Faqs

Nutrition (74)

I was at the grocery store today and found 100% all natural maple syrup but it said it had 50g of sugar in 1/4 cup, that seems so crazy, but I keep finding recipes with all natural maple syrup…I’m confused. Also what about dried fruit??

Not all clean recipes are geared towards weight loss or leaning out. You just have to be careful and use it sparingly. When you dry fruit it shrinks and keeps the same amount of sugar. So it would be wiser to eat a piece of fruit verses a dried piece; when buying maple syrup, look for grade B! It contains more minerals and nutrients…

 

Does anyone know what’s better to eat, less chemicals, pollution? Wild caught or farm raised fish?

Wild baby! Farm raised fish have often been fed artificial foods packed with chemicals to stimulate growth and ward off parasites.

 

I tried making spaghetti squash yesterday, is it supposed to be mushy??

You might have over-cooked it. It should keep a stringy texture and actually kind of look like noodles. If you over-cook it, it just becomes a mushy mess and not as tasty. I usually just cut it in half and throw it in the oven (or, even just poke a couple holes and put it in whole). After 25-30 minutes, I’ll cut it in half or test it. When it still keeps its shape, but you can easily scoop the insides, it is done!

 

What are your thoughts on Isagenix Cleanse for Life? I have a couple of friends proclaiming it a “miracle weight loss product;” one said she lost 5 lbs in a week & a half (she is not a biggest loser contestant! ha). I think it’s a matter of tightening up their nutrition & adding this is just timing but I thought I’d ask before I go jumping on this bandwagon. Do you know, does it really promote that much fat loss?

I have read up on the benefits of doing a cleanse (cellular, NOT colon;-) and there are countless benefits to doing a cleanse. The Isagenix Cleanse for Life can be used in 3 different ways… the deep cleanse which is 2 days of primarily just the cleanse for life with a few almonds and apple slices sprinkled throughout the 2 days, then there is the 1 day cleanse you can do, but I prefer the daily cleanse of drinking one scoop before bed and one scoop first thing in the morning. I am not a good cleanse candidate and going for 24-48 hours with NO food is not something I currently prescribe to (although the cross-country road trip where fast food is the only option may be something I could do;-).

As far as the weight loss goes… yes, you will lose weight, and yes some of that weight will be water, but I have personally watched SEVERAL success stories for fat loss through cleansing with Isagenix.

You can find more info on HOW the cleanse for life works here:http://www.stephaniekeenan.isagenix.com/us/en/cleanseforlife_new.dhtml#

The science behind the cleanse for life is that there are toxins in our bodies… as a way to protect ourselves from these toxins, our bodies surround them with fat. The cleanse for life releases those toxins, therefore releasing the fat. (That is why you will hear “I released x pounds”). So, YES, it can lead to fat loss, but your initial 5 pound weight loss is probably water. Does that help?

 

The heat is up and I really want a water ice, are there any clean versions?

Generally these are just sugar and water so you’re better off making them yourself from pureed fruit (add sparkling water for an interesting texture)

Is it better to eat a tablespoon of coconut oil or take a protein shake before bed so that when your body sleeps it doesn’t eat your muscle? In addition, is it okay to give kids protein powder?

GREAT question…by all means have both. I NEVER go to bed hungry… even if I am chomping on broccoli at 11pm. If I go to bed hungry, there is a chance that I will have to resist the 2am peanut butter raid. (Saying that this is always the outcome is just setting me up for failure).

This is a good article about children and protein shakes. I would also add that you just want to make sure there are no artificial ingredients, but then again, you don’t have them so your shakes should be fine. http://www.livestrong.com/article/502132-can-children-have-whey-powder/

So I’ve been on a kick of my meal #5 (last meal before bed) of being cinnamon raisin Ezekiel toast with peanut butter or almond butter and either half a grapefruit or berries, is this ok or not?

Ideally those kinds of foods should be eaten earlier in the day so that your body can use it as fuel & burn it off but if it’s a choice between that and ice cream it’s better that you’re doing this! Try having a chocolate or vanilla Isalean shake instead as the combination of the protein and the flavour should knock your sweet craving on the head.

At night I have been drinking about a half a cup of dark chocolate almond milk and a teaspoon of peanut butter….it’s like a peanut butter cup…,is that okay?

It isn’t “unhealthy”, BUT if you want to pull out all the stops for the last 4 weeks, try taking it out and see how your results show up.

 

How do you deal with PMS cravings?

For PMS, I usually have another protein/veggie meal and if I am REALLY craving something sweet, I will have extra fruit. If I am craving something salty and crunchy, I go for a couple rice cakes with something like almond butter on them.

How do you deal with plateaus? How do you stay motivated?

When I hit a plateau, I first make sure I am doing everything I can do… getting all of my training in, resting enough, and logging my food (this one has caught up to me before). From there, I also take an inventory of the other factors in my life…

1.) Am I eating enough? (This isn’t usually a problem since my hunger takes over before I can under eat)
2.) Am I getting enough sleep? Not getting enough sleep can cause weight loss progress to come to a halt.
3.) Is there anything else affecting my hormone levels? (Including stress).

I also focus on getting stronger. I am always trying to push harder, sprint faster, and grow my muscles. Plateaus are a natural part of the fitness journey. Our bodies are really smart and if they sense any threat (famine, fight/flight, stress, etc.), they will hold onto precious body fat “just in case”.

 

 

For those of you that use Isagenix: do you have to use ice? Can you mix the shakes with water or do you use some kind of milk? I want to try them but I need to make sure they are reasonable for what I have accessible at work

You can use just water and ice or you can use coconut milk or any milk that you like; you can get a cup with a small shaker ball in it. That works well for the office, too.

 

Please discuss carb rotation. I’ve been getting a lot of questions on it, so I think there are lots of ladies in the group who are curious, but haven’t asked the question yet.

When it comes to carb rotation, it is a strategy used to get those last few ounces of fat off of your body. It should only be used when you have been following a 90% clean diet for an extended period of time and have reached your limit of body fat reduction. If you have a very high muscle mass, low body fat, and have been following 90% clean, PORTIONED, and TIMED nutrition, you have pretty much reached the limits of leaning out at this point without sacrificing lean muscle mass by further cutting caloric intake. Carb cycling can have some very ugly “side effects” too if it is done too long or done by someone who does not recognize the signs/symptoms… it can cause binging and if done too long, can negatively impact your hormone levels and adrenals.

 

I need tips and motivation, ladies. I head off for vacation next week and traveling for biz the following week. I’m particularly concerned that I’ll lose all of next week, especially as I’ve blown it this week and there’s no gym where we’re headed. I don’t want to psych myself out, so…ideas? I’m thinking of packing dumbbells. I can do the HITT and strength training that’s more body-weight resistance. Other ideas?

Go for runs and lots of walks! Make a game of it! Take pics of your creative workouts! If you need to substitute in all body weight exercises (from previous months), go ahead and do that! You will not lose any ground if you do it that way. Taking dumbbells is a great idea and you can take a resistance band if you have one. Make your steady cardio something family-related where you can see the sites too!!! Have fun!!!!

 

Just wondering is it bad to have a lot of edamame beans I’m dying for them and made them for lunch tomorrow but I know I want to eat the bag…so would I count them as a protein or a complex carb?

You have to use portion control with these guys. They actually have a little bit of everything… protein, starch, fat. Just split them up in to servings so you are not tempted to finish the bag.

 

I’ve completely fallen off the bandwagon. Stress has consumed my life and I’ve fallen back into stress eating (cookies, candy, snacks, coffee, eating all throughout the night up until 4am, all of it) and haven’t worked out on my own for awhile….. I hope I’ll get back on track but I feel like I’ve lost so much progress and feeling like I definitely gained back the 6lbs I lost. HELP!

Try to get rid of the temptations and stock up on good healthy treats. You will be much more prepared to handle the stress if you are eating well. You will feel like you have more control. Think what you can do to turn it around tomorrow. You will get through this and don’t turn away from the group because you’re embarrassed. Stay in the game. Stay off of the scale and just get yourself back on track with your nutrition. When you are able to, add your weight training back in. Properly fuelling your body AND your brain are most important. You will even think more clearly when you have clean nutrition. Just pick right back up where you left off.

Just wondering what a good late night snack should consist of….I read an article about not eatting nuts and too much sugar so that takes out fat and fruit.. plus it said avoid certain proteins..I’m a little confused. Hmm?

I’ve always been told a veggie/protein/ a little fat. The fat will help you feel full- the protein/veggie has no carbs and of course protein helps build/repair muscle. 1 tbsp of coconut oil before bed is a good idea, so maybe a small piece of chix/Brocolli/1 tsp of oil. I’m sure others may have something a bit more creative. You have it right… sticking with some fat and low carb (read: low energy) as a late night snack is great! The fruit is best earlier in the day when you need the energy.

 

Am I eating enough protein? How about fat? How can I tell?

Please take a look at the following calculation and at a minimum, you will see the ball-park range for your daily protein needs.

For some reason, the mass media really likes to talk about calories, but fails to talk about macro nutrients…

Daily calories = Goal weight x (workout hours per week + 9.5) • Protein grams = goal weight in pounds • Fat grams = half goal weight in pounds • Carbohydrate grams = [Daily calories – (protein calories + fat calories)]/4

NOTE: o 1 gram of protein provides 4 calories o 1 gram of carbohydrates provides 4 calories o 1 gram of fat provides 9 calories • By the way, Aragon said it doesn’t matter if you eat 6 or 3 meals per day

Female Example:
You are a 160 pound woman who wants to weigh 140 pounds, and you exercise for a total of 3 hours per week:
Daily Calories = 140 x (3+9.5) Daily Calories = 1750 Protein = 140grams (560 calories) Fat = 70grams (630 calories) Carbohydrates = [1750 – (560+630)]/4 Carbohydrates = 140grams

I went to a wedding, ate too much, ate cake and now I feel awful, how do I get my head back in the right place?

I just want to tell you– its okay. YOU are okay. A person needs to think of their diet in terms of what they eat in the span of their life….not some temporary fix. If a diet is temporary, then what happens when it’s over? But- if our aim is to just eat well for a healthy life…that gives us more room to grow. Also- in life- there will be cake. You can’t propose to go the rest of your life without a piece of cake or some toast with butter. It’s not what you eat every day. Every day you are making great, strong, conscious choices. This is a wonderful thing you are doing for yourself…you are empowering yourself. So, I challenge you to own it, too, when you eat a piece of cake. You could approach it as– I want a piece of cake. I don’t have cake everyday…I am working out, I am eating very well. And right now I am allowing myself to enjoy a piece of cake. And tomorrow I will not have cake. You are a summary of everything you think/say/do…you are not 1 thing you ate. It sounds like you made a lot of changes to your style of living….and permanent change is an evolution and takes time. Be kind to yourself and allow for that time. Maybe the woman that is at a wedding next year won’t be in the mood for cake. Or- maybe she’ll know she has totally changed the nutrition of herself and family for the good– so she’ll know she can have that piece of cake and enjoy it!

Working out is supposed to give me more energy, but I just feel so drained! I am on spring break this week and have lots of catching up to do. Any advice on what I can do about more energy? Any Isagenix products help with that? I am just so exhausted, and my lacking workouts are making me feel worse.

You just have a TON going on and you will have to complete what you can when you can. You are doing an awesome job!!! Yes, the B-vitamins and the great nutrition in the Isagenix will give you energy. I recommend the IsaLean shakes as a meal replacement and the want more energy as your pre workout drink (electrolytes and B-vitamins). I also noticed a significant difference in my energy when I started taking the Ageless Essentials with Product B.

 

While I love eating clean, and many times a day, I abhor using measuring cups. Do any of you have tips for being conscious of intake without resorting to measuring everything?

Firstly, eat off a plate the size of your spread hand as its quite hard to over eat if you’re using a plate of this size. Secondly check out these videos from our hero Tosca, a tough love guide to portion control using comparisons between measuring cups and your hand:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5tsPDa_dUE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7aG2OfAV5k

 

What’s the take on using honey to sweeten tea? Or is there something better?

Agave nectar, stevia or Manuka honey are good choices

Should I incorporate fat in every meal? I know I read before in another post something about the fat slowing down the rise in blood sugar after a meal. After my workout, is a little fat okay, or should I avoid it completely?

You can do it a couple different ways… My mom has this great system where she adds a teaspoon of oil to just about every meal throughout the day varying her fats (coconut, flax, hemp, etc.) so that she gets a wide variety without adding excessive amounts to her day. I prefer to have 1 tablespoon in meal #3 and in meal #6 since I work out in the morning.

What are low sugar fruits?

Getting a variety of fruit is important and the lower sugar fruits are berries, kiwi, grapefruit, and apples. Maybe switch to banana in the morning and berries in the evening when you are winding down and don’t need quite as much “fuel”

What are your thoughts on Seltzer Water? I understand why sodas are bad, regular or diet, but I was thinking of mixing a plain or even pomegranate seltzer water with my ionix supreme. The Ionix tastes gingery, and my thought was if I added the “fizz”” it would taste like ginger ale!

Seltzer is a great option just watch for the flavored ones since most of them have some bad ingredients. That sounds like a great idea!!! You could even add the ionix supreme to a vanilla shake and a few pomegranate seeds. I have been buying them from Whole Foods in the section next to the pre-cut fruit. I like adding them to shakes AND they are a great topping for salads!!!

If I work out at night around 6pm and come home and eat dinner do you think I still should do the 1T of coconut oil, because I’m thinking all that working out don’t I want it to continue to burn fat? Why would I want it to stop/or slow down my metabolism?

AWESOME question!!! I would have dinner as you usually do right after you get home from the gym (will give your body time to start repairing that great work you did in the gym) and then have your T of coconut oil right before you go to bed. If you need to have it “with” something, you can always make a hot cup of tea and add it to that (if you cannot just eat it from the spoon).

I need done advice in getting a veggie on with my breakfast. If its eggs, I’m good, but I don’t make eggs every morning and sometimes I’ll do an Isagenix shake with fruit, but then what, eat a carrot? Any suggestions?

Add spinach to your shake (even the sweet ones, you won’t taste it) Also, you can take Steph’s “figure competitor muffins” and modify them with any veggies- zucchini, mushrooms, cilantro, etc. And they’re good cold in a pinch.

 

Any tips on making cottage cheese taste good?

Chives, apple & cinnamon, pineapple, Frank’s Red Hot, fresh ground black pepper, and course sea salt, berries, almonds, salsa, beets, strawberries and vanilla…not all at once obviously!

What is the best way to “cheat”???

Choose something that you REALLY want to eat and enjoy every bite of it. Having something hearty and flavorful like a burger, pasta with pesto, homemade pizza, etc. is better than eating a ton of sugar. The sugar will “chase” you for days after you have had your way with it. That isn’t to say that you cannot enjoy some desert, but if you are thinking about enjoying 1/2 a pan of brownies as your “treat” meal, you might want to reconsider.)

 

I’m addicted to energy drinks, how can I kick caffeine? Is coffee better for me?

Having a cup of coffee each day would be a great step away from the energy drinks. Good job for reducing them and making a switch to coffee would be a better choice. If you ace drink organic coffee, even better. Then, you can work to wean yourself off of that too if you choose (work through parts decaf until you are at 1/2 decaf then move towards totally decaf). The increased metabolic benefits are really small and don’t really count for much and are completely off-set when you add any kind of sugar to your beverage.

 

Is it bad that I get all my carbs from mostly veggies?? When I eat rice (even if it’s brown) or bread (any kind) or potatoes or anything like that, I have a tendency to over eat them, so I try to stay away. Should I have some oatmeal in the mornings with my 1 egg, 3 egg whites and 1/2 cup of spinach?? I just don’t want my body craving more of the starchier carbs. I know my body and it always goes there. I think I’m addicted to carbs.

Be careful not to go low carb for too long. My ability to think and reason decrease significantly when I cut out starchy carbs significantly for extended periods of time. Total avoidance can lead to binging… your serotonin levels can also be affected. Oh, and let’s not forget that you could end up constipated. If you need to have strategies in place, just cook single servings. Have them in the meal and then walk away from them. If Ezekiel bread is hard to resist, stick with things like sweet potato and squash. Some people are sensitive to wheat and some rice, so stay away from those if that is the case. What if you mix some grains in with your veggies, so that you aren’t tempted to eat a whole bowl of rice? A salad with some cooked barley mixed in is quite tasty, for example!

I just read something about Supergreens- a powder I can add to my smoothies- I have been adding spinach- is it worth buying?

I like adding the greens because it has other nutrient dense ingredients such as wheat grass.

What’s your opinion on eating protein bars when in a pinch? I used to avoid them because of the caloric density. When I’m stuck out on the road and have run out of my packed food for the day, I will grab a Power bar, Cliff bar or Luna bar. Is this a good choice?

I have to quote my competitive fitness coach, Cathy Savage… if you have the choice between eating McDonalds, eating a protein bar, or not eating, eat the bar!

It sounds like you are using them only when you really need them and when you are hanging out with the horses, I doubt there are too many other options. These choices are ok, but if you can find something that is less sugar, that would be great. The thing I do like about these brands is that they don’t have the fake sugars in them.

Are crabs clean eating? What about oysters?

Yes so long as you just steam/bake/eat raw and don’t add processed sauces or butter you’ll be fine!

Is Ezekiel bread beneficial to eat or is it just the best choice if you want bread?

It has tons of great benefits… It is nutrient dense and has lots of healthy fiber too!!!

I am loving this “Ezekial cereal”, everything looks clean to me, has anyone else had this and is it a good choice for breakfast? Is Shredded Wheat cereal and the Kashi cereals okay to eat ‘cause I’ve been eating them?

Delish and yes, all are good choices but you will want to add a little more protein… Have some Greek yogurt or a couple boiled eggs with it to make it more balanced.  Just make sure you are watching portion sizes with cereal too.

Might be a silly question but what about low carb monster drink? It says there’s 3 grams of sugar and very few calories…mm I love monsters! What about energy drinks generally?

Not a silly question at all. A great question in fact! They are not clean or healthy because of the artificial sweeteners in them in addition to the other chemicals added to them, but this is a great example of how marketing and labelling can make you think that it is an ok option.

You will find that as you change your nutrition and clean up your diet, you will not even want these anymore… foods that are not clean tend to be highly acidic… that actually makes the pH of our bodies more acidic… that is why green veggies can taste a bit bitter… BUT as we eat cleaner, we are changing the chemistry of our bodies to more alkaline… veggies will taste great and things that are very acidic like these drinks will not taste good anymore. It will be a natural progression.

For energy Green Tea, Coffee and Want More Energy from Isagenix are my go-to’s.

Luna protein bars…to eat or not to eat?

What’s the other choice? Is it better than fast food drive-thru? You betcha! Is it as good as a clean meal you cooked at home? Nope. Shades of gray. This is for “all” bars, not just picking on Luna.

What do you think about the Isogenix meal bars?? Has anybody tried them?? Opinions??

I LOVE them!! I love the Fiber bars, however also like the meal bars!!  Lemon meal bars are amazing….I eat them for breakfast! I also love the slimcakes and the choc. peanut butter isalean bars. So good!!! The isadelights are great as well when you need a chocolate fix. I have gotten the dark chocolate and they have green tea in them. Let us know what you think when you try them!!

Is couscous ok to pair with chicken or fish?

Yes it is, Couscous provides your carbs and chicken/fish your protein – don’t forget your veggies and fats though!

Are Vietnamese spring rolls somewhat clean? Ingredients: steamed rice paper, steamed rice noodles, cucumber, boiled shrimp, shredding carrots, lettuce leafs.

Yep, they are pretty clean & healthy. Check out Leslie Lancaster’s The Hot Mom bod fanpage. She has a healthy vietnamese spring roll recipe. 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/thehotmombod

Is it ok to snack on fruit throughout the day even when its not paired with protein? Ex: an orange or pineapple? And is almond butter enough protein to complete a meal? Example: rice cake, almond butter, apple…should I get another/more source of protein for that meal?

Having approximately the same amount each meal has worked very well for me (I try to keep it around 20-35 grams per meal which is more than nut butter has), BUT I also found this great article… http://www.abcbodybuilding.com/protein_size_&_frequency.pdf

It recommends having more protein in some meals and less in others. The rice cake and almond butter is a nice snack between other meals but I wouldn’t recommend having rice cake and almond butter for meal #2 and then apple and almond butter for meal #3.

As far as snacking on fruit… there is also evidence to suggest that fruit should be eaten by itself. I personally enjoy my fruit with my other meals, but having 1/2 of an apple by itself is an option too. I just wouldn’t count it as a meal. Just like everything else… watch your portions. Having too much fruit throughout each day will add up to extra calories.

 

A question about fueling. When doing a long distance run (of more than an hour), it is beneficial to fuel your body every half hour with some sort of salt/sugar substance. Does this apply when doing a very long workout…like spending 2 hours doing resistance and then cardio?? Especially after only having had a minimal breakfast. (I only manage to eat a banana before heading to the gym early morning… If I feel poorly while working out, I’m inclined to eat a palm full of nuts & fruit)

You should eat carbs prior to your run just as you do and having gu gel/pieces of bars during your run will supply fuel for your long run as well. This would be more important during the warmer months when you are also drinking a larger amount of water in order to replace some of the electrolytes while you are running.

The problem I see with gel/bars is that people who are not performing long runs (such as marathons) think they need to down a bottle of Gatorade. The amount of sugar in a 32 ounce bottle of Gatorade is enough to offset the caloric deficit from the time you just spent in the gym. We really don’t need these “fake” foods when doing the training prescribed here in this challenge because we are not running the risk of depleting our bodies of the electrolytes. These training sessions should only be lasting between 45 minutes (weights only) and 1:15 (weights plus cardio).

Having that handful of mixed nuts and fruit is great for providing a bit of energy between your resistance and cardio.

 

love gum and chew it all the time, sugar free too, what should I chew????

There are some alternatives out there… natural ones. Try Peppersmith or Chicza.

My doctor always tries to get me to get gastro bypass, which I refuse, he says the more kids I have and the older I get I won’t be able to lose weight because of cortisol. What’s a good way to deal with stress so that cortisol isn’t released?

I am still trying to gather more resources for you to read up on, but basically, behavior-wise, you are holding up your part of the deal by exercising, eating healthy, and playing with your kids. You have even started taking yoga which has benefits way beyond just feeling good. I want to share meditation and breathing techniques here too. I first wanted to take a look at the book, The Cortisol Connection because someone had mentioned it… but then after reading the review, it seems to be another super restrictive “diet” book that recommends a ton of supplements. It also happens to have been written by a guy who conveniently was part owner of CortiSlim, a drug that claimed to block cortisol. The FTC charged the manufacturers with making false and unsubstantiated claims (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cortisol-blockers/AN01275).

What is the deal with “Net Carbs”? There’s a lot of products claiming that, should that influence choices at all?

From my understanding, the “net carbs” is a term/calculation that was created for diets such as the Atkins diet. The example I found was that of a banana.The total carb count is 31g. The total fiber is 4g. So the net carbs = total carb minus total fiber = 31g — 4g = 27g of net carbs.

I feel this “calculation” is a poor measure of the quality or health of the product. A much better measure of the quality of the product would be the ingredients list.

How quickly do you normally eat after a work out? I like to eat about an hour before I work out, so I’m not too full but still have energy, and was wondering if you eat again right after you work out or wait a bit?

Ideally, the window for “refueling” your muscles is within an hour of your workout. It kind of depends on if I felt like I was going to chew my arm off DURING my workout. If I am starving, I will eat within about 30 minutes of finishing or if I can, I wait until more like the hour post workout.

Okay, I’m always starving after I work out! For example just had some sushi for dinner, but because I worked out a few hours ago I’m still hungry! Normally I would be “full”. Does anyone else go through this?

A protein shake is a good option. Have another serving of protein and veggies and a table spoon of good fat (coconut oil, flax seed oil, etc.). Double or even triple up on the green veggies; sometimes I will eat 2 cups of broccoli to fill me up.

I overate earlier in the day, millions of crackers and hummus, should I skip dinner?

No, you need your protein and veggies! You can skip the starch though.

Is skim milk ok?

Yes, ok, but there are better options… almond milk is a great example. I love hemp milk too. You can find it in the section next to non-refrigerated soy milk and rice milk.

What’s the best way to re-heat egg muffins? I don’t use a microwave and would like to make a batch for the week. Thanks!

If you wrap one in foil and place it in the oven on 375, that should do the trick without drying it out)

I’d like to ask you how many calories should we be eating at this challenge?

I recommend looking more at your portions and selections. If you would like to track numbers, I would keep an eye on your macronutritient breakdown.. the grams of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. If you would like to calculate this number based on your height/weight/goals, I have put together this document: http://www.stephaniekeenan.com/training/skfitlife-challenge/new-skfitlife-challengers/challenge-resources/calculating-your-daily-caloric-needs-and-macro-nutrient-breakdown-3/

Are low fat cottage cheese and hummus allowed?

YES! These foods are on the recommended nutrition list so you don’t need to worry about eating them

Why are squashes in the starch list not vegetables?

Winter squash is a starchy veggie so we consider it to be in the starches category. Winter squash isn’t as calorie dense as say oats or potatoes, but it is not a green veggie which has very few calories. For starches like oats and potatoes, sticking to 1/4-1/2c as your serving is where you want to be. For the winter squash, you can have 1/2c-1c. if you look at the nutritional values you will see what I mean.

Should we have fat at every meal?

You can add a tsp of good oils to each meal or have 2 T (or 1 ounce of nuts) throughout the day. Don’t forget that avocados and salmon count as fats.

Is it ok to have a second protein shake after my second workout of the day?

Yes this is fine; too much protein can cause problems from constipation to kidney damage but these levels are healthy.

I’m still starving, what should I do?

Eat more! Great suggestions include more green veg and a piece of protein as big as your palm, prepared with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, Ezekiel cinnamon bread and dark chocolate almond butter spread and some green tea, or add some Greek yogurt, or some hard boiled eggs.

Just read an article in Women’s magazine that wheat is bad for you and makes you fat. Is that true?

Wheat can be difficult for our bodies to process. Some people have sensitivities to it and don’t even know it. http://www.truthaboutabs.com/2-foods-beware-weight-gain.html

Dear Stephanie, Is it Friday yet? I would like an alcoholic beverage. If you had to pick the “top 3” that aren’t going to derail my efforts, what would you choose? How about the worst?

Here is the real deal with the alcohol… it goes beyond the calories in the drink. Ok, so to answer your first question… worst would be a super sugary drink like a daiquiri. “Best” would be liquor like vodka and soda. Red wine is better than white. If you are going to drink beer, I say go for the good stuff and enjoy it. As a matter of fact, if you are going to drink at all, go for the good stuff and enjoy every drop. Why else drink it? Just like your “treat” meals, moderation and enjoyment are the important take-aways.

Now for the real deal on alcohol… when working out, your body uses carbohydrates as its first energy source, then eventually you will dip into fat as your energy source.

When you drink alcohol, your liver converts it into acetate which is stored in your body. Now, when you go to the gym, your body first has to burn the acetate as its source of energy, then carbohydrates, and finally fat. Depending on how much “fun” you had over the weekend, you could be experiencing the after effects for a couple days. This article explains this process in more detail. The moral of the story is to enjoy in moderation. http://christianfinn.com/alcohol-weight-loss/

Are pork chops clean?

Yes but I would opt for an organic pork tenderloin if possible

Got a protein shake question. A while back I got NitroCore 24. I’ve seen you mention other powders but I have three 6lb containers of this stuff and would like to use it before I spend more money on other powders. I’m just not sure when to drink it and how much of it to use. (I have a kitchen scale so I can measure it out). Can it be used as a meal replacement (if I’m at work and can’t break away for my 2nd or 4th meal), should I drink it after I work out, is this one okay to drink at night for my last meal, what about for breakfast? Can you tell I’m confused?

Great questions! If is it just protein (look at the carbs and fat… if they are really low, then this is just protein), then you would want to mix it with/have in addition to… something with a little carbs and fat to replace a meal. That is ideally… I also add it to my oatmeal with berries = meal. If you are using it at work and can only mix the protein and water, then that is a much better option than not eating. It may not sustain you as long though. Drinking it within 30minute-1hour after working out is the best time to drink it. Yes, you can have it right before you go to bed and if you have it for breakfast, I would mix it with additional ingredients. I just advise keeping the shakes to a 2 shake per day max and try to get your other meals from food. I added a doc to the top of the group as well if you are looking for additional info

I’m starving! I eat every 4 hours am I doing something wrong?

Not at all, we’re all different – make sure your macro nutrients are balanced (enough protein and good fats) and cut down the hours between eating to 3.

Is Stoneyfield organic yogurt ok to eat?

As long as it is plain and organic it should be okay, but if it is flavored you have to watch the sugar content. I put a drop of organic local honey in my organic Greek plain yogurt (best protein source) and some organic dried cranberries – found both at Trader Joe’s….not sure if you have one by you, but best option for affordable clean eats.

Training (36)

Is it better to do push ups on your knees, but with full range of motion, or is it better to do them regularly, even though I don’t bend my elbows or go down as much?

Form is priority #1, start in regular position until you cannot maintain your form and then switch to your knees. If you have not mastered any of the regular push-ups yet, just start on your knees. For anyone who is not ready for push-ups on knees yet, start by leaning against something sturdy like a kitchen counter. As you get stronger, you will be able to move your feet further away from the counter for added resistance.

Can I spot reduce fat in a particular area? How about toning?

This is a confusing area because you can definitely improve muscle volume and tone in particular areas of your body by training that area, however you can’t lose fat “just on that bit”. Your body will naturally store fat in certain areas depending on your natural body composition

Everyone is telling me how great I look and how my legs are melting away I am much smaller everywhere but my belly, I do the crunches, and squats and lift weights I am smaller width wise but not in my belly. My pants are bigger in area’s I didn’t think I needed to lose weight (obviously I was wrong) but the pants fit my still in my waist. I know if I keep up with what I’m doing that will change i just am wondering if there is anything else I can do to lose the belly fat?

Gotta eat 90-100% clean everyday…which is definitely a challenge!!! It will come off… at the end… Those stubborn areas just take a little longer and especially with the abdominal fat. Stick with it and you will get there. These workouts are changing the chemistry in your body as well so keep your intensity up.

Are you worried that you are doing exercises that are pushing it out? Sticking to the core movements is best… planks, spiderman push-ups, etc.

 

How do you deal with plateaus? How do you stay motivated?

When I hit a plateau, I first make sure I am doing everything I can do… getting all of my training in, resting enough, and logging my food (this one has caught up to me before). From there, I also take an inventory of the other factors in my life…

1.) Am I eating enough? (This isn’t usually a problem since my hunger takes over before I can under eat)
2.) Am I getting enough sleep? Not getting enough sleep can cause weight loss progress to come to a halt.
3.) Is there anything else affecting my hormone levels? (Including stress).

I also focus on getting stronger. I am always trying to push harder, sprint faster, and grow my muscles. Plateaus are a natural part of the fitness journey. Our bodies are really smart and if they sense any threat (famine, fight/flight, stress, etc.), they will hold onto precious body fat “just in case”.

 

 

I had a trainer tonight come up to me and tell me he is impressed with what he is seeing but he told me I’m already built like a man up top that I should lower my weights and do more reps. At first I was insulted but then headed his warning. I was using 10lbs on each hand and just thought it was better to build more muscle that I would burn more fat. Guess I’m wrong?

Do you know this trainer? It sounds to me like he is fishing for new clients. I have been lifting as heavy as I can for years using a variety of periodization techniques and you see how “manly” I am… not. Those 10 pound weights WILL NOT MAKE YOU LOOK MANLY. You are totally right about trying to build more muscle to burn more calories. Your muscles will become compact and TIGHT, which is what you want.

How much cardio is too much cardio?

I wouldn’t recommend any more than 5 days at 45 minutes. And even that is pushing it. Doing more “metabolic-type” workouts is a better use of your time.

Ok question which is better to do first HiIT or resistance?

Resistance! You need your strength for the weights. The HIIT zaps your energy. Save it for last.

 

I need tips and motivation, ladies. I head off for vacation next week and traveling for biz the following week. I’m particularly concerned that I’ll lose all of next week, especially as I’ve blown it this week and there’s no gym where we’re headed. I don’t want to psych myself out, so…ideas? I’m thinking of packing dumbbells. I can do the HITT and strength training that’s more body-weight resistance. Other ideas?

Go for runs and lots of walks! Make a game of it! Take pics of your creative workouts! If you need to substitute in all body weight exercises (from previous months), go ahead and do that! You will not lose any ground if you do it that way. Taking dumbbells is a great idea and you can take a resistance band if you have one. Make your steady cardio something family-related where you can see the sites too!!! Have fun!!!!

 

I’ve completely fallen off the bandwagon. Stress has consumed my life and I’ve fallen back into stress eating (cookies, candy, snacks, coffee, eating all throughout the night up until 4am, all of it) and haven’t worked out on my own for awhile….. I hope I’ll get back on track but I feel like I’ve lost so much progress and feeling like I definitely gained back the 6lbs I lost. HELP!

Try to get rid of the temptations and stock up on good healthy treats. You will be much more prepared to handle the stress if you are eating well. You will feel like you have more control. Think what you can do to turn it around tomorrow. You will get through this and don’t turn away from the group because you’re embarrassed. Stay in the game. Stay off of the scale and just get yourself back on track with your nutrition. When you are able to, add your weight training back in. Properly fuelling your body AND your brain are most important. You will even think more clearly when you have clean nutrition. Just pick right back up where you left off.

Could you also share how long it took you to build these full, round arms/shoulders?

It takes YEARS to build. This is what I mean when I say that it is HARD to build muscle especially when you are lean and doing plenty of cardio. Your body needs the extra calories in order to build. Just because it takes years to build muscles doesn’t mean you should quit. If you quit, you will NEVER build them and that is 100% guaranteed. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK and know that you are working on your masterpiece.

 

Working out is supposed to give me more energy, but I just feel so drained! I am on spring break this week and have lots of catching up to do. Any advice on what I can do about more energy? Any Isagenix products help with that? I am just so exhausted, and my lacking workouts are making me feel worse.

You just have a TON going on and you will have to complete what you can when you can. You are doing an awesome job!!! Yes, the B-vitamins and the great nutrition in the Isagenix will give you energy. I recommend the IsaLean shakes as a meal replacement and the want more energy as your pre workout drink (electrolytes and B-vitamins). I also noticed a significant difference in my energy when I started taking the Ageless Essentials with Product B.

 

If I work out at night around 6pm and come home and eat dinner do you think I still should do the 1T of coconut oil, because I’m thinking all that working out don’t I want it to continue to burn fat? Why would I want it to stop/or slow down my metabolism?

AWESOME question!!! I would have dinner as you usually do right after you get home from the gym (will give your body time to start repairing that great work you did in the gym) and then have your T of coconut oil right before you go to bed. If you need to have it “with” something, you can always make a hot cup of tea and add it to that (if you cannot just eat it from the spoon).

I’m a runner but we’ve been told not to do too much. What should I do in the gym (aside from resistance and HIIT)…

Running for 40 min steady state cardio is ok. Unless you’re a long distance runner or marathon runner, it just isn’t always healthy to run like 10 miles every day just to get your cardio in, thinking that more is better for the purposes of weight loss; variety & balance is key. Try all the machines in your gym for variety so you don’t get bored with your cardio, you can even do HIIT on them too…. you can do HIIT on the stair master, elliptical & treadmill. Do they offer classes at your gym? Adding a yoga class would be awesome too!

Any tips on putting heavy lifting into the resistance training? I am used to lifting much heavier, and although I feel good after the workouts I don’t feel like I have been getting as much out of them as I usually do.

If you would like to decrease your rest time and go on a :40 “work” :20 “rest” rotation versus the :30/:30, and increase the weight and lift at a slower pace to accommodate heavier weights, you can do that. Next month the training will change and it will have some more advanced moves now that we are all getting the hang of the weights.

A question about fueling. When doing a long distance run (of more than an hour), it is beneficial to fuel your body every half hour with some sort of salt/sugar substance. Does this apply when doing a very long workout…like spending 2 hours doing resistance and then cardio?? Especially after only having had a minimal breakfast. (I only manage to eat a banana before heading to the gym early morning… If I feel poorly while working out, I’m inclined to eat a palm full of nuts & fruit)

You should eat carbs prior to your run just as you do and having gu gel/pieces of bars during your run will supply fuel for your long run as well. This would be more important during the warmer months when you are also drinking a larger amount of water in order to replace some of the electrolytes while you are running.

The problem I see with gel/bars is that people who are not performing long runs (such as marathons) think they need to down a bottle of Gatorade. The amount of sugar in a 32 ounce bottle of Gatorade is enough to offset the caloric deficit from the time you just spent in the gym. We really don’t need these “fake” foods when doing the training prescribed here in this challenge because we are not running the risk of depleting our bodies of the electrolytes. These training sessions should only be lasting between 45 minutes (weights only) and 1:15 (weights plus cardio).

Having that handful of mixed nuts and fruit is great for providing a bit of energy between your resistance and cardio.

 

What is a good food/supplement for a good burst of energy I feel like I need it when I am transitioning from work to mom?

Getting your blood pumping when you first get home is something I have found to be incredibly helpful. I discovered it when I had to do HIIT after work. On those days, not even my long commute can “couch” me.

One of the many things that I love about this challenge is that you can have NSV’s (non-scale victories) each week when you notice that your reps or weights have increased. Is it better to try to fit in more reps or to increase our weights on the weight training days?

I LOVE LOVE LOVE your “NSV” acronym!!! Yes, this is about loving how our bodies are working for us and feeding it good fuel, and then all the other great things will follow. During the 30 seconds, I have been getting approx. 12 reps in (give/take) which is a great rep range. Go moderately heavy so you can build some quality muscle.

How quickly do you normally eat after a work out? I like to eat about an hour before I work out, so I’m not too full but still have energy, and was wondering if you eat again right after you work out or wait a bit?

Ideally, the window for “refueling” your muscles is within an hour of your workout. It kind of depends on if I felt like I was going to chew my arm off DURING my workout. If I am starving, I will eat within about 30 minutes of finishing or if I can, I wait until more like the hour post workout.

My arms are already showing gorgeous results from the workouts. My legs are always delinquent. About how long do you think it’ll take to show results there?

SO happy to hear you love the results in your arms!!! The changes in lower body can lag by several weeks. By doing the HIIT, especially with the explosive moves of the plyos and the sprints, you will see results much quicker than if you were trying to change your body composition without this type of training.

Weighted ab work? Is that deflated-pregnancy-belly friendly?

As soon as you have reconditioned your abs “from the inside out” you can start using weights too. By doing weighted abs before you are ready, you run the risk of building up your outer ab muscles without proper inner support and can end up with extended abs.

How do you all do the workouts? Do you do resistance one day and cardio the next? Should we do them both on the same day? Do you add your personal workout or do you do just the resistance training etc.?

You can do the cardio and the resistance on the same day. I recommend having a day between resistance training days and between HIIT sessions to give yourself time to recover.

Okay, I’m always starving after I work out! For example just had some sushi for dinner, but because I worked out a few hours ago I’m still hungry! Normally I would be “full”. Does anyone else go through this?

A protein shake is a good option. Have another serving of protein and veggies and a table spoon of good fat (coconut oil, flax seed oil, etc.). Double or even triple up on the green veggies; sometimes I will eat 2 cups of broccoli to fill me up.

Is there something I can do to strengthen my wrists? Or will that naturally happen over time?

It will naturally happen and in the meantime, substitute some of the divebombers with pushups.

On days that we weight train are we supposed to do cardio after? Or just the weights and that’s it?

Sometimes our schedules don’t allow for the full training so splitting it up is necessary. If you want to do them together that is fine too!

How much weight should I start with?

These workouts are designed to keep you moving and your heart rate up. The trick is to maintain great form and really challenge yourself. You are going to be doing several reps during your 30 seconds and those lighter weights will really start to add up! Make sure you record the weight you are using so you can see your progress as the month progresses!

How much sleep do I need?

7-8 hours is ideal so our bodies will recover. Prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), decreased activity of human growth hormone (which is active during tissue repair), and decreased glycogen synthesis. All of these things will affect your ability to recover

Weights on strength training….We are going for slightly heavy, yes? I started off W1D1 with trying to get as many in as possible within that 30 secs and I realized those are pretty light and I should probably go heavier and slower. Am I right?

Yes, slightly heavy but with great form! Try to shoot for 12 reps in the 30 seconds and go from there. Some days I end up getting 15 reps with the same weight I reached 12 reps with the previous week, but felt each contraction and really focused on the muscle.

Is there an exercise I can add or maybe focus harder on to chisel away my “spare tire”/”love handles”? That’s where I have carried most of my weight. I see it coming down but just wanted to see if there is a little extra I could be doing?

It will just take a little more time. Doing extra ab work will just add size (because you are adding muscle) so just stick with the clean eating and training. This is an interesting article by Mike Geary… a great resource: http://www.truthaboutabs.com/3-foods-to-stop-eating.html

Are there any other options for reverse pull ups? I don’t want to break my chairs..

The lat pull machine is a good replacement if you have a gym membership. If you don’t, you can do the reverse pull up at your neighbourhood park off of a railing, bike rack or swing set. You would slide your legs under the swing keeping them bent and then grab the handles and lengthen your arms straight (you’ll be hanging towards the ground) then pull your chest towards the swing set as you squeeze your back You can also do the standing resistance band row if you don’t have a bar/railing you can use.

I want my man to work out with me, does he have to do anything different?

He can actually do your workouts with you… he will just be lifting heavier weights. These 30 second intervals are great for anyone trying to improve their fitness and lose body fat. Challenge him to mountain climbers! I want to hear you did more than him!!!

Need ideas on how to get HIITS in this week when I can’t workout outside the house…I don’t have treadmill, etc. Next week I’ll be able to get to the gym…I’m going to power yoga tonight as my 40min cardio…Thoughts?

You can do the “Shoulder Blaster” HIIT here: http://www.stephaniekeenan.com/training/free-hiit-workouts/ If you are wondering how to do some of the moves, they are all the Fast and the Furious videos. Have fun!!!

Tomorrow I’m supposed to go to my beloved Vinyasa class. IF I can get up at 4AM tomorrow I plan to do W1D2 of Strength and do my Vinyasa at 745 that evening. Am I okay with not over training? How about for nutrition?

You are great to do both. If you feel like you are not recovering, I would recommend splitting them up. If you want to add an extra serving of starch into your last meal for energy, go for it because you will have just finished working out.

SKFitLife Challenge (13)

Q: Do I have to sign up for the monthly membership after the challenge has ended?

No, you are not required to continue on with the Monthly Membership. We automatically set it up to keep you on the Monthly Membership for convenience. We have found most people prefer to continue receiving professionally programmed monthly training as well as continue on with the online coaching and community support.

We even give a discounted Monthly Membership rate of $54/month for clients who continue with us versus opting in later once they realize how much they missed not having to think about what they would be doing for their workout each week.

Don’t want to automatically opt in? You have several opportunities to opt out. Email us at any point to say you don’t want automatic enrollment challenge@skfitlife.com.

 

Q: Is your program for someone who would like to compete in a physique competition?

No, this program is not going to prepare you for a physique competition. Competition preparation is a very specialized training program and rigorous nutrition program. While I have infused all programs with my previous competition coaching experience to give you the best lifestyle program to get you LOOKING as fit as you are, this is still a lifestyle program.

Fitness competitions are just that, a competition. A sport. And for too many, it is an all-consuming sport. We encourage being your best at life in SKFitLife, not being the best on the stage at one single point in time.

If you are interested in competition prep, please check out this podcast interview I did with friend, and competition coach, Janelle: http://www.skfitlife.com/stop-chasing-skinny-episode-5-what-it-really-takes-to-train-for-a-fitness-competition-with-wbff-pro-and-competitive-fitness-coach-janelle-nicolo/

Q: Where will the training sessions be held?

All SKFitLife Challenge Training is virtual so we don’t have a physical meet-up location. This is what makes the SKFitLife Challenge so flexible for busy people! Road warriors get their workouts done in hotel gyms, moms get their workouts in between naps, men and women take their SKFitLife Challenge training to their local gyms, local parks, and back decks.

This is also what keeps the cost low and value high. For the price of an average Starbucks drink on the daily, you get 12 weeks of weight training, high intensity interval training, meal guide, tons of valuable weekly support information, and online coaching and support.

Q: Can I continue to do my current cardio workouts (Jazzercise, Zumba, Spinning, etc.) while on this program?

Absolutely!!! We encourage you to do such classes on your recommended “Steady Cardio” day. More isn’t better, and I can’t think of better examples of this than these two stories:

Megan’s Transformation

Lesley’s Transformation

Q: What if I already have a training/nutrition program I am happy with but I would still like to take advantage of the support and motivation?

We actually have clients who still prefer to meet in person with a trainer (and have the financial means), but find the 24/7 access to the supportive group worth the $2.50/day. Then they continue on to the monthly membership where the daily cost is $1.80.

Q: What if I don’t want to lose weight? I just want to tone up and look fit.

You can do this!!! It sounds like you already have the nutritional piece at least somewhat figured out since you are at your ideal weight. You will benefit from the training in a really big way. No cutting or restricting for you. Just changing up your training will get you to that fit and toned look you are striving for.

Q: Will videos be available for exercise explanation?

Yes! Every exercise has an associated video. If you are anything like me, you don’t really have the time or patience for watching a 5 minute explanation, so these are short, sweet, and to the point. Check out this example!

YouTube Preview Image

Q: How long will the workouts take me?

Each weight training session is 35-42 minutes and can be done ANYWHERE with minimal equipment. This is recommended 3 days per week. We have an advanced 4-day option for the hard chargers!

Weekly high intensity interval training is 4-24 minutes and recommended 2 times per week.

We also recommend one session of 40 minutes of steady cardio each week too.

You can double up to knock out your training in just 3 days per week or spread it out to do a little each day.

Q: What if I want to do more cardio?

While you can certainly do more cardio, I will refer back to these stories of less is more:

Megan’s Transformation

Lesley’s Transformation

Q: Ok so I registered! I am looking forward to shedding the pounds! So, basically what happens now? Do I receive anything not sure what the next step is?

You are ready to rock!!

Double check that you have registered on the website (you will receive a confirmation email with your username and password).

Make sure we are “friends” on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/stephanie.fitlife?fref=ts if you are into Facebook. It is not required!

Make sure you have accepted our request to send you information in your email. You will have this email waiting for you as well.

Log into the website and check the member’s area for your training and watch for the weekly emails.

Let us know if you have ANY other questions challenge@skfitlife.com

Q: What if I don’t like to eat salads?

Salads are most definitely not a requirement. You will find the meal guide has plenty of recommendations for other ways to get your greens and veggies in!

Q: What if I am a vegetarian?

Awesome! Just replace the meat-based protein options with your favorite vegetarian protein options. As a former vegetarian (for 10 years), I give a word of caution on some of those meat substitutes… many of them are highly processed so make sure you read labels and know what you are consuming.