Blowing away 3 common fitness and health “tricks” that may be hurting you long-term

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These 3 “tricks” that fitness enthusiasts use to lose weight and supposedly get healthier are actually doing more damage than good.  In fact, these things could be telling your body to hold onto unhealthy fat.  Read below and don’t make these mistakes.

1.  Being really sore indicates that you had a kick ass workout. MYTH!!!
Actually being sore is your body holding on to inflammation.  If you do a workout, you felt like you worked your hardest, and you’re not sore the next day (or the second day after) that is AWESOME!!  That means your body is processing the waste products that got built up during your workout.

If you experience significant muscle soreness on a REGULAR basis, and it lasts for more than a couple of days, you probably need to:

  • drink more water
  • take  (better) vitamins/eat healthier (more antioxidants)
  • recover more–de-stress

2.  I need to eat a lot of protein and fat to lose fat.  FAD!!!

Usually when people say they need to eat a lot of protein and fat, two things are going on. 1.  they are following some ridiculous diet; or 2. they are a newly diagnosed diabetic.  The truth is that protein and fat ARE important for fat loss and sustainable energy.  But, we need a diet with veggies!!  Can’t get around it and the faster you accept that the quicker you will achieve the health you are looking for.

Healthy fats–FROM PLANTS–can provide us with tons of energy and help our bodies burn other fat.  And protein and fat help us feel full longer so we don’t feel hungry and give into cravings.  BUT, most people forget about two other things that are really important in fat loss and sustainable health:  fiber and disease.  The people who promote high meat oriented diets don’t give a crap about your heart disease and cancer risk.  They just want you to lose weight so they can look good and sell more books.  This is totally unsustainable and not healthy.  Meat is VERY inflammatory, so keep it to a minimum.  Bulk up your diet with FIBER and plant-based fats and proteins.  Meat should be a sometimes food, not an always food. Examples for good foods to incorporate are:

  • celery, carrots, avocados, cucumber/zucchini, any squashes
  • nuts and seeds, like raw cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds (all awesome sources of  fiber, protein and nutrients for your brain)
  • whole grains like steel cut oats (NOT processed oats), sprouted bread, wheat berries

3.  Doing more cardio on my “off days” will make me lose weight faster/make me stronger/healthier. MYTH!!!!

“Off days” are called that for a reason–because you are supposed to be taking a day OFF to REST!  This is probably one of the biggest mistakes I see people make.  Believe it or not–I know this goes against everything you feel and know–reducing your intense workout days can lower your body fat and make you stronger.  I have seen it in action.  Rest is probably the most under-utilized, under-appreciated aspect of fitness and health.  When working on a schedule, take into account what stress you are under at work, home, are you traveling a lot.  These are crucial to take into account if you want to avoid injuries, overtraining, or release fat.

If you need help coming up with a program/schedule that works for you, simply contact me at elysej@venus4her.com.

I’d love to know what you think of my article!!! please leave a comment below, and feel free to share it too!!!  Thanks!  Elyse

How to get skinny and stay healthy forever

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blackwomanrunningIn my life as a fitness professional, I meet lots of women who want to lose weight, “tone up,” release fat, and reduce pain.  Ultimately, they want to be healthy.  One of the first things they think is “oh, I will start running or doing the elliptical.  I will exercise everyday.  Then I will lose weight.”  Many, many times they lose some weight, but as soon as they get busy they get out of their routine and gain it all back.  Why is that?

How to make the body a fat-burning machine is not a mystery to fitness professionals and it should not be to you either.  In this article I am going to dispell almost everything you ever read in a “women’s” health mag about exercise.  In fact, here is a little secret: Top trainers consider “cardio” exercise a complete waste of time for pretty much all of their clients!

So, why do women keep doing it??

Many women who want to lose fat start running, elliptical-ing, or walking because, hey, its a great way to burn calories, its easy, its fun, right? And its better than sitting on the couch (which IS true).

What people (especially busy women) never consider is how much time they are wasting.  Almost every woman I know knows that time is precious to the modern woman, so why would anyone spend time exercising, of all things, and not get long term results out of it??

Being a triathlete myself, I’m thinking that you’re thinking that I am totally full of it, and that thousands of people lose weight running and walking, that its easy and fun to walk with friends, etc. Where do I get off telling people that cardio is a waste of time?

If losing fat and being healthy forever effortlessly is your goal, then you need to re-evaluate, be open-minded, and read on…

In this post, I will tell you

  • what really burns fat 24/7 even when you are sleeping
  • quick exercise you can do so you CAN burn fat efficiently, sustainably, and effortlessly stay thin and healthy forever

Skinny disclaimer: For most women the end goal is to lose fat so we can be healthy, pain free, happy and mobile.  These are the most important reasons for exercising.  Looking great and being the envy of our neighbors is a nice perk, but lets face it, we are not vain enough to be really motivated by that.

So let’s get this going…

How much fat is healthy?

First of all, I need to define what is a healthy amount of fat for a woman.  Many women out here on the internet are going a little too far (in my opinion) in their fat loss quests.  Have you seen their before and after selfies??  And the posts of FIT IS THE NEW SKINNY? with pics of super-cut moms showing off their abs?  This makes me want to gag, because

  1. it shows how truly insecure we are that we need to be prancing around in our underwear on facebook because NOW we think we look good, and
  2. many times these pics are a result of unsustainable effort!  Sure, you’re skinny now…but are you REALLY going to be able to maintain your “lean out” routine?  Seriously, this is so unrealistic and demoralizing to everyone else on the planet who is living a real life.

I wish women would just STOP the madness of the pursuit of a “perfect” body and be healthy.

That said, a body fat percent of  20 to 30 is the ideal for women.  Women with smaller frames are going to feel more comfortable being closer to 20 and women who are taller are going to be able to better “pull off” BF% in the high 20’s.  Personally, I range anywhere from 23-29% and that is probably due to hydration, and maybe like 5 lb variation depending on how much I am exercising.  Most people would NEVER guess that I average 25% body fat.  The women who are taking selfies and posting on Facebook/websites are:

  1. flexing their muscles somehow for their pic or sucking it in
  2. if they really are that “cut” they are probably around 12-18% body fat
  3. promoting some kind of weight loss product or “fat burning” services, and/or
  4. spending a lot of time on their fitness regimen

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This is nice for them, but not sustainable even by these internet fitness wonder women.  So, let’s just get over that fact and move on to more balanced, doable fitness and health.

Okay, I KNOW you have heard this before, unless you have been living in a fitness cave for the last 10 years.  The most efficient way to burn present and future fat in your body is for your body to build muscle and GROW

Everyday our bodies burn energy (aka calories) while we go about our business (even when we sleep!). How do we get them to burn more?  By encouraging it to repair and make muscle.

There is a fine line between healthy breakdown and causing inflammation.  This is really important to be aware of in your own body.  Generally, if soreness is not gone by the third day after a workout, you get sick, you are in pain, you are causing bad inflammation, so STOP doing what you are doing because your body is going to turn into a fat storing machine–I don’t think any woman wants that! EVER! Even if you need to gain weight!

The most amazing thing about our bodies is that we are growing and repairing everyday, almost entirely while we sleep. So, when I say that you get skinny while you sleep, I’m serious and its a scientific fact.

How to efficiently burn fat while you sleep:

Muscle tissue uses energy on a 24 hour basis–all the time, every day, even yes,when we are sleeping! Your heart is beating at this very moment–that is a muscle.  FAT = ENERGY.  Its actually the most efficient source of energy for muscle to use, especially while you are sleeping.

muscle burns more fat per hour than cardio.

Running and walking can build initial muscle (especially if you are starting from zero) but only to a certain level, which is precisely why most people plateau pretty quickly when they use cardio to burn fat.  That’s why you see people in marathon training programs who keep doing marathons, year after year, and they are still fat.  There are two things going on with this:

  1. they are only burning calories for the time they are actually exercising–what, like an hour or more if they are training long distance (vs. 24/7)?
  2. they are creating a TON of inflammation in their bodies from the breakdown of connective tissue and muscle, and rampant creation of free radicals.

NOTE:  This type of muscle breakdown is not helping you to build muscle.  Its teaching your body how to store fat because when your body is stressed out and inflamed that’s the first thing it does.

The most efficient way to build muscle is high intensity interval strength training.

(NOTE: Walking in nature to relax is not the same as fitness walking and running, and can be a very important part of losing fat and keeping it off).

Workout that cardio junkies should do (and will love) regardless of whether they are trying to lose fat or not:

Go to a track and run the straight-aways as fast as you can, then walk/jog the turns.  Work up to doing that 8 times (which is 1 mile).  it should take you about 10 minutes maybe. rest 1 minute. Then, add 10 pushups on the stands 4x with 20 second rest in between each set. rest 1 minute.  hold a plank for 30 seconds/rest 20 sec. do 4x.  relax.  That should take about 20 minutes and that is a kick ass workout. Do that 3 times a week and you will not only be a STRONG woman, fat will melt off you!!!

If you are reading this when you can’t go outside, replace the straight-aways with fast steps, mountain climbers, burpees–anything that you can do all-out.

If you are just starting out or over 50 lbs overweight, please do not run or do high impact exercise yet.     This is simply too stressful and counter productive.  I don’t want to discourage people from being active, but if you get injured, you ain’t goin’ nowhere, no how.  Be smart and stay injury free!

High intensity is different than high impact.  Use common sense, personal exertion perception (rate of perceived exertion), or a heart rate monitor, if you’re not sure how hard you should go.

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Here’s another great workout especially for newbies:

Rev up your metabolism first thing in the morning with some basic core activities like 20 bridges (one or two leg), planks for 30 seconds, and 10 push ups–do this 2-4 times depending on how much time you have. If you have more time, and you have good knees, add some one leg lunges, or squats in there (10 each).  Keep it moving with an interval timer.

This kind of workout will  get your blood pumping in the morning or in the evening (after sitting at a desk all day), AND it will safely help your body learn how to burn fat.

The key with efficient, fat-burning training is to do short bursts of exercise with rest.  Most people do too long and too hard.  Short burst = seconds, not minutes.  Avoid: 2 minutes of cardio in between sets of weights for an hour.  That is a huge waste of time.  Keep it simple and do stuff you like.  If you want some other suggestions, leave a comment below.

MAXIMIZING YOUR FAT LOSS AND KEEPING IT OFF FOREVER!

To most women this sounds too good to be true.  YES, what you put in your body is a very big piece of the puzzle, especially when you are first starting out.  That will be discussed in another article.  Maximizing your muscle now will turn you into an energy burning machine, which will allow you to indulge occasionally.  And, as with most things in life the younger you start, the easier it is and the easier it is to sustain.

Don’t hate the skinny girl.  She works hard to keep her figure (if she is actually interested in her health).

Keeping health and fitness real for all women–Please tell me what you think: leave a message below.  Thanks for reading…Elyse

FREE Webinar on Essential Oil Uses For Common Ailments

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Happy Friday!!!

I just wanted to tell all my followers (love you! :D) about a free webinar I am doing on Sunday at 7:30 pm EST.  I’m not selling anything–I’m going to explain how to use doTerra certified pure therapeutic grade oils.  If you already have some, grab them and we will have fun.  If you don’t have yet, listen in and find out why I and millions others are jumping on the EO wagon. 

here is the link to register!  http://www.anymeeting.com/PIID=EA57DF82824A3F

Can’t wait to talk to you!!!

Elyse

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free webinar! improve performance now

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Please join me for my very first webinar!  I am super excited to share information with the world using this format.  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

I love sharing information about living healthy, so I have lots of workshops thru the year at my fitness studio Venus Fitness, in Montgomery, Ohio.  However, it never fails that I get enthusiastic emails from eager learners saying they would love to come, but their kid has a soccer game that night.  Or they can’t get a babysitter, or they have to work, or worse, someone is sick.  :(

The webinar format changes all of that!  Not only can you participate from the comfort of your office or home, but if you can’t make it, you can watch the recorded session! I LOVE technology!

I am planning several webinars, including an intro class on essential oils, smoothies that burn fat, and foam rolling.

This first webinar will be a review of a workshop I conducted recently called the Natural Athlete.  It focuses on training, eating, and healing naturally for the serious athlete and the weekend warrior.  This webinar is IDEAL for

  • coaches who want to reduce the number of athletes on their injury list
  • parents who are concerned about the development of their young athlete
  • adults who are doing endurance races (ironman, marathons, etc)

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

You will learn:

 

  • what will help you recover faster, improve performance
  • recipes for snacks that will fuel your body, not just give you energy
  • how to identify when you are on the brink of overtraining
  • 5 exercises everyone should do before a workout
  • how to heal faster, drug free, cheaper, and get back to doing what you love faster than a trip to the ortho’s office.

Join me on Monday June 2, at noon!  there is something for everyone!  ITS FREE!!  Pass it along!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

 

 

How do I know if I am working out hard enough or too hard?

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Have you ever had a killer workout, and you weren’t sore afterwards?  Or, worked out and you were sore for like 5 days??   I have and its really frustrating trying to figure out:  1.  why the disparity, and 2.  how I can be more consistent.  Because let’s admit it!  Even though we want to feel that soreness, its kind of annoying, especially if you have to wear a skirt, or need to move quickly, right?! Its that moaning, “I’m so sore!!!” that is bragging rights to people who work out hard.  BUT, is it healthy?  What is too sore?  Are you doing more harm than good?

This can be a very confusing subject, full of myths and lots of differing opinions.  Many personal trainers and fitness enthusiasts (especially cross fit fans) will say you should feel very sore to know that you have broken down the muscle sufficiently.  This usually occurs one or two days after a hard work out and its called DOMS:  delayed onset muscle soreness. This soreness used to be thought to be caused by lactic acid build up, which is not true.  It is caused by the breakdown of the muscle cells and connective tissue (read all about that here).

This is MY take on this:

  • If you work to your capacity, feel your muscles struggle (“fatigue”) and burn while you are working out–and the next couple of days you are fine (maybe MINOR soreness), I’d say you had a great workout!
  • If you work to your capacity, etc.  and are very sore for several days (like impeding movement for more than 2 days) there is something else going on, like lack of nutrition, or hydration.
  • Is your purpose for working out to create more inflammation in your body or create a happy healthy body?  I say the latter and let me explain myself a little.

Like I said, we like to feel that soreness, mostly because it makes us feel tough–come on!!  admit it!!  But, that soreness is an indicator of inflammation which is not really a good thing–especially for people who are really stressed out already.

SO, I say a lot of soreness is NOT a good thing.  Yes, it will happen occasionally, but every time you work out is excessive.  If this isn’t kept in check, it can lead to injuries, weight gain, burn out (mentally and physically).

Here is another thing to consider:

Why do we feel like we have to beat ourselves up in order to be healthy? Why do feel we need to earn a badge of soreness to feel strong and fit?  I used to be this way, so yes, I am guilty of this–bragging about my super intense workout, and how sore I was.  But, then I really thought about it.

  • Are we really meant to be sore all the time?
  • If soreness = inflammation and inflammation is bad, is soreness bad?
  • Is soreness, especially prolonged soreness, an indicator of your body not being able to “clean up” and heal the inflammation effectively?  Is it an indicator of impaired systems?

Here are my answers:

  1. NO
  2. YES
  3. YES

I know this goes against everything most people have learned about fitness and strength, but the conventional thought (that soreness is good and should be bragged about) doesn’t make sense biologically, or psychologically.

Why do we need to beat ourselves up?  Tell me what you think!!  Leave a comment below.

Thanks!!  Elyse

Homemade Chipotle

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Tonight I made my version of a black bean bowl.  I don’t have any pictures, because I ate it so fast!  It was awesome!  I’ve been making my own black beans for a few months (super easy–see recipe below) and was wondering, what can I do to spice them up??  OHHH, add chicken, like at Chipotle! I thought to myself, it kind of tastes like chicken with taco seasoning on it, grilled.  It finally being warm outside, grilling sounded yummy too.  (in general, I don’t think grilling meat is that healthy, but this was good–be careful not to over cook and get a lot of black on it).

So here is what I did:

Black beans–homemade:

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Empty a bag of dry black beans into a crock pot and fill with water until covered (about 2 inches over the top of the beans).

Let them soak for 2 full days.  If you think about it, pour off water after the first day and repeat.  There will be bubbles–that’s normal.

After soaking, rinse completely and add more water exactly like the first time.  Add:

2-3 cloves of garlic, whole

2-3 bay leaves

some salt, pepper, cumin to taste (start with a pinch–you can always add more)

cook in crock pot on high all day or until beans are soft.  These beans will be pretty bland–you can add more seasoning or some taco seasoning that I used on the chicken.

OMG!  Easiest, Yummiest Taco Seasoning EVER!!!  You should NEVER buy this pre-made again.  Have you ever read the ingredients on that stuff?  Lots of salt, variations on salt, MSG, hydrogenated oil–YUCK!  This is so easy and you can save it forever!  I did not create this recipe–I just googled Heathy recipe for taco seasoning and viola! here it is! 

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Thank you Google!  :)

So I took some boneless chicken thighs and covered them in the taco seasoning and grilled.  Here is how you make your chipotle bowl:

rice (if you must), black beans, cut up chipotle chicken, cut up tomatoes, avocados, and lettuce.  I was in a hurry so I just ate the beans and the chicken.  You could add mango! Oh my gosh!!! that would taste so good!  or use the taco seasoning on beef too.

OR you can go vegetarian, and omit the meat–just adding grilled or sauted veggies, like asparagus, green peppers, even brussel sprouts, using the taco seasoning to flavor.  Tell me about YOUR creations!  take a picture and add a comment below please!!!

thanks!  Elyse

 

What you need to do to get ready for summer now!

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Summer vacation is right around the corner–about 3 to 4 weeks away for most schools.  For most moms of school-age children this can wreak havoc on the best of fitness schedules.  What can you do NOW to stick to your goals?

  • PLAN–what is your schedule going to look like once the kiddos are home?  Will you be the one entertaining them all summer? Are they going to camp?  Sit down with the summer calendar and look at what times you have available. Think about tapping into time you might normally not think of–like the early morning hours.  This might not be appealing at first, but its free time when pretty much no one will bother you.  This planning should take about 15-20 minutes

 

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  • GET HELP–if you are completely on your own, arrange for some help so that you can get out.  Can a high schooler watch your kids for an hour while you workout or get a run or a walk in?  Maybe you can trade with another mom whose kids are friends with your kids.  Make a list of some valid options–drop in daycare is another idea, like Kidz Watch in Montgomery.  Then figure out which is going to fit into your schedule, which is the most affordable, and which is the most RELIABLE.  There is nothing worse than making plans to exercise, and someone cancelling at the last minute.  (I HATE when that happens!!!).

 

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  • MODIFY–modify your workout to fit in with your schedule.  You may be used to spending an hour at the gym every day, but during the summer you may need to break that time up into smaller chunks.  A great way to still get an awesome workout is with high intensity interval training.  This is a short and intense workout that you can do in literally 4 minutes.  You can even do it with your kids and be an awesome role model.  Modifying your workouts in the summer is also a great way to stay fresh and avoid plateaus  (last week’s post).

 

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Please let us know how YOU strategize your summers by leaving a comment below.  If you need help just ask!

Have an awesome day!   Elyse

Overcome your fitness plateau simply with this tip

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Our bodies are A-MAZING things!!!! They adapt to movement and eating patterns overtime and kind of get stuck–or actually they get really efficient. Not good if you are working on attaining a fitness or weight loss goal. This can be really frustrating and depressing.
One thing trap that I know I fall into occasionally is that we get kind of into a zone with our fitness routine.

It becomes a no-brainer, like, “Tuesdays and Thursdays I do the elliptical for 45 minutes, and then I work the “machines” on the other days”. After a while your body is like “BORRRINGGGG!!!” That’s when we stop seeing results. It can happen with food and yo yo dieting too.

This is precisely why we always change things up at Venus. Our workouts are programmed so that there is progress without plateau.

So, my #1 tip to NOT plateauing is to change things up!
I had a client who wasn’t seeing fat loss results, despite the fact that he was working out every day and eating right. The year before, he went from 14% body fat to 10% (he’s a 24 yr old guy, so that was appropriate). This time it just wasn’t working. I asked him about his workout schedule and it sounded like he was hitting it too hard. I told him to back off, gave him some ideas and he came back a month later. Lo and behold! He lost 2% body fat!!! The body is an amazing thing! :)

So, here are some suggestions for changing things up. This can be timing, tempo, exercises, intensity or how long you exercise for fitness. It can be changing from running to swimming, it can be going from 5 days a week to 3.
SOLUTION #1: add tabatas–those fast 20-10 8 times in a row intervals.
SOLUTION #2: do something completely different. If you are a runner, start lifting 2x a week and don’t run those two days.
SOLUTION #3: cross-train with different sports-like triathlon (we happen to be starting our Ladies Only Triathlon Training on May 13th. Click here for details)

SOLUTION #4: go on a short term restriction diet–like eliminate all bread and pasta for 2 weeks, or be really religious about taking your vitamins for 2 weeks, or take a break from caffeine and alcohol for 2 weeks.

Not only will these changes affect your muscles, it will affect your brain too!  The brain is connected to every single muscle in your body.  That’s why studies show that exercise and puzzles lower your risk for neuro-degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease.

Keep your brain and your muscles guessing and you will have a healthy body!  Please share with me what YOU do to avoid plateaus.  Just leave a message below.

Thanks!  Elyse