Energy-Boosting Smoothie

Energy-Boosting Avocado Spinach Smoothie

One thing I swear by when it comes to weight loss, fat loss, muscle building, and general health, is drinking a delicious, nutrient-packed smoothie every day. I usually drink mine first thing in the morning to kick-start my day, and when I’m stuck at work for a long time, I’ll bring the ingredients and make one there for me as well. Not only will this smoothie detox your system and provide you with much-needed nutrients, but it will also help your hair, skin, and nails look and feel amazing, and it will also help curb cravings throughout the day. And if you need any more reasons to join me in this healthy habit, just know that it tastes great too!

The really important ingredient in this smoothie is the avocado. Avocados are packed with healthy fats, which give you energy that doesn’t leave you “crashing” later on, unlike sugar. They also work wonders for your skin and hair, and they give any smoothie a great thick consistency. For more info on healthy fats, check out this article where I talk about it in more depth.

One more quick note here: If it at all possible, be sure to buy organic fruit and vegetables. Not only do they taste better, but you don’t want to blend up all the pesticides and that crap in your healthy smoothie. It kind of defeats the purpose.. If something is not available organic at your grocery store, just wash it really well with cold water before you slice, eat, or blend it.

Ingredients:

  • Handful of spinach
  • 1/4 of an avocado (work up to putting in a half if you want)
  • 1/4 of a cucumber
  • 2 baby carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (I like the flavored kind, but plain is technically better for you. This part is optional.)
  • 1 banana
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice, or a couple orange slices squeezed in (the OJ is also optional. It helps with the taste, but it does add extra sugar to the smoothie)
  • a handful of blueberries and strawberries
  • about 1/2 cup of water (make sure the liquid combined isn’t too much. Start with less water and add it if it needs more)
  • a cup of ice

Blend all ingredients and enjoy!

I want to know what you think! Leave comments and questions below 🙂

If you liked this recipe, make sure you check out my other juicing recipes, and my new favorite homemade protein bars!

 

Spring Break Workout Plan

Spring Break Workout Plan

It’s starting to show up everywhere. In Target with the huge bikini display, the mall with all the workout clothes, and definitely Pinterest with everyone’s “get into shape” boards, showcasing motivational toned abs and a perky butt. Oh yeah, and at the gym! Did you even know that many people have a membership to your gym?? Welp, you guessed it… IT’S SPRING BREAK SEASON!!!!

And unless you’re a crazy gym-goer and have eaten nothing bad for you at all since the holidays, you might be getting a little panicky about how to lose those last few pounds and get that toned muscle that you know is hiding somewhere beneath your winter layer. Instead of frantically scouring the Internet for quick-working fad diets that you know you’ll give up by this weekend, keep calm and read on :). I’ve got you taken care of.

I’m going to share with you my meal plans and workouts that have helped me make more progress over the past 2 months than I’ve ever had, ever. We’ll be doing these together since my spring break vacay starts EXACTLY one month from today, and we can record our progress together!

The Way It Works

You’ll be following a basic 5-day program that you repeat every week until your deadline. Since our bodies quickly adapt to any workout, you can modify the workouts to get some variety week to week, and I’ll post my modifications so we can all be on the same page.

Workouts

Here is the 5-day plan to be repeated (with modification) week to week:

I will post the exercise circuits and modification ideas for each day on a separate post and link them back to that list.

Diet

The best way to lose weight, burn fat, and tone up is to have a diet high in lean protein and healthy fats, and low in carbohydrates. You should only be eating carbohydrates at breakfast, if you want, and after a workout. Vegetables are free-for-all and should be consumed at every meal! Fruit is ok, but stick to the ones lowest in sugar and high in antioxidants, like grapefruit, and berries.

Proteins:

  • ground turkey
  • extra lean ground beef
  • chicken
  • fish
  • salmon
  • egg whites

Fats:

  • almonds
  • mixed nuts
  • avocado
  • natural almond butter
  • natural peanut butter (I don’t recommend a lot of peanut butter though)
  • fish oil
  • egg yolks

Healthy Carbohydrates: (slow-digesting as opposed to quick-digesting)

  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • sweet potatoes
  • oatmeal

Try to eat at least 4 small meals a day, so your metabolism increases and you burn through calories quicker. To help you out, here is my basic meal plan for a typical day:

  • First I have a detoxifying smoothie with spinach or kale, cucumbers, peppers, celery, lemon juice, and half a banana. You can find more recipes for delicious ones here!
  • Breakfast: Ground beef and eggs, oatmeal if you want (fats in the morning keep your energy levels up all day!)
  • Lunch: Spinach salad with grilled chicken, veggies, and a vinaigrette dressing
  • 2nd Lunch (?) or Post-Workout Meal: Ground turkey with eggs, brown rice, steamed broccoli + mixed nuts
  • Dinner: White fish or chicken, steamed mixed veggies
  • Snack: Mixed nuts, berries, raw veggies

Other, more exciting recipes to choose from are here!

Notice that the amount of calories tapers by the end of the day, so that when you go to sleep you don’t pack on pounds by unused calories consumed too late in the day. Make sure you avoid at all costs all fast food, processed foods, sugary foods AND DRINKS (yup that means Starbucks frappuccinos are out!), especially towards the end of the day. For best results, I would also recommend cutting out most dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.

Tips

I don’t know why, but by bedtime my self-discipline always dwindles, and I’m very prone to breaking my rules and having ice cream at night. That’s why I make a point to drink a lot of water towards the end of the day to stay full, have some of my favorite flavored tea to sip when I have a sweet tooth (honey isn’t too bad), and go to bed as soon as I start getting tired so I avoid staying up and eating.

I can’t wait to go on this journey with you guys! It’s going to be a hard road sometimes, but when you can post those pictures on Instagram and Twitter of you looking hot next to all your friends in a bikini, you’ll be SO GLAD you did this!

Good luck and let’s get started!

Read about the Top 5 Mistakes Women Make In the Gym , 10 Fat-Loss Tips for Women, and check out the Workouts page for more exercise ideas!

Fat Is Bad… Or Is It?

i really

“If you don’t eat fat, you won’t get fat”… Right?

Wrong.

Forget that fat-free diet you’ve been on and take a look!

You deserve to know the truth. Fat is your friend.

Fats are essential for a well-rounded diet, and your overall health! They help out your skin, make your hair grow and stay shiny, reduce inflammation, provide energy, and boost testosterone levels (to help build muscle in the right places).

Now you may have heard about “good fats” and “bad fats,” and there’s some truth to this. The “good” fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, found in foods like all-natural peanut butter, and the “bad” fats are saturated fat and trans fat.

Trans fat is definitely horrible for you, it’s completely artificial, and your body was never intended to process that kind of fat, so make sure you’re reading your labels and throwing out anything with trans fat in it. Generally, trans fat is in all kinds of “junk” food and fast food. Saturated fat, though, naturally occurs with every food that contains mono and polyunsaturated fat. It’s really nothing to worry about as long as you make sure there is poly and monounsaturated fat in the foods you choose for your fat intake.

Here is how to correctly incorporate fat into your diet:

  1. Eliminate all trans fats
  2. Eliminate pro-inflammatory foods (aka all vegetable oils. Olive oil is fine)
  3. Eat wild game when you can (such as wild fish, buffalo, and other meats rich in omega-3s)
  4. Supplement with fish oil
  5. Take one meal at a time 🙂

Fish oil is one of those magical supplements that has so many benefits that you’re really shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t take it! I’ll write an article on that later because there’s so much to say about it, so make sure you check it out when it comes up.

New Program Curvalicious Fitness — Does It Work?

Today I purchased Flavia Del Monte’s program “Curvalicious Fitness” in hopes of losing the last bit of fat I have, to thin down my thighs, and to make my abs pop. We’ll see how it works! I’m really excited for it, but I always feel like when someone else tells me to do a workout, it’ll be too easy or won’t work for me as well as I had hoped. So I’m going to post my before picture later on today and let you know how workout #1 is! Leg day, my favorite!

Flavia Del Monte is someone I have been following on YouTube, whom I heard of through her husband Vince Del Monte. They are the ultimate fit couple that my boyfriend and I can really relate to. Vince used to be super skinny and so did my boyfriend, and Flavia’s “before story” is practically identical to mine haha! Vince has a program called Live Large TV that my boyfriend purchased and he is an expert on everything from nutrition to how to execute an exercise correctly to self-development. His program was awesome, but I feel like women have different nutrition guidelines and workouts, so that’s why I’m investing in this. It wasn’t too expensive, and there are all these bonuses Flavia threw in, like fat stripping diets, and her lifestyle diet (which is definitely something I wanted!).

I’ll keep you guys updated on my progress, post some pictures, and share some of the information that I thought was really helpful!

You can find Flavia’s blog that I purchased it through here http://www.flaviliciousfitness.com/blog/

Wish me luck!

The Top 5 Mistakes Women Make In the Gym

Ever wonder how the Victoria’s Secret models look like goddesses onstage at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show? How to get that envied thigh gap? How some women’s bodies look perfectly proportional from head to toe?

It’s really hard living in a world where women have been forced to take on such high standards of appearance. You’ve gotta be thin, but not too skinny. Have a nice round butt, but no cellulite. Long lean thighs and arms. A slender neck and tight abs. Big boobs but no body fat. And no matter how often you go to the gym and try different diets, it just doesn’t seem to be working.

We want so badly to have this perfect figure, and guess what? You only live once. Why would we not deserve to have the body we want?

What a lot of women don’t realize is that there are ways to actually CREATE the body you want. Are your shoulders too narrow for your frame? Guess what. You can build them. Your belly fat bothering you? There are ways that WORK that will banish that fat. You just have to be willing to put in the right amount of effort and dedication.

So what are the secrets that these supermodels know? That Britney Spears and NOT Miley Cyrus know? (haha :p)

I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you what they’re doing, and what you’re NOT doing that’s making alllll the difference.

Mistake #1.  Spending long hours on the treadmill/elliptical/bike.

Running or walking the same (ish) pace for 45 minutes to an hour is the least effective way to burn fat quickly. Your body gets too adjusted to the workout, and compensates for it, keeping you from burning your fat stores (especially belly fat) while depleting your body of its natural supply of glucose. Have you ever looked at a marathon runner’s stomach? There’s a 99% chance that there’s fat there!

Mistake #2. Not lifting heavy weights.

Without going into too much of the science behind it, weight training burns much more fat and calories than a traditional treadmill cardio workout. This is basically because after you’re done with your workout, your body is still burning way more calories than normal to help your muscles recover. In fact, having more muscle burns calories just by being there!The other secret about lifting weights is that women do not bulk up. We get amazing curves in all the right places. That hourglass shape, those toned arms, those washboard abs, and that cellulite-free butt? Yup that’s from weight training!

Mistake #3. Doing the same workout every day.

This includes doing the same leg, abs, and upper body routine every week. Your body gets used to things very quickly, and things that used to work for you in the past will stop being so effective if you do them every week. That’s why it’s super important to stay updated about different workouts, look around at what other women do in the gym (only if they look like they know what they’re doing and have the bod to show for it), and check back here for new, effective workouts so you have a good mix to pick from!

 Mistake #4. Going on stringent low-calorie diets.

Calories, from the right foods, are your friends. Your body needs calories to function and for you to have enough energy for the day. However, they must come FROM THE RIGHT FOODS. More on this later, but if you think that eating a bagel in the morning and having nothing else the rest of the day is something to be proud of, you are wrong! Same goes to skipping breakfast to “save the calories.” Nope, bad. You will be treating your body well and your natural energy level will be up if your calorie intake is only from lean proteins, slow-digesting carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Mistake #5. Trying to spot-reduce fat.  

It would really be nice if fat spot-reduction worked, but it really doesn’t. Fat in places like your love handles and abs can be burned off in many ways, but doing 100 crunches or those ridiculous love-handle blaster exercises where you lean side to side with weights in your hands DO NOT WORK. Yay! you can cross those off your list. When your body fat percentage goes down, the fat in those problem areas will too. And some people lose fat quicker in certain areas and slower in others, so you just have to see how your body works. But that fat WILL go away 🙂 I’ll be posting some of the fat-blasting exercises that I use and swear by and you’ll see HUGE differences in your results, and make your workout actually work.