5 Reasons Sprouted Bread Is Better (And Back To School Sandwich Ideas)

5 Reasons You Should Switch To Sprouted Bread

 

The great carb debate is never ending and poor bread gets a major bad rap.

But like all things–education and quality are key.

 

I remember growing up watching Iron Kids bread commercials and trying to desperately convince my mom that I needed it.  The power of advertising and targeting kids is strong.  What I have realized as a nutrition coach is that adults are really no different.

 

Although I keep a gluten-free diet, my family does not. I don’t keep our house 100% gluten free for several reasons.  The biggest reason is that I don’t want to force a sensitivity upon them by never exposing them to gluten.  I want them to be able to grow up and have a cupcake at a birthday party or a snack at school without being too afraid to eat it.  I do limit their exposure and select items that limit their need to digest that.  Sprouted bread being one of them.

 

Traditional Breads

Both white and wheat breads are made from the berry of a wheat plant.  Whole grain bread is derived from the entire plant (endosperm, bran and the germ) while other breads are made from only the endosperm (the starchy middle).  In both cases, the portion of the plant is ground into flour and combined with other ingredients to yield bread.

 

Because the grains used to create bread are highly processed into flour that makes them more readily broken down in the digestive track and then absorbed into the bloodstream.  When carbohydrates are quickly absorbed into the digestive tract this may cause a spike in insulin response thus making it a much higher on the glycemic index.

 

What is Sprouted Bread?

To create sprouted bread, the whole grain is soaked until germination which causes the release of enzymes that break down both carbohydrates and protein.

Why Is Sprouted Bread Better?

1. Easier Digestion

The interesting thing about sprouting grains is that it jump starts the digestion of proteins within the grain.  These proteins include things like gluten which makes sprouted breads much easier on the digestive track for those that have sensitivity to gluten.

2. Nutrients Are More Available

The problem with regular highly processed bread is that it contains phytic acid, sometimes referred to as the “anti-nutrient.” Phytic acid keeps the nutrients within the bread locked up and unavailable for absorption.  By soaking grains and allowing them to sprout before consumption the Phytic acid content is reduced and makes the nutrients more readily available for absorption.

In addition when grains becomes highly processed, nutrients are lost in translation.  The less processed the bread then the greater the nutrient availability.

3. Increased Accessibility To Fiber

Studies show that when grains are sprouted the fiber content of the plant tissue (like cellulose) is increased.  Bonus for us is that the outcome is a fiber rich product.  Sprouted breads then provide a higher fiber source option.

 4. Lower on the Gl

Sprouted bread also ranks lower on the glycemic index, a scale used to rank a carbohydrates impact on blood glucose levels.  Foods lower on the GI don’t impact blood sugar levels as much as those carbohydrates that have a high GI ranking.  Consuming foods with a lower GI help to maintain more steady blood glucose levels which offer a slew of health benefits including hormone and insulin balance.

5. Improved Macro Nutrient Profile

As mentioned above, because the grains are sprouted their protein access increases and carbohydrate content slightly decreases. Because of that, the macro nutrient profile becomes even better.

 

How Do You Know If The Bread Is Sprouted?

Buyer beware of sneaky marketing to make you think what you are buying is sprouted when it really isn’t.  Read the ingredient profile and look for them to be listed as “sprouted.”  Two of the most popular and accessible are Dave’s Killer Bread (this is one you can buy at Costco and is on my Costco shopping list.” And the very popular Ezekiel Bread.

Application To Other Grains

Sprouting grains isn’t just a benefit in bread, but can also be captured in other grains we eat as well. There is a list of intriguing research that shows the value of sprouting grains before consumption.

Sample Sandwiches For Back To School

With kids headed back to school, healthy lunch options are at the forefront of parents’ minds.  The sandwich is an easy kid approved option.  I challenge you to up the health game of that sandwich this school year and years forward.

My kids and I came together to create some awesome sandwich options that they have tested and love.  All of which are on sprouted bread.  To add a little kid fanciness we used a Pampered Chef Cut and Seal for an uncrusted look that makes this healthy option even more “kid cool.”

 

Sprouted Bread Kid Approved Sandwich Options

I let my kids be the chefs of their lunches often in the kitchen.  Involvement equals buy-in.  They are the creative minds behind all of the following filling ideas that are placed within two slices of sprouted bread.  We’ve also used our awesome LunchBots stainless steal containers for years for easy lunch packing.  The reusable  snack and sandwich pouches pictured above are handmade in the Phoenix Area by Chic Baby Creations.

 

Peanut butter, Apple and Honey

Simple Variations:

Sunbutter and Honey

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Almond Butter and Berries

Peanut Butter Banana

 

 

 

 

Hummus and “Cucs”

Simple Variations:

Hummus and Carrots

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ham and Salami

(or other high quality deli meat of choice)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even more cool is you can prep several of this sandwiches ahead of time and store them in the fridge or freeze ahead.

 

 

There are a zillion nutrition books about the health of grains all of which share conflicting perspective and research.  My opinion is that moderation and quality are key.  Finding balance in your intake, and that of your children, is a priceless skill.

Looking for my more macro friendly recipes?

Click HERE to down load my Free Recipe book!

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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Macro Tracking: A Skill Set For Long Term Success

Macro Nutrition As A Skill Set

 

If you have been remotely dabbling in the nutritional world you know that macro nutrition is trending.  Has been and still is.  And there is a reason…it is effective.

 

Over the last few months I have had several clients that have joined my roster after dumping hundreds (even thousands) of dollars a month into weight loss clinics that offer a “get skinny quick” approach to nutrition.

 

These clinics offer a pill, a wrap or a shot paired with a hugely restricted calorie diet to provide clients with fast weight loss.

 

And many times…it works…for a hot second.  Then these clients head out into the real world, surrounded by food, family and friends and the weight comes right back on…in a hot second.

 

Why?

Because they never truly learned from the experience.  They didn’t invest in acquiring any skills to help them gain food awareness, learn balance or the use of a “food budget.”  They were never taught how to live around food and find balance in doing so.

 

Tracking your macros is not meant to be a “get skinny quick” approach to eating.  Instead it is the development of a skill set that helps you identify how to fuel your body and life among food.

 

Macro versus Micro-Nutrition

We all “do macros.”  No matter what nutritional lifestyle you live you eat food filled with carbohydrates, fats and proteins so thus, you eat macro nutrients.

 

The focus of identifying a macro nutrient ratio that works for you is the goal of tracking macros.  The body loves to maintain homeostasis.  When you provide it with the same consistent food stimulus and maintain a level caloric intake, it rewards you.  Consistency breeds progress.

 

In addition, micro nutrients are a large piece of the overall health component too.  It is often the forgotten piece of the health puzzle.  It’s one I’ve grown passionate about pushing because it is all too often overlooked.

Looking for some simple REAL FOOD recipes?

Click to download my FREE recipe e-book!

Just because you can “slay” your macro counts doesn’t mean that you are slaying your micros.  Micro nutrients are things like vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that maintain so much of the body’s overall health.  We get our micros from our macros.  Which implies that macro nutrient quality does matter.  Without a diet rich in whole foods, there will be micro nutrient deficiency.

 

You Can’t “Diet” Forever

There is a general misconception that tracking your macros means you will live with your head buried in your phone for the rest of your life.  That you will be “stuck” using the MyFitnessPal app for for-evaaa (PS-you can download my secret tipe for MyFitnessPal HERE).

WRONG! (insert buzzard noise here)

For some who thrive on accountability you just might.  And if that works for you I say “heck yes”.

 

But for others that isn’t sustainable.  What is sustainable is investing time in learning to understand macro nutrient value and portion size by weighing and measuring to acquire the skills necessary to begin to eyeball the portions your body needs to maintain your goals. Day-to-day practice becomes habit and may help you eat intuitively down the road.

 

Why It Works

When 2 out of every 3 adults are considered to be “obese” in the U.S. then clearly there is a misunderstanding in the energy balance needs of our bodies.

 

There is no “magic” behind tracking macros (although many of my clients would disagree…lol).  The “magic” is a scientific approach to fueling your body with the right quantity of fuel for your goals.  It is creating a caloric deficit or surplus, driven by goals, and having such great food awareness that you have the power to shift in whichever direction you want and need.   Beyond that, it is day-to-day consistency that yields progress.

 

Macro tracking is effective because there is not an “off limits” food list.  In fact the learning curve when you begin tracking macros is HUGE because most clients realize that junk food consumes a majority of their daily macro budget if they eat it.  The more whole, real foods you consume the more food you have to enjoy in a day.

 

Over Restriction Breeds Non-compliance

I’ve been there.  I followed a strict Paleo approach to eating for years after I discovered I had gluten sensitivity.  There was so much value in that experience, including the knowledge I gained in food quality and awareness.

 

The problem was that it restricted so many foods.  When I had a desperate craving for something that wasn’t  on the list of approved foods I would have a non-Paleo bender of tortilla chips, hummus, and gluten-free pizza.  My caloric intake quadrupled over a weekend and then I wondered why I was constantly starting over on Monday.

 

Once I discovered a balanced approach to eating I found myself consuming more real-foods, heavy on micro nutrients, than ever.

Why?

Because I wasn’t tempted by restriction and found a balanced way to have a small bit of something I really looked forward to each day and my cravings faded.

 

What’s even more amazing is I crave those foods less because they aren’t “off-limits” and I don’t feel the pressure to deny myself.  It’s kind of like when your parents tell you can’t date the “bad boy” when you are a teenager.  The more they say no the more desperate you become to find the “Danny Zuko” of your school and make it official. (shameless Grease plug…I was obsessed with that movie growing up.)

Goals For My Clients

I strive to teach my clients balance with a focus of three main goals I hope for them to achieve:

 

Goal #1: Adopt the 90/10 Rule

90% whole, read foods with that leftover 10% being something you love.  That 10% allows you maintain the other 90%.

 

Goal #2: Focus on longevity.  

Although you might have a short term goal you are head strong in achieving the end result is for client to fly solo in their nutritional journey when they are ready.  If they restrict themselves to no chocolate, no bread, no “insert your favorite guilty pleasure here” then there is no longevity.

 

Finding balance in being successful in social gatherings and eating out is part of longevity.  Learning to approach those situations with purpose and a plan is a lifelong skill with great value.

 

Goal #3: Practice makes progress, not perfection.

I know it’s a total cliché but it’s true.

 

Just like a sport you have to practice to become successful.  If you want to be a better 3-Point shooter you must practice shooting 3-pointers often.

 

Similarly, if you want to learn how to eat in the “real world” to achieve your goals you must practice and expose yourself to situations where those skills are put to the test.  You must prove to yourself you have the skill set necessary to move through life and maintain your goals.

 

Invest in learning about the tools that will make you successful for life.  No thirty day crash diet filled with complete restriction and appetite suppressants will teach you how to learn to eat real food.  Slow, steady progress is still that…PROGRESS.

 

It’s Not For Everybody

I get it 100%. Tracking macro nutrient intake may not be for you.

 

What is for you is learning the skills necessary to maneuver through life with balance.  Learning to fill your plate with a handful of lean protein and carbs and lots of veggies isn’t intuitive for everyone.  Invest in learning to make your health a priority in a way that is sustainable for you.

 

I did.  And it has made all the difference.

 

Looking for my more macro friendly recipes?

Click HERE to down load my Free Recipe book!

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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Guest On The Money Peach Podcast

Money Peach Podcast

I was extremely reluctant to take my business to social media.  Then I realized–if I don’t, I will never provide the value I am capable of.

 

I was also nervous to be on my friend Money Peach‘s podcast.  I finally decided that it was time and I am so glad I did.

 

Take a listen to his podcast (he is awesome at what he does) and hear more about my story to now.

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Client Success Story: The Marathoner

Client Success Story: The Marathoner

Age: 33

Time Frame: 16 Weeks

 

Before and After

Before and after pictures “sell.”  I get that more and more as a coach and I personally think it sucks at times.  When someone is looking to make a nutritional change it is often scale driven.  I love it, as a coach when I have a prospective client whose primary goal for making nutritional changes is performance driven.  Whether it is to establish new personal records dead lifting, in a race or just in life, non-scale related goals are ones I really enjoy helping clients pursue.  They are often the undiscussed victories that can be even better than a scale goal.

 

When this client came to me ready to attack her next marathon using a nutritional strategy I was ecstatic.  She has realized that fueling her body for performance was a missing link and she was ready to invest in herself to reap the benefits. Her goal was to crush her marathon with a change in the scale as a byproduct.  Needless to say, both happened and she’s never looking back!

 

The moral to her story is that nutrition isn’t just about a number on a scale.  It’s about listening to your body, zoning in how you actually feel, where you feel empowered and the entire big picture of health.  Often when we spend time really fine tuning the non-scale victories we find that weight loss comes along with it.

 

Here Is Her Story:

“I began my journey with Amanda in January 2017 in preparation for my fourth marathon.  I had run three full marathons as well as several half marathons previously, however, I always felt like something was missing.  Longer runs would leave me completely drained in the energy department and I would most definitely need to rest/nap afterwards.  I found that I would “bonk” energy-wise around mile 20 and struggle through the last 6 miles of the race.  I would be very sore the next day, making sightseeing in new cities I was running in uncomfortable.

 

Greater Accountability

As a Crossfitter, I had heard the buzz about “tracking your macros” and saw the results it could provide- improved body composition, PR-ing lifts, flying through WODs with amazing energy.  I began to track my macros on my own just to see if it was a lifestyle I could follow.  I’ve always enjoyed eating healthy and meal prepping has been a habit I’d been doing for some time due to my work schedule.  I found that I could make my day look great in My Fitness Pal and meet all of my numbers then would eat cookies/snacks and not log them (silly, I know).  I knew I needed someone to help hold me accountable and having Amanda review my log weekly provided just that.

In just a few short weeks of working together, I noticed that my runs were becoming easy and the time it took me to recover was almost non-existent.  I could go for an 18 mile run and turn around and go for an 8 mile run the next day without soreness and with continued energy.

 

Food As Fuel

Fueling my body properly for training including pre-workout and post-workout meals was clearly what I was missing.  I learned what types of food made me feel the best and tried to stick to natural, whole foods to eat while running such as dried fruits and applesauce rather than gels and blocks I had previously used.

The day of the race, I felt more prepared for a marathon than I ever have before.  My pre-race nutrition was solid, my snacks were prepared and I was ready.  I felt amazing throughout the race and did not have my usual “bonk” at mile 20.  And the next day, no soreness at all – even went for a 3 mile hike!

 

Nutrition Was Key

I can’t believe it took me four marathons to realize that changing my nutrition was the key to my success.  This way of eating is not just a change I will make when training for an event, but a permanent lifestyle change.  I was convinced marathon number four would be my last but just signed up for number five!”

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

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Costco Shopping List

Costco List

Costco.

 

Enough said right?

 

When I mention Costco it ignites a fight or flight response, you vision money leaving your bank account and battling for a parking spot among a sea of retirees.

 

It’s true…it does the same for me.  However, I don’t think we can dispute the fact that they offer some really amazing bang for your buck foods and have come a long way in food quality.

One Trip Per Month

Personally, I limit myself to one Costco expedition a month to fit within my budget.  I plan for it and have become the master of Costco execution leaving with real food options that support both our micro and macro nutritional needs.

 

After my awesome feedback from my Trader Joe’s Shopping List I had many requests for more of my favorite things.  I decided to tackle Costco first.  Just like my TJs list you will find that my choices are always gluten free with a few “gluten-rific” options that my family is able to enjoy.

 

Beyond The Staples

Costco does a an amazing job of carrying high quality organic products nowadays along with many sources of organic lean proteins.  Although I will highlight some of my favorite Costco “gems” this list includes more than the staples of your weekly grocery shopping list to things that are “must-haves” of the stock.

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Must-Have Produce

 

 

 

 

Baby Creamers:I love prepping these in my Instant Pot and turning them into smashed potatoes or breakfast potatoes under a runny yolk

“Love” Beats: So yummy sliced atop a fresh salad

Fresh Start Smoothie Blend: with summer in full effect I keep this berry and kale combo in the freezer

Frozen Veggies: Costco keeps an amazing frozen selection of organic veggies to keep in the freezer for your last minute meal options

Cocktail Cucs:I am all about buying veggies my kids love.  For some reason cute little cocktail cucumbers are more popular with my kids so I snatch them up

Cauliflower Rice: (A two pack that allows you to eat one and freeze the other.  It freezes great!)

Butter Lettuce: My favorite lettuce and you can’t beat the price at Costco

Zucchini Noodles (bran new to Costco): Great for a last minute addition to dinner

 

Must Have Lean Protein

Kirkland Turkey Burgers

Don Lee Farms Chicken Patties: These are nice for an “I have nothing prepped” kind of night.

Organic Chicken Broth: I keep chicken stock on hand as a sub to saute and steam veggies and meats.  It adds flavor and keeps fat down if needed.

Rotisserie Chicken: They keep this as far away as possible to get you to walk to the back  of the store while filling your cart.  I use it to make chicken salad or as a quick protein source.

Shrimp: Great to have on hand as a very lean protein source.

 

Must Have Carbohydrates

Dried Mangoes: One of my favorite post-workout snacks

Figgy Pops: A great pre-workout snack or snack in general.  I recommend these as a great snack for my clients who are endurance athletes while on the road

Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice

Millet and Brown Rice Ramen: (literally only millet and brown rice…say what??)

Milton’s GF Crackers

Organic Raw Honey

Organic Maple Syrup: My fave coffee sweetener.  Something I have a wee bit of each day in my morning coffee.

And if you can find them…I also love

Sweet Potato Fries

Path of Life Quinoa and Kale

Must Have Fats

Nuts: I am a major nut butter junky and have found Costco’s selection of nuts to be superior when I make homemade nut butters

Nut Butters: almond, peanut, and occasionally cashew

Coconut Oil

Avocado Oil

Flax and Chia seeds: in bulk makes the cost so good (but sometimes hard to find)

Kerrygold: I use this in my coffee each morning..can’t beat the cost here

Must Have Snacks

Noosa: throw this (or any Greek Yogurt) in the freezer for 10 minutes and you have a lower fat version of cheesecake-ish dessert.

Organic Hummus: A must-have to get my kids eating more veggies

Organic PB Fit: I love this to have on hand to add to a shake, or atop a rice cake as a snack

Lundberg Rice Cakes: My favorite rice cake in a 3 PACK!!! Yeah–but hard to find.

Squeeze Pouches: All types including apple mixed fruits, veggies and Chia seed. Love this for a quick real-food pre/post workout snack or for the kids lunches.

Kind Bars: a nice option for a gluten free treat, far lower in sugar than most similar bar.  Great crumbled atop yogurt as a granola option.

Lara Bars:  a great two pack of my kids’ favorite flavors Apple Pie and Cashew Cookie.

Acai by Sambazon: A seriously delicious summer treat.  When my bananas are about to go bad a slice them up and put them in the freezer for the acai base.  Then use a few pouches to whip up a yummy acai ice cream and top with granola, berries, honey, and whatever else you want.

 

Down Fall

Costco has one major downfall and that is their inconsistency in stock.  I often fall in love with a product only to go back and discover they no longer carry it.  I can travel only a short 10 minute drive from one Costco location to another to find they don’t carry the same items.

If something you want isn’t at your local Costco ask a manager.  They are often willing to investigate and see if they too can get it in. Please Keep in mind some of the items are seasonal and vary by location. Most pantry items are easy to find year round at all locations. Prices may also vary by location.

 

The Upside

Their return policy is pretty much no questions ask.  You can take back any product you are dissatisfied with including foods items you’ve sampled.  I’ve taken back produce that went bad too quickly in my perspective and I get a fresh replacement.

 

Want To Download This List To Take To Costco?

Click HERE to download it now

 

Did I leave off one of your favorite, real food Costco favorites?  Please comment below and let me know what I need to add to my list!

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

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Client Success Story: “50-ish Is The New 30”

Client Success Story: “50-ish Is The New 30”

 

Age: 47

Time Frame: 1 Year

 

Father Time

No matter how hard we try, we can’t stop time.  We have the choice to allow the aging process to deter us from making life changes with the “it’s too late mindset” or use it to drive us to find a better, healthier quality of life.

I am so grateful that the client I am highlighting this month realized she no longer wanted to walk the path of inactivity and unhealthy habits.  Instead, she made the choice to become the best version of herself at almost 50 years old.  She is a case of the chronic misunderstanding that less food=greater results.  The most exciting progress she has made is shifting her mindset to food as fuel.

This month I am excited to highlight a client who clearly makes 50 looks like the new 30.  She is an inspiration to all women and proof that age is no excuse to never stop working on yourself.

 

Here is Her Story:

“At the age of 47, I have had 17,155 days to make decisions. Decisions that led to habits. Habits that led to reflections and reflections that led to insights. Those insights helped me realize I didn’t want to just exist because I was aging. With 50 looming near like the Grim Reaper, I felt a new sense of urgency in deciding if I was going to watch my body wither away or fight Father Time with all I had.

 

We Are Responsible

That decision was easy to make but I knew if I wanted to see real changes, I first had to accept that I was ultimately responsible for every one of those thousands of decisions. What I had done in my past in relation to my health and fitness goals was never entirely met. I realized that I had sabotaged my own progress by rationalizing every excuse to miss a workout or follow a meal plan.

If I was going to do this 100%, I needed to change my mindset. No longer would it matter if the holidays are coming, a vacation or simply a bad day. The time was now and I needed to stop getting in my own way.

 

I decided to join a gym that was completely different from what I had done before. Somewhere that pushed progress and had the structure I needed to remain consistent. I stepped out of my comfort zone and a CrossFit gym became my new home the second I walked in.

The atmosphere itself was unique from anywhere I had been. Members that were actually sweaty and out of breath. Pushing themselves to perform without giving up.  There would be no mindless cardio for hours. If you were there, you were working hard.  The coaches and members encouraged each other to keep pushing themselves. The positivity and kindness from all were addicting and created an equation that proved results in their commitment and physiques.

 

Missing Piece

I found the missing piece to my fitness puzzle with Coach Amanda. Not only was she a strong leader as a coach but she also trained others in nutrition. As I watched my fellow members begin to shed pounds, build muscles and increase strength and endurance, I knew I had to take the next step.

Amanda accepting me as a client was like winning the lottery.

I had found someone who was knowledgeable, promoted accountability and continually encouraged you to strive forward. She helped me not just track my intake but to understand what nutrients I need to actually fuel my body for performance. I learned how to plan ahead to promote success instead of guilt. She builds you up so you become accountable to yourself.  This was a crucial part of the process for me as I had to become comfortable in social events to make choices that supported my goals.

 

 

Not only did I lose 15 pounds and 3 pants sizes (smaller than I was in High School), but I lowered my cholesterol by 47 points and have 0% visceral fat (that awful stuff that accumulates around your organs and causes illness).

I am stronger, faster and more confident than I have ever been.

The hardest part of this journey is that I wish I could take more people along with me.  I want others to understand what it is like to feel incredibly healthy on the inside and actually look in the mirror and love who you see.   To never want to crop a photo because it is proof of your progress.

I’m not afraid of tomorrow. I welcome it as it brings even further results.

My advice to anyone considering making changes is this. Do it now. There will never be a better time to build a better you than today!”

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

Awalk

 

 

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Business Leader Spotlight on Money Radio

What an awesome opportunity it was to be featured on Money Radio’s Business For Breakfast Show in their Business Leader Spotlight.  The chance to share my business, my passion and have a little morning radio fun with Mark and Ken was awesome!

Click HERE to listen to the interview.

Thanks Mark and Ken for the amazing opportunity!

 

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Client Success Story: The Runner

Client Success Story: The Runner

Age: 44 (and proud!)

Time Frame: 16 Weeks

 

The Supportive Hubby

Often times women get so much spotlight for success in their nutritional endeavors.  I love when a male client jumps into macro tracking, often times to support their wife, with a little hesitation and lack of interest.  It doesn’t take very long for them to become a believer in the process and become the motivator of the family.  Even more awesome is when a male client comes to me with performance goals not just scale or composition goals.

 

This month I am excited to highlight a client who is all these things: husband, dad, endurance athlete, CrossFitter, coach, ref and also has a full time day job.  He had zero excuses in his busy life and had an amazing transformation in mind, body and performance.

 

Here is his story:

 

“The year 2015 seemed to be the year that everyone was raving about tracking your macros. The results for those on “macros” were amazing. Still, I wasn’t enticed to track my food intake. I had every excuse in the book; I work too much, it is too difficult to track on all my business trips, I don’t need to lose weight and more importantly, I don’t want to be denied any of the foods that I like to eat.

 

For the first 8 months of 2016, my wife had a major health setback. When that was all behind us, she asked me to join her on her journey to get back in shape. In August of 2016, my wife and I decided to finally commit to the macro nutrition lifestyle. Secretly, I had no interest in tracking my food, but I was trying to be a supportive husband.  Amanda focuses on eating whole real foods and that fits my wife’s beliefs, so we chose to work with her as our macro coach.

 

Within weeks, I had gone from 210 lbs to 199 lbs. It was rare for me to see the scale under 200 pounds, so I was hooked instantly. Amanda and I reevaluated my goals after a few weeks since we had seen progress early on. This is when I told her I would like to go sub 190 lbs. It seemed like an unrealistic goal since I hadn’t been that weight since my college track days. To my surprise, I got there and more importantly, I felt great!!!

 

I felt like I had reversed the clock 20 years. My energy level had increased 10-fold. I was sleeping better and was far more productive at work. With all this new found energy, I decided to go after my running goals (mile, 2-mile, 5K and 10K) that I had set back in 2010 but was never able to obtain. (Actually, my 2-mile goal of sub 12 minutes was set in 2000). It took me 17 years to finally achieve that goal with a time of 11:40.

 

For the first time in my 40-plus years of life, I finally understood the nutritional value of real food. I couldn’t believe how easy it actually was. If only I had this knowledge before my college track days. Sadly, I would fill myself up on convenience store burritos before track practice and went big before track meets at….Taco Bell!

 

Not only was running fun again, but I was blazing through all my personal running goals.  I was hitting times in those races that I honestly thought were unattainable. It just wasn’t the weight loss that helped me achieve my personal best times; it was that my body was able to train more and with higher intensity than before. I recovered faster between training sessions and was filling my body with healthy carbs, fat, and protein that generated more energy. As an added bonus my body was finally free of chronic aches and pains.

 

This kind of eating just made sense to me. I handle my finances the same way. If I stay within my budgeted numbers, great things happen. Amanda was instrumental in devising the perfect plan for me and adjusting the plan as my body was progressing.  Amanda’s coaching was a lifestyle change that has made all the difference in how I now view food nutrition.”

 

Looking for tips and resources to get started on your own nutritional journey?

Check out my FREE Resources!

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

Cycle Of Awesome

Cycle Of Awesome

Love of Basketball

I was a basketball fanatic growing up.  It was the love of my life.  I played year round on competitive teams and as a freshman, started for my high school’s varsity team.  Basketball was my purpose, my passion in life.  My teammates were my best friends and I was convinced it was how I was going to college.

 

Along the way though, I was faced with an injury that presented a major setback in my goals.  I was diagnosed with a form of Compartment Syndrome.  I had no clue what it was then either but was explained to me like this:

 

Like a hot dog is surrounded by a casing, so too are your muscles.  When you heat a hot dog in the microwave the “meat” inside puts pressure on the hot dog’s casing.  If that pressure builds too much, the hot dog is damaged and explodes. The same was true of the muscles in my legs. The fascia surrounding my muscles didn’t grow at the same rate as the muscle.  It was applying crazy amounts of pressure to the muscle inside it, causing no blood flow and horrific pain.

 

Devastation

I was devastated.  The thought of not playing basketball any more, not pursuing the possibility of a scholarship and not being with my teammates left me depressed.  The choice was clear to me.  I was willing to take on two surgeries, gnarly scars and a year of rehab to be ready for the next season.

 

Looking back, it was a major decision in my life that led to me jumping into the “Cycle Of Awesome” as I call it. If I could be active, I’d be surrounded by friends who loved to play sports too.  If I was involved in sports, I’d care about my health and fitness. If I cared about my health and fitness then I’d make choices to support a healthy life.  A healthy life during my teenage years would lead to a higher likelihood of having a healthy adult life.

 

What is the “Cycle Of Awesome” you ask?

The cycle of awesome starts early. We teach it to our children without knowing it.  When we are living in the cycle we are unstoppable.  When we take a detour from it, it feels as though that cycle is spinning fast and we can’t seem to figure out how to hop back in.

 

The Cycle of Awesome is when confidence, effort and results in one area of our life, leads to another.

Then another.

And Another.

And you get the idea.

It is the notion of gaining momentum in life because we have the control to do so.  When we feel in control of one area of life we gain confidence to invest in another.

 

Where Does It Start?

The Cycle of Awesome starts with yourself, your body specifically.  If you could make one investment in anything, your body is the first place to start.  If you have lots of money but aren’t healthy…what good is money?  It’s a lonely place to be if you can’t live life because your health won’t allow it.

 

I know I might have bias, but fueling your body and taking care of the inside is the first place to start.  Filling your body with nutrient dense foods feels good physically and mentally.  When you are intentional about what you put into it, you feel in control. And in fact, you are!

 

When you make positive nutritional habits you begin to notice changes in composition, you feel happier, and most of all you gain confidence.  That confidence begins to pour out into even more areas of your life.

 

When you begin to feel good you gain energy.  That energy is used to fuel other positive habits in your life such as exercise.  And guess what?  When you exercise, you get more energy and are happier all around.

 

When nutrition and fitness are used together your body is unstoppable.  When your physical being is well cared for you are ready to move on to being awesome in other aspects of life. I hear from clients all the time that so much good begins to happen in their life when they invest in themselves.  The domino effect of that investment gains major momentum as time passes.

 

How Do We Stay On It?

Being in this cycle doesn’t just happen.

 

Just like when you set out to lose weight you have to learn how to fuel your body, plan your meals and have willpower.  There is no magic pill.  That effort and hard work is just that…hard. But the outcome is so worth it.

 

The same is true in entering the Cycle of Awesome. It requires grit, effort, planning and hard work.

 

Once you’ve jumped into the Cycle of Awesome by investing in yourself, amazing things begin to happen.  Because you are more confident and happy you spread that same vibe to others, including your family.  The saying “Your vibe attracts your tribe” has quite a bit of validity to it.  Soon, you are intentional about who you surround yourself with because you don’t have space for negativity.  Your confidence breeds relationships that are genuine, authentic and reciprocal.

 

You begin to be purposeful in what you want from life.  You set more goals and set out to take on new challenges.  You become a better time manager.  You even begin to think about how you spend your money because you want more from it.

 

You begin to realize that the Cycle of Awesome is the only place you want to be because it means your life has momentum and inertia.

What If You Fall Off?

At some point it might happen.  Something will come along that applies pressure to the cycle and you might wonder..temporarily.  When you do, you will realize it feels so amazing to be in The Cycle of Awesome that you won’t allow it to be any other way.  You will have to dig deep, jump back on, and regain some speed.  And once you do, it will be that much sweeter.

 

Newton’s first law of motion, sometimes referred to as the law of inertia, tells us that an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an external force.

 

I want you to jump on that Cycle of Awesome and continue in motion.  If an external force is applied, push back.

 

Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself

Stop making excuses.  The people in the Cycle of Awesome are there for a reason.

 

They too are busy.  They too have a crazy busy schedule.  They too have a million hats to wear.

 

But here is the difference, they don’t make excuses.

 

Instead, they channel the energy of excuse into the energy of “do.”  They take action and use grit to maintain their place in the Cycle of Awesome.  That power of do becomes habit because they make a conscious choice each day to stay on board.  Each turn of the cycle strengthens their place in it and life becomes more rich.

 

You are no different.

 

The biggest realization I hope you will come to is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  When one aspect of your own cycle slips away, don’t let it derail you.  Just like I tell my clients: If you have one bad meal, it doesn’t have to mean the entire day or week has to be lost. Make a choice to move on in a positive direction.

 

Fitness in Life

Being “fit” means so much more than muscles and mile times.  It means being healthy and strong in body, mind, money, attitude, relationships and energy.

If you are already in the Cycle Of Awesome, keep after it. (Now you just have a cool way to reference it.)

If you see that Cycle of Awesome spinning for everyone else, it is time to take action and start with investing in yourself NOW.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk