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Plant Fusion Protein Review

A few weeks ago my favorite brand of plant based supplements, Vega, had a product recall. This left me in a state of shock as not only was I completely out of my favorite supplements, but I could not purchase any since the shelves were cleared at my local Whole Foods stores. You may think that this is no big deal but as a girl who is on a strict bodybuilding program, I drink this stuff three times per day – I had to find an alternative and fast.

plantfusionsamples

I looked at the ingredients in many of the other plant based protein powders and was not impressed. They either had too many carbohydrates, too much sodium, or simply not enough grams of protein per serving. On the bottom shelf I came across a protein called Plant Fusion. After carefully studying the macros and Amino Acids profile I decided to pick some up and give it a try. The flavor that was in stock? Cookies and Cream. Sounded like a great alternative to the boring vanilla and chocolate I had been drinking at the time.

When I got home and opened the container, I couldn’t believe how smooth the consistency of the powder was compared to the other plant based protein I had tried. This meant that it would mix well and it did! The flavor was good too – although the Cookies and Cream did not taste like Cookies and Cream, it was a nice chocolate flavor that I would have no problem drinking multiple times per day.

protein

The next time that I went to Whole Foods I decided to try another flavor – vanilla. (yes, Vega still wasn’t in stock) This flavor was great as well. Plant Fusion was awesome to send me samples of the other flavors as well and I have to say, all of them are fabulous. This protein is easily digestible and doesn’t leave you feeling bloated or gassy like some plant based protein will. Check out the nutrition facts and amino profile in the picture below!

bcaa

After weeks of using Plant Fusion, I have made the decision to continue using it in place of Vega. Now only does it taste just as good but it is a better price point too! Afterall, drinking three of these shakes a day gets a bit pricey and if I can save $20 per tub, that’s a plus. Give this stuff a try. Go to plantfusion.net or check out your closest natural foods store to see if they have it in stock.

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How to get Amazing Abs

Everyone wants a flat stomach. Some will do hundreds of crunches daily in hopes of getting those elusive 6-pack abs, but will crunches alone get you there? The truth- no. Your nutrition is what will get you to drop the extra belly fat and sculpt a lean mid-section. The following is an example of my daily flat belly meal plan and abdominal conditioning schedule.

Of course a healthy nutrition plan alone will not get you the cut look of a 6-pack. Below is an example of my weekly abdominal conditioning routine.

Follow my simple plan to get your stomach flat and toned. Oh, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water!

This is Why You’re Bloated

The foods that you put into your body directly effect your ability to lose, maintain or gain weight. While  fast foods, frozen foods/prepackaged foods may be convenient and quick for your schedule, these foods are making your fitness goals less convenient…in other words slowing down your potential progress.

This is why you’re bloated- Lack of fiber, cheese and over-processed foods are blocking up your system and inhibiting natural digestion. The liquids that you are drinking (soda, alcohol, etc) are the exact ones that are dehydrating and bloating you. Our bodies weren’t designed to handle some of the foods that are now popular to the majority.

Beat the bloat- Eating balanced meals is a challenge if you allow yourself many hours between meals. Keep healthy snacks like sliced celery, carrots or fruit on hand so that your body doesn’t go into starvation mode/fat storage mode. Have you ever noticed that if you wait many hours before eating dinner, when your meal is finally ready to be consumed, your stomach hurts and you end up bloated after the meal?

Drink lots of water – You should be drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. I don’t believe in the “don’t drink water if you’re not thirsty” saying. Stay hydrated to beat bloating.

Stay regular- This means eating lots of fiber, especially in the mornings to enable healthy digestion and elimination. Add flax seed to your morning oatmeal or some leafy greens to your morning smoothie.

Limit sodium intake- This means straying away from any pre-packaged foods, frozen foods and sauces. These foods are loaded with sodium to preserve their taste. They will do nothing good for your body.

Eating balanced meals, keeping track of your portions, and drinking your daily quota of water will help you manage bloating and stay on track with your fitness goals. Consult with your personal trainer or nutritionist to find the best plan for you!

Easy Post Workout Energizer

Today I made the best tasting post-workout shake after I got home from my run and I want to share the recipe with you.

Mango-Berry-Banana Bliss

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Naked Mighty Mango Juice
1/2 Cup Water
1/4 of a Banana
1 scoop Sambazon Acai Sorbet
1 scoop Vega Vanilla Performance Protein

Blend all of the ingredients together with a few ice cubes if your ingredients are not cold. Enjoy!

Nutritional Facts – One serving
Calories: 281
Fat: 2.6 g
Carbohydrates: 42
Protein: 26.5

 

Your Workout Nutrition

Are you showing up for your workout sessions on an empty stomach? Or leaving your training session feeling starving and weak? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions or both, you’ll love this quick lesson in workout nutrition.

Pre-Workout Nutrition– Your body needs fuel in the form of food to function. When you first start a new workout routine along with a healthy diet, the general tendency is to skimp on calories before and after a workout. Most people think that this is necessary to lose weight- this couldn’t be further from the truth. I notice it with some of my clients who show up feeling tired before their training sessions. Either they haven’t eaten in a few hours or they ate the wrong things before the session. I have also seen dizziness, nausea, headaches and overall fatigue which are all symptoms of hunger and/or improper nutritional preparation before their sessions. Nine out of ten times when I ask a client when the last time they ate was, the answer is 2 hours ago or more. This is catastrophic to your weight loss goals.

So how can you avoid this feeling and what pre-workout rules should you follow?

What you must realize is that the energy you get from the foods you eat is ultimately what is going to decide how your workout goes. If your metabolism is already slowing down from hours of not eating, it is going to be difficult to rev it back up and start burning calories, that your body is now clinging onto for dear life, in your workout. You are exercising to burn calories, right? Make it a habit to eat a high carbohydrate healthy snack prior to your training session. This could include an apple, Lara Bar, banana or carrots-NOT a protein bar, save his for post-workout.  You may be saying to yourself that these snacks are sugary, but you need carbohydrates to get through your workouts efficiently. (If you or your personal trainer are pushing hard enough, you will burn off the sugar, so don’t worry.)

Post-Workout Nutrition– Post workout nutrition is for muscle recovery and development. Immediately following a run, for example, you want to replace electrolytes lost through sweat during your run by drinking an electrolyte beverage. Think about it, have you ever seen an athlete NOT with a water bottle? And guess what, that’s not just plain old water in there. There are many electrolyte beverages out there like Gatorade to try. After a workout (think legs, upper body, abs day) you want to support the workout you just did by having a protein shake or protein bar immediately following the workout to aid in muscle growth and recovery. (when i say growth, I don’t mean bulk- I mean muscle breaking through and saying goodbye to cellulite!) You might also want to consider having a snack. The body is in fat burning mode immediately following a workout so it’s okay to consume a few extra HEALTHY calories at this time.

So no more starving yourself before and after sessions, okay? Do we have a deal? Your body will thank you for it in the long run and I know you will thank me when you start to see a major breakthrough in your training results. If you have any questions as far as healthy snacks, brands and recommendations go, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Ditch the Scale

After interviewing hundreds of personal training clients over the past few years, I have found one common concern amongst Women: the dreaded number on the scale. I have met Women who weigh themselves daily and even multiple times per day! The truth is that by doing this, they are sabotaging their fitness goals before they even hit the gym.

Your body is more than just a number, it is a look and a feeling. My mission as a Women’s fitness expert and San Diego Personal Trainer is to change my clients way of thinking that the scale ultimately controls their fitness level. The scale isn’t going to change the way you look. In fact, it may negatively haunt your body image for the rest of your life. We cut off friends and boyfriends when they make us feel this way, right? So why keep such an intimate relationship with the scale?

Let me show you a perfect example: Sorry to get graphic here, but you have to see this.

Would you rather weigh less and look like this? The Woman in the photo below may have a low number on the scale but is what I would consider “skinny fat.” Meaning that while her weight is low, her body fat percentage is high. This leads to just as many health risks as being obese! To top it all off, “skinny fat” victims are usually cardio freaks who do nothing but cardio, no weight training.

Or would you rather weigh a bit more and look like this photo below? Healthy glutes aren’t flabby. Firm glutes are a sign of a great strength training program. If we’re striving for attractiveness and optimal health, this is the ideal shape you should be shooting for. The best news is that you don’t have to bulk up to have a great backside. It’s just a matter of firming up what’s already there!

 

 

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the appearance in picture #2 over the low weight and flab in picture #1 any day! So do yourself a favor and stop obsessing on the scale and stick to a consistent nutrition and workout plan.

My New Veggie Diet Detox

Over the past few weeks I have been experimenting with my nutrition. For a while I had been feeling like my energy level was low, I was taking frequent naps during my breaks between clients, and I couldn’t seem to get rid of excess bloat around my midsection. I started reading books about “beauty detox” and even considered going Vegan but realized that would mean giving up fish which is really the only type of protein I eat anyway. So I opted to go back to my Vegetarian roots.

You can never eat too many of these!

I feel very lucky to have been brought up vegetarian. When my athletic performance started to suffer in my late teens I decided to start forcing myself to eat some meat (not red). This helped me out tremendously as a dancer and helped me to develop some gorgeous lean muscles. As more time went on I slowly introduced chicken and fish into my diet and now fish is pretty much the only protein that I consume. But I was starting to decrease the amount of vegetables and fruits that I consumed.

Avocado is a great addition to your salad.

My lunches used to consist of things like tuna or turkey sandwiches and I would always feel extremely lethargic after eating. So tired that I was taking a nap between clients in the afternoon (even after getting 8+ hrs of sleep each night). I began eliminating the sleepy carbs and protein from my lunches and replaced them with an abundance of vegetables. Now my lunches consist of salads with tons of veggies and avocado or stir fry veggies over brown rice. If I worked out in the morning I will have a protein shake after lunch too. For dinner I have been eating veggies like broccoli or green beans with a lean protein like chicken or salmon.

Could defnitely eliminate a few items from this picture...

I have noticed a big difference in my energy levels and abdominal progress since adding more fruits and veggies to my diet. I think it is very important to listen to your body and make adjustments if something just doesn’t feel right. For example: if your stomach burns after you eat a certain food, chances are you may be allergic to an ingredient in that food. So why eat it again? At the end of the day nutrition is common sense.

Post Session Stretching

As a former professional ballet dancer I know just how important it is to incorporate a stretching routine into your workout schedule. Since I recommend thirty minute training sessions to the majority of of my San Diego personal training clients, stretching is often something that is left as a “homework” assignment. The following are a few rules to keep in mind while stretching.

The great thing about stretching is that it can be done anywhere!

Rule #1: Never stretch BEFORE your workout – Scientific studies, my experience as a professional athlete, and my expertise as a personal trainer have proven that stretching before a workout can actually increase risk of injury and overuse. What you should do in place of stretching is a proper warm-up routine.

Rule #2: Don’t over do it – Your trainer knows just what stretches you might need to do before leaving your session. If you feel like you need more time to stretch, let your trainer know. Sometimes stretching is best left for later in the evening. Ask your trainer what stretching program might be best for your specific needs.

Rule #3: Work the kinks out before bed – If your muscles are feeling heavy, tight or fatigued before bed you might want to do some light stretching to ease the soreness you may feel in the morning.

Rule #4: Monitor your nutrition – Be sure to stay hydrated and steer clear of alcohol after long workouts. Consuming alcoholic beverages or foods high in fat can lead to muscle cramps or spasms if you are not careful. Have a protein shake in the evening to help aid in muscle repair and recovery during the night hours.

Remember, you are in charge of what happens after you leave your training session. Stretching and healthy eating are your responsibility to maximize your fitness goals!

Healthy Fall Comfort Foods

I don’t know about you but Fall is my favorite time of the year. The weather is starting to get cooler, the leaves are changing my favorite shades of red, orange and brown, and the smell of comfort food is in the air. So how can you resist those Fall sweet temptations? Don’t resist at all, just spice things up the healthy way! Today I am going to talk about my favorite Fall comfort vegetable, the sweet potato.

While staying fit and healthy may require skipping the stuffing and mashed potatoes, it also means loading up on healthy comfort foods like yams (or sweet potatoes). In fact, yams are one of the best vegetables that you can eat. They are loaded with Vitamin A, B, C, fiber, iron, and potassium which are an important part of any diet but especially for those of you who are weight training. It definitely helps that they taste good too.

How to prepare- Sweet potatoes can be prepared a variety of ways. You can boil them, bake them, saute (sliced or cubed), mash them, or even throw them on the grill wrapped in foil.

What to serve with- My favorite healthy way to serve up a sweet potato is with a piece of grilled salmon and asparagus. The flavors will blend for the ultimate healthy Fall treat.

How to season- The popular way to season sweet potatoes is with loads of fatty butter, but there are alternatives. Try a low fat margarine and add just a touch of brown sugar for a decadent dinner treat so good that you won’t crave dessert.

So next time you are craving a Fall comfort food dinner on a chilly night pick up a few sweet potatoes from your local market and get creative!

Nipping Fat in the “Butt”

About 8 weeks ago I set a fitness goal and stuck with it – As a professional dancer I never had to worry about my body or losing weight and after having a few years off from the 8 hour dance day grind I started noticing a few changes in my body. Although I had been working out daily with my clients, I hadn’t been doing much specifically for my body. And I was eating properly but not super clean. My once hard, firm thighs were starting to get a bit soft and my glutes were beginning to develop the dreaded dimples that most Women live their whole lives with. I’m not complaining about my body by any means (5’4,” 110 lbs is less than what my dancing weight was proving that muscle weighs more than fat) but the vision that I have of myself is different from this and I was ready to nip it in the “butt.”

My Facebook post at the start of July

I embarked upon a “4 weeks to fierce” program to get firm and flab free by my Birthday, July 13th. I printed out a cute calendar that I use for my clients cardio schedules to write on every day for inspiration. I have to say that I find Facebook and Twitter to be super motivating and encouraging for those with weight loss goals so don’t be afraid to post your workouts there. I also downloaded an app on my iPhone called My Fitness Pal where you can log your meals and exercise. You can even invite and add friends for encouragement!

Moving forward, with some consistency and sticking to my plan I was starting to see results! I was eating clean and loving it and finding time to do my own personalized workouts between clients. After a few weeks it had started to become a habit. I didn’t want to eat bad, it felt good to push myself in workouts and I felt like I was in control of my body again. I started making more time for ME.

B-Day was a hit!

Five weeks in and I was still going strong. My Birthday party was a success and I felt confident again in the way my legs and tummy looked. I even rewarded myself with some amazing Birthday cake. I had my drink sponsor, Sinless Cocktails, send me 2 gallons of their 5 calorie Margarita mix for a tasting party too!

My Birthday has long passed and I am still sticking with the program. I am now 8 weeks in and there is no turning back. I love the way my body looks and feels. Through this journey I have even created new exercises to target those stubborn areas of the legs, stomach and glutes that my San Diego personal training clients are now reaping the benefits of. I am looking forward to seeing the changes that these new exercises make for my clients as well as for myself. I think that as a personal trainer it is important to keep creating…when you stop creating you lose your audience.

Today's bikini body!

I wrote this story as a bit of inspiration for all of you. Everyone is less than happy with some part of their body. I don’t think that anyone ever feels “perfect.” Whether you are 160 pounds or 100 pounds focus and goal setting is the key to your success on your fitness journey. Don’t lie about your bad eating or lack of exercise. Your trainer knows when you are lying but the worst is when you lie to yourself. It’s not healthy to lie to yourself.

So set goals! Write them down. Post them on your refrigerator so that you see them every time you reach for the ice cream. I wouldn’t encourage you to do this if it didn’t truly work…