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TrainerTiff: 2009 >

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

TrainerTiff: Gym Alternatives to Stay Fit

Every now and then, I like to change up my workout routine. Now, of course I change my weight and cardio routines regularly, but I mean, change it all the way up.

For instance, ladies, take a pole dancing class.

Working out doesn't always have to be the same ol' same ol'. Make it fun.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

TrainerTiff: Guilt Free Pizza

Imagine. Hot mozzarella cheese topped with fresh veggies bubbling over a sweet tomato sauce, all on top of a thin crunchy buttery crust. Here's the best part—it’s healthy!

If you're like me, you love pizza but hate all of the extra calories and fat that comes with a traditional fast food pizza.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

TrainerTiff: Are You Ready for Some Kettleball?

If you're getting tired of your usual workout, sometimes all you need is a new toy.

So, maybe next time you're feeling bored in the gym, you can look for those little iron balls with handles. (You know, the things that look more like they belong in an 18th century tool box than in a modern health club.) They're called kettleballs.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

TrainerTiff: Are You Eating Enough Fat?

On a low-fat diet? Fat avoiders beware: Fat is not the enemy. In fact, it is necessary.

We need fat in our diets because it supplies essential fatty acids to aid in growth and healthy skin. It also, helps us digest food and absorb vitamins.

Now, this doesn’t mean to go out and eat all the ice-cream and cheeseburgers you can get your hands on. That would be a little ridiculous, right?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

TrainerTiff: You Don't Have to be Perfect

It’s been several weeks since you last worked out. Heck, let’s be honest — it’s been months … at best. Your diet has been full of fast food, and you haven’t sat down to a serving of vegetables in … well, let’s just say a long time. Breakfast? Forget it, you don’t do breakfast.

Does this sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Get First Lady Arms By Next Spring

There's no need to question the fact that Michelle Obama has great arms. But there is one question many women have asked: how?

In an article in Women's Health, the first lady’s personal trainer reveals some of his techniques that have helped shape those arms we've become so familiar with.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Eating Healthy Doesn't Mean Expensive

Eating healthy isn't tough, even if you're on a budget. Follow these tips and save yourself some money:

1. Shop locally: This summer I discovered the City Market and oh, my goodness, what a find! It's got all the same vegetables and fruits as the supermarket -- only much cheaper.

For example, this past Sunday, I bought:

2 green peppers
1/2 pound of mushrooms
1 large red onion
1 jalapeno
2 tomatoes
1 package of strawberries
1 pound green beans
1 avocado
1 lime

Grand total: $7.50

That would have cost more than $10 at the grocery store. (Just the green peppers, mushrooms, strawberries and avocado would have cost about $9.)

2. Don't buy organic: Sure, organic does have its benefits, namely it is free toxic chemical sprays. But comparing organic to non-organic foods, the nutritional content tends to be similar. A key difference is that organic products tend to cost much more. So if you're on a budget, don't worry too much about eating all organic. Plus, I keep reading stuff like this.

3. Buy store brand products: Most store brand products taste the exact same as their brand name counterparts, i.e. oatmeal, beans, rice, pastas, etc. You won't be missing anything by buying generic.

4. Buy in bulk: Purchase the largest quantity of a product you can store. Everything from oatmeal to meat. You get more for your money. If you buy meat in large quantities, just divide it into individual servings and freeze it for later use.

5. Plan your meals: Before doing your shopping, make a list. Plan out your meals for the week and stick to your list. Often times going in without a plan, it is easy to pick up items you don't necessarily need.

Changing a few shopping habits can save lots of money. Initially, when comparing products and seeing that the difference isn't that much, maybe .30 cents, don't forget that it adds up.

And it adds up fast.

Surprise! Healthy eating doesn't have to be expensive. All it takes is a little know-how and planning.

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Read more at Questions or comments? E-mail Follow on Twitter at

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Are You Eating a Whopper Salad?

Pretend I'm yelling at you: "Salads are not healthy!"

Salads are one of the most common things people start to eat when they go on a "diet." (Going on a "diet" never works, but that's another blog post for another day.) But the eat-salad-and-lose-weight strategy is almost certain to backfire.

Yes, salads are full of raw vegetables that can be low in calories and full of fiber and micronutrients, but what determines whether a salad is healthy or not depends on what else you put on it.

Cheese. Bacon. Croutons. Eggs. Fruit. Nuts. Salad Dressing. These are all of the things that make a salad delicious, but also add tons of unnecessary calories.

Salad dressing is the most serious offender when it comes to ruining an otherwise healthy meal. Does anyone really use the suggested serving size? It's almost impossible to only use 2 tablespoons of ranch unless the salad can fit inside the palm of your hand.

Some salads are so loaded down with extra calories that you may as well eat a Whopper. Yes, that's right, a Whopper.

Check it out: A Whopper has 670 calories and 40 grams of fat. Believe it or not, adding enough toppings to a salad can yield similar stats.

Let's compare two lunch salads. One with all the fixings and one with fewer fixings.

Salad 1
3 cups of lettuce
3 ounces grilled chicken
1/2 chopped boiled egg
1/2 cup of cheese
4 Tbs croutons
1/4 cup cucumbers
1/4 cup tomatoes
1/2 cup broccoli
1/4 cup mushrooms
1/2 ounce cashews
1 /4 of whole avocado
4 Tbs regular ranch dressing

Total approximate calories: 855
Total approximate fat grams: 65

Salad 2
3 cups lettuce
3 ounces grilled chicken
1/4 cup cucumbers
1/4 cup tomatoes
1/2 cup broccoli
1/4 cup mushrooms
2 Tbs vinaigrette dressing

Total approximate calories: 210 calories
Total approximate fat grams: 8

It's obvious that Salad 2 is the better choice. Sure, you may not add every item listed under Salad 1 to your bowl, but you get the point. Too many extras can sabotage your good efforts.

When making a salad, try to add lots of vegetables, some protein -- like grilled chicken -- and use a vinaigrette dressing.

Vinaigrette dressings have fewer calories and fat than creamy dressings. An added bonus to the vinaigrette is that is spreads more evenly throughout the salad as compared to a thick creamy dressing.

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Read more at Questions or comments? E-mail Follow on Twitter at

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My 5 Favorite Healthy Snacks

Who says you have to cut out snacks to lose weight? In fact, you shouldn't. Yes, you read that right. I'm telling you, if you want to lose weight, start snacking.

The key is to make wise choices. (You don’t want to munch on donuts and other junk food -- duh.)

Here's why snacking is good: Having a bite to eat between breakfast, lunch and dinner will help your metabolism operate more efficiently.

Munching on the right things keeps your blood sugar from dipping too low and making your body more prone to store fat.

Here are my favorite healthy goodies to nibble on.

1. Yogurt with strawberries: I always choose a yogurt that is low in fat and sugar. I cut up fresh strawberries into slices and mix together with the yogurt.

2. Cashews: I love these! And because I love these, I have to be careful about how many I eat. Keep in mind that a serving is 1 ounce which isn’t a lot. A shot glass full of cashews is a little more than a serving. Five whole cashews is plenty. Nuts are filling and are a source of healthy fat.

3. PB&J: When I make mine, I use natural peanut butter, low calorie whole-wheat bread and low sugar strawberry preserves. Often times, 1/2 of a sandwich is plenty. I like having these because they provide a healthy fat and whole grains.

4. Protein shake: I tend to keep mine simple by using light soy milk and a scoop of whey protein. If you want to give it some flare, get a blender and throw in a few pieces of frozen fruit to make a smoothie. Having a shake is a good way to make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet.

5. Cucumber slices: I mix together vinegar, a small drop of olive oil and a dash of Italian spices and toss over cucumber slices. These are refreshing and very low in calories which make for a great snack late at night.

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Read more at Questions or comments? E-mail Follow on Twitter at

Thursday, August 20, 2009

TrainerTiff: Get Your Boot Camp On

Boot camp workouts are all the buzz now—and for good reason. Think of this type of specialized group fitness class like milk, it does a body good.

When most people think of “boot camp”, a drill sergeant dressed in fatigues barking out orders comes to mind. While there are definitely some that operate in that format, not all do. Others have a more low-key approach where the instructor leads the group with a less intense approach.

Boot camp workouts are essentially drills, drills and more drills.

Beyond that, the structure of the camp depends on who is running it: Outdoors or indoors; with equipment or without equipment; cardio-based or resistance-based – the possibilities are endless.

A common theme, though, among most boot camps is that they tend to be high-intensity workouts -- and because of that you burn a lot of calories. Very efficient. Nice.

They’re fun, too. Unless you have young kids, the last time you jumped around -- outside or inside -- was probably when you were a kid yourself.

Our regular work out routines can become easy and boring. It’s nice to change things up a bit. And when that change efficiently burns calories, it’s all the better.

How about the group comradery and accountability? Being held accountable to your workout sometimes makes the difference of whether you do it or skip it.

We’ve all been there.

When you know someone is waiting on you, you’re more likely to do it. Plus, it’s nice to see the familiar faces in your group. Who knows? By the time the session ends, you might come away from it having lost a few pounds and having gained a new friend.

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Read more at Questions or comments? E-mail Follow on Twitter at

Friday, August 14, 2009

TrainerTiff: My Top 5 Glute Exercises

When I think of targeting the gluteus maximus muscles, I can’t help but to think back to the early '90s and the "Buns of Steel" era. Remember?

This video made every woman and teen girl want hard buns -- and I was no different.

(Never mind the fact that actually having a butt that was as hard as industrial grade metal might not be the most desirable thing.)

When we were starting high school, my friends and I got together a couple of times a week and did this tape. We were fanatical about sticking to the routine. We fought through the pain and the ever creeping desire to quit. We even blocked out the thoughts of “is this really worth it?” We were on a mission -- for a while, anyway.

We stopped after a month or two (at best).

Today, my "Buns of Steel" tape is probably stored away somewhere with dust all over it. (Even if I could get to it, I may need a refresher on how to operate a VCR.)

One thing that I learned from our brief commitment, though, was that getting steely buns -- as opposed to, say, honey buns -- would take a couple of things.

One: You had to really want it.

And two: It was going to take some effort.

Consistency is the key here. Hard work pays off. It's worth it in the end (get it?).

Below are my favorite exercises to target that famous backside area. Check them out.

1. Squats: My favorite exercise. Try this version: the plié squat. Not only are squats great for the legs, they're also fantastic for your glutes.

2. Cable kickbacks: I like doing these with a little bit of weight. Remember to squeeze in the target area as you lift.

3. Doggy leg lifts: Old school, but gets the job done. If I remember correctly, this was one the exercises in "Buns of Steel."

4. Forward lunges: Targets your entire leg. As you return to the standing position, push with your heel rather than your toe to really target your butt.

5. Bridge: You’ll feel these in your hamstrings as well, but be sure to squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips.

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Read more at Questions or comments e-mail

Monday, August 10, 2009

Supermarket Ready

So you've decided to follow a healthy diet. Great!

But now what? You're standing in the grocery store faced with countless options. It seems like every product in every aisle is marketed as "healthy."

It can be overwhelming.

Here's a bit of easy-to-remember advice: Stay out of the aisles and shop the perimeter of the store.

The inside aisles tend to hold all of the processed foods that are bad for you. The outside is where you'll find healthier, natural foods.

Now, this doesn't mean you can't purchase anything from the inside aisles. (After all, that is usually where they put the bread.) But, your cart should be filled with more things from the store's exterior than from the store's interior.

For example, fresh lean meats and fresh vegetables are healthier choices than, say, canned meats and canned vegetables. Also, even though the packages of crackers and cookies and breakfast bars promise to be "healthy" or "low calorie" or contain "zero trans fats" it's best to avoid this stuff.

Below, I've put together a sample list of some items to choose at your next grocery store visit.

Vegetables: stock up on any fresh vegetable you like -- except iceberg lettuce and white potatoes. Iceberg lettuce contains very few nutrients. A darker colored lettuce like Romaine is a much better choice. Romaine lettuce compared to iceberg lettuce has more nutrients such as vitamin K, lutein and beta carotene--to name a few. And, white potatoes are high on the glycemic index. Foods that are high on this index are more likely to make you store bodyfat--rather than burn it.

Dark green leaf lettuces
Green beans
Sweet potatoes

Proteins: the key word here is: lean. Skinless chicken is a better option than chicken with skin since the majority of fat is found in the skin. If you opt for red meat, like steak; make sure your selection doesn't have a lot of white marbled fat. Lean ground beef with a ratio of 96/4 (4% fat) is a good choice. Lunch meat tends to be high in sodium, so don’t add this to your diet too regularly. If you find a low-sodium variety of lunch meat, use that.

Skinless chicken
Lean red meats
Ground turkey
Egg whites

Carbohydrates: always choose brown over white. White rice, pastas and breads are sugar based. These sugar based carbohydrates are more likely to get stored in the body as fat. Brown rice, whole grain pastas and breads are better carbohydrate choices because they have more nutrients that your body can use for energy and are not likely to get stored as fat.

Brown rice
Whole wheat pastas
Whole wheat breads
Whole grain cereals

Dairy: opt for light and low-fat versions here to cutout extra calories and fat. Eggs are high in cholesterol, so don’t eat too many. Egg whites are a better choice. Yogurt can have a lot of sugar so make sure you read the nutrition facts. Look for varieties that have 10 grams of sugar or fewer, per serving.

Low- fat milk
Light soy milk
Low-fat cheese
Light or fat-free sour cream
Light or fat-free cream cheese
Low calorie & low sugar yogurts
Egg whites

Grocery shopping for healthier options shouldn’t be a chore. Equipping yourself with information to help you select healthier foods makes the task more enjoyable. Next time you’re due to hit the store, keep these tips in mind and see how much of a breeze your healthy shopping experience can be.

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Read more at Questions or comments? E-mail

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

TrainerTiff: Squats Make the Legs

"I couldn't even walk down the stairs without it burning."

A line like that is music to a trainer's ears.

Music? Yes. Music. Because it means a trainer put a client through a seriously intense leg workout that yielded results ... score!

Post-workout soreness should be your mission. Being sore is not a bad thing. (I repeat: Being sore is not a bad thing.)

Soreness is positive because it lets you know that the muscle was properly stressed to allow growth. And that's the whole point anyway, right?

(Ladies, don't forget we don't have the body chemistry to grow big, bulky muscles. When our muscles grow they become firmer and tighter.)

Squats are my favorite. They're great for defining your leg muscles. With one exercise you're able to hit many areas of the lower body -- lower back, quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes.

If you haven't been doing squats, I highly recommend adding them to your routine.

C'mon ladies, who ever said having nicely toned and shaped legs was something to be avoided? Right, I don't think I've ever heard that.

And fellas, don't neglect the lower body. Having hot shoulders, pecs and arms becomes a lot less hot when your legs don't match.

The nice thing about squats is that there are so many different types: barbell squats, Smith-machine squats, hack squats, dumbbell squats, stability ball wall squats, bodyweight squats -- to name a few.

Critics of the exercise discourage it because of its potential injury risk. Improper form can cause damage the knees and back.

However, this risk can be mitigated. To reduce the chances of joint injury, proper form is critical to any exercise, not just squats.

Done properly you should have no worries. When performing the squat, follow these tips:
  • Start with a weight you're comfortable with. Build from there.
  • Imagine you're sitting straight down into a chair as you squat down -- stick your butt out.
  • ALWAYS make sure your knees do not go past your toes.
  • Don't lean forward. Keep your chin pointed toward the ceiling to help prevent this.
  • Never lock your knees as you stand up -- keep them slightly bent.
If you want to try it, and you've never done the exercise before, grab a trainer and get on over to that squat rack. Not ready for the squat rack? That's OK, grab some dumbbells or a stability ball and get to work.

And if a day or two later you find yourself unable to go down a flight of stairs without feeling an incredible burning sensation in your thighs ... score! Your mission is complete.

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and an NANBF figure competitor. Read more at Questions or comments? E-mail

Sunday, August 2, 2009

TrainerTiff: Take Time to Do You

"Me-time" is a must.

We all need it. Life is stressful and taking a break from it is an absolute necessity.

It surprises me how many people I encounter who are so wrapped up in their job (or jobs), families and other responsibilities that they don't even make the Top 10 on their own priority list.

It doesn't matter what you do -- paint, read, play Wii or talk on the phone -- the key thing here is that you find a positive outlet.

As a trainer, I'd encourage you to take these regular time-outs in the gym.

Here's why: When you're in a group fitness classes, your boss can't bother you -- neither can your spouse.

You can listen to that obnoxious, guilty-pleasure song on that you don't want to admit you like (say, like, Pitbull's "You Know You Want Me" -- don't judge me) on your mp3 player.

People watching. (Nothing wrong with checking out the hottie on the leg press. Just don't be creepy.)

You want to lose a couple pounds anyway, right? (C'mon, who doesn't?)

And seriously, we know the benefits of being on a regular fitness program -- self-esteem, sense of accomplishment, healthier heart, weight loss -- and, of course, stress relief.

I know you're busy. But if you make time for yourself it will improve your life and ability to do, and enjoy, all of those other things that are so important.

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Read more at Questions or comments? E-mail

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fat Topics in the News

Here's some of what I've been reading and talking about lately -- really, I can't stop thinking about that 555-pound 14-year-old. (To be that big, that young? Yikes.)

I think this -- from The New York Times -- is interesting and want to know more. It could lead to some important breakthroughs:

"A new approach to treating obesity has been opened up by a discovery about how the body creates brown fat, the cells that burn white fat and turn it into body heat."
For the rest of the article, go here.

Childhood obesity has been in the news a lot lately.

The Kansas City Star wrote about a program in KCK that aims to fix the problem:

"A recent study found that 51 percent of elementary school children in Rosedale are overweight or obese. Even in a nation where childhood obesity rates have more than doubled in the last 30 years, that number from a KU study is high — 10 times greater than the federal government’s national goal for next year.
Partly because of numbers like that, a coalition of Rosedale leaders received a $225,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for a two-year effort called the Healthy Kids Initiative."
For the rest of the article, go here.

And I know you heard about the 555-pound teenager, right? Here's something about that. But the most interesting part to me is these stats:

"An estimated 15 percent of all children in the United States are overweight, and as many as 25 percent of black and Latino children fall into the overweight category. Study after study has confirmed that childhood obesity numbers have reached epidemic levels - and they continue to soar.
Despite what well-intentioned parents may think, childhood obesity is a serious health threat. Being obese increases your child's risk for serious conditions such as: heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, joint problems, reproductive problems and psychosocial problems.
Yet too many American parents turn a blind eye to their children's weight problems. Studies have confirmed that American parents of overweight and obese children severely underestimate their children's weight."

Here is something else about the boy.

And it looks like Kathleen Sebelius and Michelle Obama want to do something about childhood obesity, too. From USA Today:

"A national focus on childhood obesity is "overdue," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday at a government meeting.
She said the administration, including first lady Michelle Obama, plans to take on the health of children."
For the rest of the article, go here.

The Kansas City Star had a story from on Ellen Goodman that compared unhealthy food to cigarettes:

"Now that two-thirds of Americans are overweight, the lethal effects of fat are catching up to those of cigarette smoke. We regularly hear the cha-ching of obesity costs in the healthcare debate. And we are beginning to see that Overweight America is not some collective collapse of national willpower, but a business plan.
A measure of the moment is “Food Inc.,’’ a documentary chronicling the costs to the land, worker, and customer of a food industry that’s more grim factory than sylvan farm. A system that makes it cheaper to buy fast food than fresh food.
A more personal measure is David Kessler’s bestseller, “The End of Overeating,’’ which is both a thinking person’s diet book and an investigation into an industry that wants us to eat more. The former head of the FDA had crusaded against smoking, but found himself helpless before a chocolate chip cookie. So this yo-yo dieter set out to discover what exactly we’re up against.
Kessler is a scientist, not a conspiracy theorist. He takes you to an industry meeting where a food scientist on a panel called “Simply Irresistible’’ offers tips on “spiking’’ the food to make people keep eating.
We eat more when more is on the plate. We eat more when snacks are ubiquitous, when flavors are layered on and marketed as “eatertainment.’’ As one food executive admitted to Kessler, “Everything that has made us successful as a company is the problem.’’

For the rest of the article, go here.

Uggh. This makes me want to do extra cardio tonight. It's frustrating because all of this is unnecessary. All you have to do is work out and you avoid all this mess!

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Check out her site at Questions or comments? E-mail

Monday, July 27, 2009

TrainerTiff: There's No Such Thing as Fitness Season

Can you believe it's already "Back to School" season? A friend and I were talking the other day about how we hate this time of year because it signals the end of summer.

For a lot of people, "Back to School" ads signal the end of another season, too: their workout season.

Consider this a personal plea: Don't be one of those people! Please!

(Seriously. I'm willing to help. I'll give you a free nutrition consultation ... a free workout ... a free fitness assessment ... whatever I can do to keep you from hibernating this winter.)

Summer clothes are light and revealing. Having your legs and arms bare provides a lot of incentive to do squats and cardio.

But soon those clothes will be put away in favor of heavy and concealing winter clothes. And since everything's covered up, there's no need to worry about how your body looks under there, right?


You can't just workout today and look good tomorrow.

Looking good in summer clothes is a byproduct of being healthy and fit, which requires consistency. (If in the past you've hit the gym only in January or in preparation for a big event like a vacation, you probably know this already.)

Despite what the ads say, products that promise quick results are typically gimmicks that either:

A.) don't work
B.) don't last
C.) are dangerous
or D.) are some combination of any or all of the above.

Being in shape is a year-round thing, not a seasonal thing. So when you hear a "Back to School" ad, take it as a reminder to head back to the gym. (And, seriously, if you need some help when you get there, just ask me.)

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Visit her site at Questions or comments? E-mail

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recipe: Mashed Cauliflower

I love mashed potatoes! Unfortunately, they're a terrible choice if you're trying to have a clean diet.

The side dish tastes best when it's loaded down will all kinds of fattening ingredients -- like butter, sour cream and gravy. And even if you leave that stuff out of your recipe (which I wouldn't) white potatoes are a fast-burning, starchy carbohydrate, the type of food that the body processes into fat.

Here's an alternative: mashed cauliflower. First of all, forget about taste here. If you try mashed cauliflower while thinking that it's going to taste exactly the same as mashed potatoes then you're going to hate this dish.

But, it is a good alternative if you're having a mashed potato craving, but don't want all the extra calories.

Here are the numbers (approximate) for a 1 cup serving of each dish:
  • Mashed potatoes (no gravy): 237 calories; 9 grams of fat; 35 g of carbs; 3 g of fiber; 4 g of protein.
  • Mashed cauliflower: 106 calories; 5 g of fat; 15 g of carbs; 6 g of fiber; 5.5 g of protein.
When you're trying to lose a few pounds, substitutions like this make a huge difference toward meeting your goals.

And remember, having a clean diet means thinking of food as fuel for the body, not a source of pleasure.

Also, swapping out high-calorie, high-fat foods for choices that are cleaner-burning (and, yes, less tasty) throughout the year means that you can have the foods you like at a fancy dinner or when the holidays come around. Who wants to pass on -- or feel guilty about eating -- mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving or Christmas? (Not me, that's for sure.)

Finally, with mashed cauliflower, who knows? You might really like it.

Check out this recipe from

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Check out her site at Questions or comments? E-mail

Monday, July 20, 2009

TrainerTiff: Not Feeling the Crunch

Are you trying to get rid of that spare tire around your mid-section? Have you done more variations of crunches than you'd care to think about and still can't rid of it? Well, you're not alone.

Repeat after me: I can not reduce the amount of fat on my abs by doing thousands of crunches.
One more time: I can not reduce the amount of fat on my abs by doing thousands of crunches.

Spot reduction is the reduction of fat from a specific part of the body. It is also a myth -- a physiological impossibility.
You can't pick and choose where you lose fat.

So, the best way to lose that spare tire is to follow a total body workout routine (which includes ab training) and watch your diet. Sorry, but there's no simple fix -- despite the tons of products out there promising you amazing results by using some device for mere minutes a day.

Cardio and strength training several times per week in combination with a proper diet followed over a specific period of time (say, one month), ought to at least start deflating that spare tire. The longer you stick with a good program, the more results you'll see.

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Check out her site at Questions or comments? E-mail

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Get Up and Eat Your Breakfast

It's easy to do. You hit the snooze button one too many times and now you're running around the house like a madman trying to get to work on time. You're rationalizing that you can make your normal 15 minute commute in just 5 minutes.

And then you do it: You skip breakfast.

You can almost hear the screeching sounds as your metabolism grinds to a halt.

Eating breakfast -- or "breaking the fast" -- kick starts our metabolisms. Here's how it works: After fasting all night, our bodies need fuel in the form of calories. (Not just any calories, of course. No donuts.)

Once we eat something, our bodies are then able to start burning calories more efficiently. If we don't eat quickly after waking, then our bodies will hoard calories later in the day, thus holding onto that unwanted fat.

If we get calories on a regular schedule -- starting with breakfast -- then we burn calories at a regular pace. (We have set the stage for a steady metabolism.)

If we get calories on an irregular schedule -- especially if we skip breakfast -- then we burn calories at an irregular pace. We actually hold onto calories, storing them as fat, when we do get them. (We have set the stage for a slow metabolism.)

Also, our brains benefit from eating breakfast. It helps improve our thinking ability. It's already hard enough to operate first thing in the morning, let's help ourselves out a bit. Right?

Tomorrow, try hitting that snooze button one less time and grab something to eat before you head out. Your body and brain will thank you.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Break Out of Your Workout Rut

We've all been there: bored.

It's so easy to adapt to a routine that we don't even realize when it turns into a rut. Working out shouldn't be a dreaded chore. Instead, it should be something you look forward to.

That's not going to happen if your workout has become monotonous.

With that in mind, here are few suggestions to help you keep things interesting:

Cardio: Switch it up. If every time you go to the gym, you make a beeline for the treadmills, pause. Try using the elliptical or cross-trainer for a change. Or at least change the program. So, if you always do an interval program, try doing the random program instead.

Weights: If you've been using the same weight for months and months, please, increase the resistance. Or if you don't do strength training at all, give it a try. (Remember, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest.)

Classes: There are tons of classes out there from yoga to kickboxing to bootcamps and beyond. Find one that fits your schedule and do it.

Partner: Bring a friend. It can motivate and push you in ways you can't do yourself. Plus, it will make you more accountable.

So, if you find that your workouts have become dull and tedious, try one of these suggestions before you find yourself giving up.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Is Your Yogurt Making You Fat?

Yogurt is a common go-to snack for people who are being conscious of what they are eating. But that's not always a good thing.

Be sure to read those labels. Just because it is "low fat" doesn't mean it's the best choice.

Many low fat yogurts have too much sugar. If your yogurt has 25 or more grams of sugar per serving, put it back! That's like eating a candy bar.

Look for yogurts that are low in fat and low in sugar. (The yogurt I usually get has 7 grams of sugar -- way better than 25 grams, right?)

The next time you are at the grocery store make sure to stop and read the nutrition facts. Make sure you're not sabotaging your good efforts by choosing a bad yogurt.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Find Your Target Heart Rate Zone

There is a lot of confusion about how hard you should be working in order to burn fat most effectively.

Without any actual calculations, I always recommend between a level of 6-9 on a perceived exertion scale of 1-10. This is method if left strictly to your own interpretation of what 6-9 is.

For some people, a 6 could be walking up a flight of stairs. For others a 6 is running a mile. So, to be more accurate, here is how you calculate your target heart rate.

220-age=maximum heart rate (it is dangerous to work at or beyond this level.)

maximum heart rate x .60 = the low end you should work at
maximum heart rate x .90 = the high end you should work at

So, for an example, let's say we have an individual who is 40 years old.

220-40 = 180 (maximum heart rate)

180 x .60 = 108 (the low end you should work at)
180 x .90 = 162 (the high end you should work at)

So, this person should work in a heart rate zone of 108-162 beats per minute to burn fat most effectively.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Milk it Up

Many of us haven't had milk as a part of our daily diet since childhood. But there are a lot of adults out there who still love it.

Nothing wrong with that. Just drink it wisely.

Two things to look out for: fat and sugar.

Fat: OK, so on one end of the spectrum, there is whole milk and on the other end, skim milk. Then there are a lot of options in-between. Whole milk has the most fat, which you want to stay away from. Skim has the least amount of fat, but is probably the least tasty. So, if you can't stand the watery taste of skim (like me), opt for a 2% or 1%.

Sugar: Many people don't realize how much sugar milk has. In one cup of 1% milk, you are looking at 13 grams of sugar! Way too much. Check out the nutrition data here.

What should you do?

I like to drink soy milk. Now, when I first started to drink it, I was skeptical. (I thought it would taste bad.) But now, I love it and can't imagine going back to regular milk.

Soy is great because it has protein and is low in carbs. AND it's lower in fat and sugar than regular milk. Plus, for those who have a problem with lactose, it's lactose-free. (Bonus!) Check out the nutrition data for soy here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Food Journal: Tuesday 6-16-09

1/2 cup oatmeal w/ sprinkle of sugar and light butter
1.5 scoops protein powder w/ water

1 small bowl of chilli (homemade)

1/2 turkey sandwhich on wheat w/ 1/2 slice colby cheese, light mayo
1/2 cup grapes

1/2 cup grapes

2 boiled eggs (removed half the yolk in both)

Rundown: Today was pretty good. I approximate the calories to be around 1100 calories. Protein was about 75 grams. I ate every few hours or so throughout the day which is good. I don't normally eat grapes because they are so high in sugar, but I'm treating myself since I don't typically eat them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Multi-grain vs. Whole-grain

We've all been down the bread aisle at the grocery store and have been confronted with a multitude of bread choices that all seem healthy: "wheat," "whole-wheat," "multi-grain," "100% whole wheat" and so on. It can be a little over-whelming.

So what's the real deal?

When choosing your bread, the most important thing you can do, is look at the ingredient list. If you see anything that says enriched or refined, you can find a better choice of bread.

Whole-grain products contain all three parts of the grain: the germ, bran and endosperm. When grains are refined, some or all of these parts can be lost. Multi-grain products could be made out of several refined grains, which is not what we want. We want whole, unrefined grains. So your best bet, is to go with a bread that is whole-grain. But, be sure to check out the ingredient list for those key words: enriched and refined. If you see that, put it back and choose something else.

Check out this article for more detailed information on this topic.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ab Training: Jack Knives

Are you in need of a new ab exercise?

Oftentimes, we fall into a routine and do the same exercises over and over.

Mostly, it's because we're comfortable with them, we know how to do them and -- let's be honest, here -- the thought of trying new stuff, can be intimidating.

Check out this link for a demo on doing jack knives. This is not a new exercise by any means, but it may be new to you!

Go ahead and give it a try, don't be scared.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hula Hoop Your Way to Great Abs

What is one thing about fitness that you can always count on? Answer: new ways to get that fit body. I would caution that some new fads and pieces of equipment that promise new, amazing bodies in a matter of days, are a bunch of ... well, let's just say, they don't live up to their claims.

Hula hooping for exercise isn't necessarily a new idea, but in Minnesota, hula hoop classes are the newest fitness craze. Hula hooping for abs? I can see this working. Now, I wouldn't recommend dropping your normal fitness routine for this, but maybe incorporate a little hula hooping into your ab routine. Work your abs and have fun with it! Sounds like a win-win situation to me!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Drink Your Water

Are you getting enough water during the day? It is recommended that we drink 10 glasses per day. When you break it down, that is actually 8 cups per day which equals 640z. It may seem like a lot, but really if you drink two 1 liter (approximately) bottles per day, you're there!

Why focus on your water? Well, one, it's an essesntial nutrient. When you're losing weight, water flushes out the by-products of fat breakdown. Fat cells contain water and when you don't get enough water in the day (dehydration), your body will store water in these cells. Your body doesn't know when more water will come, so it stores the water it has. The more water you drink, the less prone your body is to hold onto that water and thus reduces the size of your fat cells. Smaller fat cells = a smaller you!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Skinnygirl Margarita

We all have our guilty pleasures and I'm no exception. When I'm not working out or thinking about the next day's menu, I like to watch TV just like the next person. I hesitate to admit this, but, yes, I am a fan of The Real Housewives. "Which one," you may ask? All of them! And while I'm being honest here, I enjoy an occasional drink too.

So, you can imagine my delight when Bethenny Frankel of The Real Housewives of New York came out with her book Naturally Thin. I purused its pages while in Barnes & Noble one day and was sort of surprised to find that it's not half bad. There are a lot of deliciously healthy recipes in there.

One recipe that stood out was her lighter version of the margarita. Who doesn't like a margarita? But, when you order them at restaurants they are loaded with tons of sugar and calories. Especially the ones that come in those giant glasses. You could be taking in around 600 calories or more for one single margarita!

For a new spin on the popular drink, check out The Skinnygirl Margarita by Bethenny Frankel. Cheers!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Walking for Fitness? 100 Steps Per Minute

Often times, when I ask a client if they did any cardio, a common response is, "I walked." Well, that's all fine and good, but my next question would be, "how intense was it". Most of the time, these walks aren't very intense at all.

If you're going to use walking as your choice cardio, you must pick up the intensity if you're going to see any results. The New York Times ran an article stating that one should walk at an intensity of 100 steps per minute in order to achieve the appropriate intensity to shed those unwanted pounds. So, the next time you go for a walk, challenge yourself and see if you can hit those 100 steps per minute.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Love Chipotle?

If you love going to Chipotle and savoring the delicious taste of chicken, with peppers, with rice, with cheese, with guacomole ... then you're a lot like me and you know good food when you taste it!

This place is about as close as I get to fast food. Now, because it doesn't have golden arches or a picture of a young girl with red pigtails outside it, don't be fooled. It can be just as bad as any fast food restaurant.

Check out Chipotle's website and they provide all the nutrition information you need to decide if you really need to top those tacos with that extra cheese and sour cream. So, yes, eating the wrong stuff at Chipotle can be a problem. Solution: don't eat the wrong stuff. Below is an example of what I would order.

Burrito Bowl (no burrito shell, no rice, no beans)
-toppings: chicken, peppers/onions, light cheese (a pinch), mild salsa, hot salsa and lettuce.

Leaving out the burrito or taco shells, the rice and the beans saves a ton of calories. My burrito bowl would be around 330 calories. If I got the burrito and added all the extras like more cheese, sour cream, rice, beans and guacomole, then that bowl would be about 1190 calories. Wow! 330 calories vs. 1190 calories for one meal. Which would you pick?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ten Tips for Weight Loss

1. Eat 5-6 small meals per day.

2. Eat every 2-3 hours.

3. NEVER skip breakfast!

4. Cut out sugary foods. Read the nutrition facts. For example, 1-2 grams per serving is okay. 10 or more grams per serving is definitely too much.

5. Cut out liquid calories such as soda, juice, specialty coffee drinks, etc.

6. Trade white breads and pastas for whole grain varieties.

7. Eat more lean protien such as skinless chicken, fish and lean cuts of beef.

8. Drink more water. Aim for 2 liters per day.

9. Absolutely no junk! No cookies, chips, donuts, candy etc.

10. Avoid fast food at all costs.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Are You Getting Enough EFAs?

Contrary to popular belief, all fats are not bad. Saturated fat is the bad stuff we want to stay away from. Saturated fat is found mostly in fried foods and junk food. EFAs or "essential fatty acids" are the good fats our bodies need. You can find these types of fats mostly in fish and nuts. When you are watching what you eat, you should never elimintate fat completely. Trade the foods with high amounts of saturated fats for healthy sources of omega 3 and omega 6 fats.

Check out this article for examples.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tired of Your Same Ol' Bars?

Well, create your own! Yup, that's right. There is a company called YouBar that allows you to create any type of protein or energy bar you like. So, if you love cashew butter, but have a hard time finding a bar that has it ... make it yourself! Just go to and you will find all sorts of options you can add to your bar. The one I created for myself has whey protein, apples, cinnamon, almonds and oats and is only 126 calories!

I'm Back!

Yes, I've been away for a while. I took a bit of a hiatus after my vacation, which was great! I had so much fun. I guess I've been on vacation mode ever since. It was nice to get away, but I discovered that a 7 day cruise is too long for me. After day 4, motion sickness set it. Luckily, the cruise ship was well stocked with medication to help anyone who was suffering.

The highlight of the trip for me was riding an ATV in the rainforests of Belize. That was so much fun! I did pretty well too considering I had never done it before. At one point I almost fell off, but quickly recovered. I guess all that working has paid off.

OK, I'll get back to fitness now. Just thought I'd share.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Food Journal Mon 3/23

9:45 (220 calories)
1.5 scoop protein w/ water
1/4 cup oatmeal w/ sf strawberry preserves

2:00 (340 calories)
Boca burger on w.w., cheese, mustard

4:00 (80 calories)
1 Blue Bunny light yogurt

7:00 (350 calories)
salad w/ chicken, 2% cheese, light diluted dressing, croutons

9:45 (125 calories)
1/2 cup Kashi cereal w/ light soy milk

Approx totals
Calories: 1115
Protein: 80g
Carbs: 80g

No workout today.

Rundown: Today was really good. Calories were low but not too low, carbs and protein amounts are right where they should be.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Food Journal Sun 3/22

10:00 (~300 calories)
1 whole egg, 1 egg white
2 slices low sodium bacon
1/4 cup grits

2:00 (400 calories)
1/2 turkey sandwich on w.w.
salad w/ egg, turkey, 2% cheese, light diluted ranch dressing

6:00 (210 calories)
1 Apex bar

9:45 (300 calories)
salad w/ egg, turkey, 2% cheese, light diluted ranch dressing

Approximate totals
Calories: 1210 calories
Protein: 75g
Carbs: ~50g (not counting lettuce)

morning: 40 min cardio on eliptical
afternoon: 90 min yoga class
evening: 30 min stairmaster, total body weights

Rundown: Today was a good eating day. My workout was really heavy, for a couple of reasons. One, I ate too much yesterday and I'm days from my trip. So, I was really motivated to put it a lot of work today. I'll take it, because not every day I feel like doing all of that.

Weight: Saturday weigh in: 135.5 lbs and 19.8% bodyfat. It looks like I hit a wall. I had some slip ups these last couple of weeks which explains why my weight and bodyfat has remained the same and not gone down (like I would have liked). Ah well. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the total progress I've made. I started at 144 lbs and at 23% bodyfat. So, I've dropped 9 lbs and reduced my bodyfat by about 4% in 3 months. Not too shabby, if I may say so myself. Plus, what I'm really happy about is that my diet was not super strict. I allowed myself to have goodies here and there. The key was to stick with my workouts and have more good days than bad. And it worked. Now that I only have 4 days before I leave for my trip, I am still going to stick to a healthy diet and fit in cardio and probably one more day for weight training.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Recipe: Fish Tacos

The other day I had a craving for some tacos. Normally, if I want some delicious tacos, I'll stop by El Rancho, one of my favorite local places to go for Mexican food. But, because I'm still trying to get ready for my cruise, I knew it was not an option. Instead, I made my own tacos with a twist. Fish Tacos.

The recipe below is more health conscious because I trade corn or white flour tortillas for whole wheat low carb tortillas. The tortillas I use have 7g of carbs and only 60 calories per tortilla, which is excellent! You can find these at any grocery store, you just need to read the nutrition facts until you find a brand that works. I like Mama Lupe's brand. I trade regular sour cream for light. I use a small amount of cheese and lots of salsa and lettuce which have almost no calories.


1 tilapia fillet

Old Bay seasoning

1/4 cup monterrey jack cheese

2 tbs salsa

1/2 cup shredded lettuce

2 whole wheat tortillas

1 tbs light sour cream

Pam cooking spray

Season thawed tilapia fillet. Cook in a non-stick pan coated with Pam cooking spray on medium heat. Cook for approximately 3-4 minutes on both sides. Set aside. Microwave tortillas for 10 seconds to warm slightly. Prepare tacos by chopping fish into small pieces and lining center of tortillas. Top with cheese, sour cream, salsa and lettuce.

Approximate nutrition facts:

Serving size: 2 tacos

Calories: 340; Carbs: 17 g; Fat: 9g; Protein: 36g

*Photo from

Portion Control

Have you ever sat down to a bowl of ice cream or looked at the little bowl of salad dressing that accompanies your salad at a restaurant and wondered, "how much is too much?"

We've all been there. It takes a little time and effort to educate yourself on what is in the food you eat. The good news is, once you make a habit of knowing your calories, fats, carbs etc., it becomes easy to chose the right portions.

I saw this article on MSN today talking about portions of some of our favorite goodies like ice cream, pizza and soft drinks. Check it out.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Food Journal Sat 3/7

9:00 (200 calories)
1/3 cup oatmeal w/ sf strawberry preserves
1 scoop protein w/ water

1:00 (340 calories)
Boca burger on w.w., 1 slice Kraft American cheese

5:00 (150 calories)
Protein shake: 1 cup light soy, 1 scoop protein, 6 slices frozen strawberries

8:00 (~225 calories) At Bo Lings
1/2 meal of Steamed chicken and veggies (from the light side menu)
~1/4 cup brown rice

10:30 (235 calories)
1/2 PB&J
1/2 Power Crunch bar

1:00 (135 calories) *Too late, I should not have eaten this*
1/2 PB&J

Approx totals
Calories: 1285
Protein: 91g
Carbs: 75g

Workout: 40 min cardio on stairmaster
Weights: legs

Rundown: Today was OK. I should not have eaten the late night PB&J. The late night snacking feeling got the best of me. Other than that, today was really good. I was even good when I went to eat at Bo Lings. I usually like to get General Tso's chicken and some Crab Rangoon for an appetizer, but I resisted and got the Steamed Chicken and Veggies dish which is cooked with no oil or sauce. Add a little low sodium soy sauce and it's not bad.

Legs! Legs! Legs!

Guess what my favorite muscle group to train is. Well, if you guessed legs ... you're right! I love leg days because I always feel so strong after my workouts. When I was working really hard to build muscle, I loved pushing myself to see how much I could lift. Now that I'm in a maintenance routine I don't lift so heavy, but I still love it.

Check out my current leg routine.

Smith machine squats: 3 sets of 10 reps @ 135 lbs
Straight bar deadlifts: 3 sets of 10 reps @ 80 lbs
Leg extensions: 3 sets of 10 reps @ 125 lbs
Ball squats: 3 sets of 10 reps w/ 15 lbs dumbbells
Glute kickbacks: 3 sets of 10 reps @ 25 lbs
Standing calf raises (machine): 3 sets of 10 reps @ 90 lbs

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Food Journal Fri 3/6

7:00 (225 calories)
1/3 cup oatmeal w/ sf preserves
1 scoop protein w/ water
coffee w/ 1 tsp Splenda, 1/2 tsp sugar, whip

10:00 (100 calories)
1/2 PB&J

1:00 (340 calories)
Boca burger on w.w., 1 slice Kraft American cheese
1 cup broccoli

5:00 (150 calories)
Protein shake: 1 scoop protein, 1 cup light soy, 6 frozen strawberry slices

8:00 (320 calories)
4 oz grilled chicken w/ 1 tbs light ranch (as a dip)
coffee w/ 1/2 tsp sugar, whip

10:00 (~35 calories)
1 tsp peanut butter

11:00 (~80 calories)
1 glass red wine

Approx totals
Calories: 1250
Protein: 100g
Carbs: 70g

No workout today.

Rundown: Today was a good day. I was able to go out and meet some friends and not be tempted to order sushi. Ah! That was a victory. I just ordered one glass of wine. Calories, protein and carb totals were in good range.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Food Journal Thur 3/5

7:00 (280 calories)
1 cup Special K Protein cereal
1/2 cup light soy milk
1 scoop protein w/ water
coffee w/ 1.5 tsp sugar & whip

10:00 (100 calories)
small svg beef w/ broccoli -no rice (homemade)

1:00 (340 calories)
Boca burger on w.w., 1 slice Kraft American cheese
1 cup broccoli

4:15 (150 calories)
Protein shake: 1 cup light soy, 1 scoop protein, 6 slices frozen strawberries

8:15 (100 calories)
1/2 PB&J

11:00 (180 calories)
1 svg Tilapia fillet
1 cup broccoli
2 tsp peanut butter

Approx totals
Calories: 1050
Protein: 105g
Carbs: 60g

Workout: 40 min cardio. 30 min stairmaster, 10 min eliptical. (I usually do 20 minutes on the stairmaster, but I was really into watching ER, so I stayed on a little extra.)

Weights: triceps

Rundown: Today was a good day. I would have liked to hit the 1100 calorie mark on my calories though. I need to make sure my calories aren't too low, since that creates an environment where my body will hold onto fat instead of burn it. Which is NOT what I'm going for. But other than that, I'd say it was right on!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My 5 Favorite Kitchen Tools

1. Blender. This comes in handy for all those protein shakes I make that include frozen fruit.

2. Measuring Cup. I like to know exactly how much of something I'm eating. This helps me keep track of my calories.

3. Food Scale. I know not everyone has one of these, but it really helps. I like using it to measure my chicken or other proteins to make sure I'm getting a proper serving. You can get these really cheap too, like around $5.

4. Foreman Grill. I couldn't live without this! Who knew one little appliance could make your life so much easier? When I'm crunched for time, it's easy to just throw on a chicken breast and have it done in minutes.

5. Plastic Storage Conatiners. Well, I don't think this is really classified as a tool, but is another thing I couldn't live without. Small containers help tons when taking my meals with me for the day. I definitely recommend buying a brand new set just to use for your to-go meals.

Food Journal Wed 3/4

7:30 (280 calories)
1 cup Kellogg's Specail K Protein Plus cereal
1/2 cup light soy
1 scoop protein w/ water
coffee w/ Cool Whip

10:30 (100 calories)
small svg Thai chicken veggie stir-fry

1:30 (345 calories)
Boca burger on whole wheat, 1 slice cheese
1 cup broccoli

6:45 (325 calories)
1 protein shake
-1 cup light soy
-6 slices frozen strawberries
-1 scoop protein
1 cup Special K cereal w/ 1/2 cup light soy
coffee w/ Cool Whip

9:30 (50 calories)
1 boiled egg, removed most yolk

Approx totals
Calories 1100
Protein: 110g
Carbs: 70g

No workout today.

Rundown: Today was pretty good! It's crunch time so, I will make sure my carbs don't get too high and protein is slightly higher than usual. I am upping the protein and reducing the carbs because I tend to be carb sensitive and the increase in protein ensures I don't have too few calories for the day.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Food Journal Sun 3/1-Cheat Day!

9:30 (~400 calories)
2 glazed donuts

11:45 (260 calories)
1 whole egg, 1 egg white scrambled
2 pcs bacon
1/4 c Cream of Wheat w/ light butter & 1 tsp sugar

3:00 (125 calories)
small turkey wrap

6:00 (125 calories)
small turkey wrap

8:00 (~880 calories) At The Peachtree. Shared the meal w/ hubby.
4 small pcs fried catfish fingers
1 fried chicken breast
1 spoonful of macaroni, yams & greens
shared 1 svg peach cobbler
1 glass white wine

Approx calories: 1790
(I'm not sure about the rest of the stats and the calories are really an estimate.)

Workout: 40 min cardio, legs & abs

Rundown: OK, so maybe I didn't need the donuts AND the restaurant food. That was a bit much. But, this was a great cheat day. I had enough of the good, tasty stuff to keep me on track for the last 3 week stretch to my goal. I may cut out cheat days for the remainder of the time I have left. We'll see though.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Food Journal Sat 2/28

9:00 (80 calories)
1 scoop protein w/ water

1:00 (285 calories)
1 svg Cream of Wheat w/ 2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tbs light butter
1 scoop protein w/ 1/2 cup light vanilla soy milk

4:30 (260 calories)
Lean Cuisine Shrimp Alfredo

6:30 (250 calories)
salad w/ turkey
-1 svg light ranch dilluted w/ water, 1/4 cup 2% cheese, few croutons, 2 oz turkey deli meat

9:30 (40 calories) At a party.
1/2 glass white wine

11:30 (340 calories)
turkey sandwich on w.w., provolone cheese, mustard

1:00 (125 calories) Late night snack. I should have avoided this.
1/2 cup Kashi cereal w/ light soy milk

Approx totals
Calories: 1380
Protein: 95g
Carbs: ~135g

No workout today.

Rundown: Calories were too high. I guess I started my cheat day a little early. I definitely could have resisted to late night cereal. I also could have resisted the wine. I tried to be good and only get 1/2 a glass of wine and not have any more after that. I normally don't do Lean Cuisines, but found myself at a friend's house and it was time to eat. Carbs were too high. They need to be under 100g. Protein, however, was good. Today was far from the best. On top of all the diet errors, I skipped my workout. Bad! Next week has to be better; I will be three weeks from my goal of 18% bodyfat.

*****Weigh in***** 135.8 lbs, 19.7% bodyfat. This is good, I'm down! Down almost 1 lb and almost 1% in bodyfat.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Type of Calories Don't Matter?

New study published by the New England Journal of Medicine says that the type of calories you consume are less important than the amount of calories you consume.

Key words: "less important." Maybe you heard about this? This doesn't mean you can have a day's worth Snickers bars. That would be ridiculous. Nutrition does matter. Basically, the study is saying that you need to eat fewer calories to lose weight. Duh. That's no secret.

Consider though, that when you want to get more specific than general weight loss, i.e. firm up or lose fla (which applies to pretty much every client I've ever had), then the type of calories you consume absolutely do matter. But, if you're looking to lose 50 pounds or more, this study's guidelines should get you off to a great start.

Food Journal Thur 2/26

8:45 (295 calories)
1.5 scoops protein w/ water
1 svg Cream of Wheat w/ 2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tbs light butter

11:45 (295 calories)
Boca burger on w.w. bun, 1/2 slice 2% cheese
1 cup broccoli

2:30 (125 calories)
1 small svg chicken veggie stir fry w/ Thai seasoning (no rice)

4:30 (100 calories)
1/2 PB&J

7:30 (100 calories)
1/2 PB&J

10:00 (360 calories)
3.5 oz grilled chicken
1 small salad: 1/4 cup 2% cheese, 1 svg light ranch dilluted w/ water, few croutons

Approx totals
Calories: 1275
Protein: 93g
Carbs: 78g

Workout: 40 min cardio, 20 min stairmaster, 20 min eliptical

Rundown: Today gets an A+

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Drink a Day Increases Women's Risk of Cancer

You've probably heard that a drink a day is OK, or that drinking a glass of wine a day has some health benefits. The wine claim is most commonly associated with drinking red wine. Red wine has been known to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Well, if you're a woman, you may want to reconsider that wine and that daily nightcap because it may increase the risk of cancer.

A new study to be published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute says that drinking one drink per day raises women's risk of cancer.

Alarming? Right? That's exactly what I thought. Check it out for yourself.

Food Journal Wed 2/25

8:00 (295 calories)
1.5 scoop protein w/ water
1 svg Cream of Wheat, 1/2 tbs light butter, 2 tsp sugar

11:30 (320 calories)
Boca burger on w.w., 1 slice 2% cheese
1 cup broccoli

1:30 (100 calories)
1/2 PB&J

4:45 (250 calories)
chicken salad w/ 2oz grilled chicken, 1/4 cup 2% cheese, 1 svg light ranch, few croutons

8:30 (165 calories)
protein shake: 1 cup light vanilla soy, 1 scoop protein, 6 slices frozen strawberries

Approx totals
Calories: 1130
Protein: 89g
Carbs: 85g

No workout today.

Rundown: Excellent day, if I may say so myself.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

FAGE (pronounced "fa-yeh")

I love it when my clients suggest new foods to me. Case in point. FAGE yogurt. Apparently this Greek yogurt has been around for a while, I was just in the dark about it.

The yogurt is very natural, basically just containing milk and live active yogurt cultures. You don't get all of the unnecessary extra junk found in other yogurts. It does have a very distinct taste. Depending on your taste buds, this could either be a good thing or a bad thing.

FAGE comes in four different types: Total, Total 2%, Total 5% and Total 0%. I opt for the Total 0% because the nutrition facts are awesome! High in protein, low in carbs and fat free! I like to use half of a small container and mix fresh strawberries and cantaloupe (both fruits are low glycemic index fruits).

So, if you're getting tired of the same 'ol, same 'ol, and want something new. Give it a try. I definitely recommend it.

Food Journal Tue 2/24

8:45 (295 calories)
1 svg Cream of Wheat w/ 2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tbs light butter
1.5 scoops protein w/ water

12:15 (320 calories)
Boca burger on w.w., 1 sl 2% cheese
1 cup broccoli

2:45 (100 calories)
1/2 PB&J sandwich (on w.w., natural PB, sugar free preserves)

4:45 (260 calories)
turkey burger w/ 1 tsp low calorie bbq sauce
1/2 PB&J sandwich

9:30 (275 calories)
-2 oz grilled chicken, 1/4 cup 2% cheese, 1 svg light ranch dilluted w/ water, few croutons

No workout today.

Approx totals
Calories: 1250
Protein: 79g
Carbs: 90g

Rundown: Today was very good. Calories were below 1300, but above 1100; protein was at least 75g and carbs were below 100g. Good day!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Food Journal Mon 2/23

9:30 (230 calories)
1/2 cup oatmeal w/ 1 tbs sf preserves
1 scoop protein w/ water

1:15 (320 calories)
Boca burger on w.w., 1 sl 2% cheese
1 cup broccoli

3:00 (100 calories)
1/2 PB&J on w.w. w/ 1 tsp PB & sf preserves

7:00 (275 calories)
2 oz grilled chicken salad
-w/ 1 svg light ranch, 1/4 cup 2% cheese

9:00 (210 calories)
Power Crunch bar

11:00 (80 calories)
1 scoop protein w/ water

Approx totals
Calories: 1215
Protein: 84g
Carbs: ~75g

No workout today.

Rundown: Today was really good. Carbs were below 100g, calories were less than 1300 and protein was up (more than 75g).

What's Your Bodyfat Percentage?

Are you curious to know where you stand with your bodyfat? Below is a list from the Amercian Council on Exercise.


Essential fat 10-13%
Athletes 14-20%
Fitness 21-24%
Healthy 25-31%
Obese 32% and higher


Essential fat 2-5%
Athletes 6-13%
Fitness 14-17%
Healthy 18-24%
Obese 25% and higher

Food Journal Sun 2/22

Cheat Day!*

The asterisk denotes foods that I would not normally eat, but allowed myself to have on this fine, special day.

2 pancakes*
3 pc low sodium bacon*
1 whole egg, 1 egg white scrambled
light butter, sugar free syrup
~600 calories

1/2 turkey sandwich on whole wheat w/ small amt of light Miracle Whip
100 calories

Protein shake
-1 cup light vanilla soy
-1.5 scoops protein
-6 frozen strawberry slices
205 calories

1 svg tilapia
100 calories

1 Think Thin bar
3 small pieces of pork skins* (I usually hate these and don't touch them, but the hubby had some, so of course I wanted to try some.)
~255 calories

12:00 (too late!)
1/4 of a personal DiGiorno pizza for one (again, the hubby was eating this and I just couldn't resist & had a piece. But it was my cheat day, so I gave in.)
143 calories

Approx totals
Calories: 1403
Protein: 90g
Carbs: 121g

Rundown: OK, so since today was my cheat day, my totals were a bit high. Well, the calories and carbs were a bit high, protein was fine. All in all, not a bad cheat day. I didn't go overboard, but I did allow myself to have some goodies. I love pancakes! And the pizza was pretty tasty too!

I definitely recommend having one day that you allow yourself to indulge a little. And may I emphasize a little! Just because you have a "cheat day" doesn't give you license to go hog wild and consume 3000 calories in one day. Cheat days, in my experience allow you to stay focused on your diet for the rest of the week. And knowing you can have a cheat in the near future makes you less likely to feel deprived of the things you really enjoy eating.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Food Journal Sat 2/21

1 scoop protein w/ water
80 calories

1/2 cup oatmeal w/ sprinkle sugar & cinnamon, light butter
3/4 cup light soy milk w/ 1 scoop protein
290 calories

1 svg grilled chicken
1/2 cup brown rice
350 calories

Balance bar
100 calories

1.5 cups Kashi Crunch w/ light soy milk
1 egg white, 1 whole egg scrambled w/ pinch of 2% cheese
450 calories

Approx totals
calories: 1270
protein: ~85g
carbs: ~125g

Workout: 40 min cardio: 20 min stairmaster, 20 min crosstrainer
Weights: triceps & chest

****Weigh in***** 136.6 lbs, 20.7% bodyfat (Down about 2 lbs. Bodyfat up .1% but that amt. is negligible.)

Rundown: So today's diet probably doesn't look very appetizing. Ha! Some days it's like that. Totals are good. Carbs are a bit high, I'd like them to be under 100g. Otherwise, today was a good day!

My weight is coming down, which I'm super happy about. I'd be happier if my bodyfat dropped down too. But, sometimes the weight goes down first and then the bodyfat comes later. So, we'll see what next week's weigh in looks like.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bollywood Body

Since Slumdog Millionaire hit the theaters, a different approach to exercise has resurfaced. The fast-paced aerobic moves in traditional Indian folk dance is a really good workout. Getting bored with your cardio routine? Try to mix it up by adding in a little Masala Bhangra.

Food Journal Fri 2/20

1/2 cup oatmeal
1 tbs sf preserves
1 scoop protein w/ water
230 calories

turkey burger
1 cup broccoli
5 Ritz crackers
235 calories

1 cup light vanilla yogurt
4 small strawberries
4 1" cubes cantaloupe
160 calories

1 egg white
35 calories

protein shake
-1 cup light soy
-1 scoop protein
-6 slices frozen strawberries
+ 1 svg Cool Whip (topping treat)
180 calories

Approx totals
calories: 840
protein: 75g
carbs: 80g

Workout: 40 min cardio on eliptical. No weights.

Rundown: Food choices for the day were really good. Calories are too low. I will probably have some protein and veggies of some sort a little later on since I will be up late. I like my calories to be at least 1100 per day and no more than 1300.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Food Journal Thur 2/19

less than 1/2 cup oatmeal
1 tbs sugar free strawberry preserves
1 scoop protein w/ water
210 calories

Boca burger on w.w. w/ 1 sl 2% cheese
green beans
10 Ritz crackers
465 calories

yogurt w/ 2 strawberries
6 Ritz crackers
190 calories

protein shake
-1 cup light soy
-1 scoop protein
-6 slices frozen strawberries
145 calories

1 baked chicken thigh
1 cup broccoli w/ 1/2 sl 2% cheese
1/2 scoop protein w/ 1/2 cup light soy milk (shake)
225 calories

11:45 late night munch : (
1 1"cube cantaloupe
2 teaspoons yogurt
15 calories (about)

Approx totals
calories: 1250
protein: 104g
carbs: ~100g

No workout today.

Rundown: Today's diet was really good. The late night munch could have been omitted, but it wasn't bad. Protein was up and carbs were about 100g which is good. Daily I like my carbs to be at or below 100g and my protein to be from 75-100g.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hitting a Plateau

You've been consistent with your workouts. You're intensity has been really good. You've been at it for a long time. And to your amazement, no results. Sound familiar? If so, you've hit a plateau.

Anyone who has been consistent with a workout over a long period of time is likely to experience this frustrating no results period.

If you perform the same workout over and over, your body get used to it. You are no longer challenging your body to be able to produce results. Changing your routine even slightly will help get you back to seeing results. Below are a few tips that may help.

1. Try different types of cardio. If you always use the treadmill, try the elpitical instead.
2. Do different exercises for resistance training. Change up your whole routine with new exercises.
3. Turn up the intensity. If you've been doing bicep curls with 15lb DBs forever, bump it up and use 20lb DBs. You may need to do fewer reps at first, but that is OK.
4. Change your frequency. If you only workout twice a week, go three or four times a week. And conversely, if you workout six days a week, reduce it to maybe three times per week.
5. Take some time off. This may sound strange, but about every six weeks you should take a few days off from working out. This gives your body a chance to totally recover and allows you to tackle a new workout with a fresh and rested body.

Food Journal Wed 2/18

less than 1/2 c oatmeal
1 small box raisins
1 scoop protein w/ water
245 calories

Boca burger on w.w. w/ 1 slice 2% cheese
green beans
305 calories

yogurt w/ 2 strawberries
5 Ritz crackers
175 calories

protein shake
-1 scoop protein
-6 sliced strawberries
-1 cup light soy
1 slice w.w. toast w/light butter & sf preserves
3 slices thin slices deli turkey w/ a pinch of 2% cheese
260 calories

1 svg tilapia
1 cup green beans
120 calories

Approx totals:
calories: 1105
protein: 94g
carbs: 92g

No workout today.

Rundown: Today was really good. Protein was higher than yesterday and carbs were below 100g.

Food Journal Tue 2/17

less than 1/2 cup oatmeal
1 small box raisins
1 scoop protein w/ water
245 calories

Boca burger on w.w. & 1 slice 2% cheese
305 calories

2 tbs yogurt w/ 2 strawberries & small amt cantaloup
50 calories

10 Ritz crackers
160 calories

1/2 turkey sanwich on w.w. /mustard
70 calories

protein shake
-1 scoop protein
-1 cup light soy
-6 slices frozen strawberries
small bowl Kashi cereal
300 calories

Approx calories: 1130
Protein: 73g
Carbs: 121

Workout: 40 min cardio. 20 min eliptical, 20 min stairmaster
Weights: shoulders

Rundown: Today was pretty good. I could have had a tad bit more protein and a little less on the carbs, but pretty good. The Ritz crackers are not really on the diet. They were out at work and I opted for those instead of the cheesecake that was eyeballin' me all day!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Food Journal Sat 2/14

Happy Valentine's Day!

2 slices w.w. toast w/ light butter
1 whole egg, 1 egg white scrambled
3 dark choc hearts (it's V-day!)

turkey sandwich on 2 sl w.w. bread w/ light mayo & mustard

beef w/ broccoli (homemade)
1/4 cup brown rice

salad w/ 1 svg sliced grilled chicken
-1/4 cup 2% cheese, 1 svg reg ranch
handful of dark chocs (didn't count, but way too many) : (

10:00 (so bad!)
small popcorn at movies
sour patch kids

Approx calories: 1850 way too high!

No workout today.

So, I said today would be better and clearly it wasn't. I've fallen into a bit of a slump. I definitely must get back on track if I want to reach my goal. I still have 5 weeks to lose 2% more bodyfat. I definitely think that is enough time. In my defense (lol), this diet plan I've been following is not super strict. I am allowing myself to have cheats here and there, although my "here and there" cheats have become too frequent. But, this is to show that it is possible to still reach your goals even if every single day and meal isn't perfect.

Weigh in: 138.4 lb, 20.6% bodyfat. (up .4 lb and up .4% bf)
My bad days are catching up with me. This week must be better if I want to have my numbers go in the downward direction vs. the upward direction.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Food Journal Fri 2/13

Ok, don't be alarmed by what you see for today. Today was a bad day. We had a Valentine's Day luncheon at work and I gave in the goodies. Sigh. But, tomorrow is a new day and will be beter.

less than 1/2 cup oatmeal
1 small box raisins
1.5 scoops protein w/ water
285 calories

12:00 (at the luncheon)
salad w/ Italian dressing light
2 tortilla chips w/ 1 spoonful taco meat
1/2 slice cheesecake
400 calories

3:00 (more from the luncheon)
salad w/ Italian dressing light
2 Chips Ahoy cookies
1 small pc choc cake
400 calories

protein shake
-1/2 cup soy milk
-1 scoop protein
bowl of cereal (Kashi)
500 calories

2 slices w.w. toast w/ sf preserves
150 calories

Approx calories: 1735 too much!

Rundown: Ok, so all the snacks were definitely on the diet. I gave in. I do have weak moments. Sometimes several. So, to try and balance some of that out, I tried not to eat too much for the rest of the day. I still could probably have done without the toast at 10. Ah well. Tomorrow will better.

No workout today.

Food Journal Thur 2/12

less than 1/2 cup oatmeal
1 small box raisins
1 scoop protein w/ water
245 calories

turkey burger w/ 1 tsp bbq sauce
salad w/ salad spritzer spray
200 calories

yogurt w/ 3 fresh strawberries
5 Hershey kisses & a small York pattie : (
235 calories

protein shake
-1 cup light soy
-1 scoop protein
-4 frozen sliced strawberries
small box raisins
195 calories

1/2 PB&J
120 calories

1 svg cod
1/2 cup carrots
1/2 cup cheesy spinach (1 slice 2% cheese)
1/2 cup light soy milk w/ 1 tsp sugar free choc syrup
1 tsp PB
240 calories

Approx stats:
calories: 1235
protein: 90g
carbs: 110g

50 min cardio: 30 min stairmaster, 20 min eliptical
chest & abs

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Your Lowfat Yogurt Might Be Bad

Yogurt is a common go-to snack for people being conscious of what they are eating. Be sure to read those labels. Just becasue it is "lowfat" doesn't mean it's the best choice.

Many lowfat yogurts have a ton of sugar. If your yogurt has 25 or more grams of sugar per serving, put it back! That's like eating a candy bar.

The sugar content should be less than 10 grams per serving. Lately, I've been eating Blue Bunny's light yogurt in vanilla. It has 7 grams of sugar per serving. Check out the links below for examples of good vs. bad yogurts.

This yogurt is not the best choice. It has way too much sugar.

This yogurt is a much better choice.

Now, check out the sugar in a Snickers bar.

Food Journal Wed 2/11

slightly less than 1/2 cup oatmeal
1 small box raisins
1 scoop protein w/ water
245 calories

1 svg shredded bbq chicken
1 sl w.w. bread
salad w/ salad spritzer spray
235 calories

yogurt w/ 3 fresh strawberries
105 calories

protein shake
-1 cup light soy milk
-5 frozen strawberry slices
-1 scoop protein
salad w/ 1 tbs Italian dressing
200 calories

turkey burger w/ sauted onions + A1
cheesy spinach (1 sl 2% cheese)
2 tsp PB
4 w.w. crackers
375 calories

-green pepper, mushroom, tomato, blue cheese (small amts)
-1 tbs Italian dressing
75 calories

Approx totals:
calories: 1235
protein: 97g
carbs: 71g

No workout today.