Fit Valentine’s Day Gifts

Originally published February 11, 2016

Photo credit:  www.bluehalodreams.com

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow!  While some may think it has turned into a commercial holiday, it’s still a great time to show that special someone that you care.  Unsure of what to get the health conscious, fitness individual in your life?  Below are a few gift ideas that your fitness guy or gal would enjoy.

Fitbit:  This is a great gift for those that love cardio.  It counts your steps to help hold you accountable for those 10,000 we should get in each day.  You’re able to compete with family and friends to see who gets in the most steps.  As a bonus, it even tracks your sleep patterns.

Polar watch: This watch is great for ALL of your activity, not just your steps so this is great if the active person in your life enjoys other activities such as weight training, swimming, cycling, etc. Polar is known for their heart rate monitoring accuracy. It tracks your sleep patterns. It even notifies you of your inactivity to help you stay motivated!

Beats:  Everyone that works out deserves an awesome pair of wireless headphones.  The beats are perfect.  They allow you the freedom to complete your workout without wires getting in your way.  They’re also sweat resistant.  In addition, the headphones provide excellent sound quality to power you through your workouts.

Workout gear: Who doesn’t love new workout gear? Maybe it’s a girl thing, but new workout gear motivates me to go to the gym and do what I need to do. If you’re going to workout, you may as well look cute doing it. I reviewed these leggings last month and they are still, hands down, the best workout leggings ever! Your fitness girl will definitely love these!

Resistance bands: These are perfect for the traveler who still needs to get in their workout or the person that enjoys an at home workout.  They come with a carrying case which makes it perfect for travel.  They also come with a workout chart so you’ll learn how to use each band effectively.

Gym bag:  A gym bag is an awesome gift for him or her.  I’m not sure what you look for in a gym bag, but I look for space and pockets.  These gym bags have both!  There’s plenty of room for shoes, clothes, equipment, shaker bottles, etc.  There’s also side pocket where you can place your dirty gym clothes after your workout.

Spa/massage: If none of the options above seem appealing to you, you can never go wrong with booking a massage at a local spa. Chances are, your fitness person has sore muscles and a massage would be a great relief!

Hope this little guide helps you find the perfect gift for the fitness person in your life!

Healthy Tips for the BIG GAME

Originally published February 6, 2016

The BIG GAME is Sunday and everyone is excited about the matchup between the Broncos and the Panthers! However, the real matchup is YOU vs FOOD during your Super Bowl festivities.

At the start of the year, you made a goal to lose weight, change your eating habits, exercise more, etc. Now, it’s time for the BIG GAME and you’ll be faced with lots of temptation regarding your food choices. For many, while in the beginning stages of changing your diet, out of sight, out of mind works really well; but what do you do when you’re staring all the foods you love face to face?

I’ve composed a few tips to help you survive the day.

  1. Don’t go to the party hungry. Eat a nutritious meal prior to going to the party. You’ll be less likely to overindulge on the fatty, sugary options.
  2. Drink plenty of water. Drinking water will help keep you full and prevent you from overeating.
  3. Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol is filled with lots of empty calories. If you must drink beer or other alcoholic beverages, consume a bottle of water between drinks. The water will make you feel full and in turn drink less.
  4. Eat in moderation. Don’t feel bad if you have a few of the high fat snacks you enjoy. If you do decide to indulge, just limit your proportions.
  5. Take a healthy dish to the party. Find a healthy version of your favorite food and let that be your contribution to the party. No one will know they’re eating the healthy version unless you tell them 😉

Below are a couple of recipes to try:

Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip

A quick and easy creamy ranch dip that is completely guilt-free and tastes just as indulgent as the original!

YIELD: about 1 cup  PREP TIME: 3 minutes  COOK TIME: 0 minutes  TOTAL TIME: 3 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Fresh, chopped chives garnish

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together all of the ingredients: Greek yogurt, garlic, onion, dill, salt, Worcestershire, and cayenne. Garnish with fresh chives and serve.

Recipe Source:  wellplated.com

Debdoozie’s Blue Ribbon Chili

Prep  10 m  Cook  1 h  Ready In  1 h 10 m

Recipe By:Deb

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar salsa
  • 4 tablespoons chili seasoning mix
  • 1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the ground beef and the onion and sauté for 10 minutes, or until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain grease, if desired.
  2. Add the ground black pepper, garlic salt, tomato sauce, salsa, chili seasoning mix and kidney beans. Mix well, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least an hour.

Recipe Source:  allrecipes.com

**To make this chili healthier, use the leanest cut of beef, turkey (my preference), or chicken.  Use low/no sodium canned goods.  Use a fresh salsa vs jarred.  Aldi sells a delicious fresh salsa if there is one located in your area.

I hope you find these tips useful as you prepare for the BIG GAME.  If you try any of the tips or the recipes, please let me know what you think.

Fiesta Salad

Originally published January 28, 2016

This is a quick recipe that you can whip up any day of the week.  It’s a great meal to enjoy on a cheat or high carb day!

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages chicken breast
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
  • lettuce
  • salsa
  • cheese
  • sour cream (may substitute plain greek yogurt)
  • tortillas
  • any other toppings you enjoy on your salads

Directions:  Heat chicken in skillet on medium heat.  Add 1 tbsp taco seasoning to chicken.  Heat until warm.  Place black beans in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until warm (1 min-1 min, 30 sec).  After chicken and beans are heated to your desired temperature, layer your salad as desired.  I layered mine as follows:  tortillas, lettuce, chicken, beans, and salsa to top it off.

Calories:  340 Protein:  23g  Carbs:  43g  Fat:  10g

*Nutritional info will vary if adding cheese, sour cream, or other toppings

Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More

Originally published January 21, 2016

Embed from Getty Images

Plan, plan, and plan some more.  Have I mentioned that you should plan?  When setting out to achieve your fitness goals, I have learned that it is key to plan, especially your meals.  Keeping up with a diet or meal plan can be tough, especially if you don’t plan ahead.  When you are crunched for time, it is so easy to stop by the nearest fast food restaurant to pick up a quick bite, ruining your diet for the day.  We’ve all stopped by the “Golden Arches” a time or two when cooking a meal just wasn’t in the plan.

So, how do you create a fitness meal prep, a weight loss meal prep, or a meal prep in general?  What should you cook?  How far in advance should you cook/prep your meals?  Many of these questions depend on you and your personal preferences.

One of the first things you will want to do is figure out your nutritional needs.  An app such as my fitness pal can give you a general idea of your daily nutritional needs.  If training for more specific goals, such as a competition, you should consult with a personal trainer to help you with your nutritional needs.

In a nutshell, meal prepping is preparing all/some of your meals ahead of time.  It’s like creating your very own fast food meal.  Once prepared, you just grab and go.  Of course, it does take a little time and effort, but it’s  definitely well worth it.  I personally only prepare lunch and dinner meals.  I tend to cook breakfast daily.

  • Pick a day of the week that you have extra time to prepare meals.  For myself, it’s typically on a Sunday.
  • You should know ahead of time what you will prepare.  Plan your grocery shopping accordingly.
  • Try to choose foods that can be cooked at the same temperature.  This will save you a little time.  For example, I may cook chicken breast, fish, roasted asparagus, and sweet potatoes in the oven at the same time.  They all cook at various times but utilize the same temperature setting.
    • I typically prepare two proteins, usually chicken and fish.  I’ll eat one for lunch and one for dinner.  I prep about 3 days worth of meals.  After 3 days I get tired of eating the same thing and my schedule permits the cooking of additional meals.
  • If you don’t have time during the week to do additional cooking, you’ll want to prepare your entire week of meals in one day.
  • Make sure you have plenty of containers for your meals.

Some of you may be thinking, “I have a family.  What are they supposed to eat?”  Great question!  My response is simple.  Encourage your family to transition into eating better and living a healthy lifestyle as well.  Initially, it may be a difficult task.  Be creative!  Make eating healthy tasty and enjoyable!

Initially, it may be a difficult task.  Be creative!  Make eating healthy tasty and enjoyable!  Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring.  Once your entire family is on board, you’ll find that having ready made meals is such a lifesaver!

If your days are anything like mine, you work, pick up the kid(s), ensure homework is completed, and then you’re hauling your children to their extracurricular activities.  A ready made meal would sure come in handy!  Give it a try and let me know what you think! Happy Prepping!

Miss Sherri

RimSports Workout Gloves

Originally published January 14, 2016

If you workout, then you know that owning a pair of good workout gloves is a must have!  I recently had the opportunity to try RimSports wrist wrap workout gloves.  Initially, I thought they were going to be just a cute pair of gloves for show.  I soon found out, they not only look good, they’re functional as well!  I received my pair in pink and black because I’m a girlie, girl.  I enjoy lifting heavy while preserving my femininity so I appreciated the option of being able to get them in pink and black. No worries men, they do come in all black as well.

These gloves are extremely comfortable.  They run true to size.  I wear a small & the fit was comfortable.  There is a mesh fabric on top of the gloves and between the thumb and pointer, which makes them breathable.  I didn’t have sweaty hands after pulling them off.  However, my wrist area was moist upon removing the gloves.  The wrap support does not get much ventilation.  The wrap support does however, provide adequate wrist stability and support, especially when lifting heavy.  During my workout, I lifted free weights, did presses on the bench, and used various machines.  The grip the gloves provided was amazing.  There was no slip at all.

Overall, these are a great pair of workout gloves, especially if lifting heavy weights and you don’t mind a little moisture around your wrists.  They are cute (for the ladies) and also functional.  Give RimSports workout gloves a try!  Let me know what you think!

Disclaimer:  I received this product free of charge for my honest, unbiased review.

Sport-It Yoga Leggings

Originally published January 12, 2016

One of  my pet peeves is to see people, especially women, in the gym looking like who did what to you and why.  Even though you may not have reached your workout goals, you can still look decent in the gym.  I feel that if you look good, you feel good, so dress the part.

I love new workout gear!  I recently tried out sport-it yoga leggings.  Let me be the first to tell you that these leggings are absolutely amazing!  They run true to size.  They are simple but cute. They come in black which is easy to match with any of your other workout gear.  The fabric feels wonderful.  They were very comfortable to workout in.  They moved well with my body and has a very silky feel. The fabric wicked extremely well.  I wore these leggings on a day that I had a 1000+ calorie burn & there were no embarrassing (crotch) sweat stains, which to me was amazing because I had to make a couple of stops on the way home.  In addition to what was previously mentioned, there’s one more thing that I absolutely loved about these leggings.  There’s a secret pocket inside of the waistband for you to put your belongings!  How cool is that?  I was able to place my cell phone (Iphone 6 plus) in the pocket without any difficulty.  My headphones were able to connect to my phone while in the pocket.  It was great to have my cell phone in a pocket versus in an armband.  The only downfall about the pocket is that you are not able to see who is calling or texting you without removing (it’s easy to remove) the phone, while with an armband, you are able to glance at the clear cover to see who’s contacting you.

Overall, these are a great pair of leggings.  They look cute and they are wonderful to workout in.  If you’re in the market for a new pair of leggings (even if you’re not), you should give these a try.  You will not be disappointed!  If you happen to try them out, tag me (miss_sherri) in your IG post and use the hashtag #GOSPORTIT.  I can’t wait to see your posts!

I received this product free or at a discounted price in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

Happy New Year

Originally published January 1, 2016

As the year comes to a close, this is the time that many of you begin to reflect upon your year, thinking about all of your accomplishments as well as areas of improvement.

As I reflect upon my own year, I realize this year has brought upon many changes in all aspects in my life; some good, some not so much.  Learning how to deal with the changes that occur within your life aids in your personal growth and development.  Have you had changes in your life that have forced you to grow?  I certainly have!

Traditionally on New Year’s Eve, people make New Year Resolutions.  By definition, a resolution is a firm decision to do/not do something.  Unfortunately, many people go year after year and never keep those resolutions.  Rather than making resolutions, it may be more effective to set goals.  By definition, a goal is a desired result or something you are aiming towards.  Therefore, if it is your desire to lose weight, eat healthy, etc., set a goal, not a resolution.  Listed are a few of my goals for 2016:

  1. Be a better me
    1. This is always a goal of mine.  This is something that I work on daily.  Daily, I strive to be a better Christian, a better mom, a better daughter, sister, etc.  The saying, “New Year, New Me” is very cliché, but, daily I’m striving to be a new and better me.  When you constantly remain the same, your situation remains the same as well.
  2. Better business woman
    1. This, and all of my goals could fit under my first goal because it’s all about personal development.  I have several business goals that I would like to achieve.  I am elated to report that I have already began putting them in place.
  3. Fitness, health, and wellness
    1. I’m sure this one doesn’t come as a surprise to you.  My goal with this is to remain consistent with both my workouts and my nutrition.  There are many times that I am not consistent with both of them at the same time.  I know that being consistent with my workouts and nutrition (at the same time) will yield the results that I would like to achieve.

What are your goals for 2016?  I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!

Miss Sherri

Whatsa Macro?

Originally published February 19, 2015

If you’ve checked out fitness posts on Facebook or Instagram, you may have seen the term “macro” mentioned within the post.  Everyone is talking about their macros and you may be wondering, whatsa macro?  Macro is short for macronutrients.  Let’s break it down.  Macro means large.  Nutrients are substances needed for growth and metabolism in the body.  Therefore, macronutrients are substances needed in large amounts for growth and metabolism in the body.  There are three macronutrients:  Protein, carbohydrates, and fat.

Importance of Protein

Protein can help you lose fat, build muscle, and improve your overall general appearance.  It aids in growth, tissue repair, helps with your immune health, makes essential hormones and enzymes, provides energy when carbohydrates are not available, and preserves lean muscle mass.  The daily recommended protein intake is 0.8-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.  Currently I’m taking in 1 gram per pound of body weight, putting me at 140 grams of protein per day.

Importance of Carbohydrates

Generally speaking, the majority of your caloric intake should come from carbohydrates (may vary depending on your specific goals).  Carbs are the body’s main source for fuel and energy.  They provide glucose to all of our tissues and cells in the body.  Carbohydrates are needed for the central nervous system and other main organs such as our brain, heart and kidneys to function properly.  Carbohydrates can be stored and later used for energy.  Carbohydrates also play a role in our intestinal health.  Your carbohydrate intake is your total daily calories less your protein and fat calories.  My total carb intake per day is 160 grams or 640 calories.  Again, the amount of carbohydrates you take in will depend on your current goals.

Importance of Fats

Contrary to popular belief, consuming fats do not make you fat.  Consuming an excess of calories, whether it comes from fat, protein, or carbs, makes you fat, not the intake of fat alone.  Now that we have that settled, let’s continue.  Fats help with normal growth and development, gives you energy, helps with the absorption of some vitamins, gives cushion to your organs, maintains your cells, and gives taste, stability, and consistency to foods.  There are three main types of fats:  trans, saturated, unsaturated.  Trans fat is the unhealthiest of all the fats.  It has been shown to lead to an increase in your bad (LDL) cholesterol and increase the risks of heart disease, diabetes, and strokes.  They should be avoided.  Trans fat is typically found in fried foods, fast foods, chips, cookies, etc.  For the most part it is found in all the foods we know we shouldn’t be eating anyway.  Saturated fat is not as unhealthy as trans fat, but it’s still not good for you either, especially in large amounts.  Saturated fat has been known to cause high cholesterol.  Saturated fats can be found in beef, veal, lamb, pork, butter, lard, and cream just to name a few.  Intake of saturated fats should be limited.  Unsaturated fat has been shown to decrease the risks of heart disease as well as lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol.  Unsaturated fats are most commonly found in fish, nuts, nut butters, avocados, olive oil, and seeds.  The majority of our fat intake should come from unsaturated fats.  Fat should be 20-30% of your diet.  Personally, I choose 25%.  My daily fat intake is 44g.  Calculate your macros here.

For myself, this is the diet that I am currently following.  If I were competing, I would follow a stricter plan or incorporate some form of carb cycling to get my desired results.  At times, people take the IIFYM approach to the extremes.  Some will consume a lot of unhealthy foods and then give the excuse that it fits their macros.  Yes, at times I will have Oreos, skittles, or peanut M & M’s and yes, it does fit into my macros but there’s a downfall.  Per example, 1/4 cup of skittles is 37g of carbohydrates with no nutritional  value.  They’re 160 calories, contain 1.5g of fat and 30g of sugar.  1/4 cup of fresh pineapple is only about 5-6g carbs and provides vitamin C.  The pineapple is only about 20 calories and only has about 4g of sugar.  It’s obvious which snack would be more beneficial to you but if you just have to have the skittles or your favorite snack, have them; just know that you are giving up a lot of calories for non-nutritional foods and will need to adjust your macros accordingly.  Many people feel less restricted when following the IIFYM method.  Which method of eating works best for you?

Easy Carb Cycling Meal Plan

Originally posted January 29, 2015

Carb cycling is an eating plan with alternating high-carb and low-carb days.  You can even choose to add in a reward day!  How awesome is that?

High carbohydrate days promotes muscle growth by stimulating an insulin response, which sends nutrients to your muscle cells.  High carb days also replenishes your glycogen stores (fuel for muscles) and makes you feel energized.

Low carb days promote fat loss.  You may notice feeling a little tired on your low carb days.  The body is tricked into burning fat for fuel instead of the sugar the body would typically get from carbohydrates.  It’s just that simple.

There are multiple ways that you can choose to do a carb cycle.  You can choose to alternate your high and low carbs daily, once every two days, even three days depending on the results you are trying to achieve.  Alternately, depending on your training habits and goals, you may decide to have two high carb days to one low carb day.  You may also decide to manipulate your carbs by only consuming them in the morning.  You may have to play around with different carb cycling patterns to see which one works best for your body and your lifestyle.

Below is the easy carb cycling meal plan I followed along with the experiences I had.

Day 1

This morning 1/12/15, I began my carb cycling.  I have chosen to alternate my high and low carb days daily with a possible cheat day on Saturday or Sunday.  This morning I weighed in at 136.5.  I planned out my carbohydrates for the day.  My goal is to stay below 70g.  I normally take in approximately 250g.  Here is what I planned for my low carb day:

Oatmeal-27g

Planters honey roasted peanuts-7g

1/2 grapefruit-13g

blueberries-2g

walnuts-2g

Protein bar-9g

Protein-8g

Total 68g carbs

My first low carb day went well!  I took in more carbs than planned but stayed below 100g.  I took in an additional 10g of carbs.  The extra carbs came from miscellaneous foods such as lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and sausage.  I use the myfitnesspal application to keep track of my foods.  I didn’t eat my 1/2 grapefruit.  I instead had 1% milk with my protein shake.  I have recently realized that I do not enjoy my protein mixed with water only.  It may be time to search for a new protein.  My energy level was great throughout the day.  I had a short, but effective workout today.  I trained legs.  My workout last 39:01 and I burned 772 calories.  I drank just under a gallon of water throughout the day.  My total calorie count for the day was 1564.

Day 2 (1/13/15)

I weighed in this morning at 133 lbs.  I didn’t plan my carbs for the day.  In general, I tend to stick to eating healthy carbs and don’t typically go over my goal intake.  My total carb count for the day was 154g.  My total calories were 1786.  The carbs that I took in included oatmeal, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, mozzarella cheese, walnuts, pineapples, 2 slices whole wheat bread, banana, peanut butter, and a protein bar.  I was able to get in a nice long workout today.  I worked out for about 1 1/2 hours and burned 1848 calories.  I trained back and shoulders.  I also did cardio and abs.

Day 3 (1/13/15)

As you can see, I’m looking a little “fluffier” this morning around my midsection due to the increased carb intake yesterday.  My weight remained consistent at 133 lbs.  I have an unexpected day off from work due to the weather.  Hopefully, I can still stick to the plan.  My plan is pretty much the same as it was Monday, my last low carb day.  Today, I did very well sticking to the eating plan.  I took in 72g of carbs.  However, I couldn’t push myself to get in a workout.  It was a lazy day of eating and sleeping.

Today, I did very well sticking to the eating plan.  I took in 72g of carbs.  However, I couldn’t push myself to get in a workout.  It was a lazy day of eating and sleeping.

Day 4 (1/14/15)

Looking fairly good after my low carb day.  My weight remains the same.  Today I took in 197g of carbs, all healthy carbs except one.  I decided to have a small bag of Cheetos.  Hey, what can I say?  It fit my macros, but that’s a topic of discussion for another day.  I did a callisthenic home workout along with some free weight sets for my arms.  I burned just over 1000 calories.

Day 5

Day 6

My thoughts:

Carb cycling is a great way to lose weight.  It helps you get rid of excess water weight as well as burn off more calories.

Looking at pictures, it seems as though my body peaked and looked its best at day 4.

If you are looking to make subtle changes over time, then the every other day cycle would be the route to take.

If you are looking for more drastic changes, then I would recommend 2-3 low carb days followed by 1 high carb day.

Bottom line, if you are looking to lose weight, carb cycling may be an option for you.

If my plan seems to loose or if you are looking for a more specific weight loss meal plan, you may want to check out this carb cycling book that includes recipe ideas.

If you happen to give it a try, let me know what you think.

day 1
jan 15

The Struggle is Real

Originally posted December 31, 2014

According to the Urban dictionary, the phrase “The struggle is real”, denotes a situation where the user wishes to express that they are encountering some sort of undesirable difficulty, but dealing with it.  Currently, my undesirable difficulty is food.  I struggle with it on a day-to-day basis.  During the off-season, my goal is to put on more weight.  I have therefore increased my daily caloric intake.  Unfortunately, I have been slack.  I’ve been indulging in my favorite fast food restaurants and eating my favorite candies as though it will not be present tomorrow.  I try to “make up” for it by doing a little extra in the gym.  As most of you know, you can’t out exercise a bad diet.  Maintaining a proper diet during both the on and off-season is important.  It is frustrating to me because I know what I need to do to get back on track.  I am however having difficulty putting it into action.  Each week begins with me setting the goal to get my diet in order.  I approach the week ecstatic about my goals because it’s a new start, a new beginning, a chance to make improvements.  By the end of the week I’m having BoJangles and eating peanut M&M’s.  Unfortunately, what you eat in private, you wear in public.  It’s such a true statement.  My midsection is a clear indicator of what I have been eating in private.

What are my plans for change?  Well, I began writing this post about 2 months ago.  My plans from 2 months ago has definitely changed.  My plans have changed because my goals have changed.  When I began writing this post, I was planning for the upcoming competition season.  Due to scheduling conflicts, I do not foresee any competitions in the new year (sad face).  That of course does not stop my grind.  I continue to train hard because I love it.  I see it as an opportunity to bring a better package when I do step on stage again.  Not participating in competitions does not give me an excuse to have poor eating habits and indulge in all of the junk that I love.  I still plan to keep up with my macros and only indulge in treats sparingly.  What are your fitness goals for the new year?  Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Signing off for 2014.

Happy New Year!