Welcome to my Corner!

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Do you feel like a caterpillar, moving slowly through  life? Are you struggling emotionally and physically with an autoimmune diagnosis? Are you mourning the active lifestyle you used to lead or are you wishing to be healthier and fit? For those that struggle to maintain or achieve greater fitness levels due to autoimmune disease,

Sybil Cooper Fitness promises to help you regain energy, stamina and strength,

By offering accountability and support in adopting better nutrition to calm an overactive immune system and exercise to help heal the body, the keys to a life of healthy longevity, rather than a life of extended morbidity,

Backed by the most sought after home-fitness workouts and nutrition guidance which helped me break free of my fatigue and insomnia,

To address the need for an increase in energy levels and vitality so that you can enjoy time with family and friends for decades to come,

I understand how easy it is to let autoimmunity control you rather than you controlling your life.

Let’s break free of fatigue and pain of Autoimmune disease into the next phase of our lives, stronger and healthier! Please subscribe to my blog for my fitness and nutrition tips and contact me with your questions. In addition, I’ll occasionally blog about my other interests (nature, education, scrapbooking). You can also follow me on Google+.

 

 

 

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12 Common Triggers for Autoimmune Disease

This article, 12 Common Triggers for Autoimmune Disease, very succinctly discusses the impact that nutrition has on autoimmunity. I think the phrase “being on the autoimmune spectrum” describes autoimmunity very well. I think many more people are on the autoimmune spectrum than have full-blown autoimmune disease. I feel my best and look my best (no bloat) when I stay true to autoimmune protocol. When I finally cut out most nightshades, my GI tract was much happier. I’ve not been able to have dairy in decades. I refused to give up beans until I realized how much they inflame my GI tract. When I eat clean, I have less inflammation in my hands and feet. In fact, my last blood work showed no inflammation as based on the common markers!!!

I am currently reading Dr. Amy Myer’s new book, The Autoimmune Solution. I will post my thoughts on her book in another post! Stay tuned….

Online Motivation Groups!

Do you know what separates the less than 10% percent that finishes a Beachbody program from those that do? Accountability and support! Do you need to combat that sluggish feeling? Need to get in shape? Need some motivation and accountability? Well, I have the answer. Join my online motivation groups. Get daily accountability, get nutrition tips, weekly videos from your trainer with tips on form, nutrition, and motivation! I have ongoing groups for our Beachbody programs and an all purpose nutrition and fitness group if you’re not doing a Beachbody program!

Come on! You know you’re thinking about it! Join today so you can order your Challenge Pack! To help ensure you get the best results, I highly recommend the Challenge Pack which comes with Shakeology. That will make one meal of your day, balanced, healthy, and within your calorie goals!

And join the Team Beachbody Challenge for the chance to get paid for your efforts!

It’s our health and fitness contest that will help you achieve your fitness goals and give you a chance to WIN some serious cash. If you want to get fit, now is the time to do it. Use any Beachbody® program and share your results for a FREE T-shirt and a chance to win over $100,000!

  • Daily Prizes*: $500
  • Monthly Prizes: $1,000
  • Quarterly Prizes: $5,000 and an expenses-paid trip
  • The Grand Prizes: $100,000!

If you’re ready to commit, click the button below to fill out my form. If not, choose your package option, and when I see it come across my virtual desk, I’ll message you with all the details and link to the private Facebook group for my Online Support Group!

 

Click here to leave contact information

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How To Successfully Form New Habits – The REAL Truths

Have you ever tried to instill a new habit…and failed? (New Year’s resolutions anyone?!)

In reality, most of us have been in this disappointing situation, but rather than beating ourselves up, it’s far better to understand what it truly takes to form a new habit, so next time we can act from a position of knowledge, which will boost our chances of success.

First let’s examine the ‘truths’ we’ve been lead to believe, and see if they really stack up.

You’ve probably heard the saying that it takes 21 days to form a habit. It has become one of those meme-worthy ‘facts’ that we fully accept at face value, without ever wondering if it’s even true!

But did you know there is NO scientific data to back up the 21-day habit-forming claim?

It’s actually based on anecdotal evidence from the plastic surgery patients of one doctor, and the claim itself dates back to the 1950’s

You can read more about why that study lead us all in the wrong direction for decades in the article published by the University College London (UCL) entitled, “Busting the 21 days habit formation myth.”

Researchers at the University College London did a much more scientific study of the timing around habit formation that was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

“Participants performed a self-chosen health-promoting dietary or activity behavior (e.g. drinking a glass of water) in response to a once-daily cue (e.g. after breakfast), and gave daily self-reports of how automatic (i.e. habitual) the behavior felt. Participants were tracked for 84 days.”

What Is the real answer to how long it takes to form new habits?

According to the UCL study, they found it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. But that it can vary widely based on the individual and their unique circumstances. For one person it took just 18 days, whereas another person didn’t manage to form a habit within the whole 84-day study, but was projected to do so after as long as 254 days.

So what does this all mean for us?

In a nutshell, to give ourselves a higher chance of success we need to reset those habit-forming expectations for a lot longer than 21 days!

Look at it this way. The 66 day average for instilling a new habit would mean our New Year’s Resolutions would start sticking around March 6th.
Most of us give up long before this date…but this clearly shows we need to stick with it.

So what can you do to stack the odds in your favor to form new habits?

There are four simple strategies we recommend, to succeed with your new habits in a way that not only produces stronger formed, longer lasting habits but also does it in less time!

1. SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

The Health Psychology Review wrote, “Habits are automatic behavioral responses to environmental cues, thought to develop through repetition of behavior in consistent contexts.”

If we give ourselves the right environments and triggers and place ourselves in the right set of circumstances, we can dramatically improve our chances for success.
For example, if you want to set a new habit of eating healthy food instead of fast food you need to tell the rest of the family so they’re all on board and have a plan of what you’re going to eat to replace that fast food in your diet.
Likewise, if you want to start working out in the morning before breakfast have your workout clothes laid out ready the night before so it becomes automatic to put them on, and workout.

2. GOOD OLD REPETITION

There is a good reason why studies focus on the amount of time it takes to form new habits, as persistence over a time period is a key element of creating repetition-forming behaviors.
If you tell yourself that forming your new habit IS going to take at least a couple of months, then you’ve given yourself the right realistic expectations from the start.
How we frame our expectations is one of the biggest motivators to either continue or stop anything in life that we are trying to accomplish…so why would forming habits be any different?

3. WHAT BEATS OUT MENTORSHIP FOR ACCOMPLISHING ANY GOAL?

Research by psychologist Robert Cialdini and Tim Church, MD shows that finding a buddy who can work with you is one of the best ways to accomplish change. This is a very healthy form of peer pressure, that can actually work better than even mentorships.
So grab yourself an accountability partner and improve your chances of success.

4. GET THE RIGHT MINDSET

The British Journal Of Social Psychology wrote an article entitled, “Beyond frequency: Habit as mental construct.”

Here’s an excerpt from the article, “A habit seems to be accompanied by an enduring cognitive orientation, which we refer to as “habitual mindset.”

This makes good sense, right? If we don’t have the right mindset towards accomplishing our new habit forming behaviors then how can we ever expect to accomplish them. Habit formation isn’t about repetition alone. If we don’t go in with a winning mindset, then we can’t expect the results we really want.

So what’s next?

Well, now that you know the truth…tap into these 4 winning strategies and GET EXCITED!

New success habits are literally around the corner for you. What would your life be like if in a couple of months you could have your biggest new habit goal impacting your future?

I believe the answer to that question is that habit formation is life changing in the short term, just not quite as short as those 21 days we once thought.

Good luck on your new habits and what you know you can accomplish.


Sources:

  1. The Huffington Post – https://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-clear/forming-new-habits_b_5104807.html
  2. University College London – http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0908/09080401 & http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/bsh/2012/06/29/busting-the-21-days-habit-formation-myth/
  3. European Review Of Social Psychology Journal – https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14792779943000035 & https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ejsp.674
  4. British Journal Of Social Psychology –  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1348/014466605X49122
  5. Health Psychology Review – https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17437199.2011.603640
  6. Inc. Magazine – https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/what-beats-a-mentor-an-accountability-partner.html

How do you prep your meals?

Happy Monday!!! I hope your day is going well! I’m recovering from a stomach bug or food poisoning. It wasn’t horrible but enough to make me feel poorly. I did spend some time this weekend meal prepping. I made my leek and cauliflower soup but I need to get my proteins together. I had never thought of it as having a choice of proteins and a choice of veges to mix and match until I saw this article! Then I thought – DOH – I’ve got to share this! This is how I meal prep!Spring-Buffet-all-meals

The short story is to get cook 3-4 different proteins, 5-6 vegetables, 3-4 clean carbs, some healthy fats (avocado is my fav) and then mix and match these each day to keep it interesting!!! This helps to keep variety in your diet and keeps you from getting bored.

 

Proteins 
baked chicken breasts
baked salmon
sautéed shrimp
hard-boiled eggs
Shakeology

Vegetables
raw baby carrots
mini bell peppers
cauliflower rice
sautéed brussels sprouts
steamed baby zucchini
steamed artichokes
steamed broccolini

Fruits
mangoes
bananas (not shown)
mixed berries (not shown)

Carbs
lentils
baked sweet potatoes
edamame
oatmeal (not shown)

Healthy fats
avocados
hummus

Seeds/oils
balsamic vinaigrette dressing

 

Check out Amanda’s article to see how she put all these together each day to make tasty but varied meals!

Meet Ida Keeling, 100yr old runner!

When I saw this video on the NY Times blog, I knew I just had to share it with you. Meet Ida Keeling. She is 100yrs young. She has raced all around the world, holding the Worlds Record for 60-meter dash for women ages 95 to 99. Get this! She didn’t start running until she was 67yrs old in order to battle depression after the death of both of her sons. I love reading these stories because it just reinforces for me that it is never too late, until you’re dead. No matter your past failures in getting fit and healthy, you can always decide to try a different path until you find what works.

I just love her words of wisdom:

Get up and do things even if you don’t feel like it. Sometimes you don’t feel like doing this, that or the other. Do the thing that you don’t like to do first, and get rid of it.”

 

Wise words indeed! I always tell my kids, “If it must get done, do it first if possible.” Following this rule has allowed me to stay so consistent in my workouts for the past 5years. And when I stopped working out first thing in the morning, I started missing more workouts! I get busy working and then it’s time to pick up the kids and  then my time is on their schedule! This morning I was in my gym at 6AM just like old times! It felt great knowing I had the day off to a great start!

 

How to Make Protein Bars

Protein bars are easy to make and are great for on-the-go snacks. Commercial protein bars are often filled with fillers, soy, artificial flavors and sweeteners. Try this take on the protein bar formula from Team Beachbody Newsletter

Recipe: Snack Bar-O-Matic

Want to try your hand at making your own fruit and nut–based snack bar? In just a few minutes, you can create a healthy, customizable snack to help you eat right when you’re on the go. Thanks to a date or prune base, these bars are rich in potassium, an electrolyte that is essential for healthy muscle function (including the most important muscle, the heart!). The nuts and seeds provide protein as well as good-for-you monounsaturated fats and/or omega-3 fatty acids. And the high fiber content will help keep you regular.

Want to really kick up the nutritional wow factor? Add a couple scoops of your favorite Shakeology.

Total Time: 1 hr. 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Yield: 12 servings, 1 bar each

Ingredients:

1 cup pitted whole dates or prunes for the base

1 cup dried fruit

1 cup nuts and seeds

2 scoops Shakeology (optional)

Optional flair

Preparation:

  1. Combine equal parts dates or prunes, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds in the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Process for 1 to 2 minutes. Check to make sure all ingredients are breaking down into smaller pieces; scrape sides of bowl as needed. Process 2 to 3 minutes more until ingredients form tiny crumbs that come together into a loose ball.
  3. Turn out the Snack Bar-O-Matic mixture onto a square of cellophane (or an 8″ x 8″ baking dish). Press into a flat disc.
  4. Cover tightly and refrigerate one hour.
  5. Cut into 12 bars. Store in the refrigerator.

Choose one or more from each:

1 CUP BINDING FRUIT (these will give your bars the best texture)
Dates
Prunes

1 CUP DRIED FRUIT
Dried apricots
Dried figs
Raisins
Dried cranberries
Dried blueberries
Dried cherries

1 CUP RAW NUTS OR RAW SEEDS
Flaxseeds
Chia seeds
Pepitas
Sunflower seeds
Almonds
Walnuts
Peanuts
Cashews
Sesame seeds
Coconut

OPTIONAL FLAIR
1/2 tsp. rum extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1–2 oz. dark chocolate chips
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger

 

WITH SHAKEOLOGY* (per serving):

Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
151 5 g <1 g 0 mg 76 mg 20 g 5 g 12 g 6 g

WITHOUT SHAKEOLOGY* (per serving):

Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
124 5 g <1 g 0 mg 51 mg 15 g 3 g 11 g 3 g

Body Beast® and P90X®/P90X2® Portion Information

Body Beast Nutritional Information
With Shakeology:

Fruit Fat
2 1

 

 


Body Beast Nutritional Information
Without Shakeology:

Fruit Fat
1-1/2 1


P90X/P90X2 Nutritional Information (both):

Fruit Fat
1 1/2



Note: Calories are approximate and will vary depending on the ingredients you add. Calories do not include “optional flair.”

 

Inspired by: The Kitchn

Sources:

  1. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Potassium_UCM_306021_Article.jsp
  2. http://www.nuts.com/driedfruit/dates/pitted.html

RECIPE – Kale & Broccoli Matchstick Salad

Kale-and-Broccoli-Matchstick-Salad-with-Hazelnuts
Kale and broccoli are two powerhouse vegetables! EAT your greens, people! I needed a new Kale recipe to add to my menu. If you are following autoimmune protocol, omit the hazelnuts and cheese.

Kale is loaded with fiber which aids in digestion. It is also high in iron, VitK, calcium and Vit K. Most of us deal with some level of inflammation in our bodies due to stress, lack of sleep, food intolerances and autoimmune disease. Kale is also high in Omega-3 fatty acid which is anti-inflammatory. Quercetin, a key ingredient found in the Beachbody Performance line, is found in large amounts in kale! It is a flavonoid that is thought to reduce inflammation following exercise, and support energy production by increasing mitochondria.

So try adding this new kale recipe to your menu plan!!! Comment below what you think of this recipe!

(This recipe first appeared on the Team Beachbody Blog) with photos by Kirsten Morningstar.

Fresh and crunchy, this isn’t an ordinary salad. It features thinly sliced ribbons of kale with an often overlooked vegetable, broccoli stems. The next time you use broccoli florets in a recipe, instead of discarding the stems, you’ll want to save them for this deeply satisfying salad. It’s topped with toasted hazelnuts and sharp manchego cheese. Sautéed leeks with lemon juice and olive oil create a rich dressing (and also tastes lovely as a sauce on fish).

Tip: After you slice the kale and before you add it to any other ingredients, squeeze it roughly in your hands as though you were crumpling a paper bag. This “massage” makes it more tender and easier to digest.

Tip: This recipe uses a simple technique to remove the skins from the hazelnuts. After a few minutes of toasting on a baking sheet in the oven, the skins easily rub off with a towel. It’s worth the extra step; removing the slightly bitter skins make the nuts sweeter.

Kale-and-Broccoli-Matchsticks-Salad-with-Hazelnuts-InPost

Kale and Broccoli Matchstick Salad with Hazelnuts

Total Time: 34 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 19 min.
Yield: 4 servings, about ¾ cup each

Ingredients:
¼ cup raw hazelnuts
1 lb. fresh kale, stems and ribs removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
3 broccoli stems, peeled, cut into matchstick-sized pieces (about 1 cup)
Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) (to taste; optional), divided use
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium leeks, whites and tender greens only, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
¼ cup shredded Manchego (or Pecorino Romano or Parmesan) cheese

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Place hazelnuts on baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel to cool. Rub off skins and discard; coarsely chop nuts. Set aside.
3. Place kale and broccoli in a medium bowl. Season with salt if desired; mix well. Set aside.
4. To make dressing, heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
5. Add leeks; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender.
6. Add lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper if desired; mix well.
7. Top kale mixture with dressing, hazelnuts, and cheese; mix well.

NutritionalData-KaleAndBroccoliSlaw-

How to Make Cafe Latte Shakeology

I am so happy you clicked on this post because I could not WAIT to tell you about the new Cafe Latte Shakeology! I was honestly not expecting it to be so delicious! I like coffee but I only drink it when I’m sleepy and I need to drive as I’m very sensitive to caffeine disrupting my sleep patterns. Since you couldn’t come over, I made a video of my first taste testing!

I now have more options for my Shakeology. I tend to find a recipe I like and stick with that every day. I’ve been drinking the following for over a year now!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Shakeology

1/2 scoop Chocolate Shakeology

1/2 scoop Strawberry Shakeology

1 cup frozen strawberries but I often mix in some frozen mango/peaches for that smooth texture

12 oz cold water (if your strawberries are fresh, use crushed ice/water).

Blend in my Vitamin and I’m in heaven! Because I need to get in more greens, I do add in 1cup fresh organic baby spinach, baby kale, Swiss chard but it makes it a bit more green tasting.

I think next I will try 1/2 Cafe Latte Shakeology and 1/2 Vanilla Shakeology. Since I am gluten-free/grain-free, egg-free, dairy-free, I often can not have the deserts that my kids are having. I now have a healthy, delicious option!

Chocolate Silk Shakeology

1/2 scoop Cafe Late Shakeology

1/2 scoop Chocolate Shakeology

2 tbsp Organic Coconut Milk

12oz chopped ice/water

Blend!!! This was so creamy and smooth, it reminded me of ice cream! I will try making a chocolate cream pie with this so stay tuned!!

One thing that I love about Cafe Latte Shakeology is that it uses a previously discarded part of the coffee bean harvesting process.

It’s formulated with WHOLE Coffee Fruit*—a coveted superfood powerhouse that’s native to regions of Mexico and India. Coffee fruit is the red fleshy fruit that surrounds what we know to be the coffee bean! Not only does Café Latte taste great, but the use of the entire plant also minimizes Shakeology’s carbon footprint.

and…

By consuming both the fruit and the seed of the coffee plant your body, especially your brain, benefits from this superfood’s beneficial antioxidant properties, as well as its chlorogenic acids, polyphenols, and phytonutrients. In nature, the synergy of consuming plants and herbs in their entirety can have greater benefits for the human body than when only part of the plant is consumed.

If you want to know more about the coffee fruit, check out this blog entry at Shakeology.com.

Red Meat Causes Cancer – says WHO?

Several of my friends have been asking about the new World Health Organization report that eating red meat increases your risk of cancer.  Processed meat was rated a definite human carcinogen and red meat was rated a possible human carcinogen. If you want to read the original report, you can find it here.

What does this really mean for our day to day eating? If you’re vegetarian/vegan, you’re probably wagging your finger saying, “I told you so!” HA HA HA.  Food recommendaGrilling_Steaks_(with_border)tions from the WHO, the USDA, etc often have a political agenda. Statistics are often used and mis-used to confuse and befuddle the public. I try to find several trusted viewpoints and make my own conclusion. (If you want to skip to the punch line, scroll down to the bottom.)

I immediately went to Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s website. I have followed her nutrition advice in dealing with my autoimmune diseases for some time. She is known for her scientific research of autoimmunity and the autoimmune protocol nutrition plan. As expected, she already had an article posted with links to scientific research. If you want to read it, you can find the article at The Paleo Mom.  She addresses the very legitimate concerns about eating processed meats and red meats. What the media will not tell you in the never-ending quest for attention-grabbing headlines is that studies also support that eating a diet rich in vegetables mitigates many of the negative effects of eating red meat. The rest can be decreased significantly by how you cook it. Also, the diet of the grassfedcowsanimal as well as it’s living conditions greatly influences the health benefits or detriments of red meat. The short of it is, know where you food comes from. If at all possible,  buy from local farms that have pastured, 100% grass feed cows. I think research soundly indicates that processed meats are just bad for you and should be avoided.

Mark Sisson addresses some of the statistical analyses and the differences in the categories in his post on his blog, Mark’s Daily Apple. Oh gee how I hated statistics in graduate school. The media often uses statistics to confuse us and I think they often don’t understand the numbers! For example, the risk of colorectal cancer in the general population is 1.8%. There was a 17% increase in this risk by eating 100gm or about 1/4 pound of red meat each day. So now your actual risk is 2.1%, which is a 17% increase from 1.8%. If your risk had increased by 100%, then your actual risk would now be 3.6% i.e. doubled. So your actual risk of colorectal cancer is still relatively small. It’s worth minimizing for sure.

chuck roastSo, you don’t have time to read the literature yourself and you just want me to summarize it for you? Ok!

  • Whenever possible, go for grass-fed, pastured beef. The meat will have anti-oxidant properties since these animals were eating grass rather than grains. They require much less antibiotics since they are healthier overall having eaten a diet their bodies were meant to eat. I buy a wonderful chuck roast pictured here and I cut it to make a beef stew. It has so much more flavor than grain-fed beef stew cubes that you can buy in the supermarket and it is healthier for you. I know those food labels are confusing so here’s a good article explaining the difference between grass-fed and pastured beef.
  • Use gentler cooking methods to reduce production of carcinogens. Grilling season is over forbeefstew us but next year, I will definitely be trying some marinades to reduce the carcinogens created in my grilled dinners.
  • Eat your vegetables people! Nature gave us protection from the dark side of beef! Eat it! I have Kale, baby spinach, swiss chard in my breakfast shake everyday! One of my fav dishes is braised kale and carrots! If you want to try it, I use my pressure cooker but you can easily do this on the stove.
  • If you deal with autoimmune disease as I do, you definitely want to be purchasing grass-fed, pastured beef. Since you want to eat foods which minimizes inflammation. Be sure to eat your leafy green  vegetables at every meal!

I just started reading the book Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health by Denise Minger. I’m just in the first chapter but so far it is an engaging read. If you’ve read it or will read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. What does this mean? In order to support my blogging activities, I will receive a few pennies from Amazon but you pay the same price for the item. I only link to items that I have read, used, and enjoyed!

Stop Sabotaging Your Workouts!

I love this article, written by Beachbody’s Blog writer, Julie Stewart. I especially love mistake #2. I have often wondered why I see so many in gyms with that hunched posture. Lifting weights, when done properly, should IMPROVE your posture!

“It doesn’t matter if you’ve been working out for a week or a decade—odds are you’re making a handful of common mistakes that are holding you back. We’re also willing to bet that most of them aren’t your fault—gyms, exercise communities, and even some popular fitness programs are rife with well-intended advice that’s rooted more in bro-science than real-world research. That ends today. Purge the following mistakes from your training program to accelerate your gains and squeeze out of every rep.

Mistake #1: You stick to a routine
The rapid gains you enjoy at the beginning of a training program will eventually taper if you keep doing the same workouts month after month (or year after year). “The body adapts to new stresses quickly,” says Yunus Barisik, C.S.C.S., author of the blog Next Level Athletics. Your job—and the goal of any good exercise plan—is to make sure that adaptation (also known as muscle growth) never stops. “And the way to do that is by regularly varying what you do,” says Barisik.

The fix: If you’re a beginner, mix things up every two to three months. If you’re a veteran, you’ll need to do so even sooner. “Those changes don’t have to be major,” says Barisik. Occasionally swapping new exercises into your workouts (or trying a completely new workout program) is a smart idea. “But even minor tweaks—changing your grip, lifting pace, foot position, or rest periods—can lead to big gains by not only working muscles you normally miss, but also working the muscles you normally target in new ways,” says Barisk.

Mistake #2: You forget about your back
In their pursuit of head turning muscle, many people focus only on those they can see in the mirror—pecs, shoulders, arms, and abs. “And that’s a problem,” says Barisik. “Overemphasizing the front side of your body can lead to muscular imbalances, a hunched posture, and an increased risk of injury.” Since most people are already “anterior dominant”—meaning they more frequently use the muscles on the front of their bodies—such one-sided training often worsens existing postural and performance issues.

The fix: Stop using a mirror to gauge your progress—it’s the muscles you can’t see that you should focus on. To balance your upper body, perform two pulling exercises (chinup, row) for every pushing exercise, such as the overhead press or bench press, says Barisik. To balance your lower body, perform two sets of hamstring-dominant exercises, like the deadlift or kettlebell swing, for every set of a quad-dominant exercise, like the squat or lunge. After a few months (read: once your posture and musculature balance out), you can switch to one-to-one ratios, says Barisik.

Mistake #3: You train too hard (or not hard enough)
More isn’t always better when it comes to building strength and losing fat. “Most people don’t know how to safely push their limits,” says Michael Wood, C.S.C.S., Chief Fitness Officer of Koko FitClub. “You might think you’re working out efficiently, but few people actually optimize their training stimulus.” While you need to challenge your muscles to make them grow, you never want to push them to the point where you inhibit their ability to repair themselves. Why? Because when it comes to muscle, repair equals growth. On the other hand, if you don’t push your muscles hard enough, you won’t trigger growth at all. Your goal: To hit the intensity sweet spot where you maximize results without compromising recovery.

The Fix: If you’re lifting weights, always stop two reps short of in your last set of an exercise. Those reps provide no additional growth stimulus, and might actually slow muscle growth by extending the time needed for recovery. That said, you shouldn’t have more than two reps left in you, as that’s a sign you aren’t pushing hard enough. If you’re doing intervals or circuits, use a heart rate monitor to fine-tune effort and rest. Determine your max HR by multiplying your age by .7 and subtracting that number from 208. During work periods, build up your intensity to 75 to 85 percent of your max, says Wood. During rest periods, let it fall to 65 percent of your max HR before beginning your next round.

Mistake #4: You don’t dial in your diet
You’ve likely heard the adage “You can’t outrun a bad diet.” It’s true, so heed it. If your eating habits aren’t aligned with your fitness goals, you’ll never hit them. “Many active people eat too many carbs—especially simple carbs like sugar—and don’t pay nearly enough attention to fat and protein,” says Bob Seebohar, M.S., R.D., CSSD, C.S.C.S., a sport dietitian and owner and founder of eNRG Performance.

The fix: Step one in upgrading your diet is to reduce your consumption of added sugar (according to the government’s new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, such foods should comprise no more than 10 percent of your diet). Eat at least two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables a day. “And make sure every meal contains a balance of protein, fat, and fiber,” says Seebohar. “Neglecting these suggestions will yield poor blood sugar control, higher insulin levels, increased fat storage, and decreased fat burning.” Increasing your protein intake is particularly important. In a study by the U.S. Military Nutrition Division, people who ate twice the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein—1.6 grams instead of .8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight—preserved more muscle as they lost weight than those who stuck to the RDA. If you weigh 150 pounds, your daily protein quota is 109 grams.”

Are you setting goals in 2016?

Many of my friends having been asking me about my goals for the year and what I use to help me track and attain my goals. I found from talking with friends that most people never accomplish their lofty goals that they set Jan 1 of a new year.  I started researching goal setting so that I would
pushbe able to help my friends reach the goals they are setting. So there are two systems i will be using myself this year. The first is by Chalene Johnson which I will detail here. The second is by John Lee Dumas which I will detail in a blog post tomorrow because this one got much too long!

Chalene Johnson wrote the NY Times Best-Seller PUSH – 30 Days to Turbocharged Habits, a Bangin’ Body, and the Life You Deserve!  As well as being a celebrity trainer for Beachbody, she is also an entrepreneur who now helps others be successful at marketing their businesses.

Chalene writes, “The only way to achieve success is to make and keep a plan. I will give you the strategies to design the dream-life that you can’t wait to live and I’ll share the methods of realizing the goals to get you there!

  • Master carefully crafted and diligently maintained to-do list
  • Develop and honor your Priorities
  • Set, refine and achieve meaningful goals
  • Experience unbelievable success in all areas of your life

But best of all, I am going to show you how to make this a habit that you can manage in ten minutes a day!”

What I like about Chalene’s system is that she helps you rank 10 aspects of your life such as spirituality, spouse/SO, family/friends, finances, mental health, fitness. You then pick the area that needs the most work to focus on for the next day 30 days. If you’re presented with a task, you ask yourself if that task will help you achieve your PUSH goal. It really helps prevent you from saying YES to things that are only sabotaging your own success in achieving your goals.

Chalene has a FREE video series which takes you through PUSH. You can find that here, http://www.30daypush.com

Each year in working through her PUSH goals, Chalene found herself hating all the planners on the market so this year, she made her own. She has provided the planner for FREE along with videos topushplanner guide us through it. “This workbook takes you step by step through the process of setting goals for the key areas of life as well as how to set a PUSH Goal – a goal that makes all of your other goals possible. You will map a course of action, so you know exactly what you need to do every day to achieve all of your goals in 90 days or less!”  The Free planner can be found —–>  HERE.

The recorded Periscope/Facebook Live video can be found at Katch.mehttps://ktch.tv/5KZF. In this one video, Chalene takes you through the workbook. However, previously, she did a 5-part series on Periscope were she went through and did her goals and actions and gives you time to do it along side her. If you would prefer those videos with more detail, the links are below.

STEP ONE: How to Get Your Life Right in 90 Days    https://ktch.tv/5DVN
STEP TWO: How to Get Your Life Right in 90 Days    https://ktch.tv/5DY6
STEP THREE: How to Get Your Life Right in 90 Days https://ktch.tv/5D-0
STEP FOUR: How to Get Your Life Right in 90 Days   https://ktch.tv/5D_P
STEP FIVE: How to Get Your Life Right in 90 Days    https://ktch.tv/5F2h

If you find this helpful, please leave a comment! I would to hear what your PUSH goal is for 2016. The best way to stay accountable to your goals is to share it with friends and family!

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This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link to Chalene’s book PUSH. What does this mean? It means you pay the same price for the book but I will get a few pennies from Amazon’s profits for recommending it to you to help offset the cost of this website.

Five Stories of Nutrition and Healing in Autoimmunity

Stories of Nutrition and Healing

Today, I listened to a Phoenix Helix podcast Episode 30. I love her Stories podcasts which are Episodes 1, 14 and 30. In each of these three episodes, Eileen interviews people with different autoimmunity diseases. Today several of the stories really hit home for me.

In the first story, Tracey reversed Scleroderma, Polymyositis, and Raynaud’s with the Autoimmune Protocol diet (AIP). She had severe muscle destruction from her disease and is now back to participating in golfing tournaments and helping to (GASP – she’s 50) take care of her grand babies while running several businesses. Many of her symptoms sound like mine. Even with exercise, she continued to get weaker.

In the second story, Joe healed her severe Psoriasis with AIP. This story was interested b/c stress was a HUGE trigger for her Psoriasis. Even now in near complete remission, a lot of stress will bring on patches. Also sugar is a huge trigger for her autoimmune issues. So while paleo community has “paleofied” many treats using natural sweeteners, even those can be problematic. As Eileen says, if you’re on AIP and still not getting better, remove AIP treats completely to see if that is a trigger. Jo has a blog www.comfortbites.com with best trips for treating psoriasis. What hit home for me was that when she was stressed, it was hard to make wise food choices which of courses makes you feel worse.

In the third story, Dora discusses healing Grave’s disease with AIP. She is early in her journey but is slowly making progress in getting better. She got huge improvements, including a goiter shrinking, after just a few weeks on AIP and being off of steroids for a year. If you want some AIP version of Chinese dishes, check out Dora’s blog, Provincial Paleo.

In the fourth story, Freyja successful treats uveitis with AIP after numerous steroids including eye injections did not work. Interestingly, while she has no symptoms before her diagnosis and AIP, when she went back on a standard diet within hours she felt like she had the flu, she developed psoriasis in 3days, and her back pain which she had learned to live with and had disappeared on the 3months of AIP, was back.

In the fifth and final story, Barbara was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, which her mom also had. While Parkinson’s is not thought to be autoimmune disease, Barbara was told by her doctor to try Dr. Wahl’s protocol for just a few months. She got her life back w/ Dr. Wahl’s protocol. When the holidays came and she ate standard foods, her Parkinson’s symptoms returned.

These stories really drive home for me the importance of nutrition in fighting any chronic illness.

Should I use the Performance Line?

If you’re doing a Beachbody program, you may be wondering how to incorporate Beachbody’s new Performance Line into your nutrition. Autumn Calabrese very nicely sums it up for us!

In addition, Carl Daikeler, CEO of Beachbody, had this to say about the Performance Line in response to Autumn’s video.

If I can just add: I’ve used these ON INTENSE WORKOUT DAYS – maybe 3 times a week – since I finished my round of 21 Day Fix Extreme in Feb, and Autumn is 100% right. My results have only gotten better since I started using them despite more than a little slippage in diet. (Thank you Far Niente) If anything, using the Performance supplements pushes you harder. You can’t dog it once you commit to these. So extreme is extreme, insane is insane, beast is beastie. And the results around the office support this more than any of us expected. Try it for 30 days. You’ll see.

If you have any questions about if/when/how to incorporate these into your fitness plan, leave me a comment below or drop me an email!

Do you really need phytonutrients in your diet?

Ok, well I titled this post with a rhetorical question – OF COURSE you need phytonutrients in your diet! While nutrition research is unreliable because usually it is based on someone’s recall of what Welcome Basketthey ate over a period of time, I think the research is pretty clear that a plant-based diet has NUMEROUS health benefits. So what are phytonutrients and where can you get them, you may ask!

Here’s what Kim Kash, Team Beachbody Blogger had to say about phytonutrients:

Phytonutrients are chemicals found in plants that are necessary for the health and defense of the plant. Some of them can also be useful to the human body. They’re found in all fruits and vegetables and many phytonutrient-rich foods have deep or bright colors—such as blueberries, red cabbage, tomatoes, and kale. However, not all of these foods are jewel-toned! Whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices are also sources of these chemical compounds.

Generally speaking, phytonutrients have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and they may reduce cancer risks and promote liver health. There are upwards of 25,000 of these chemicals, but some in particular have been studied extensively and are known for their health benefits. Here are a few:

Carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein, are responsible for the yellow, orange and red colors in fruits and vegetables. They have antioxidant benefits in the body and promote healthy eyes and vision.

Ellagic acid, found in fruits including strawberries and raspberries, is thought to help protect the body against cancer.

Flavonoids, which are divided into several categories including catechins, hesperidin, and flavonols, may lower the risk of asthma and certain types of cancer, and act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.

Resveratrol, found in grapes and red wine, acts as an anti-inflammatory, possibly reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Sulfides, found in onions and garlic, are antioxidants, and support immunity and cardiovascular health. They also stimulate the body to get rid of harmful chemicals.

One great way to get the benefits of many different phytonutrients is by eating foods that cover the full spectrum of the rainbow! Here’s a list of just some of the ones that you can try.

So check out the list of fruits and vegetables and see how many you can get in each day to reduce your inflammation and lead a healthier life!

 

Do you need more energy?

Do you want more energy?

No, NOT this kind!!!

lightbulbenergyOften when people start a new fitness regime, they complain of fatigue. This causes them to stop their new fitness program before they reach the point of GAINING energy from being more fit. There are several things to keep in mind when starting a new fitness routine. You need to fuel your body for the increased demands you are asking of it. You may also need extra sleep in order to repair and recover from the demands
you are putting on your body. Also, if you’re under a lot of stress and add the physical stress (yes your body can sense your new routine as stress), this may make you feel tired and fatigued as well. I love the following article that Tony Horton, creator of P90X, wrote a few years ago. This applies not only to P90X but to any fitness routine. ENJOY!

THIS KIND!!!

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Have More Energy by Tony Horton

So you bought P90X off the tube and you’re all pumped up to kick some butt. Do you remember that shift in ENERGY the day you picked up the phone and started dialing? Any number of thoughts could’ve been racing through your mind at the time—fear, doubt, excitement, hope, anticipation—you name it.

Then the DVDs arrived. Some of you ripped the package open, read all the material, and got started that day. Some of you looked at the box as if it were filled with anthrax—keeping it sealed and placed on a shelf for some future investigation. You’re all at different stages of the program: newbies, start-agains, and even round 5-ers. I’d like to reveal four key components for success with P90X, and quite possibly other aspects of your life.

Have you ever noticed that some days just flow? Even on days when you have tons of things to do, you seem to have all the ENERGY in the world to handle anything. Yet other days feel like you live on Saturn. The weight of the world feels 10 times heavier than normal. It comes down to the amount of ENERGY you have on any given day. Your ENERGY always dictates your REALITY. When you’re filled with ENERGY, you’re sharp, ready, enthusiastic, and willing. When you’re pooped . . . forget about it! Organizing a sock drawer feels like climbing Mt. Everest.

So what causes these shifts? The big four are:
1. Food and supplementation
I know, I know. Here I go again. Hold on to your hats! There’s no way on God’s earth you can maintain a consistent level of ENERGY and enthusiasm for any 90-day program by eating the same old crap. You must . . . you have to . . . you need to make “The Change.” Proper ENERGY levels only come from eating the right food the right way at the right time of day. If you don’t know what that means, then you haven’t read the material and you’re doing this program the wrong way.

You are what you eat! If you eat the same old tired food that put you in this mess in the first place, that’s just what you’ll get. Tired and old before your time. You know what to do, so do it! It’s not Atkins® or Slim-Fast® or fast food or soft drinks or fried food or candy bars or doughnuts or liquid diets or any panoply of misleading ways of consuming food. Get your mind right about what goes in your mouth or continue to live in the land of the wannabes!

2. Sleep
This probably seems like the most obvious and simple component of the four. But it’s often the most abused. Recent statistics have shown that the leading cause of traffic accidents in this country is NOT alcohol, but sleep deprivation. If we don’t have enough ENERGY to stay awake while driving a car, how will we have enough ENERGY for a 6-day-a-week workout program?

We’re not sleeping enough hours at night, and even when we do, they’re often filled with so much mind chatter that we don’t get the proper rest we need. My new Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines “sleep” as follows: “the natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of the body are restored.” In Taoist philosophy, there’s the yin (not ying) and the yang. These are opposing ENERGIES that create balance. P90X is yang ENERGY. Sleep and rest are yin ENERGY. There must be proper balance between vim and vigor (yang) and inward calm (yin). If you don’t get enough sleep and rest, your body will not receive the proper restoration it needs to complete or succeed with this program, or anything else in life, for that matter.

3. Stress management
Do you realize that if you took the fear, worry, and anxiety out of every “stressful” situation in your life, the end result of that situation would still occur? You can panic and freak out all you want, but time will still pass and the end of that moment will still happen, whether you freak out or not. So why not choose something different? When do fear, worry, and anxiety ever really help a situation?

So what is stress? It’s the inability to move through a situation logically, peacefully, positively, productively, and gracefully. To be stressed out takes lots of ENERGY. Being stressed out can severely affect how well you’ll sleep at night. Stress is when you assess blame and don’t take responsibility. (“I’m stressed out because of______, and that’s why I can’t______.”) Don’t let stress be your scapegoat. There’s a story about 10 people in line at a bank when three armed robbers come flying in, screaming and yelling and pointing guns. They terrorize everyone and steal all their money. The moral of the story is that these 10 people will be affected by this experience in 10 different ways. The two extremes range from one having a wild story to tell at work the next day to another being severely traumatized for the rest of his or her life. Where would you fall in that spectrum?

There’s a saying that there are three kinds of business: “God’s business”—things that happen in this world that are out of my control; “their business”—the choices other people make based on their life experiences so far; and “my business”—the choices I make that shape my life. If I focus on what I have to do to make my life the best it can be, and NOT on God’s and everyone else’s business, I will have less stress, which in turn will give me the ENERGY to live the life I’ve always wanted.

Don’t waste your time on gossip, ridicule, envy, self-pity, anger, guilt, arrogance, need, impatience, regret, manipulation, jealousy, fear, worry, and anxiety, because they’ll zap your ENERGY and cause you stress!

Choose understanding, truth, clarity, patience, devotion, gratitude, vulnerability, acceptance, wisdom, hope, forgiveness, empathy, discipline, perseverance, community, and peace. Because if you do, you will gladly kiss stress goodbye and say hello to all the ENERGY you’ll need.

4. Purpose
Purpose is the driving force to get you from here to there. If you don’t have purpose, all the best food, supplementation, sleep, and stress-free days won’t help you one bit. You have to have a powerful burning desire to want it. My dictionary tells me that “purpose” is “seeking resolution.” Searching for answers to solve a problem. An intention. This all goes to the core of . . . why? Why do I want to spend the next 90 days turning my life upside down, maybe even for the second or third time, or more?

You’re looking for resolution. You’re searching for answers to help solve this problem. And most importantly, you must be clear about your intention. No one ever does anything just for the heck of it. There’s always some intention behind everything we do. Different kinds of behavior have different levels of intention and purpose. Eating fast food and leaving the DVDs on the shelf is one level. Following the program the way it was designed is another. I know I’ve said this before, but if your intention and purpose are based exclusively on esthetics and bragging rights, you miss the whole point of P90X. If your intention and purpose are based on good health, quality of life, athleticism, flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular endurance, you’re doing P90X for all the right reasons. If your intention and purpose are based on lifestyle, you will have plenty of ENERGY to succeed with and complete P90X. You will also have the ENERGY to be everything you always knew you could be.

May the Energy Revolution begin!

Do you love pineapple but hate cutting it?

My son loves fresh pineapple. I can take it or leave it (usually leave it) but being a mom, you sacrifice yourself for your kids. Well, sacrifice no more! I bought this pineapple slicer on a whim. My son was able to use it effortlessly. I was so impressed, I had to try it myself!

Pineapple Slicer

And here is the finished product! No more cutting off the tough outer skin from a pineapple! It was easy to get the pineapple off the tube and then cut the rings apart!

Pineapple Slicer

 

With the easy of cutting a fresh pineapple and reading about its health benefits at Medical News Today, I will be sure to add fresh pineapple to my diet.

One cup of fresh pineapple chunks provides 131% of your vitamin C needs for the day, 2% of vitamin A needs, 2% of calcium and 2% of iron.

Pineapple is also a source of important vitamins and minerals such as thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, manganese and potassium and antioxidants and polyphenols, such asbeta-carotene.

Fresh pineapple is the only known source of an enzyme called bromelain, which has been used in studies to determine it’s effectiveness in alleviating joint pain, arthritis, reduce inflammation, inhibit tumor growth and shorten recovery time following plastic surgery.

If you have a kitchen gadget that you just love and makes your life easier, leave me a comment and a link to it! Maybe there is something else out there I really, really need and I just don’t know about it yet!