paleo lifestyle at best while trying to work my ass off at CrossFit. Unfortunately, as we are fond of saying at ARCFIT “you can’t out train a shit diet”. It is so incredibly true! Somehow I expected that if I worked out an hour a day twice a week that gave me permission to eat whatever the hell I wanted. February was a great month for me because it was the start of a lot of life changes for me. The first was the 30 day Paleo challenge Rochelle and I began. We cut out all the grain, all the dairy, all the sugar and all the legumes. And at first it was awesome! NOT! It sucked! But, after the first week and a half all the cravings were gone. Then the amazing things started happening. I began feeling better. I was sleeping the whole night through with much less snoring then before (much to Rochelle’s delight), my pants started literally falling off of me because they were too big, and not to get gross but my bowel movements were noticeably healthier and less frequent than I was accustomed. All in all, my body was beginning to heal the wrongs I had done to it for 24 years.

What I have come to realize over the last year, specifically in the last 4 months, is that through taking care of myself I have become a happier person. 6 months ago, someone who knew me well might consider me a good friend but hateful of just about everyone else on the planet, and that’s putting it mildly. To be plain, I had been unhappy with my life for the past few years, and despite being moderately intelligent I could not see that the problem was staring back at me every time I went to McDonald’s for breakfast, Jack in the Box for lunch and perhaps Taco Bell for dinner. These foods had a hold on me. If I’m honest, I’d say they still do. While I rarely, if ever, crave some kind of fake burger from a fast food joint, I know that if I succumb to weakness at any time and have one I will be hooked once again.

When Rochelle and I began the 30 day Challenge in February, I didn’t think it would stick. I figured I would find someway of returning to old habits. However, since we decided to eat only the foods listed in the 30 Day sample menus I was stuck. I would actually have to follow the rules on this one and see where I could go.

My life is much different now. I do my best to go to the gym 5 days a week and I don’t drink as often or as much as I used to. I wake up at 6:30am, which is early when you consider the fact that I don’t have to be at work until 10am every day. I look at the WOD (Workout Of the Day in CrossFit speak), weigh myself, prepare myself to leave the house and head to the gym for the 7am class. When I get to the gym I feel like hell. My body and mind haven’t quite adjusted to being upright yet, there’s usually loud music on and in a couple of minutes someone I consider a friend is going to tell me to go run around the building, row 1000 meters, do pushups, or wall balls, or air squats, double-unders, burpees, and what the hell go run around the building again. At that point I’m warmed up. My morning headache is gone, my back has loosened up, and my hips are just about opened to where I need them to be in order to do whatever is planned for the day. Depending on the program I’m on there will be skill work before the WOD (ie pull ups or muscle ups) or weight lifting and then the WOD. I do my best on skill work and WODs, sometimes do a second WOD, foam roll, then drive home. The maximum amount of time I am ever at the gym is 2 hours, and those are days when I’m bored and Rochelle hasn’t given me a honey do list while I’m off on a weekday.

Time for some real honesty. Life happens, accept you may eat off diet and adjust accordingly (ie work your ass off the rest of the week) Sometimes you’re at your mom’s place and she’s making spaghetti and meatballs. You clean the plate and ask for seconds. Also, sometimes you’re in a hurry and forget your lunch. Does that mean you get to hit up McDonald’s for a Big Mac? NO! Think smarter. Is there a Thai restaurant near your work? If so, do what Rochelle does when she forgets lunch, call them up, order a red curry with beef, no rice, go back to your desk and eat something delicious and most likely entirely paleo. No Thai place? Craving fake Mexican food? Chipotle. I know, it is all that is wrong with this country but sometimes you want to eat fake Mexican food. A burrito bowl with no rice and beans will do the trick. Smile and ask politely for the person behind the counter to hook you up on peppers and onions. You like real Mexican food? Fine, hit up that taqueria by your work and grab a half pound of carnitas with a side of guac. No, you don’t need to order the rice, beans or tortillas! And finally, what about a good old American hamburger? All I can say God bless In N Out and Habit burger for lettuce wrapping their burgers, they can be a life saver! Have I done all these things? Yep! Am I proud of it? Not really, but I’m still going to eat and live my life. The difference is now when I eat things that are absolutely terrible for me, my mentality is different. Gone are the days when pasta made me think wistful thoughts of Rome. Now all I can think about is how much I just poisoned my body and how soon I can get it out of me. Funny how much things can change in 4 months.

 

My girlfriend and I constantly talk about how different my life has become in the last 4 months, none of it negative, and the one thing we always point out is that it started with my nutrition. When I got serious my life got better. Now I don’t usually like to look to the divine in such moments, but the timing sure is coincidental.

Please note that this is a shortened version of Kyle’s article, you can see the unabridged version here which includes great recipes and more details about Paleo eating.

Please note that neither Kyle nor I are a doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist. I recommend speaking with a professional prior to making any dramatic changes to your lifestyle, diet, or exercise regime to ensure that any changes you make are done safely.


Health & Your Relationship

When I read Rachel Wilkerson’s How CrossFit Has Helped My Relationship it got me thinking.

A lot.

Rachel said that by encouraging her boyfriend to take up a healthy hobby – in this instance CrossFit – their relationship ultimately benefited despite the fact that in the end it actually meant less alone time. I have no trouble at all believing this. In my experience, if there’s a substantial disconnect between how much two people value health & nutrition in their lives it can potentially lead to problems down the road.

I don’t believe that you need have all the same views, do the same workouts, or approach food the same way. But if only one person takes their health seriously and devotes time, energy, and effort to maintaining said health, the other individual may become resentful, jealous, threatened etc. Or things can go the other way around and as one person becomes healthier and more fit they begin to pity, worry about, and/or neglect their partner.

Take a look at this piece by the Primal Parent entitled When Good Health Destroys a Marriage. It’s written from the perspective of a woman who changed her diet and was feeling her best, while her husband was… Not. Ultimately their marriage couldn’t survive because she has a strong, well-tested belief in the importance of good health & nutrition, and refused to settle for someone who couldn’t – or wouldn’t – put forth the effort to investigate improving his own health.

Kyle

{Kyle & Rochelle – The authors of Eat Drink Paleo}

If you can find someone who shares your views, that’s fantastic – like my friend Kyle & his lady-love who write the oh-so-entertaining Eat. Drink. Paleo – Two foodies who fell in love and are now transitioning to a paleo lifestyle. But at a minimum you need to show an interest in the other’s routines and goals, and be able to talk about and share your successes and failures.

Take my relationship for example, on the surface my boyfriend and I have virtually opposite views on all facets of fitness and nutrition:

  • He eats an incredibly regimented high protein, low carb diet composed primarily of chicken, eggs, and vegetables which he tracks on a daily basis. I eat a mostly vegan, gluten-free, high raw diet.
  • He does intermittent fasting – meaning that he doesn’t eat until early afternoon & only eats three meals a day. While I eat at least every two hours after my 4am wakeup time.
  • He follows a lifting schedule & does CrossFit-style workouts that leave him wheezing, covered in bruises, scrapes, and rope burns, and stress his nervous system for days. I run, do circuit workouts & go to Pilates, martial arts & boxing classes.
  • His ultimate goal with his work outs and eating regime is to retain & increase strength while dropping body fat. I’m only interested in being healthy and not having daily back pain.

Pretty different, right? But the truth is that those are fairly superficial differences – underneath it all we’re both incredibly passionate about health and fitness, and that’s what really matters.

We love going for walks & hikes, cooking, eating, going to the farmer’s market, and planning our meals and workouts for the week, and most of all, we love debating our positions on these topics. If you looked through our emails, Facebook messages, Tweets, and text logs you’d find photos of our meals, new recipes to try, books to add to our Amazon basket, articles to read, great blogs we’ve found, documentaries & movies to add to our Netflix queue, and questions about what we’ve eaten, what workouts we’ve done, and how far we’ve walked that day.

Every day.

{Hers vs His}

It doesn’t matter that we’re not spending our days doing the same things, what matters is that we both approach our lives with a profound respect for our bodies, what we put them through, and how we fuel them. Yes, we debate topics like veganism versus paleo eating, different types of fat, which oils to use in cooking, fasting, detox programs & cleanses, and strength training. Yes, sometimes I question his sanity when he comes home with his hands shredded from doing hundreds of pull-ups or muscle-ups or toes-to-bars. But mostly, we just talk about it.

Our shared passion for health and nutrition was not what brought us together 12 years ago, nor is it what has kept up together, but it does give us something to talk about and share every single day. And because it’s important to us both, we appreciate the other’s routines and ambitions, even though they’re different.

Like Rachel said:

One more lovely side effect of the fitness revival: Eric and I are back to bonding through nerdy, fitness-related conversations. (We’re also bonding over our sore muscles.) I’m really enjoying little things like talking about our workouts and progress, discussing an article about diet or exercise, trying new healthy foods together, or going shoe shopping for new athletic shoes.

You don’t need to be 100% in sync with your partner, you just need to be with someone who has the same appreciation and respect for health and fitness as you do. Added bonus if it becomes something that you can share and bond over!


How to Survive a CrossFit Meet

This past weekend was the 2012 LaLanne Fitness Garage Games Kickoff. An all-day CrossFit event Saturday at LaLanne Fitness in San Francisco and the first big competition of the season for my boyfriend and his teammates from American River CrossFit in Sacramento.

 

After last year’s introduction to the joys of CrossFit competitions – the Fittest of the Sierra’s in South Lake Tahoe was the 1st big competition I attended – I wanted to share my advice & lifesaving tips on how best to survive one of these high intensity, rowdy, crowded events.

(1) What To Bring:

  • Bring food – Lots of it. These kids can EAT, so pack unprocessed, lean meats, cheeses & nuts for snacking between workouts.
  • A close second on the must have list is booze. You’ll need it and so will they. Trust me. These are work hard, play hard types and blowing off steam immediately after a brutal competition is a MUST.
  • Water! I can promise you that a giant water bottle will come in handy. This weekend all three competitors ended up using my Nalgene which had to be refilled every 5 minutes.
  • Camera – The biggest issues that I’ve had photo-wise is that the athletes are moving so quickly that in some cases the pictures are blurry or the camera doesn’t reset quickly enough to capture the next shot. As much as I love my Canon, this season I invested in a little HD video camera that also takes stills. Success!

 

(2) What To Expect:

  • Lots of people – These are busy, crowded events and in addition to lots of competitors, you’ll be surrounded by members of the hosting team and tons of spectators. Expect to be bumped or asked to move to accommodate events.
  • No place to sit – In some cases events will be outdoors and you’ll have bleachers to sit on, but primarily the events are indoors and you’ll  be standing pressed against a wall, craning to see over the heads of the other spectators.
  • A fast-paced environment – With large numbers of competitors and a handful of workouts to get through, the organizers may  be rushing to get through the events. Some workouts can be “blink and you miss them” short so keep an eye on your competitor to make sure that you see everything. 
  • LOUD and offensively bad music. This weekend was bad. R&B bad. 

(3) What To Do Afterwards:

  • Plan to go out – You’d think everyone would be beyond exhausted after a day full of crazy workouts, but my experience has been that the adrenaline is still pumping and they have a few more hours of energy left in them.
  • Head straight to a restaurant, trust me when I say they’ll be ready for a big meal. And if they’re paleo-people I’d pick a restaurant in advance to make sure that the menu is acceptable.
  • Make sure that the restaurant you’re going to has a bar. Your competitors will definitely want a drink. Or two. Or three.

I can’t recommend checking out one of these events enough – they’re exciting and fun to watch, never a dull moment.

P.S. Ladies, in case you need some more incentive, the shirts come off about a fourth of the way through. I’m just saying.