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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.

How Seriously Should You Take Your Training?

How Seriously Should You Take Your Training?

Thinking Emoji

 

We’ve all been there.. We’re motivated, we’re ready to go, we’re really going to change this time. Time to get back that body you had in high school, or college, or whenever it was that you peaked. And when are we going to start? On Monday.. It’s always Monday. Your friends came over for a barbecue on Sunday, and Saturday you were recovering from Friday night so you couldn’t start then. So Monday it is.

 

Even if you’re already in a regimen we have moments, or ruts, in our training where we seem to just be going through the motions and not making any progress. A lot of times the reason isn’t that we aren’t putting in the work, but that we overreact to small speed bumps. You were counting macros at the barbeque on Sunday but then dessert came out, your eyes lit up, and that’s the last thing you remember. So after that, you just stopped counting. You decided to pick things back up on Monday.

 

What if I told you that you could have your Aunt’s famous dessert at your family cookout and not have to feel bad about it? I’m not talking about “if it fits your macros”. I’m not talking about macros at all. I’m talking about setting up the goals that are right for you.

 

So let’s get into it… First and foremost, what are your goals? Are you a weekend warrior who puts in 60 hours a week at a job and then crushes it on the weekends to stay healthy? Or are you an aspiring fitness athlete who is looking to compete? As you can imagine, these two scenarios are gong to play out with two very different goals. These are two people at opposite ends of the spectrum just to make my point, but there are stages in the middle where most people find themselves. We’ll go step by step and you can decide what category you fall into, and how you can decide how to follow a program from there.

 

Category 1: I just want to be healthy

 

A significant portion of the population will fall into this category. These are the people who have full time jobs on top of full time jobs. They might be married with kids, or travel for work 90% of the time. Or they just might not care a lick about the idea of “fitness” and just want their doctor to give them good news every year. It’s ok to be in this group! It’s not always about aesthetics! SD Evolution preaches healthy LIFESTYLES. Not all of our clients are training for a competition. A lot of them just want to be healthy. And we love that. We are building a fitness COMMUNITY and that covers all goals being HEALTHY and in any way that any of our individual clients views that.

 

SO, what does this mean? What do you have to do? What don’t you have to do? Well, this might come as a shock to hear me say this, but you DON’T have to count your macros. You don’t even need to follow a fitness regimen. The guideline here is just making healthy choices. Here is where I would recommend using the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy, 20% “hey shit happens”. You ate healthy all week, cooked healthy dinners for your family, and then the cookout came up on Sunday and you had an entire plate of dessert. I’m ok with it.. If you had McDonalds all week and ate nothing but Hot Tomales (my favorite candy by the way) while you watched Shark Week every night, then no, I would tell someone to slap that plate out of your hand you shouldn’t eat all that dessert! The world we live in sees most people getting the 80/20 backwards. That’s a whole other topic and I won’t get off on a tangent, but you get the idea. As far as training, a workout program would be helpful, but it isn’t necessary. Maybe you like finding new hikes. You just got a pool and you love swimming. You just joined a basketball league at work. Those are all forms of exercise; they just happen to be so fun that you forget you are working out. With enough frequency and balance, those are more than enough.

 

Why would I say all this when I run a fitness business? Well for starters, because I’m honest. But even still, we offer programs that consist of lifestyle coaching. So someone in this category would still benefit from an online coach, we just wouldn’t be giving them workouts and meal plans. They would be getting outlines of how to make their current lifestyle healthier, and we would teach them how to incorporate those things step by step, as well as keep them accountable.

 

Category 2: I don’t want to compete, but I do want to change my body

 

This category is where the majority fall into. Not everyone wants to go stand on stage and lift heavy weights, or put their sculpted physiques on display. Some people just want to feel more confident. I want to look good naked, I believe is what a lot of people talk about from this stand point. They might have accumulated a few pounds over the years, or they never really did have a great body but they decided they wanted to set their sights on having the mirror make them smile. Either way, they are at a point in their lives where they want to make a visible change to the way that they look.

 

These guys have to go a little farther than the 80/20 rule. To change your body, the numbers have to add up. We have this down to a science where “if you do this, then this will happen”. There are a lot of calculations that go into this, but the most basic form is a topic called caloric balance. If you are in a caloric deficit, you will lose weight. If you are in a caloric surplus, you will gain weight. There are a lot of other things that go into this, and some of those things actually make my previous statement false, but I won’t bore you with the details. For the vast majority, caloric balance holds true. From there, it is also very important WHERE your calories come from. We’re not just talking about the specific foods, but the macronutrient breakdown of those foods.

 

That is why this group needs to track what they are eating. The simplest way to do so… Counting your macros. More advanced people in this group may not need to do so because they already have their meals planned out and prepped the same way they have been doing it for a long time. But most of us will have to do this on a day to day basis because we will not want to eat the same exact things on a day to day basis. Counting our macros allows us the flexibility to eat with diversity, but also gives us the structure to not overdue it on any one part. You can do this manually, or most phones will let you download an app where you can just punch in the food and the amount you had and BOOM, macros tracked.. **cough cough** “MyMacros+” **cough**

 

Your workouts should also be programmed in this category. You will need to track volume to ensure progress. You don’t have to go overboard, but knowing what you did last week, and how to increase it this week is pretty important. And again, this stuff doesn’t have to be all in the gym. A lot of the peeps in here like to do other activities in place of the gym. But making sure you reach a certain intensity for a certain amount of time during you basketball game should be tracked in order to make sure you are getting to the level you need to, to achieve your goals.

 

Category 3: I want to be the best

 

You want to be the best? You better work harder and smarter than the best. This category is where very few people will take it. Not a lot of people want to compete. The biggest, most shredded dude in your gym might not want to step on stage. He’s just there to be big and shredded, and that’s ok. But some people strive to be the best in everything they do, and they want something measurable to tell them that. That measurement would be which flavor medal you bring home from a competition. Anyway, this category is the easiest to talk about, and the hardest to achieve.

 

Are you tracking your macros? Yes… Unless you’re on a meal plan eating the same thing every day. In which case you or your coach determined your macros on day one and that is set until it is adjusted moving forward.

 

Are your workouts programmed? You better believe it.. One of the easiest ways to determine if your weight gain is lean mass or fat is to look at your lifts. Are they the same weight that you started with when you were 200 and you are now 210? That was mostly, if not all, fat buddy.. Sorry. How do you program for improvements? Very simply put, make sure you do more than you did last time. It could be an extra set, or it could be an extra 5 or 10 pounds on your lift. Your volume must grow for you to grow.

 

What category do you fall in? Are you doing the things you need to in order to reach your goals? Do you now know what your goals are? If you need help, you know where to find us…

http://www.sd-evolution.com/contact.html

Until next time,

Josh

World Health Organization Declares Processed Meats Cause Cancer

World Health Organization Declares Processed Meats Cause Cancer

Bacon

We all know that things like bacon and hot dogs aren’t good for us, but a direct correlation to these types of processed meats causing cancer has put these thoughts on a new level. The World Health Organization is the most prominent group to make one of the most aggressive statements against processed meats. They followed that up by stating that red meat probably does too. The findings were determined by 22 international experts who reviewed decades of research regarding the connection between red meats, processed meats, and cancer. Many organizations have gone as far as to say there is a link between these types of meats and cancer, but no major association has gone as far as to make the connection and say that it causes it. This came across as mind-blowing to me.

I have a few red flags raised with this finding. First and foremost, they even go out of their way to say in this article that there were no direct studies performed with this report. What that means is they reviewed records of people who ate red meat, processed meats, and thousands of other foods in their lifetimes, and used their health data to come to a result. That makes it extremely difficult to determine that the rest of those individuals’ diets had no effect on their long-term health.

Next, you have to take into consideration the types of meats they were eating in their diets. You can imagine how significant the percentage probably is of people eating red meat via fast foods. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, etc… Considering the epidemic that our country is just now starting to get in front of, many people’s diets are thoroughly saturated with fast foods and other extremely unhealthy habits. Are these people setting themselves up for long-term health disasters? Yeah, they are…

Another major concern I have with this is lumping all red meats together. Before I dive in here, let me backtrack for a second and say that I don’t necessarily disagree with this statement regarding processed meat. My argument here is more directed toward red meat being tossed into this mess as well. Anytime you manufacture and process anything, in my mind, it is no longer “natural”. A hunter who takes a deer from his back yard straight to his table is eating natural meat. I will even expand this to say that large, food-manufacturing companies who make sure their animals are not pumped full of hormones and have passed all check-points to deem it organic are also in this “natural” category. But from there on out, all bets are off. So my point regarding specifically lumping all red meats together is that I would like to differentiate red meats. Not by type, but by how organic it truly is. We have been saying for a long time that the way our foods are genetically modified will have massively significant effects on our health. This was not the way our bodies were meant to ingest these foods. Of course it was going to catch up to us and cause all kinds of nasty diseases. It’s just not natural, and this is the price our bodies pay for consuming these chemicals on a daily basis. It’s almost unavoidable unless you are an extremely conscious health advocate who is actively researching health foods and what to specifically avoid. This isn’t just with meat, but 90% of the foods at your local supermarket.

With this all said, I think it is an extremely important finding. There may be a significant portion that I disagree with, but I think it brings a lot of light to a very important topic. If we can get this to reach the right areas of attention, maybe it will help us make more of a conscious effort to change how we look at and shop for food. For most of you reading this, you are probably already health-conscious and don’t take in a lot of those fast foods. But how many of you actually only buy organic? Honestly, I rarely do. But now it should be pretty eye-opening. Is avoiding cancer worth an extra few bucks a week to make sure we aren’t eating food full of hormones? Can we find a way to avoid the fast food and just make it ourselves using healthy ingredients? Yes and yes. This isn’t just for the long-term benefits either. If you have yet to make any changes, you will be amazed at how much better you feel in the short-term. Our processed foods diminish the nutritional benefits of real food. Do you have a friend who grows their own veggies? Go buy a tomato at the store and then snag one out of your buddy’s garden. It’s like your eating two different things. The taste and nutritional benefits are night and day.

Your health will be too.

 

Until next time,

Josh

Do you eat enough protein?

Do you eat enough protein?

protein

 

Protein, protein, protein! This macronutrient is essential for not only living but also muscle growth and maintenance. We have noticed lately that many of our new clients struggle with meeting their protein goals in their Macro-Based Nutrition Plans  that we offer on our website. It is important to eat enough protein if you are an avid exerciser and especially if you lift weights. To put it simply, the more muscle mass you have on your body, the more energy you are going to expend to keep that muscle. Why does this matter? Well for those of you who are interested in fat loss, this is necessary!

When you think of protein, you may immediately just think of a boring old Whey Protein shake. Luckily for you, this is not the only or “best” source of protein! While we do recommend Whey before and after a workout (as it is digested fast and can go straight to the muscle site), you don’t need to drink shakes all day long to hit your goal. Here are some of our favorite protein sources:

  • Eggs/Egg Whites
  • Lean Ground Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Tuna
  • Cod
  • Low-fat Cottage Cheese
  • Low-fat Greek Yogurt

And as far as Whey Protein goes here’s a few good options:

  • Quest Nutrition Whey Protein
  • Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Natural Whey
  • True Athlete Natural Whey Protein

While these are not the ONLY sources of protein, they are our favorites and go-to’s. You can get so creative with these few items including hard-boiled eggs as a snack, turkey/hummus wraps or even Greek Yogurt parfaits. So now that you have the tools to create some healthy high-protein dishes, how much protein should you be eating each day?

Everyone requires a different amount of protein. You may have heard the old 1g of protein per pound of body weight rule, however that much is not even necessary for the average person. We suggest 1g of protein per KILOGRAM of body weight which equates to less than that of a pound.

To convert your bodyweight from pounds to kilos, simply divide by 2.2. Whatever that number may be is the amount of protein you should be consuming daily.

We have our clients using the app “My Macros+” to track their daily intake however MyFitnessPal works just fine as well, or if you are old-school: jot it down in a notebook! While you don’t need to hit this number perfectly every single day, coming close (within 5-10g) may just push you a little further towards your goals of fat-loss or muscle maintenance or gain.

For further questions or information about our Macro-Based Nutrition plans, shoot us an email at FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com. We would love to help you reach your goals!

 

Fitness Friday: Happy May!

Fitness Friday: Happy May!

Hello Fitness Warriors!

Can you believe we’re already 5 months into 2015?? Pure craziness. 5 months ago many of you set goals for yourself, and whether you achieved them or not, I always use the start of a new month as an excuse to set the bar even higher. The weather is now officially getting warmer and that is always something that tends to motivate me. So today, even though it is the end of the week, it is May 1st and I challenge you to set some new goals for yourself to achieve this month!

I actually want to share with you what I have come up with for my personal goals. As many of you know I began focusing on a more powerlifting style of training for the past 6-7 months. Changing my focus from aesthetics to just strength has not only changed my mindset but it allowed me to get the results I was stressing so hard to achieve before. When I stopped focusing on perfecting my body, it was then that I started to make the progress I wanted. I have discussed what exactly powerlifting is and why I have become sort of obsessed with it in a guest post on our friends Nick & Anthony’s blog: The Bacy Bros so definitely check that out to get a little more of a background on it. To sum it up, powerlifting consists of performing the three main lifts: the squat, bench press & deadlift. I perform these three lifts 3X per week as well as some accessory work. Up until yesterday, I was powerlifting simply for fun and because I enjoyed it. It is constantly challenging for me and I love how it pushes my mind and body in ways that simple bodybuilding couldn’t do. (NO I’m not hating on bodybuilding at all! I just needed something new!) I created a DUP or Daily Undulating Periodization block for myself and fell in love with the feeling that lifting over double my bodyweight gave me.

 

powerIMG_3288

I have officially decided to compete in powerlifting this week and I couldn’t be more excited! This is my new summer goal for myself and my first meet is set for July 19th through the RPS Federation. It is a Push/Pull meet so I will only be deadlifting and benching but I think it will be a great starting point for me. This sport is certainly as not as glamorous as my past bikini competitions, but it is safe to say it has become a passion of mine. I will be documenting my progress and entire prep on this blog and through YouTube so stay tuned for some Vlogs as well!

REvPS

I think that goal setting is something that everyone should do on a regular basis. I not only set bigger goals like this one, but smaller goals for myself to achieve throughout the week. It can be something as small as sticking to my macros, hitting a small PR on my squat, or even making a special healthy recipe for dinner. By having these small achievements, you are constantly setting yourself up for success with your larger goals.

What are you going to achieve this month? Let us know and comment below or tag us on Instagram or Twitter @sd_evolution

 

Have a great weekend you guys!

Alessandra

The Most Overlooked Tool for Success.. You Probably Aren’t Using It!

The Most Overlooked Tool for Success.. You Probably Aren’t Using It!

Visualizations

We often overlook the power of our minds, especially in its simplest form. A little bit of imagination goes a long way. I’m talking about visualization. You don’t need to be an artist to be able to use this tool. You know what you want right? Ok so imagine it. Imagine fitting into those old clothes, that special dress, imagine packing on those pounds of muscle! I’m not talking about taping that picture of the model you idolize to your steering wheel.. You need to use your mind to create the image of what you’re looking to achieve. If it’s weight loss or muscle gain, you need to see yourself already at that form. Guys, that might be a chiseled 225 with abs carved like a washboard. Girls that might be the slimmed down, toned up look in your new bathing suit. PICTURE IT. This is actually an incredibly powerful tool.

Some of you may or may not have heard of the mind-muscle connection, but it is a much talked about topic in the fitness industry. It’s about focusing on the feeling of every single rep. The lift, the contraction, the stretch, the burn. You feel the growth as it’s happening. It may sound silly, but if you try it, it’ll take your workouts to another level. Anyway, visualization is the same concept in a bigger picture, longer-term aspect. You create the image of yourself in your perfect form. By doing this, your mind’s next step will be to create the path to get there. You will do whatever it takes to get there.

This may sound silly until it is put to practice. I can’t speak for the rest of you, but as far as I go, I was always very down on myself. The progress was never enough. Even though the results were there, I never saw them. I put on 20 pounds of muscle over about 4 months, but I still saw myself from where I started. I literally thought I looked EXACTLY the same. This is actually extremely common and is joked about in fitness magazines and social media posts as “Big-orexia”. This may seem a little insensitive, but it really isn’t a joke. It’s like a disease. “The day you started lifting is the day you are forever small.” That’s another joking “meme” you see on Instagram, but again, many of us have this mindset.

I recently read an article by Arnold Schwarzenegger detailing his use of visualization to build his legendary body. That got me thinking about my mindset, and lead to the writing of this blog so that I could share it with you all. The power of our minds is undeniable. Our outlooks on everything in our lives stem from our minds, they are 100% in our control. One of my all-time favorite quotes is this- “You can’t have a bad day with a good attitude and you can’t have a good day with a bad attitude.” I’ve done my best to incorporate that into my life, and it does make a HUGE difference. But I never thought about using that to my advantage in the gym. That has been my goal this week, and I challenge you all to do the same. Every time you look in the mirror, every time you get out of the shower, look at yourself and SEE YOURSELF where you want to be. The purpose of this blog was to use that in transforming your body, but it doesn’t have to stop there. See yourself in that new car, see yourself getting that big raise, see yourself buying your dream home! I will leave you with this: if you can’t even imagine it, how the hell are you supposed to accomplish it? The challenge has been extended. It’s up to you to put it to the test.

 

Until next time,

Josh

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

Alessandra’s Fitmas Gift Guide!

Alessandra’s Fitmas Gift Guide!

Hi Everyone!

With only 14 days until Christmas, I thought I would share my top 6 favorite gifts for the fitness guru! I have out together a list of some of my favorite products (and some of them are even on my own Christmas List!) These gifts are all budget-friendly & perfect for anyone that you know who loves to workout! All items are linked to their original websites so you can shop right away!

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1. The Zip Slicer is the perfect gift for a loved one who loves being in the kitchen! I always tend to be rushing when chopping up my tomatoes or grapes so this tool makes for a quick (and safe!) way to get those fruits & veggies into your diet.

2. My sneaker obsession continues to grow each year and I just can’t get over the awesome colors on the Reebok ZQuick shoe! I love the bright orange/yellow combo but on their site they have so many choices to pick from! These are a running shoe but I would totally rock them in the gym too! The best part? They’re currently on sale for $69.99! Score!

3. Momentum Jewelry came up with these cute wrap bracelets that can be customized with a variety of inspiring and motivation sayings. Whenever you are lacking motivation to be your best self, just glance down at your wrist!

4. The Erin Condren Life Planner was at the top of my list this year! I live  by my planner especially to keep track of my clients, workouts, meals & ..well just about everything. This customizable 2015 planner is perfect for the organized love one in your life…or maybe even the unorganized!

5. I stumbled upon the Lorna Jane store when I took my first trip out to L.A. last April and fell in love! I feel like their workout clothes describe my personality especially after I workout- bright, happy & colorful. This Kody Sports Bra is high up on my list as I love the polka dot pattern- Did you know cute workout clothes give you a better workout? 😉

6. I actually got my Garmin Forerunner 10 watch last Christmas but I love it so much that I think it is the perfect gift for anyone who loves to run outdoors. Instead of carrying your clunky phone with you, this watch uses GPS to track your distance, keep a history of your runs & allows you to see how many calories were burned. Runnerds unite!

 

Happy Shopping!

~Alessandra

www.sd-evolution.com

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