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:



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



Apple Cider Vinegar

Many people question the validity of Apple Cider Vinegar having as many health benefits as scientists say it does. I wanted to take this opportunity to provide some information I came across on apple cider vinegar and why you should incorporate this into your diet daily!


Apple cider vinegar is purported to treat numerous diseases, health   conditions, and annoyances. To name a few, it kills  head lice, reverses aging, eases digestion, prevents flu, prevents acne, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation, kills fungus, regulate pH balance, dissolves kidney stones and helps relieve allergies, migraines, asthma, nausea,  heart burn and wash toxins from the body.      Can it really do all these things? You bet it can and more! But what does science say?

  • Diabetes. The effect of apple cider vinegar on blood sugar levels is   perhaps the best researched and the most promising of APV’s  health benefits. Several studies have found that   vinegar may help lower glucose levels. For instance, a study (White, A. Diabetes Care, November 2007)  of 11   people with type 2 diabetes found that taking two tablespoons of apple   cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4%-6%. In another study from Arizona State University, subjects took a drink of 20 grams of apple cider vinegar and   40 grams of water. Those with insulin   resistance who drank the vinegar had 34% lower postprandial (after-meal)   glucose compared to controls. Vinegar may be the most cost-effective medicine in history, but most people with diabetes still aren’t taking it.
  • High Cholesterol. A 2006 study reported in Medscape General Medicine, showed evidence that ACV could lower cholesterol.  In a study published in a foreign medical journal, scientists found an   apple cider vinegar-enhanced diet may increase in HDL (good   cholesterol), and reduce levels of triglycerides. Research in rats suggests that apple-cider vinegar can help  control triglycerides and cholesterol (Journal of Agricultural and  Food Chemistry, June 22, 2011).
  • Blood Pressure and Heart Health. Another study in rats found that vinegar could lower high blood   pressure. A large observational study also found that people who ate oil   and vinegar dressing on salads five to six times a week had lower rates   of heart disease than people who didn’t. Researchers   have suggested that ‘this reduction in blood pressure may be caused by the   significant reduction in renin activity and the subsequent decrease in   angiotensin II’. Potassium in   the vinegar ‘balances sodium levels in the body, which aids in   maintaining blood pressure within healthy limits’ and ‘apple cider   vinegar also contains magnesium, a mineral that works to relax   blood vessel walls and thus lower high blood pressure’.
  • CancerA few laboratory studies have found that vinegar may be   able to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. One study found that eating vinegar was   associated with a decreased risk of esophageal cancer. Another   associated it with an increased risk of bladder cancer.   In recent trials, pectin, which can be found in ACV, has shown promise   in helping to slow the growth of cancerous cells within the prostate (http://www.news-medical.net/news/20100702/Modified-Citrus-Pectin-holds-promise-against-prostate-cancer.aspx).   In addition, apple cider vinegar’s acidity aids in detoxifying and   cleansing the digestive tract and cleaning out the colon, which supports   the health of the prostate as well.
  • Weight LossFor thousands of years, vinegar has been used for   weight loss. White vinegar (and perhaps other types) might help people   feel full. A  study (Ostman, E. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005) of 12 people found that those who ate a piece of   bread along with small amounts of  vinegar felt fuller and more   satisfied than those who just ate the bread. A 2009 study on mice showed that consuming acetic acid (the active component in ACV), upregulates the expression of genes for   fatty acid oxidation enzymes in the liver causing a suppression in body   fat accumulation. In a double-blind experiment, obese Japanese were assigned to three different groups based on similar body weights, body mass indexes (BMI), and waist circumference. Each group drank a 500 ml drink   containing either 30ml, 15ml, or 0ml of vinegar daily for 12 weeks.   Those in the 30ml and 15ml groups had lower BMI, visceral fat area, waist circumference, serum triglyceride,   and body weight to the control group of 0ml. The 12-week weight losses   were modest: 1.2kg in the 15ml group and 1.7kg in the 30ml group.   These two groups consumed a similar number of calories to the control   group and also performed a similar amount of exercise, so the effect is   not likely to have been due to an impact on appetite or other lifestyle   changes. It was concluded that consumption of vinegar might reduce   obesity.
  • Alkaline Acid Balance: Some alternative practitioners recommend using apple cider vinegar to   restore alkaline acid balance. The theory behind the alkaline diet is   that our blood is slightly alkaline (with a normal pH level of between   7.35 and 7.45) and that our diet should reflect this pH level.   Proponents of the alkaline-acid theory believe that a diet high in   acid-producing foods leads to lack of energy, excessive mucous   production, infections, anxiety, irritability, headache, sore throat,   nasal and sinus congestion, allergic reactions, and increased risk of   conditions such as arthritis and gout

Read the full article here: http://preventdisease.com/news/13/071113_Is-Apple-Cider-Vinegar-That-Powerful-of-a-Health-Tonic-Science-Says-Yes.shtml


Summerly, J. (2013, July 11). Is Apple Cider Vinegar That Powerful of a Health Tonic? Science Says Yes. Retrieved March 12, 2014, from http://preventdisease.com/news/13/071113_Is-Apple-Cider-Vinegar-That-Powerful-of-a-Health-Tonic-Science-Says-Yes.shtml


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

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:


  • 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


  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!

>photo 1 (3)!

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


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!


  • 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


  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:

photo 2 (2)

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!

Halloween ABS: 13 in 2013!


Most of you have heard this before. Diet is 70% of your weight loss or muscle growth journey. While this is true, today we are going to give you 13 fantastic abdominal exercises that you can do right at home or in the gym. I get questions from people all the time about how I get my abs to show, and while they aren’t quite at the 6 pack formation I want just yet, they are coming along quite nicely:

photo 1 photo 2

I try to maintain my diet as much as possible but usually on the weekends I let it slack a bit as I don’t go to the gym either those two days. That being said, here are 13 exercises that might make you feel a little bit better after eating all that Halloween candy!

1. Body Weight Bridge


Lie down on the floor. Keep knees bent and feet on the floor. Wrap arms around your upper body. Lift your hip upward. Hold for one second. Return to starting position

2. Body Weight Crunch


Lie down on the floor. Feet are flat on the floor and knees are bent. Position hands behind your head but do not pull on your neck. Raise your upper body upward while keeping your lower back on the floor. Hold for one second. Return to starting position.

3. Body Weight Bicycle


Lie down on the floor. Lift legs so that your thighs are perpendicular with the ground. Put hands behind your head but do not pull on your neck. Move left elbow and right leg toward the body until they touch. Move left elbow and right leg back to starting position. At the same time, move right elbow and left leg toward the body until they touch. This is one repetition.

4. Body Weight Crunch Reverse


Lie down on the floor. Lift legs so that your thighs are perpendicular with the ground. Position hands at your sides to stabilize position. Lift lower body towards the ceiling. Stop when only upper back is touching on the floor. Hold for one second. Return to starting position.

5. Heel Touch


Lie down on the floor. Feet are flat on the floor and knees are bent. Position arms to your side. Lift shoulders off the floor. Touch your left heel with your left hand. Hold for one second. Return to starting position. Touch your right heel with your right hand. Hold for one second. Return to starting position. This is one repetition.

6. Plank


Lie prone on the floor. Raise yourself up so that only your toes and forearms are on the floor. Keep your back straight. Hold for as long as possible.

7. Side Plank


Lie on your side. Make sure one leg is on top of the other. Position your forearm on the floor perpendicular with your body. Use your forearm to lift your upper body off the ground. The other arm is placed on the side of your body. Hold for as long as possible.

8. Body Weight Pull In Seated

93_1 93_2

Sit at the end of the bench and hold onto the bench with both hands. Lie back and raise your legs until you reach a position of balance. Keep legs straight. Bend Legs toward your upper body while you simultaneously move your upper body towards your thighs. Hold this position for one second before return to starting postion.

9. Scissor Kick


Lie down on the floor. Place hands next to your sides. Extend legs fully and slightly elevated. While keeping legs straight, raise one leg up. As you lower leg, raise the other leg up. This is one repetition.

10. Sit-Up


Lie back on the floor. Put hands behind your head but do not pull on your neck. Knees are bent and feet are on the floor. Raise your upper body upward. Hold for one second. Return to starting position.

11. Body Weight Toe Touch


Lie down on the floor. Lift legs until legs are pependicular with the floor. Fully extend your arms above you. Reach for your toes with your hands. Hold for one second. Return to starting position.

12. Bodyweight Twist


Lie down on the floor. Lift legs until thighs are perpendicular with the ground. Keep legs straight. Fully extend your arms to your sides. While twisting the upper body, lower your legs to one side. Hold for one second. Return to starting position. While twisting the upper body, lower your legs to the other side. Hold for one second. Return to starting position.

13. Russian Twist


Sit down with your feet flat on the mat. Your knees should be bent. Lean back slightly. Position your hands together and keep your hands in this position for the rest of the movement (you can also hold a light dumbbell or medicine ball for more advanced exercise). Your arms should be perpendicular with your upper body. Twist your torso in one direction. Hold for one second. Twist your torso in the other direction. Hold for one second. This is one repetition.

So there you have 13 abdominal exercises to add to your arsenal. Complete each one 25-30 times. If you can not do them without stopping, take a break as many times as needed but complete 25-30 reps, 3 sets for each exercise. You don’t need to do all 13. Pick 3 for lower abs, 3 for your obliques and 3 for upper abs and this will round out your workout. Next week we will post a sample diet to follow while you try to bring out those abs! Happy Halloween everyone and be safe!

Follow me on Instagram at Fitnessbyclaire or on Twitter @Levyii Join us on Facebook at Fitness By Claire

IIFYM: If It Fits Your Macros


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.

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.


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!


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!

Follow on Instagram @eatliftinspire for recipes and workout motivation!

Follow along on Twitter @levyii for blog updates and workout tips!


Fitness Facts: Fat

Fitness Facts: FAT:
🔹Believe it or not, fat is a nutrient! It is crucial for normal body function and without it we could not live.
🔹Fat plays a vital role in insulating body organs, maintaining body temperature, promoting healthy cell function, maintaining healthy skin and hair, and even preventing disease.
🔹Another of the main purposes of fat is as a source of energy- the body can pull on its fat reserves and convert it into glucose.
🔹But too much reserve fat can definitely be unhealthy! Excess fat can negatively affect many of the body’s processes, including digestion, respiration, circulation, and even brain function.
🔹Large amounts of excess fat can lead to many types of lifestyle disorders & diseases, including low energy, low self esteem, joint, muscle, & nerve pain, asthma, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart attack and even death.
🔹The human body creates fat storage from excess calories. Excess calories are calories that have been consumed and not burned through daily living and exercise.
🔹To burn excess fat, you must burn more calories than you consume. The best way to do this would be to eat a low calorie nutritionally balanced diet and exercise at a challenging intensity for at least 30 minutes 4-6 days a week.
🔹1 lb of fat = 3,500 calories. An average individual can healthily burn fat at a minimum rate of 1-2 lbs/week by creating a deficit in daily calorie intake + burn. To burn 2 lbs/week (7,000 cals), create a 1,000 cal/day calorie deficit.
🔹There are many online and mobile resources to track calorie intake & burn! From websites, phone apps, food logs, pedometers, or even wrist or arm bands, there is an abundance of ways to monitor calories and track fat loss.

Fitness Facts: Sleep

Fitness Facts: SLEEP:
🔹Sleep is a crucial factor for any fitness goal, whether it’s weight loss, general health, or muscle gain.
🔹7-9 hours of sleep per night is recommended, while any more or less can be unhealthy.
🔹On average, people that get enough sleep are less over weight, have less lifestyle disorders & diseases, and live longer than people that are sleep deprived.
🔹The human body releases a large blend of chemicals & hormones during sleep, almost all with the purpose of rebuilding and recovering the body.
🔹During sleep, the pituitary gland secretes more growth hormones than during waking hours. Growth hormones aid in fat loss, muscle building, & cell regeneration.
🔹Sleep suppresses appetite and raises metabolism, while allowing the body to rest and recover.
🔹Lack of sleep can raise levels of cortisol in the blood, which can lower metabolism, slow down healing, increase stress, and decrease the body’s ability to build muscle mass.
🔹Poor sleep is more dangerous to women than to men. Women have higher risks of cardiovascular problems when they don’t get enough rest.
🔹A minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity a day increases the body’s ability to fall asleep quicker & deeper! Try to exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime for the best results.

Fitness Facts: Running

Fitness Facts: RUNNING:
🔹Running is a great form of cardio & can provide many benefits when combined with a regular strength training routine.
🔹Frequent running can boost the immune system, decrease stress, lower anxiety & depression, lower blood pressure, increase metabolism, & bring more circulation to the brain.
🔹Running a mile can burn between 100-400 calories, depending on the length of time, the weight, & activity level of the runner.
🔹Outdoor running generally burns more calories than on the treadmill, due to the forward propulsion that is needed on ground. Air & wind resistance also plays a part outdoors.
🔹There are 2 primary benefits of treadmill running: once the pace is set, the runner has to keep up with the machine, while outdoors the pace can pick up or slow down periodically. The other largest benefit is the decreased pressure on the joints.
🔹Moderate impact on joints can be a good thing! Running in moderation decreases the risk of bone related diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis.
🔹Because the body hits the ground with 2-3x it’s body weight during running, the most predominate site of injury for runners is the knees. To prevent injury make sure to wear appropriate shoes, stretch before & after the run, stay hydrated & nourished, and focus on proper form.
🔹Basic form tips: Torso should be straight up, not leaning forward. Relax the shoulders away from the ears. Lead with the hips (Don’t let the hips lean back- especially on an incline). Keep the knees low (Don’t let them come up too high toward the torso- this will minimize the impact on the knees when the feet land). Arms should move forward & back- don’t let them cross the midline of the body.