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Month: January 2015

What exercise does for your body, the Hydrafacial MD will do for your skin

What exercise does for your body, the Hydrafacial MD will do for your skin

It is no secret that SoCal has a dry climate. Going from the dry, sunny climate of San Diego to the cold, dry winter in Connecticut has caused my skin to go haywire. Of course all of the sweat my body produces on the daily has not helped my skin at all either. Upon my return to CT, I have been battling eczema, skin so dry it has been peeling and of course clogged pores and blackheads. Welcome home right??

Last week I visited my friends at Two Spa Girls Beauty Lounge in North Haven, CT to get my usual Organic Spray Tan when Owner and Beauty Guru, Andrea told me about her latest service: HydraFacial MD. I am usually very simplistic when it comes to my skin routine. In fact, recently it has been non-existent. Did you know that your skin is the largest organ of the human body?? With that being said, I decided it was time to start taking more care of it. Although I have come a long way since spending days in tanning beds during my teen years, I knew I was still not doing enough for my skin and thankfully Andrea came to the rescue.

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So I’m sure you’re wondering what exactly IS a HydraFacial? The HydraFacial is a moisturizing treatment that removes dead skin cells, extracts impurities while then cleansing and hydrating the new skin. Free radicals like stress, pollution, toxins and obviously sunlight damage our skin every single time we are exposed to them…which unless you never step outside of your house is daily. This treatment replenishes your skin with anti-oxidants through the latest technology called Vortex-Fusion. Since I am so involved in living a healthy lifestyle as well as science-based research,  I realized how much the HydraFacial aligned with what I preach.

I arrived at my appointment beyond excited to see the effects of this treatment. Andrea had me lay down in a quiet room and got to work. This treatment is recommended monthly and can help pretty much every skin type including sun damage, acne, hyperpigmentation as well as banishing those fine lines and wrinkles! In fact, I went into my appointment with a pimple trapped underneath my skin (you know those huge, painful ones that always come at the worst times?!) yet when I stepped out the door at the end of the treatment it not only decreased in size and redness but a day later is completely gone. The whole process is about 30 minutes, pain-free and very relaxing. I could actually FEEL the gunk and dirt being sucked out of my skin.

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The procedure was over before I knew it and my skin felt so full, refreshed and no longer as dry as the Mojave Desert! Here is a Before/After comparison I took 30 minutes before, and 30 minutes after the Hydrafacial. Notice how dull and dry my skin looks before (and the redness from that pesky pimple!) compared to the lively, bright skin I was happy to see after!

IMG_9358Today, the day after, I woke up to the clearest, vibrant skin I have ever seen on my face. It is as soft as silk, and now that Andrea has taught me a proper skin care routine I don’t have to deal with dry, acne prone skin again. For more information regarding the Hydrafacial you can visit their website HERE and to book YOUR first appointment at Two Spa Girls, visit their website HERE.

This is definitely going to be my first of many Hydrafacials as I have vowed to start taking better care of my skin. If you have any questions regarding this treatment don’t hesitate to email me or contact Andrea Blair for more information.

Remember, you only get ONE body- treat it well!

 

~Alessandra

Why a balanced life is the key to losing weight…and keeping it off

Why a balanced life is the key to losing weight…and keeping it off

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Every January millions of people set their resolution to lose weight or become healthier. In fact, losing weight is the number 1 resolution almost every year. What is unfortunate about this statistic is that only 8% of those people succeed. That means 92% of those individuals give up or fail at their attempt to lose weight-most within the first 2 months.

I wanted to approach this topic as we are just about two weeks into 2015. If your goal is to lose weight, you may be going strong still, and I want to help you put that statistic to shame. What a lot of people don’t understand is that there is no quick fix to losing weight. There is not a special diet, no pill, skinny tea, or supplement is going to transform your body. I can’t even guarantee you that a fad diet is going to work. Actually, I can promise you that it isn’t. What exactly is a fad diet? Usually it’s an extreme effort to lose weight. It can involve cutting out whole macronutrient groups like carbs or fats, it can involve eliminating sugar or gluten, or it can have you ridding your body of all processed foods.

The words eliminating, cutting out and ridding should be shooting red flags and fireworks right out in front of you. It took me quite a while and many fad diet experiments of my own to realize that none of these diets were sustainable. I simply could not see myself eating paleo, ketogenic, 100% clean eating or low-carb for the rest of my life. It just was not realistic. It came down to me not eating at family functions, I missed my own birthday cake last year, and I would get extremely anxious if I ever had to eat out. Who wants to live like that? I decided to make a change.

We’ve all seen IIFYM or “If It Fits Your Macros” all over Instagram and social media but what really is it? In simple terms, it is flexible dieting. It is eating a balanced diet of protein, carbs and fats that are calculated to fuel your body. We are all different, so we all have different amounts of the 3 macronutrients that are necessary for daily life. Your personal numbers can be calculated by finding you Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) or how many calories you burn from simply doing nothing like laying in bed all day. That number is then used to find your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) or the number of calories you burn from daily activities like walking, eating, exercise, etc. Factoring in your age, height, weight and gender we then can figure out your specific macros. Flexible dieting/IIFYM is solely based on science. As long as you hit your daily macronutrient goals, which are altered to your goals, you will get results. There is no limitations, elimination of entire food groups or macronutrients or limitations of any kind and personally I think that’s why I have been so successful, and why it works for so many people. I don’t crave certain foods like I used to when I was on those other diets, especially my clean eating streak. I incorporate foods like pop tarts, crackers, bagels, fruit, bacon into my every day life. Now I’m not saying this is a free for all eat whatever you want diet. To hit your macros you’re going to need to incorporate lean sources of protein like chicken, complex carbs like oats and potatoes as well as healthy fats like nuts for the majority of your diet but there will be room for more of your favorite foods that you just don’t want to part with. As long as you hit your numbers you will. To gain weight, regardless of the type of food your consume. This approach is based on the fact that your body recognizes carbs from a pop tart the same as carbs from a healthier option when used in the correct situation.

One of the best parts about this balanced approach is that I have no cravings or desire to binge on cheat meals like I used to when I was eating strictly 100% clean. I didn’t take in any sugar, or processed foods all week, then when cheat day came I would totally binge, eat until I was extremely uncomfortable (I can recall many times when after my cheat meal I would have to lay in bed for hours because my stomach hurt so bad). I would regret every cheat meal afterwards after over-indulging yet it would happen every week since I restricted so much. This is not healthy for your body (stomach) or mind! Now that I have foods that may not be particularly “healthy” during the week in moderation, I have zero cravings or desire to have a cheat meal at all. Most of the time I use the pop tarts and simple carbs to my advantage and consume them around my training at the gym- because they are absorbed so fast by the body that they will be used in the workouts immediately or used to repair the muscle and aid in recovery afterwards. But that’s nutrient timing and a whole different topic!

After just a few weeks of living a balanced (and healthier) life, I am losing body fat, gaining self-confidence, I have a happy belly, and my mental clarity and positivity is higher than ever! You do not need to go to the extremes to shed hose unwanted pounds. Science does not lie, and neither do I! If you are interested in having your macros calculated, want to try IIFYM/Flexible Dieting or just simply have more questions about this topic, email us at FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com or visit our website www.sd-evolution.com to see what we offer!

Don’t fall into the stereotype I talked about above, let 2015 be the year that you reach your goals and commit to a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

 

~Alessandra

Why I ditched my Heart Rate Monitor

Why I ditched my Heart Rate Monitor

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In college when I became serious about my fitness journey for the first time, I invested in a cute, bright pink Polar Heart Rate Monitor to help keep track not only of my heart rate but of how many calories I was burning during my workouts. It soon became my best friend, if not part of my body- I rarely took off my new accessory. It was a great feeling to be working hard in the gym and SEEING how hard I was working on my watch. I remember feeling so proud of myself the first time I saw the numbers reach over 1,000. That feeling of accomplishment was what I proceeded to strive for every time I stepped foot in the gym. In fact, my workouts started to revolve around my watch. If I wasn’t burning enough calories, I would work out until I reached the goal I had set for myself in my head. I was constantly looking down at my watch during the two hours I would spend training.

Years went by and I started to lift heavy (watch stayed on), I started to train for half-marathons (watch stayed on), and trained for a bikini competition (watch definitely stayed on). This past summer when I moved to San Diego, I bought a bike and having that as my main form of transportation, I realized how obsessed I had become with tracking my calories. I couldn’t swing one foot over my bike without starting that watch up. One day while getting ready for a long internship day, I decided to leave my watch home. I biked to work freely, jumped in a class at Fitness Quest 10, and even did my own training later on that day- all free of the watch. So what happened?? Did I die without it? Did my workout suck? Actually….it was the opposite. I had one of the best workouts I have had in a very long time, I was happier, and most importantly, I felt free. I was no longer depending on technology. I was focused on my workout instead of a silly number and honestly, I think I was able to get a better workout without it.

Since that very day, my watch has been sitting in my drawer of my nightstand. I am in the best shape of my life, the strongest I have ever been, and most importantly the happiest. Why should we depend on caloric burn to make us feel better about ourselves? If you’re smart about your training, your workouts will be beneficial to your goals. Technology is an amazing thing especially for the fitness industry as it continues to grow, however too much of a good thing can certainly turn into a bad thing. If you find yourself frequently depending on your heart rate monitor and can’t remember a workout without it- I challenge you to a “naked” workout. Ditch the watch on your next run, lift or whatever your choice of exercise may be. Just allow your body to move, embrace your strength & who knows, you may not ever turn back!

 “Be stubborn about your goals, yet flexible about your methods.”

 

~Alessandra

There are Miracles Created by Power-Lifting! But Weight Loss?

There are Miracles Created by Power-Lifting! But Weight Loss?

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When we think of power-lifting, we often think of giant men lifting enormous amounts of weight. So naturally, we correlate heavy weights with big muscles. This is where the “I don’t lift weights because I don’t want to get big” myth came into place… We’ve already touched on this topic plenty and we will save more of these arguments for another day. But today’s topic is power-lifting for weight loss.

To put it simply, the more weight you move, the more calories you burn. Why? Because it requires more work to move more weight. Calories are our bodies’ energy source and those are what we burn to get our bodies to work. You can do dumbbell bench presses with 5 pounders all day, but the results will be limited if you are even lucky enough to see any. Same thing with body-weight squats. They can only get you so far. But load up that bar with 100, 200, even 300 pounds and see what your body can do! This is where the magic happens!

On top of that, a well-designed power-lifting program should be well-rounded. You are hitting your entire body in many fewer exercises, and getting better results from it. Nothing beats a quality, compound movement. Isolation movements have their place, but that place isn’t in an efficient weight-loss program. The truth is that if you have a lot of weight to lose, cable triceps press downs do not belong in your routine. Ab machine crunches don’t either. You should get most of your core work from your basic lifts. I’m not saying you should never do a plank or any core-specific work, but isolation movements (like the machine crunch) should be saved for your fine-tuning phase when you are much closer to your goal.

Let me explain the difference between a compound movement compared to an isolation movement. This should show you why it is so much more effective to incorporate compound movements. For legs: Compound movement-Barbell Squat vs. Isolation movement- Leg Extension. The leg extension is an exercise that is focusing specifically on the quads (the top side of your leg). This movement is performed in complete isolation, meaning no other muscles are required to do any work. The barbell squat is a compound movement that not only incorporates many more muscles in your legs, it actually includes about 75% of the muscles in your body to do some sort of work. Some of the muscles are the prime movers (glutes), others are assisting muscles, and many are stabilizing muscles that engage your core and keep proper movement patterns in tact. Now why would you choose the exercise that only uses one muscle? You would have to do a lot more exercises to engage all the muscles that you would in the squat. So why would you choose the isolation exercise? For one reason and one reason only- because it’s easier! Challenge yourself with the heavier, compound movements and your body will thank you!

To give you an idea of some quality, basic compound lifts, here is what I’m talking about:

Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press, Bent-Over Row, and Military Press are a great place to start. These are your power-lifting movements at your most basic form. There are plenty of alterations to that, of course. One of my favorites is a clean to press, or for beginners- a regression to (squat to reverse curl to press). This is building strength, requires a lot of work, and is a very efficient total-body movement that will burn a lot of calories.

The biggest component in this program being utilized for weight loss is your nutrition. If you are following the right meal plan and properly designed power-lifting program, you can get absolutely shredded! This stuff works so don’t be afraid to step out of what you think you know, and try something new. Start the new year off right and take some chances! If you train the same, you will remain the same. Nothing is more frustrating than busting your butt and not seeing a difference. So get to it! Check out our site at www.sd-evolution.com or our instagram @sd_evolution for some amazing transformations, and transformations in the process! If you are interested in personal training or your own personalized workout program and meal plan, those are on the site as well! Good luck guys!

 

Until next time,

Josh