Skinny-fat: High metabolism and poor diet combo

Some of us are blessed with height, others are blessed with beautiful teeth or perhaps gorgeous eyes. Genes play a huge role in many of our features, and some people are blessed with an extremely high metabolism that seems to never slow down. I have friends who can eat whatever they want and as much…

Skinny-fat: High metabolism and poor diet combo was originally published on Self Evolve

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skinny-fatSome of us are blessed with height, others are blessed with beautiful teeth or perhaps gorgeous eyes. Genes play a huge role in many of our features, and some people are blessed with an extremely high metabolism that seems to never slow down. I have friends who can eat whatever they want and as much as they want and not even gain a pound. These people are referred to as skinny-fat. Indeed, they are thin and appear to be healthy when looking at their BMI, but upon further investigation they aren’t as healthy as they look.

Skinny-fat: skinny on the outside

Guys and girls alike who are blessed with high metabolism may feel like they have won the genetic lottery. They can literally eat anything and not gain a pound! I know for some this isn’t the case. Many guys and gals are steering away from the skinny look and prefer the more athletic/muscular/toned look. For those with high metabolisms, it can be a struggle to put on any weight, including muscle weight. They often have to eat even more than the average person just to keep up with their strength training and cardio workouts.

Fat on the inside

While these people look and feel skinny, their insides often tell a different story. Depending on what they’re eating, they may actually be holding on to more fat than what meets the eye. If their diet is high in unhealthy fats and processed foods, i.e. lots of fast food, they’re likely much more unhealthy than one would think. For most of us, fat is visible when we’re overweight. For someone with a high metabolism, their fat may be hidden. Fat can be found surrounding our organs and within our cardiovascular system. Oftentimes, people who look skinny may actually be carrying a lot of extra fat throughout their body systems. To combat this, muscle is needed in order to start burning the extra unseen fat.

Are you skinny-fat? What’s your favorite feature on your body?

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Skinny-fat: High metabolism and poor diet combo was originally published on Self Evolve

8 exercise habits that are holding you back

There’s nothing more satisfying than conquering a great workout. The feeling of pride after smashing a challenging new exercise or activity is pretty incomparable. In addition to the emotional benefits of working out, there are also a ton of physical benefits to fitness. Many people incorporate workouts into their daily routines, but what they may…

8 exercise habits that are holding you back was originally published on Self Evolve

There’s nothing more satisfying than conquering a great workout. The feeling of pride after smashing a challenging new exercise or activity is pretty incomparable. In addition to the emotional benefits of working out, there are also a ton of physical benefits to fitness. Many people incorporate workouts into their daily routines, but what they may not know is how seemingly harmless habits can affect their health. These eight exercise habits could be doing more harm than good when hitting the gym.

Eight Exercise Habits

  1. Doing way too much cardio. While it may seem like the key exercise habitsto getting in shape and maintaining weight loss, cardio should be done in moderation in order to see overall changes.
  2. Watching the calorie counter. One of the most harmful things you can do is focus on burning tons of calories and not on developing your individual sense of physical health. Instead of watching numbers and playing the calorie guessing game, focus on doing activities that help you feel your best.
  3. Setting unrealistic goals. Ok, so you want to lose five pounds and/or attempt shredding your abs into that six-pack you’ve always wanted. That’s great. Do you want to do it in a week? Not so much. Instead of focusing on a big resolution, focus on small daily steps that help you get towards your overall goal.
  4. Hitting the gym every single day. There’s such a thing as too much working out. Rest and recovery days are just as important as those workout days. There are many bad side effects to training everyday, such as trouble sleeping, weight loss plateaus, and exhaustion.
  5. Skipping stretches. Stretching improves posture, increases flexibility, and even preps the body for later in life when the hips and legs tend to become a bit sorer. Stretching can help avoid cramps, muscle imbalances, and muscle spasms.
  6. Saying “no” to cooling down. The American Heart Association warns that cooling down is nearly almost as important as the workout itself. Incorporating a walk, stretch, and deep breathing into the end of a routine will allow the body to gradually decrease its heightened blood pressure, temperature and heart rate.
  7. Not drinking enough water. Water keeps your body moving and adequately fueled during workouts, so you need a ton of it to keep going, before, during, and after your workouts. It’s smart to bring your own reusable water bottle in order to fill up and keep moving.
  8. Sticking to the same routine. Once you find something you love, it’s easy to make it into a habit. But if you do the same thing day-in and day-out your body will hit a plateau. Switching up workouts every few weeks is ideal, it’s best to keep your body guessing.

Do you do any of these exercise habits?

Next time you’re in the gym, keep these in mind. At the end of the day, it’s all about you feeling your best. Keep it fun and don’t focus so much on the numbers.

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8 exercise habits that are holding you back was originally published on Self Evolve

How to find your Swolemate: Fitness friends

Motivation is key Whether you’re just starting out your fitness journey or you’ve been at it for awhile, you will notice that motivation is needed to get your butt into gear. Ideally, you should find motivation and discipline within yourself. But sometimes, it’s good to have fitness friends to keep us accountable and active. How…

How to find your Swolemate: Fitness friends was originally published on Self Evolve

Motivation is key

fitness friendsWhether you’re just starting out your fitness journey or you’ve been at it for awhile, you will notice that motivation is needed to get your butt into gear. Ideally, you should find motivation and discipline within yourself. But sometimes, it’s good to have fitness friends to keep us accountable and active.

How I met your mother (or father)

Many people reach out to me and ask how can I find friends and/or a significant other to workout with? Well, I’m here to tell you there are many ways for you to find fitness-minded people in and around your local area.

  • Join a local running group. Earlier this year, I joined a local running group that meets once a week for an easy 3 mile fun run. Through the group, I’ve easily made about 25 to 30 new friends who all enjoy running nearly as much as I do.
  • There’s an app for that. Workout Buddies is a great app to find nearby fitness friends looking for a lifting buddy. You never know, you might meet your swolemate through it.
  • Fitness meet-ups. If you haven’t been on MeetUp yet, it’s a great way to social network! Whether you’re looking for a new job, new friends, a date, or a fitness friend, MeetUp is the way to go.
  • Free fitness classes at your local gyms. Pay attention to the local nearby gyms and attend their free classes when they offer them. You never know who you’ll meet in the middle of that Zumba sweat sesh.
  • Talk to someone at the gym (but not in a creepy way). This one is tricky. It’s likely easier to just not try, but I have heard success stories from people just simply saying hi and how are you to people in the gym. You have to ease into it, and don’t force it if they aren’t into it. Also, don’t say hi to someone wearing headphones. That means they’re not there to socialize.
  • Ask a co-worker! Sometimes you’ll be surprised to find a fitness friend out of one of your co-workers. I actually got into running with an ex-coworker of mine. If I never asked her to run with me, I likely wouldn’t have started running when I did. And I likely wouldn’t have ran that Chicago Marathon this past year.

How do you find fitness friends? Do you have any other ideas?

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How to find your Swolemate: Fitness friends was originally published on Self Evolve

Why you should try the Keto diet

Have you heard of the Keto diet? If you haven’t, it’s possible you live under a rock under the sea like SpongeBob Square Pants. The Ketogenic diet is the current trending diet. The one that’s helping people shed pounds easily, and even more importantly helping some improve their health. The keto diet can help many health…

Why you should try the Keto diet was originally published on Self Evolve

Have you heard of the Keto diet?

If you haven’t, it’s possible you live under a rock under the sea like SpongeBob Square Pants. The Ketogenic diet is the current trending diet. The one that’s helping people shed pounds easily, and even more importantly helping some improve their health. The keto diet can help many health issues, ranging from epilepsy to diabetes. But do you know what it is and what happens to your body on this diet?

Top 5 Keto diet facts

  1. Your body will enter ketosis. This means your body will use fat as it’s main source of energy. This happens because glucose is the easiest to convert into energy and hence is the body’s main source of fuel, especially during exercise. By taking away the glucose supply (from carbs) the body turns to the next best thing: fat. (Most keto diets are 70% fat / 20% protein / 5% carbohydrates)
  2. Low carb = low energy. Going low carb can be tough on your exercise regime. When there’s inadequate glucose in the bloodstream or muscles during exercise we tend to ‘hit a wall’ and exercise gets harder. Eventually, on the keto diet, your body will learn to burn fat more efficiently.
  3. You will have to read food labels. All the time too! In order to keep your carbohydrate levels low enough you’ll need to do a lot of label reading. We’re talking under 50 grams a day, so every gram counts! You will see most dairy products are high in carbs, as well as many fruits, some nuts, legumes and vegetables.
  4. Weird side effects! The ketogenic diet can be tough on the mind and body. Physical responses, other than weight loss, can include headaches, lethargy, sleepiness and even sometimes nausea. A combo of these symptoms has been described as the ‘keto flu’. Not everyone experiences all these things, but for those who do the best option may be to temporarily increase your carb intake then decrease back to ketogenic amounts in stages.
  5. Bad breath. Burning fat instead of carbs produces ketones. In everyday diets ketones provide your brain with energy, but when there is an excess of them the body excretes the extra ketones through breath and urea, often giving you a rather unpleasant smell. There’s no good way around this other than masking it with mints or fresheners, or upping your carbohydrate intake.

keto dietSomething to keep in mind

Since the majority of what you eat on the keto diet is fat, make sure you’re eating mostly healthy fats! I.e. Avocados and eggs are great, healthy fat options. You want to stear clear of too many unhealthy fats. I.e. high fat dairy foods and fatty cuts of beef, pork and lamb.

Have you tried the keto diet?

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How to avoid Thanksgiving feast food coma: Holidays

The Holidays are here Do you hear the sleigh-bells ringing? Are they glistening? Or is that just the turkey basting in the oven? If you’re anything like me, you’re licking your lips as you imagine yourself chowing down during this Holiday season. But with a big meal comes a big post-meal nap. And for some…

How to avoid Thanksgiving feast food coma: Holidays was originally published on Self Evolve

The Holidays are here

avoid Thanksgiving feast food comaDo you hear the sleigh-bells ringing? Are they glistening? Or is that just the turkey basting in the oven? If you’re anything like me, you’re licking your lips as you imagine yourself chowing down during this Holiday season. But with a big meal comes a big post-meal nap. And for some of us, this may interfere with our Holiday shopping plans. I’m here to tell you how you can avoid Thanksgiving feast food coma.

Eat throughout the day

Whatever you do, don’t skip breakfast in lieu of an extra-large dinner! Just be smart about what you eat: stick to some protein like eggs or yogurt to hold you over until the big feast. Starving yourself all day just to gorge out at your Aunt Marge’s house is not a good idea! Be smart, and don’t starve yourself. This will also help you to not over-indulge on sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.

Try to eat a balanced diet

avoid Thanksgiving feast food comaEat more than just the carbs! Stuffing and potatoes are great, but get your protein in too! Be sure to eat a healthy amount of turkey (or tofurky, for you vegans out there) in addition to those carbs. This way, you will feel full faster and hopefully avoid the itis. The I just turned into Frankenstein I’m so stuffed itis. The I just took a 5 hour long nap itis. All the things that make you miss out on life post-holiday mealtime, i.e. Black Friday. Also, be sure to drink lots of water and stay hydrated! This will also help you eat a more moderate amount.

What if it’s too late to avoid Thanksgiving feast food coma?

At the end of the day, I’m not going to tell you to not indulge! We only have a huge feast like this once a year, right? Or, if you’re like me, you hit multiple family member’s houses to get your Thanksgiving portion doubled or tripled in one day. Thanksgiving has historically been one of my favorite holidays, only because I love to eat. And eat I do. So eat away! And even if you fall into a slump afterwards, I say more power to you! BUT, I am going to challenge you to workout the next day! Most of us get the day after Thanksgiving off, and while some of us go shopping, Black Friday is a great day to hit the gym! Almost no one’s there (uh, empty gym? yes please!) and you can sweat out those extra calories you consumed the day before. If you’re not a gym junkie like me, at least go for a nice, long walk!

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?

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How to avoid Thanksgiving feast food coma: Holidays was originally published on Self Evolve

Running with the runs

If you’re a runner, you’ve likely either have heard of or experienced firsthand a case of runner’s diarrhea. I’ve been a semi-serious runner for about four years now and I can safely say that my running friends are the ones I know the most about in regards to their bowel movements. There’s a special level of…

Running with the runs was originally published on Self Evolve

If you’re a runner, you’ve likely either have heard of or experienced firsthand a case of runner’s diarrhea. I’ve been a semi-serious runner for about four years now and I can safely say that my running friends are the ones I know the most about in regards to their bowel movements. There’s a special level of friendship that you achieve once you spend hours running with someone. All modesty goes out the window.

I’m here to share some expert (or just witty) tips to avoid running with the runs. These may help you run further without having to pop a squat.

  • Pay close attention to what you eat before a run. Not just the day of, but also the day before. If you’re consuming a lot of fiber, expect a lot of poo to follow. Most runners learn what works best for them. For me, a light breakfast i.e. a banana and Clif bar does the trick prior to my long runs. Avoiding cheese, dairy, and lots of fiber the day before also helps.
  • Try your absolute best to poop before running, like when you first wake up. And for me, avoiding coffee until after the run helps me not have the urge to go.
  • You may be trotting along and get what I call bubble gut. Is it a fart? Or a poop? General rule of thumb: don’t trust a fart after mile 10. Some runners don’t trust a fart ever.
  • If you do have the urgency to go, please find a bathroom or port-a-potty. It’s not worth it to destroy your clothes and dignity just to get that goal race time. Just saying.
  • If you are gonna pop a squat and have no other option, come prepared with toilet paper or something similar to wipe the bum. No one likes chafing poo.

I hope these tips help you on your long runs and on race day. Let me know what works for you in the comments below! And happy running!

Running with the runs was originally published on Self Evolve

Carb loading and running

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “Eat a mountain of pasta the night before a race!” Even to this day, I have people ask me if I’m going to eat pasta before the big race I’m training for. I’m here to break apart this old, nauseating thought that we somehow need pasta to run…

Carb loading and running was originally published on Self Evolve

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “Eat a mountain of pasta the night before a race!” Even to this day, I have people ask me if I’m going to eat pasta before the big race I’m training for. I’m here to break apart this old, nauseating thought that we somehow need pasta to run far.

Carbohydrate loading can help you. What is carbo loading? It’s a strategy involving changes to training and nutrition that can maximize muscle glycogen (carbohydrate) stores prior to endurance competition. Athletes believe that by loading the muscles with glycogen, they can prevent hitting the “wall” and hopefully allow them to run at their desired pace for longer. It has the potential to improve performance by 2-3%, if done properly. The issue is, a plate of pasta isn’t carbo-loading. Follow these simple steps to properly carbo-load:

  1. Don’t skip the carb depletion phase. 7 days prior to the event do a long or strenuous workout which will deplete your body of glucose. For the next 3 days maintain a lower carb diet of 35 to 50% of total calories. For the final 2 days prior to the race switch to 75% of calories from carbohydrates, while dramatically decreasing overall work volume (the other 25% is largely protein).
  2. Avoid simple carbs! Don’t eat junk food, and avoid sugar. Ideal carbo-loading foods: potatoes, fruits, vegetables, whole grains. If you have trouble with high fiber/runners trots, look for options like sourdough bread with honey or sweet potatoes.
  3. Don’t carbo load for short distance races. 5K or 10K? Too short! Carbo loading is only needed if you’ll be running OVER 90 minutes. I would even argue that it’s not necessary for a half-marathon but should be done for a full.
  4. Don’t load for too long, only do it for about 2 days prior to the race. The rest of the time before the race? Not loading! Don’t load up for a week, that is just un-necessary.
  5. Don’t freak out over the weight gain. Carbs make you retain water, which is needed for race day! Don’t even worry about that number on the scale, unless you’re ignoring step #2 and eating cookies.
  6. Don’t skip your last load due to nerves. You want that race morning fuel! You must give your muscles that last boost of glucose to help prevent energy lulls, mood swings, and fatigue. Aim to 1-3 grams of high quality carbs, low fat and low fiber – oatmeal with banana or yogurt with fruit if you can stomach it.
  7. Don’t eat that pasta dinner! One large meal of carbs is NOT carbo-loading and for many people it has the opposite effect of what they desire.

Of course, at the end of the day, everyone is different. You have to find what works best for you. Personally, I haven’t carbo-loaded before. But, I have also never ran a full marathon before. I usually eat before every race though. On the morning of a half marathon I eat fruit, drink lots of water, and drink some coffee. The week leading up to the half? I just focus on eating healthy: lots of veggies, fruits, healthy proteins and fats. Now that I’m training for the full marathon, I will be sure to pay more attention to what I’m putting into my body.

Food is fuel. And fuel is energy. Do you carbo-load? What do you eat before running? Or do you run on an empty stomach? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Carb loading and running was originally published on Self Evolve