Category Archives: Health & Fitness

Favorite Macro & Winter Friendly Dishes

Winter has finally arrived in Florida! We get to enjoy it for about a week until it’s back to summer. The whole country is experiencing frigid weather right now, most have it worse than we do (okay, basically all of you!). After seeing a few people share that they’re enjoying some of the soup recipes they’ve found on my blog, I figured what better time than to share some of my favorites! This list includes not only soup recipes but anything that’s hot, delicious, and comforting on a cold winter night. All these recipes are super easy and most you can create in a slow cooker. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Happy flexible dieting!

  1. Bacon Cheeseburger Soup 203 calories, 6g fat, 16g carbs, 20g protein per serving
  2. Broccoli Cheese Soup 175 calories, 7.5g fat, 7g carbs, 15.5g protein per serving
  3. Slow Cooker Stuffed Shells 249 calories, 9g fat, 24g carbs, 19g protein per serving
  4. Turkey Chili 254 calories, 30g carbs, 6g fat, 25g protein per serving
  5. Protein Packed Chicken Noodle Soup 187 calories, 3g fat, 10g carbs, 31g protein per serving
  6. Simple French Dip Sandwiches 469 calories, 14g fat, 44g carbs, 37g protein per serving
  7. Shepard’s Pie 13g fat, 31g carbs, 30g protein per serving
  8. Buffalo Chicken Cheese Fries 491 calories, 15g fat, 38g carbs, 51g protein for recipe

Staple Items: My Go-To Grocery List for Meeting Macros

It was requested by a client of mine to share my go-to grocery list for reaching macros/eating a well-balanced diet. I decided to come up with something that was simple and covered all macro-nutrient needs, meaning I don’t purchase every single thing on this list every single week but I do make sure to have a few of these options from each category in my pantry and fridge.

As many of you know, I create a meal plan each week before grocery shopping. They are designed exactly like the meal plans found here. However, when it’s the day before I need to go grocery shopping or I just feel like going off plan and being spontaneous, it’s extremely helpful to have these staple items around. At the end of this list I’ll provide some simple meal options you can use with this list but trust me, the options are pretty endless. Happy flexible dieting!

Fat:

  • Egg yolks
  • Avocado
  • Nut butters
  • Nuts
  • Oils
  • Olives

Fat/Protein:

  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Steak
  • Whole fat milk
  • Whole fat yogurt
  • Full fat cheese
  • Chia seeds

Protein:

  • Egg whites
  • Chicken breast (or sliced from the deli)
  • Turkey (breast, patties, or bacon)
  • White fish
  • Lean ground beef
  • Non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Non-fat cottage cheese
  • Non or low fat cheese
  • Whey protein

Carbs/Protein:

  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Quinoa
  • Nonfat sweetened Greek yogurt
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Fair Life skim milk
  • Peas
  • Protein bars (most have around 7g fat)

Carbohydrates:

  • Bread
  • English muffins
  • Tortillas
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Cereal
  • Bran
  • Oats
  • Potatoes
  • Popcorn
  • Pancakes/waffles
  • Bananas
  • Frozen berries
  • Seasonal veggies
  • Spinach
  • Jello or pudding

Simple Meal Ideas Using List:

Breakfast:

Lunch:

Dinner:

Snacks:

  • 1/2 cup Fair Life skim milk, 1 scoop whey protein, 1 banana, 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup water, 1 scoop whey protein, 1 cup frozen berries, 2 cups spinach, 1 banana
  • Greek yogurt & berries with chia seeds
  • Light popcorn
  • Jello or sugar free pudding
  • Protein bar
  • Frozen yogurt

Meal Plan #10

These plans are made to feed two people so if you have more people in your family double the amount you buy and/or consider adding an extra option. I choose two options for breakfast, two for lunch, a few snacks, and three dinner options. We eat leftovers every other night and that leaves us one night to eat out! This week I spent close to $100 with all the meat but we have plenty of leftovers! The meals are designed for a balanced diet. If you eat proper portions and especially track your macros or calories, you will lose weight!

*Some people have asked if I can provide macros for these plans but I don’t find it to be necessary since we all have different macros. Just portion out these meals to meet your macros.:)

Breakfast:

Option 1- 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup berries of choice and low fat granola with two whole grain Van’s protein waffles

Option 2- Tex Mex omelette- 2 eggs, 2 egg whites, diced onions, tomato, low fat Mexican shredded cheese, and sliced avocado on top with pico de gallo and 1/2 cup roasted potatoes or whole grain toast

Lunch:

Option 1- Buffalo chicken mac & cheese

Option 2- French dip sandwiches

Dinner:

Option 1- Slow cooker shredded beef tacos with pico de gallo and roasted corn

Option 2- Burgers bites with a serving of Alexia’s 98% fat free fries and a serving of steamable microwavable veggies

Option 3-  Easy homemade pizza added vegetable toppings of choice

Snack/dessert:

Option 1-  “Ants on a Log” celery stalks cleaned and cut into 6 inch pieces with (minimal) peanut butter and a handful or raisins

Option 2-  Light buffalo dip with carrots and celery

If requested I’ll add the grocery list but many of you have said you mix and match from different meal plans so I’m not sure it’s necessary? 🙂

Check out all 10 meal plans

12 Days of Vlogmas

I’m doing 12 Days of Vlogmas on my Youtube channel! Today’s video includes a recipe on spiked coffee and our Christmas traditions. I’ll be posting a new video every day through Christmas. If anyone wants to follow along be sure to subscribe so you get notified when each video is up.  They will include healthy holiday recipes, workouts, family fun, and more!

My First Powerlifting Competition

Wow. What an experience. My first powerlifting competition could not have gone better. I decided in August I was going to sign-up for one to gain some experience in the sport. I did not go into planning to place in my class or having any sort of impressive numbers in the sport. All I wanted to do was learn, have fun, and impress myself. I sure did just that.

I went into it wanting to end with 200/100/200. I ended up finishing with a 204lb squat, 99lb bench, and 210lb deadlift. I won third place in my class. Funny story, I didn’t at all expect to place so during awards I ran to the bathroom (I drank so much water and Pedialyte that day I was peeing every 10 mins). As I’m pulling up my pants I hear the announcer say, “this was her first competition” and for I split second I wonder, is he talking about me? As I walk back in to the gymnasium I see Thom walking back with my medal. I was bummed I missed that moment but I was way more excited that I even placed.

So check out the video and share the fun! If you take anything from this, I hope it’s how awesome it is to get out of your comfort zone and push your limits. Go out and amaze yourself! It’s a great feeling.

While you’re on the Youtube check out my newest video, “How to Become a Good Coach”. Got a yummy recipe coming later this week!

Carb Cycling & Clients

carb cycling macro coach iifym

IIFYM.com just released an article named “Carb Cycling: Advantages & Disadvantages. Now I won’t reiterate what was said, you can visit this link to read the article, but I would like to talk about a few points that can relate to my clients.

Many flexible dieters struggle with the same things (myself included!) like staying on track on weekends, feeling burnt out from dieting, or sometimes feeling overly restricted (after all, we’re still dieting). Carb cycling can actually help with all of these. The reason I love flexible dieting is because YOU choose how flexible you want to be! For those who are competing in bodybuilding, they choose to be more tedious with their diet to reach their strict goals. But for many of us (which includes most of my clients) we just want to reach our goals as fast as possible without losing our sanity or the weight rebounding. So how does carb cycling help with this?

Quick Summary

For the purpose of this article I will provide a quick summary of carb cycling. Carb cycling can be set up in many different ways. Just as the name states you’ll be cycling around your total carbs in different variations throughout the week. For most people this means they have 1-2 high carb days a week; this would also mean they have lower carbs the rest of the week to accommodate the high carb days. You can also cycle fat to have higher fat on low carb days, helping to keep you more satisfied. So, what’s the point of all this?

What it Comes Down to…

  • Contary to what some believe, there is not enough evidence to prove that carb cycling can promote more fat loss than having the same daily macro goal (this is assuming overall calorie intake is the same)
  • It CAN, however, help the client to stay more consistent with their diet by feeling like they’re given a diet break with their high carb days
  • Can provide an advantage to athletes by pairing their high carb days with an intense workout

How I Apply Carb Cycling to My Clients

As stated before, many of my clients are not athletes or competing, they simply want to get healthier and enjoy the process. I utilize high carb days for my clients in many ways. Since all my clients are different (and I do have some athletes!) I will list a few techniques I use:

  • Athletes/clients focused on increasing strength- provide high carbs for training, this is especially important if they are in a deficit. When focused on building mass and increasing strength, maintenance or a surplus of calories is preferred. In these cases you wouldn’t necessarily need to cycle carbs but can
  • Clients focused on body recomposition (mainten weight with goal of building muscle while losing fat)- high carb days for training, low carb rest days to promote more fat loss
  • Clients who struggle to stay consistent- lower carbs on week days, high carb days on weekends for more flexibility
  • Clients who are on an aggressive fat loss plan- since overall calories are lower I provide these clients with a high carb day but it would be a refeed day. A refeed day differs from carb cycling because we increase overall calories on this day (usually at our right under maintenance calories) to replenish glycogen storage and give the client a mental break

These are the four most common ways I use carb cycling for clients. Everyone is different so I use these techniques on a client to client basis and sometimes even tweak them to fit the individual’s need. Whatever makes the client stay on track is what we want to stick with. For me personally, I prefer having the same macro goal each day, it’s just easier! But I have utilized carb cycling in the past and do see the benefits of it. If you’re a current clients and are interested in implementing carb cycling, just let me know! If you have any questions drop a line below. Happy flexible dieting!

Why Female Fitness Is Holding Itself Back

By Stephen Correa, Jr.

Female fitness is fast on the rise. More and more women and girls are getting off the couch and in shape. Hell we even have female rugby back in the Olympics so if that doesn’t tell you the rise of the strong woman is upon us then where have you been? Moreover, I’d like to welcome you to the new age as the saying goes. Women are flooding powerlifting, weightlifting, crossfit, running, cycling, and many other sports. What a time to be alive in fitness.

For those who are unfamiliar with me, I’m Stephen or Coach, I have the ultimate pleasure of coaching 40+ of the most badass women you could hope to meet. They vary from very beginner to 4 Nationally Qualified powerlifters and 2 of which are IPL World Qualified. While those titles are earned they don’t make anyone of them on my team any more important than another. They all have different goals even though some do share similarities. They come from incredibly differing backgrounds, which is a testament to how fitness is not a vacuum of certain types of women. Being in a niche coaching 90% women on my team I have seen the good and the bad, the highs and the lows, and the truly disappointing in female fitness. When you coach so many ladies who all have social media accounts you tend to get sucked into hashtag holes, see idiotic comments from both genders, and the blind leading the blind. Indulge me if you will, as I ramble and rant on why female fitness is hindering its progression and maybe even offer a piece of advice or two.

I’m going to start with the simplest “annoyance” I’ve seen in the gym or heard. I had the absolute horror of having a Twitter account for far too long if I’m being completely honest. I no longer do because the stupidity outweighed any true benefit I could find. In my travels of the Twitterverse, I came across a repetitive theme in tweets. Ladies would get upset when a gentleman offered them a spot. These ladies would be so indignant that a man would do such a thing. Now ladies, I’ve been lifting since I was 15 which gives me 17 years of toiling in a gym and I have offered such help the entire time. I would afford a man the same courtesy. It’s not because I think either person is weak, I just don’t want you to get stapled by the bar while I’m around. Now that isn’t to say there aren’t chauvinists in the gym that are trying to exert some alpha male bullshit because it is the gym and those people do exist. However, let’s pump the brakes before we assume that the guy offering help is just being an asshole. It’s not hard to kindly say that you don’t need it but if you do you know who to ask. Ask yourself who the real asshole is, the one offering a spot or the one assuming they are just thinking you are weak? On the flipside, you gentlemen that offer help need to have some situational awareness. If you’ve seen this lady lift before and it’s clearly not a heavy load, just go about your workout. You’re not needed. Move on. Mind your business. It’s hard enough for coaches to get these ladies in the gym and strength training. You gentlemen just make it that much harder for them to want to.

This next part addresses the elitism and exclusivity that runs rampant in female fitness and hinders feminism within it. I will preface this by saying I’m not the most prolific feminist you’ll find. It’s not that I don’t believe in, it I’m just not as read up on it as other people. To paraphrase Hank Moody, I love women and have all their albums. You are the greatest creatures walking around on this spinning rock but you are holding yourselves back. This may be the section where eyebrows will be raised or disagreeing will happen, but seeing as this is an Op Ed piece this is just how I see it.

There is an incredible amount of elitism and exclusivity in female fitness. For a gender yearning for equality you’re not even trying to bring each other along in the process. Bodybuilders present this elite mentality whether with physique or bullshit title of “Pro.” That’s like having a record in a powerlifting federation. Who gives a shit? Yeah, you worked hard and earned it, but there are so many federations for both disciplines that the words “record” or “pro” are more watered down than drinks on two for one night at the bar. Then you have the strength side that claims superiority because of how much weight they can move. As a powerlifting coach that’s great, but that’s no reason to think you’re better than another woman in another discipline. Apples to oranges ladies. Don’t get me started on Crossfit. I may joke a lot, but I actually do enjoy Crossfit and many of their workouts that are coached by COMPETENT people. I take issue with this nonsensical bullshit mantra of forging elite fitness. Calm your tits, Crossfit. Like any other lifting discipline, you have 10% that may be elite and 90% hobbyists to intermediates.

Instead of knocking one for their style of fitness, be it lifting or cardio, why can’t there be an encouragement. “Yeah do your thing, girl.” You don’t have to share the same styles to encourage each other. I have 40+ women, but when it’s meet day for one of them the whole team is cheering even if they don’t powerlift or even have a clue what the updates mean. This is the team environment I’ve fostered among them and it’s something that women, as a team, should really strive for. Who cares if you have different backgrounds or training styles. None of that matters. You all share a common goal which is to better your health, physique, and hopefully your mind.

Another area of exclusivity that really pisses me off is this new hashtag I’ve been seeing on Instagram. The first version I saw was #girlswhoactuallylift. Now as I stated, I’m no scholar on the topic of feminism, but if this isn’t setting back the movement in fitness then I don’t know what is. Girls who actually lift? Merriam-Webster defines the verb LIFT as raising from a lower to a higher position. So whether it be your body weight, a 5-pound dumbbell or a 500-pound deadlift by definition you are all lifting. I challenge any elitist reading this to explain to me what in the actual fuck #girlswhoactuallylift means. You people are the reason that beginners don’t want to step in the gym. You are the reason that women have image issues. How do you expect to further getting women into fitness when you differentiate who’s actually lifting and who isn’t? Please just do all of us who are trying to get women in the gym to better themselves a favor and shut the hell up. You’re not part of the solution. You’re just furthering the problem.

Like the kitchen, men and women belong in the gym. It’s a great way to be proactive about your health, create a better self-image, and instill an active lifestyle. I’d like to think those are all things we want. I don’t speak for everyone, but I want equality between both genders and within the female gender. Let’s start by not focusing on differences, but rather uplifting each other for having the same common goal. Do your part to not be a shitty person to one another and I promise we can accomplish so much more together.

Curly Hair Update on Products

**Check out my full article on my hair transformation

Ask and you shall receive. As requested I’ve posted a video on my updated hair care routine. I am using Morrocco Method shampoo once a week and their conditioner daily. Their products are raw, vegan, 100% natural. Not the best smelling products but for how healthy and amazing my hair looks I don’t mind one bit. Plus the smell doesn’t transfer to my hair.

I use a wide tooth comb to detangle my hair in the shower and then I use Morrocco Method’s styling pomade. I allow it to air dry, I never use heat or harsh chemicals on my hair. Hope you enjoy the video!

Looking for Motivators in All the Wrong Places

As many of you know, in February of this year I started working with coach Stephen Correa Jr to assist me with my powerlifting goals. You may have remembered I previously worked with a coach and was extremely disappointed. I was losing faith in the fitness industry and the people who deemed themselves as motivators but were only motivated by money. Coaches trying to use every manipulative marketing tactic in the book, pushing bullshit products to their following, overloading themselves with clients and diminishing their value. I hesitantly hired Stephen, with high expectations and low hopes, and ended up pleasantly surprised.

I asked Stephen to guest post today because he provides a refreshing perspective on the fitness industry. He doesn’t sugar coat and like me he has high expectations for his clients as well as those who call themselves coaches in this industry. I hope you enjoy his dialogue as much as I do.

Looking for Motivators in All the Wrong Places

by Stephen W Correa, Jr

What is it about the fitness industry that makes us think it is out to motivate ourselves in the ways we do? Comparing ourselves to others on social media, using food as a reward instead of the sustenance that it really is, or calling ourselves fat, unworthy, or even a piece of shit. It is in these practices that we lose sight of how fitness is supposed to enrich our lives not tear them down and examine them under a microscope.

So many people get into fitness because they compare themselves to someone they saw on social media. They see the bodies, the sponsorships, the clothes, and the “fandom.” I use the quotations for fandom because it’s all bullshit. These people aren’t celebrities. 99.9% of the world doesn’t know who they are. It’s a microcosm of their life that is total bullshit. That same person that has 100k followers is also a server at TGI Friday’s so let’s calm down with the hero worship and fan girling here. I happen to coach a few people that would be considered “instafamous” and they are the most down to earth people you could meet. They know it’s just an image that helps them achieve their fitness goals but they do it to help people not create a glorified image of what your fitness life should be. Do not go chasing applause and acclaim. That way leads to madness. Don’t compare yourself to these people. You are not them and they are not you. Time frames and modalities may not be as interchangeable as you’d like. Just focus on your own goals and try not to become a shitty social media personality in the process.

These same social media personalities will throw around terms like “cheat meal,” “cheat day,” or “earned my cookie.” This is all bullshit. You’re not an animal needing operant conditioning which comes in many forms. You don’t need to earn your food. You need food to perform at a level commensurate to your activity. These people will eat a little extra ice cream and show the world how “dedicated” they are by doing extra cardio because they were “bad.” There are no good or bad foods. There is just food. Some are higher in nutrients is all. That being said, do these people really sound like figures we should aspire to be? For me it’s a no. These people are everything that unhealthy relationships with food embody.

Changing your mindset isn’t just about food. It’s also about viewing and motivating ourselves in a different and more productive manner. I’ve been on both ends of the weight and fitness spectrum. I was a very fat 230 pounds and I was a lean 165 pounds. Today I’m back to 230 but at a much different body composition and fitness goals. I’ve embraced the burly powerlifter look and I enjoy it. Does that mean I love what I see in the mirror every day? Of course not and I won’t bullshit you otherwise. I am happy though and that’s more than a lot of people in the fitness realm can truly say. That happiness didn’t happen overnight though. It took a long two and a half years to get there. I thought getting lean would make me happy and yes it did. Temporarily. The problem a lot of people run into in fitness is they are never lean enough, lean long enough, big enough, or strong enough. While these on a long term timeline are good motivators they can cause problems in the short term. You constantly start checking for abs. You try to push lifts to new weights instead of sticking to the plan. All the while you view yourself as fat, small, or weak. You’ve imprisoned your progress inside a negative mind. You may already be in a great place but in your mind you can’t help but find everything you think is wrong or that you’re not where you want to be on the timeline expected. I hate to break it to you but very few things in fitness progress in a linear fashion. You only make it harder when you’re not in a positive frame of mind.

At this point I’m sure most of you are thinking, “Shit, Malz, don’t let this guy guest blog for you again. He’s a damn buzzkill.” Really I’m just trying to say is, do yourself a favor and do this for you with a healthy and positive mindset. You don’t need the followers or the likes to be successful in your fitness goals. There is something to be said for working in silence and letting the results speak for themselves. This would normally be where there would be a call to action and when editing this I was told there should be. I disagree. We’ve become so reliant on others to motivate us, teach us, or give us tips that we don’t know how to do the work ourselves. Take it upon yourself to fix these problems. You only answer to you and your thoughts and no one can fix those. Move past the self-hate for the sake of your health and fitness. You’re fucking awesome. Start treating yourself as such.

Vlog: Staying on Track Out of Town

First off, excuse my lack of activity recently. Between going on vacation, getting deathly ill, and my computer breaking I have been a little off beat these past few weeks but as I write this to you on my brand spankin’ new computer while breathing clearly through my nostrils with no pounding headache, I think it’s safe to say I’m back!

During our vacation to Orlando in June I filmed some Vlogs to show how I “stayed on track” while on vacation. When I say stay on track I simply mean that I wanted to continue working out and having structure in my diet. Currently I’m maintaining weight and loosely (honestly, rarely) tracking. I ended up losing 3lbs on vacation because, as you’ll see in the first video, I wasn’t meeting all my macros and was doing a lot of walking/physical activity. The first video covers the nutrition aspects of the trip. I show you the groceries I got, some of the items I picked while eating out, and my macro breakdown at the end of the trip. The second video includes the workout I used most of the trip as I had broken my toe so I was simply focused on maintaining upper body strength. I also added in Rebecca Kennedy’s workout because she met me at the gym.

Check it out! Please give it a like and subscribe to my page so I know to continue making more.

I have a guest writer next week who is my powerlifting coach, Stephen Correa Jr.

Fat, Carbs, Protein: The Importance of Each Macronutrient

Timehop kindly reminded me that it’s been three years since I started IIFYM! IIFYM has gained a lot of popularity recently and for good reason. If you’d like to learn more about IIFYM check out this article. If you’ve already heard of IIFYM but are still unsure of what the value in macronutrients are this article is for you.  All a macronutrient is is a nutrient that the body needs in large amounts. In IIFYM we track fat, carbs, and protein to ensure we’re getting the right amount of nutrients as well as aligning our diet with our fitness goals. Each macronutrient plays an important role not only in our body composition but also our internal health. Let’s talk about how…

macronutrients iifym fat loss importance

Fat

Fat is the first macronutrient we will cover. Fat yields 9 calories per gram, as opposed to carbs and protein at 4 calories per gram. This is why foods high in fat are typically high in calories. Unfortunately fat is looked upon as the “bad” macronutrient but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Fat is essential for healthy skin and hair and dietary fats provide our body with essential fatty acids that it can’t produce on its own. Fat plays a vital role in regulating hormones for women. Too much fat in your diet can lead to too much estrogen, and vice versa.

Another important function of fat in our diet is to help us feel satiated, or satisfied, because fats increase the time needed to empty food from our stomach. Not all fats are created equal. Trans and saturated fats can damage the cardiovascular system by clogging arteries. Unsaturated fats are more heart-healthy and are generally found in vegetables. Monounsaturated fats, which are known as the healthiest fat, can be found in olive, canola, and peanut oils. Fat is the secondary fuel source for our body after carbohydrates. When we have depleted our muscles carbohydrates, fat based energy becomes available.

In terms of the right amount of fat for you, it varies based on your age, weight, height, etc. A good rule of thumb is that fat should not be more than 30% of your total calories. This usually puts fat at .3-.4g per lb of bodyweight. If you’re interested in learning what your custom macronutrients are contact me or check out my shop.

Carbs

We all need carbs. Carbohydrates are the best source of energy for our body and we certainly all need energy! Carbs yield 4 calories per gram as opposed to 9 calories per gram for fat. Simply put, carbohydrates include sugars, starches, and fibers.

For a more complex explanation, carbohydrates are categorized into monosaccharides (glucose and fructose which can be found in honey and fruit), disaccharides (Sucrose, table sugar, and lactose, sugar found in milk), and polysaccharides (complex carbs like whole grains, vegetables, nuts, and some fruits). Our bodies can only absorb monosaccharised carbohydrates, which is circulated into the bloodstream through the liver as blood glucose. Our body puts this glucose to work in three ways: it can be burned immediately for energy, converted into glycogen in the liver or muscles to store energy for later, or if the body has an excess or glucose and all glycogen storage is full the surplus of glucose is converted to fat.

Carbohydrates will typically make up 50-80% of your total calories, depending on whether you are trying to cut weight, maintain, or bulk. Unfortunately the fad of low carb diets has left many people lacking important micronutrients as fruits and vegetables are a carbohydrate based food that we obtain most of our necessary vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants from.

Protein

Protein is the final macronutrient. Protein has 4 calories per gram, the same as carbohydrates. Your body is literally built from protein. Protein is necessary in building your bones, skin, cartilage, etc. but the main function of protein is to build and repair muscle. Protein’s value is derived from its amino acids, which are the building blocks to muscle tissue. This is why protein is necessary for muscle growth and recovery.

There are two vital components to building muscle: exercise and the right amount of protein. Without the right amount of protein you won’t have the needed amino acids to grow new muscle. Think of it this way, you’ve completed your workout and your body is working to repair itself (it constantly is!). Your body needs to repair its muscles so it looks for amino acids from protein to do so, if the amino acids aren’t available (not enough protein in your diet) your body will use amino acids from elsewhere in the body, sacrificing muscle you already have. Your body needs to stay in a positive nitrogen balance to not lose muscle.

The amount of protein you should consume depends on your bodyweight and fitness goals. The general rule for serious lifters is to consume at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. For those looking to simply maintain muscle .8 grams per pound is sufficient.

Fiber

Although technically not a macronutrient, fiber is an important part of our diets. Fiber is apart of the carbohydrate macro and a compound only plants contain. Fiber does not provide you with energy but does promote efficient intestinal function as well as regulating the absorption of sugars in the bloodstream. There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber is slow to digest and will help you feel satisfied for longer. Fiber supplements do not provide the same benefits as dietary fiber provides other minerals and necessary nutrients.

An ideal fiber range is 25-40g per day. If you are not eating a fiberful diet slowly introduce more fiber as to not upset the intestinal tract.

 

Feel free to contact me with any questions!

 

Trader Joe’s Macro Friendly Finds

We all love Trader Joe’s and for good reason! They have some of the freshest, low priced, high quality options around! Trader Joe’s has become home to some of my favorite macro-friendly finds. What I love most about them is their wide selection of pre-prepared items. Here’s a few staples I grab with great macros!

1.Trader Giotto’s Chicken Parmigiana has 11g fat, 16g carbs, 39g protein for 1/2 the dish. A perfect dinner for you and your loved one! Serve with a side salad or spaghetti squash.

trader joe's chicken parm macro

 

 

2. Trader Joe’s Chicken Asada has 8g fat, 10g carbs, 30g protein for half the dish. Another great meal to split with your SO. Serve with Uncle Ben’s 90 sec spanish rice and black beans.

trader joe's

3. Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip has 2.5g fat, 2g carbs, 1g protein for 2 tbsp (28g). You can dip your raw veggies in here or some pretzel chips. Yum!

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4. Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chicken Salad has 3.5g fat, 4g carbs, 14g protein for 1/2 cup. Keep at the office for a few days of lunch!

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5. Trader Joe’s BBQ Chicken Teriyaki is 3.5g fat, 11g carbs, 18g protein for 1 cup (170g). Check out this quick and delicious meal to make with it!

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6. Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Rice

trader joe's cauliflower rice iifym

Cauliflower rice is a great item to keep around because it can add volume to your meals. Throw in a cup in your oats or replace in your rice bowl for lunch. This low calorie, high fiber veggie will help keep you satisfied for many hours to come!

What are some of your favorite Trader Joe’s finds?

Full Day of Eating While Cutting

Uploaded a new full day of eating on my Youtube channel! This was filmed on Sunday, April 24th. I am currently doing a small 6-8 week cut. My macros for that day were 55g fat, 177g carbs, and 135g protein. Or something like that? They’re always changing, haha!

 

I love flexible dieting. I enjoyed bacon, popcorn, and froyo while still getting in my micronutrients! IIFYM FTW!

Meal Plan #9

meal plan 9 iifym flexible dieting

These plans are made to feed two people so if you have more people in your family double the amount you buy and/or consider adding an extra option. I choose two options for breakfast, two for lunch, a few snacks, and three dinner options. We eat leftovers every other night and that leaves us one night to eat out! This week I spent close to $100 with all the meat but we have plenty of leftovers! The meals are designed for a balanced diet. If you eat proper portions and especially track your macros or calories, you will lose weight!

*Some people have asked if I can provide macros for these plans but I don’t find it to be necessary since we all have different macros. Just portion out these meals to meet your macros.:)

Breakfast:

Option 1-  Two chocolate protein donuts w/ a banana

Option 2- Freezer friendly breakfast sandwiches

Lunch:

Option 1- Philly cheese tots or fries

Option 2- Taco salad with 3 cups romaine lettuce, 4 oz lean ground beef, diced tomatoes & onions, and Bolthouse Cilantro Avocado dressing

Dinner:

Option 1- One pot chicken lo mein

Option 2- Italian meatballs with spaghetti squash and marinara

Option 3-  Grilled chicken breast with smashed potatoes and lightened spinach artichoke casserole

Snack/dessert:

Option 1-  1 cup Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup fruit and protein granola (I use Nature Valley brand)

Option 2- 5 crackers, 2 oz deli meat, 1 oz cheese (adult “Lunchables”)

If requested I’ll add the grocery list but many of you have said you mix and match from different meal plans so I’m not sure it’s necessary? 🙂

You can also check out:

Meal Plan #1

Meal Plan #2

Meal Plan #3

Meal Plan #4

Meal Plan #5

Meal Plan #6

Meal Plan #7

Meal Plan #8

Full Day of Eating with IIFYM

I’ve been active on Youtube lately posting resources like full days of eating on IIFYM, insight on weight loss, and many IIFYM tips and tricks. Be sure to subscribe to my channel so you never miss a video!  www.youtube.com/malzisfit

There’s a specific playlist for all full days of eating and IIFYM resources.

How to Calculate Macros if You Have More than 20lbs to Lose

Just something to keep in mind if you use the IIFYM calculators online… If you have more than 20lbs to lose the calculators will likely be off for you.

Although it’s going to be different for everyone, I suggest trying an aggressive deficit with fat set around .3g and protein set around .6-.7g. Again, this will depend on how much you have to lose.  If you have 100lbs to lose it’s going to be a very different formula.

It’s always a good idea to have someone with credentials and experience customize your macros. If you have any questions about this topic feel free to email me at malzisfit@gmail.com. If you need help with your macros visit www.malzisfit.com/shop.

 

IIFYM Vlogging Series: 8 Week Diet Diaries

Hey fam! Over the last 8 weeks I have filmed my diet on Youtube to track my goal of losing 10lbs. I started the vlogs at 145lbs in the first week of 2016. I wanted at least to get down to the 130’s but set my goal to be about 135lbs. I ended up getting to 140lbs, so I lost 5lbs, and 11 inches total!

I was not perfect these 8 weeks. In fact, I was far from it. These videos were an eye opening experience for me. Week by week reflecting on camera, then editing and hearing it again, it helped me put together the pieces on why I was struggling to stick with my macros. I’m burnt out from tracking. I desperately need a break…

I was consistently having 1-2 days a week where I wouldn’t go crazy and binge, but I had no desire to reach my macros. I never beat myself up about this. In the videos I’m very open and honest about my imperfect days and I accept them for that they are. This was huge for me as I’ve been really hard on myself in the past with dieting. I’m a very goal oriented person and when I make a goal I put my mind to reaching it, so I used to be very tough on myself when I didn’t. But when I gained back almost 50lbs extra during my pregnancy in 2014 I knew something had to change. The past 9 months of dieting postpartum I have lost 35lbs and I am proud to say that I have been very kind to myself during it. I have taken things at the pace that works for me and keeps a good balance in my life. Fitness isn’t my life, it’s just a part of it. Tracking macros isn’t my life, it’s just a part of it. And right now I need to take a step back from it.

I conclude these 8 week vlog’s with the decision to take a break from being at a deficit (aka cutting aka trying to lose weight). Instead I’m going to very loosely track around maintenance, practice intuitive eating more and more, and focus my training goals around getting stronger, especially in my erb’s palsy arm. I’ve recently started working with a coach who’s going to help me get my arm strength where it needs to be so I can dive in to the world of powerlifting. I’m so excited for this next chapter in my life! I feel like this is the beginning of something big.  I’m grateful to you all for joining me on this journey and I hope from these videos I can inspire even one person to listen to their hearts, pursue their passions, and care for their body as well as their souls. Please don’t be afraid to move at the pace that works for you and don’t be discouraged if it’s slower than someone else’s.

I hope you continue to follow along as this next chapter unfolds.

How to Calculate the Macros of Alcohol & Add to MyFitnessPal

Unfortunately, alcohol is not empty calories. We must track the macros. To calculate macros take total calories and divide by 4 for carbs or 9 for fat, preferably use as carbs. So if one shot or beer is 120 calories we will divide 120/4 = 30g carbs.

 

To add the alcohol to MyFitnessPal go to “My Recipes & Foods” tab.

macros alcohol

The click “Foods”.

FullSizeRender (58)

The click the + to add a custom food.

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Input the information for your item.

iifym alcohol

Then input the amount of calories and carbs or fat. In this case, I used carbs so 110/4=27.5. You can also do some carbs, some fat.

IMG_5931

Sorry to burst your alcoholic bubble, flexible dieters.

Unique Protein Options for IIFYM

This list was compiled after my husband and I’s decision to not buy chicken breast for a few weeks. Who else is super tired of chicken breast!? Yikes! We’ve been mainly sticking to lean pork chops, chicken sausages, and lean ground beef but I wanted to share a few items that I picked up this week that are a little different. Hope this gets your creative juices flowing!

  1. Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Bowls These are tasty for a quick and different breakfast option. Macros are 8g fat, 19g carbs, and 22g protein. Add more protein by mixing in a few egg whites half way through cooking.

iifym easy meal prep 2. Weight Control Instant Oatmeal These packets are great because they have 29g carbs with 7g protein. I always add a scoop of protein powder into my oatmeal but it’s nice that this adds even more! Also the banana bread flavor is bomb.weight loss iifym

3. Publix Brand Philly Cheese Chicken Sausage If you don’t have access to a Publix I feel bad for you, son! Publix has so many macro friendly options. These are a staple in our house. They are absolutely DELICIOUS! Each link is 6g fat and 12g protein so save up some fat for these! They also have Apple & Gouda, Spinach & Feta, and Artichoke & Parmesan. They are all great!iifym meal ideas  4. Trader Joe’s Tri Tip Roast Y’all, you need to get on this right NOW! It is so good and SUPER macro friendly as well as affordable! For 4 oz it’s only 7g fat to 32g protein. AMAZING! The pre-marinated Santa Maria option is so yum. Follow the cooking instructions, you’ll be glad you did!

iifym protein lean unique options

5. Frozen Yogurt Ice cream is a staple in my diet. I have a bowl almost every single night before bed. I fit it into my macros and work the rest of my day around it. It keeps me on track because I have something to look forward to. But I hate having only one serving, I want at least two! The problem is I can never save enough fat for two servings, so I’ve been buying frozen yogurt. Not as tasty at my beloved ice cream but with all the tummy mix-ins it’s worth saving the fat. What I love about the frozen yogurt is one serving has 4-6g protein, so with two servings I’m sneaking in 8-12g protein! The macros for this yogurt is 5g fat, 23g carbs, and 4g protein. They have a ton of delicious flavors like Mint Chocolate Cookie and Peanut Butter Cup. Yum!

iifym sneaky protein

Meal Plan #8

meal plan 8 iifym ideas

These plans are made to feed two people so if you have more people in your family double the amount you buy and/or consider adding an extra option. I choose two options for breakfast, two for lunch, a few snacks, and three dinner options. We eat leftovers every other night and that leaves us one night to eat out! This week I spent close to $100 with all the meat but we have plenty of leftovers! The meals are designed for a balanced diet. If you eat proper portions and especially track your macros or calories, you will lose weight!

*Some people have asked if I can provide macros for these plans but I don’t find it to be necessary since we all have different macros. Just portion out these meals to meet your macros.:)

Breakfast:

Option 1- Kodiak Power Cakes with blueberry compote

Option 2- Protein French Toast with turkey sausage links

Lunch:

Option 1- Buffalo chicken cheese fries IIFYM style

Option 2- Pizza grilled cheese

Dinner:

Option 1- Light cheeseburger soup

Option 2- Ranch pork chops (packet of ranch sprinkled over pork) with smashed potato and side salad

Option 3- Southwestern Cobb salad

Snack/dessert:

Option 1- Oatmeal raisin cookies

Option 2- “Mocha Latte”- 1 cup black coffee to 1 cup chocolate Fair Life milk (I swear, it’s the most delicious thing ever especially iced! The macros for one cup of Fair Life is 4.5g fat, 13g carbs, and 13g protein)

 

If requested I’ll add the grocery list but many of you have said you mix and match from different meal plans so I’m not sure it’s necessary? 🙂

 

You can also check out:

Meal Plan #1

Meal Plan #2

Meal Plan #3

Meal Plan #4

Meal Plan #5

Meal Plan #6

Meal Plan #7

Meal Prep for a Weekend Away

This weekend we went out of town for my cousin’s wedding. I just love weddings! So much joy and FOOD. I wanted to be able to enjoy myself at the wedding and be a bit more flexible, meaning I wasn’t going to bring my scale and I definitely was going to have a drink or two. Doing so meant I needed to stay 100% on track the rest of the trip. So I decided to prep some meals for Thomas and I. Here’s what we brought:

road trip meal prep for iifym

We left Friday morning, before heading out I made some protein oatmeal.

We stopped for lunch at Sonny’s BBQ. I had the pulled chicken, a side of baked beans, and a piece of garlic bread. It all fit my macros. 🙂

For a snack on the road I had chocolate cherry Greek yogurt.

For dinner I had the sausage and pasta dish. It was two pieces of chicken sausage, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, 3 oz penne pasta, and a serving of parmesan cheese. Came out to be something like 11f/40c/35p. I needed more protein to fill so I ordered a chicken breast from room service.

For dessert I had a Clif Builder protein bar. Macros hit! I even went to the hotel gym and got my workout in!

The next day was wedding day. For breakfast I had my prepped meal of chicken sausage, diced potatoes, and eggs.

For a snack I had a banana.

For lunch I had a grilled chicken sandwich plain from Zaxby’s and ate two of Thom’s fries. 🙂

At the wedding I skipped the appetizers as to not graze and accidentally go over. I did enjoy two very strong jack and diet cokes. I logged the jack as 4 oz to be safe. Remember, alcohol does have carbs! To figure this out you need to divide the calories by 4 and that’s your carb amount.

The dinner was buffet style. I filled my plate with chicken and a little pulled pork, then I had a small side of penne alfredo and guestimated the macros.

I skipped the cake and had another protein bar when I got home. Boom! Feeling good.

Sunday we drove back home. I had breakfast at the hotel and order the “healthy start” sandwich which was egg whites, spinach, and turkey breast on an English muffin.

For lunch I had my Boar’s Head buffalo chicken (best deli meat eva!) sandwich with low fat mayo and low fat provolone cheese.

For a snack I grabbed a grilled chicken go wrap from Wendy’s.

Another protein bar because they’re too dang good.

We enjoyed dinner at home. I ordered a pizza and ate the rest of the grilled chicken I had prepped.

I kicked butt! It feels great to have a fun weekend away and still stay on track. Win win! The prep only took me an hour max. Sausage is great because it’s simple to cook. I threw the diced potatoes in the oven and cooked the pasta all at the same time. Easy peasy!

 

 

The Secret to Perfect Protein Oatmeal

There is an art to protein oatmeal. So many people ask me how to make it and truth is, it’s super easy! You toss in a scoop of protein powder into your cooked oats and bam! It’s protein oatmeal. But there are some guidelines to follow to get it to mix well…

protein oatmeal iifym

Recipe:

  • 1 servings old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup water (or milk)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 scoop protein powder (I use Optimum Nutrition vanilla ice cream whey)
  • 100g apple, chopped
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter

Cook your oats either on the stove or in the microwave following the label instructions. I always use the microwave as to not dirty a pan. Now here’s the first trick, LET IT COOL! Adding protein powder in while it’s still pipping hot will cause the protein powder to start cooking and turn it into a cake. I let the oatmeal rest for about 3 minutes and then I add in my protein powder. The next trick is to use the right protein powder so it doesn’t get chalky, Optimum Nutrition works pretty well especially the double chocolate. Mix mix mix! Now for the final tip. At first it may look like you’re going to need more liquid but mix the protein powder fully into the oatmeal before deciding to add more. Usually it doesn’t need it! Once it’s all mixed in add your apples, ground cinnamon, and peanut butter. Yum!

Macros (including all toppings): 10g fat, 38g carbs, 33g protein

Food Prep IIFYM 2

iifym food prep

Each week I prepare some foods to hold me over for the week. It takes 2-3 hours of my Sunday or Monday afternoon but saves me tons of time during the week! The beauty of IIFYM is the flexibility so I do not prep full meals, instead I prep a few proteins to keep on hand and sometimes I’ll prep a few other options. Here’s what I did today:

  1. Tuna salad for lunch (4 cans tuna, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 tbsp light mayo, salt & pepper, chopped carrots, celery, & onion): Throw it in a low carb/high fiber wrap or pita pocket with some veggies or if I’m low on carbs I’ll just toss it on a bed of lettuce
  2. Turkey & swiss roll-up (I used this recipe but made it more macro friendly by doing turkey breast and low fat swiss and the sauce on top was just mustard with a little brown sugar): I made these for my husband for lunch but was able to fit a few in. Week baked half early in the week and then the other half later.
  3. Shredded buffalo chicken for dinner (2lbs chicken breast & half a bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s buffalo sauce thrown in the slow cooker for 8 hours then shredded): This is a staple in our house because it’s so easy! To switch it up sometimes I’ll do bbq sauce, zesty Italian dressing, or salsa instead of buffalo sauce. Throw it in a bun with Alexa’s 98% Fat Free crinkle fries or on a bed or lettuce.
  4. Salsa chicken for dinner (2lbs chicken breast & jar of salsa slow cooked for 8 hours): I made this the day after I made the buffalo chicken. I was craving pasta so right before it was done I threw in some fat free cream cheese, cooked up some whole grain pasta, mixed it all together and OH MY GOD! So delicious.
  5. Protein chocolate chip banana bread (My muffin recipe made in a bread pan): I had some brown bananas and my mom is staying with us, so I whipped this up! She was pleasantly surprised.
  6. No bake pumpkin pie cheesecake with added protein: I also made this for mama and the whole fam gobbled it down in one night!

The slow cooker saves me a ton of time in prep so over the span of two days I spent maybe two hours putting all this together. If I’m being real lazy I’ll even use slow cooker liners to avoid cleaning that big ole pot. What’d you prep this week?

Meal Plan #7

meal ideas iifym plan

These plans are made to feed two people so if you have more people in your family double the amount you buy and/or consider adding an extra option. I choose two options for breakfast, two for lunch, a few snacks, and three dinner options. We eat leftovers every other night and that leaves us one night to eat out! This week I spent close to $100 with all the meat but we have plenty of leftovers! The meals are designed for a balanced diet. If you eat proper portions and especially track your macros or calories, you will lose weight!

*Some people have asked if I can provide macros for these plans but I don’t find it to be necessary since we all have different macros. Just portion out these meals to meet your macros.:)

You can also check out:

Meal Plan #1

Meal Plan #2

Meal Plan #3

Meal Plan #4

Meal Plan #5

Meal Plan #6

Breakfast:

Option 1: 4 oz steak, 2 eggs, 6 cups spinach simmered in water, and diced potatoes

Option 2: Ham, egg, and cheese breakfast quesadilla with low carb/high fiber wrap

Mid-morning snack: 

2 cups spinach blended with 3 oz water, add in 2 cups frozen peaches and berries with handful almonds and a cheese stick

Lunch:

Option 1: Tuna salad (carrots & onions) and lettuce & tomato pita pockets with rice crisps

Option 2: 4 oz steak, low fat mac n cheese (Trader Joe’s or Lean Cuisine) with 4 cups spinach simmered in water

Dinner:

Option 1: Chicken noodle soup

Option 2: Slow cooker chicken burrito bowls

Option 3: BBQ pulled chicken (2lbs chicken, half a bottle Sweet Baby Rae’s BBQ sauce, 1/4 cup Zesty Itailan dressing slow cooked on low for 8 hours) baked potato with scallions, plain Greek yogurt, low fat cheddar cheese, & bacon bits, and baked beans

Dessert:

No bake pumpkin protein cheesecake

Grocery list:

  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • 2% American cheese
  • 2% Mexican cheese, shredded
  • 2% cheese sticks
  • 8 oz block 1/3 fat cream cheese
  • Low carb wrap
  • Pita pockets
  • Rice crisps
  • Egg noodles
  • 8 oz can black beans
  • 8 oz can corn
  • Baked beans
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • Keebler graham cracker crust
  • Fat free cool whip container
  • 2- 32 oz chicken broth
  • 6lbs chicken breast
  • Deli ham
  • Canned tuna
  • 2lb Sirloin steak
  • Frozen low fat mac and cheese (or homemade)
  • Fresh spinach
  • Bag of russet potatoes
  • Baby carrots
  • White onion, large
  • Sweet onion, small
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro

Stuff I Already Had:

  • Frozen fruit
  • Brown rice
  • Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce
  • Zesty Italian dressing
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Bacon bits

How to Overcome Emotional Overeating

overcome emotional eating and overeating

Recently on my Instagram I discussed the difference between binge eating and overeating. Binge eating is a disorder that should not be taken lightly but most people jump to the conclusion that they are a binge eater when really they aren’t. Almost always, extreme overeating or bingeing can trace back to emotional problems or over restriction in diet. The diet mentality and the ease of food being a comfort creates a breeding ground for an unhealthy relationship with food. Many people, especially women, deal with the inability to control their eating during certain time periods. Now there’s nothing wrong with overeating from time to time but if you think these episodes feel too frequent there may be an underlying problem. Let’s talk about how we can solve this!

*Please note: If you think you do have a binge eating disorder, please seek professional health. This is a serious problem that can be solved!

  1. Find the root of the problem There are a few common triggers for what I call “IDGAF eating mode” and the most popular culprit is emotional eating. Whether is be stress, sadness, anxiety, even boredom…we tend to eat our feelings. It’s easy to find comfort in food but when you overindulge and feel like crap, then what’s going to comfort you? More food? The first thing that must be done is figuring out exactly what sends you overboard. For me, it’s boredom and anxiety.
  2. Realize you can change This step is entirely necessary and possibly the most important part. You HAVE to believe you can change! Once you’ve found the problem start thinking of solutions. Make a plan of attack. For me it was banning eating in front of the TV, computer, or phone so when I was bored I couldn’t simply sit on Netflix and mindlessly eat. I’ll get into dealing with anxiety on step four.
  3. Don’t over restrict If you’re trying to diet you likely have set restrictions for yourself. No sugary drinks, no carbs after dark (which is totally unnecessary, btw), etc. but the problem with this is that it makes these “hands off” foods more desirable. Instead of banning certain foods from your diet, ban the extra calories. Focus on eating smaller portions of the food you enjoy. Really pay attention when you’re eating so you can have a pleasant experience and feel satisfied without overdoing it. This is why I love IIFYM.
  4. Deal with emotions through different outlets This was the hardest part to commit to but once you do you’ve made it to the home stretch. For me I had to find different ways to deal with my anxiety. My favorites are writing (start a blog or journal!), going to the park, sitting by the river, stretching or yoga, lifting weights, and dancing! Anyway you can keep busy while being productive.
  5. Seek professional help If you feel like your problem may be more deeply rooted please seek professional help. There is nothing wrong with needing help! Bingeing is a vicious cycle that you CAN break free from.

Philly Cheesesteaks

macro friendly philly iifym recipe

 

This was too delicious not to share and not to mention loaded with protein. I feel like it’s assumed that philly cheesesteaks can’t be eaten on a diet but on IIFYM it sure can! Just make sure you use sirloin steak or another lean cut and low fat cheese. I upped my carbs and have a lot more to play with so if you’re looking for a low carb option simply use a low carb wrap!

Recipe:

  • 1lb thin sliced sirloin steak
  • 4 hoagie rolls (or low carb wraps for less carbs)
  • 8 slices 2% provolone (or swiss) cheese
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • Two green peppers, sliced
  • One red pepper, sliced

We cooked our steak on our griddle. Sautee peppers and onion. Top hoagie or wrap with 1/4 serving peppers & onions, 4 oz sirloin, and 2 slice low fat provolone. Throw in the oven for 10 mins on 350 degrees. Enjoy!

Macros (per serving of 4): 530 calories, 15g fat, 50g carbs, 42g protein

My Home Gym

home gymWorking out at home can be totally kick ass! Throw on some headphones, just wear your sports bra, and take as much time you as you need on the squat rack. This list includes literally everything you NEED to lift heavy and get strong. This set-up ran us around $600-$700 meaning that in 1 year we’ll have saved enough in gym memberships to break even. Here’s what I got:

*Note: the photo is missing some plates and our new bench. That bench sucked.

1. Power Rack I purchased this one from Amazon for around $300 including shipping. There are cheaper ones out there but not as good. You can try to shop around or find one used but if you plan on using it a lot and increasing weight it’s worth it to get a good one.

2. Bench The bench in this picture sucks. It only holds 300lbs which at the time was all we needed. I am glad i have it because it inclines and declines but we have a flat bench we got for $100 total off Amazon. Holds 1000lbs. Super sturdy. Absolutely love it.

3. Olympic Barbell We got lucky and find ours on Craigslist for $50. Check your local Play it Again sports, too, otherwise you can purchase a new one for $125 here.

4. Plates Obviously, you’re going to want some plates. We found most of ours used at Play it Again Sports and Craigslist for around .50 cents per lb. The few we had left to buy we got from Academy for around $1 per lb. Don’t go with Amazon, with shipping it’s around $2 per lb. Sports Authority or Dick’s should also have them.

5. Plate Rack Another one we lucked out on. Guy that sold us the barbell sold us his plate rack for $25 which typically goes for $50 on Amazon.

6. Mats I found the mats used by searching for local buy and sell fitness warehouses. I live in a big city so I found a few in my area and one was selling half off the usual price. Apparently you can also find them super cheap at farm and feed stores. Make sure they’re thick. Mine are 2 mats 4 x 6 Ft & 3/4″ Thick.

7. Free Weights & Rack You don’t need free weights, but they’re nice to have as I like to end my heavy compound lifts with a couple of accessory moves. We’ve had the free weights forever so I did not include them in the cost. I would definitely look around on Craigslist.

Extras:

  • Clips
  • Liquid chalk
  • Foam roller
  • Belt

Follow me on Instagram to see the home gym in action!

 

 

How I Dress for My Body Shape

My History of a Lack of Fashion Sense

2014-02-24 15.38.32

When I was overweight I had no fashion sense. I just didn’t care.. I would wear baggy shirts, jeans, and jackets to try and cover my fat. As most of you know, at age 20 I decided to get my life together and began my journey to lose 100lbs. During my journey I seriously lived in workout clothes. They were comfortable and it always motivated me to hit the gym. Once I got closer to my goal weight I began to shop for a new wardrobe. Little did I know that a whole new struggle was about to ensue…

Losing Weight & Still Not Liking Shopping

2013-04-10 11.38.46 2013-04-10 12.29.53

 

I remember this day so well. I had lost about 75-80lbs at this point and I hadn’t been shopping in over a year because I knew I was still losing weight and wanted to wait until I could buy clothes that would last. So, today was that day. I went to the mall and tried on sooo much clothes and I was happy that I was fitting into smalls and mediums BUT I still wasn’t impressed. I picked up whatever looked cute and when I would try them on more than half of the items wouldn’t look good on me. I ended up buying a bunch of simple summer dresses which I was happy about, but I was feeling a bit defeated.

Learning About my Body Shape

I had always known there were different body shapes but never paid attention to what mine was and how I should dress for it. Once I reached the point of being comfortable in my skin but still not in clothes I knew I had to figure something out. So I started researching fashion and how to dress for my body shape. I found this body shape calculator to figure out that I was a pear shape. Then I learned how to style my particular body shape and I began pinning wardrobes that fit my style and shape.

Pear Body Shape

2014-05-30 22.46.58-3

Women with pear shapes have narrow shoulders, a small waist, and big hips/thighs. I’m also 5’3 so I have to ensure I follow the tips for not only my shape but my size. I learned that fit to flare skirts and dresses look fabulous on my wide hips and narrow waist. Crop tops look great too, but because of my petite frame they need to be extra small. Also, I used to wear my flare skirts too low and now I wear them on the narrowest point of my waist, higher than my belly button. As you can see the skirt looks much better higher than it did sitting low in the picture above.

pear body shape

 

Shorts are a huge struggle for pear shaped petites. For shorts to fit over my hips I have to buy the size up then have them tailored at the waist. The struggle is real! But it is so soo worth it to know what does and doesn’t work on my body type. I feel so much more confident rocking clothes I like, feel comfortable, and they accentuate my curves.

I hope this article was helpful to anyone struggle with their own style. Remember, even if you’re at a bigger size than you want to be or whatever you CAN still feel comfortable and confident in what you wear. I wish I had learned about this stuff when I was overweight so I could have worked what I had instead of hiding it. Much love fam!

How to Choose an Online Trainer

Online coaches and trainers have become increasingly popular thanks to social media. An online coach CAN help you reach your goals but it’s important to pick the right one. Not all coaches are created equal and some aren’t even qualified to be giving out diet or exercise plans. Here’s what you should do when finding a coach, in person or not.

1. Know their credentials. Are they certified in training? Do they have a degree in exercise science? What experience do they have with your specific goals? These are all questions you should ask about the trainer you’re looking to hire.  Just because you see a fitness model with a six pack on Instagram does NOT mean that person is qualified to be coaching you. Personal experience helps but don’t go by that only, find out what legitimizes their so called expertise.

Using a personal example, I am a Certified Fitness Trainer with ISSA. I have a lot of experience with adaptive fitness so I would be a good option if you had a previous injury, medical condition, or disability. On the other hand, I have never trained anyone to compete. If you were looking to compete you’d want a coach who is experienced in this.

2. Know the program. Will the coach be setting you up with custom macros or a meal plan? Are they allowed to be providing a meal plan considering only those with a degree in nutrition are qualified to do so (at least in many states)? Is it a generic plan or something customized to your needs? Is it information that’s available for free already? Again, all questions I would ask. There are so many ways to lose weight or reach your goals. You’ll find what’s right for you.

From personal experience, not everyone excels with tracking macros. Some people get obsessive with their numbers and it ends up causing them too much anxiety. For these people I set them up differently, however not all coaches are willing to modify their programs for your specific needs. I get clients that after the first two weeks of their workouts they’re not satisfied and want something different. That’s fine! Not everyone likes heavy lifting or sometimes life gets in the way and you can’t make it to the gym as often. So I change their plan to complent their needs. Make sure your hiring a coach that’s willing to do the same, if you’re looking for that extra support!

Another example, I noticed an online coach recently start charging her clients for Skype or Face Time sessions. That’s fine and dandy considering she takes on a bulk of clients at once but just something to think about if you’re looking for a coach who is more available to you.

3. Know them. Do you like this person’s personality? If you’re going be in constant contact with this person it is important that you do like your coach otherwise you won’t be as committed to their program. Do you like their style or method of motivating/coaching? Often you can tell this by their social media pages. Study how they talk about their own journey. Do they have a positive or negative mindset? Are they hard on themselves? Are they too involved in fitness?  This isn’t necessary for people who are just buying a general program, but for those who are going to receive coaching.

All my clients seem to share very similar outlooks pertaining to their journey: they aren’t here for a quick fix, they’re here to create habits they can sustain for the rest of their lives. I believe this is because these are the type of people I attract to my page. I treat my clients the same way I treat myself, unless otherwise requested. When they slip up I don’t make them feel bad, I try to get to the root of the problem. I try to lift them up and get their head back in the game. After that I start giving them some tough love and an extra push. Other coaches take different approaches in motivating their clients and some coaches don’t even care to work out any mental struggles you have, but the mental journey is the most important part.

The best advice I could give you before you hire an online coach is to get feedback. Try getting in contact with their former clients, check out their client’s testimonials, etc. Know that they have the expertise and the skills to get you where you want to be and don’t be afraid to “shop around”. You’ll be a lot more successful with the right coach.

 

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Postpartum Pressure: My Experience

postpartum

Happy Self Love Sunday! Today I want to talk about postpartum pressure. Us women put so much pressure on our bodies to be perfect. As moms, after giving birth we expect our bodies to “bounce back” and for many of us who gained extra weight, we’re anxious to get rid of the fat.

But why are we so hurried? We just grew a human and that is freaking tough. Your body is literally maintaining one self while creating another. I’m exhausted just thinking about it! Then, we get to pop the little bugger out of us! Don’t think you’ll have a chance to rest after that fiasco, it’s right into breastfeeding around the clock and wiping his cute little butt.

Plus, we’re obviously already getting laid. According to Thomas, “I’ve never been more attracted to you”. Um, dang, I thought he’d never want to touch me again. Ha! But even if I was a single parent, who the heck cares? I just had a baby! People almost expect us new moms to look like crap, which doesn’t mean we should or need to, but my point is we put this pressure on ourselves.

Growing and giving birth to Marshall has given me a new appreciation for how incredible my body is. I had come so far in the previous years working on my mental health and body image but having him made me feel kick freaking ass…

However that didn’t mean I was immune to the pressure. The pressure that was crushing me early on in the pregnancy, “when will I have my body back?” Going from losing 100lbs over 2 years to watching the scale climb back up was a huge mental challenge.

postpartum experience

Day before vs day after giving birth

I started tracking macros when Marshall was 6 weeks old. I had made the decision then (for completely unrelated reasons) to stop breastfeeding so I was safe to be at a deficit. I began training 5-6x/week with 3-4 days cardio. I was motivated. But one day I had just got to the gym after biking there, I had an hour workout to go before another 30 minute bike ride home. Marshall’s cute little smile flashed before me and I was overcome with missing him. I realized something. “Why am I burning myself out? What rush am I in?”

My body doesn’t need to “come back”. It’s here. It never left. This is my body almost 15 weeks after having a baby. It looks much different than the body I had a year ago and that’s okay.12weekspostpartum

I had felt extra pressure to get back into shape because of my fitness blog. I compared myself to other postpartum fit mom’s that only gained 25lbs during pregnancy vs my 55lb weight gain. I was hard on myself for my weight gain and that was dumb. It happened. It happens to a lot of women. Our bodies are going through so much.

So I began to see things a lot differently..

I have slip ups, I have bad weeks and even months, and I take steps back. But I always propel forward. That’s just life and I’m only human. We truly are our biggest critics and worst enemies. But has that got us very far? Instead, I’m being my biggest cheerleader and appreciating how incredible and strong my body is for going through pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period…

I’m not worrying about losing weight, I’m worried about living healthy. My goals aren’t focused around the numbers dropping. I’m enjoying life with my son, I’m setting an example that food is your friend, exercise is fun, and self love is vital for happiness. I don’t want to concern myself over my weight. The weight will come off at the pace it comes off. I just want to worry about when I get to cuddle Marshall next.

vid3I’m currently lifting 3 times a week, sometimes cardio once per week, and tracking macros at slight deficit.

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My Hair Transformation (The Curly Hair Method)

Two years ago I gave up shampoo. After months of my head breaking out in hives I found out I was allergic to sodium lauryl sulfate, a common ingredient in shampoo that creates the lather. When I began to research this ingredient I learned it was known to strip hair of its natural oils. Not only are many people allergic to it but for people with curly or naturally dry hair sulfates can cause a lot of problems. When I used shampoo my hair was brittle and no product would manage my frizz or fly-aways. It took a lot of experimenting to find a hair routine that worked for me, but last year I did and I’ve never looked back!

See, it’s hard having curly hair. Growing up I washed and styled my hair just like anyone else not knowing that curls require special care. I even straightened my hair every day in high-school because I hated my curls. I just didn’t know how to style them!

In 2013, after being tired of my unmanageable hair, I decided to transition to the “no poo” method, meaning I did not use shampoo. Instead of shampoo I’d use baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Over that year my hair became much healthier but using baking soda and vinegar was unappealing and a pain in the butt so I set out to find a simpler way to take care of my curls.

That’s when I found the “Curly Girl Method”. I began this method in early 2014 and am absolutely in LOVE with not only the way my hair looks but how easy it is to take care of. This method works for dry hair, curly or not.

 

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1. Clean your hair one last time with shampoo to get out any silicone in your hair. From this point on, you will not be using silicone therefore you will no longer need shampoo.

2. Purchase a silicone free conditioner and silicone free styling products. www.ulta.com allows you to filter your search to choose silicone free. To condition I simply use Suave Coconut conditioner. It’s like $2 at the grocery store and silicone free. Works great since you need a lot of conditioner to wash your hair.  To style I use the Shea Moisture line. Exact products will be linked below.

3. Trim your hair to get rid of any split ends. Curly hair girls, make sure you go to a stylist who knows how to cut curls!

4. Wash your scalp with conditioner. Yep, that’s right. Do exactly what you would with shampoo with conditioner. Rub a good amount in (for my big head of hair I have to use a lot) into your scalp using your finger tips. Be sure to get all over your scalp not just the top, this should take you a solid 5 minutes to work all the way through. Rinse conditioner out still working your scalp with your finger tips, this will loosen the dirt and allow it to rinse out.

5. Condition your hair. For curly hair girls, it’s best to use your fingers or a wide tooth comb and detangle your hair while it has conditioner in it. Rinse with cool water. Use a t-shirt or micro fiber towel to dry your hair.

6. Style. Most days I’m too lazy to do anything more than add some Shea Moisture  Coconut & Hibiscus Gel. It’s the best product I’ve ever found to hold my curls in place while not making them hard and undesirable. Some times I’ll use a few drops of Argan oil right when I get out of the shower and a little Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk. You can use any product you like so long as it does NOT contain silicone.

Yep, that’s it! After a year of doing this I’m in love. My hair is stronger, healthier, shinier, bouncier, just all around better! Now that I’m a mom most days I don’t do much to my hair. Actually, before I had a baby I didn’t do much- I’m pretty lazy with this kind of stuff. That’s why I love this routine!

dry damaged curly hair turned shiny smooth transformation

The only thing I have yet to get down is being able to not have to condition my hair every day. I wash my scalp 2-3 times a week but I have to condition it every day or my hair loses its bounce and creates a lot of frizz. I even use a satin pillow but I have yet to find a product that rejuvenates my hair on day 2. Suggestions welcome!

How to Calculate Exact Macros of a Serving of a Recipe in MyFitnessPal


A very common question I get in the world of IIFYM is “how do I figure out the serving of a recipe?” This tutorial takes you step by step to figure out exactly how many macros you’re eating in a serving of a recipe!

myfitnesspal recipe iifym

First, go to the recipe tab in MyFitnessPal.

recipe2

Choose to manually enter ingredients.

recipe3

Add all the ingredients that will be included in making the recipe and be sure to set it to one serving.

Now, cook your recipe. Once the recipe is finished weigh the entire recipe. You can do this by pouring into another dish on the scale or for things like casserole you can weigh the dish you’re using to cook it in, note the weight, then weigh the entire dish after cooking and subtract the weight of the dish (see this video).

recipe4

Once you have weighed your dish go back into the recipe and edit the serving to how much the food weighs. For example, say this recipe weighed out to 1853. Now your recipe is showing you the macros for a single gram of your recipe.

recipe5

To measure out your serving simply place it on the scale. Say you weigh out 80g of the dish. When you add the recipe to your food diary put the serving in as 80g. Boom! Yes, some portions of the dish may have say more meat or more carbs but this is the most accurate way to get the macros without picking out each ingredient and weighing.

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Women Worth Recognizing: Devorah Kuper aka @MyWeightLossGoals

Welcome to Women Worth Recognizing!

 

Each month one female will be featured that promotes a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. These women are of all shapes and sizes and exemplify healthy relationships with food, fitness, and themselves.

 

I started Women Worth Recognizing because I was tired of feeling like I didn’t relate to most fitness accounts on social media. I knew I wasn’t in the minority of women who wanted to care for their health but didn’t want to become obsessive or overly restrictive about their goals.

 

These women make fitness a PART of their lives but not their whole lives. They promote balance and moderation and they are honest when they slip-up.

 

I chose women who aren’t perfect and don’t pretend to be but they are fighters. They are all fighting for a better future and realize that starts from within. These women are worth recognizing because they’re real, raw, honest, and hard working. Let’s give them the credit they deserve!

 

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Our first feature is Devorah Kuper, the face behind Instagram’s @MyWeightLossGoals. I have followed Devorah’s journey for over two years and am constantly impressed by her dedication, perseverance, and positive attitude. She started her journey focused on getting the number on the scale to drop but along the way discovered that what mattered most was how she felt inside and out. Devorah has made leaps and bounds in her progress physically and mentally. You can follow her on Instagram or blog.

 

1. What do you define as a healthy lifestyle? To me, a healthy lifestyle can be described as balance between structure and fun. You should never feel like health and fitness is a mental prison. Healthy lifestyle should allow you to fully enjoy life while working towards future goals.

 

2. When did you begin to live a healthy lifestyle? Was there a turning point? I began living a healthier lifestyle on October 9, 2012. It was a 180 degree turn for me. It wasn’t only swapping unhealthy food for healthy food- it was about turning negatives into positives and swearing off harmful negative self talk. I think we have so many turning points in our lives, times when you really feel like you’ve had enough of whatever situation you were put through. There’s one point where the water boils over, and you just say, “I’ve had enough.”.

 

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3. Who inspires/inspired you? Inspiration comes in so many forms. My family, friends, mentors and especially my IG Fitfam serve as inspirations. Every single person you encounter knows something that you don’t and each person’s story can inspire you differently. I encourage each person to tell their story. You never know who you could inspire!

 

4. What keeps you motivated? I am my own motivation! When you truly love yourself down to the core, you will not settle for anything less than you deserve. After realizing that I deserve the best I can’t stop at good. I work hard to make sure I give myself my all. I want to be the best me possible. Not being where you want to be is motivation enough!

 

5. Tell us about your journey to self love. My journey to self love is currently in process. It’s one of the hardest parts of growing up, living healthier, and just coming to peace. I used to think that I was the worst person in the world. I hated the way I looked. I hated my laugh. I wrote down a list of all the surgeries I wanted to get so that I can totally change every part of me. It was sad. I was living in self pity and self hate. Self love came out through fitness. I just started caring more. I realized I deserved more, and that I was worthy of happiness and love. It’s not easy and some days it isn’t all butterflies. I still choose self love, every single day.
 The best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten on the topic of self love was to start complimenting people. Tell people that their hair is lovely, their smile brightens up the room, their soul is glowing, and other lovely truthful compliments. Soon you’ll start to see all the good in yourself.

 

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6. Is there something you wish you could go back in time and tell the old you? Oh boy, this is a fully loaded question. There’s so many things I wish I told myself almost 3 years ago. I know that if I didn’t go through trial and error I wouldn’t be where I am now. I’m thankful for my trials and tribulations that I faced earlier. I would tell myself to not compare my progress with others. I would tell myself to enjoy life because it’s so short. Mostly, I would tell myself to take chances even though i’m scared. The best things happen the second you leave your comfort zone.

 

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7. How do you balance your health with the rest of your life? I work in nightlife, social media and partake in other entrepreneurial adventures. I’m lucky that my job isn’t a 9-5 office desk job but when I did have that I would make a clear regimented schedule and followed through. Now, it’s all about staying in check. Limited drinks when working. Trying my hardest to keep my macros in check while out on the scene. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way. If not you’ll find excuses!

 

8. What advice do you have for people trying to take better care of themselves? Do what you can, with what you have. People often assume you need a new gym membership, an unlimited balance credit card spree at Whole Foods, nice Lululemon workout clothes to start making a difference. You don’t. You need yourself and 10 seconds of motivation. Right now. You can do 10 push ups. You can go for a jog. You can make a difference in your life. I believe in you. You have to believe in yourself and find the courage to pursue your dreams and goals.
Thank you Devorah, for sharing your story and your wisdom with us all. Keep up the excellent work!

 

10 Macro Friendly Lunch Ideas Packed with Protein

10 macro friendly lunches

 

These lunch options are not only packed with protein, they’re super simple to make and are great for on the go.  All ten lunches can be easily prepped ahead of time. For a healthy yet satsifying meal under 400 calories, give one of these recipes a try!

1. Turkey Chili

254 calories, 30g carbs, 6g fat, 25g protein, 9g fiber

254 calories, 30g carbs, 6g fat, 25g protein, 9g fiber (toppings not included)

There are so many things you can do with this low fat turkey chili! Have it alone with toppings like light sour cream or Greek yogurt, tortilla chips or fritos, fat free cheese, or put it on top a potato, turkey dog, lean beef burger, or spaghetti squash.

2. Cheeseburger Wraps

Cheeseburger Wraps

277 calories, 10g fat, 13g carbs, 21g protein, 2g fiber

These cheeseburger wraps are a great low carb option for bringing to work! Simply prepare the wrap ahead of time and microwave for 1 minute when you’re ready to it! Serve with sweet potato fries or chips.

3. Light Mac n Cheese

Light Mac n Cheese

310 calories, 8g fat, 28g carbs, 16g protein, 3g fiber

Hands down the best tasting mac n cheese for the macros! It’s already packed with protein, but to up the content add in some diced ham or turkey dogs, peas (fiber, too!), or even tuna. This is even kid friendly!

4. Starbucks Recreate Tomato Mozzarella Panini

Tomato Mozzarella Panini

425 calories, 40g carbs, 22g fat, 14g protein, 7g fiber

Ok, so I threw in one not so friendly macro meal. But I couldn’t resist, this is SO tasty! I used to buy a Starbucks tomato mozzarella panini every week for lunch at work but that $6.50 a week adds up! Instead I began to make my own and I swear it increased my productivity by 52%!

5. Skinny Fried Rice

macros skinny fried rice

245 calories, 5g fat, 16g carbs, 32g protein, 2g fiber

At 2g fat this obviously isn’t fried, but you’d never tell the difference! Delicious soy sauce and brown rice with chopped eggs and peas and carrots. Add in shrimp and/or chicken and you’ve got yourself a low carb meal with tons of protein!

6. Light Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

bacon cheeseburger

203 calories, 6g fat, 16g carbs, 20g protein

Holy cow this soup is delightful! Have your coworkers jealous with this unique lunch option. At 16g carbs and 20g protein the macros are impressive considering the fact that you’ll feel like you’re cheating while you enjoy this.

7. Taco Cupcakes

These bad boys are surprisingly work lunch friendly. Prep them ahead of time and bring a few to work in a Tupperware container. Throw em in the microwave when you’re ready to eat! You can bring your toppings in a smaller container.

8. Lean Beef Cheeseburger with veggies

Lean Beef Cheeseburger

350 calories, 13g fat, 21g carbs, 35g protein, 3g fiber

Cheeseburgers can be macro friendly using lean ground beef, reduced fat cheese, and a multi grain bun. Serve with fresh, low carb veggies. Yum!

9. Taco Salad using lean beef, reduced fat cheese, and 0% plain Greek yogurt

Taco Salad

365 calories, 11g fat, 29g carbs, 35g protein, 2g fiber

Usually restaurant taco salads are just as many calories if not more than more dishes on the menu. Make yours macro friendly using lean ground beef, reduced fat or fat free cheese, and light sour cream of 0% plain Greek yogurt. Crumble a few baked tortilla chips on top and you’re good to go!

10. Chicken Parmesan Sub

Chicken Parmesan Sub

399 calories, 9g fat, 45g carbs, 38g protein, 2g fiber

One of my favorite lunches is saved for last! A chicken parmesan sub made low fat with grilled chicken and 2% provolone cheese. You could make this low carb by using a wrap but I love me some sub rolls.  The cheese and 4 oz of chicken give it a high protein content.

Find me on Instagram or Pinterest for more meal ideas!

Meal Plan #6

IIFYM Weight Loss Meal Plan

These plans are made to feed two people so if you have more people in your family double the amount you buy and/or consider adding an extra option. I choose two options for breakfast, two for lunch, a few snacks, and three dinner options. We eat leftovers every other night and that leaves us one night to eat out! I spend about $50 per week at the store. The meals are designed for a balanced diet. If you eat proper portions and especially track your macros or calories, you will lose weight!

*Some people have asked if I can provide macros for these plans but I don’t find it to be necessary since we all have different macros. Just portion out these meals to meet your macros.:)

You can also check out:

Meal Plan #1

Meal Plan #2

Meal Plan #3

Meal Plan #4

Meal Plan #5

Breakfast:

Option 1: Meat lovers omelette (1/2 cup Jimmy Dean’s turkey sausage crumbles, two slices low sodium bacon, 1 oz deli turkey breast, and 100g mushrooms in a 2 egg & 3 egg white omelette)

Option 2: White chocolate protein oatmeal (1/2 cup oats cooked then add in one serving vanilla protein powder, 1/2 serving sugar free fat free Jello white chocolate pudding mix, 2 servings mini chocolate chips, and sprinkles)

Mid-morning snack: 

1 cup non fat vanilla Greek yogurt, Fiber One lemon bar, 1/2 cup raspberries

Lunch:

Option 1: Sirloin steak Caesar salad (2.5 oz Sirlion steak, 1 serving shaved Parmesan, 2 tbsp lite Caesar salad, and 1 serving croutons)

Option 2: Low carb fajitas (2 oz Sirloin steak with 1/2 cup sauteed onions and peppers and 2 tbsp light sour cream in a low carb wrap

Mid-afternoon snack:

Option 1: Carrots with light ranch dressing

Option 2: Key Lime Protein Cheesecake

Dinner:

Option 1: Jambalaya Pasta

Option 2: Taco Cupcakes

Option 3: BBQ bacon grilled chicken sandwiches (reduced fat Cobly Jack cheese, 1 strip bacon, Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce) with a side salad

Grocery list:

  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt (Vanilla)
  • 6 oz Key Lime pie yogurt (2)
  • 8 oz fat free cream cheese (2)
  • Fiber One lemon bars
  • Caesar dressing, lite
  • Croutons
  • Reduced fat graham crust
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Shredded 2% Colby Jack cheese
  • SF FF Jello white chocolate pudding mix
  • 2lb chicken breast
  • 1lb Sirloin steak
  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • Cajun chicken sausage
  • Jimmy Dean’s turkey sausage crumbles
  • 1/2lb deli turkey breast
  • Low sodium bacon
  • Multi grain buns
  • Wonton wrappers
  • Taco seasoning
  • Tomato (2)
  • Green pepper (3)
  • Red pepper (2)
  • Yellow pepper
  • Sweet onion
  • Mushrooms
  • Raspberries
  • Carrots
  • Green onions
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Green beans

Stuff I Already Had:

  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Low carb wraps
  • Steal cut oats
  • Sprinkles
  • Sliced Colby Jack cheese
  • Light sour cream
  • Light ranch
  • Sweet Baby Rae’s bbq sauce
  • Whole wheat penne pasta
  • Italian dressing for side salad
  • Vanilla extract
  • Brown sugar
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Protein powder
  • Almond milk
  • Reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese



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Weight Loss vs Fat Loss

In the beginning of my journey to lose 100lbs I was only concerned with one thing: decreasing the number on the scale. For the first 50-60lbs I simply focused on being at a calorie deficit. I did this through cardiovascular exercise and counting calories. I was successful in dropping the weight but I wasn’t happy with my body. Even though I was smaller my body shape looked the same and now I had loose skin. I wanted that “toned” look so I began to research how I could achieve it.

What I learned was that toning simply means losing fat and gaining muscle, or at least maintaining muscle. The toned look occurs when you lower your body fat percent which will allow your muscles to become defined. I realized that in order to achieve that look I needed to focus less on losing weight and more on losing fat. To do this I began strength training and tracking macronutrients.

Without proper proportions of macronutrients during weight loss you will lose muscle and reduce your BMR. When tracking proper macronutrients you will be able to maintain as much muscle as possible while still being at a deficit, thus targeting fat loss and not muscle loss. To learn more about tracking macros, or IIFYM, check out this post. Strength training is also important to maintaining muscle at a deficit. You can even increase strength at a deficit. The more muscle you have the more calories your body burns at rest because it takes more energy for your body to maintain muscle mass.

 

weight loss vs fat loss

In the left photo I weighed 125lbs and in the right photo I weighed 128lbs. I actually gained weight! But what looks better? In the right I have more muscle and less fat than the left photo giving me a leaner look at a higher weight. Imagine if I let the scale increasing affect my progress. This is why you need to throw out your scale!

There are many reasons why focusing on losing fat as opposed to just weight is beneficial:

  • Improved body composition
  • Increased strength
  • Improved metabolism
  • Peak performance
  • Focuses on calorie quality as opposed to quantity
  • Delays aging and disease



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2nd & 3rd Trimester

boy gender reveal

It’s a boy!! Wahooo!! Admittedly, I totally wanted a girl. I wanted a little mini me! But I am SO happy to hear it’s a boy. Thomas is going to have a little mini me!! Plus everyone keeps telling me boys are a bit easier and it’s nice to have a boy first. Either way I am so excited!!

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Second Trimester

The second trimester was so much better than the first. I had more energy, didn’t feel sick, and could workout no problem. We got everything we needed for the nursery and even stocked up on diapers while they were on sale. Good thing we did all that because by the third trimester I was back to no energy but this time I had a huge belly! Towards the end of the second trimester we went down south to Naples where Thom and I’s moms hosted a baby shower. It was a blast and we got SO much stuff!

Photo Dec 13, 2 21 05 AM

baby showerThird Trimester

Misery has set in. I fall asleep every time I sit down. Working out is the worst as I can barely squat down and I certainly can not tie my shoes. How the heck do those women squat 100+lbs during their entire pregnancy when I can’t do one body weight squat? What the F! Good thing I got all that stuff done in the second trimester. Anyways, back to that big belly. Wow. During the first and second trimester I was so anxious for my belly to get big and beautiful but now I am SO miserable!! It’s a fight to get out of bed, I have to pee every five minutes, my back is killing me, I’m always hungry. This kid better be worth it!! Just kidding I already know he is. I’m just moping.

7 months pregnant

I’m not going to lie, it’s really hard to watch the scale creep up. At full term (37 weeks pregnant) I’ve already gained 45lbs. More than what I should have but Marshall and I are healthy so I have to realize it’s going to be okay. I’ve been stressed and hormonal and anxious and I just need to focus on feeling better by eating better and ignoring the scale. I’m not typically hormonal or an emotional person all those feelings are rough.

How to Kick Ass at Restaraunts (IIFYM or Not)

 

By far one of the most common questions I get from clients tracking their macros is, “what do I do when I eat out?” Tracking macros is quite simple eating out. The MyFitnessPal database has most chain restaurant’s meals already computed, however it’s always best to double check with the website since they are user added. If it’s not in the database check the restaurants site and if the restaurant doesn’t have nutritional values online you’re going to have to guestimate. To me, that is the easy part about eating out! The hard part is actually ordering something that will fit into your macros or lifestyle. Here are some pointers to stay on track…

How to Kick Ass at Restaurants on IIFYM or NotRecently Thomas and I visited a burger joint for lunch. I ordered this burger (oooh was it good- smoked Gouda cheese, bacon, fried onion straws, and a jalapeno aoili. I checked their website and compared to the already user added submission in MFP) and ate half of it as well as splitting a basket of fries with Thomas. By splitting I mean having a few because that kid can suck up food like a vacuum. I fit half the burgers and half the basket of fries into my macros and that meant having grilled chicken and peas for dinner. Balance, yo!

  1. If you know you’re going out to eat, plan accordingly. Keep it light the rest of the day but don’t starve yourself or you will want to order everything off the menu.
  2. Have a piece of fruit or light snack before heading to the restaurant so you aren’t overly hungry and tempted to order something you wouldn’t normally.
  3. Take a look at the menu online ahead of time to see what some options are that fit your needs. This is especially helpful because you can look at the nutritional values. You’ll be surprised at meals that sound like they’d be light and are not.
  4. Say no to a bread basket or chips and salsa, or at least practice moderation. It’s one thing to have a slice of bread with a tiny bit of butter, it’s a whole other story to eat half the loaf.
  5. Plan to only eat half your portion. You can even ask for half the portion put in a doggy bag ahead of time. I personally feel silly asking this so I just tell myself I’m only going to eat half and I do it! I’m always plenty satisfied and I can save the other portion for when I’m hungry later.
  6. If you order veggies ask for them to not be cooked in oil or butter. You can do the same for your meats.
  7. Once you’ve picked something that fits your macros or something that is light don’t keep lurking the menu. You will be tempted!
  8. If you practice IIFYM you have two options: bring your scale and weigh your food or estimate portions. It’s always best to overestimate carbs & fat and underestimate protein.
  9. Skip dessert. Tell yourself if you really want dessert later you can grab some non-fat frozen yogurt.

Of course these tips are designed for if you want to stay on track while at a restaurant. Some nights it’s nice to have an un-tracked meal! If that’s the case, just don’t stuff yourself silly. You won’t feel well after and likely be regretting it.

Meal Plan #5

healthy meal plan on a budget

These plans are made to feed two people so if you have more people in your family double the amount you buy and/or consider adding an extra option. I choose two options for breakfast, two for lunch, a few snacks, and three dinner options. We eat leftovers every other night and that leaves us one night to eat out! I spend about $50 per week at the store. The meals are designed for a balanced diet. If you eat proper portions and especially track your macros or calories, you will lose weight!

*Some people have asked if I can provide macros for these plans but I don’t find it to be necessary since we all have different macros. Just portion out these meals to meet your macros.:)

You can also check out:

Meal Plan #1

Meal Plan #2

Meal Plan #3

Meal Plan #4

Breakfast:

Option 1: Kodiak protein waffles w/ sliced strawberries, bananas, and light chocolate syrup (same as last time because I can’t get enough. You can find the mix at Target and I made a bunch and froze them. Macros are 2g fat, 15g carbs, 8g protein!)

Option 2: 1 egg & an egg white on a bagel (could do bagel thin or low carb wrap) with laughing cow pepper-jack cheese 

Mid-morning snack: 

1 cup non fat vanilla Greek yogurt, strawberries, protein granola

Lunch:

Option 1: Macro friendly pizza: Flatout bread, 2 tbsp pizza sauce, 1 serving reduced fat mozzarella cheese, 1 serving turkey pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, green peppers

Option 2: 3.5 oz chicken breast, 1 serving brown rice, 1 serving steamed vegetables mixed together with 2 tbsp Greek yogurt

Mid-afternoon snack:

Option 1: Faux cobbler: Handful blueberries & half a peach mixed together with a splash of vanilla and brown sugar topped with granola and baked for a few minutes

Option 2: No Bake Protein Samoas (I promise they are SO easy!)

Dinner:

Option 1: 2 oz whole grain spaghetti, 1 cup sauteed spinach, 2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes, 2 laughing cow sun dried mozzarella cheese wedge

Option 2: 3.5 oz lean beef burger on regular bread with sauteed onions and mushrooms and a serving of fries and steamed veggies

Option 3: Breaded chicken tenderloin (bought frozen), light mac and cheese, and peas

Grocery list:

  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt (Vanilla)
  • Low fat shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Laughing cow cheese wedges: pepper-jack and mozzarella
  • Protein granola
  • Flatout bread
  • Bagels (or bagel thins, low carb wraps)
  • Pizza sauce
  • One minute brown rice bag (2)
  • Reduced fat vanilla wafers
  • One package Kraft caramels
  • Frozen peas
  • Bag steamed veggies
  • Turkey pepperoni
  • 1lb chicken breast
  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Small onion
  • Green pepper
  • Mushrooms
  • Peaches (4)
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas (4)
  • Strawberries

Stuff I Already Had:

  • Frozen chopped spinach
  • Frozen chicken tenderloins
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Kodiak protein mix
  • Macaroni noodles
  • Whole grain spaghetti
  • Light chocolate syrup
  • Frozen french fries
  • Vanilla extract
  • Brown sugar
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Protein powder
  • Dark chocolate chips
  • Shredded coconut flakes
  • Light cream cheese
  • Almond milk
  • Reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

How to Calculate Macros While Pregnant

Not news to many, but I’m pregnant! I’m full term actually at 37 weeks. This is my first pregnancy and Thomas and I are beyond excited for our little guy to get here! As you can see I’ve been currently stocking up the freezer with meals for when Marshall arrives to make our lives easier and keep me from living off of fast food and junk…

IIFYM while pregnant

 

A common question I get is, “are you still practicing IIFYM?” Heck yes I am! I haven’t been strict about it but I’ve been tracking for two reasons: 1) I want to make sure I reach my micros and 2) I don’t want to go too crazy, because lord knows I could eat 1,000+ calories a day.

So the next question I get is, “how do you calculate macros while pregnant?”  It’s actually quite easy! *Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, contact yours first to see what they recommend for calorie consumption.

The first trimester you don’t really need extra calories so you just want to be at maintenance calories. Again, check with what your practitioner says as I’m not a doctor! In the second trimester you’re looking at anywhere from 150-300 calories above maintenance (ask your doctor) and in the third trimester about 300-500 calories. Listen to your body when adding calories.

When you calculate your macros at www.iifym.com calculate your maintenance macros using your starting pregnancy weight. Then add the surplus of calories to your TDEE where it says “custom macros”.

IIFYM Pregnancy

So for me my calories came out to be 2039 for the second trimester. Then I did .9g protein per pound of bodyweight and .4g fat. If you want to maintain your muscle I recommend not going lower than .8g protein and .4g fat is the minimum I’d recommend being at while pregnant. The rest of your calories will come from carbs. Wam! Bam! And that’s all it takes you calculate your macros while pregnant. 🙂 In rare cases, is possible to consume too much protein so always be sure to check with your doctor on what numbers you plan to use.

Drop a comment below if you have any further questions or concerns, and remember to talk to your doctor about your plans!

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Why Every Woman Should Lift Weights

Weightlifting has changed my life and transformed my body. Many women (I was one of them) are afraid to get started on the weight floor for several reasons. For me personally I had no idea where to begin and I wasn’t exactly concerned with building muscle. My original goal was to look lean or “toned”. After losing the first 50lbs I wasn’t impressed with what I saw in the mirror. Cardio had left me lighter, but with a lot of loose skin. I knew it was time to try something new. So I began to research weightlifting…

why every women should lift weights

 

Why women don’t lift weights:

  • They think it will make them bulky
  • They are too comfortable doing cardio
  • They just want to get “toned”
  • They’re not sure where to start
  • They’re afraid to get on the weight floor

Why women should lift weights:

  • They won’t get bulky- women don’t have the testosterone to get bulky
  • Cardio is boring and does not target fat, lifting weights can be a lot of fun
  • Weight lifting will give women that “toned” look aka build muscle & lose fat. Remember, one pound of muscle takes up less space than one pound of fat
  • Starting is actually really easy! The resources are definitely out there. Just start simple, you’ll learn as you go. For a beginner’s weightlifting routine check out my beginner’s 6 week eBook
  • If you’re still really afraid, hiring a trainer for a month or two will take away the fear of the weight floor and give you the confidence you need
  • It makes every day activities easier- I never realized before how beneficial it is to be stronger, and man does it feel good
  • For aging women, it is especially helpful to increase bone density thus controlling bone loss
  • Lifting will increase your metabolism. A higher level of muscle mass means your body burns more calories at rest

To learn more about my transformation from weightlifting, check out this post. Keep in mind, it’s not like I started weightlifting and was instantly lifting heavy with an intense routine. I worked my way up to the point I am at. This is a learning process but I can ensure you that it is well worth it. You will likely enjoy working out more, you will love the feeling of increased strength, and you will feel more confident in your body. If you need help email me at malzisfit@gmail.com.

Meal Plan #4

Meal plans designed from a girl who's lost 100lbs! Recipes are lightened up versions the whole family will love.

These plans are made to feed two people, so if you have more people in your family double the amount you buy and/or consider adding an extra option. I choose two options for breakfast, two for lunch, a few snacks, and three dinner options. We eat leftovers every other night and that leaves us one night to eat out! I spend about $50 per week at the store. These meals are designed for a balanced diet. If you eat proper portions and especially track your macros or calories, you will lose weight!

*Some people have asked if I can provide macros for these plans but I don’t find it to be necessary since we all have different macros. Just portion out these meals to meet your macros. 🙂

You can also check out:

Meal Plan #1

Meal Plan #2

Meal Plan #3

Meal Plan #5

Meal Plan #6

Meal Plan #7

Breakfast:

Option 1: Kodiak protein waffles w/ sliced strawberries, bananas, and light chocolate syrup

Option 2:  Egg white, low fat cheddar slice, & turkey sausage english muffin sandwich (I prepped these ahead of time and froze them!)

Mid-morning snack: 

1 egg, 2-3 egg whites, 3 sliced deli turkey, 2/3 cup steamed vegetables, 1 tbsp ketchup

Lunch:

Option 1: 3 oz breaded chicken tenderloins, 3 cups salad mix, 1 tbsp light Italian dressing

Option 2: 2 oz light tuna, 3 oz macaroni, 2-3 tbsp cream of chicken, 1/2 cup peas

Mid-afternoon snack:

Option 1: 1/2 cup non fat Greek yogurt, chopped peach, granola

Option 2: Banana with one tbsp peanut butter

Dinner:

Option 1: 2 oz whole grain spaghetti, 1 cup sauteed spinach, 1/2 cup squash, 1 oz feta cheese

Option 2: Taco pasta bake

Option 3: Lemon & garlic chicken (lemon juice, oregano, chopped garlic, season to taste) with roasted potatoes (boiled then broiled for 5-10 mins with Mediterranean sea salt)

week 4 meal plan grocery haul healthy

Grocery list:

  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Greek yogurt (plain)
  • Low fat cheddar cheese slices
  • Granola
  • English muffins
  • 15 oz cans stewed tomatoes
  • Frozen bag corn
  • Frozen peas
  • Bag steamed veggies
  • Frozen chopped spinach
  • Frozen chicken tenderloins
  • Frozen turkey sausage patties
  • 1lb chicken breast
  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • Deli turkey
  • Peaches
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Two salad kits
  • Squash
  • Light chocolate syrup
  • 14.5 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 16 oz. low fat Mexican cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp green chilies (half of 4 oz. can)
  • Tortilla chips

Stuff I already had: 

  • Feta cheese
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Peanut butter
  • Garlic
  • Lemon juice
  • Italian dressing
  • Kodiak protein mix
  • Cream of chicken
  • Macaroni noodles
  • Whole grain spaghetti
  • Light tuna
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Oregano

Day of Meals for IIFYM

A lot of people ask me what a day of IIFYM looks like for me. Well, I suck at remembering to take pictures of my meals haha! I’m too excited to eat/care too little to get a nice picture. But I’m working on it! In the mean time I will share them with you.

Meal 1 (pre workout): 1/2 cup oats with a scoop protein powder, apple, ground cinnamon, peanut butter

Meal 2 (post workout): 1/2 cup OJ with a scoop protein powder, handful of mixed frozen berries, blended

Meal 3: 1-2 eggs, 2-3 egg whites, spinach, a meat (ham, bacon, turkey sausage, etc), fat free cottage cheese. Sometimes a piece of toast of half a bagel on the side if I have enough carbs.

Meal 4: “Bro food”: Chicken breast, fish, or lean beef mixed with potatoes or rice and veggies of choice. Important to buy a few good seasonings and garnish with a macro friendly option, for me that’s usually ketchup, hot sauce, or Greek yogurt

Meal 5: Greek yogurt with fruit and sometimes granola

Meal 6: Dinner is always different for me. Check out my main dish recipe tabs for some ideas.

Meal 7: Treat of choice, usually 1/2 cup of ice cream, 1 cup cereal, or 1/2 Poptart

As you can see I eat a lot of small meals throughout the day. This keeps my tummy satisfied so I don’t make any poor choices or feel the urge to binge eat. Everyone is different and this may not be the most viable option for you. That’s fine! In regards to weight or fat loss, it doesn’t matter when you eat it only matters that you’re eating at a deficit. So eat whenever it works for you! Just be cautious that you don’t go over at night because you didn’t eat enough during the day. And yes, I eat mainly the same thing every day. I do switch up variations but I typically don’t get tired of foods and I love that I know this is what will fit my macros. I like to get creative at dinner and keep the rest of the day simple. I also have many different “bro meal” options. Maybe I’ll do a post with a bunch of example bro foods.

Check out an example of IIFYM meal prep here.

Meal Prep for IIFYM

Check out my meal plans designed for IIFYM.

IIFYMmealprep

You’ve probably seen fitness blogs or social media accounts posting pictures of 100 meals prepped for the week. You’re probably thinking “oh, that looks cool! I’ll try that”. Then you try it and realize it takes a lot of work, a lot of tupperware, and after 4 days your food isn’t fresh and you’re tired of the same thing. Well lou and behold the IIFYM meal prep! This is how I prep each week to stay on track…

The beauty of IIFYM is that you don’t need a set meal plan to be successful. I give meal plans on my blog as ideas for people as well as for those who are busy and don’t have time to think out meals for the week themselves. The point is to help you get creative with what you can make.

The most important thing you should do is make sure you have some lean protein on hand. Since IIFYM is all about flexibility in your diet you don’t need to be eating the same thing. I make sure I have a 1lb or 2lbs of chicken breast (or other lean meat) ready to go so I can throw it on top of a salad, have it with some pasta, dice it up and make a chicken salad sandwich with Greek yogurt instead of mayo, or use it in my dinners like casseroles or soups.

Another thing I like to have prepped is my “bro meal” of the day. Click here to see a sample day of IIFYM meals I eat. Usually meal 3 is my bro meal, which means it’s lean and filled with micros (nutrient dense). I like to have this meal ready so I don’t have any excuses not to eat it. Usually I will have two different options of this meal each week. I will make the first option Sunday and the second Wednesday so it stays fresh.

Here’s a breakdown of the meal prep pictured above:

  1. 1lb grilled chicken breast marinated in honey mustard dressing. I used this during dinner and made a few variations of salads, had it with some potatoes & corn, and one night I threw it in some pasta.
  2. 1lb buffalo chicken (I used half a bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s) cooked in slow cooker then shredded. I used this for my lunch option aka bro meal and put it on some whole grain bread with a cup of tomato soup and broccoli. I also did a few “pizzas” using a low carb wrap, then put some chicken on top with red onions and 2% mozzarella cheese. Toast in oven for 5 mins.
  3. Steamed broccoli. This went with my buffalo chicken sandwiches and pizzas. To the far right you’ll notice a sauce. This is simply Greek yogurt with some seasoning very similar to the dry ranch packets. I like to toss my broccoli in this. YUM.
  4. Corn on the cob. This was actually leftover from grilling we did over the weekend. I paired with some of my dinners.
  5. Boiled potatoes. Great carb to have around. I used it with the chicken for dinner a few nights and also diced them up to go with my eggs in the morning.
  6. White chocolate cranberry protein balls. Awesome snack or dessert.
  7. Greek yogurt and ranch sauce. As stated above, I’ll toss my broccoli in this sauce. Also a great dip for the carrots I had.

All in all this took maybe 45 minutes of prep with clean-up (not including cooking time). I let the grill and slow cooker do most of the work. Easy clean-up with those two appliances! The protein balls are SUPER easy to make and take no baking. This was all done on Sunday and on Wednesday I browned some ground turkey to use for the rest of the week’s “bro meals” and also a dinner option. I made ground turkey, spinach, and sweet potato fries for lunch and made a light cheeseburger pasta for dinner. Having my meats and veggies ready to go is so helpful for sticking to my diet and goals. I hope this helped!

Don’t forget to check out an example of a day of IIFYM here. If you’re new to IIFYM check out my post here.

 

 

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How I Transformed My Body Part 2 (My Weightlifting Experience)

2014-07-29 11.40.50

The first post I wrote about in regards to how I transformed my body was pertaining to my experience with IIFYM. Weightlifting and IIFYM went hand in hand with my transformation. You can read about my progress from IIFYM womenweightliftingprogress

I began weightlifting in January 2013. I was very intimidated stepping foot into the weight floor at the gym. Although I had done a lot of research, I still didn’t feel confident with my form or what kind of routine to set-up for myself. So I decided to hire a trainer for six months to learn the basics of weightlifting. This is probably the best decision I made in my weight loss journey. I was picky about who I would hire and met with three trainers before I finally committed to one. He intimated me enough to make me never miss a session, but he also made me feel very comfortable and secure in his care. He was extremely passionate about his profession and believed in me, which in return pushed me to believe in myself more. Thanks to him I was able to feel confident in the weight room and after the six months, I could come up with my own routines to follow.

beforeandafterweightloss

The left picture was before I started my weight loss journey at 200+lbs. The highest weight I ever knew I reached was 217lbs. The right picture was in the middle of my weightlifting journey (late 2013) and was me around my lowest weight at 120lbs. When I began weight training I had already lost about 75lbs but I wasn’t happy with how my body looked. I had a lot of loose skin and cellulite. I knew I need to switch gears from focusing on weight loss to fat loss.

fat loss before and after

The left picture was right when I began weightlifting and IIFYM (already lost 65-75lbs) and the right picture was taken about 7 months later. During my weightlifting journey I lost another 20-25lbs, but the reason my body transformed so much more during this time was because I was focused on fat loss. The way I did this was by tracking my macros (check IIFYM post) and gaining more muscle. Having more muscle means you burn more calories throughout the day. Also, the act of weightlifting (at a high intensity, so lift heavy ladies!) itself promotes fat loss because it releases hormones responsible for fat loss.

girlswholiftIIFYM

This picture is only THREE months apart. This is around the time I began squatting by body weight (130lbs) and, along with a proper routine and diet, was able to drastically reduce the cellulite in my thighs.

weightliftingIIFYM

Thanks to squatting my body weight and a well formed glutes routine I saw some serious progress in my butt.

weight loss before and after

My trainer would always tell me I would be a great coach. I never thought I would, but after two years of weightlifting I decided to get certified! I offer online coaching for anyone looking to begin a weightlifting regime. If you’d like to learn more about what I offer or how to contact me, click here.

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How I Transformed My Body After Losing 100lbs (My IIFYM Experience)

How I Transformed My Body After Losing 100lbs iifym

Definitely the most common email I get is from people asking about IIFYM. I did a blog post explaining IIFYM here, but I thought I would share with you all my personal experience and my progress with IIFYM. The left picture above is at the beginning of my weightlifting and IIFYM journey (January 2013). I had already lost around 60-75lbs (can’t remember exactly) but I wasn’t happy with how my body looked. Of course I had lots of loose skin, cellulite, etc. I had heard of IIFYM and practiced it loosely, but in January 2013 I made a commitment to practice IIFYM as I also began my weightlifting journey.

IIFYMmuscles

Weightlifting has had a lot to do with how my body has transformed (as you can see I’ve built up quite a bit of muscle- resulting in more fat being burned), but that’s a whole other post for a different day (I wrote it! Read here.) Because I mixed IIFYM with weightlifting I saw DRASTIC results. If you’ve read my IIFYM post you know that if you’re at a slight calorie deficit, the point of IIFYM is to target fat loss instead of just weight loss (muscle and fat). This is how I was able to get my muscles to show through so quickly (many people call it getting “toned” but toned just means less fat more muscle).

iifym

IIFYMlifting

These pictures are 9 months apart. The left picture is right before I began IIFYM and as you can see I had a lot of cellulite in my legs. With weightlifting and IIFYM I was able to reduce the size of my thighs as well as the amount of cellulite I had because I was reducing my body fat percentage (focusing on fat loss rather than weight loss) but because I was still ~20lbs overweight the weight slowly fell off as well. People freak out when they begin IIFYM or weightlifting and don’t see an immediate drop on the scale. Stay patient and persistent. If you’re not to weightlifting you’re likely gaining muscle, if not you’re at least maintaining it. If you’re at a deficit you WILL see a decrease on the scale, you just need to give it some time. It will be worth it in the end when you have kept your muscle and look “toned” instead of “skinny fat”.

I did notice that my progress with IIFYM was pretty linear. With low calorie diets, commonly people lose a bunch of weight in the beginning and stall out. For me I was losing 1-2lbs a week the entire process until I got close to my ideal body weight.

2013-2

This is the best picture I have that shows my overall IIFYM progress. The left picture was May 2013 and the right picture was September 2013! It certainly wasn’t easy sticking to my macros; I had to measure my portions, weigh my food, and constantly prepare for any situations where I would need to make sure I could meet my macros- like eating out, going to a friend’s, or leaving town. There were days where I did not meet my macros but I never gave up. I didn’t feel like I was overly restricting myself so it was much easier to stick with. I didn’t dwell on the bad days, I accepted them and I found it was easier to move on and continue on the right path.

All the sacrifices were WELL worth it. I’m so happy with my body composition whereas in early 2013, even after losing almost 75lbs, I was not. Plus, I was still able to enjoy the foods I loved in moderation. That is definitely a HUGE principle IIFYM taught me- moderation! After I was done with the fat loss track I focused on maintaining which meant I didn’t really need to track any longer, because of everything I learned from IIFYM I knew how to properly fuel my body and what proper portions looked like.

I always recommend IIFYM to anyone trying to lose weight or fat because a) it gives them flexibility to still enjoy the foods they love whereas eating “clean” does not (my motto is 80% healthy, 20% whatever the F you want- don’t neglect your micros!), b) you learn a lot from IIFYM including how to successfully eat out, why eating enough is so important (why low calorie diets SUCK), & proper portions and c) it’s SCIENCE, it is 100% fool-proof if you are using the right numbers.

watermark2

Poor quality but here is my entire journey of losing 100lbs! Left picture is 2010 and right picture is late 2013.

For more IIFYM resources click here or check out my Youtube channel.

If you need help with your macros I provide 6 weeks macro support. I am a CPT which includes education on proper calorie intake with a breakdown of macronutrients, as well as learning how to approach fat loss. But mainly I understand where you are because I’ve been there. I know that in the beginning IIFYM takes a lot of trial & error and practice. Having confidence with the numbers you’re tracking and having support every step of the way can make the WORLD of difference. You can find more info here. Good luck!

Don’t forget to check out my weightlifting journey here!

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