Mini Pizzas!

pizzarecipepictureWhen you’re counting macros, extravagant meals can be a real b***h to keep track of! So, you have to get creative in the kitchen to keep your stomach happy and your mind sane. This is just a basic macro friendly mini pizza recipe that I made last night, and I absolutely loved it. Obviously, you can add as much-or as little-of the ingredients as you want or none at all! It’s all up to you and what you enjoy. If you try this recipe, drop me a comment below, and let me know how you liked it! bon appetit!

Mini Pizza Recipe – Serving Size 2 Small Torilla Pizzas

Ingredients

  • 2 La Banderita Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • 2 tbsp Dei Fratelli Natural Pizza Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup of Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese
  • Italian Seasoning
  • 8 Fresh Spinach Leaves
  • 16 Carando Turkey Pepperonis
  • about 2 tbsp of diced green pepper
  • about 2 tbsp of diced onion

* Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees

Tortilla Pizza Preparation

  • spray the front and back of each tortilla with olive oil spray (do not use too much, about 1 second spray will do)
  • spread 1 tbsp of pizza sauce on one tortilla and the other tbsp on the other tortilla
  • sprinkle 1/2 of the 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese on one tortilla, sprinkle the remaining cheese on the other tortilla
  • add your veggies and Italian seasoning: diced onion, diced green pepper, and spinach
  • add 8 pepperonis to one pizza and the remaining 8 to the other one
  • Place both pizzas on a cookie tray, spray the tray so nothing sticks, and cook for 10 minutes

THAT’S IT! 🙂

Now for the part you have been waiting for, the macros. Keep in mind these are the macros for the specific pizza above. If you change ingredients, you will change the macros:

  • Calories: 347
  • Carbs: 34g
  • Fats: 15g
  • Protein: 22g

Have questions? Comment below! I’m happy to help 🙂

 

T.G.I.M: Live life with no excuses

Be stronger than your strongest excuse.

Excuses tend to get us out of  many, many messes. It covers our asses when we need it most and gives us a reason for not wanting to or not doing something we know we should have done in the first place. The problem with this? Excuses can become little road blocks preventing us from moving forward towards our goals.

My alarm wakes me at 7:00a. I open my eyes and think to myself, ” I really don’t feel like getting up and studying. I am so comfy and could actually use a little extra sleep … I mean, I didn’t really get enough sleep the night before because … because of ..my dog. He kept me up so late that night. My body needs to catch up on some rest and plus I have time later to study.” I hit “snooze” and go back to sleep.

This is absolutely legit and is something I struggle with almost every other morning. Since I really don’t sleep well at night, it is incredibly difficult to wake up in the morning. Especially to study. This is where I am failing to see the big picture and many of you are as well, (I know i’m not the only one who does this).

It isn’t about the studying or the sleeping, it’s about your goals, your dreams. It’s about doing whatever you have to do and whatever it takes to get you closer to reaching your goals. It is about what you have planned for your life. You can’t allow your excuses to become bigger than your goals! Tell those excuses to go f**k off and get to work! Build a life you can be proud of and a life that makes you happy. Learn to ignore those little excuses that your brain creates and learn to push past them. Look at the big picture and in my case, get out of bed. If your goal is to lose weight, wake up early and get that morning workout in before work. Save us all from listening to the perfect excuse you have created convincing yourself that you will do it later because we both know that wont happen! Trust me, I’ve been there and done that. If you are trying to grow your business then get out into the world and network your ass off. Don’t let your lacking skill-set excuse you from working hard. Teach yourself ways to improve your skill-set and then work harder. Wake up, work hard, and get it done! No excuses.

Be stronger than your excuses.

-mk

 

You’re getting warmer! Why you should warm-up, stretch, and cool down!

Attractive woman stretching legs after run on beach

I have to ask …

Do you warm-up, stretch, and cool down before and after your workout?

Unfortunately, many people will agree that they DON’T. If you are one of those people, this article is exactly for you!

You’re Getting Warmer!

Warming up is absolutely critical when it comes to being successful with your training. It allows your bones, muscles, and mind to warm-up, get loose, and get the blood flowing. This allows your body to train efficiently and accurately minimizing the threat of injury to muscles, joints, and ligaments during your workout. Though the main purpose of warming up is injury prevention it is also super beneficial for your mental state as well!

When you go into the gym and immediately start lifting or working out you don’t give your mind enough time to comprehend your workout and get you motivated for the stress you are about to put your body through. During the warm-up phase of your training you will be able to focus on the exercises you want to hit and you will be able to jump-start your motivation!

Here are a few great ways to warm-up before you train!

  • 5 – 10 minute warm-up on the treadmill, stair climber, elliptical, or arc trainer.
  • Perform light weight warm-up sets for the muscles you plan on training, bump up the weight to a moderately heavy weight and complete a few warm-up After this moderately heavy warm-up set you want to rest until fully recovered, then start your workout!

What you get from warming up!

  • Increased flexibility
  • Injury prevention
  • Lubricates the joints
  • Achieve optimal results

Stretch it Out!

Along with a good warm-up before your workout you should follow-up your workout with a stretching session. Just like warming up, stretching is preventative care. By implementing stretching into your training regimen you are less likely to experience injury in future training sessions.

There are many great ways to stretch each and every part of your body!

There is a big debate about what whether or not you should stretch warm or cold muscles. I am a huge advocate for stretching after a light warm-up. This allows increased blood flow to the muscles which in turn creates better mobility and avoids injury while stretching.

Imagine that your muscles are like a rubber band, a cold and brittle rubber band will snap but a warm rubber band will stretch and bend and return to its original shape.

What you get from stretching!

  • Increased blood flow
  • Improve flexibility
  • Prevents injury
  • Optimum training

Cool Down

Cooling down after you workout or cardio session is actually very important even though most people don’t normally incorporate a cool down after training. I would say it is most important after cardiovascular training. Think about it, you just completed 15 minutes of 30 seconds on and 1 minute walking rest of sprints. You immediately turn the treadmill off and leave. You’re gasping for air, sweating bullets, shaking, and your heart rate is higher than the empire state building. This is exactly why you need to allow your body a chance to cool down and let your heart rate return to normal.

I would say if you complete a 5 minute warm-up you should also complete a 5 minute cool down after you session.

What you get from cooling down!

  • Helps your heart rate and breathing to return to normal
  • Will help avoid dizziness or fainting
  • Helps prepare your muscles for the next exercise session

Protect your body from injury by incorporating a warm-up and cool down session along with stretching before and/or after training. Hey, we only get one body! Might as well take care of the one we have.

-mk

From Unhealthy to Healthy: How you can make the switch!

From Unhealthy to Healthy: How you can make the switch!

healthyunhealthybody

I’m going to give it to you straight up … it ain’t easy. Hell if it was everyone would be living a healthy and fit life! Am I right? Knowing how to start helps and having simple steps to guide you through the process is even better. I have compiled my own step by step process to help guide you into this beautiful, stress relieving world of health.

  1. The Decision

It honestly has to start with the decision to willingly begin. It can’t be someone else’s decision for you, it must be 100% your own. As we all know if our heart isn’t 100% dedicated to something we are less likely to follow through with it. So, when you have taken that first step … you are ready to begin.

  1. Educate Yourself

This is the hardest and most frustrating part. Because you are a newbie you are a beginner and we all know where beginners start … the beginning, the bottom of the totem pole, the back of the line, etc. There is always a stage where you have to put in a little bit of hard work and that comes with anything in life: there are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

Research any information pertaining to YOUR current health status. For example, if you deal with a disease or have any food allergies you will want to look up the foods you can and can’t eat. Take note. Also, make sure to write down the types of foods that your diet should be rich in and will have a positive impact on your health. As for your fitness plan, research exercises you can and can’t participate in. Any injuries you may have, you will want to find the exercises that will build these parts up stronger but won’t hurt these bones, ligaments, or muscles at the same time.

I strongly suggest avoiding fad diets. A fad diet is a weight loss plan or aid that promises dramatic results. These types of diets may give short-term weight loss but the promise of keeping it off long-term … it just won’t happen. Fad diets can also cause metabolic damage and other health related issues.

To learn how to differentiate between healthy diets and fad diets check out the link below:

http://www.upmc.com/patients-visitors/education/nutrition/pages/fad-diets.aspx

After you have made a list of foods you can and can’t eat and a list of body strengthening exercises that won’t further irritate any injuries you may have, it’s time to make a plan of action!

  1. Plan of Action

Failure to plan is planning to fail.

So, it’s time to put all of that information you spent hours researching together in a document. Pat yourself on the back because the hard part is over … for now (insert evil villain laugh). I highly recommend using a word processing program like word, excel, or publisher to put together something you can refer to. This is where you can have fun! What I would do next is simply put together a sample weekly diet plan and weekly fitness regimen. Start with one at a time so that you don’t overwhelm yourself! A sample diet plan could look like this:

Monday

Breakfast: egg whites with spinach, grape tomatoes, and feta cheese and 1 slice of Ezekial bread with Almond butter.

Snack: handful of almonds and 8oz of water

Lunch: 1 can of tuna mixed with seasonings, spicy brown mustard, and celery served on top of whole wheat toast with a side of mixed field greens and balsamic vin.

Snack: 2 rice cakes with peanut butter

Dinner: grilled chicken breast, mixed veggies, and sweet potato

Try your best to be thorough but the key here is to create something that YOU CAN REFER TO. This shouldn’t be some silly ‘ole regimen you put together and never look at again. This should be your guidance, what you will refer to when you get overwhelmed in the future. Trust me, it helps.

A sample fitness regimen could look like this:

Monday

Morning run / Afternoon weight lifting: Chest & Tri’s

  • Barbell bench press
  • Barbell incline bench press
  • Cable flies
  • Skull crushers with EZ bar
  • Dumbbell kickbacks
  • Cable press downs

If you are new and you aren’t sure where to start with selecting exercises visit bodybuilding.com. They provide thousands of sample exercises and all you have to do is type in what muscle group you are searching for.

www.bodybuilding.com

Those are a couple of examples of how you can lay out your sample diet and fitness regimen. A few things to aim for when it comes to creating a healthy diet plan:

  • Include variety: make sure your plan includes a variety of whole foods ranging from green leafy vegetables, fruits, red and white meats, legumes (beans), nuts and seeds, dairy, whole grains, etc. Including a variety of all of these foods allows your body to take in the nutrients it needs to be strong and healthy! Of course, pay attention to any health or medical conditions you have as they might limit or exclude some foods.
  • Create balance: creating balance just means not having too much of one thing. I am sure you have heard of MyPlate. If not, MyPlate is just a useful website that gives you information about eating healthy. It shows you how to divide your plate according to meats, vegetables, dairy, whole grains, etc. MyPlate says to dedicate half of our plate to green leafy vegetables and then divide the other half of our plate between a carbohydrate and a protein. Simple enough right?
  • Moderation: this simply means to pay attention to how much of one item you’re eating. Have you noticed that you have been consuming a lot of sweet potatoes the past couple of days? Maybe it’s time to switch things up and try eating some brown rice. Too much of a good thing can be bad, so just keep an eye on what you eat and how much of it you eat daily.

Visit the link below for more information about healthy food choices and how to implement balance, moderation, and variety into your diet!

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

  1. Implement your Plan!

The day has finally arrived. Day One in your calendar; this is the day where your life can change forever. You have made the decision to begin living a healthy life and you have created a plan of action that will guide and aid in this life changing process!

It’s GO TIME!

Always keep in mind what your long-term goals are: lose 20 lbs, clear your acne, relieve the symptoms of psoriasis, and strengthen your heart, whatever it is always remember what you are working so hard for! They will be your motivating factors on this journey. When it comes to health and fitness nothing happens over night, let me say it again,

NOTHING HAPPENS OVER NIGHT.

Got it?

This process takes time. Do not give yourself unrealistic expectations of trying to accomplish this life change in one week or a month. Be patient and trust the process. Rome wasn’t built in a day, was it? No.

If you are someone who is motivated through seeing changes, as I am, I recommend keeping a journal. This is where you can write any and everything! Write down your starting waist, hips, and thigh measurements, your current weight, how clear your skin is, how you feel mentally and physically. Write down whether or not you enjoyed the food you ate or if you hated it. Make notes about your fitness: what did you enjoy and what did you dislike? As time goes by you will begin to notice subtle changes and you will also have a point of reference for determining if and when you need a change.

These steps helped me start living a healthy and fit life. I always recommend reaching out if you have questions or concerns. Contact a friend for advice, information, and motivation. Talk to your doctor if you have health related questions or a personal trainer for physical questions. You won’t know the answer until you ask the question!

Today is the day you could change your life forever.

Go for it!

-mk

Other blog posts I have previously written that can help aid in this process are listed below:

5 Ways to Recharge your Workout!

Recharge your training routine with these simple changes!

running_photography_justin_grant

We’ve all been there. That moment you realize that you’re bored with the training routine you have been using for a month or two now. I know I have; actually I’m there quite often. It seems like my body adapts to workouts very easily so I have to keep changing it up!

I’m going to help you recharge your workout by implementing these 5 quick and easy techniques!

  1. Drop Sets
  2. Super Sets
  3. Utilize different equipment
  4. Incorporate HIIT
  5. Pre-Exhaustion
  1. Drop Sets

Drop sets are a great way to recharge your boring workout. Drop sets are sets where you start with a heavier weight and do as many reps as possible with that weight. Then, here’s the kicker, you choose a lighter weight and do as many reps as possible until you can’t complete any more (otherwise known as reaching failure).

There are a couple of ways that I have utilized drop sets in my routine. One option is completing three sets of a challenging weight and then for the fourth set, or your last set, you go up in weight or remain at the same weight; you complete as many reps of that weight as you can and then drop the weight down to a medium – light weight and rep that weight out until you hit failure. The key here is only using a drop set as your last or final set in each exercise.

Another option is utilizing drop sets every set for every exercise. This might sound daunting and trust me it is but, it is one hell of a workout!

Try it out on your next training day!

  1. Super Sets

Super sets are known as sets where you incorporate two different exercises usually opposing muscle groups (back and chest) into the same set. So, that might look like this:

  • Pull – ups / push – ups : 10×4
    • In other words, 10 pull – ups, drop off of the pull – up bar straight into 10 push – ups, repeat four times (four sets).

This will send your body into hyper drive especially if you are someone who has always trained in the traditional manner of designating each day to a certain muscle group. Adding super-sets will help confuse your body and allow more room for growth.  Who doesn’t want their muscles to grow?

  1. Vary your equipment!

This may seem pretty elementary but listen; it is pretty easy to get stuck in the same routine using the same types of equipment. I have to admit, I have to make conscious decisions to use different equipment when I train. I get stuck using dumbbells so often! I enjoy them.

So if you are like me, in love with dumbbells, try utilizing cables, barbells, or even machines. Switching up the equipment you use will help confuse your body and allow more room for your body to grow.

  1. Incorporate HIIT

Don’t shy away just yet, especially you men, yes I’m talking to you because men are less likely to get involved in any sort of cardio training (from what I’ve seen). Incorporating different plyos or HIIT techniques can be very beneficial in your training. Not only is it important for maintaining a healthy heart and blood pressure but it is a great way to shed fat AND keep the muscle you have worked so hard to build.

Try adding box jumps, weighted squat jumps, wall balls, jumping lunges, sprints, or bench jumps in between sets or create a circuit.

  1. Pre – Exhaust Exercises

These can be painful (in a good way) and you might be thinking to yourself, “Why?!” Well, the answer to that is easy … GROWTH!

So, what is pre – exhaustion? It is basically a couple of isolated lifts or movements where you can exhaust the muscle before going into your compound or heavier lifts.

For instance, the other day I trained triceps. Before I went into any of my heavier lifts, I decided to start with cable press downs with a rope. I completed two sets of what is called a pyramid set. A pyramid set is where you start with a light weight, kind of like a warm-up, complete a few reps maybe 10, then bump it up five pounds and complete a few reps maybe 8 – 10, and then you bump it up again and complete a few more reps. By this point I’m dying so I can only complete maybe 5 – 8 reps … but wait! We aren’t finished yet. After you have killed your triceps at the heaviest weight you would then drop it down back to the medium weight, complete as many as you can, and then back down the lowest weight complete a few reps and then you’re finished.

Sounds like a lot, huh? Well, it is and it hurts! But, it is a great way to get your blood pumpin’. You may not be able to go very heavy for the rest of your exercises but with form and time under tensions you should be exhausted by the end of your training session!

So go ahead, try some of these techniques in your next training day. You never know how your body will react to the change in training until you try.

-mk

Which protein powder is best for you and your goals? Find out now!

protein

Protein is one of the most important nutrient sources for building and recovering lean muscle. In order to build lean muscle you have to supply your body with enough protein throughout the day. Protein is made up of amino acids which happen to be the building blocks of your muscles and body! There are many different brands and types of protein supplements on the market today making it difficult and confusing for beginners. Below is a list of some of the most popular proteins and what they can offer you.

Find out which protein is right for you and your fitness goals!

  1. Hydrolysate Protein
  • Most expensive protein you will find on the shelves
  • Highest quality protein
  • It is easily absorbed by the body and is easy- going on the stomach.
  • This protein would be great for people with stomach sensitivity.
  • Can be consumed pre and post workout
  1. Whey Isolate
  • Not the most expensive, but still quite pricey.
  • One of the quickest absorbing proteins on the market
  • Great for low carb diets; very low/if any carbs or sugars.
  • Can be consumed pre and post workout
  1. Whey Concentrate
  • Least expensive protein
  • One of the most basic forms of protein
  • Great for those of you who are just being introduced to protein supplementation/beginners
  • Some people will find that this protein source is not easily digested and may leave you feeling gassy and bloated.
  • Can be consumed pre and post workout; as a snack during the day; not a preferred source at night.
  1. Casein Protein
  • Slow digesting protein; takes about 5 – 7 hours to fully digest
  • Can be used as a meal replacement to stay full throughout the day
  • A preferred source at night before bed
  • Your body enters a state of starvation while you sleep. Casein protein allows your body to absorb and utilize the nutrients throughout the night avoiding this period of starvation.
  1. Milk Protein Isolate
  • Contain both casein and whey
  • Used mostly in blended protein sources
  • Not a preferred source to be used at night
  1. Soy Protein
  • Great vegetarian source
  • Contains many beneficial nutrients like glutamine (aids in recovery), arginine (helps dilate blood vessels to help with absorption of nutrients into the muscles), and BCAA’s (aids in recovery).
  • Helps support healthy cholesterol levels
  • Can be consumed pre and post workout or anytime throughout the day
  • Not a preferred source to be used at night
  1. Tri-Blend Protein
  • A tri-blend consists of three different sources of protein.
  • Clinical Sports Labs offers an ultra premium time released protein that blends together whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and milk protein concentrate (60:40 ratio whey protein to milk protein).
  • Studies have shown that proteins blended with this ratio allow for greater results than just whey protein alone.
  • Most other proteins allow for digestion and absorption for only about an hour or so after consumption.
  • Clinical Protein by CSL offers slow absorbing and fast absorbing proteins that allow the body to take in nutrients over the course of about 3.5 hours!

3-protein-powders

Seeing as how protein plays such a huge role in building lean muscle, getting the right amount of it is important. If your diet and lifestyle don’t allow you to consume the amount of protein you need, you might want to look into supplementing with protein shakes. They are a quick and easy way you get the nutrients you need while living your active lifestyle.

I am a huge fan of supplementing with protein because I work long hours and may go periods of time without eating. This makes it difficult to get the nutrients my body needs for recovery through my diet alone. It’s easier and time efficient to put water and protein in a shaker bottle, shake it and drink. Boom! Instant protein.

Not sure what brand to start with? Check out Clinical Sports Labs’ ultra premium tri-blend clinical protein!

http://clinicalsportslabs.com/product/clinical-protein-chocolate-milk-delight/

-mk

5 Types of Fat Shredding Cardio

First let me say that I am not one of those religious cardio bunnies you see sweating their life away for an hour on the treadmill. Unless you’re main goal is to shred tons of fat, and even then it’s questionable, I don’t feel like steady state cardio is as much of a necessity as weight lifting; but everyone is different. However, I do believe that various types of cardio or cardiovascular training are extremely important about 5 days a week. Cardio keeps your heart strong and healthy and also keeps your body fat down.

Below is a list of five different types of cardio and what they can do for your body!

  1. Steady State Training

treadmill

  • Involves training at the same workload OR the same speed & level for an extended period of time ranging from about 20 minutes to 60 minutes.
  • Steady state cardio is constant; there are no moments of rest.
  • Steady state cardio will burn fat AND muscle. Those of you more focused on building muscle might want to avoid steady state training.
  • An example would be jogging at speed level 7 for 30 minutes on a treadmill or using the Stairmaster at level 4 for 30 minutes.
  • This type of cardio training is great for all fitness levels especially beginners.
  1. HIIT: High Intensity Interval training (my favorite!)hiit
  • HIIT requires you to train at a high level for a short period of time followed by a relaxed recovery period.
  • The switch from a higher intensity to a lower intensity really heats things up and confuses the body.
  • This type of training is great for all fitness levels.
  • For those of you who are focused on burning fat without eating away at the muscle you have worked so hard to build, I would recommend utilizing HIIT. It allows the body to burn fat while holding on to muscle.
  • An example would be training on theStairmaster beginning at level 4 for the first 4 minutes. Bump it up 2 levels to level 6 for 2 minutes. Bump it up 2 more levels to level 8 for 2 minutes then bump it up to level 9 for the last-minute. Repeat this process 1 – 2 more times to complete the training sequence.
    • You can adjust levels/speeds to your fitness level. Beginners may start at level 3 instead of 4.
  1. Fartlek Training – My brother introduced me to this type of cardio training after he received his PT certification.

fartlek

  • Fartlek training is very similar to HIIT.
  • Traditional Fartlek training is unstructured and is performed by surging from one landmark to another.
  • It can also be structured. What I mean by that is you can train by determining what speed and time to perform at; basically creating a routine.
  • This type of training is very demanding, therefore is recommended for people who are experienced with running and fitness.
  • For more information on Fartlek training and sample Fartlek training workouts click the link below.

http://running.competitor.com/2012/03/training/workout-of-the-week-fartlek-session_49932

  1. Circuit Training or Super Circuit Trainingdeadlift
  • Traditional circuit training involves rotating through pre-determined exercises for a certain amount of time or rounds.
  • Super Circuit Training is aerobic training that involves a combination of anaerobic exercises like resistance training with short periods of cardio.
  • An example of this would be to perform 3 minutes on the treadmill followed by 1 minute of squats then immediately performing 3 minutes on the elliptical followed by 1 minute of leg presses, so on and so forth.
  • This type of training is perfect for those of you trying to squeeze maximum training into a short period of time.
  • Super Circuit training is also great for those of you competing in anesthetic competitions like body building. It allows you to burn the fat without wasting precious muscle mass.
  1. Cross Trainingcrosstraining
  • When I do decide to train cardio, I am a huge fan of cross training. I get bored easily so I like to switch it up to keep my motivation high.
  • Cross training is simply switching from different cardio machines remaining on one machine for a certain amount of time and then switching to another for a certain amount of time.
  • An example of this type of training would be performing 10 minutes on the treadmill, switch to 10 minutes on the arc trainer, and then 10 minutes on the stationary bike.
  • You can also choose to switch machines each day: stationary bike one day, treadmill the next day, etc.

Frequency, Duration, & Intensity

  • 3 – 5 sessions a week is recommended
  • 20 – 60 minute sessions
  • 55% – 90% of your max heart rate

These numbers can change. We aren’t robots therefore we are not all the same and do not require the same times, intensities, and frequencies. Consult with your doctor or personal trainer to determine what your body needs.

Not one type of cardio is better than the other though each one yields very different results. When determining which type of cardio training is best for you I recommend utilizing one that you enjoy doing. If you don’t enjoy cardio at all HIIT or Super Circuit Training might be right up your ally. If you are a book-worm and don’t mind reading while doing steady state cardio then by all means give it a whirl!

You need to find the type of physical activity you enjoy doing to keep your body and mind as healthy as possible. If you don’t enjoy it, do you think you’ll be motivated to do it 3 – 5 times a week? My guess is probably not; I wouldn’t.

Be healthy. Be happy.

-mk

Does fitness have a positive or negative impact on your relationship?

I am putting together some ideas for a future blog post and I need YOUR help. I have actually seen a couple posts about relationships and fitness but I really wanted to find out for myself from all of you!

Here is my question:

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  • Does health and/or fitness have a positive or negative impact on your relationship? Whether it is yes or no, can you explain why?

Fitness and health play huge roles in my relationship. My boyfriend Joey trains in Jiu Jitsu about 4 – 5 days a week. I weight-lift about the same amount of days. We both encourage and motivate each-other to work hard doing what we enjoy. He is okay with the time I take to weight-lift and I am okay with the time he takes to train. Two people in a relationship should be able to take time to do what they enjoy even if it involves being apart. Don’t get me wrong we workout together too! 😉

Please comment and leave me your thoughts and opinions. Your comments will help me write my next blog post on Fitness and how it impacts relationships!

-mk

Achieving Balance in an Unbalanced World: Is it possible?

Is balance possible? In a world where we are constantly juggling responsibilities is it truly possible to achieve perfect balance in our lives?

balance

We are constantly being pulled in so many different directions: work reports, deadlines, children’s play dates, hobbies, school, part-time jobs, etc. The list goes on and on … and on. Even your house is calling your name! The front door needs to be fixed, there’s a leak in your bathroom, and you have to paint the living room walls because your children “ran out of paper”. Yikes! You think, “Gosh, there’s not enough time in a day!” A strenuous work load and  having to make time for your family along with household chores is difficult to balance. You feel absolutely exhausted even though you’re not pushing forward or making any progress with anything. Why do you feel this way? Because you are trying to balance everything in your life.

If balance is so impossible to achieve then what are we doing every day to make time for the different responsibilities in our life?

It’s called counterbalance.

Work-Life-Balance41

Counterbalancing is simply prioritizing. It is the constant shift of our attention from one thing to another to make time for everything in our lives. This will naturally force you off-balance. That’s okay, as long as it is done so for the right reasons. Sometimes you have to be at the top, the bottom, or to the extreme left or right side in order to give your attention to your priorities.

There are two parts of your life that you will continually attempt to balance out:

  1. Work and life
  2. Within work and within life separately

There will be times at work where you may feel like you are being pulled in different directions. Priorities at work are ever-changing which is completely normal. You will be at extreme ends of the scale much of the time.

In order to counter balance your life there are three things that need constant attention:

  1. Family and friends
  2. Body and spirit
  3. Personal needs

balance3

Family and Friends

  • Make time to spend time with those close to you, especially family; even if it involves putting household chores, work responsibilities, and hobbies on the back burner. Just be sure when doing so, it doesn’t produce negative effects. You have to pick and choose what needs to be taken care of and what can be put off.

Body and Spirit

  • I am a huge advocate for taking care of your body and spirit. Whatever direction you choose to take for physical activity: yoga, weight lifting, running, walking, etc. It is truly important to take of yourself. When it comes to spirit everyone has different beliefs. You can take care of your spirit by joining a church, meditating, giving back to the community, etc. Exercising your body and spirit is important to living a healthy lifestyle. Stress relief will naturally help balance your life.

Personal Needs

  • Let’s face it. We just don’t put aside time for ourselves. When you work full-time and have a family to take care of, it’s easy to put your own needs on the back burner. The thing is, setting aside time for yourself is very important. Even if it’s just 5-10 minutes every morning before the kids get up or on your lunch break from work … 5 – 10 minutes alone to reflect will relieve so much built up stress! Go get your nails done, a massage, go for a walk, read a book, go to the gym, go shopping, go to a gun range, meditate, participate in yoga, etc. We don’t utilize these things as often as we should.
  • Not only should you set aside time for what you love but you should take care of yourself just as well as you take of your family. If you have a family, I’m sure you are strict in making sure your family eats three meals a day but do you, yes you as an individual, make time to eat? Probably not. Here’s an example; my mother played such a huge roll in my health when I was growing up. She made sure my brother and I ate 3 meals a day, that’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The problem? She doesn’t eat breakfast, never has, and rarely eats lunch, if she does its very small maybe a granola bar. She is such a hard worker that she puts her work and family needs before her own. I am sure she is not the only one that does this. You, the one reading this, probably falls into this same routine. You have to make time to nourish your body.

Below are a  few simple ways you can satisfy your own personal needs at home and/or at work. 

  1. Snacks – If you are a person who doesn’t eat enough or your work doesn’t allow you take very long breaks, buy snacks specifically designated for your office. You go to the grocery store for your family right? Well, buy your own snacks you can take with you to work. You can also meal prep if you have the time to cook your meals for the week.
  2. Music – Music is extremely underutilized as a stress reliever. Maybe your office doesn’t allow you to play music. That’s okay. Bring some headphones with you. When you go on your break walk outside, sit down, plug-in and relax. Whatever music relaxes you is what I recommend. When I am trying to clear my mind I use an app called Spotify and type in “Relaxing Music” in the search bar. It brings up different playlists I can choose from. I choose one, sit back, and chill.
  3. Meditation – This may require some practice but once you learn how to meditate and clear your mind it works wonders! There are also apps out there that will walk you through the meditation and breathing process.
  4. Reading – Reading a book is an easy way to escape the real world. Whatever interests you, fiction, science, fantasy, romance, etc, bring your favorite book with you and read on your break. It will refresh your mind and allow you to escape reality!
  5. Manicures & Pedicures – I am targeting mostly women with this one, not saying that there aren’t men out there who love these, but a large majority of women are fans of manicures and pedicures. This is such a great way to clean yourself up, especially if it’s been a long week planting or playing with your kids. The plus is that it’s relaxing! (They have massage chairs that will make you feel like jello) ;).
  6. Date Night – Let’s face it, when you have a family it’s difficult to designate time for dates but I think it is a necessity. Now, you obviously can’t go on a date at work but you can certainly make time for it. Making time for date night with your significant other is very important not only for you as an individual but for your relationship. It’s refreshing to get that alone time and chances are you probably need that “connection” (you pickin’ up what im puttin’ down?)
  7. Set aside alone time in the morning or at night – Talk to your family or significant other and just let them know that you want ten minutes alone just to relax and de-stress. It can be in the morning before your kids wake up or at night after they go to bed. For those of you who don’t have families to take care of setting aside time should be easier! No excuses! 😉 Setting aside mental time will help you rejuvenate and recharge.
  8. Lists – Now, I know some of you are list people. If there are multiple things you need to take care of make a list AND prioritize; key word being PRIORITIZE. That is how you truly counterbalance.

Join the conversation

  • Do you think it is possible to achieve true balance in life? Or, are we constantly shifting from one side to the other counterbalancing our work responsibilities and life responsibilities?
  • What are some things you do to either counterbalance or achieve true balance within your own life?

-mk

Diet or Exercise – Which one is more important? Part. 1

Part 1: Diet or Exercise – Which one is more important?

For the past couple of days I have been posing this question to my friends on Facebook, my followers on Instagram and on Twitter and the responses have been amazing!

So, which one is more important?

I found that choosing one or the other can be very situational.

One blogger commented that,

“They are both important. But it depends on what either of them can and will do for someone. Are either for weight loss, disease prevention, diagnosis corrections, build of stamina, preparation of a marathon, walk increase. One may be more important than the other depending on the situation.”

Determining what your goals are is essential to figuring out where you should start and what you should focus on first. If you are working on weight loss many might say to focus on your diet first and later down the road exercise will come into play. Some would also say to focus on diet MAINLY along with a light fitness regimen.

Another blogger posted that,

Wellness is achieved through a balance of many elements. Nutrition and exercise are two of the most important factors in determining your health status. As a registered nurse, I educate patients on both topics. In terms of preventative health, lifestyle modifications like diet and exercise are a great defense against chronic illness. There is a direct correlation between diet/exercise and risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and many other debilitating illnesses. Diet is more crucial for my patient population because they are paralyzed and do not have the luxury of physical activity.”

Did you catch that?

Her patient population consists of people who are paralyzed. Do you think they have the luxury of exercise? Certainly not, diet is most important to keep their bodies as healthy as possible.

Almost all of the responses I received were in agreement with both of them (diet and exercise) being equally important as a whole, but when it came down to choosing one or the other nutrition took center stage.

What is considered good nutrition?

According to the National Food Service Management Institute, “good nutrition means getting the calories we need for energy and the nutrients we need for proper growth.” They also state that, “Variety, balance, and moderation are keys to good nutrition”. If we look at those three keys to good nutrition how many of us can honestly say that we pick the foods we eat because we need the nutrients it gives us? My guess would be not too many. We pick the foods we eat

because it’s what we like, it’s what we crave, out of habit, or addiction. Good nutrition can be achieved after we have educated ourselves on what foods give our body what it needs.

The link below lists types of foods and lists specific nutrients they offer!

http://www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php

Here are some pointers in achieving variety, balance, and moderation:rainbownutrition

  • Variety
  • An easy way to obtain variety in your diet is to make sure you’re meals include an array of different colors, much like a rainbow!
  • Balance
  •     Fruit and vegetables should make up half of your plate shown in picture B. The remaining half should be split between protein choice and starchy/whole grains choice.divided_plate_630
  •     Learn how to calculate the calories you need daily. The link below can help you figure out the total calories you need daily for your size and also show you how to calculate the calories you need to lose weight.

http://www.eatingwell.com/diet_nutrition_health/weight_loss_diet_plans/diet_reports_information/3_easy_ways_to_balance_your_di?page=2

  • Moderation

I know you have heard time and time again, “Moderation is key” Well, it is!

  • Moderation is the control or the regulation of food intake WITHOUT depriving yourself of the foods you love.

This is key when it comes to good nutrition or dieting.

Utilizing moderation in your diet does NOT mean depriving your body of the foods you crave or enjoy.

For instance, I LOVE chocolate chip cookies but does that mean I am going to sit down and eat the whole container? No. One or two cookies will suffice! This can also be applied to alcohol consumption. Ladies, I know we love our wine but does that mean we have to drink the whole bottle? No. Moderation is key. One or two glasses are all we truly need unless your ultimate goal is to get plastered … (yikes!)

Moderation also means “changing it up”.

Consuming the same foods in excess can cause major health issues. Some nutrients may accumulate to toxic amounts, which can lead to serious disease. For example, too much vitamin A during pregnancy can cause birth defects.

By “changing it up” we can lower toxic levels in our body. Instead of eating a banana every single morning try eating an apple one day, a banana the next, and maybe berries another day. This gives us a variety of different vitamins and minerals and not too much of the same vitamin or mineral.

What can good nutrition do for you?

No one can deny that good nutrition has unlimited health benefits. Good nutrition is essential for our bodies to operate optimally for a lifetime. Medical online states it perfectly,

“…the benefits of good nutrition can be found in physical and mental health because a healthy diet provides energy, promotes good sleep, and gives the body what it needs to stay healthy.”

Here is a list of health benefits good nutrition offers (just a few):

  • Healthy heart
  • Strong bones
  • Higher energy levels
  • Better weight control
  • Positive brain health
  • May reduce the risk for stroke and other cardiovascular diseases
  • Reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes
  • Help decrease bone loss

Above are some of the most important aspects of good nutrition. We can all agree that these are just a few examples among the thousands of ways to achieve good nutrition. Eating whole foods and drinking lots of water is the best way to maintain a healthy body. Try staying away from any beverages and snacks high in artificial ingredients and artificial sweeteners (splenda, equal, sweet ‘n’ low, etc.). Be sure to utilize the three keys to good nutrition: variety, balance, and moderation. Also, try to “eat a rainbow a day”; this simply means to choose colorful foods. These are just a few easy ways that will help you switch from an unhealthy diet to a nutrient dense, healthy diet.

If your ultimate goal is to live a healthy lifestyle nutrition alone won’t give that to you.

You have to be willing to put in the blood, sweat, and tears in the gym!

I know, I know … it’s hard and it hurts. Well, look at it this way, if it was easy every person in the world would be doing it! Nutrition and exercise truly go hand in hand. They’re “two peas in a pod”, “two halves to a whole”, or even your “yin and yang”; you truly cannot have one without the other unless you have a physical impairment hindering you from moving your body. Physical exercise should be as much of a necessity as breathing!

Let me paint a picture for you.

You don’t exercise nor do you like to. You believe that you are a healthy individual because you “never” get sick during flu season. You consider yourself a pretty healthy person even though that long walk from your car to your office or climbing a couple of flights of stairs makes you feel like you just ran a marathon! You’re pretty convinced that you just don’t NEED to exercise because you “never” get sick.

What happens as you age and maintain this sedentary lifestyle?

Your heart grows weak and heavy; it isn’t strong enough to pump the blood your body needs to move effortlessly. Heavy breathing ensues not just when you walk up a flight of stairs but the slightest physical exertion standing up out of a chair can throw you into a breathing frenzy! Your muscles slowly waste away not only as a result of aging but as a result of inactivity making you prone to injury. You also develop osteoporosis in your bones making them very brittle, frail, and very susceptible to fractures or injury.

Before you know it, you’re either bed ridden or ordered to be in a wheel chair for the remainder of your life all because you decided not to designate only 30 minutes a day to exercise.

Here is an amazing fact:

Just 30 minutes of cardio and weight lifting each day can have an amazing effect on your bones when they…

6.9.2015 – Part.2 of Diet or Exercise – Which is more important?

meagan kunisch