Sunday, March 30, 2014

Beast Cookies

Diet, a term used negatively typically meaning cutting calories and going without cookies, candies, and/or fast food. However, diet is actually a noun meaning "the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats".

With that said, let me ask you what does your diet look like? Are you person who doesn't care? Or do you automatically know your a carb lover? So many of us have our thing. Some people, love meat. Some people don't even know GREEN veggies exits! Bottom line, to get healthy, one needs to start by incorporating fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein, and less processed foods. I don't want to get into the debate of whether or not carbs are bad, but I do believe that one needs to find a healthy balance.

Typical Excuses I hear it all the time when it comes down to eating health-IER...
1. No Time
2. Too Hard
3. Too Expensive
4. I don't know how
5. My kids won't eat it

Here's my response,
1. We all have the same 24 hours, if it's important to you, you'll find a way.
2. If you plan and stay dedicated to your goals, it becomes easier.
3. Plan and prepare your meals, it ACUTALLY saves you money.
4. Google it. I know most of you spend 80% of your day online on facebook, pinterest, instagram, google... WHEREVER! Start searching recipes and find recipes that are easy. You can literally type into google "healthy easy meals" and a ton of different recipes will pop up.
5. Lastly, will your kids eat cookies? Sure! Because you like cookies and you introduced them too them right? My advice, introduce them to healthy eating. Be as excited about them eating healthy as you are to give them fast food. Start by showing some excitement towards becoming a healthier you.

The following recipe is a recipe that I found on I used the Oatmeal Raisin Protein from Complete Nutrition and they literally taste like Oatmeal cookies. These are the find of recipes that you can whip up on a Sunday for yourself, husband, and kids throughout the week. Leave the highly processed foods at the store and get in the kitchen. No baking and these literally took me 20 minutes max! I made two kinds, half I used raisins, other half I used dark chocolate chips. Awesome afternoon snack. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Peanut Butter Protein Beast Cookies

1/2 C. All Natural Peanut Butter
3 Tb Sp Raisins
2 Tb Sp Unsalted Almonds
1/8 ts sp Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 C Whey Protein (I use Complete Nutrition's Lean and Lite Oatmeal Raisin)

Combine all the ingredients in bowl and kneed together
Shape into balls or bars, let sit in fridge or freezer for 2-4 hours.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Gym Rats

Couple months back, when I was training one specific client, she informed me that she thought I needed to start a fitness group or accountability group where several clients get together and exchange favorite healthy recipes, talk about progressions, and discuss healthy tips and reads. I agreed with her, but in the back of my mind I was thinking WHEN? I couldn't think of a time I would even be available to get my busy clients together! I ponder this thought for a long while, until it dawned on me. The health club that I'm employed at were advertising the start of the spring fitness challenge. I needed to put a team together was my exact thought!

I texted 4 specific clients and more or less told them they should do this challenge. Not one told me no and via text, it was decided their team name was "FitNotSkinny". They all weighed in 6 weeks ago and I made sure they all knew what I was wanting from them. I wanted them to have an open mind to trying ALL the classes that were offered on their sheet and if they weren't already logging what they were eating, to begin that as well. Diet and exercise go hand in hand in fueling ones fitness. I could really care less about them doing the challenges where they have to visit specific restaurants or stores, my main concern was the ACTUAL fitness part of the challenge. I wanted them all to push themselves outside their comfort zones and be challenged. And I can honestly say, each of them found a class that our gym offers that they can attend weekly.

As a trainer, I don't want my clients dependent on me. I want to empower them and give them the tools they need to succeed. I want to be an encouragement, motivation,
inspiration, and that extra push to challenge for them. One found she liked Zumba, one found that Yoga was something she needs to incorporate within her week, another one found that a class she dreaded was the best place she needed to be to meet her goals, and lastly, one took the opportunity to get her husband involved in living a healthier life! They all accepted the challenges with a bit of hesitancy, but knocked each challenge out. Yes, there was a lot of sweat and sore muscles on top of sore muscles, but they ALL have put their best foot forward! I can truly say I'm proud of their hard work for leveling up and not letting a challenge hold them back.

Most importantly though, is the community built through this challenge. The four women on the FitNotSkinny team didn't know each other at all. I introduced them all to each other as they were
going and coming from the gym. However, they were able to get together on Saturday's for Boot Camp and workout together. There's something about sweating and feeling like your about to die that builds a community! That's also why I strongly believe in being involved in classes at a gym. You have to surround yourself with people who encourage your and desire to see you back every week. And with my busy schedule, this is why I make sure that I have at least one day within the week that I workout with my lifting partner. WORKING OUT IS JUST MORE FUN WHEN YOUR DOING IT WITH OTHERS! Sure, it's serious, but when you can relate to someone's fleshly pain and encourage each other, you grow in character. You don't give up, you push harder. And that's what I feel life is like. We are all on our own journey, but we have friends who come along side us to encourage us to say we can do this, let's
go another round.

I'm not sure where you are at in your life, whether your needing some encouragement or just a little
push, but reach out to others. Find a friend, a trainer, a support system that will encourage you on your journey. Needing help isn't something that is shameful, it takes courage to ask for help! You shouldn't have to go through another day, week, workout, trial, or life alone. It's my prayer your find the strength and encouragement that you need.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Health Hero

I was asked the question the other day of  WHO inspires me? Who is my Health Hero? Names and people rushed through my head and I thought about it all week. Then on Friday, as I was training a newer client, he stopped what he was doing and said, "I heard you used to me like me?" I asked him what he meant. He waved his hands up and down his body, and said, "you know, like this!"

Ohhh, you mean unhealthy? Yes! He responded. "What made you want to do this for a career and help people like me?"

I kind of looked down at my feet, then back up at him and responded by informing him of how I had given up on myself a long time ago. That I used to think I was absolutely nothing because I was a "fat person". But my life changed when I realized that my worth wasn't based on my image. But that I was SOMEBODY and had a few habits that I needed to change. In the past, I always had bought into the infomercials and gimmicks people were selling. I never researched the products, but this time, I made up my mind. I was tired of the old Alison, tired of the excuses, and frankly, tired of being tired!

This is the reason I would have to say each of my clients serve as a Health Hero to me.  I see myself in each of them every day. I once was in their shoes.  I've been on my own personal journey where I've lost 90 pounds because I made the choice to get healthy. Nobody could do it for me. In the past I always tried to blend in and be like everyone else. I did what everyone else was doing, ate what everyone else was eating, and went where everyone else was going. But my true health success came when I blocked
everyone's thoughts and opinions about me out and started being ALISON. I had reached 230 pounds, depressed, high anxiety, removed gallbladder, hypothyroidism, pre-diabetic, two hip surgeries, hair falling out, and a very unhappy person. This is why I began researching health and fitness. I wanted to find out how I could beat obesity! I didn't want to live my life on pills and shots. I wanted to live my life, I was only 21! I had to do my research and find out what a healthy diet really looked like. I researched fitness, how can and should I lose weight appropriately? And lastly, I stopped focusing on the scale. I committed to a journey of following my meal plan and eating right. And that's where I saw the biggest change. I began breaking my food addictions and becoming a person that wasn't dependent on food as a crutch.

My journey has driven me to help others. I desire to serve as an encouragement to inspire, motivate, and empower others. So many times we beat ourselves up already before we even try. I'm here to help my clients and others to give them the push and support. I'm here to tell my story so others may know that they CAN be healthy. Healthy is a journey, it doesn't happen over night. But it's my goal to continue to surround myself around those who believe in me. My better me came when I let go of the past and the people and situations that held me back from flourishing into a better me. Whatever your allowing to hold you back from the life you truly desire, I ask you to let that go. Be your own hero, then influence someone else in a positive and healthy way!

If you want to know more and read more about Health Heros, please check out the American Recall Center where you can find some awesome information on. I found the following read on Hips and Hip Replacement very interesting -->>


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Running Life

Throw back... I started this blog 3 years ago when I prepped for my 2nd race.

Every time around the season of lint, I always seem to reflect on my running days. 3 years ago, I had been training to run the Oklahoma Memorial Marathon in Oklahoma City.  As the lint season came, and my race was 60 days away, I was getting weary. Runs were getting longer. I was tired of the training, but didn't want to give up. I remember listening to a sermon about how the lint season for so many is more like another New Year's resolution. When lint season comes around, people will give up candy, soda, social media, and so forth for a couple weeks to see if they can live without it. Some make it to Easter, while others mess it up and say "Oh well!"

However, my training mentality changed when the pastor challenged the congregation to not give something up for lint, but to add something. For example, instead of giving up candy, challenge yourself to pray for an extra 5 minutes each day. Maybe try fasting. Another one was to donate an a few hours of your time each week leading up to lint. Whatever it was we felt God calling us to add, the pastor challenged us to do so.

I went out on one of my long 11 mile runs after church that day and kept racking my mind. I questioned myself, what can I do for the lint season? Then it occurred to me as my legs began to get heavy, I should commit to not look at my fitness and spiritual commitments as something just to "get through". I challenged myself for lint and up until race day, that I would read a few chapters out of Psalms before going on my runs. I divided it up so that I would finish the book of Psalms before I ran my race on race day.

After changing my mindset, my runs and prep for my race became a lot easier!  My runs became less painful because I wasn't running just to hit mileage. I was running with purpose, to honor God.  The day of the race it rained, sleeted, snowed, hailed all within a couple hours. Definitely the weirdest race weather ever because of a crazy storms blowing through and the temperatures dropping and rising. I finished the race soaked and as I crossed the finish line, I can humbly say I hit my personal best. My miles were ran at an average of 7.39 min. I shaved 26 minutes off the last time I had ran a race.

I'm not very much of a high strung emotional person, however, that day after the delayed start to the race, the race conditions, and
running my butt off, I crossed the finished line and started crying as soon as I saw my mom on the other side of the fence. I didn't even want my medal. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I couldn't believe how far I had come, not physically, but mentally. I could have given up miles ago, but I didn't. And that's why I say so many times that our spiritual and physical health are similar. It's easy to give up when things get hard, when the going gets tough. But I've lived through numerous challenges and I can say... only strong minded people succeed. Whatever you desire for yourself , if your willing to work for it and give it your all, you'll achieve it without a doubt in my mind.  You get in what you get out. You can't live a life half way. Living life loudly and boldly is the only satisfying
way to live. Sure, pain happens, but character is built. Know that when you make it to the top at the mountain top, you can look down the mountain and say, I overcame that.

I share my life with you all so you may be encouraged and empowered. It's my prayer that you won't live a life that's luke warm. Live a life where your on fire, passionate about something. Be challenged and grow from those challenges.

Be Blessed

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Cardio vs Weight Training

The great debate! Cardio or Weight Training to lose weight?

134 lbs, doing only cardio...
I have to tackle this debate in my own words. I've been there so many times myself. I used to be the chick doing (I kid you not, 4 hours of cardio per day) and eating MAYBE 1000 calories. It was in my
opinion that the greater deficit I could create the more weight I would lose (and more quickly it would happen). However, it wasn't until I began my own journey and educating myself did I realize the importance of the nutrients that makes up my daily calories and the importance of being in weight room.

I hear it all the time, 1. "I don't want to get big". 2. "My jeans get tight when I lift weights". 3. "I don't burn as many calories compared to when I do cardio." I've heard it all... I've used those excuses myself!

Let me ask you this? What is the purpose when it comes to working out? Is it to lose WEIGHT or lose BODY FAT? Is it a number on the scale or is it to look good and feel good in your own skin?

For me, like my last post, it was ALL ABOUT THAT NUMBER ON THE SCALE... I'd step on it week after week, "C'mon on 130lbs????!!!!"

Me at 160 lbs...
However, after hitting my lowest weight of 134lbs, I took a look in the mirror and realized I was just a smaller version of my old body that I didn't like. I would look through Oxygen magazine and envision sexy legs, arms, abs just like those ladies. But how did they get there? The secret revealed... they're not living their life compulsively weighing themselves! Of course they watch their weight here and there, but their focus is on pushing weight, not weighing. It's IMPOSSIBLE to build sexy
muscles if it's not challenged. And isn't that what we're chasing? We all want to feel some sort of sexy, pretty, strong, beautiful, empowered and not live behind baggy sweats and t-shirts right? I know... I'm guilty of it! But since we're being real, let's put it all out there. Why are you doing what you do? Why are you doing hours and hours of cardio? Or, better yet, why aren't you doing ANYTHING about health? We tend to get in this deadly cycle, or also known as a rut. We let time pass where we stop caring and we stick to what's comfortable.

I found this awesome article about weight training on (I'll post the whole article link below)

"Many women will shy away from lifting weights, particularly going heavier (more than 5-10 pounds) simply because they believe that doing so causes them to develop rippling muscles that give
off too masculine of a look.
This is an unfortunate misconception because the fact of the matter is that females do not have enough testosterone in their body to develop this degree of musculature naturally, plus in order to
build that type of muscle even with testosterone present, a great deal of food must be provided (which is another thing that most women are not doing).
What lifting heavy weights will do though is raise their metabolic rate, promote greater fat burning, and help give them more definition when they do lose the body fat off. As you can see, what most women fear is actually what they should be doing. So, make sure you're not making that mistake."

Hormones, we all have them! So how does hours of cardio harm our bodies?

"Another difference between weight training & cardio training is the type of hormonal environment they promote.
Weight training tends to put the body in an anabolic state and encourages muscle mass gain or muscle maintenance.
Cardio training, on the other hand, promotes higher levels of cortisol release, and this is the primary hormone that does encourage lean muscle mass loss, as well as fat accumulation around the abdominal region.
Because of this difference in hormone levels, that's another big reason why you should tend to sway yourself more towards weight training as a means to lose body fat compared with cardio."

Lastly, the calorie burn of cardio verses the calorie burn of weight training...

If you do a longer cardio session, you could burn somewhere in the neighborhood of 500-800 calories, depending on the exact length and intensity level. That is a fairly decent number and will definitely help with your fat loss goals. 
However, since you must burn off 3500 calories in order to lose 1 pound of body fat, if you do enough of these cardio sessions, and make sure you're not eating these calories back, weight loss will take place.
But, keep in mind here again that you are going to have to keep doing those long cardio sessions. Time will likely become a big factor with this one, as well as boredom could start to play a role over time as well.

I share all this to HELP you understand the importance of weight training. Yes, I do cardio myself. I
teach spin for goodness sakes! However, I lift 6 days a week and my cardio is limited to only the 4 spin classes I teach within a week. No more hours on end of cardio for me. Men tend not to deal with such cardio issues, but women do. We stress and for some, it's our way of zoning out and having just me time. Whatever your reasoning, I share to give you something to think about and begin considering. If your not sure where to begin, maybe talking with a personal trainer who has background is weight training would benefit you. To each their own, I just hope to shed light on all those CARDIO QUEENS OUT THERE.

Click here to read the entire article: