A CASE FOR EATING MORE AND EXERCISING LESS

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Disclaimer: this post does NOT promote the idea that you can get fit by eating whatever you want, whenever you want and never exercise. It DOES promote the idea that fueling your body properly and incorporating strength and interval training into your routine is one of the best ways to care for it.

Most of us learn early on to correlate losing weight and being “in shape” with calorie restriction. The calories in vs calories out equation has been engrained in our belief system, and a quick talk with any average nutritionists or “expert”, you’ll likely hear that losing weight is just a simple equation of burning more calories than you consume.

I’m here to call BS on that equation.

It’s not that the “calories in/calories out” equation doesn’t apply, because it does to an extent. The problem is that biology designed our bodies to run systematically and it can’t be manipulated as easily as that equation would suggest. So if you set out to restrict calories and begin regularly eating fewer calories than your body needs, your body will automatically start burning fewer calories. It’s just how the body works.

The other issue at hand is that the calories in/calories out equation has convinced us that the only thing that matters when looking at food is the number of calories it contains, enforcing the belief that “low calorie” is the same thing as “healthy” (hint: it’s not).

The reality is that all calories are not created equal. If a “calorie was a calorie” was truly the case, we should see the same effects on our bodies from 100 calories from protein or fat. But that’s not the case, and when we try to simplify all food down to only a number of calories, we leave out the other (much more important) effects that a food has on our bodies.

Take for example 500 calories worth of broccoli and 500 calories worth of M&M’s. Most people intuitively know that the broccoli is better for us than the M&M’s, despite the fact that they have the same number of calories. This is an important point: the number of calories has no bearing on how healthy (or not) the food is.

The focus on calorie restriction for weight loss has perpetrated the idea that low-calorie foods are healthy and high-calorie foods are unhealthy, and this misconception is one of the biggest reasons that most people fail to lose weight and keep it off.  We have been convinced to focus so much on the number of calories we’re eating that we completely ignore whether a food is actually good for us. So the problem becomes two-fold: when we set out to “get healthy” by drastically cutting calories, we aren’t giving our bodies enough food to function properly, and the food we are giving it is junk (I’m talking to you, 100-calorie packs of cookies).

It’s also worth discussing the less obvious but very real effects of restricting calories on our mental health. Often when people begin restricting calories, their life starts to revolve around what they can eat, what they can’t, how much they can eat, etc. They start to correlate food with something to feel guilty about, which often leads to an unhealthy relationship with food and even greater struggles with weight loss. Restricting calories can become an obsessive behavior and it is not unusual for it to lead to other eating issues.

So if calorie restriction isn’t the answer, what is?

The answer, like the problem, is two-fold:

1) learning to fuel your body with a balanced, nutritious diet and
2) performing workouts that help increase your metabolism.

LEARN TO FUEL YOUR BODY PROPERLY

When we restrict calories to too-low levels, our metabolism slows down, making us prone to gaining more unwanted weight over time. There is a minimum number of calories that a person needs every day just to carry out basic daily functions- for women, this is generally around 1,200 although it varies based on age, size, and a few other factors.

It can be tempting to cut your daily calories drastically in order to jump start weight loss, however cutting calories below the 1,200 bare minimum will tank your metabolism and can put your physical and mental health at risk. The length and intensity of your workouts should also factor into how many calories you’re eating. For those of us doing high intensity workouts 3-5 days a week, we will need more food to function on a daily basis than someone who is doing to little to no exercise.

Contrary to the popular belief that calorie restriction is the key to weight loss, the focus should be on the quality of the food we are eating (not the quantity). We need to eat a sufficient amount of food (eating too little can do just as much harm, if not more, as eating too much), and make sure it is good, quality food.

DO WORKOUTS THAT INCREASE YOUR METABOLISM

Instead of focusing solely on aerobic exercise to burn calories, focus on doing shorter workouts, but upping the intensity of each workout.

Rather than doing an hour on the treadmill, aim to do 30-40 minutes of high intensity interval training or strength training. You’ll get a more effective workout in less time and increase your metabolism: It’s a serious win-win!

Not sure where to start with your high intensity interval workouts? Check out our 20×2 workout, or this 26 Minute HIIT Workout, or this Total Body HIIT workout.

5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

Metabolism varies from person to person and is the determining factor in how much fat we burn off our bodies. While you may not have been blessed with a sky-high metabolism, the beautiful thing is we have the ability to CHANGE our own metabolism!

The best part about increasing your metabolism is that it is literally working for you all day long, burning calories even while you’re sleeping.

So how can we make sure our metabolism is running at top speed? I’ve got five proven strategies for you below.

DRINK AT LEAST 100 OZ. OF WATER EVERY DAY

Even being slightly dehydrated can negatively affect your metabolism. So grab a 20 oz. tumbler and make it your goal to drink at least five of those each day. Carry that thing with you everywhere! Set alarms on your phone to remind you to drink up throughout the day.

EAT WITHIN 90 MINUTES OF WAKING UP

When we’re asleep throughout the night, our body kicks into fasting mode because we go so long without eating. If you don’t eat shortly after waking up, you will STAY in fasting mode, signaling your body to slow down your metabolism.

The solution? Eat a healthy breakfast within an hour of waking up and get your metabolism revved up for the day.

STRENGTH TRAIN

Strength training is one of the most effective ways to boost your metabolism, lose inches, and tone up- it’s seriously a win-win-win.

The beautiful part about it is that even if you don’t have access to a gym, you can do body-weight strength training exercises from literally anywhere – they are just as effective as lifting weights.

Aim to incorporate it strength training your workouts 2-3 times per week to build lean, toned muscle that will rev your metabolism and help you torch more calories all day long.

HIIT THE CARDIO

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is an EXTREMELY effective strategy for revving up your metabolism because your body will continue to burn extra calories for up to 48 hours after your workout! #amazing

Start by adding 20-30 minutes of HIIT cardio to your routine 2-3 times per week- for example, do 20 minutes of HIIT cardio and go for a 20 minute run for a full workout.

PS: burpees and sprints are two of my personal favorite HIIT moves.

EAT FREQUENTLY THROUGHOUT THE DAY

Thanks to the caveman-era, when we go too long without eating our body kicks into starvation mode and slows down our metabolism. Eating a meal or small snack every 3-4 hours helps prevent that from happening and also ensures you’re fueling your body properly throughout the day.

The Only 6 Rules You Need To Get the Body You Want

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Hey girl hey!

Story time: this weekend, I went to my favorite local burger joint and ordered up a double cheeseburger and a boozy milkshake (yup- ice cream + alcohol) and a comment from my waitress (who we loved and who gave us great service) hit home for me.

She said something along the lines of “I wish I could eat like this and look like you!”

And while I gave her a smile, what I really wanted to tell her was this:

  •  It’s not necessary to starve yourself to get the body you want
  •  It’s not necessary to follow a ridiculously strict diet plan to get the body you want
  • It’s not necessary to spend hours working out every week to get the body you want
  • It’s possible to eat food and do workouts without obsessing about how many calories you ate or burned
  • It’s possible to choose ice cream over kale or happy hour over a workout- and get right back on track WITHOUT beating yourself up
  • You can choose to love your body and yourself and to live from that place of love, instead of trying to hate your way to the body you want. Because loving your body will get WORLDS farther than hating it ever will.

I don’t have double cheeseburgers and boozy milkshakes every day. But when I have a hankering for them, I eat them. And then I get right back on track. No feeling guilty. No extra workouts. No starving myself.

Because in between all the workouts and healthy eating, there is a thing called LIFE that is meant to be LIVED.

One singular meal won’t make you fit- just like one singular meal won’t you fat. It is what we do on a daily, consistent basis that matters most- not the once-in-awhile, good-for-the-soul meals like this one.

So have your cheeseburger and your ice cream, enjoy the EFF out of them, and get right back to the workouts and healthy eating.

xo,

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3 Essential Tools for Success

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Hey lovebugs- I want to talk to you about success. No one magically achieves their goals. 

But guess what? With the right amount of effort, motivation, and strategy, it is completely possible to:

  • Achieve the body you want
  • End the cycle of calorie restriction and hours of cardio
  • Transform your self-esteem and confidence
  • Become fit and strong from the inside-out

I have clients doing these things as we speak, and they are changing their lives! I’m so thankful to be a part of their journeys.

But getting there wasn’t a breeze.

They have all had bumps along the way. Over time, I’ve come to realize that feeling “stuck” is generally caused by a lack of three things:

1. Courage: the ability to move forward in spite of fear.

It takes courage to move out of our comfort zones and try something new. Investing in ourselves and taking a leap of faith is essential to achieving our goals.

When I took that leap of faith, I was able to completely transform the person I am. Your fear won’t go away, but you have the choice to overcome it.

2. Motivation: Know exactly what you are fighting for and why.

Do you have a clear picture of what things will look like once you “get there”? How will things be different? We are ignited by a unique energy that comes only from the pursuit of something that will transform us into the person we want to be. My energy was ignited two years ago when I started my own journey, and it was been burning bright ever since.

3. Guidance: having support from someone who has been where you are.

Whenever I’ve needed advice or someone to confide in, I have always been able to turn to my mom, my best friend, and my fiance. As wonderful as they all are, none of them had every been through the journey that I was on. I read all of the free exercise and diet articles online and did my best to apply it, but nothing was as powerful as working with someone who gone through this journey before me. This journey isn’t meant to be done alone.

I’ve created “Invigorate” to give you the guidance you deserve. There’s no reason to wish or wait for success any longer.

Registration for “Invigorate” is currently open!

In this high-level program, I’ll give you everything you need to finally achieve your goals:

  • 1:1 coaching
  • Personalized workout guides
  • Tools for optimizing the mind-body connection
  • Strategies for overcoming obstacles

You’re never going to feel completely ready, and it’s never going to feel less scary, but believe me girl- everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side.

Love,

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I Stopped Worrying About Calories and Finally Got the Body and Life I Wanted

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It’s no secret that fitness is a pretty important part of my life, but it hasn’t always been that way. I stumbled on to it during a difficult time when I was transitioning out of a long-term relationship and into single life. I had little confidence or self-esteem and was using drinking and partying as a way to cope. I spent my weekends partying until the early hours of the morning, with only blurred memories of my nights. It left me feeling empty and unfulfilled. I was unhappy, but I didn’t know how to change.

In the midst of my unhappiness I stumbled onto strength training and fitness, and while I didn’t know it at the time, it would soon become the catalyst I needed to change my life and finally find happiness (and strength. and confidence. and peace within myself. but I digress!).

[Want to get started making a change in your life too? Click here for your free 5-Step Guide from Lift Beautiful!]

THE COLLEGE YEARS

I wasn’t always interested in fitness. During college, the party scene ruled my life. I took full advantage of my newfound freedom and spent my time partying and living off pizza and fast food.

The drinking and unhealthy eating started to catch up with me and during my sophomore year, I put on the dreaded “freshman fifteen”. It wasn’t a huge increase in weight, but my self-esteem was already low and insecurity about my body began to creep in. To combat it, I cycled back and forth between barely eating and doing hours of cardio in an attempt to cancel out the food I ate. I was developing a very unhealthy relationship with food and exercise, but all I cared about was being skinny and partying.

That lifestyle continued in the years after college, although to a lesser degree. To accommodate the 9-5 lifestyle of a working adult, I limited my heavy drinking to the weekends and drank wine a few nights a week to unwind from work.  I was religious about getting 5-6 hours of cardio in every week in an attempt to keep the weight off, but despite the regular exercise and restricting my food intake, I found myself struggling to make any progress. I was getting frustrated- I was sure that calorie restriction and cardio were what I needed to “get skinny” and I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t working. I resigned myself to the fact that as I neared my mid-twenties, my metabolism was slowing down and there wasn’t much I could do about it.

THE TURNING POINT

At 26, after a particularly wild weekend of partying, I spent a full day on the couch nursing a hangover and unhappily recalling my drunken antics from the previous night. That’s when it hit me: I didn’t want to do this anymore. I hated the fact that I was using alcohol as an outlet for my unhappiness, and more significantly I didn’t like who I was becoming. I didn’t want to continue being this party girl, but I felt lost. I didn’t know who I was anymore.

Fast forward a month and the gym I belonged to was offering two free personal training sessions to members. Although I had no desire to work with a personal trainer (I just wanted to go to the gym, get my cardio in, and leave) they were giving $100 gift cards to anyone who completed the two free sessions, so I decided to go through the motions and get my gift card- I had big plans to use that free $100 for a massage!

I considered myself to be in decent shape from all the cardio I was doing, so I  went into my first personal training session with little enthusiasm. However, after one quick 30-minute session, I was quickly humbled. I was sore for an entire week- everything hurt! Even walking and laughing were difficult from my sore legs and abs. We had done a lot of very basic moves like push-ups, lunges, and squats and I couldn’t believe how sore they had made me! I humbly began to consider that maybe I wasn’t in as good of shape as I thought, and that incorporating some strength training into my cardio-only routine might be a good idea. 

[Want to learn more about the 5 exercises that helped me burn more calories than the treadmill? Click here for all the deets from Kristen.]

I had no clue how to workout with weights, so I bought a couple more sessions with my trainer to learn. She had sparked my interest with her style of strength training. It wasn’t the slow, low-intensity workout I had always pictured it to be- she pushed me hard and  I was always sweaty and exhausted after that 30 minutes. While the workouts were tough, they left me feeling accomplished and with a desire to get stronger and improve (and not simply a desire to burn calories). I don’t take for granted that I ended up with a trainer who had a profound ability to motivate and inspire me. Life has a funny way of gently pushing you in the right direction, and this was my push.

FINDING MYSELF THROUGH FITNESS

As I learned to incorporate strength training and circuit training into my routine, my confidence grew. My relationship with food and exercise also began to transform: the workouts I was doing were tough, but they left me feeling empowered and strong. In the past  I had always looked at exercise as something I had to do in order to burn off the food I ate, but with my new workout program I was starting to get stronger. My motivation for working out slowly shifted: I cared less about calorie burn, and more about getting strong.

I also started noticing how much better my workouts felt when I ate good food, and enough of it. Eating 1,000 calories a day meant I couldn’t get through these kinds of workouts, so I stopped restricting calories so severely and began to focus on eating good, healthy food instead. My viewpoint was beginning to shift: I started to see food as fuel.

Four or five months into working with my trainer, I was regularly strength training and circuit training and I loved how good my workout program was making me feel. Still, I continued to spend my weekends partying which meant that Saturdays and Sundays were spent hungover on the couch. I started to resent the fact that I was nursing hangovers every weekend when I could have gotten a workout in and felt energized. Though it happened slowly, I was coming to an important realization: fitness made me feel better than partying.

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Over the next year, I slowly cut back on drinking and started finding other things to do in my free time. I started dating someone who fully supported my decision to spend less time partying, and we found other things to do on the weekends: hiking, movies, local festivals, etc. I didn’t give up alcohol completely, but learned to enjoy it in moderation.

Looking back, fitness became the foundation on which I rebuilt my life. It was the catalyst I needed to stop burying my unhappiness with drinking and partying, and find the strength to live life fearlessly. It became a stepping stone for building self-esteem and confidence, and has transformed me into the fit, strong, confident girl I am today.

This journey has taught me that we truly have the power to create our own future- we just have to be strong enough to take that first step. If you’re continuing to struggle with restricting calories and spending hours doing cardio without seeing results, I want you to know: it doesn’t have to be that way!

If you’re ready to make a change, download your free copy of my guide “5 Exercises that Burn More Calories than the Treadmill in Less Time” and you can get started TODAY!

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10 Small Things to Get You Through a Bad Day

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So you’ve had a rough, no-good, just-plain-terrible day. The kind of day that makes you want to crawl into bed and not wake up for a week. While that does sound kind of great, I think we all know that hiding under your covers might not be the best way to deal. Try a few of these ideas to decompress and rekindle that fire inside you:

Get some fresh air

After a tough day, fresh air is a must. Nature is good for the soul and taking in some fresh air will leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed. It brings you clarity and increases serotonin levels, meaning your mood will get an instant face-lift.

Exercise

Exercise is one of the most effective and overlooked stress relievers and mood boosters out there. Just 10 minutes of exercise, whether it’s a simple walk or a more intense HIIT workout, will get your body producing endorphins guaranteed to boost your mood and bring you a sense of clarity. Even better- take your workout outdoors to increase those mood-boosting and stress-relieving effects.

Have a good laugh

The internet is a fantastic place to find silly, goofy memes and pictures- take advantage and pin your favorites to a Pinterest board for easy access when you need a good laugh. Not a Pinterest person? Hop on over to YouTube or throw your favorite comedy in the DVD player to put a smile on your face.

Take a hot bath

Soaking in a hot bath has a way of making your stress and worries feel a world away. Turn down the lights, put on your favorite music, and let it all melt away.

Make a list of the things you’re grateful for right now

After a sh*t day, it’s easy to lose perspective. Grab a notepad and start listing the things in your life that you’re grateful for right at this very moment. Your mom. Your sister. Your dog. Your muscles. Seeing a concrete list of all the great things in your life is a gentle reminder that while today wasn’t great, there are a number of things to thank your lucky stars for.

Light a candle and stretch it out

Do yourself a favor: light your favorite candle, grab your yoga mat, and stretch. The stress you’ve been feeling all day makes your muscles tense, and stretching helps relax them, in turn helping relax your mind and bring you a sense of calm.

Grab your furry friend

Animals are the best kind of stress relief and bringers-of-happiness. After a long day, there’s nothing better than coming home to a dog who is JUST SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU. It’s impossible not to feel better. Don’t have a furry friend of your own? Hop on http://cuteroulette.com/#/ or Pinterest to find some adorable animals that will put a smile on your face.

Read a book

Ahh there’s nothing like a good book to turn off your brain and let your mind get lost in the story. Picking up your favorite read is shown to help de-stress and un-frazzle our minds- so grab your favorite Harry Potter book and get to reading.

Vent it out

To your best friend, your mom, or whoever your person is. Not big on talking about your feelings? Grab a notepad and vent your frustrations on paper. Whichever your preferred method, get those frustrations out! Once they’re out, it’s easier to get your sense of calm and clarity back.

Pull yourself together

You’ve gotten your fresh air and taken a hot bath. Now it’s time to pull it together, girl. Elizabeth Taylor said it best:

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MORE IS MORE

THE PROBLEM WITH CALORIE CUTTING AND HOW IT CAN HURT YOUR PROGRESS

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Excuse this snapchat pic, but it too accurately depicts exactly what I’m trying to get across. For a very long time (we’re talking years), I was religious about doing 6+ hours of cardio per week and eating less than 1200 calories a day, but was always left wondering WHY in the world I wasn’t losing weight. I always came to the same conclusion- I must be eating too much. Better slash some more calories.

AGH.

There are a number of things wrong with the approach I was taking to losing weight, #1 being that I was absolutely tanking my metabolism, and #2 being that I was incorporating zero strength training into my exercise routine. So if drastically slashing calories and doing hours of cardio aren’t the answer, what is??

FAT LOSS

When we look at fat loss, in theory, decreasing caloric intake and increasing exercise sounds like the logical way to go about it, but in practice it doesn’t always work that way.While we need to have a caloric deficit to lose body fat, it can’t be simplified down to “calories in vs. calories out.” Our bodies are complex and adaptive and this can make trying to lose fat a huge pain in the a$$.

Because our bodies are so adaptive, when you decrease your calories, your body will respond by slowing  down your metabolism. When you drastically cut your caloric intake over and over for extended periods of time (hello, yo-yo dieting), you will slowly wreak havoc on your metabolism, making it harder to achieve the goal you’ve set out to achieve.

UM WHAT? So if we can’t eat too much and we can’t eat too little, what are supposed to do????

BE PATIENT

You have to cut your calories for fat loss, but it’s BE SMART about it: for the typical person, this would mean a decrease of 250-400 calories a day from your normal intake.

I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING: “but Krissy, if I only cut between 250-400 calories a day, this is going to take FOR-EV-ER.”

Stay with me. It’s tempting to jump right in and cut 600,700, 800 calories every day, but that is very much like putting a band aid on a broken leg. A few weeks down the road, your metabolism is going to start slowing down, your workouts are going to feel sluggish, and your progress is going to stall. If you want it to last, you gotta go slow!

STRENGTH TRAIN AND HIIT

Speaking of metabolism, did you know there is a fantastic, wonderful way to amp yours up?

If you’re not already incorporating strength training and high-intensity training (HIIT) into your workout routine, they are both a MUST. After consistently doing them 2-3 times a week for a year, I was eating 2000-2500 calories a day (that’s double what I was previously eating) AND I was leaner than ever before.

How does this work you ask? 1. Strength training builds muscle, which burns more calories. 2. High-intensity training causes an “after-burn” effect, so your body burns extra calories for up to 24-hours AFTER you’ve finished your workout. These are free calories people- what are you waiting for!

To summarize: weight-lifting and HIIT = more food and less body fat.

STICK WITH IT

Real results require consistency and patience. Make strength training and HIIT a priority, fuel your body properly, and you WILL see the results of your hard work. PINKY PROMISE.

If you’ve been training harder and still aren’t seeing the results you want, we can help- Contact us today!