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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.

FlapJacked Protein Pancakes

FlapJacked Protein Pancakes

Happy Monday Everyone!

On Friday I got a special delivery: FLAPJACKED Protein Pancakes! I love nothing more than a good pancake for breakfast (or lunch…or dinner) and up until now I have always made my own concoctions which sometimes turned out awesome, yet sometimes were a complete failure ending with batter all over the kitchen and an angry fit girl! I stumbled upon FlapJacked via Instagram and was not only inspired by all of the delicious-looking creations made by their customers, but I was SO excited that someone created a healthy way to enjoy my favorite breakfast food.

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   Packed with 15-17g of Protein a serving (depending on what flavor you get) of these fluffy pieces of heaven is only 200 calories and the best part? No added sugar! In the past I have tried a couple different protein pancake brands that have just not met the needs of my tastebuds so it was safe to say I was skeptical when mixing up the batter to the Cinnamon Apple flavor that I decided to try first. I was definitely impressed with how EASY it was to make these- just add water?! Seriously?? Within 10 minutes my first batch of pancakes was done and the whole house smelled of a delicious cinnamon-apple combo: good sign! I decided to mix a little bit of French Vanilla Casein Protein with water (just enough to make it like a frosting) to add to the top of my pro-pancakes and of course….SPRINKLES! Before I knew it I had a delicious looking stack waiting for me to dive into.

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Now for the important part: How did they taste?

Let’s just say it was love at first bite. These were healthy? I had to re-read the ingredients again just to make sure. The pancakes tasted JUST as amazing as they smelled and satisfied every craving I had. Even Josh approved and he is NOT easy to please when it comes to food. At only 200 calories these make for a great addition to breakfast or even a perfect late-night snack. Tonight I plan on whipping up the Banana Hazelnut flavor so I will let you guys know how that goes!

Check out some more information and order your own bag for only $9.99 at www.flapjacked.com. Let me know what you think of your new favorite breakfast go-to!

 

~Alessandra

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

The pumpkin obsession continues. After stopping into Target today to get rope for our Bootcamp banner (Obviously I knew we would be walking out with more than rope…come on it’s Target) and having a freak out in the middle of the aisle upon discovering Pumpkin spice and Apple Pie gum, I decided to come home and make breakfast for dinner. Instead of my usual protein pancakes I decided to add some Fall flavor to them by using some Pumpkin Purée I got last week at Trader Joe’s. After being skeptical about the outcome I was excited to see they came out delicious. Here’s the recipe:

pumpkin Protein Pancakes
~ 1/4C Pumpkin Purée
~1/4C Old Fashioned Oats
~1 scoop Vanilla Whey Protein
~1/2 tsp Organic Vanilla Extract
~1/2 tsp Baking Powder
~1/4C Liquid Egg Whites

Mix all ingredients well in a blender. Bring skillet to medium heat and pour batter as big as you would like your pancakes. (I made them about 3 inches across and got 3 pancakes). Cook for about 1 minute per side.
To top them I combined 1/4 scoop whey with a little bit of Almond Milk to create a vanilla cream topping.

Let me know how you like this delicious fall treat!

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-Alessandra

Sweet Potato Pancakes: Stay bikini-ready year round!

Sweet Potato Pancakes: Stay bikini-ready year round!

After seeing the beautiful Cassandra (my East Coast twin) post her version of Pumpkin Pancakes this morning www.BalancingAct203.wordpress.com, I was inspired to bring back my bikini-ready sweet potato pancakes. I posted this recipe about a year ago now, but I was motivated to recreate it using my new favorite protein from About Time. This company is truly passionate about delivering the best quality to their customers with their 100% all natural products. What I love most is that they do not use artificial sweeteners like most companies these days do, and their favors are amazing! So far I have tried the Birthday Cake and the Vanilla and both were absolutely delicious so I decided to use it in my guilt-free pancake recipe!

Sweet Potato Protein Pancakes

Ingredients:
-1 scoop About Time Whey Vanilla
-1/2 sweet potato
-1tbsp organic vanilla extract
-1 tbsp cinnamon
-1/2C water
-1/3C unsweetened almond milk

Mix all ingredients in a blender until thick. Cook on skillet until air bubbles pop through then flip. Keep an eye on them because they cook fast! I also mixed a small amount of protein with almond milk to create a milky “topping”.

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My 3 phases of Carbohydrates: A Love/Hate/Love Relationship

My 3 phases of Carbohydrates: A Love/Hate/Love Relationship

      If you don’t know my story, you also don’t know that there was a period of time where carbs were literally all I lived off of. Pasta, pop-tarts, bagels…multiple times per day. We’ll title this the “Carb-aholic Phase”. I don’t think I ate a single vegetable during my entire high school life- and well into college. Due to my speedy metabolism, this is what worked for me, and this is what I enjoyed. Now by no means was I at all fit at this time. Ironically, this was also during my affair with the elliptical- when I thought burning 100 calories in 20 minutes was a LOT.

 

   

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Luckily, it was not long after that I became an Exercise Science major and flooded my brain with knowledge that I am so thankful for. The next few years I experimented with many “fad” diets including Paleo, clean eating, carb-cycling and last but not least the Ketogenic Diet. Many of these diets did work yet none of them stayed in my life for more than a couple months. The chemistry just wasn’t there! I would say that being on the Ketogenic (low-carb) diet is where I saw the most change in my body in the shortest amount of time. Bring on the “Anti-Carb Phase”.Obviously this was exciting! But then again….only taking in carbs from vegetables seemed to get old fast. No sweet potatoes, no rice, no peanut butter, no oatmeal. Not even ketchup! Since my carb intake was so low, I had to make up for it elsewhere by increasing my fat intake-tricking my body into using fat as fuel instead of glucose (carbs). I had researched and researched and the evidence seemed wonderful, in fact they use this diet for Epilepsy patients to reduce seizures…so it had to be good…right??

While this diet “worked” in the way that I lost body fat, it did not “work” for me personally. I was constantly worried about knocking my body out of ketosis by consuming too many carbs. I got to a point where I was obsessed with reading nutrition labels before putting anything into my body. It wasn’t worth it. Now I am not saying this diet is bad….or doesn’t work for anyone, however since it took control of my life, I finally realized this was not for me.

 

Welcome back carbohydrates!

Since moving to San Diego, and moving in with my best friend/boyfriend who happens to be certified in Nutrition, we balanced my diet back out to 40% protein, 20% fat AND 40% carbohydrate. I have to admit transitioning back to this was hard for me- I had somewhere down the line put a label on carbs that said “BAD” in my head. How could the pasta-loving, bagel-eating girl think so poorly of what she basically lived on half of her life? Slowly adding carbs back into my diet, while continuing to eat clean not only has made me happier, but my body is slowly leaning out. I couldn’t believe that eating the foods I loved in the right portions could cause such positive results. To get things straight I am certainly not eating pasta and bagels. I stick to complex carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, old-fashioned oats, rice cakes, fat-free yogurt and even some high-fiber cereal (Kashi is my favorite!). I can finally say I am a carb-lover again, and not only is my body thanking me, but so is my mind! Finally, the “Carb-balanced Phase”.

 

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Find what’s right for YOU.

With so many diets out there, it is SO easy for us to be confused or want to try something because a friend had success with it. After my years of experimenting, I can finally say that none of those fads worked for me. What does work is a clean, whole-foods lifestyle. There truly is no shortcut or magic trick that will slim you down so if you are looking to better your body from the inside out, start with nutrient dense foods.

Need assistance with jumping on the clean-eating train? Email fitgirlmoves@gmail.com for personalized training plans and nutritional advice.

 

**Disclaimer: I am NOT a physician or dietician. I just believe in sharing my successes and failures to help as many individuals make the change to the healthy lifestyle.

 

Breakfast Cookies! Yup you heard me

Breakfast Cookies! Yup you heard me

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but do you know why? If we simplify the word, “break” “fast” we can see that it is just that: breaking the fast since your last meal. During the day we usually eat every 3-5 hours so when we hit the sheets at night and depending on your routine, sleep for 7 to 10 to 12 hours, you are throwing your body into a fasting state. This makes breakfast one of the most important meals because your body needs that fuel to get through the day.

Skipping breakfast is bad….really bad!

When you wake up, get ready for you day and run out the door without eating anything, not only are you depriving your body of the fuel and nutrients it needs to function properly, but you are increasing the chances that you are going to eat more later in the day. Your body and brain are still hard at work when you are sleeping. We also know that sleep is essential for muscle recovery, so upon waking up in the morning, your body is completely depleted of glucose (the main fuel for the brain).

Not only are you increasing the risk of improper function that day, but skipping breakfast may also cause an increase in fat gain. This happens due to dropped blood sugar from lack of food, then an immediate spike in insulin when you do eventually eat, storing more fat as a result.

Breakfast options for everyone

My go to breakfast consists of 1 egg, 3 whites, ½ of an avocado, and ½ cup of old-fashioned oats with cinnamon. I definitely feel my best when I consume this filling breakfast as it consists of carbohydrates (brain fuel), protein, and some healthy fats. I believe that balance is key throughout the day and personally this combo makes for an energetic Fit Girl!

Here are some other options you can combine for a world-class breakfast:

~Turkey Bacon

~Greek Yogurt (I like Chobani 0%, or Light and Fit by Dannon)

~Eggs (hard boiled, scrambled, you name it!)

~Oat Bran

~ Berry Smoothie (made with protein powder, berries, almond milk, oats)

~ Breakfast cookies (see below!)

The Ultimate On-the-Go Breakfast Cookie

This “clean” cookie will be sure to get your day started the right way. Simple to make and absolutely delicious!

Recipe

Preheat oven to 350

~1 C Oats

~1/4C Raisins (substitute blueberries,dark chocolate chips)

~1/3C Natural Peanut Butter

~3 Bananas

Mash the bananas and mix thoroughly with the oats. Once blended, mix in the peanut butter and add in the raisins to finish. Using a tablespoon, plop the sticky mixture onto baking sheets and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until bottom is brown. They will be more of a chewy consistency!

This recipe makes about 15-20 cookes depending how large you make them. Store them in the fridge and your breakfast treat is now ready for the week! Fuel those bodies the right way and kick start your day with a filling, delicious meal.

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Simple ways to live inspired

Simple ways to live inspired

During the past few months at Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego I have lived more inspired than ever before. Not only to better myself through my career, but changing my whole outlook on life. I not only have learned more than I could imagine about training and running a successful business, but the way I interact and connect with people has changed. My outlook on every task I complete throughout my day is positive and I truly believe it is through the connections I have made here that have unleashed my true passion. Not only do I want my goal in life to be to share my passion of fitness and health with others, but I want to help others live as positively and passionately as I do. I have come up with a list of ways to bring out your true passion and ultimately live an inspired life yourself.


“We are all connected.”

I realized there is a reason why someone may enter your life. It could be to help you or it could be to hurt you, but there is always a reason behind it. Connections can lead to great things and open up many doors if you realize what you have in front of you. Make it your mission to make at least one person smile per day. You never know who you are affecting so why not try to affect as many people as positively as you can? -And I guarantee that positivity will come right back around to you when YOU need it.

“It’s not the circumstances that create joy, its YOU.”

Life is what you make of it. Even on your worst day, if you fake a smile long enough before you know it that smile will be genuine. Todd tells us all of the time, “Fake it til you make it.” and I 100% agree with him! Waiting around for something to turn your day around is less effective than decided that your “bad day” is over and making the best of it yourself. When you decide your fate, you are destined for success.

“Do more of what makes you happy.”

We all see it on social media every single day. People complaining. Whether it’s about work, school, or someone messing up their coffee order, they are spreading their negativity to you. When someone makes you unhappy, think to yourself, “What can I do to change this situation?”. You are not stuck, you are not a tree. Do what you need to do to be happy!

“Surround yourself with people who make you hungry for life, touch your heart, and nourish your soul.”

This one in my opinion is the most important. By surrounding yourself with these kind of people, you are bettering yourself. Their positivity, inspiration and inner fire are spreading to you whether you realize it or not. When I am around people like this (and realize it in the moment) I get goosebumps, my heart starts racing and my excitement almost comes out through my ears. These are your soulmates. These are the people that effect you so highly and you need to make sure they stay in your life.

 

I used to think I lived inspired. Yet when I look back now and compare my thought process to where it is now, I realize that was only the beginning. My inspiration continues to grow every single day because I follow these simple tasks. Living inspired, and living with purpose has allowed me to figure out why I was put on this earth. So what are you waiting for?

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Meal Prep Sundays: What you need to know

Meal Prep Sundays: What you need to know

While most people think of Sundays as a day of total relaxation (as it should be) I consider it a day of preparation and clearing of the mind. I use my Sundays to catch up on sleep that I deprive myself of during the week and do something fun that does not involve working out for once and usually does involve laying on the beautiful beaches of San Diego, but most importantly, I use my Sunday evenings to grocery shop and prep my food for the next few days. Many people have different views on meal prepping however I am 100% a supporter so let’s put the common myths that I constantly hear to rest.

Complaint #1: Meal prep takes up too much time

I think this one is just silly for a few reasons. For starters, none of my meal preps have taken longer than one hour to complete. If you are efficient in the kitchen and cook multiple things at a time via microwave, stovetop and oven, there is no reason why it should take you longer than 60 minutes. Still thing one hour of your Sunday is too much to give up? I think it’s better than stressing and scrambling the next few mornings and evenings on what you should make for breakfast or dinner! When you prep all of your food at once, not only are you prepared to take on the days ahead, but your stress on deciding what to eat will be reduced and the likelihood of you grabbing take-out or something quick and unhealthy instead is decreased.

 

Complaint #2: I’m not a good cook

That is no excuse these days when we have the world wide web at our fingertips. You can find any recipe in the universe within 5 seconds that most likely includes photos and step by step instructions for you to abide by. No one said your recipes had to be intricate and Top Chef worthy! I use the same seasonings on all of my cooked protein and vegetables (Mrs. Dash salt-free seasonings) and I would say the hardest part of cooking to me is making sure you don’t burn it! Set your timers and get going!

Complaint #3: I like to eat my food fresh

Well yes, so do I! But we all know that our busy lives don’t always allow that so why not be prepared just incase? I personally will not meal prep for the full week because of this reason and the fact that my fridge does not allow me to fit 30+ containers of food in it! I try to prep for at least 2-3 days in advance and no more than that. That will usually last me to mid-week where I will do one more prep for the second half of the week. Even if I know I will be home with enough time to cook a fresh dinner, I prep a meal anyway because it keeps me on track with my diet, and allows me to spend less time in the kitchen during the week when I am usually doing a million other projects!

How to Grocery Shop for a “clean” healthy lifestyle

Tip #1: Make a list- and check it twice!

I make lists like its my job. For groceries, To-Do lists, goal-oriented lists, you name it! I am a huge fan of staying organized and this is the best way to help me do so. When I know I am going grocery shopping,  I sit in my kitchen and write down what I know I need off the top of my head. After doing that, I check the cabinets and fridge for things I may have forgotten. I also LOVE to organize my lists by area of the grocery store to ensure a quick and easy trip! This is a good way to ballpark about how much you are going to spend!

Tip #2: NEVER go to the grocery store on an empty stomach

This is the most important tip in my opinion. We all have done it, and we all know what happens. When you go food shopping while you are hungry, not only do you spend more money but you are more likely to buy things you don’t need AKA junk! To stay away from the Oreos and ice cream (I bet you’re wondering why I randomly picked those items as an example!) fuel your body with a whole, healthy meal before hopping in the car.

Tip #3: Shop around the  circumference of the store

If you think about it, all of the fresh, healthy foods are located along the outer circle of any typical grocery store. Yet all too often we find ourselves just “browsing” through the middle aisles of treats. I start my shop with the produce section and working my way over to the frozen foods to stock up on my veggies. I ONLY go into the land of no return (middle aisles) for spices, baking goods and necessary items. Again, this is why lists are key!

 

THE MEAL PREP “HOW-TO”

1. Buy Tupperware! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy- I have about 10-12 different containers of different sizes!

2. Prep your protein- chicken, fish, lean meats. Seasoned with Mrs. Dash- so many great flavors!

3. Pick your green veggies- I go for spinach, asparagus, and zucchini usually!

4. Last but not least don’t forget your carbs- sweet potatoes, brown rice, spaghetti squash, apples, rice cakes, etc.

5. I don’t weigh my food anymore now that I’m not on competition prep but you can if you want to be consistent! I eat about 5 meals per day (3 main and 2 “snack” types)

Pop all of your containers in the fridge and be ready to take on the week like Superman!  

 

 

 


 

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