July, 2013 | The Cycle Project

Archive for July, 2013

Jul
29
2013
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The secret to enviable abs…

A toned, lean stomach is the ultimate sign of a fitness plan that’s working.

It’s also one of the hardest things to achieve.

Maybe you’ve given up on your abs after doing thousands of crunches only to see zero results. I honestly don’t blame you.

It’s time that you forget everything you’ve heard about how to sculpt your abs. The truth is that crunches simply won’t give you a six-pack. Ever.

Doing crunches with the hope that it will turn your midsection into a washboard is to operate under the most widely held fitness myth. I’m talking about the spot reducing myth. Here’s the truth: training one area of your body will not specifically burn fat from that area.

Even those who have heard that spot reducing is a myth often still train as if it is true. So here’s the hard truth that you need to face: Doing crunches will not magically make your tummy shrink, it will not cause your muffin top to melt away, and it will not give you washboard abs.

Only a reduction in body fat will give you the stomach you want.

So want the secret to great abs? The secret to great abs is a combination of fat burning cardio, resistance training, and clean eating.

It is very possible for you to dramatically shape up your waistline before the holidays arrive. Yes, I’m talking to Y-O-U. Weight loss is not reserved only for the people you see on the Biggest Loser or on exercise equipment infomercials. You can do it too.

So is your current routine getting you closer to that six-pack, or have you simply been burning time? Answer the following two questions to find out…

How many times per week do you exercise? If you answered with anything less than 4 times a week then that’s the first thing getting between you and streamline abs. What is this fat burning workout that I have mentioned? A routine that incorporates intense cardiovascular interval training with challenging resistance training and circuits. Does this describe what you do?

I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you, but walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes at a comfortable pace isn’t a fat blasting routine. Neither is a leisurely, not-a-drop-of-sweat 20 minutes on the elliptical machine. The truth is that exercising smart allows you to dramatically increase your results while spending less time in the gym.

Cardio exercise is most beneficial when done at an effective level of intensity. This doesn’t mean that you should be out gasping for air. It does mean that you need to dig down and push yourself. Every time.

Resistance training is the second vital part to a workout that burns fat. This means working your major muscle groups against resistance in a way that challenges you and stimulates your metabolism. The key here is to find the right intensity and to keep each muscle group guessing.

Do you eat clean?  Diet is the number one reason that most people don’t have great abs. If your diet is out of control then your abs will be too. To trim your waist, start by trimming the junk out of your diet, regardless of how hard you exercise.  You can’t out exercise a bad diet!

  • Don’t eat too much. Do you know approximately how many calories you eat each day? More importanly, do you know how many calories you NEED to be eating each day?  The best way to find out is to record every single thing that you eat for a few days. Take those numbers and do an evaluation—feel free to recruit me to help out with this part. Together we’ll come up with improvements for your diet and adjust your calories for maximum results.
  • Cut out the junk. While this may seem obvious, your definition of “junk food” may need to be updated. Start with avoiding anything that contains refined sugar, hydrogentated oils, or high fructose corn syrup. Refined sugar is one of the biggest ingredients in the junk food world—it is found in soft drinks, blended coffee drinks, cookies, cakes, packaged snacks, and other sinfully sweet treats. Processed fat is another monster to avoid. As a rule of thumb, view all processed or refined items as junk food, and kick them to the curb.
  • Eat when hungry. You’ve been told to never let your metabolism “crash” by going hours without eating, but it turns out that all-day snacking may be counter-productive if you are forcing yourself to eat unhealthy snacks in the name name of keeping your metablolism high.  Instead of trying to schedule meals and snacks for certain times throughout your day go with how your body feels. If you are hungry then have a small, protein-based snack. Try to teach your body through appropiate sized meals and snacks, to be hungry every 3 or so hours.

Now you know why simply doing crunches will not get you the abs of your dreams. While it is important to exercise your abs a couple of times a week, don’t expect fat to fall of that area after thousands of crunches.

If you seriously want to flatten and sculpt your waist in time for the holidays then all you have to do is decide that you really want it. Commit to yourself. You deserve it.

Come see me for fat blasting workouts that deliver the results you want. Together we will get you on a program that will melt the fat off your abs, exposing shape and definition—with visible results before Christmas.

 

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Jul
26
2013
0

Double Chocolate Mini Brownies

 

Boxed brownie mixes are filled with refined sugars and grains, so make with this recipe instead. It’s always a good idea to make these brownies in a mini muffin pan since this really forces portion control. Just eat one brownie and you’ll be able to enjoy this wholesome treat guilt-free!

Servings: 24
Here’s what you need:

  • 3.5 oz dark chocolate (72% cocoa or higher)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a mini muffin pan with coconut oil.
  2. In a double boiler, gently melt the chocolate, coconut oil and raw honey. Remove from heat, allow to cool, add the eggs, vanilla and almond extracts.
  3. In a medium bowl combine the almond flour and salt. Add the wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.
  4. Fill the mini muffin tins nearly to the top. Bake for 15-25 minutes until golden and set.
  5. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan – if you don’t wait then they fall apart!

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 125 calories, 8g fat, 48mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, and 2g protein

 

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Jul
23
2013
0

Priming The Pump

Another great video from Zig Ziglar.   You have to put work in, before you can expect to get anything out.

 

Jul
22
2013
0

Make Your Desserts Guilt-Free

Desserts are a delicious and fun part of life that most of us enjoy.
That is until you start working towards a fat loss goal. Then dessert becomes the enemy that pops up at birthday parties and get-togethers in the form of cake, cookies, cupcakes and candy, tempting you to give in.

So what do you do? Give up desserts forever?

Taking a zero-dessert stance can be risky because it increases your chances that the large slice of cake that ends up taking you down will be followed by some ice cream, a handful of cookies and topped off with some chocolates for good measure.

I don’t want your fitness results to be forfeited over a slice of cake, so I’ve come up with the following 7 Steps to Guilt-Free Desserts. Use these steps as your guide to safely navigate sweet temptations and to quickly arrive at your fitness goal.

1) Fruit Is Best.
Fresh, organic, seasonal fruit is the ultimate guilt-free dessert. It’s filled with fiber, vitamins, minerals and delicious, natural sweetness. Don’t be afraid to include some fruit in your diet. Learn to savor and enjoy fruit just as you would a decadent slice of cake. Fruit should be your number one, go-to, favorite dessert.

2) Choose Only Wholesome Sweeteners.
When fat loss is your goal, cane sugar and corn syrup have no place in your diet. Ever. Not even when you indulge in dessert. Lucky for you, there are plenty of more wholesome sweeteners available which will have less of an impact on your blood sugar. Try: raw honey, pure maple syrup, coconut crystals or stevia.

3) Use Whole Food Flours.
So you have your wholesome sweetener and now you’re reaching for some white flour to bake a cake, right? Wrong. Just like sugar, wheat flour should be banned when fat loss is your goal. Try these whole food flours instead: almond flour, coconut flour, flax meal or oat flour.

4) Take Your Chocolate Dark.
If chocolate is your dessert-of-choice then learn to love the dark stuff. 73% cocoa content is a good place to start, then as your sweet receptors become more sensitive you’ll start to like even darker chocolate. Dark chocolate is lower in sugar and higher in cocoa, which is where the actual benefit of chocolate lies: antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

5) Portion Size Matters.
Yes, this applies even to fruit. When you’re working towards a fat loss goal you do need to control the amount of sugars that enter your body, even when that sugar is wholesome and from a piece of fruit. Keep your desserts to no more than a few bites. Learn to savor and enjoy.

6) Remember Moderation.
If fat loss is your goal, then dessert should not be an everyday occurrence. Lean meats, and an abundance of fresh vegetables should make up the bulk of your diet. Wholesome, portion-controlled desserts are OK to include occasionally, but not regularly. When you’ve met your fitness goal, and are maintaining your results, then you’ll be able to include wholesome desserts more often.

7) Workout Hard.
I would never propose to use food as a reward for exercise, but I will say that working out should be a requirement before including wholesome desserts in your diet. If you’re not working out then even wholesome desserts in moderation could lead to pounds gained. Exercise is a huge part of the puzzle when it comes to losing fat and getting lean.

If you aren’t happy with your current body then feel free to reach out to me. It’s my goal to help each and every one of my clients achieve their best body ever.

 

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Jul
19
2013
0

Fluffy Egg White Biscuits

 

Here’s a great recipe for low carb biscuits. It’s gluten free and uses flax meal and egg whites to create a soft, fluffy texture. When striving towards a fat loss goal it’s important to limit the amount of bread that you eat, due to all the simple carbs. This recipe is a great way to enjoy some bread while still maintaining your clean diet.

Servings: 20
Here’s what you need…

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 2 cups flax meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons raw honey, melted
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 8 egg whites
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the almond flour, flax meal and baking soda. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  4. Mix the honey and oil into the flax mixture, then quickly fold in the egg whites. Be careful not to over mix the egg whites, so the fluffiness remains.
  5. Use an ice cream scooper to drop mounds of the batter on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 186 calories, 14g fat, 64mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, and 6g protein

 

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Jul
15
2013
0

Make Your Scale Budge

If losing fat were easy then we’d all look like fitness models, right?

Unfortunately, the fat loss game is more frustrating than most care to admit. The scale quickly becomes a dreaded enemy—a constant bearer of bad news.

If the number on your scale won’t budge then read on for an explanation:

Possibility #1: You’re Not Eating Enough Calories
This only happens in cases of severe calorie restriction, so don’t take it as a license to eat whatever you’d like. When you’re trying to drop a few pounds by eating next to nothing, it actually counteracts your efforts.

There’s a base number of calories that you should be eating in order to maintain your proper bodily functions, including fat loss, so check with a doctor or nutritionist to make sure that you’re eating enough.

Possibility #2: You’re Eating Too Many Processed Carbs
Processed carbs will promote fat storage quicker than you can say the alphabet backwards. Blood sugar and insulin levels always respond the same to processed carbs – whether those carbs are in the form of a FiberOne bar or a Twinkie.

You’re fooling yourself, but not your scale, if you think processed carbs should be included in your fat loss diet.

Possibility #3: You’re Doing Too Much Cardio If you’re doing hours of steady-state cardio, it’s gonna end up working against your fat loss efforts. All that cardio promotes the release of stress hormones in your body, which counteracts your ability to lose fat.

See me about designing your ideal exercise routine for maximum fat loss. I’ll let you know how much cardio should be included in your routine.

Possibility #4: You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep
You may not see the connection between your sleep patterns and the number on your scale, but it’s there. Sleep patterns have an impact on your hormone levels, and hormones are a huge factor when it comes to losing fat.

Be sure to get a full eight hours of sleep each night to boost your fitness results.

Possibility #5: Your Snacks Have No Protein
Small, whole foods snacks throughout the day can help maintain your metabolism and encourage fat loss, but it all depends on what you’re snacking on. Fruit-only snacks quickly break down to sugar, which causes insulin to be released and potential fat storage to occur, much like when you eat processed carbs. Sure, the fruit will make less of an impact than a candy bar, but you could be snacking smarter.

Only eat snacks that contain more protein than carbs, and also some fat. This will help to stabilize your blood sugar levels while also keeping hunger at bay longer.

Possibility #6: You Eat Diet Foods
I get it, you have a fat loss goal so it’s tempting to fall into the trap of purchasing foods that claim to help dieters. The problem lies in the fact that these ‘diet’ products have been highly processed and contain potentially harmful chemicals and artificial sweeteners that will confuse your hormones and promote fat storage.

The best diet strategy, when working towards a fitness goal, is to stick with real, fresh, whole foods. Steer clear of anything fake or processed.

 

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Jul
12
2013
0

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Wraps

Slow cooker recipes are a fantastic way to save time and energy while still getting a healthy, fitness-approved meal on the table. This recipe for slow cooker pulled pork wraps takes just a few minutes in the morning, then a few more minutes of prep right before you serve it. No need for carb-filled bread, eat your pulled pork wrapped in lettuce. It tastes awesome and will help you reach your goals faster.

Servings: 12

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 (4lb) pork shoulder roast
  • 1/2 cup organic chicken broth
  • 1 cup organic, sugar-free barbeque sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon or yellow mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 large organic yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 organic red bell pepper
  • 1 organic yellow bell pepper
  • 1 large organic yellow onion
  • 1 head organic romaine lettuce
  1. Place the olive oil in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Add the pork roast and pour the chicken broth over it.
  3. In a medium bowl combine the barbeque sauce, vinegar, Dijon, chili powder, onion, garlic and thyme. Pour over the pork.
  4. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours and 30 minutes. Once done, remove the pork from the slow cooker, discard the fat and shred the meat with two forks. Return the shredded meat to the juices in the slow cooker, on warm, until ready to serve.
  5. Thinly slice the bell peppers and remaining onion. Saute in a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. Once very tender, season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  6. Serve the pork on large romaine lettuce leaves and top with the tender peppers and onions. Enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 368 calories, 19g fat, 218mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, and 28g protein

 

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Jul
10
2013
0

What’s Your Why?

Why do you want to exercise and get into great shape? Grab onto the first answer that came into your mind. That is your unique reason why.

Your reason could have to do with weight, size, shape, strength, appearance, health, function or longevity. Or it could be about something completely off the wall. Hey, it’s your reason and there are no wrong answers.

This reason is your motivation. It’s the thought that you need to return to whenever you’re feeling discouraged or want to give up. Remind yourself of it often. Write it down and put it where you will see it everyday. If you just don’t quit then you’re bound to succeed.

 

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Jul
08
2013
0

The Best Way to Get FIT

Talk to 10 people and you’ll get 10 different opinions on the best way to get fit.

One will tell you to attend an aerobics class. Another will swear by jogging. Yet another will tell you that dance and biking worked for them.

The truth is that there’s really only one effective way to get fit.

Before I get into the details, it’s important that we agree on the definition of ‘fit’. Too often skinny is mistaken for fit, and that’s not what you should strive for.

When someone is skinny, but has very little muscle tissue, they aren’t truly fit.

Here’s why skinny doesn’t equal fit:

  • Their body fat percentage will be higher than ideal—even though you won’t see a lot of fat on them, if their muscle percentage is low then fat percentage will be higher.
  • Their resting metabolism will be low, since little muscle is present to burn calories at rest.
  • Their body won’t be functionally strong, which will lead to injuries and frustrations.

So how does one get truly fit? It’s this simple: Resistance Training. 

Resistance training is used to challenge your muscles in order to gain strength and endurance. You could do this with traditional weights, exercise bands, medicine balls, cable machines, sandbags, kettle bells or even just using your own body weight.

Resistance training has the following side effects…

  • Strength and muscle tone
  • Cardiovascular capacity
  • Speed, Agility and Flexibility
  • Resistance to injury and disease

If that’s not enough to convince you that strength training is the only way to truly become fit, then read on…

Top 9 Reasons For Resitance Training

1) To Build Muscle and Gain Strength: Don’t worry, ladies. This does NOT mean that you’re going to ‘bulk up’ or look too masculine. What will happen is that your arms, tummy and legs will become tighter, leaner and more defined.

2) To Lose Fat: When it comes to losing size, all that you want to see go is fat, not muscle. Strength training ensures that you maintain and grow those muscles and only lose fat.

3) To Build Strong Bones: The older we get, the more important our bone density is. A good strength training program is one of your best defenses when it comes to osteoporosis.

4) To Alleviate Anxiety, Stress and Depression: Sure there are plenty of pills out there that claim to give these benefits, but you and I both know that strength training is more wholesome and effective way. And besides, who really wants pharmaceutical side effects?

5) To Sleep Better: Here’s another pill you can stop taking once you start strength training. Study after study have proven that strength training improves sleep.

6) To Improve Chronic Back Pain: If you are one of the millions across the globe who suffer from back pain then you’ll love the benefit of a stronger core and lowered pain.

7) To Improve Insulin Sensitivity: Today diabetes is a huge threat. Minimize your risk by improving insulin sensitivity through regular, challenging strength training.

8) To Improve Good to Bad Cholesterol Ratio: Here is yet another pill that you could potentially stop taking while on a strength training routine. Blood pressure and heart health are of utmost concern, so why not give yourself the advantage of a strength training routine?

9) To Raise your Metabolism: This helps to reduce body fat and to keep that body fat off, even on the days that you aren’t able to exercise. Pretty awesome, right?

A solid strength training routine will tone your legs, lift your butt, strengthen your core, and will result in inches and pounds lost.

 

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Jul
05
2013
0

Sesame Chicken Salad

 

Warm summer evenings call for light, refreshing dinners like this light Sesame Chicken Salad. Most sesame salads contain crispy noodles, but I’ve taken those out of this recipe, making it lower in carbs to help you towards your fitness goal. 

Servings: 6 
Here’s what you need…

  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 small organic green cabbage
  • 1 cup pea pods, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 cup shredded cooked chicken

For the Sesame Dressing:

  • 6 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons coconut aminos, or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 packet Stevia
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  1. In a small skillet place the slivered almonds over medium-low heat. Stir often until golden brown.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Wash the cabbage and cut into long thin strands. Do the same with the pea pods and the red bell peppers – the thinner you slice the better.
  4. Mix the cabbage, bell pepper, pea pods, chicken and almond slivers in a large salad bowl.
  5. Combine the salad dressing ingredients together.
  6. Plate the salads and drizzle with some dressing.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 202 calories, 10g fat, 89mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, and 17g protein

 

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