How Being Strong Makes Life Better

Remember back in the day when doing cardio was all the rage?
As you may be aware, the strength movement has exploded over the past decade.
I always tell my clients that cardio is good for your heart but not really for changing your body.
Basically, cardio alone will make you a smaller version of the shape you already are. And if changing
the shape of your body and shedding fat is something you desire, then weight training is where it´s at!
But there are even more incredible benefits to being strong…
1. It improves your hormonal balance. If you’re struggling with fat loss, energy, cravings, and
more, this is so important!
2. It boosts your confidence. Trust me on this one! How you look transforms but so does how you
FEEL!
3. It protects your bones. Strength training actually increases bone density, decreasing your risk
for many age-related diseases.
4. It decreases your risk of injury. When you’re strong, you can more easily complete daily tasks
like bending and lifting.
5. Your posture will improve. Enough said! You’ll have less pain and good posture just looks
better!
6. You can rely on yourself. Whether you need to store a suitcase overhead on a plane or carry in
8 grocery bags at once, having physical independence and not asking anyone for help is an
incredible gift to give yourself.
The key to getting all of the amazing benefits related to strength training, however, is doing it properly
and progressively.
And that just happens to be our specialty here at FullCircle Fitness.
So, if you’re ready to transform from the outside in, let’s chat. Feel free to email us at trainfullcircle@gmail.com!

5 steps for up-leveling your mindset

The perspective from which I want to discuss this topic today has to do with cultivating a mindset that

actually allows you to reach your goals.

It’s easy to get fed up with your current situation – whether it be weight, a job, finances, a relationship

or otherwise – and say to yourself “I’m done! Things are about to change!”

But then they don’t.

Because that moment of inspiration from frustration is fleeting.

A month, a year, and 5 years go by and things are still the same…

…unless you create a new mindset that will allow you to follow through all the way to success.

Here are 5 steps you can take to do just that:

1. Identify your past mistakes. Chances are that this thing you want to change…well, it’s not the

first time you’ve thought of tackling it. So go back and take note of why you weren’t successful

in the past.

2. Create small goals to achieve along the way. If you’v got a pretty big goal, it can feel like you’re

standing at the base of Mount Everest. Overwhelm will not be helpful in getting to your

destination, so setting smaller goals to work toward that ultimately add up to the big goal is

important for maintaining your motivation.

3. Stay flexible in your pursuit. Plans don’t always work out like we want them to. Life throws us

challenges. Most people quit as soon as things get in their way. You cannot! Be ready to adapt

as you move forward.

4. Stay inspired. The initial burst of inspiration you get to take action won’t last forever, so you

have to find ways to keep the inspiration. Some suggestions can be creating a vision board,

having an accountability circle of others who keep you on track, or listening to/reading things

that inspire you every day.

5. Engage in a daily routine. Whether it’s journaling, reading, writing or saying affirmations,

visualization, or a combination of all of them, having a daily routine centered around personal

growth will absolutely keep you on track in pursuit of your goals.

This is a formula, not a pick-and-choose, so it’s important that you do all of the above!

And if you’re ready to take the next step and tackle your fitness and nutrition differently, then come on by for your free fitness consultation and let’s see how we can help.

Challenge your truth

Have you ever wondered where your beliefs come from and why you believe certain things about life and the world to be true? If not, that’s ok, but I want you to keep an open mind for me as you read this…

You see, many of the belief systems we have aren’t our own. They are imposed on us by parents, society, cultures, etc… For example, what defines a successful life for most people is the traditional story – go to school, get a great job, have a beautiful family, work hard until you can retire, then kick back and enjoy life.

Today more than ever that belief is being challenged. People are beginning to crave a different narrative. But that’s been the predominant one for over a century. Another example closer related to what I do is the common belief that people just don’t have time for exercise or preparing healthy meals. But what’s true is that other people with just as busy of a schedule do find the time. So, if the belief system around time was true, no two people with the same type of schedule should be able to find the time to take care of themselves… Of course, the time belief system we are using here as an example is faulty and false. I hope this is making sense.

Today I want to challenge you… Write down 5 beliefs that you have that hold you back from achieving the healthy life you desire. Even if right now you believe the excuse or thought is 100% legit. Then, ask yourself – “What else is possible? Is this really true?” When your beliefs are deeply rooted by habit and by the people who surround you, it can be very hard to break free from them. But with effort, it’s possible. I promise you that any thought you’re holding on to that keeps you from creating the life and the body you desire is a false truth no matter how real it feels right now. Challenging your beliefs and the meaning you give them is one of the first steps to taking new action to create change in your life.

Please email us and let us know what the 5 beliefs you came up with are and how we can help guide you towards a healthier life.

Why counting calories doesn’t work

If you've ever tried to lose weight, you've probably counted calories. And if you're a woman, you've probably fixated yourself on consuming 1,200 calories per day. (Weird fact: the majority of women I've spoken to about how many calories she thinks she should eat per day says 1,200 for no apparent reason). It seems like women have just "heard" over the years this is the goal number, but I digress....

So, here's my straight to the point list on why calorie counting doesn't work:

  1. You probably don't know your RMR (resting metabolic rate). This is what your body needs to function and stay alive. Without this baseline, everything is just guessing.

  2. Food labels are off by as much as 25% in either direction - that's a HUGE variance!

  3. Your gym equipment is also off by as much as 25% (or more in some cases) with how many calories it's telling you you've burned. (Between this and the food labels we could be off by 50%!)

  4. We all process and absorb food differently.

  5. 3,500 calories isn't 1 pound of fat. Not all calories are equal. This thought process sets you up for failure.

As you can imagine, it can feel like you're doing "everything right" and still not losing the weight. How discouraging! This frustration is what often makes us think our metabolisms are broken, or we decide to resort to some crash diet, a million supplements, or even HCG injections.

Here's what you need to know:

  1. The more you crash diet or lose and gain weight, the less calories you need to survive, so essentially your RMR goes down. Your body is adaptive like that. So no more crash dieting, ok? :)

  2. Focus on eating protein, fibrous carbs like fruits and veggies, good fats, and some high quality starchy carbs. Not only will you naturally decrease the number of calories you're consuming while staying more full, but you'll simultaneously increase the number of calories your body actually needs to digest the food!

  3. Unless you're training for a competition, you don't need carb or calorie cycling, special diets, or beat down workouts 5 days per week to lose weight. You need the right consistent efforts over time and a little patience.

  4. Don't compare yourself to others. The body is a crazy unique thing, so what your friend is doing likely won't have the exact same effect on you...expect it and focus on YOU.

  5. Weight loss truly occurs through a balance of good nutrition, strength and cardio training (I'll show you how to do them together in minimal time!), proper sleep, stress management, hormonal balance, and hydration. So unsexy but so true.

It's heartbreaking for me to watch so many people struggle because of the wrong approach.

Self-compassion also plays a HUGE role in fat loss, so be sure to speak kindly to yourself always.

6 Strategies for Healthy, Quick, & Convenient Dinners

The biggest obstacle I hear from the people I coach is that they “just don’t have time.”  People are SO busy today with work, families, managing a house, and the million other things that come up.

So it’s too often that they find themselves grabbing food for convenience – food that not only doesn’t serve their bodies but that also ends up negatively impacting the family and their waistlines.  This leads to further guilt and a vicious cycle begins.

It breaks my heart to see these smart, hard-working, and deserving people go down the rabbit hole of convenience because they just don’t know another way.  So, I’m here to help! 🙂

Check out my strategies for healthy, fast, and convenient dinners (or whichever meal you choose!):

You make it:

1. Pre-cook proteins, pre-wash and chop veggies.  You can do this 1-2 times a week depending on time.  I’m a fan of the Sunday Ritual, where you prep and portion for the entire week.  How to do this:  Simply grill or bake enough protein to sustain dinner each week.  You can prep the veggies to be prepared on the spot in the evening before dinner or in advance like the protein.  Heck, throw it all on the grill!

2. Purchase pre-chopped veggies.  If to the first point you were thinking…”Yeah, but the part I HATE is washing and chopping!”  Pretty much every grocery store sells vegetables that are ready to throw in a pan, in the oven, or on a grill.  It’ll typically cost you a little bit more, but it’s worth it if this is what it takes to make the right choice.

3. The 10 minute, minimal effort meal.  This is one of my favorite strategies!  It’s as simple as this:  Rotisserie chicken, steam in a bag veggies, and wrapped microwavable sweet potato.  Serve the chicken, grab 1-2 cups of veggies for your plate out of the bag (season if you like), and eat half the potato with a pat of grassfed butter.  And you’ve got leftovers!

4. Crock Pot meals.  It doesn’t get much easier than throwing a bunch of ingredients in a crock pot in the morning then coming home to a fully prepared meal (and a house that smells awesome).  Also requires minimal clean up!  This is definitely easy to make in large portions, so you’ve got leftovers!

Still not quite going to work?  Here are my GRAB AND GO strategies!

5.  Hit the hot bar.  Have a grocery store like Whole Foods nearby?  Chances are they have an awesome hot bar!  

6.  Healthy take-out.  This is easier to find than you think. With delivery apps like UberEats & GrubHub you can literally get your favorite restaurant foods delivered right to your door. I would recommend ordering extra so you can get a few servings out of it too, then you’ve got lunch for the next day!

Believe me, I am all about convenience when it comes to food, so I always suggest making more than you need so you’ve got left overs!

And when, I cook, I keep it SUPER SIMPLE!  Check out one of my go-to’s with this Beef Stir Fry:

1lb ground beef
1 medium onion
1 large bell pepper (any color)
1 tbsp coconut oil
salt & pepper to taste

Heat a sauté pan to medium high.  Add coconut oil and let it melt.  Add the onion and let it start to turn translucent.  Add the bell peppers.  Let cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add ground beef and cook to desired temperature.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

I usually throw this in a bowl and eat it as is.  This makes about 3-4 servings for me. You can also serve this with about a half cup of quinoa!  How is easy is that!? Under 15 minutes!

Give it a try and let me know how you like it!

Sugar: A Loving Tribute

It’s no secret that sugar is bad for us. It feeds disease, impacts your brain, messes with your energy, and makes people fat. It rots your teeth and can affect your skin.

 

Aside from the short bursts of energy it gives and the way it sets off the pleasure sensors in your brain, there are really no good things about consuming sugar.

 

But I’m not here to tell you to stop eating it.

 

Because seriously… you’re not going to and neither am I.

 

Not only is sugar added to far more foods than you even realize, but it’s also delicious.

 

And if you know me at all, you know I’m about making fitness and health as easy as possible.

 

If I tell you to stop having sugar, it’s all you’re going to think about (like any other food you’ve ever tried to eliminate from your diet).

 

Is it possible to give it up and go sugar-free? For the small few, sure. But for most, it’s just not realistic in the world we live in today.

 

And since we know it’s really not great for us, and I’m assuming you’d prefer to avoid cancer, diabetes, etc. at all costs, I want to help you set some parameters for yourself today that will enable you to continue enjoying sugar with balance.

 

Here are my top tips for maintaining a loving relationship with sugar in the healthiest way possible:

 

1.     Drink only sugar-free beverages

2.     Avoid artificial sweeteners – you should do this for a variety of reasons. The one I’m addressing here is the fact that artificial sweeteners actually increase sugar cravings, making it harder to maintain moderation.

3.     Avoid UNNECESSARY sugars – if you think salad dressings and tomato sauces, for example, require sugar to taste good, you’re so wrong! Look for or create sugar-free options where it’s obviously unneeded.

4.     Try fruit before dessert. I’m not going to lie to you and say fruit is the same as dessert, because I know there’s a big difference between a strawberry and a slice of chocolate cake. But see if you can use fruit to kill your dessert cravings before you dive into indulgence.

5.     Clean up your environment. It’s common for many homes and offices to have bowls of single pieces of candy lying around or a cabinet stocked with “treats for the kids.” We mindlessly reach for them multiple times per day…and you know how fast that adds up! So, get rid of ‘em!

6.     Plan for massive sugar indulgences. Maybe your mom is making your favorite pie, or it’s your birthday, or a special trip/holiday are coming up. Those are the times to go all in and overdo it. Not a random Saturday on a whim.

How to Control Your Carbs

What’s the Big Deal about Carbs?
 
Starchy carbs get so much attention when it comes to nutrition conversations because they are the biggest double-edged sword our bodies have to deal with. On one hand, all of our energy in the body comes from glucose molecules (carbs in their basic sugar form) but on the other, our bodies weren’t designed to be surrounded by so many readily available carbs.
 
So when our body does get an onslaught of starchy carbs (usually from refined sugars in all of our indulgence foods or simple carbs found in anything baked with flour), it handles them by releasing insulin. Insulin is responsible for a lot of important functions in the body, but by design, it is a storage hormone. So instead of signaling our body to burn fat, our bodies actually get the signal to store fat whenever we eat a lot of starchy carbs.
 
This is why you can expect to make the biggest dent in your weight loss if you begin to control starchy carbs with every meal.
 
Where are Carbs Found?
 
Carbs are found in a lot of different foods but in general you can view them in this distinction:
 
FIBROUS VS. STARCHY
 
Fibrous Carb Rich Foods that Help with Fat Loss:

  • Raw or lightly cooked vegetables

  • Beans and legumes

  • Some fruits (mostly berries)

 
Starchy Carbs that Work Against Fat Loss:

  • All candies, jelly and jams

  • Sodas, fruit juices, fruit drinks

  • Pudding, custards and other sweets

  • Processed refined grains like flour or white rice

  • Bread and pasta made with any refined flour

  • Cakes, cookies and other sweet bakery products

 
What Do We Mean by “Controlling” Starchy Carbs?
 
First, notice that the emphasis is not on eliminating carbs but rather on controlling them. Our brains tend to be resistant to restriction, so we want to add the right foods to crowd out the foods that aren’t serving our interests.
 
In addition, “controlling” carbs also acknowledges that it’s not realistic to avoid all of the foods in the “Against Fat Loss” carb lists. We all like to indulge, so it’s important to learn how to enjoy those foods without affecting your waist line.
 
In this context you, can think of carb control as substitutional. The goal is to substitute as many of the “against fat loss” carbs with “help with fat loss” carbs.
 
So in order to achieve the above, you will be required to practice one (or both) of these strategies throughout your day to control carbs:

  1. Substitute the carbs not working for you with more quality carbs

 

  • Fill more of your plate with protein or crowd it out with more veggies (as they are technically a carb as well)

  • Shift from more processed foods to less processed foods

  • Shift from breads and white rice to Ezekiel bread and brown rice

  • Swap pastas for quinoa

  • Potatoes to sweet potatoes (or any root vegetable)

 
2. Eat your “Against Fat Loss” carbs after a workout
 
The intense workouts I design are designed to drain your muscles of as much sugar as possible. Thus, right after a workout, your body is keener on storing any incoming sugars (i.e. carbs) into your muscles instead of into fat. Thus, if you still wish to indulge in pastas, pizzas, breads, sweets etc. feel free to do so ONLY after your workouts. You can even think of it as a way of “earning your indulgence carbs.” This should not be done daily, however. But a few times per week is ok. :)
 
And don't forget your portions! But we can talk about that in our next blog.
 
 I hope this gives you a better understanding of what carbs truly are and how they work in the body!
 

Intermittent Fasting. What Is It? Will It Work For Me?

 

This is one of the most talked about approaches to eating nowadays. It has been widely practiced for millennia across all races and religious beliefs. In the Eastern Hemisphere, fasting has been used for decades to help treat numerous degenerative diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol.  In the last decade the Western World has slowly been catching up with more scientific research on this intriguing topic helping to create new patterns of fasting to help modernize this ancient practice for everyone. So what exactly is Intermittent Fasting, and more importantly will it work for you? 

Intermittent Fasting, or IF, is defined as a pattern of consumption that involves no eating for an extended period of time, then a period of normal eating. It's that simple!  Now the complexity of IF comes in how you approach it. For simplicity I'm going to discuss the two main types and the most commonly used techniques in each. 

There are two main types of IF,  Alternate Day Fasting (ADF),  and Time Restrictive Fasting (TRF).  The first type, ADF, is a pattern of eating involving a  24 hour fast,  followed by a normal day of eating. Some types of ADF involve easier fasting days, allowing for minimal calories on those days. The most popular types of ADF are the 5:2 Diet and the "Every Other Day Diet". The "Every Other Day Diet" was popularized by a book written by Krista Varady. This diet allows 25% of your normal calories on your fast day, then no restrictions of eating on your free day. The 5:2 diet consists of fasting two days a week followed by five days of non restricted eating. Now both of these diets are liberal approaches to IF and are much easier to stick with, but they also could encourage binge eating among certain populations. Therefore, if you're someone who can't easily control food cravings then these types might not work for you.  When following ADF, I always recommend normal eating on your non fasting days.  If you want to have a couple cheat days a month, then that should be fine. 

ADF, in my personal experience, is a temporary pattern of eating. It's an easier approach to fasting for beginners but can be harder to maintain longterm for most people due to its extreme caloric restriction on your fast days. TRF, on the other hand, can be a solution to those who struggle with maintaining a fasting lifestyle. 

The second major type, Time Restricted Fasting (TRF), is a pattern of eating within a a certain number of hours per day. The most common practice is fasting for 16 hours, then eating within an 8 hour time frame. This was popularized by the book,  "The 8-Hour Diet" by David Zinczenko. This diet has no restrictions on the foods you eat during the 8 hour window of consumption, but does emphasize controlling your food portions. My personal experience is that with this diet you can still over-consume on a daily basis. So I would recommend keeping a food journal to make sure you’re still limiting your calories (if your goal is weight loss) and also make sure to  consume healthy foods, not sugary refined ones. Now there are wide ranges of TRF out there today.  Some are more strict, such as eating within a 1 hour window per day, or some have a more relaxed pattern, like eating within a 12 hour window per day. If you’re a beginner, I always recommend starting with a 12 hour window fast first, then increase you fast by 1 hour per week until you get to the 16 hour a day fast goal. 
 
The benefits of IF are still being studied, but preliminary data suggest that it can help reduce the risk of cancer, improve immune function, increase energy, reduce inflammation, increase human growth hormone production, and increase your basal metabolic rate! It can also help with degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s , dementia, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.  With new studies being conducted everyday, I'm sure we'll see more positive research being published in the near future.

Now, will Intermittent Fasting work for you? I personally believe everyone can benefit from some type of intermittent fasting in their life, but it's up to you to determine what type of IF works for your lifestyle.  So, experiment with all the different types of IF out there and see what works best for you.

Before you start fasting, always consult your physician before making any major changes to your diet. Intermittent Fasting is not recommended for children, the elderly, and underweight people.

Why don't Resolutions work?

Every year we start with the best intentions of achieving all of our goals. The New Year often breathes new life into our workout routines. Often it’s a chance to start over where we have failed many times before. For many of us it's like turning a new page in our life. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, approximately 50 percent of the population makes resolutions each New Year. Among the top resolutions are weight loss, exercise, stopping smoking, better money management, and debt reduction.

Some people say resolutions are a form of "cultural procrastination" using them as a way to reinvent oneself.  They can often be useful in motivating us to get our butts in gear for the New Year. The problem is people aren't willing to change their bad habits, which is why there is such a high failure rate in actual reaching our resolutions. Maybe one reason we don't change our bad habits is because as human begins we would rather continue doing something that doesn't work, than try something new that could work, but could also fail. We are creatures of habit and routine, so we keep telling ourselves this will be the year it works. Unfortunately, year after year this failure created distrust within ourselves. "Why keep doing the same thing if I keep failing at it?" This  distrust in ourselves leads people to quit all together. 

What's the solution then?   Well often goals are unrealistic, not specific enough, and based on willpower, not systems. You can't rely on willpower alone to succeed. If you try and build a house without nails it's only a matter of time before the house falls, right? The same goes for your mindset. Think of the systems you build as your nails and the willpower as the wood.  For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds, then start a food diary, or pre-make your food for the week. You can't simply "will" the weight off, but you can create a system of planning and logging your food. Now let's say you have a goal of walking more this year. Again "willing" yourself to walk more isn't enough, but you can create a system of parking further away from work, taking the stairs more, or walking the dog an extra 10 minutes every day.

The point is your system is the structured habits you bring into your daily routine. This structure will help you achieve your goals much more easily.Creating your own system can be easy. I often create a system using the familiar acronym.

S.M.A.R.T. 

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Time-bound

If your resolutions match up with all of these areas, then you’re well on your way to achieving all of your fitness goals. 

Another big technique that can help is having someone to hold you accountable to your goals. Maybe a family member, workout partner, or even your best friend can help. Personal trainers are a great way to make sure you reach your goals. It's there job to keep you on track, implement a system in your daily routine, and keep records of your progress, so you can see your results over time. 

like using mini goals as another technique to help me reach my resolution for the year. These are simple, shot term goals that you can achieve within 6-30days. For example, walk 1 mile, or no sugar for 30 days.  Once you start meeting these goals the positive momentum will carry over and help you achieve the even bigger goals you have for the year. 

Well hopefully some of these techniques can help guide you in the right direction this New Year. Just remember be specific, be realistic, and use a system and you just might achieve that resolution you have failed in achieving so many times before.