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Why Age Is No Excuse

If you’ve checked out my Feel Amazing Naked program, you may know that I truly believe anyone can look and feel their best, no matter their age. And the same goes for you! Age is no excuse, and here’s why.

My Own CrossFit Beginnings

I found CrossFit at the ripe age of 30. At 6 weeks postpartum, I was desperate for a fitness change to get back into shape after 2 kids and the chaos that I had now called motherhood. I was 100% intimidated, 100% nervous, and 100% addicted the moment I started. I have passionately loved the sport for 5 years now, I’m both an athlete and coach.

My Mom, A CrossFitter?

My mom is the most amazing woman I’ve ever known. She has worked since she was 14 years old, has had a successful career and somehow managed to never miss any activity I was in. I remember how she put every ounce of her soul into raising me. She was a superwoman and I didn’t quite grasp that relevance until I had my own kids.

Like most women her age, she gave herself to being a mom, and as a result somewhat lost sight of her own goals, her own health, and her mojo. When my mom came to me over 2 years ago and said “I think I want to try CrossFit with you,” I said “Really?”.

I’ll be honest, I had a major internal struggle. She was almost 60 and had not been an athlete her whole life… at all (although she will tell you that 1 semester of college cheerleading qualifies)/ I was scared for her, especially because CrossFit isn’t easy. It is high-intensity, gut-checking, and both internally and externally competitive. I didn’t know if she had it in her.

To be 100% honest, I share all aspects of my life with her and this was the one place I got to escape, to push myself, to challenge myself and to feel on top of the world for a brief moment in time. I was nervous to let her into this CrossFit “cult” I belonged to. That moment of hesitation quickly faded when I realized she needed all of those things too. Needless to say, she’s never looked back.

The CrossFit Open

My mom’s love for CrossFit grew wildly. She was showing up almost every day to complete the same workout surrounded by 20-and-30 somethings with rock-solid abs and bulging biceps. I didn’t really think much about her success at her first workout or the ones the directly followed. Was I a horrible daughter for that?

Of course, I was proud and inspired by her courage but I never really paused to think about the greater significance of my mom, the “CrossFitter.” I really started to reflect on what being a “CrossFitter” truly meant to her months later, during that year’s CrossFit Open. That’s right. After CrossFitting for just over a year, and at 60 years old, she decided to give the Open a go. She had no expectations, little CrossFit experience, and really no clue. What she did have was an attitude that she COULD participate 110%. That turned out to be of more value than any experience needed.

16.5 Was More Than Burpees and Thrusters

I had the privilege of judging her for 16.5…the dreaded thruster and burpees over the bar combo (both her nemesis). I rolled out of bed early to come and cheer her on, sleepy-faced and completely unaware of the emotions that would soon take me over.

The timer counted down and she began. We had a strategy for her survival and I guided her through it. Small sets, slow and steady. She struggled, a WOD face in full effect until every single rep was done. My body shivered with the realization that this moment was so much more than any workout would ever be.  It was about her digging deep, going to a place she had little experience with, to prove that at almost 61 years old, she could.

She didn’t allowing her age in life to stop her from doing things she never had. It was a turning point for me as a spectator but more importantly, as her daughter. Tears rolled down my face as she completed the last few reps because I was proud. She was the last to finish and honestly, we were engaged in our moment together so deeply that we had no idea. For a few minutes of time, we switched rolls, and I fully embraced being the proud “mom.”

Age Is No Excuse

As if just being a “CrossFitter” wasn’t enough, she saw an opportunity to compete for the first time and took it. She joined forces with another CrossFit grandma and in a gym filled with experienced female CrossFitters, the two of them stole the show. They hit personal records that weren’t just weight based, they hit life records.

It didn’t matter how much weight was on that bar, they were satisfying deep rooted goals that most of us don’t even understand yet. With every single lift, the crowd roared and their eyes filled with shock and a clear passion for more. It was as if they were the leaders in the CrossFit Games and the rest of us just couldn’t get enough. It was a moment too hard to truly capture into words that we will all remember forever.

Reflecting

I get game gut showing up to workouts — you know the kind of nervous belly that makes you feel you aren’t sure if you have to puke or…well, you know. The amount of courage it continually takes her to show up is only magnified. And you know what? She does it almost every day. Her day actually starts at 5:30 in the morning.

She is rarely the fastest or lifts the heaviest and it doesn’t bother her in the slightest. My mom is there for other reasons, ones that far exceed either of the aforementioned ones. She’s there to prove to herself she can. She is there to be able to wrestle, swim, and get on the floor with my kids. She is there to inspire the other 50+ men and women, and for that matter, all of us. She’s a testament to not allowing age to ever be an excuse. If you ask her, she will tell you that the time she makes for this will give her so much time for life.

Why You Are Missing Out

My mom’s story alone supports the amazing life changes being active can bring.  Numerous studies done about activity in adults only further the cause.  Aside from the mental benefits of being active, research continually supports the need for activity in adults, especially those over the age of 50.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine , the benefits of a regular strength training increase cardiovascular fitness, reduce depression, increase bone density, and lower insulin resistance. Second to smoking, a lack of fitness is linked to the main reason for the early cause of death. In addition, the benefits of progressive resistance training are so powerful that research suggests they extend beyond the basic improvement of strength and cardiovascular health, and actually shift the genetic makeup of muscle. Why would you ever want to miss out on all of these benefits?

It’s A Cycle

Not only did CrossFitting make my mom aware of her fitness, it caused her to think about her eating habits too. She wants to feel good every time she gets into the gym and wants to be able to recover fast.  My mom now thinks about what she is putting inside her body. She loves the feeling of an awesome workout and knows the bigger importance of fueling her body at her age for more.  She still works a full time job, is a mom, is a grandma, and has to deal with menopause. When all of those aspects of life are supported by good nutrition and fitness, they are more rich because of it.

CrossFit Grandmas

It’s a revolution, a movement, a challenge to our ingrained aging perspective that we are too old at some point to pursue a goal. I wrote this post because I know so many women, in their middle ages and beyond, think that they are too old to invest in themselves. I am here to tell you that I’ve never seen my mom walk around with more confidence than she has now. You get one chance to live your life the way you want it, every moment, until the end. It is never too late to pursue your health; in training, in nutrition, and in mindset. Let my Mom, and the many other “CrossFit Grandmas”, inspire you to believe in yourself, reestablish your worth and achieve goals you never even knew you had.

What’s a goal you’ve set for yourself this year? Have you achieved it?

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

5 Extremely Simple Tips to Achieving Nutritional Goals

Why I don’t make resolutions

I love the feel of a new year.  I love the internal feeling of accomplishment of another year gone by when the clock strikes midnight (that is if I actually stay awake for it).  And I love the feeling of hope of the unknown for what the new year will bring.

But I can’t honestly say I’ve never sat down and said…”These are my New Year’s resolutions.” It just seems too fluffy, too manufactured and too static.

To be honest, resolutions are intended to be so long term that you almost forgot you’ve made them. In fact, 92%  of New Year’s resolutions fail by January 15th.  Seriously…that is it.

 

What is a resolution?

The word resolution means “a formal expression of intention”.  To have the intention to do something is one thing but to actually put it on paper and take action is another.  The word resolution implies to me that you failed the year before, that you resolve to do better in the next year.

The failure from the previous year is not a failure at all, but rather experience that will drive future change and behavior in this year.

Instead of resolutions, set goals.

 

What is the difference?

You might be asking, “Is there really a difference between a resolution and a goal?”

Well yes, there is, thanks for asking.

A goal is defined as “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed.”  In other words, there is a tangible target that you want to hit with some type of behavior that will get you there. Goals are measurable, specific and are written down with the intention of continually coming back to them to evaluate progress.

When I was a teacher, we set goals for our students’ progress and we assessed that progress each unit to identify our students’ areas of improvement and our own.  With my clients now, I am constantly asking them the same.

As people, we should be doing that for ourselves constantly…in life, in marriage, in parenting and of course, in health.

You Need Goals

You actually need goals. People who set goals and write them down succeed in life 50% more of the time than those that don’t use goal setting. In addition, when goals are set and achieved overall well being is improved and happiness is attained as a result.  By setting goals you guarantee your life to be filled with greater success and happiness.  Goal setting is FREE, simple and requires no major supplies.  It is a no-brainer.

 

Goals are Dynamic

Throughout the year goals are meant to be dynamic, not static.  That means they are constantly moving and changing.  You might find that by February you achieve a goal set. When that happens, it gives you the opportunity to modify it and challenge yourself even more.

The moment your goals become static, you become stagnant.

When I see my clients begin to feel stagnant we work together to reevaluate their current goals and up level them for greater growth.

 

Nutritional Goals

Being a nutrition and lifestyle coach, I help my clients create their own goals related to health, weight loss and gain, performance gains, and overall life.  I know after hundreds of clients that when they communicate those goals to me in writing and we constantly evaluate progress, that their success is far greater than those who go it alone.

There are a million posts out there written about goal setting and achievement.  From my own experience and coaching practice, there are 5 keys to goal setting that must happen to maximize nutritional success.

 

5 Keys to Achieving Nutritional Goals

1. Be specific

Setting goals feels awkward sometimes.  You don’t know exactly what to say or how to say it.  Once you have a general goal in mind target in on the specific outcome you want. Just saying you want to lose weight is too vague. Will you feel like you’ve achieved your goal if you lose 1 pound?  Or do you want to lose 20 pounds?

Instead, make it specific.

  • “ I will lose 10 lbs by March 1st”
  • “I will drop 2 inches from my waistline in 8 weeks.”
  • “I will eat 1 serving of vegetables at each meal”
  • “I will workout 3 times per week”
  • “I will track what I eat all meals of the day”

Making a goal specific allows you to come back and monitor your progress.

2. Make goals measurable

Nutritional goals can be measured in so many ways:  through a body weight scale, body measurements, DEXA scans, before and after pictures, and through personal records at the gym.

When you have a specific goal, measure it by collecting data and monitoring that data to make sure it is headed in the direction you want.

Within your goals include a reasonable marker of progress to measure.  This could be quantitative data such as weight, pounds lifted and inches lost.  However, measurable data can also come from quantitive measures such as perceived energy levels, fit of clothes and quality of sleep.

3. Find somebody to hold you accountable

People have a hard time hiring a coach or asking a friend to become their accountability partner. It is almost as if by doing this they are admitting they can’t get it under control themselves.  I think those people are the smart ones.   Your results will be far greater if you have someone in your corner to get you back on track when you fall off, to assess your progress, and to ask the hard questions when you need them.  I know this from my own experience and the clients I lead.  Ask your spouse, friend or hire a coach to keep you accountable.

 

4. Make it a priority

Don’t make up excuses.  I hear it from clients often, the week was busy, we traveled, we had a party, etc. If you want your health, your body, and your gym performance to change than it has to be a priority. If it truly matters to you, you will find a way to make it happen. The effort you put in is the outcome you will get. That effort is 100% in your control. To make a change you must change the behaviors to get you to achieve that goal first.

 

5. Celebrate Progress

Often times we rely on scale weight to judge our progress.  The scale is just one indicator of progress along our health journey.  Celebrate the aesthetic change you see in the mirror, the way your clothing fits, your changes in strength and stamina at the gym, the compliments others pay you, and your overall health improvement.  It is not all or nothing.  Celebrating small markers of success help keep motivation and commitment high along your journey. If a bad day falls upon you, get right back on track the next day and celebrate your ability to identify that.

 

Be the 88% of the population that uses goal setting as a strategy for getting what you want, including nutritional success.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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Cheap and Easy Scale

My Favorite Food Scale

Post may contain affiliate links

The purpose behind the use of a food scale for tracking macronutrients is two-fold.  First, it guarantees accuracy.  It allows you to control the quantities of food you take in to better estimate their nutritional value.  Second, it allows you to develop the skill set to begin to be able to “eyeball” those quantities when the scale is unavailable or when you have fully developed the super-hero power of perfect weighing.

A scale doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive.  The scale I’ve had for years is cheap and gets the job done just perfectly!

 

5 Main Benefits of Collagen To Your Health

This post may contain affiliate links.

Clients, friends, and family often ask me how they can increase protein in their diet.  I love to try and get my protein from a variety of sources. Each type of protein offers a varying list of amino acid profiles, each rich in their own unique benefit to the body. One of my favorite sources of protein is through collagen or collagen hydrolysate.

So what is collagen?

Collagen is a crucial and abundant protein in our body responsible for making up connective tissue, skin, hair, and nails.  In fact, collagen makes up about a third of the body’s protein content. It’s actually one of the building blocks of the human body. Not only can it help improve your health, both below and above the surface, but it’s also been known to increase your “glow”. It’s a pretty versatile protein. When boiled down, it turns into a gelatinous substance. That substance can then be dehydrated and used to create a powder or liquid form. So in essence, there are many benefits of collagen to your health.

Collagen as a supplement

As we age, collagen production in our bodies slows down (say what?!?!). Joints and muscles become weak, skin sags and well, you get the rest… we get old! A collagen supplement can offer an increase in the body’s own diminishing supply. I decided to try collagen as a daily supplement for my husband who has a history of abuse from years of football injuries. He wanted a “bonus” for his joints and I was up for the research and discovery too.

5 benefits of collagen

There are so many benefits of collagen. But here are the top 5 reasons why collagen may be a great supplement to your day.

Anti-Inflammatory

Collagen is high in the amino acid glycine, which has anti-inflammatory effects in the body. A recent study found (1), among many other benefits, that glycine acts against inflammatory cells of the body and stops their reproduction.

Due to this, it can also promote a healthy gut. And a healthy gut is a happy gut. If you suffer from chronic inflammation, or if you have digestive health issues, collagen may be able to help.

Helps Build Muscles

For athletes, collagen helps promote natural creatine production for post workout muscle growth as well as arginine for increased muscle mass. So if you’re bodybuilding, or just looking to build some baby muscles, add collagen to your routine!

Increases Your Skin’s Elasticity

Elasticity is when you can stretch your skin and it returns back to its normal state afterward. As we age, it’s common for the skin to lose elasticity, also known as elastosis. Unfortunately, Elastosis could be worse in people who spend a lot of time in the sun. So if you’ve spent time sunbathing, playing outside sports, or working a job that requires you to be outside often, you may have noticed Elastosis more than normal.

Collagen has been proven to actually increase skin’s elasticity. In another collagen study (2), subjects given an oral collagen supplement showed a measurable difference in skin elasticity in only 4 weeks of ingestion.

Increased Bone Density

Collagen supplementation has also been linked (3) to increase bone density and the proliferation of more bone creating cells.

Reduced Joint Pain

One of the biggest benefits of collagen that I’ve noticed, especially for my husband who has suffered from joint injury/pain, is the supplement’s potential to reduce joint pain. (4) It worked for my husband, and it has been beneficial as a part of his routine. So it may work for you!

Which collagen is the best?

I’ve tried many collagen supplements.  Many have done awesome and a few have fallen short. When it comes to collagen, quality matters and Vital Proteins fits my requirements: high quality, no fillers, and a reasonable price point.

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides is my supplement pick.  It is high quality and is cold soluble so it doesn’t get too gooey when cold. I love to put a scoop (10 grams) in my morning coffee or in my afternoon pick-me-up shake for a protein boost.  It is odorless and tasteless but carries some amazing properties you should be benefiting from too.

 

There are collagen creamers too!

Vital must have heard our love of collagen as a protein boost in coffee because they answered by creating new creamers.  Each creamer is slightly flavored and still packs the benefits (including protein) of their regular collagen.  The bonus is a bit of flavor added from natural ingredients and MCTs, a brain healthy fat source. And while the benefits of collagen would outweigh any negative flavor or texture (at least for me), it’s nice to know that there are some delicious options!

 

 

Collagen Beauty Greens

Another product that I love from Vital is their Collagen Beauty Greens. At a much higher price point, the Beauty Greens are a blend of of marine collagen peptides, non-GMO organic greens, hyaluronic acid (5) and probiotics.  The flavor is very earthy in taste but delivers some serious benefits of collagen and micro nutrient benefits.

Allergic or sensitive to whey or beef? 

Vital Proteins also offers a marine blend derived from wild-caught Snapper.

 

I recommend Vital Proteins because I believe their quality surpasses the rest.  It is the motto of my business, quality over quantity.  I only recommend products that I believe in and use myself. In an effort to be completely transparent with my readers, if you do purchase a Vital Proteins Product from a link above I receive a very small affiliate commission. This commission continues to allow me to write even more awesome content for my blog. Thank you in advance for your support! Now, go get those benefits of collagen! 

Have you tried collagen and love it? What amazing effects did it have on you?

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

 

Resources:

(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12589194

(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23949208

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19895915

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416885

(5) http://www.jmnn.org/article.asp?issn=2278-1870;year=2015;volume=4;issue=1;spage=47;epage=53;aulast=Borumand

 

“E” is for Effort

We’re all fighting a daily chaotic battle, like being a parent, spouse, employee, boss, athlete, a food prepper (is that even a thing?), a coach — you get the idea. Somewhere in there we are supposed to take time to take care of ourselves. It isn’t easy, but I notice that when I start to find time for myself, all the other roles I fill in life are richer for it. So can we just make changes to live healthier and give ourselves an e for effort?

E For Effort

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out!” – Robert Collier

Successful people in life exist because they give effort day in and day out. Their effort is consistent. Being healthy, tracking your macros or whatever tool you use is no different. Don’t let time, money or others be that something that holds you back from giving the effort you need to give. Take time to self-reflect and hold yourself accountable for your effort. The moment you begin to results will follow you around.

Make Time

The number one excuse I hear from people who are not reaching their nutritional goals, or for that matter any goal, is because they don’t have the time to. The time to meal prep, the time to cook at home or the time to assure their intake each day is spot on. The gift of time isn’t always as giving as we’d like but I believe it’s important to make the time each and every single day to reach your goals. There are so many different ways you can make more time in your day and week, but there are three that have really helped me and my clients reach their goals.

Plan At Night

One of the biggest ways to get an e for effort is to spend 5 minutes at the end of every day and plan for the next day. The way I like to do it is to work backward and think about what I plan to make for dinner, but do what works best for you. Make sure you remember to take out and defrost your protein (if needed) and pack your lunch and stick it in the fridge. That way, if your morning is chaotic, you’ll still stay on track. It’s a simple game changer that is usually overlooked, but planning at night can save you so much time!

Reuse

Investing in glass reusable containers or even mason jars is a great choice to both help the environment and save time and money. You can portion out leftovers or meals into the containers, and then they are ready to go. Just reheat your leftovers and you have a yummy meal! Use a dry erase marker or a sticky note on the lids of those containers to write down the portions contained inside.

Portion Out Snacks

Along with meal prepping, spend some time portioning out your other food. On a non-work day, spend some time portioning out veggies, fruits, and other snacks. Put them in ready to go containers or bags and put them somewhere that is easily accessible. That way you can just grab them and go about your day.

Putting In Effort Works

My client roster ranges from those who have been tracking their food for over six months to those that have been for 6 days. No matter how long they’ve been doing this, they all share one similarity. And what’s that similarity you may ask? They get out what they put in! I’ve had clients this week surpass their goal weight and clients hit major PRs! The common thread is that they are committed and are putting in all they have. In turn, they are getting out all they possibly can. Talk about e for effort. It just proves that putting in a little work can equal amazing results.

I want you to celebrate that same success! There are 168 hours in a week. You deserve to devote at least one of those hours, that’s 8.6 minutes per day, to planning your nutrition. This week I hope you make time to regroup and find time for yourself…in nutrition, in health, and in whatever role you fill in life. “E” is for effort–make it the biggest “E” you possibly can in all aspects of life.

What is one thing you can change this week to boost your healthy living efforts?

Work Hard Be Kind,
AWalk