Monday, November 13, 2017

The Importance of Warm Up Sets

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I am sure you know that prior to exercise you need to warm up.
But what is the correct way to warm up?
Is it stretching, jogging, should you just jump into the workout?
I can tell you for starters it isn't foam rolling.
In fact, just forget that all together unless you just truly like the pain it brings.
Warming up isn't just about "stretching out" to get read for your sets.
A warm up should have the goal of activating the muscles you are about to use and ensure that they are firing properly within a correct motor pattern.
If you are about to bench, you should warm up by practicing the bench.
Start with the bar.
Use very slow negatives and focus on your form the whole time.
Then press up slowly and SQUEEZE as hard as you can through the rep.
Start to add weight as a progress you feel comfortable and only warm up with 2-3 slow reps making sure you are contracting hard every time.
Keep the reps low so you don't tire out prior to working sets but make sure you are still feeling the muscles working.
You can watch some great YouTube workouts for shoulders where individuals explain their warm up prior to their working set.
Stretching before hand isn't going to benefit you to the same degree that activation exercises will.
It may feel good for the seconds you stretch, but when it comes to performance purposes just wait to stretch after a workout. 

How to Eat Around The Holidays

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The holidays are special days to spend with family and friends. Everyone seems to be for the most part in a better mood. The year is talked about in review and the next year and the plans for something better are usually discussed. One of the most important topics discussed is getting in good shape for the new year. A not so uncommon New Year’s resolution, right?
Also, not so uncommon is the setting for which these conversations take place: over a lot of food! Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve all provide their own damage when it comes to unhealthy food. This time of year is usually where good eating habits fail and the plan to lose 20 pounds next year turns into 30 or 40 because we packed on a little more weight before we closed the year out.
Do not worry, there is hope.
This is not an article of scientific strategy or proven truths to avoid eating unhealthy food with family and friends. At the end of it all, through all the fitness hype and culture, our bodies someday will begin to fade. In that reality we still have to set time aside to enjoy life and focus on the things that truly matter, not making sure we hit our macros every day and keep our gym attendance up. You need to enjoy the holidays and the foods too!
This is where your discipline comes in.
Discipline is not just required to stay on a certain eating plan, but it is also required to venture off of one and not completely destroy what has been achieved (which is actually very hard to do). In reality, a piece of cake or pie is not going to cause your abs to vanish. The chocolate that seems to be never ending will not destroy your “gains”. Everything can be consumed in moderation.
This takes true discipline.
It is when a person goes overboard and works themselves into new bad habits or in some cases, old bad habits they have worked so hard to get out of. Know your weaknesses and stay away from them! If you black out when you eat chocolate and wake up and kids are crying, and you have melted chocolate all over your face, stay away from it! Discipline is vital. Focus on protein based foods like meats and nuts to keep your appetite in check. The protein will help in tricking your brain that you are not that hungry, therefore not wanting to over indulge in foods that are not the greatest. Also, drink a lot of water as well. Foods around the holidays are packed with sodium which will get your thirst going so do not rely on sodas or alcohol to quench it. Make water your foundation drink and then enjoy a drink or two with family and friends.
As mentioned before, you cannot sleep on portion control. Many times, there are appetizer plates and main dish plates. Eat your food on the smaller appetizer plates so you keep your portions in check. The smaller plate will help once again in tricking the brain that it has plenty of food to eat (from a visual standpoint).
The holidays are a time to be enjoyed and spent with friends, family, and especially the less fortunate. Focusing on the splendors of this time of year should hold precedent over our fitness lives and goals, but in that mindset, it does not mean you still cannot be smart about what kind of food and how much of it you put in your body.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Why Eggs Are Good For Your Health


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The number one typical American breakfast item you're about to read about is about to blow your mind with information. Eggs!! That's right. My everyday breakfast includes at least 2-3 eggs 7x's a week 365 days a year (LOL) no joke! As a personal trainer and bodybuilding competitor, eggs are packed with the necessary protein and it doesn't stop there. Keep on reading to find out what else eggs are good for! 

1. Eggs are packed with protein.  A three egg omelet provides about 20 grams of protein just from the eggs, and when you add my favorite two omelet ingredients -- ham & cheese -- you're now over 30 grams!  As you may know, protein is essential for maintaining lean muscle as you age as well as keeping trim around your waistline due to it's calorie-burning power.


​2. Nutrients galore!  Vitamin A, K, D, B12, selenium, riboflavin, folate, potassium, and calcium just to name a few!  Eggs, particularly the yolks, are full of metabolism-supporting, brain-boosting vitamins and minerals.

​But aren't eggs "bad" for you because they are high in cholesterol? Well, believe it or not numerous studies have shown that dietary cholesterol intake has very little impact on your blood cholesterol, unless you are genetically predisposed to high cholesterol levels.  For everyone else, your body self regulates cholesterol levels and balances the cholesterol it makes on its own with the cholesterol you consume in your diet.

​So next time you're in the mood for an omelet, eat one!  They're great for your body, belly, brain, and taste buds...delicious, fat-burning, and nutritious...can't go wrong there!

Monday, November 6, 2017

The American Women's College Bay Path University


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It was back in 2009 (age 20) when I decided to set college to the side knowing I had 2 more years left for my BA in Criminal Justice. I was 20 years old at the time and I just really felt like money was more important at the moment since I was living away in the big city of Los Angeles alone. I knew no one barely had any friends took the Metro bus to school rain or shine and walked to work. Sometimes even walked alone late at 10:30 pm at night. I couldn't help but let go of school and so I did. It's been 8 years today (age 28) and school has been on my mind every single day. I am more stable in life to where school costs won't be an issue. I had been doing my own research online to find the perfect schooling for me to go back and finish what I started. I came across The American Women's College Bay Path University . Perfect for online schooling and no need to make any trips which is very convenient. The list of courses to graduate in is endless. They even have Criminal Justice which is perfect for me. 

As I sit here I think to myself, it's time to put myself first and finish my degree in Criminal Justice. I know and feel confident that TAWC will help me make it happen. I am here to inspire you and all women to go back to college and finish your degree with TAWC. They have revolutionized the way education is being delivered to students all over the world by allowing them to do it on their time. 

I am challenging myself by going back to school with TAWC and being a full time law enforcement officer who works nights. I also train as a bodybuilding bikini competitor which will definitely make my schedule very hectic, but very possible knowing TAWC will allow me to take my courses when I have time. I am very excited for this opportunity. I believe every hard working woman should make their life change with TAWC.   

Courses available at TAWC:
Business Programs: o Accounting o Business Administration o Business Analytics o Digital Marketing Management o Entrepreneurship o Human Resource Management o Operations Management · Communications · Criminal Justice o Offender Rehabilitation and Victim Advocacy · Cybersecurity & Digital Forensics · Early Childhood & Elementary Education · Food Science & Safety · Health Services Administration · Leadership & Organizational Studies · Legal Studies · Liberal Studies · Nursing RN to BSN · Paralegal Studies 
· Psychology Programs: o Child Psychology o Counseling Foundations o Foundations in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling o Human Services & Rehabilitation o Psychology


Healthy Choices at Starbucks

It's Monday, traffic is on your mind the kids are taking forever to get ready & you're the only one getting everything ready to head out. Breakfast for you is out of the picture. What do you do? Grab a fatty doughnut that you'll regret eating later or grab a healthy snack at Starbucks? Here are some healthy hearty choices you can grab when you're on the go.

Tall Cafe Misto 
80 Calories
3 grams of Fat
5 grams of protein
8 grams of sugar
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Tall-One Pump-No-Whip Mocha with Almond Milk
105 Calories
5 grams of fat
3 grams of protein
8 grams of sugar

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Iced Passion Tango Tea (unsweetened) 
0 Calories
0 grams of fat
0 grams of protein
0 grams of sugar
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Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal (without Agave) 
200 Calories
2.5 grams of fat
5 grams of protein
37 grams of carbs
5 grams of fiber
7 grams of sugar
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Egg White, Spinach & Feta Wrap
290 Calories
10 grams of fat
19 grams of protein
6 grams of fiber
4 grams of sugar
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 Enjoy these fun and better choices at Starbucks. Guilt free and you'll feel great knowing you started your week the RIGHT way!!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

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What more could we ask for during the winter season? Anything Pumpkin Spice sounds good to me. Here I have a delicious hearty recipe for you to try, Pumpkin Spice Muffins. Grab your cup of coffee or egg nog because these muffins are about to blow you away!


Let Us Begin
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: Serves 12


INGREDIENTS
1 cup pumpkin
½ cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract or non organic is fine
1 cup Gluten-Free Baking and Pancake Mix
2/3 cup sugarless sugar
2 tablespoons of any flax seed of your choice organic is fine
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup Pecans, Raw chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ginger
 
 
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and use nonstick spray to grease muffin tins
  2. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, milk, egg, and organic vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine Gluten-Free Baking & Pancake Mix, Sugarless Sugar, flax seed, salt, and spices.
  4. Fold dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture. Mix until uniform batter is formed.
  5. Fold in chopped pecans.
  6. Place batter into prepared tins until full.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Serve and enjoy!!!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Do Carbs Make You Fat?

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We all know that one “low carb” diet and needless to say conventional wisdom in the fitness world is that carbs make you "fat". Like anything in life, knowledge goes a long way. Truth should always supplement knowledge which then in return should supplement wisdom. In the fitness world, sometimes things are thought of in absolutes which in the end does nothing but misinforms people.
Do carbs make YOU fat?
Answer: No!
This could be a very scientific and deep article, but there is really no need. The angle in which this false assumption needs to be looked is one that indirectly fuels: lack of carbs makes you lose fat. This is the birth place of the assumption in discussion. By simply finding out that taking away carbs from a diet can cause one to lose weight (fat more so if the diet is a high protein one) that should mean that by having carbs, even just a little, will make one fat. This is not the truth!
Carbs serve such a vital purpose in our everyday lives. Remember when your teacher would tell you to eat a good breakfast before a test? This was because carbs serve as your brains food as well. They up glucose levels in the body and help regulate your hormones and every day function. If you are lacking in carbs you can easily become a little foggy in mind and body. Carbs also help with the promotion of protein synthesis which leads to muscle growth. The more muscle you have the leaner you can be. Why? Muscle is a fat incinerator. Your metabolism rises when your body composition is swayed more on the muscular side. A person with 7% body fat will not feel the ill effects of a fatty meal like a person who is 20% body fat.
So, next time you are looking at something with a carb in it, do not run away in terror. Learning about when the proper time to eat a certain carb and how your body responds is vital. Carbs are more so your friend than your enemy. Remember, it begins with truth, then goes to knowledge, than hopefully the change in the conventional wisdom of the fitness world and the carbohydrate.  

Friday, November 3, 2017

Our Rust-Oleum Kitchen Transformation

It's been 6 months since we bought our first home. The excitement is very real let me tell you. All sorts of different ideas for remodeling and changing things to our liking was our main focus for the house. The first thing we noticed was the kitchen of course. The one room we knew most of our time would be spent in. The cabinets did not match the flooring or the wall many things needed to be changed. Taking down the entire wall of cabinets was not something we wanted to do for we both knew it would be a very expensive deal. At the end we decided it would be our first project. The picture below is definitely the before for this project.



Everything in the before picture was nothing I wanted to keep the same except the sink, the back splash, flooring and the counter tops. It was going to be a project I knew would take time, but was totally possible. My husband and I went to our favorite store, The Home Depot, to look for what we needed.

We had decided we were going to be using the Rust- Oleum Transformation Color Cabinet Kit in the color "Chocolate." This project only cost us $78.98. **Pricing may vary per location. **

Rust-Oleum Transformations Dark Color Cabinet Kit (9-Piece)

Here is the after picture for this project:



What a difference right? The color of the walls did change. We decided a slate color refrigerator would be perfect for this look. Our last picture is now, settled after 6 months.



Everything is now matching. We decided to use silver appliances and a little bit of white in there. We have yet to replace the dishwasher. That will have to wait until other projects are out of our way.
I am glad with the outcome from using the Rust Oleum Kitchen Transformation kit.

No Bake Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

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Who doesn't love five-minute treats?! Not only are they super fast to make, but they're also deliciously VEGAN. In this post I will be sharing one of my favorite recipes of all time! Let's go!!

Makes: 3 cups
Ingredients:
- 1 cup earth balance (vegan) butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt
- non dairy chocolate chips
**optional ( 1 tsp of baking powder and baking soda if you actually want to bake it)
Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugars. With a fork, mash until it is smooth and creamy. Next add is vanilla extract, milk and salt.  Once combined well, add in flour and mix well until a dough forms.
Pour in desired amount of chocolate chips and it's ready to eat right from the bowl! I love using chunks of this in my banana ice cream or just eating it straight up.
** If you plan to use the dough for baking, mix in baking soda and powder into the flour before combining it with the other ingredients. Makes about 18-20 cookies depending on how you size them. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Why BCAAS? (Branch Chained Amino Acids)

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*NOTE: Use Code VALERIE10 For Free Shipping AND a Discount at PROSUPPS

Working out can be overwhelming in regards to what works and the information out there. The fitness world can be made up of two approaches: one of conformity where you do simply what everyone else is doing, or a totalitarianism one where you do simply what everyone tells you to do. In the thick of it all there is what YOU should do for YOU. When it comes to sports nutrition products and what has been proven to work for everyone, a vital product to incorporate in one’s “stack”, a knowledgeable fitness guru would agree, you should be taking amino acids.
It does not depend if you are a bodybuilder, cross fitter, cross country runner, or just an athlete training for your respected sport, amino acids have their place in your sports nutrition regiment.
Branch chained amino acids (BCAAs) are a group of 3 essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. “Essential” means they cannot be made by the body, so therefore have to come from an outside source. This article will talk about the 3 essential amino acids that probably have heard of when one speaks of BCAAs.
Leucine is the primary BCAA, and this is where the most notoriety and benefit is given to. Leucine is the “big daddy” BCAA that helps promote protein synthesis, which is the signaling of the body to start rebuilding muscle. Leucine is so effective it can be supplemented on its own, but studies show there are more overall benefits to supplementing it as a mixture with the other BCAAs. On a BCCA product you will always see the “ratio”, this can be a 2:1:1 ratio or higher like our BCAA . The first number in that ratio is designated for the amount of leucine compared to the other two BCAAs.
Isoleucine is second on the list. It has a different primary function than leucine in which it helps with glucose consumption and uptake which in return helps with energy production. Some studies have shown as well that it can act as a anticatabolic agent (prevent muscle breakdown). Some studies show that it can also help out with protein synthesis, but not nearly as effectively as leucine.
Valine is the last on the list of the BCAAs. Valine has been known to assist in preventing muscle breakdown, but nowhere in the realm of isoleucine, and it can assist in protein synthesis, but it is not even in the same mention as leucine and is still weaker in that aspect than isoleucine.
BCAAs are found even in protein powders, but one must beware that these are digested differently than BCAAs that are bought by themselves. BCAAs are in a compound form in protein powders, which basically means they are not digested and broken down as easily by the body which in return restricts the body form using them to their complete effectiveness. BCAAs that are bough as a mixture by themselves are known as free form aminos that they body can digest and utilize much easier and quicker, which in return benefits the athlete. So, a protein powder might advertise amino acids, but it is recommended you still buy a mixture or free form product for maximum results.
These 3 BCAAs by themselves bring their own benefits to the table to an extent, but together they do much more, and when mixed effectively, they do even better.
Sure, if you are just interested in protein synthesis than you can supplement leucine alone or just leucine, but why wouldn’t a person want something to help with glucose uptake and prevent muscle breakdown?  All 3 complement each other. Happy Friday!!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Quick Workout for A Busy Schedule: Tabata

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Tabata is a well known workout that takes a total of 9 minutes to complete. The holidays are quickly approaching and we know everyone is scrambling to get their workouts in without taking too much time. Tabata is a great way to increase your heart rate and incorporate a very short interval workout into your routine. You can do it at home, at the gym, outside or wherever you find yourself. The best part about it is the benefits you’ll reap from this intense yet very brief workout.

How do you do it? Easy. Make sure you have a timer handy. If you don’t, an analog clock works just fine. We suggest using squat jumps for this one. They’re made to target a majority of the body and they keep your heart rate up the whole time.
Start with a simple warm-up of jogging in place or light jumping jacks for 5 minutes (you can switch it up between jogging in place and jumping jacks too). Once 5 minutes are up, start your squat jumps using all of the high intensity effort you can give for 20 seconds. As soon as 20 seconds are up, rest for only 10 seconds. Repeat these intervals of 10/20 for a total of 8 intervals. As soon as it’s done, your clothes will be ready for the laundry, but you’ll be patting yourself on the back for such a great job on the shortest workout ever!