Hey Guys - Erin here!
I'm so excited to have the chance to talk to you all about healthy lifestyle choices! Emphasis on the LIFESTYLE part. This is not a diet, this is not a fad. You have to COMMIT to doing it, but I can't tell you how grateful I am that I started my journey and hope you all do the same. It's not always going to be easy, but I guarantee you it will be worth it.
ANYONE, ALL AGES can DO THIS.
Healthy lifestyle choices begin with your DIET. Plain and simple, if you are not properly fueling your body, it doesn't matter how much time you spend out on the field or in the gym, you will not see the results you are hoping to find. This is true for both athletes and parents. I wish I would have known this sooner. In college, I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and as a result I was often sick, fatigue, and not getting the results I expected.
Below, I've compiled my tips and tricks to start to get your nutrition on track. We all start somewhere, why not today?
Okay so, let's get fit!
Download the app called MyFitnessPal or LifeSum. They will allow you to set your intake goals. (My target metrics are 35% carbs, 35% protein, and 30% fats, but I try to shoot for at least 40% protein). You can scan the labels on foods, type in restaurants etc. etc. Play around in it and tell me what you think. If anything it gives you a better understanding of food portions and macro amounts. You can find foods that are high in what you want but still fill you up. And, it will always remind you when you haven't recorded a meal. Its pretty great!
The easiest way to meal prep is to buy containers that allow you to stick to your portions. I use these containers for lunches because that's when I typically overeat. It's pretty easy. I have two sets, which allows me to start making meals for the next week while I'm still working on eating the meals I made for the previous week. Fill the large side with protein (meat), the medium with protein/carbs, and the small one with whatever you want as long as it has low fat or good fats. On a normal week I will eat chicken or steak, with quinoa, and edamame. Sometimes I will substitute the quinoa with eggs if I get bored of it.
Make tons of healthy snacks. If you get cravings, its better to over eat in a healthy manner than binge on something bad for you. I'm a muncher and need to have food, but I do so with things that don't make me feel disgusting after I eat them. My snacks include Snap Pea Crisps (replaces potato chips), Fruit (replaces candy), Frozen Homemade Sorbet (replaces ice cream), Cashews and Almonds (replaces all my salty cravings), Turkey Jerky, and Oat Chocolate Banana Balls (replaces chocolate bars). All super healthy, all super yummy.
Have a big breakfast. I don't know about you but breakfast is my favorite meal of the day - and the one meal where your day can either go to shit or start off on the right foot. Having bacon and syrup is okay every once in a while, but there are some good alternatives that can taste yummy, low on your calorie count for the day, and fill that need for food. I like to make protein pancakes (oats, egg whites, bananas, protein powder, and cinnamon for taste) because I LOVE carbs. My previous eating habits consisted of bread, pasta, bread, and more bread. To be able to eat pancakes is the best thing EVER. Eggs and omelettes are great choices. I don't like yoke, so I stick to egg whites. Most of the time I will blend the egg whites with as much spinach as I can possible fit into the blender until they are as green as can be. Then I top it with a little salsa and I'm ready to go (stay away from ketchup). The great thing with eggs is you can eat 8 ounces and its only 131 calories. That wasn't a typo. Plus you get over 26 grams of protein which is almost half the protein you need on a given day. Oatmeal is a great breakfast as well as long as you don't load on the brown sugar.
Dinner is a free for all. Well kinda.. the great thing logging your food for the whole day at the start of the morning is you get to see how many calories you have left to work with for dinner. The better the food I eat during the day, the more dinner I get to eat, the happier camper I am. Good dinner choices include: Lean Ground Turkey, Fish, Chicken, Beef, Quinoa Salads, Arugula Salads, Spinach Salads. With salads you have to be conscious of what you are putting in the salad. Dressings can also be fatty so stick to vinaigrettes and lighter dressings.
Foods to stay away from: flour based products (bread, pasta), dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt), corn & high starches, and processed foods -> in short, if you don't know what an ingredient means, you probably shouldn't be eating it.
Remember: everything is fine in moderation! I crave a burger and cheese here and there or a quesadilla and will definitely be eating one, but it should be a treat, not a habit. Baked goods are great - if made from scratch. You can supplement a lot of things for flour (beans and oats). If you are dying to eat pasta or a sandwich, look for 100% whole wheat products. Most other products are stripped of all the nutrients and fiber when they are bleached. The great thing about this lifestyle is, the more committed you are to it, the sooner you STOP CRAVING these foods.
Diet is married to exercise. Going to the gym or a class is not always easy but it has to be made a priority. One doesn't work without the other. But the good news is, if it isn't already, it gets easier - routines are easy. A high protein diet only helps you lean if your metabolism is working, so a combination of cardio and lifting is super important. Cardio will help the body run on all cylinders and lifting will tone. If you are trying to build definition -> high lifting/low cardio. If you are trying to decrease mass -> high cardio/low lifting. If you are like me where cardio isn't your favorite thing to do, one intense day will do the trick. You should hover somewhere in between 1-3 days of cardio and 1-3 days of lifting. Lifting can be used as cardio as well if you decrease your rest time in between sets. So personally, 1 day of high intensity cardio and 4 days of lifting with minimal to some rest in between gives me everything I need to bulk in places I want to and tone in other places. If your goal is to increase mass or tone in a certain area (arms, butt, abs, etc.) you need to double or triple up days. I do leg day 3 times a week, cardio 1 day, and back/abs/arms 1 day - which directly reflects my fitness goals. Set your goals and let me know what they are. I can help you adjust days, sets, exercises, and routine based on what you are trying to accomplish.
Supplements - the one word I never thought I'd use. But, the right kind of supplements can help you reach your fitness goals quickerand become part of your routine. I'm a big believer that working out in the morning helps you live a healthier day. I use three supplements to make my trip to the gym worth it and help me reach my water intake for the day. I use a shaker bottle and these jars for all three. I put pre-workout in the shaker bottle, BCAA in the top container for during workout use (helps minimize lactic build up and soreness during/after workout), and post-workout protein powder in the bottom container for an immediate protein intake after I'm done to help replenish and feed my body and muscles. You are getting 21 grams of protein for 120 calories, plus a yummy drink after you've put in all your hard work. It's super important that you replenish your body within 15 minutes of finishing your workout, so I put the drink together and drink it as soon as I finish showering and am on my way to work in the morning. I prepare this every night before I go to bed (pre-workout drink in the fridge, jars locked and ready in my workout bag) so all I have to do is pull the cold drink out of the fridge and I'm ready to go.
Protein Bars - really great on the go snacks! You need to make sure they have a high amount of protein (ideally over 20 grams for a low amount of calories). The best high protein to low calorie ratio bars I have found (that are still delicious) are Quest Bars and Power Crunch Bars. Power Crunch bars have a little more fat/calories in them for less protein, but a little more cost effective than Quest Bars (a few $ more for the same # of bars). However, I find Quest Bars more filling. You don't have to limit yourself to these two, but to put it in numbers for you a Quest Bar is 190 calories with only 80 calories from fat for 21 grams of protein.
Great places to find what you need: Amazon (supplements, bars, containers), Costco (meal prep food & snacks)
I'm here to help! So if you need anything, or having any question at all, let me know! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave comments on our social media pages.