IIFYM: Part 2 Are you doing it right?

images4MRCJONZWe have all heard the phrase “IIFYM brah!” and have seen the endless number of Poptart pictures on Instagram. IIFYM has been huge in the diet and workout industry as of lately. Even my first post on IIFYM has seen the most hits out of all the ones here on my blog. I personally shift back and forth from eating things I WANT to eat and eating things I SHOULD eat when it comes to macro tracking. First let’s start with the three macros one tracks when dieting or bulking: Fat, Protein and Carbs. There are a ton of sites and ways to calculate your macros and calories. From IIFYM.com to the plethora of google results you can get just by typing it in, it might be hard to choose the right formula.

Fret no more! Direct your attention to this article written by a good friend of mine: Scott Herman Fitness Now this isn’t a shameless plug or a bit of spam. I’ve known him since we were in high school and his fitness success has exploded on the internet. You can find him on Youtube as well and follow all his free workout videos.

By calculating the correct number of calories and macro percentages based on your goals, you will find that losing weight or gaining weight can be very easy.

One of the biggest takeaways from IIFYM however is what you put into your body. Many of these IGers will swear by IIFYM and because they are lean and “make gainz” IIFYM and eating poptarts and pizza must be right. Here is where I disagree. There are so many chemical in today’s foods that by eating whatever you want as long as it fits your macros, can set your body up for self destruction later on. Why do I say this? Another good friend of mine recently beat cancer by changing his diet and incorporating raw greens juicing and healthy organic foods into his diet. He is a professional bodybuilder and admits to eating fast food at least once a week as his cheat meal before his cancer diagnosis. After cancer, he realized that more should go into what you put into your body. Forget about all the conspiracy theories and people who go for media drama and hype, there are a number of chemicals that are banned in other countries but not here in the US (for those readers who are outside of the US, check online to see if any other chemicals your nation might use are considered harmful).

By raw juicing and eating organic, grass fed beef and chicken, you can rid your body of the harmful chemicals that are snuck into your foods. While it’s great to look lean and cut, what good is that going to do you if you decrease your future quality of life? Be smart about this folks!!

Now I don’t claim to have vast amounts of knowledge in dieting and nutrition. However I’m sure this photo will prove that I have made great progress in trying to understand health and fitness:

 

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While it might be fun to eat poptarts and pizza, please consider the damage you may be causing to your body. Instead, focus on clean foods that will round out your macros while allowing yourself to cheat once and a while so you don’t binge on snack foods. If you have any questions on counting calories or macros, comment below and we will get back to you right away!

As always, following along on Instagram and come on over to our Facebook page Fitness by Claire

 

Mango Strawberry Salsa

Even though the Polar Vortex has made it’s way down here to sunny South Florida, that’s no reason to not enjoy some flavors of summer with your dinner! I recently made my Broiled Tilapia and decided that instead of the bread crumb topping I usually put on it, I would do a Strawberry Mango salsa instead. Ingredients are simple and the instructions are even easier!!

Ingredients

3/4 Cup Strawberries, finely diced
3/4 Cup Mangos, finely diced
1/4 Cup Red Onion, finely chopped
6 Basil Leaves, finely chopped
1 TBSP Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper

Combine all the ingredients together and place in the fridge for a few hours to chill. Use this as a topping for your favorite fish, chicken or even steak, it’s great on everything!!

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Follow along on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter!

Chicken Salad without Mayo

Chicken salad is always a great go to for quick sandwiches for both kids and adults. Many recipes though call for the use of mayo in chicken salad. Well the other day I combined my cool avocado cream sauce (link to recipe down below) with the rest of the ingredients for chicken salad and it was amazing!! Here is how I made it:

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts or tenderloins, boneless and skinless
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews or pecans
  • 1/2 dried cranberries or chopped grapes (or both)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • Cool Avocado Cream Sauce

Instructions:

  1. Boil chicken in a pot of water until cooked. Once cooked through, strain and shred with fork or hand mixer, or chop into cubes
  2. Mix chicken in a bowl with 1/2 cup of the Cool Avocado Cream sauce, and rest of ingredients.
  3. Chill in refrigerator and enjoy on it’s own or in sandwiches!

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This makes a great quick sandwich especially on some whole wheat bread or a whole wheat pita. I don’t have the nutritional value of a serving of this chicken salad but if enough request it I will figure it out and add it to the post. Thanks so much! As always follow along on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram

Cool Avocado Cream Sauce

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The other day I was looking for ways to incorporate avocado into my recipes. I don’t normally like avocado, I think it’s more of a texture than a taste issue for me. My husband however, loves it. So I decided to browse Pinterest for ways to include avocado and came across some Avocado Cream Sauce. It was perfect. The consistency came out a little thicker than I thought it would but I think it’s because I used some genetically enhanced avocado because it was HUGE!

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado chopped into cubes
  • 1/2 cup of no fat greek yogurt
  • juice of one lime
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. of cilantro, chopped

Instructions:

  1. chop up avocado and put into food processor or blender.
  2. add yogurt and lime juice and blend until smooth.
  3. add cilantro and salt to taste

Here is a photo of mine, but please excuse the pathetic look to it, the bowl was full and in two days it looked like this:

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We used the last bit of this to make a chicken salad last night that has cranberries, pecans and cashews. Stay tuned and happy Monday!

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies

Happy new year everyone! I apologize for the lack of posts and vow to make more this year. I took the last two weeks to relax with my husband as he had lots of time off which was wonderful! Because we spent the holidays lounging around, we found ourselves with a craving for sweet treats. I don’t usually buy treats when grocery shopping as we are trying to monitor calories and macros (this will be a post coming soon so stay tuned). I searched the internet and found a recipe for peanut butter cookies that did not include flour! Below are the ingredients and instructions for these cookies that only lasted 2 days:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup natural peanut butter. I used Crazy Richards chunky which was good but I think just natural Skippy or Jiff would be better.
  • 1 cup sugar. Some of you may not like sugar since it’s not as healthy and Stevia for baking is a great alternative. I used Dominos brown sugar here.
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda (so your cookies aren’t flat)
  • 2 teaspoons of flax meal (optional but a great source of omega-3 and highly recommended).

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. spoon 1 tbsp of mixture onto cookie sheet.
  4. Push a fork into the dough to get the classic peanut butter cookie look.
  5. cook in oven between 10-15 min until golden brown.
  6. take out of oven and transfer to cooling rack *warning: since there is no flour I found the cookies broke apart a bit when transferring them so either be gentle or wait until they cool before transferring.

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I hope you all enjoy them and as always come follow us on twitter and Instagram

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

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I’m always looking for new and exciting recipes to try and I happened to stumble across this gem. I made it right away today and as you can see, I already dipped into it, for the sole reason of reporting how good it is of course! This recipe calls for basic ingredients, most of them should be in your pantry already. I put all my ingredients into MyFitnessPal recipes and it came out to 147 calories for 1/2 cup serving with 19g of carbs and only 6 grams of fat. The ingredients you will need are:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats (not the quick cooking kind)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup. Now I use Walden Farms calorie free, gluten free, carb free, sugar free syrup

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  • 1 cup of milk (I used Pure Silk Coconut milk, made it taste awesome)
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-3 bananas (depending on the size of your baking dish)
  • 1 cup blueberries frozen or thawed

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Lightly grease your 2 qt baking dish, I just used a stick of butter and rubbed the bottom. In a bowl, mix the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to mix it all up. In a separate bowl, mix syrup, milk, egg, butter and vanilla
  3. Cut up the bananas and place the slices across the bottom of your baking dish. In my glass 2 qt dish I used 1 1/2 bananas to do this. Cover the bottom with the bananas. Put half the blueberries on top of the bananas. Sprinkle the dry mix on top of the blueberries making sure to get an even layer out of it. Pour the liquid mix on top of the dry mix, don’t stir it up, just leave it on top.
  4. Sprinkle the rest of the blueberries on top of the liquid mix and bake in the oven for 35-40 min or until the top is browned and the oats have set.

Enjoy!

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How to Beat the Thanksgiving Day Bulk

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Most Americans love the holidays. It is a time we get together with family, enjoy great food, and catch up on all that went on during the year. This is also the time where most Americans put on the most weight. With a spread like that pictured above, how can one NOT want to indulge during the holidays? Well if most of you are on a healthy diet or simply maintaining a healthy lifestyle, then these tips will surely help you avoid the holiday weight gain many of us dread.

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Tip #1: Drink Responsibly

This seems like a no-brainer however, when we get together with family, there seems to always bee alcohol available, especially around the holidays. Sam Adams has their pumpkin brew and I’m sure many other companies have similar beers. But, did you know that for example, the carbohydrates found in one pint of Guinness are 100% sugar! Sugars are simple carbs, used up faster by the body and can create unwanted insulin spikes! This can cause you to eat more than you wanted and crave more of the sugary sweet stuff you’ve worked so hard to avoid.

Tip #2: Drink H2O

Drink a full glass of water before you sit down to your Thanksgiving day dinner. Many times it is hard to differentiate between hunger and dehydration and that second and third helping you have, may have been better served with just another glass of water.

Tip #3: The 70/30 Rule

70% of the food on your plate should be protein in the form of turkey, chicken, or any meat of your choosing. Preferably the meat should be the white meat as it is lower in fat, but if you must have the dark meat (let’s face it, it tastes much better) just even it out with a mix of white and dark. Your protein should be no larger than approximately 4oz (basically the size of your fist or a deck of cards). 30% of the food on your plate should be from complex carbohydrates in the form of green beans (NOT the casserole), wild rice, or sweet potatoes (again, NOT the casserole).

Your carbs should equal no more than 2-3oz (the size of the inside of the palm of your hand). And that extra 10% we haven’t covered? Enjoy a small helping of the item of your choice. It IS the holiday season and that DOESN’T mean you can’t enjoy a small taste of Grandma’s homemade stuffing! Just make sure it’s ONLY 10% of what you’re eating!

Tip #4: Dessert

Beware! This is where you can really pack on the calories! Restrict your dessert to an item no larger than the palm of your hand, or no bigger than the size of your thumb. (So that 7 layer cake is OUT of the question!) Many of you may not like this suggestion. Hell, I’m known in my family to eat two slices of pie with ice cream before everyone is done being served their own slice! However, desserts are filled with sugar, butter, and are so calorically dense, that you could take all the precautions during dinner and throw it right out the window at dessert. Remember what you are working for and use your wits when it comes to these sweets.

Tip #5: No Round-Trips through the Table!

No going back for seconds or thirds… yet. Get enough in the first pass to keep you from going back. Many times, you’ll attempt to fill the plate in your hand again, either wasting food you’ll find you’re too full to eat, or an additional meal’s worth of calories you didn’t really need to eat. Stay where you are and catch up with family you might not have seen for awhile. Many times you’ll find a 2nd trip unnecessary if you’ve followed some of the tips above.

Tip #6: Wait 20 Minutes…

You’re allowed a trip back to the buffet… IF you wait 20 minutes first.

Wait 20 minutes after you’ve eaten your big holiday meal. If you’re still truly hungry, go back for a smaller version of whatever you’re hungry for.

However, chances are, after that 20 minute wait you’ll find you’re pleasantly satisfied. Why? It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to get the message to your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. Scarfing down a 2nd helping of Aunt May’s sweet potato casserole before your stomach has had time to get that memo to your brain can result in the top button of your pants relieving itself from the buttonhole without you even realizing it!

Tip #7: The Workouts

Try to get a good workout in the morning of Thanksgiving if your gym is open. If it’s not, go for a run. By burning off some calories you can increase your caloric deficit, helping you when it comes time to eat. You can also use Thanksgiving dinner as a refeed option and won’t have to feel as guilty or watch those calories so closely. The day after thanksgiving, while everyone is fighting each other in lines for Black Friday, go to the gym again. I’m almost positive they will be close to empty the day after, but not so much the Monday that follows. (Everyone feels guilty about the weekend they just had and all rush to the gym to work it off in one workout, we all know that won’t work!)

Tip #8: Diet Wisely Leading Up to Thanksgiving

Since weight loss or gain is determined based on calorie balance over time rather than day to day fluctuations, if you can create a decent calorie deficit during the week leading up to the meal, after you have that higher calorie meal on Thanksgiving, you’ll actually just set yourself back closer to baseline.

For example, even if you can remove 200 calories from your daily diet starting on Monday leading up to Thanksgiving that will be 600 additional calories you can add. Depending on where your calories are, 200 may seem like a lot. I know for me, if I eliminated 200 a day, I’d be down to 1100 calories a day, and I’d be hungry all week, which could be dangerous. Those of you on a bulk during the winter months, this might be a bit easier for you to do. If you are already on a caloric defict, try reducing by 50-100 calories a day.

Given a typical dinner meal of 500 calories, this allows you to eat 1100 calories that meal without gaining any weight (note that you may have typical dinner meals of more or less calories than this so the number would have to be adjusted).

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I know we won’t be doing much for Thanksgiving this year, I may cook a turkey, haven’t decided yet. However, I hope these tips will help some of you avoid feeling so guilty during the holidays. Family should understand your healthy lifestyle and help you rather than hinder you during this time. I know I love the holidays. In fact, it’s hard to go grocery shopping now as all the ingredients for ginger bread houses and pumpkin pies are screaming my name as I walk down the aisle (or atleast that’s how I see it!). By staying motivated and allowing yourself to relax a bit during the holiday, it will allow you to reduce your stress levels, which we know creates cortisol and increases body fat all on its own.

5 Halloween Treat Myths You Should Know!

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Halloween is fast upon us. Most of you have picked out your costumes, RSVP’d to your parties and have purchased candy to hand out to trick or treaters. For those of you trying to maintain a strict diet and weightloss program, this particular day may be difficult. With so much chocolate and sweet treats floating around, it could be difficult to pass it all up. Here we will provide you with 5 Halloween Treat myths to help you stay on track.

1. The Sugar Free Candy Myth

Just because it says “sugar free” it does not mean to go ahead and indulge in these candies. If you are looking at the sugar free hard candies, then you would be right in your assumption that they have fewer calories per piece. However, it is the sugar free chocolate candies you should watch out for. They tend to contain plenty of fat calories and can be worse in total calorie consumption compared to a sugar filled gummy candy.

2. The Size Illusion

Halloween candy is all about those cute fun sized little packages that make you think because it’s small, its ok to have. Let’s look at it this way: If you were to eat a full sized candy bar you probably would feel a little guilty after cosuming it, no? It wouldn’t impact your diet too much unless you are really cutting out sugar and you would continue about your day. This fully sized chocolate bar might contain 250-400 calories depending on what you ate. Now lets look at the bite sized candies. They typically have 70-100 calories per mini bar. The problem is, you might find yourself reaching for another an hour later, and then another, and then another. Before you know it, you’ve eaten a good 8-10 of the tiny candies, giving you 800-1000 calories to your day….at night! OH MY!

3. Dark Chocolate

When comparing dark chocolate to milk chocolate, yes, dark chocolate is the lesser of two evils. It will never be as healthy as an apple, a bowl of oatmeal or chicken breast. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of consuming large amounts of dark chocolate on Halloween. Keep your portions in check!

4. Raisins

Many people opt for the chocolate covered raisins over the chocolate covered peanuts. They seem to think that since raisins are fruit, they must be the better choice…..right? Well if you look at the macros, 20 grams of raisins have 90 calories, 3.2 grams of fat, 14.4 grams of carbs (13.6 of them from sugar) and 0.8 grams of protein.  20 grams of chocolate covered peanuts on the other hand, contain 109 calories, 6.7 grams of fat, 9.8 grams of carbs (only 7.6 grams from sugar) and 2.5 grams of protein. The fats in the peanuts are healthy fats and if you maintain good portion control, the peanuts get the win in this one!

5. How to Avoid Snacking

The trouble people have is reaching into that bowl in between the trick or treaters. One trick to ward off those cravings is to buy candy that you are not a fan of. Don’t go and buy your favorite peanut butter cups and butterfingers (I am guilty of this one!) but instead buy the candy you don’t really like, this way you are less inclined to reach into the bowl and snack!

Happy Halloween everyone, be safe, keep the diet in check, and we will see you again for how to maintain a good diet during Thanksgiving! Follow along on Twitter @levyii

Fitness Facts: STRESS

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🔹Stress does not just affect emotions and moods- it is something that can have a very physical effect on the body.
🔹High levels of stress are linked to all kinds of health issues, including high blood pressure, impaired immunity, insomnia, migraines, decreased muscle, increased fat storage, type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol, stroke, & even heart attack.
🔹The primary chemical the body releases during stress is called cortisol. Cortisol can have some positive benefits to the body, but constant high levels can be problematic.
🔹The body releases cortisol when it’s stressed as a safety precaution because it helps with the fight or flight response. It signals the release of glucose and fatty acids to the blood stream to provide energy for muscles.
🔹But too much cortisol can cause the body to increase storage of visceral fat- specifically the kind that stores around the belly. It also increases carbohydrate cravings- which can lead to over eating.
🔹Excess cortisol can cause muscles to tense & the heart rate to increase- so it’s very common for people to get muscle tension or pain, as well as headaches or migraines.
🔹Stress can also cause muscles to break down, as well as negatively impact muscle recovery time & exercise performance.
🔹Stress can also negatively affect reproductive systems. Women can get longer menstrual cycles & worse PMS symptoms, & men can get decreased testosterone or erectile dysfunction.
🔹There are many ways to minimize the effect of stress on your body. The best way to start would be determining the sources of stress in your life & considering better ways of coping with the sources, or consider removing some completely if possible.
🔹Exercise is one of the best activities to help prevent the negative effects of stress. The increased calorie burn & circulation burns off some excess cortisol, and can also allow for deeper sleep, which also decreases cortisol levels. Some other activites that can help are yoga, meditation, massage, sex, or recreational activities.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE #FITNESSFACTS

Information was pulled off Instagram, follow along at fitnessbyclaire for fitness motivation and tips!

IIFYM: If It Fits Your Macros

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I’m sure lots of people by now have heard of Macros when researching diet options. First let me start by saying that dieting should not be a “diet”, it should be a lifestyle. Once you accept that you are no longer dieting and you are choosing to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you will find it much easier to stick to!

Macronutrient ratios

40-60% CARB    25-35% PROTEIN    15-25% FAT         Higher-carb for bodybuilding
30-50% CARB    25-35% PROTEIN    25-35% FAT         Moderate-carb for maintenance
30-50% CARB    40-50% PROTEIN   30-40% FAT        Lower-carb for fat loss
Your first task should be in deciding what your nutritional goals are. While building lean mass and fat loss can occur simultaneously, it’s best if you do one before the other. I suggest if you have the fat to lose, work on the fat loss first and then concentrate on building lean muscle.
Notice that fat never goes below 15 percent of total calories. Since hormones are constructed from cholesterol and other fat molecules, getting any less than that can actually suppress normal hormone levels. This also has a negative effect on the bodily functions driven by those hormones, including growth and development, metabolism, reproduction, and mood. Low fat intake can also impair absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Even worse, not getting enough essential fatty acids can increase your risk of colon cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.
Now body type also plays a role with weight loss and muscle building. The three body types are Ectomorph, Mesomorph and Endomorph.
ECTOMORPH

An Ectomorph is best described as slender. Characteristically, they have delicate bone structure, small shoulders and chest, and a fast metabolism. Ectomorphs are the classic “hardgainers.” They find it hard to gain weight and put on mass.

On the plus side, it’s easy for them to get lean. They tend to require a greater percentage of carbohydrates to prevent muscle catabolism, as well as a higher calorie intake overall.

MESOMORPH

A mesomorph is someone who trends toward being muscular. They’re often strong, athletic hard-body types with well-defined muscles, broad shoulders, and dense bone structure. Mesomorphs generally have little trouble gaining muscle or losing fat, though they will put on fat more readily than ectomorphs.

They can handle a moderate level of carbs due to their ample capacity to store muscle glycogen. Weight gain will happen, however, if carbs and calories are overly high. No body type is immune to a bad diet!

ENDOMORPH

The endomorph is best described as soft. They typically have a round or pear-shaped body, shorter limbs, a stocky build, and a slower metabolism.

Endomorphs can put on a lot of muscle, but they also tend to carry more adipose tissue and thus have a greater propensity to store fat. Because excess carbohydrates in the endomorph’s diet end up as fat, a high carbohydrate intake will make it difficult for them to get lean or lose weight

Now, I weigh about 122lbs and I’m trying to lean down to about 115lbs. I have broken my macros down as follows:

I follow the 50% 25% 25% rule where 50% of my calories come from protein, and 25% from carbs and fats. I respond well to a low carb diet anyway so it’s easy to maintain that low carb level.

Total calories to eat in a day: 1440 (this is based on a few mathematical calculations along with my activity level and how I know my body to react to exercise)

Protein = 720 calories or 180g of protein.

Carbohydrates = 360 calories or 90g of carbs

Fats = 360 calories or 40g of fats

I tend to keep my carbs a bit lower than 90g and my fats a bit higher due to following the Primal Diet. These numbers can be played with based on your goals and bodyweight.

Start tracking what it is you eat and you’ll be surprised just what fits within your macros. Now, you should also know that just because you have some wiggle room in your carb allowance, that does not mean you can go out and eat a cake and feel good about it. Theres so much sugar in something like that, that it will have a negative impact on what you are doing.

Keep these tips in mind as the holidays are fast approaching. Want to know how to avoid the weight gain and maintain your healthy lifestyle while still indulging with family these holidays? Follow us here for holiday diet tips and tricks to help you stay on track!

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