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

 

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Favorite Paleo Pins of the Week!

I’ve considered doing a weekly post with some of my favorite food pins from Pinterest. Coming soon will also be Juice recipes for those of you who have picked up juicing like we just did. We have been doing it with a specific idea in mind: fight cancer. I don’t know how well it works, but we will find out in the coming months. For now, enjoy these Paleo Recipes!

Wheat Free Pancakes

Wheat Free Pancakes

 

Zucchini Spice Muffins

Zucchini Spice Muffins

Banana, Bacon, Almond Butter Snack

Banana, Bacon, Almond Butter Snack

Almond Flour Breakfast BiscuitsIf you are not on pinterest you need to be on it! If you are then please click on this link and follow my boards! http://www.pinterest.com/levyii/boards

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!

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!

Follow along on twitter or instagram and on pinterest

Muscle Group of the Week: Leg Workouts

First I want to apologize for going so long between posts. I know not too many people read this but it seems my frozen turkey debacle was a big hit on thanksgiving. My find of putting the turkey in a cooler while it thaws was a gem and it worked perfectly. I wish I had saved my pictures of our Thanksgiving meal but I did hang on to the homemade apple pie we had!
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Needless to say the pie did not last long. Eventually I hope to add it to the recipes section on here. I feel those are lacking in quantity and quality.

Now, on to leg workouts. Today I will post a handful of pictures that explain pretty well how to perform these exercises. As always, you should aim to do 3-4 sets with 8-12 reps. Going heavy on leg day is a good idea because they are such a large muscle group. They can be hard to build muscle in so by going heavy you are really creating work for your body.

Sumo Deadlifts
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Sumo Deadlifts are great because they work the quads, hamstring, glutes and your back. Deadlifts in general are a compound exercise that should be in everyone’s arsenal.

Deadlifts
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As you can see in the picture, deadlifts work more than just the legs. If you have never done deadlifts before, be sure to start light and watch some videos on proper form. This is one exercise where if performed incorrectly, you can really do some damage.

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This image shows many other exercises that all should be incorporated into your workout. The front and back squat should be required. They really target the quads and will give nice development to them. Leg press is another great way to fatigue the quads. Again, if you’ve never done these, go light for the first few times. If you can complete 12 reps for 3-4 sets then it’s time to up the weight. Leg extensions and leg curls are a good superset to really fatigue the muscles as well. Try to do 15 reps if you do these towards the end of your workout. You can also pyramid any of these sets. Start light and go 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15. It’s guaranteed you’ll have trouble walking the next day!

One group people neglect is the calf muscle. If your gym has sitting or standing calf machine please add these in to your workout.
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Another thing people don’t do is vary the angle of the calf muscle. Just keeping your feet pointed forward only targets the main muscle, the gastrocnemius. Pointing your toes inward and outward will develop the Soleus and Plantaris.
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Please whatever you do, just don’t let this happen to you. Friends don’t let friends not lift legs:
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Fitness Facts: Glutes!!

Fitness Facts: GLUTES
🔹Glutes is short for Gluteals, which are a group of 3 muscles that make up the buttocks and consist of the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, & gluteus maximus.
🔹The glutes are the largest & strongest muscle group in the human body.
🔹Around 68% of the glutes are comprised of slow-twitch muscle fibers, which react best to low weight, high rep exercises. One of the best ways to develop the glutes is to start with the low rep heavier compound leg exercises (ex: squats, deadlifts, or lunges), then transition to isolation with low weight and high rep (ex: walking lunges, lateral band walks, rear kicks… etc).
🔹Excessive sitting or standing can often lead to tight hip flexors, imbalanced quadricep strength, and tight hamstrings. This can lead to injury, poor posture, or chronic lower back pain. Strengthening the glutes can help prevent a lot of these negative effects.
🔹Well balanced glutes not only look better, but can also help exercise performance! Running speed, jump height, and balance can all be improved with stronger glutes.
🔹The heels are the base of the feet that support the majority of the glutes in most standing exercises (squats, deadlifts, lunges… etc), so generally if more energy is driven down into the heels, the more the glutes will be activated.
🔹Here are some of the best exercises to work the 3 glute muscles: squats or deadlifts for the gluteus maximus, 1-legged deadlifts or lunges for the gluteus medius, and lateral band walks or side-lying leg lifts for the gluteus minimus.
🔹Stair climbing, walking lunges, & sprinting are great cardio exercises that also target the glutes.

Why Am I So Fat?!

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Have you ever felt like doing this? I’m almost positive I have actual performed this feat at one point. I used to clear a package of double stuffed Oreo cookies no problem. Ben and Jerry’s? I could eat that pint faster than you could take it away from me!

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Then the next day would be followed by this….

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Anyone ever feel like that in the morning?? It’s hard to break the cycle of eating because you feel bad and then feeling bad because you ate. The truth is, most of us use food as comfort, there’s a reason they coined it comfort food. It creeps up on you before you know it and one day you’re in the shower and you look down and your feet have disappeared!

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However all is not lost!! As I said before, I used to weight 160lbs. If you are reading this for the first time….here’s an example:

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Head on over to my post Fat Kid Living Inside Me for more fat kid pictures (you know you’re dying to see them!)
I can proudly say that now, 6 years later, I’m 120lbs (don’t panic, it only took 8 months to get to that weight, I’ve kept it off for 6 years) and I now look like this:

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Special thanks goes out to my amazing husband for being the source of my inspiration, the motivation behind my drive, and the completion to my life!
Here is a small list of success tips I have that will help motivate you all through your journeys:

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Happy hump day everyone!

Alcohol, chocolate, water OH MY!

Here’s a little bit of information if you are wondering if you can still incorporate chocolate into your diet:

Fitness Facts: CHOCOLATE:
🔹Excessive consumption of Chocolate can definitely be counter productive to a healthy lifestyle, but when added to a diet in small amounts it can provide benefits to both health & fitness!
🔹Most of the benefits from chocolate come from it’s primary ingredient cocoa, so the more cocoa in the chocolate the more benficial it can be. Out of the main 3 types of chocolate (dark, milk, & white), dark chocolate contains the most cocoa.
🔹Chocolate contains notable amounts of Potassium, Iron, & Magnesium, which help with muscle function and preventing cramps.
🔹Chocolate contains the flavonoid Epicatechin, which binds to muscle receptors and may help them resist fatigue.
🔹Chocolate increases blood flow to the heart as well as to the brain, so it can help improve cognitive function and muscle memory.
🔹Chocolate can decrease levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL), as well as decrease blood sugar levels.
🔹Eating a small amount of chocolate 2-3x/week can help lower blood pressure, as well as help prevent Type 2 Diabetes, blood clots, stroke, and arteriosclerosis.
🔹Dark chocolate contains caffeine! A 1.5 ounce bar contains about 27 mg.
🔹To add healthy doses of chocolate into your diet, you can add chocolate chips to trail mix, or add a few scoops of cocoa to your protein or meal replacement shakes to increase the flavor and health value!

Additionally here is some information pertaining to alcohol consumption while dieting:
Fitness Facts: ALCOHOL:
🔹Excess amounts of alcohol can definitely be hazardous to the health & well being of the consumer, but in moderate amounts alcohol can be beneficial!
🔹Moderation with alcohol is defined as no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women. One drink can be a beer, 6 fl oz of wine, or shot of liquor.
🔹Moderate drinkers tend to live longer than people who don’t drink at all or those who drink in excess.
🔹Low amounts of alcohol can increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL).
🔹Alcohol acts as a blood thinner, like aspirin. So when consumed in moderation, it can reduce the likelihood of developing blood clots or coronary heart disease.
🔹If your goal is to gain muscle, don’t drink alcohol immediately pre or post-workout since it causes a drop in testosterone levels while increasing cortisol, a hormone that destroys muscle.
🔹When it comes to alcohol & weight loss, moderate drinking should be cut back to no more than 1-3 drinks/week. Not only does alcohol contain calories (7 calories per gram- that’s more than protein or carbs), but because it takes longer to metabolize in the body than other substances it can slow the metabolism down.
🔹The best way to minimize caloric intake in alcoholic drinks is to either drink the liquor straight, or use a low calorie mixer such as tonic, club soda or watered down fruit juice.
🔹To minimize the damaging effects alcohol can have on your body, drink 1 glass of water for every drink you drank. Especially if you drank close to bedtime! The digestive process slows down when you sleep so diluting the alcohol will ease it’s absorption. And of course this will also make for a less intense hangover 😉

Lastly I will expand on the subject of water consumption:
1st topic of many Fitness Facts to come: WATER:
🔹The human body is 50-65% water. Men contain more water than women.
🔹 Drinking a full glass of water before a meal has been proven to increase weight loss.
🔹 Warm water makes you feel full.
🔹 Ice water boosts your metabolism & immune system.
🔹 Cold water stimulates your brain to release mood-boosting endorphins.
🔹 Dehydration is one of the leading causes of headaches, cramps, lack of energy, constipation, and high blood pressure.
🔹 If you’re thirsty, you’re probably already mildy dehydrated. Don’t wait to be thirsty to drink water- drink it throughout the day.
🔹 Divide your weight (in pounds) in half= that’s at least how many fluid ounces of water you should drink a day.
Example: If you weigh 150lbs, 150/2= 75 fl oz (about 4.5 average bottles of water)
🔹 When consuming protein powders to build mass, you need to increase your water intake.
🔹 Excess protein puts extra stress on the kidneys and liver, and water helps the filtration process.