Category: Fitness

A Case for Strength Training

Hey friends,

Long time, no blog! I didn’t mean to skip last week’s post, but as my colleague likes to say, “life happened” and I found myself so swamped with work that I, quite honestly felt crazy overwhelmed and I couldn’t add one more thing to the to-do list.

In the past I would have beaten myself up over not being able to do it all, and I was disappointed I couldn’t get a post up (I love writing this bitty blog and connecting with all of you), but I have been trying to be kinder to myself lately and this was a good lesson in that. I let myself miss a week and I didn’t die. My blog didn’t self-destruct, and look, I’m back this week on schedule with a post like nothing out of the usual happened.

I will say one more thing on the subject though: “Missing a day” as in missing a workout, a healthy habit, writing, playing or practicing is a slippery slope. Missing a day makes you vulnerable to the possibility of missing the next day and the next. Anyone who has skipped a workout can attest to this.

The danger lies in the discovery that the world doesn’t stop spinning because you missed a day. You build up momentum with habits and practices that you commit to. Over time those habits become non-negotiable and something you don’t even have to think about, but once you miss a day, it takes 10 times more effort to start again.

So, I don’t really have a smooth transition into my next subject, but this has been on my mind constantly for the past few weeks and I have to talk about it…

Are you familiar with the term “skinny fat”?

Skinny fat describes a person who looks skinny on the outside, but in actuality has a high body fat percentage. A healthy body fat percentage for a woman between the ages of 20 and 30 should fall somewhere between 18 and 24 percent. Around 15% is considered athletic, over 26% is overweight and over 30% is considered obese.

The reason I bring this up is because I have seen an alarming number of women lately who fall into the obese category’. These beautiful women don’t look fat, but technically  they are.

I can hear you’re objection, “So, what? If they look skinny then what’s the problem? Plus, what woman wants to have a ton of muscle? I don’t want to look bulky, or worse, like a man”

 

Do I look like a man?

I only use myself as an example because I know my body fat percentage and lean body mass and both are in the athletic range.

So, again. What’s the problem with being skinny fat?

Number one: A high body fat percentage puts you at risk for illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. It’s especially important to be aware of this if you have a family history of these diseases. Yes, avoiding strength training could possibly contribute to these conditions.

“But, I do a lot of cardio. Isn’t running good for me?”

Running is great and please don’t stop doing it, but here’s the thing: I see a lot of women who only do cardio who are skinny fat. They avoid strength training because they are afraid of looking bulky or simply because they don’t know what to do.

You can do all the cardio in the world, but strength training is the thing that is going to change your body for the better.

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Does she look bulky?

Benefits of Strength Training:

  • Higher metabolism: It takes 30-60 calories to sustain 1 lb of muscle. It takes 3-5 calories to sustain 1 lb of fat. That means, if you have more muscle than fat your body becomes a calorie-burning machine!
  • You burn fat 24/7, not just when you are exercising.
  • You can eat more! People are always amazed at how much and how often I eat. That’s not to say I eat junk, but I love food and I get to eat a lot of healthy, delicious stuff because my lean muscle is burning all the calories.
  • You feel strong, powerful, energized and capable of anything (at least I do) Who wouldn’t want to feel that way all the time?

If you are still concerned about looking “bigger” from strength training, think about it this way: 5 lbs of muscle and 5 lbs of fat weigh the same, but do they look the same?

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I rest my case.

For now 😉

Do you strength train? Do you notice a difference in your metabolism and your body?

With so much love,

Sam

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites 1

Hi there friends,

How is your week going so far? I love the hint of sunlight streaming in my bedroom window now when I wake up. It really feels like Spring is here. It’s still a tad chilly here in NY, but no complaints. Winter is over! Yay!!!

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites 2

Being a trainer, I’m responsible for creating healthy bodies and healthy habits. In order to do that I sit down with my clients and they tell me everything about their lives, and I mean Everything! Sheesh, sometimes I can’t believe the things they share with me.

But, I also get a lot of questions, and one of the most common questions I get is, “What should I eat before working out?”

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites 3

It’s a complicated question really with a lot of different opinions. It’s one of those things that can be incredibly complicated or incredibly simple.

I advise clients first, to eat whatever they choose to eat two hours prior to exercising. If you don’t eat at all, you risk a blood sugar crash and you could feel faint. You definitely won’t perform your best. If you eat too close to working out, you could feel nauseous. Your body is working to digest the food in your stomach, so when you ask your energy to be used elsewhere, your body doesn’t want to do it.

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites 4So, simple answer: Eat something, not too close or too far from working out.

Now, I would get a bit more specific and say, eat something healthy and light with a good mix of carbs and protein. Something easy to digest with not too much fiber or fat is also what I like to recommend to my clients. Fiber and fat take more work for your body to break down, so you could find yourself cramping on an intense run, for example.

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites 6These bites are a great pre workout snack. I created them so I would have something healthy, nutrient-dense and a snack that wouldn’t feel like it was sitting heavy in my stomach during a tough workout.

And they’re not delegated to workouts alone. They’re yummy enough to eat as a healthy treat any time 😉

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites

vegan, gluten-free, grain-free

Makes 5

1/4 cup vanilla protein powder

1 tsp ground flax seed

2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp smooth almond butter

1 pinch salt

3 tbsp chocolate chips

In a small bowl combine all ingredients except chocolate chips. If mixture is too dry, add milk of choice one teaspoon at a time. When thoroughly combined, mix in chocolate chips. Roll into 5 balls. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Pre Workout Cookie Dough Bites 5Ballz!

I’m 5.

What do you like to eat before working out?

How are you celebrating Spring finally arriving? I definitely find myself spending more time outdoors.

 

With so much love,

Sam