Ahh after a wonderful and relaxing weekend I am back up and ready to go!! To do list in hand and breakfast in my belly we go! 

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun? On my end of things it was just nice to relax! It was just Friday I realized I am constantly working (YAY!) which I love but just sometimes I need a little break! So that was me this weekend :-) 

At any rate as you are probably guessing I am writing this article to get into the science behind our abdominals or better known our abs. The muscles everyone wants to have whether for the beach or just because you want people to see your fitness badge of dedication. Of course it really does take dedication to get there, no fad diet or million sets of crunches will get you there but I can certainly tell you what will...clean eating! Sure exercise plays a role but without lowering the excess layer of fat (yes if you can pinch it is probably fat) around your abs you will not be able to see them.

I'm sure some of you are thinking wait what this chick wants me to eat to lose weight and see my abs? YUP! If you need some clarity on clean eating here you go>http://fitandhealthywithbeth.weebly.com/1/post/2012/02/what-is-clean-eating.html. Essentially we need to meet our bodies nutritional needs and caloric needs. 100 calories of oreos does not equal 100 calories of edammame!! 

Now that we know how to get there let me explain a little bit more of the why, our bodies were not made nor do they understand how to break down the overly complicated compounds in our over processed foods for one and too we just eat way too much junk food and sugar. The result? We store all of those calories as fat. Truth be told an over abundance of anything can really cause fat storage, however, eating foods in their natural form makes it a lot more challenging. 

So back to the why of eating, if you want to see your abs you must lose the extra layer of belly fat "visceral fat" on top of them and how? through clean eating, plenty of rest, and working out hard. 

What foods help lose belly fat? 
~Dark  green veggies
~Whole grains 
~Lean proteins
~Low sugar foods

Best exercises to work your abs?
I personally believe we need to work from our core, especially because all movement comes from there, so I prefer to focus on the whole area. I picture a girdle if you will! 

Planks: 

Reverse crunches 
Bicycle abs:
side bends with weights
V-up
Super mans: 
 
 
Happy Monday!! I want to be 100% honest with you...I have been a little off with my work outs lately. Nutrition has been just about 100% but I just haven't "felt like working out". For someone who loves the feeling of crushing a good work out and not mention the endorphins. To me that was my body telling me I was burnt out. 

Generally every 12 weeks (sometimes even shorter than that) because honestly I just need a break! I need to wake up feeling like ahhh I get to work out not I have to work out. 

So this week starts some new work outs and honestly I am excited!!! I am really happy with the progress I had with Body Beast and it was super fun lifting that heavy especially doing it with Mike! 

I am kind of making my own stuff up to be honest...as I dive deeper into training I find I want to really test myself so I am going to be increasing my work out time per day and really what I focus on.

Goals of the new programming?
~Target my weak areas and make them better: specifically I want to improve my shoulders and my legs/booty. So I will be working those muscle groups more. 
With the weights I will also be lifting heavy with less reps and sets (so 3 sets of 6-12 for upper/lower body and 3 sets of 20 for abs). 

~I will also be increasing my amount of cardio from...oh around 0 days to 3 days a week. (2 days of HIIT + one day of Steady state cardio) 

~ another keep thing is going to be nutrition. I have selected what supplements I'll be using but not so much what macro percentage. I am thinking 40 carbs 40 protein 20 fat but we'll see. I did find out I am a fat burner vs a carb burner which is crucial and main reason I have a hard time gaining real muscle mass. 

I will be taking:
shakeology + protein powder
glutamine
BCAA's
fish oils 
P90x recovery shake (post work out)


Also, I  think to reach where I really want to get to, it will take me about a year to achieve. So I will really need to have the big picture in mind and FOCUS!
So I want to compete...I originally thought I was ready now and for Bikini division I think I could fare okay...but I then realized, I don't want to do "okay" I want to add a little more muscle, and do a fitness or a figure show and I want to place! No more wallowing and not being out right with my goals, there they are!  


So then in all of these since nutrition is soooo key how can I or anyone else for that matter avoid feeling deprived? 

Well really, in my opinion, it comes down to lifestyle. We are a culture of people who do all things over food. Example: meeting with friends= lunch, celebrating hitting a goal at work= happy hour, birthday celebrating= going out + cake.
Rarely will you find that your friends and family will ask you to go celebrate your sister getting straight A's with a session of rock climbing or hiking. Not to say there is anything wrong with that BUT it all comes down to decisions at that point. If you are in the realm of "I need/want to lose weight" then eating all that crap just because it is there is NOT what is going to help keep that weight off. There are so many other ways you can enjoy life and friends without over indulging and over eating. The first is obviously changing your mind set and what senses you choose to enjoy the most.

Second, if your boyfriend/girlfriend has the metabolism or maybe just doesn't have those same goals as you, that's okay just be sure to hide his/her treats from line of vision. If you don't see it chances are you may forget you have them! 

Third, have "substitutes" that leave you feeling satisfied. Instead of eating ice cream try low sugar froyo or banana protein icecream (you can flavor this however you like!) or for me instead of eating all of his crap I may just have a fiber one brownie...no they aren't the best but I'd rather have something like that instead of a huge heaping plate of something I will really regret! 

Fourth, FOCUS. Is that chocolate bar really something you want or is it just a drop in blood sugar or increase in your stress level? I know this is a big one for me! At around 5 pm my levels usually drop which almost always means if I see it I will eat it. I have reworked my calories to prevent this from happening. It wasn't easy or always fun but it got my body where it needed to be.

Fifth, we all slip up sometimes. Move on and let it go! 

Have a fantastic Monday everyone! 

 
 
Ahh Tuesday! So I have really been thinking and honestly, nutrition really is 80% of the battle! Why? Well for a little over a month I couldn't work out...nope not even a little (yes it was tough to go from working out sometimes 3-5x to 0!) but guess what? I LOST BODY FAT AND WATER WEIGHT AND KEPT IT OFF!!!! 7 lbs of water and 3lbs of fat!! Take that any day right?

While I really did miss my work outs, I knew I needed to rest and allow myself to heal so that is exactly what I did and focus on nutrition!  See Resetting My Life

So many people think that they can out exercise a bad diet and then get the results that they want...well it just doesn't work like that. I know we all wish it did sometimes but the reality of it is if we focus on our nutrition that is 80% of the battle! Honestly I used to follow this school of thought too that I could eat what I wanted no matter what as long as I got in a work out but then I would wonder why I had no abs or real definition. So I made a change..sure sometimes they aren't my favorite things to do  but I know for my health and how I want to look and feel they are worth it!
So what should you do?? Well follow the 80/20 rule! 80% of the time focus on clean eating and then the other 20% you get a little wiggle room. No one says you need to be perfect but the key is to be progressing! So maybe one meal a week will be a "treat meal" for me.

How often do you cheat or slip up?


 
 
So as you may have read here or on my Facebook page, I recently did the Beachbody Ultimate reset. Now fist off let's be clear I have never been one that was obese but I was over weight as a skinny fat girl--gee thanks genetics of a 5'8 lady! But I have lost all the weight and kept it off so this was more about changing habits and having a better relationship with food and vegetables (see previous post!)

So here are my results!!

I am 5'8 as I said
Before weight: 138
Before body fat: 17.8



After weight: 130
Body fat: 16.8

Not only do I have new veggie recipes but I lost the holiday weight plus some extra body fat!!

Now what? Time to plan and prep for body beast and bring on the muscle!

What is your workout plan like?

How often do you change up your work outs?


 
 
Happy Thursday everyone!!!! So hard to believe I am on the last day of the reset already!! At times it was definitely tough but soo worth the rewards. For me doing the reset wasn't really about weight loss (although it did help get rid of the holiday puffiness that was sticking around). For me the biggest thing was to develop better habits and a better relationship with food.

I am going to be completely honest with you guys...as much as I love living and eating healthy some days I just would get completely off track and feel deprived because Mike (my 6'5 can eat whatever he wants boyfriend) could eat cakes, and whatever else he could shovel in his mouth! It is so tempting and way too easy to feel deprived and get off track. And then the holidays come and it's pretty challenging to say no to my mom's cooking!! Of course these are all just crutches and 100% my fault. These are some of the biggest reasons I started the reset, I needed to change.

So results will come once I am officially done but here are my thoughts and of course what I have learned.

REVIEW OF THE BEACHBODY ULTIMATE RESET:

~Yes it was tough not working out, but I have plantar fasciitis right now so I needed to rest any ways. Other wise you can walk, do yoga, and other light activities but nothing too strenuous because remember your body is having it's own internal work out right now!

~the food- there were a couple things I either couldn't find or I just didn't like so I would go to a meal in that block (each week is a block/phase) and stick with the supplements.

~improvements in my life:
I sleep better...more soundly
I haven't had any stomach issues (I have slight lactose and puffiness associated with too much gluten so I have to watch)
I do not crave sugar...weirdly I crave veggies!
I am more excited to try new foods and veggies
I have found a new system I can add to my life to eat cleaner and enjoy vegetables
I have had the mental clarity to rest for 21 days
I am no longer a caffeine or sugar addict
I feel all around healthier!
and hey an added bonus the winter weight plus some body fat are goneeeee! 
 
Some other good things were that I have finally found new ways to eat veggies that are HEALTHY AND TASTE GOOD!!! Yes I know this was a shock for me too!! I get so tired of the same old things and honestly there are just some I plain and simple hate (exhibit green beans YUCK!). I did try as many as I could but there are just some things I like the green beans I just do not like at all! But that was okay because it didn't hinder my results. I think I will probably end up keeping a majority of the recipes and having them as sides to dinners and with lunches (especially the soups and salads!) .

Other than liking vegetables more it also got me out of my sweets kick.I do have a serious sweet tooth and I have decided that a little is okay but when you go over board is when problems arise. This is really an area you have to decide for yourself what results you want and where your goals are headed. All I know is for me, if I don't let myself have a little when I want it I will some way later to decide I earned it and over do it.

~no coffee...eh I was okay here. The first 2 days were rough I was a little cranky and got some caffeine withdrawl headaches (yup I drank wayyyy too much!) but after that I was doing just fine with green tea and water.

~I did drink my shakeology as my afternoon snack--this really helps keep my sugar cravings down!

~will I keep up with the maintenance? I haven't decided yet. I did really miss meat...I think because I couldn't have it, that made me want it more

Other random things I have learned:
I did  realize I really do love eating clean and leading that lifestyle but I am not perfect. So I am going to allow myself 2 "out and about cheats"-so if Mike and I go out or I want an adult beverage ;-) I will have those. My biggest plan is to stick to clean eating and start learning to make my favorite treats healthier.

My plan after the reset:
~ease back into eating meat
~still will limit dairy (I will continue with Greek yogurt and cottage cheese but nothing else)
~avoiding wheat/gluten--1 day of pasta per week
~eating 5-7x per day
~lots of veggies
~keeping up with my shakes
~starting body beast Monday!!
~make favorite foods clean
~have 2 outings/cheats per month
~plan and prep meals the weekend before

Have you made any big changes that you plan to keep up with?



Some of my tasty reset foods!
 
 
 
 
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Soooo this is where I was at the start (day 1 of the program --post P90x2 which I need to do my review of!! SO sorry guys!)

Start weight 132
Height: 5 ft 8 in

So as you can refer to below I have been sticking to the schedule with the exceptions of with the intensity of these workouts, I have decided to stick with Live Fit a little more and take weekends off. Trust me much needed and I have still been active other wise!

Goals: To add more muscle to my body and work my way to my first competition (I need to figure out when exactly but I am thinking Spring!) and photos! YAY!

After vacation I cleaned up my diet again, back to 35g or less of sugar per day (that includes natural from fruits), and other wise following the live fit meal plan!! (Go to the recipes section and try some!) YUM!

I am tracking my calories with myfitness pal (add me :-) emsimpler). I try to eat anywhere from 1500-1700 daily! As you can see the clean eating makes the biggest difference in the stomach!

I will say this I am SORE!! I haven't exactly like this before so I am really enjoying it and learning sooo much about it!!

Favorite part of Live Fit: lifting for sure...I have done a variety of programs in the past but the intensity and style of this workout is amazing!! I can already see my body changing and I love how I feel! The hardest part is taking the rest sets and rest days!!

Favorite part of Turbo: this is my "soul mate workout" my absolute favorite form of cardio so I love all aspects!!!!

Supplements I take:
-shakeology (chocolate)
-vanilla whey
-BCAA's


Tips:
-Make sure you eat enough calories!! Eating too little is just as bad as too many!
-Stay the course!! Consistency and following the guide is really key!

Stay tuned and check back for more recipes!

Have you tried either of these programs? What did you like the most?

 
 
Well you guessed it we are moving!! We found our dream home and have decided it was time to "get domestic" (ahhaha just kidding) thus the moving begins again!!

So last time my plan was to eat healthy and workout no matter what...well like most I did fall off my plan some. However, thankfully this was a much shorter duration and a bit easier of a transition. This time I was committed to not making those mistakes so here is what I did and plan to do while traveling this weekend!

1) Pack options for healthy snacks so you aren't tempted!
    For me this includes Egg puffs (See breakfast recipes), almonds, protein bars (JUST IN CASE), fruit, shakeology, Greek yogurt with pumpkin, fat free cottage cheese with cinnamon, endamamme, carrot/peppers and hummus. These are pretty easy to transport and will take up the in between meals.
        I eat 5-6 times a day depending on the day!

2) TRACK EVERYTHING! I know this can be challenging and sometimes a bit of a pain but trust me if you want to know what not to do this is a good way to go about it!
    I like www.myfitnesspal.com
    Add me and see what my days are like!! emsimpler is my ID!

3) Pack workout gear and dvds! Easily transportable and convenient with my lap top!!
    sneakers, workout clothes, resistance tubing, dvds. NO EXCUSES!

4) Make a plan! As unpredictable as trips and moving are have an action plan! I get up wayyyy before everyone else to ensure I still get my workouts in! Even if it's a quick one, something is better than no workout at all!!

5) Make smart take out choices! It won't be perfect of course but if you smile and ask nicely modifications can be made at almost any restaurant! Look up the menu/calorie choices ahead of time so you know (these are not always accurate but are a better way than just ordering at random).
    steer clear of: bread baskets, alcohol, sugary drinks, pasta, white rice, oils, battered

    opt for: plain, grilled, baked, broiled, no butter, brown rice, egg whites, fruit for dessert

And remember no one is perfect but preparation allows for more control and more knowledge of what you are eating!!
 
 
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Well you guessed...Phase 1 is done and in the books!

I completed phase 1 of P90x2 in 4 weeks and these are my thoughts/results/tips!

First let me start with this...I LOVED P90x and never thought I could adore it or Tony Horton any more...well news flash I think P90x2 with a little added intense cardio is my soul mate workout! I have always LOVED to workout but sometimes that was deprioritized...until last year! I kicked my booty back into shape and can now say yes, I am an ATHLETE! I was always the tall skinny chick who could "never gain" well let me just say I could/can, I did, but I was "skinny fat" and in need of a change...so here I am 1 year later...working my butt off and loving it!! P90x2 = <3



P90x vs. P90x2 P90x2 has been very different from P90x so far...same concepts of muscle confusion, the rep ranges (for most workouts) and it is still simplifying the same difficult concepts and making them more accessible to those of us not as familiar with these concepts!

Differences:
  • focused total body training
  • a TON of core work (like in absolutely every video)
  • shorter workouts
  • more flexible schedule
  • no "traditional cardio"
  • no recovery week (unless you absolutely need it!!)
  • less of a structured time frame--the goal is to master and improve each workout and because this it is based solely on your progress
  • stability is a focus for all workouts
  • 5 days a week instead of 6~you need rest (I use day 6 for cardio and day 7 off completely)

Similar:
  • yoga (but it's shorter)
  • plyocide (shorter and more intense)
  • lifting schedule- you hit all the muscle groups but is more focused on large muscle groups (so far)
  • there are still modifications but this is a tougher workout so the modifications are tougher too!
More fun tools/gear:
stability ball
medicine balls
push up stands (same)
pull up bar (same)
bands/ dumbbells (same)
foam rollers
yoga mat
yoga block
pull up max (instead of a chair)

Nutrition:
Similar...but more options!!
Grain free
Vegan
Normal
~shakeology built in too!


TONS of new foods and recipes, same 3 plans, fat shredder, athletic, etc!
What the workouts look like:
Are you ready for X2?
See my day by day account >http://www.youtube.com/user/BethSimpler/videos
So are you ready to see YOUR transformation? Let me help you through it :-) email me: emsimpler@gmail.com or facebook.com/beth.simpler
 
 
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The other day I was babysitting a friends young kids (ages 3 and 6), we watched them jump, run, tumble, and everything else a young kid could possibly do, things that many of us only wish we could still bend and move that way! And I thought why are we not nearly as durable as we age and then it hit me: flexibility gone!

I know personally this is an area I struggle with, heck I never did yoga or pilates until 2 years ago...and I HATED IT! Why? It was hard. Point blank. And it was different (no one likes change myself included). BUT afterwards I felt like a million stretchy bucks! Going from someone who could barely touch her toes to someone who could comfortably place both elbows on the ground in a runner's lunge was a HUGE deal for me. And at about that point I started enjoying it because I knew it was working! I was more bendable, more durable, and what I newly learned is I had increased my muscles strength potential!

WHAT? Yep, it's true! People who do yoga have more muscle strength potential than those who don't! So you get more durable, life get's a little easier in the day to day, and able to lift more? UM okay I get it! So not only am I practicing every week, I tend not to dread it as much...still not my favorite but I have grown to love it! Not to mention it's one workout you can never be perfect with! You can ALWAYS get better!

Why yoga recap:
flexibile
life is easier!
durable
less prone to injury
MORE STRENGTH POTENTIAL!

Beginner plan:
Yoga 1/week
Stretch 10 minutes after your workout when you are the most warm and pliable!