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Guidelines to Your Fitness Budget: Balancing Your Goals

Guidelines to Your Fitness Budget: Balancing Your Goals

You’ve seen a budget before. You have probably come up with one to make sure you can pay your bills every month. But budgets aren’t always financial. The term “budgeting” is extremely relevant when it comes to your fitness goals and in ultimately determining your level of success. We’re going to talk about the standard “you get out what you put in”, and exactly what that means! But first, let’s start with some TOUGH LOVE!

“You get out what you put in.”

TOUGH LOVE

As coaches, we hear it all the time.. “I had a bad weekend. A bad meal turned into a bad day. I went out drinking. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t feel like working out this week, so I didn’t.” And there is plenty more where that came from. And do you know what our answer is? “That’s ok.” Because it is! We preach balance. Our clients know that we harp on it, but it’s true.

If you are prepping for a contest, or are another type of competitive athlete and you are getting ready for your event, there is less room for error in these instances. But for the typical person who is just looking for a healthier lifestyle, this is nothing more than a minor speed bump. BUT, there can’t be any confusion as to why the scale hasn’t moved or clothes aren’t fitting better. A bad day here or there won’t kill your efforts, but it can be enough to stall them. Even if it’s only one bad day per week and you’re cutting, it could be enough to take you out of that deficit or drastically decrease it. So instead of a little over a pound of weight loss, you could be looking at the same number or maybe down a quarter of a pound.

On the other end of it, let’s say you’re bulking- you drank a little too much on Friday night and you used the weekend to sleep it off. Well it’s a little harder to get to your total daily caloric intake with half the number of meals that you usually eat. So that’s two days at significantly lower numbers, which is probably enough to inhibit an increase in weight.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with this, but you’ll have to curb your expectations as far as progress is concerned. One of my favorite quotes is, “If you do something once in a while, you can expect results once in a while.” I love it. Most people don’t understand the amount of dedication it takes to achieve something that they aren’t used to doing. Furthermore, the more you progress and get closer to an elite level, the more dedication it is going to take to continue to progress.

You can’t bust your ass in the gym and then have a free for all in the kitchen and you can’t spend your life meal prepping then half-ass it in the gym and expect to get great results. It doesn’t work like that. Results are HARD to get. They may come easier to some people, but those people may just be programmed already on how to get this stuff done- making it less effort for them specifically.

Setting Your Budget

Again, we’re not talking about money here. This article isn’t about setting money aside for groceries and your gym membership. We’re talking about time and effort. How much time can you budget to your goals. How many things are you willing to give up in order to achieve them. The higher the number, the better the results. You don’t have to want to be elite. You just have to decide how much you want out of this. And that’s exactly what we’re going to breakdown here.

“Do I really need to bring a scale with me everywhere I go?”

Honestly? Yeah, you do. At least until you’ve memorized what an accurate serving size looks like for all the things you eat regularly. And even after that, if you are really hard-core about this stuff, you will have to continue to weigh your meals out because there’s no way you know what 130g of oats looks like vs 115g. Eyeball it after you learn what it looks like: Good Results. You weight it out at every meal: Great Results.

“I don’t have a set program in the gym, but I know what my body likes.”

Cool, do you remember what you did for every set of every exercise the last week? How about the last month? I can probably stop asking there but I’ll move forward anyway.. How about the last 3-6 months? Do you know exactly how much you’ve progressed in every single lift over this time frame? If you aren’t progressing, you aren’t growing and you’re likely not achieving the adaptations that you’re looking for. If you are, you’re probably not being as efficient as you could be for the amount of time that you’re in the gym.. Or you’ve just started working out and you get to enjoy the amazing responses that your body is going to give you for the first few months! But for most of us, we have to make sure we get everything we work for, so tracking your workouts is a huge tool.

If you go through the motions in the gym (busting your ass, but still untracked), you will get good results. If you track your workouts and plan them out, ensuring your volume has increased and you have progressed, you will get great results.

“I didn’t drink that much, but we got back at like 3 o’clock this morning. I’m pretty beat but I’ll still meet you at the gym at 7.”

I’ll be honest, this was my downfall for a while (college). But I probably wasn’t saying I didn’t drink that much… For whatever reason, I still felt good when I hopped out of bed after a few hours of sleep. Fitness was my religion and I wasn’t going to miss a meal or a workout. Especially not with spring break on the horizon.

But I overlooked how critical sleep was to everything else I was so dedicated to. You don’t grow while you’re lifting. You grow while you’re resting and recovering. Where does most of that take place? Sleep… And the deeper sleep the better. Can you progress off of a limited sleep schedule? Yup.. Results: Good. But get into that sweet spot of 7-9 hours of sleep.. Results: Great.

“I had a family barbecue this weekend.”

This one is easily the most common. Family/friend cookouts/get togethers. It happens all the time. You don’t have to be a party animal for this to be a common occurrence in your life. And this is really what we’re talking about with balancing your lifestyle with fun and fitness. If you aren’t competing and you just love being in shape, isn’t it ok to enjoy the quality time? That’s up for each individual person to debate. But we say yes. Absolutely enjoy it. Life is too short. BUT, if you have a show or competition coming up in two weeks and you’re already cutting it close.. Pack your own damn meals! Haha you can still enjoy the company of others while eating your prep food. Too many people shut themselves out from the world when it comes to crunch time. That’s not very enjoyable. You just need a little self-discipline and to remind yourself of why you started. You are doing something that’s very important to you. That should outweigh the big ass brownie you’re staring at.

Even if you aren’t competing, if you’ve just gotten into a rhythm in your weight loss after a long rut, stick to it! Make some tasty meals to bring with you to keep your progress rolling. We’ve done it.. Your family and friends might throw some playful jabs at you, but you’ll survive, and you’ll have abs to show them at the next one.

Mindful/intuitive eating: Good results. Meal prep: Great results.

Conclusion

So, do you have to be on top of your game all the time? That just depends on where you’re going with this. There are two extremes to every spectrum. The majority of people will find themselves somewhere in between. If you want to be elite, you do need to be at the high-end of the spectrum, on your game all the time. If you are perfectly happy being good, then make good choices most of the time. That’s your balance. That’s your budget. At the end of the day, if you are happy then you already won.

 

Josh Scutnik

SD Evolution

The Nation’s Elite Training Team

Live Happy. Live Healthy. Evolve.

Filtering Through the Miracle Diets: Which Works Best?

Filtering Through the Miracle Diets: Which Works Best?

The Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, The Mediterranean Diet, Keto, Paleo… You can probably Google 25 more that will express how THIS diet will change your life. Which diet truly creates the best transformations? Let’s go through a few of the most popular and identify the winner.

The Keto Diet

The low-carb diet. The principle behind the Ketone Diet is getting your body into a state of Ketosis. This is where your body transfers from using carbohydrates as fuel to becoming extremely efficient in using fat for fuel. So how do you get there? The general rule of thumb is keeping your carbohydrates between 30-50 grams.

Basically, when planning your diet, you consume a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, and the remainder of your calories are going to come from fat. You don’t plan out your carbohydrates (you’re trying to eat as few as possible) but you the little bit you take in is coming from your protein or fat source that may have a few grams of carbs in them.

The Paleo Diet

This is sometimes called the new, old diet. It’s a bit of a caveman reference. The idea is that you only consume foods that you could hunt or gather.. These foods include fruits, veggies, meat, seeds, and nuts. The bigger list is of things it doesn’t include. You can’t eat any refined sugars, or anything that has been processed. If we couldn’t eat it 500 years ago, you can’t eat it today. That’s the concept.

The Atkins Diet

This one took the country by storm. I feel like half the books in the nutrition section of Barnes and Noble are all about the Atkins Diet. Created by Dr. Robert Atkins, a cardiologist, it is extremely similar to the Keto Diet in that the number of carbohydrates you consume are drastically reduced. The biggest difference is that the Atkins Diet calculates “net carbs”, or total carbs minus fiber. His idea on that is the foods high in fiber have less of an impact on blood glucose and can be considered “good carbs”.

Do Any of These Offer A Real Advantage?

The short answer? No. Weight loss and weight gain is extremely simple.. Calories in vs Calories out. The math is extremely straight forward. If you consume fewer calories than you expend, then you will lose weight. If your diet is 5 bags of M&Ms and a Snickers Bar per day, but you’re a competitive distance runner, you’re likely to lose weight. You’re also likely to be extremely malnourished and unhealthy, but you’ll lose weight.

“But (insert diet here) worked for me. I lost 40 pounds on it.”

The only advantage a diet offers is if it is easier for you to follow. Can you live on 30g of carbs per day for the rest of your life? Can you avoid bagels or cereal forever? I can’t speak for you. Maybe you can. But I can’t. And I don’t think most of the rest of us can either. But if you can, then yes, one of these diets does carry and advantage… For YOU.

Understanding Your Lifestyle

The only way you can be successful in a transformation is understanding your own lifestyle. Consistency is key to success. If you can’t maintain something, that success will not last. And if it isn’t maintainable, why are you doing it? How fulfilling is it to hold a trophy for a month and then have it taken back? You need to choose a healthy lifestyle that you can sustain. For most people, that just means eating a healthy balance.

I love the 80/20 rule. It’s a pretty good starting point. If you make healthy choices 80% of the time, the 20% of fun foods isn’t going to crush your goals. It’s actually going to help you maintain them because your aren’t restricting yourself. And when you don’t restrict yourself, you tend to have fewer cravings. The bottom line is that if you are eating foods with all the nutrients you need to stay healthy, you can have that bowl of ice cream if it stays within your caloric allowance. If your goal is weight loss and you have 2000 calories for the day and you’ve eaten all your fruits and veggies already but still have 400 calories left over, a few Oreos won’t keep you from losing weight. You’re still in a deficit so you’re still losing weight.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, there is no miracle diet. The only miracle is finding something that you enjoy and are able to sustain. There is no magical food, no magical process, and no overnight transformation. Caloric balance is the determining factor in whether you gain, lose, or maintain your weight. If you can plan out your goals and be consistent, you will have success. We can help with that 🙂

 

Josh Scutnik

SD Evolution

The Nation’s Elite Training Team

Live Happy. Live Healthy. Evolve.

Why “clean” eating can do more damage than good

Why “clean” eating can do more damage than good

 

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I used to declare myself as a “clean” eater. Throughout most of my bikini competition prep this was my lifestyle. What exactly did being a clean eater entail to me? It meant consuming nothing but whole, nutrient-dense foods. No processed foods at all. I mainly ate chicken, tilapia, egg, spinach, asparagus, potatoes, rice & oatmeal. Every single day. I didn’t have ketchup on my eggs nor did I have salad dressing on my salads. Why? Because I deemed these things as “dirty” or bad foods. I ate the same thing every single day for months…..EXCEPT on cheat days.

I scheduled weekly cheat meals for myself once per week. This meant I could have absolutely anything my heart desired, which usually was pizza, ice cream or some kind of extravagant dessert. I would eat a HUGE meal probably worth my entire day in calories. Immediately after I would not only feel guilty, but I would be SO incredibly stomach sick. My stomach would blow up looking like I was 8 months pregnant, I would be in severe distress, and the next morning  I would wake up still puffy & miserable just to go back to my “clean” diet. Cheat meals were usually on Sundays, and every Monday I would promise myself that next week I would not put myself through that again. That it wasn’t worth it, yet every week I continued to do the same thing. Why? Because I was so DEPRIVED. Eating plain oats for breakfast everyday, and the same boring lunch of chicken and broccoli followed by dinner of tilapia and asparagus was not only as boring as it sounds, but I was driving myself into a deep, unhealthy diet & binge hole.

I missed enjoying my own 23rd birthday cake because it wasn’t clean. I brought tupperware to countless family parties enjoying foods that I grew up eating. I skipped weekends out with my friends because I didn’t want to even be around those unhealthy options I at the time frowned upon. For what? To look good in a bikini? That no one would see me in because I didn’t have a social life? It was time for a change.

I eased up on my eating habits upon moving to San Diego, however I kept those items as staples in my diet, along with intuitively eating choices that I once considered bad. Let’s face it, if you’re restricting certain foods like that and being “clean”, can you honestly say you are going to eat “clean” for the rest of your life? That you will NEVER have a cookie, ice cream or anything “off-limits” again? I don’t think so. Although I felt better mentally, and was enjoying myself more, I knew there was still improvement to be made. I had gained some weight since doing so, and I wanted to find a way to enjoy myself yet achieve the body I always desired. I worked so hard in the gym, so I know that my fitness was not the issue- it was my nutrition.

I stumbled upon Flexible Dieting via Instagram during my “clean” obsessed stage and obviously thought it was crazy. These girls were eating things like pop tarts, Oreos & ice cream and had amazingly strong, beautiful bodies. I didn’t get it. So I did more research, found Dr. Layne Norton aka BioLayne who not only explained the benefits of Flexible Dieting, but Reverse Dieting. With science as proof…I was finally convinced.

My journey with Flexible Dieting began about 2 months ago now. I have lost 10lbs, decreased my body fat percentage and I enjoy my favorite foods every single day in moderation. I have ketchup on my eggs, use salad dressing and although about 80% of my diet is still nutrient-dense, I don’t restrict any type of food. I perform short cardio sessions twice per week when last year at this time I was doing cardio multiple times per day. I have reverse dieted up to almost 2,000 calories after consuming a little over 1,000 during my contest prep. It took me 6 months to reverse diet and I am still going.I can honestly say that I will NEVER go back to clean eating. I did not have a healthy relationship with food and was borderline developing an eating disorder called Orthorexia which is defined as “an excessive preoccupation with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy.” With it being National Eating Disorder Awareness Week I wanted to share my story of my relationship with food with you, in hopes that you will share it with someone you know who may be going through a similar situation.

Interested in hearing more? Here’s some commonly asked questions about Flexible Dieting.

What is it?

I would define flexible dieting as a simple, effective way to get the body you want with little effort and the least anxiety. It is a scientific approach to nutrition and allows you to find a system that works for you while achieving your goals. There are no rigid rules, but just a relaxed guideline to help you achieve this lifestyle. It is a balanced take on nutrition based on what your body needs to fuel you through your day.

 

What it isn’t…

Flexible dieting is NOT eating as much junk as you want all day long. It is not a fad diet where you cut major food groups or nutrients. It does not label food as “good, “bad”, “healthy”, “unhealthy”, “clean” or “dirty”. This is not a quick fix diet, 30 day challenge, detox, cleanse or temporary. Once adapted this “diet” (I don’t even like using that word) can be a lifestyle.

 

Who is flexible dieting best for?

Everyone. Whether your goal is to lose weight, maintain your current weight, or put on muscle and growth, flexible dieting can be altered throughout your entire life as your goals change. It is solely based on your current weight and activity level. It can also be used to maintain your weight by reverse dieting or slowly adding in calories at a pace that will not result in weight gain. What’s the point of that? Well you get to eat more food, without gaining weight because you are increasing your metabolism. What sounds better than that?

 

The science behind it…

Flexible dieting is based on your overall caloric intake and your macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat). Every single person requires a different amount of macros because everyone is different. For example, the business man who works a 9-5 desk job only to go home and sit on the couch does not require as much energy as a personal trainer who is on their feet, demonstrating exercises and working out all day, therefore they require different macros. Using MyFitnessPal, I have my clients track their daily intake in the form of grams. This may seem daunting at first but after a week or so it actually becomes second nature.

 

But what if I don’t have time to prep meals?

The beauty of flexible dieting is just that…it’s flexible. If you forget your lunch one day, it’s not the end of the world if you pick something up on the go, because as long as you adjust the serving size to fit your macros- your “diet” is not ruined. You are NEVER cheating. Cheat meals are no longer necessary since you get to indulge in your favorite foods daily in moderation. Example? When I used to eat clean, I would plan weekly cheat meals and have an all out BINGE fest. The result? I would gain weight back and have a miserable stomach ache. Since switching to a flexible diet, I have an Oreo or two every day, Pop Tarts before my workouts and don’t gain a single pound because I never go over my macros. And if you go out to dinner? Fear no more! I used to be so stressed when going out with friends- so much that I once stopped going out all together. Now I just plan ahead if I know what restaurant I’m going to. I check out their menu online and see what my options are.I’ve never been in a predicament where it didn’t work out.

 

What’s the best part about this “diet”?

In my opinion, it’s stress free. I used to get such bad anxiety about eating bad foods. I would feel so guilty. With this lifestyle worrying about what I’m eating is no longer an option and since this is 100% science-based, I lost 10 pounds within the first month of trying it out. Now I am maintaining weight but my body composition continues to change. I am down body fat and more “cut”..and actually putting ON muscle. It literally feels like magic!

 

How can you get started?

For those of you unaware, my boyfriend Josh & I run a personal training  business called SD Evolution. We offer online training as well as macro programs now. We support this method so much that the majority of our clients are currently on a flexible dieting program and having extreme success. To purchase your own plan under the guidance of Josh & I as your coaches, head to our website http://www.sd-evolution.com. Click Services, then personal training and you will see the Online Training section. Each plan is a one-time fee of $75 where you will get your calculated macronutrients, lists of nutrient-dense foods to fill the majority of your day with, instructions how to track your macros, as well as weekly check-ins for up to 12 weeks with us to make sure you are on the right track. We believe that we can help you transform not only your body but your relationship with food and have dedicated our lives to helping others do just that. Are you ready to join the Evolution?

 

~Alessandra

FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com

The truth on “Skinny Fat”: could it be as bad as obesity?

The truth on “Skinny Fat”: could it be as bad as obesity?

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Do you know someone who can eat WHATEVER they want, never have stepped foot in a gym a day in their life yet they still have the body of a toothpick? I can definitely name a few people I have come across in my life who have treated their bodies like a wastebasket simply because they could. They could eat a box of Oreos, McDonalds daily and ice cream every single night without even putting on an ounce of weight. Now you may be jealous of this person however the damage they are doing to the inside of their bodies is not something you should envy.

Although we all look different on the outside, we are all built the same way on the inside. The scary thing for these unhealthy  eaters is that they can have severe metabolic syndrome and even develop disease such as Type II Diabetes or even increase their risk of cardiovascular disease. Type II Diabetes is in fact directly related to Obesity however there’s no way your friend is obese….they barely have any fat on them! Right??

Nope! When a person consumes mostly processed, high sugar foods, their body stores it as visceral fat aka the most dangerous type of fat that is stored surrounding our internal organs.How can you expect your organs to do their job with layers of fat surrounding and suffocating them? While they may not look unhealthy or fat on the outside, their insides are a ticking time-bomb. Look at the heart for example, its sole job is to pump blood throughout your entire body to keep you alive. With fat surrounding it, chances are it is not going to work as well than a healthy heart. While the world continues to focus on the Obesity epidemic, I think we have become focused on getting the overweight into shape and healthy while putting the average person with a normal BMI yet at high risk for disease on the back burner. So if you know someone, or ARE someone considered as “skinny fat” here’s what you can do:

How to become a healthier YOU

As I mention to all of my clients, your weight is a number- only a number. Sure it can be motivating to visually see the weight on the scale decline, yet for someone like me, who is physically fit the number on my scale has gone UP since I started working out heavily. Instead focus on healing your body from the inside out.

  • Eat whole, nutrient dense foods. If you are new to clean eating, take baby steps. Aim for 80% of your diet to be clean at first, then increasing that number to 90%. I still enjoy treats once per week!
  • Eliminate fast food options and foods high in sugar. Sugar turns directly into fat!
  • Don’t eat bad foods just because you “can” without gaining weight. I guarantee a clean diet will not only give you more energy, but make you feel better.
  • Instead of using the scale, measure your progress with photos or a tape measure keeping track of your waist and hip measurements. You will notice more of a difference here!
  • And finally, get yearly physicals to make sure your health is in check!

You don’t have to torture yourself through a crazy diet to become healthy. Eating clean and taking care of my body was the best choice I have ever made. Not sure where to begin?? Email me at FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com for questions or to get started with a meal or training program.

Remember, you only have one body to live in…why not treat it the right way?

~Alessandra

Why not today?

Why not today?

Earlier this week Josh and I decided to take control. With a slower week at work for both of us, it was time to get re-inspired to be the power couple that we know we can be. It is easy to get lost in the shuffle of day to day activities and forget the important things. To stay motivated we decided to take the evening and write down our monthly, 3 month, 6 month and yearly goals in the aspects of work, personal, and our relationship. We both have so many ideas and dreams we want to accomplish and by writing these down we were able to not only become excited again, but make these goals a reality.

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Ask yourself: Why not today? What is stopping you from declaring your goals and ultimately beginning to dig for those goals today? I guarantee you you’re going to come up with excuses like time, money or even the fear of failure. You mean to tell me you can’t find 30 minutes each day to work on you? That’s really all you need. Is money the issue? Break it down. Start small. with our current launch of Bad Ass Bootcamps obviously we want to buy top of the line equipment to provide our clients with the best, but it’s called a start-up business for a reason! $10 on some training cones, $50 on a banner and that’s all we need…for now. And failure? Our quote of the day on our white board is currently this:

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So with the excuses out of the way, let me ask you again: Why not today?

It’s now been 3 weeks that I have been super on point with my macronutrients and it really is making me feel amazing. Of course, every week (usually on Saturdays) we go out for a cheat meal/cheat treat/refeed. Last week I picked ice cream and this week Josh picked burgers! So off we went to one of San Diego’s highest rated burger joints: Slater’s 50/50 and designed our own burgers! You even get to name it so when they bring you your food the waiter pronounces each one. I obviously named mine the Fit Girl Gainz and Josh called his the Cheat Meal Supreme. After sticking to our weekly clean foods it was rewarding and extra delicious to indulge!

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Although I preach clean eating and living the healthy lifestyle, I highly support indulging every once in a while. Not only is it good for your mind, but it’s actually good for your body. When you are eating a strict diet of clean foods to lose body fat, your leptin levels actually decrease which eventually prohibits fat burn after a while. Ever diet and see great results then hit a plateau even thought you’re still dieting? This would be due to our little friend leptin. Now when eating a weekly cheat meal that’s increasing your caloric intake more than usual, you cause this leptin levels to spike up again which actually allows your body to keep burning fat. So yes, go enjoy that burger, ice cream or whatever your guilty pleasure may be!

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Now to enjoy a relaxing football Sunday, hit the gym and prepare food (and thoughts) for the week! Happy Sunday Fit Girl Mob 🙂

Fight those Ice Cream Cravings!

Fight those Ice Cream Cravings!

Something about ice cream in San Diego has caused an addiction for me! Maybe it has to do with the fact that the portion size is as big as my head!? Regardless, I have had one ice cream too many in the past few weeks and it was time for me to do some experimenting to fix that craving. Now I believe in “everything in moderation” so once every so often I do and will continue to indulge but for now this quick, easy dessert will fight those cravings for you!

Homemade Froyo
ingredients:
-1 cup Greek yogurt (flavor of your choice)
– Any type of fresh fruit

Instructions:
-put yogurt in a Tupperware and flatten out across the bottom. Take desired fruit (sliced) and scatter/press into the yogurt.
-Freeze for a minimum of 1 hour
-When frozen, break into bark-like pieces and enjoy!

I have used both Chobani 0% and Light and Fit brands and both worked and tasted great! This picture shows the Blueberry Light and Fit with blueberries added and it was the perfect cure for my sweet tooth! Make sure to follow @fitgirlmoves via Instagram for more recipes, workouts and motivation!

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Low-Carb “Clean” Pizza!

Low-Carb “Clean” Pizza!

Over the weekend I definitely indulged a bit for the 4th of July festivities but I am proud to say I did not go overboard like I sometimes do on holidays! On Friday I attended a BBQ at my boss Todd’s house and one of our co-workers, Julie who is a phenomenal chef and has made us a few dishes at work before was whipping up her grilled homemade pizzas when we arrived! I had never thought of the idea to grill a pizza but the outcome was amazing! She made a variety however one kind particularly stuck out in my mind. The toppings she used were arugula, white nectarines, and goat cheese and although it sounds like a bizarre combination it was beyond delicious. On Sunday, Josh and I went on a hike to Devil’s Punch Bowl in Ramona which was my first “real” California hike through the desert which was a thrilling experience. At home I’m used to hiking Sleeping Giant which is full of trees, cool breezes and shade- safe to say we weren’t in Connecticut anymore after this hike! We brought gallons of water and drank every last drop throughout the journey to the “punch bowl” or dried up waterfall with watering hole attached. Luckily there was enough water to swim and take a break before heading back into the desert in our uphill journey back to the car. It was for sure an experience! Later that evening Josh and I had worked up an appetite and remembered how delicious Julie’s pizza was so we decided to try it out for ourselves. It came out SO good (not as good as Julie’s but she has a gift!) that I decided to share the recipe with you guys! You can make it using whole-wheat pizza dough or since I am low-carb use low-carb mini tortillas and make a healthy version!

 

Ingredients for one serving:

1-2 low-carb tortillas

1/3C Arugula

1 White Nectarine

1/4C crumbled Goat Cheese

1-2 tbsp Coconut Oil

Pre-grilled or baked Chicken

 

After cooking the chicken, place two tortillas on a baking sheet, top with melted coconut oil, goat cheese, arugula, chicken and sliced nectarines and cook at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or until tortillas are browned. This will be your new favorite pizza combination for sure and the best part is ….it’s healthy!

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The next best thing to spaghetti and meatballs

The next best thing to spaghetti and meatballs

Ever since I stopped regularly consuming white-flour products including pasta, bread and everything in between, I noticed my stomach rarely ever gets bloated, I never feel too full from a meal, and I notice higher levels of energy. I’m not saying pasta (whole-grain or not) is bad, but just is not optimal for me. Being a 100% Italian girl, giving up pasta was not an easy decision however it became a lot easier when I discovered Spaghetti Squash. Now if you’re expecting it to taste exactly like a large bowl of spaghetti…get outta here! I think many people have higher hopes for this pasta replacement to taste exactly like the real thing- keep in mind it is a vegetable! There are so many ways to prepare this low-calorie, low-carb treat however my favorite is to top it with tomatoes, spinach and of course lean ground turkey meatballs. This quick, easy to make meal is delicious, satisfying and keeps me full without the “I want to lay on my couch and die for two hours after” feeling! So next time you are craving your favorite Italian dish, or heading to a family event, whip up a big bowl of guilt-free deliciousness to keep that healthy eating on track!

Clean Eating Italian Dream
Ingredients:
▪️1 spaghetti squash
▪️1 can 100% pure Tomato juice
▪️1/2 C grape tomatoes
▪️93% Lean Ground Turkey
▪️1 egg
▪️Mrs.Dash Garlic & Herb Seasoning

Directions

Slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds/insides.
Sprinkle Mrs. Dash over the top of both halves, cover with plastic wrap.
Pop in microwave for 8-10min or until soft.
Combine turkey, egg and seasoning in a bowl. Roll into 1 inch balls. Sautée on stovetop until browned.
Sautée spinach.
Combine spaghetti squash, spinach, tomatoes, tomato juice in large bowl. Top with meatballs and for extra flavoring add some Parmesan Cheese!

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Finding balance: in all aspects of your life

Finding balance: in all aspects of your life

It has been a full six months since I have cleaned up my diet to where I wanted it to be. Eating healthy has been important to me the last year or so however when I began running intensely last summer I also thought I could “carb load” and eat whatever I wanted (including buckets…yes buckets of chocolate chip cookies). Around winter time when I decided to clean up my diet prior to starting prep for my bikini competition, I noticed such a big change not only in my physical appearance but in my energy levels, focus as well as my stamina during exercise. Eating whole, unprocessed foods had changed my life and although at times it was (and still is) a struggle, it was a goal that I set for myself and was able to achieve. That goal started half a year ago in December, now we are almost through with June and I still eat clean 90% of the time. To me, that is the key to my success. I don’t limit myself from anything. If I want an ice cream cone on the weekend, I will have and enjoy that ice cream cone. The important factor here is to realize you can still enjoy and indulge in your treats on occasion as long as you are continuing your healthy habits 90% of the time. When I first started eating clean, I was definitely way too hard on myself. If I did have a treat meal or indulged a little bit too much at a family party, I would immediately feel guilty, and really break myself down over it…especially during my fitness competition prep. I have realized through the ups and downs that creating that guilt inside was only adding more stress to my life and ultimately making me unhappy- it was not worth it! Now, I realize that eating clean 100% of the time is not realistic or healthy for me and having a well-deserved treat every now and then should be something that is enjoyable and normal. A great trick to creating a successful goal is to incorporate SMART goal setting.

  • Specific- Try not to be too general when deciding what you want your goal to be. For example: “To not eat junk food” would be too broad of a statement. Instead try “To eat more vegetables with every meal.”
  • Measurable- Make your goal something that can be measured. For instance, if weight loss is your goal, don’t just think “I want to lose weight.”, try instead, “I want to lose 2 inches around my waist.”
  • Achievable- An achievable goal will lead to creating more successfully met goals. Don’t specifically set a goal that you will not be able to reach.
  • Realistic- The worst thing you can do is set an unrealistic goal. You want to be able to succeed and the way to do so is to set the bar just high enough for you to reach it.
  • Timely- Set a time limit for yourself. This goal should not be dragging on month after month leading up to year after year. Short-term goals are just as important as long-term goals and can even help you achieve that bigger goal you have in mind.

Balancing clean eating is just one example of creating balance in your life. A successfully balanced life requires a nutrient dense diet, plentiful sleep, a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day for at least 5 days out of the week, adequate hydration, time with your loved ones and most importantly time with yourself. Set aside at least 10 minutes per day where you can be alone and have a “break” from life’s stressors. Exercising, and eating right should not be something that you are punishing your body with. If you are not enjoying the experience, it may be time to take a step back and ask yourself “why“. There are an unlimited ways to create happiness all while building a strong body and mind from the inside out.

One thing I have taught myself is that strength comes from overcoming the things you thought you could not do, but at the same time you have to know when you are being too hard on yourself. Finding and creating that balance is not an easy task to achieve, however once you find what works for you, you will reach the ultimate happiness.

~A

Peanut Butter Carob Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Carob Chip Cookies

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(Sugar-free, gluten-free, low-carb)

Ingredients:
•1 1/2C almond meal
• 1/4C butter
• 1 egg
• 1/4C PB2
• 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 1/4 tsp baking soda
• 1/4 C unsweetened carob chips

Directions:
• Cream the butter and peanut butter mixtures until smooth
•Add egg
• Add the almond meal, and other ingredients and mix until smooth.
• Fold in the carob chips.

•Bake at 375 F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.