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Peanut Butter Confession Time

If you’re anything like me your fridge is full of spinach, eggs, grapefruit, cottage cheese. chicken breasts, broccoli and carrots.  Not much room for fun snacks because why waste the money?

 

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But then I open the cabinet door, a light shines out practically blinding me….it is, in fact, surround…..THE PEANUT BUTTER. My favorite little guilty food that I can’t put down.

While it is high in natural fats and sugar it also carries several health benefits.

Did you hear the health benefits about peanut butter?

Awwww I can’t tell you you’ll probably spread it!!

Enough of my puns….here they are!

1. Suppresses hunger, overall making dieting a little easier.

2. Fats should make up about 30% of your caloric intake (depends on your goals).  Peanut butter is a natural fat that will help you achieve those goals in a more healthy way.

3. Peanuts are good for your heart.  They help fight off cardiovascular diseases.

4.  It helps Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Impairment. Researchers found that those getting the most niacin from foods were 70 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Peanuts are one of the foods highest in niacin.

My personal favorite is the all natural no salt added peanut butter from the farmer’s market. There’s no processing and it’s just raw grounded peanuts.  One a banana sandwich? yes pls.

What’s your favorite peanut butter combination?

 

Do You Even Lift?

I’ve been getting tired of my lifting plan. Same things every week and every week I find myself less inclined to complete it.  I’ve been with the same plan for a year, upping weights and lowering weights lifted according to if I have stuck with the plan in the past couple weeks, just to fall off again.

Lifting is one of the most important things you can do for your body.  Not only does it burn fat while building muscle but it has long term effects like preventing osteoporosis. 

5 Quick Tips on Lifting

1. It’s quality over quantity.  Form is way more important than any other component.

2. Increasing the amount you lift every couple weeks will help you build more muscle.

3. Rest 1 to 2 minutes between sets to be able to perform the next set more effectively.

4. Lift 3/4 of the maximum weight you can lift with one rep. Do 3/4 for 8-12 reps. If you’re not lifting enough, you’re not working muscular strength, but rather muscular endurance.

5. To fuel your workout, you should be eating 15 g of protein before a workout (so greek yogurt, cottage cheese, 2 eggs)

5. As a recovery, it’s recommended you eat 30 g of protein within an hour after working out, 20 g if it takes you two hours to get to eat.  (so a chicken breast, protein shake…)

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Needless to say, in order to restore my lifting enthusiasm, I need to get a new plan.

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And da da da duhhhhhhhhhh! Here it is… I’ll be starting it on Monday, as soon as this pneumonia is combated and conquered. This is only week 1-4 and 5-8 the reps get less (6-8) instead.

I’m striving to build more muscle because I want to. I love the feeling of looking bad ass. And with staying at Penn State all summer, teaching classes, interning, blogging, and hopefully finding part time work… I can spend more time lifting.

 

 

To Protein Shake or To Not Protein Shake is the Question

I’ve always seen protein powder as this mystical fairy dust that’s supposed to automatically make you look like one of those muscular women in the Women’s Health Magazine ads. It leaves me puzzled and I never know whether or not I should be jumping on the band wagon and drinking protein shakes, I have never drank a protein shake as post workout fuel. I’ve struggled with whether or not I should for a while now.  Being a fitness instructor, some days I find myself not having time for full healthy meals and I’ll be teaching 3 classes on top of my own workout. I’ve started to think maybe I should drink them more often so I decided to look into it.

The Pros & Cons of Protein Shakes

The American Health Association recommends the average semi-sedentary woman take in 46 grams of protein a day. 3 ounces of meet provides 21 grams of protein and one cup of greek yogurt has 12 grams. Too much protein is stored in the body as fat, so it’s very important to remain within the target range.  Of course protein intake varies depending on athletic training and age.

Protein powder will not make you bulky but if you are not using it as a meal replacement or considering caloric intake with it you will gain weight. Each time you go to the gym, you are breaking your muscles down.  In your recovery time, your muscles are building back up because the amino acids in protein are restoring them to make them stronger for the next time.  So what ever you do, you need to be taking in the proper amount of protein to help build these strong muscles.

According to bodybuilding.com, “If you’re dieting and exercising, aim higher—between 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of your body weight per day. As your caloric intake decreases, your protein needs will actually increase, so keep that in mind as you plan out your diet.”

This is a pretty drastic change from the 46 grams recommended by the American Health Association.

In all my research, I’m still pretty mystified.

I guess it’s all about the macros. Here’s a pretty helpful macro calculator. http://healthyeater.com/how-to-calculate-your-macros

In conclusion, you know what’s right for you.  If you’re not getting enough lean protein in your diet or feel as though you have a depleted energy source, invest in protein powder.

 

Meditation & Walking Pnemonia

Here it is folks. The end all be all verdict. I’ve been sick for the past two weeks.  I hate the doctors and I’m always in doubt that I’m actually sick.  I don’t know what it means to rest. Which is also my biggest flaw. Bodies need proper rest in order to come back and be better, sooner.  My lack of knowing when to rest could have led to this. It was hard as I sat on the chair in the doctors office to be told I need to abstain from exercise for a few days.  I kept thinking, “Oh I’ll just go and do interval training but take it easy and take breaks when I need.” When I suggested this to my roommates, I immediately got scolded. I then suggested that I’ll just take yoga classes….that was also a no go among the roomies.  Then my hippie & healthy roomie suggested meditation.  After a 10 minute meditation session, I noticed a change in how my mind felt. Imagine that, mind health.

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Meditation has always been a mystery to me.  I have too many thoughts, talk too loud and can’t sit still. I never thought that it would be useful for me because I guess I never saw the point in doing it, but I gave it a try.

It worked!!

Here’s an easy guide on how to meditate….

MOTHER'S DAY

The Definition of Healthy

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I feel as though often times the definition of healthy is broken down into body parts.

“She’s got a flat stomach.”

“His biceps are big.”

“She has a thigh gap.”

“He has a V.”

Notice how all of these properties are heavily looks based.  Nothing about how that individual feels. The way someone looks isn’t always an indication of how “healthy” they are.  There should be greater importance placed on living a healthy lifestyle because it feels good. Not because it necessarily “looks good.”

Not all people who are thin are healthy and not all people who are heavy are unhealthy. According to Time Magazine,”In a new study by U.S. and European researchers,published in the European Heart Journal, overweight and obese people were found to be at no greater risk of developing or dying from heart disease or cancer, compared with normal weight people, as long as they were metabolically fit despite their excess weight.”

So why are we so look obsessed? Why is the best motivation for people images of thin people. These images of thin people currently go by the name of “fitspo” and this “fitspo” is greatly changing the way humans view health. How healthy is fitspo’s most popular quote “strong is the new skinny?” It’s not. This quote is often on the picture of someone who is one body type, one ideal of beauty.  This image spreads the word that this is the only type of beauty acceptable by today’s standards.  Once again, causing women to strive for unrealistic beauty goals.

The key is to focus on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, not making a connection between health and body shape. Fitness shouldn’t be driven by “obtaining a beach body.” Fitness is centered on increasing your resting heart rate.  It’s about reaping the benefits of those endorphins you get every time you work out. It’s about getting up and getting active, maybe being better than you were yesterday by no one else’s standards but your own. Create your own definition of health. You need to be your own #fitspo.

This is a concept I struggle with too.  As a fitness instructor my view point on it has greatly changed.  I aim to not work harder to burn more calories so I look good in a bikini.  I have to remind myself that I’m running to decrease stress, I’m cycling because I like feeling like my legs are strong when I’m done.  I like to lift because I don’t want osteoporosis when I’m older.

It’s hard in present day society to keep all of this in mind.  Believe me, when all your friends are working out for bikini season it’s hard to think past bikini season to think of the other reasons you work out. But it’s necessary to seeing your body in a positive light.  It’s okay to be content with the weight your at, how your legs look in shorts.  In fact, it’s healthier to be content. Stop dieting, start leading a healthy lifestyle that works for you.

So self reflect.  Why do you work out? What’s your motivation?

Do you work out for the right reasons?