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Five (Easy) Ways to Stay on Track in December

I get it – December can be a wash from a fitness and nutrition perspective, but only if you let it. It’s really, really easy to justify behaviors in December that you wouldn’t any other month of the year. 

Five cookies instead of two? It’s December, no biggie.

Didn’t exercise this week? It’s December, no biggie. 

It’s easy to say, “Screw it. I’ll pick back up in January.”

The average person gains 1-2 lbs. over the holidays. The good news? It’s really, really easy to avoid holiday weight gain.

Here are my top five tried-and-true holiday guidelines to help you stay focused, enjoy the holidays and start 2018 strong:

MAKE THE “NON-HOLIDAY” DAYS COUNT.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve are each one day. One! And yet, so many people let two or three weeks go by without exercise or structured diet. Look at all of the days leading up to and following the holidays. Surely you have a free 30 minutes to exercise on “non-holiday” days and surely, you have the opportunity to stick to a clean diet most of the time. 

Do something for me. Dig way back in your memory to when you started your health journey. Remember how hard it was to get going? How much time it took to schedule your workouts, how painful it was to get up an hour early, how difficult it was to eat clean on a regular basis? Don’t go through that again! Schedule out those “non-holiday” days with at least 30 minutes of exercise. Don’t have a gym? No problem! Take a long walk with your family, or do a quick HIIT workout in your bedroom before the rest of the house wakes up. The key to making these “non-holiday” days count is scheduling. Write it down. Stick to it! 

BUDDY UP.

Exercise is more fun with company. You don’t have to sacrifice precious family time slaving away for hours at the gym over the holidays. While you’re planning your “non-holiday” day workouts, get your siblings, parents, friends or partner involved. Having an accountability buddy will help you both stay on track and makes the whole process a lot more enjoyable.

INDULGE WITHIN REASON.

A big part of holiday tradition is food, and most of it is far from “clean.” And you know what? That’s OK! Enjoy your Grandma’s Christmas cookies. Don’t be that person who stands in the corner eating celery. BUT. Focus on portion control. Remember that this won’t be the last time you ever get to eat holiday foods in your life. If you’re like me and can easily eat 15 cookies in a day, set a limit, like two per day. This will force you to slow down and really savor what you’re consuming.  

DON’T EAT TWO UNHEALTHY MEALS IN A ROW.

This is a super straightforward and easy-to-follow nutrition tip that will help you stay on track and also feel fulfilled during the holidays (#score!). If you know you’re going all out for Christmas dinner, make sure the lunch before and breakfast the next day are healthy and balanced. Enjoy and indulge in those special holiday meals, but then, get back to it.  

CREATE A REWARD/CONSEQUENCE SYSTEM.

Once you have your holiday plan in place, write it down: your “non-holiday” day workouts (and partners) and your indulgence guidelines. Next, sprinkle a little extra motivation on top: a reward/consequence system.

For example, if you complete your plan as scheduled, treat yourself to a massage or a new pair of trainers. If you fail to stick to your routine, you have to donate $100 to a cause you don’t support. Have some fun with it!


BOTTOM LINE: A BIG PART OF FEELING HAPPY IS FEELING HEALTHY.

Do what you can to fuel yourself properly, get enough rest, and move a little bit each day. Doing these good things for yourself will improve your mood and ensure you have the best holiday season yet.

From my home to yours – happy holidays! 

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Now Available for Pre-Order: My Best Body – Home Training Program

My Best Body – Home Training Program is now available for worldwide pre-order for $89.99 USD! 

STARTING TODAY, YOU CAN:

  1. Save $10 and secure your copy of the My Best Body – Home Training Program for $89.99 USD
  2. Skip the craziness of launch date (who remembers the #MBBcrash of Dec. 5, 2016?) and receive your download links via email on Oct. 30

TO PRE-ORDER MY BEST BODY – HOME TRAINING PROGRAM: 

  1. Visit the product listing in my shop.
  2. Add the product to your cart and check out through PayPal. You will be charged upfront and will receive your downloads via email on Oct. 30 when the program launches.

Please note: PayPal securely processes all payments, but you do not have to purchase using a PayPal account! Credit and debit cards work, too. 


NOT SURE IF MY BEST BODY – HOME IS FOR YOU?

I got you covered. Try out a 3-week free trial of My Best Body – Home here. 

With so many options out there these days, I completely understand hesitation, but I can also promise you that I am 100% confident you will find this program effective, challenging AND fun, no matter where you train or where you’re starting from!

I like to take my time with the creation and development of my programs (I started this program back in December 2016!). Why? Because quality and safety are of utmost importance to me. 

My #1 goal is to help you reach your goals, even from the other side of the world. Compared to similar 3-month programs, I believe I provide:

  • An exceptional amount of value.
  • A truly effective and safe workout progression that is going to empower and energize you.
  • A lot of helpful info that will set you up for longterm success!

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#MBBtrial – Week 2/Phase 2 – Hypertrophy (Muscle Growth)

We are about halfway through the 3-week #MBBtrial … can you believe it?

In this second week, which is modeled after the second phase of the full My Best Body Training Program, you will put your muscles to the test with heavier, lower rep sets. Heavy, low-rep sets will stimulate change – on the inside, and out.

Hypertrophy is just a fancy word for “muscle growth.” Hypertrophy is a primary goal of My Best Body, which is why there is no cardio built into the first six weeks of the program – to give our muscles the best chance at growth. (Don’t worry – you will run your tail off in phase 3!).

Muscle growth is not an overnight process. It takes time and consistency. Don’t get put off by the long road ahead – instead, focus on the 24 hours in front of you, and make them the best they can be. 

If you choose to use the My Best Body Macro-Counting Nutrition Guide, this will be the phase (in addition to phase 1) in which you eat in a slight surplus. The macro guide is a separate, super affordable ebook.

Exercise caution when bumping up your weights. How do you know how heavy to go? Try a set! Your form should be solid above all else, with the last few reps being a struggle to complete (but do-able). If that means you need to drop your weight a little – do it! Quality over quantity. If you are relatively new to weight training, it might benefit you to have a spotter on hand for squats and bench presses.

These workouts will take you about 60 minutes to complete. Take your time and focus on making a mind-muscle connection with every rep! Keep me posted this week on your #MBBtrial experiences!

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Overtraining Syndrome: Too Much of a Good Thing

Overtraining – how do you know when you’re doing too much? There is a fine line between exercising at your greatest potential and pushing your body beyond its healthy limits.

Did you know that all exercise – no matter its intensity – places stress on your body? Don’t worry, though – for the most part, this is eustress – or “good” stress – that forces your body to make healthy adaptations, like a faster metabolism and improved cardiovascular strength and muscular endurance.

There IS such a thing as too much of a good thing, though. When your body reaches the exhaustion stage in response to stress, you experience fatigue and sometimes injury. Like me, you may not even realize that you have reached this point until your body simply shuts down. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I recently suffered a burnout as a result of overtraining, which is why I chose this topic to talk about today. Having successfully pulled myself out of this slump, I want to pass along what I have learned in the hopes that you can maintain balance and a healthy level of exercise.

Here are a few signs of overtraining – all of which I experienced during my own burnout:

  • Fatigue: You find it difficult to get out of bed most mornings; you feel groggy on a daily basis, despite proper fueling and rest; you simply do not feel rested even after a full night of sleep.
  • Excessive Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS): This is extreme muscle soreness following a workout that lasts for three or more days. You may even notice soreness and achiness in muscles you weren’t training. This indicates that you are not allowing for proper recovery.
  • Body aches: Your body aches all over, like when you have the flu or a bad cold.
  • Progress plateau: You are training hard and eating well, but aren’t seeing any change physically.
  • Insomnia: You are training hard and feel tired by bed time, but you aren’t sleeping soundly through the night. This can be caused by hormonal imbalances as a result of overtraining.
  • Pessimism, hopelessness and declined confidence: If you are training hard and eating well and stop seeing results, this can lead to frustration and declined self-esteem. In this case, it’s easy to think that the way out of your rut is MORE exercise and restrictive dieting, when in reality, these are the very actions that have caused your body to shut down.
  • Waning motivation to reach your fitness goals / fading interest in your workouts: Overtraining is just one of many reasons behind fading motivation, but if you find yourself working very hard but are no longer looking forward to or enjoying your workouts, it may be time for a break and reflection.

Tips to avoid overtraining:

  • Every three months, take an entire week off from exercise. Yes, I said it – you get a free pass for an entire week! This week “resets” many functions in your body. This can be an active rest week; you can do yoga or take leisurely walks – but try to stay away from high intensity exercise for at least seven days. You will not lose progress as a result of taking a week’s vacation from the gym. You will find that you feel refreshed and ready to take on your goals.
  • Your schedule is important, but first and foremost – listen to your body. I firmly believe in the importance of creating and sticking to a workout schedule. If I write it down, I make it happen – plain and simple. However, if you find yourself experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it may be time to reassess the balance and intensity of your schedule. This is especially important if you are following a fitness program. Fitness programs are not one-size-fits-all; we all react differently to different amounts of exercise. Do not force yourself to maintain the intensity of a program if it is causing you to overtrain. Always be a mindful consumer when it comes to fitness programs – don’t fall into the trap of blindly following instruction and ignoring your body. If you are continuously training at a high level without taking breaks – and by a break, I mean more than one rest day a week – you are probably going to experience burnout. Remember that your body does not care about your desire to build muscle or burn fat if it is overly stressed. Taking the appropriate time to rest and recover will ensure that your body is truly benefiting from your exercise schedule.
  • Be honest with yourself about the length of your workouts. Do you find yourself adding “just a few more sets” to your workouts, and before you know it, you’ve been there for two hours? Are you working out intensely for more than an hour? After about 60 minutes, levels of cortisol – your stress hormone – begin to rise, and testosterone – which is responsible for building muscle – dips. At this point, exercise is no longer having a positive effect on your body. Keep your workouts to an hour or shorter.
  • Apply the principle of progressive overload, but always remember to cycle back to the basics. No matter how far along you get in your fitness journey, it’s important to return to lower intensity periods of exercise to give your body a break. When using the principle of progressive overload – continuously adapting your workouts to be more challenging – it’s easy to fall into the cycle of always trying to do more – to go harder – to stay longer – and before you know it, you are burned out. After your week’s vacation from exercise, cycle back to the beginning again – focus on stabilization or unilateral exercises that improve your body’s alignment and ability to balance and find stability in unstable environments – before hopping back in at 100 mph again.

It’s so important to remember why we exercise. Your health is always the number 1 priority. We exercise to improve our health, first and foremost. If you find yourself feeling burned out with your fitness, take some time to reassess your schedule and make changes if necessary. Remember that there is not one “right” way to any one goal, and even if we all have the same goal, all of our paths are going to look different. At the end of the day, it is most important to do what is right and best for your body.