Category Archives: exercise

Keeping Things Clean and Simple

I wanted to explain my hiatus from this blog for the last few months. I have taken on a new job as Chef of a local catering company.  We mainly work on a daily quota of corporate lunches, but we also have a retail space in Black Mountain, NC.  The shop makes salads and sandwiches for lunch, but also features take-home dinners, soups, casseroles, and other treats made from scratch.  We will soon be expanding our reach with these offerings, so stay tuned. You can check it out at here.

I am still offering my Personal Chef and clean eating services, so feel free to contact me with inquiries and questions. On to the blog…

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It’s difficult these days not to get overwhelmed by all of the information out there.  If you are reading this blog you are probably aware that I practice and preach clean eating.  I know that staying healthy involves daily exercise, and eating smallish portions of real food.  Make your food at home from scratch, and try and stay away from too much fat, cheese, alcohol, and sugar.  Simple, right?

I have been sucked into some of the latest health trends. I recently tried The Whole 30, and had good results. I felt okay on the diet, but I really felt like the “no grains” approach was not ideal for me.    As I often do, I got completely sucked in and obsessed.  Now I am asking myself, “Are grains really that bad?”  “Can I get the complex carbs I need without grains?”

I had also previously spent several weeks on the Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates.  This approach is all about healing the gut, and replenishing the ecology of microbes in the gut through diet, suppliments, and eating fermented vegetables.  I was telling a friend of mine about how I was really into the diet (this friend also happens to be a health coach), and she said, “Yes, it’s great, but isn’t the program designed to help people that are sick?”  “Yes,” I thought, and I asked myself, “am I sick?”  The answer was, “no.”

I asked myself, “On which diet did I feel the best?”  I knew the answer.  I felt the best simply staying on a clean eating diet as well as daily exercise and meditation. Which is EXACTLY what I specialize in, and provide for my clients (with great success) on my 21 Day Program.

I’ve realized it’s time to get back to basics. Follow a plan that doesn’t eliminate food groups, is practical, and is simply common sense. Below is an article written by Paige Johnson of LearnFit.org, where she outlines “6 Essential Lifestyle Habits to Increase Longevity.”  Reading this article made me realize that I needed to relax and go Back to Basics. Enjoy!

6 Essential Lifestyle Habits to Increase Longevity

If you want to live a long, healthy life, taking care of your body must be a lifelong priority. While there’s no single, magic bullet that guarantees you’ll live to reach 100, a combination of healthy lifestyle choices throughout your life will help your body build its immune defenses and maintain your youthful appearance and energy for many years to come. It’s never too late to start making healthy choices.

  1. Consume a balanced diet.

You’ve probably read about dozens of fad diets touting the benefits of cutting out one dietary source or another from carbohydrates to fats, sugars, or whatever the current trends indicate is the culprit behind weight gain and obesity.

Unless you’re on a specific diet due to a health condition such as diabetes or high cholesterol, tried-and-true is usually the best option when it comes to nutrition. A healthy, balanced diet includes fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, nuts and grains, and healthy dairy choices.

  1. Keep your brain and body engaged.

Remaining active later in life has been linked to lower mortality rates. While you don’t necessarily have to avoid retirement altogether, consider part-time employment, volunteer work, or even continuing your education in mid-life and beyond to keep both your body and your mind strong.

  1. Exercise regularly.

In addition to maintaining hobbies, volunteering, or maintaining part-time employment throughout life, regular physical activity is essential for a long, healthy life. In fact, one study finds that regular, moderate exercise can lower brain age by as much as 10 years in some older adults – evidence that it truly never is too late to start making positive changes for your health and well-being.

  1. Get enough sleep.

Today’s hectic lifestyles make it ever-more challenging to get adequate, quality sleep, yet getting enough rest is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Sleep deprivation leads to fatigue, lack of focus, mood swings, and other ill effects.

If you have trouble falling asleep at night, there are beverages that help promote sleep. Add a sleep-promoting beverage to your evening routine and start getting the rest your body needs.

  1. Commit to happiness.

Choosing happiness isn’t always as simple as deciding what to eat for lunch, but you can employ strategies that will contribute to a more content, satisfied life. Set realistic goals for your personal and professional life and continuously strive towards them, cultivate your ability to evaluate situations objectively, and practice controlled breathing and other techniques to help you better manage your emotions. There are many ways to cultivate a happier lifestyle; experiment to find what works for you.

  1. Cut the stress.

Stress is one of the biggest contributors to obesity as well as anxiety, depression, and even heart attack and stroke. Take intentional actions to reduce the amount of stress in your daily life such as meditation, taking up hobbies that you enjoy, surrounding yourself with positive people, and being mindful about what you’re saying “yes” to. That means turning down offers and invitations that you’re not passionate about and declining to spend time around negative, toxic people who tend to bring you down.

Living a longer, healthier life is achievable when you commit to developing healthy lifestyle habits and maintaining a positive outlook on life. Learning how to look at situations and circumstances, turning down invitations that don’t feed your soul, and finding ways to cope with stressful situations are just a few of the secrets that can contribute to longevity. Coupled with a commitment to a healthy diet and regular exercise as well as ample rest for your body each night, it’s a recipe for a long, fulfilling life.

Paige Johnson is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast and avid cyclist. She enjoys writing about health and fitness for LearnFit.org.

Image via Pixabay by PublicDomainPictures

 

 

Matcha Balls

 

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As many of you know, I am running an ultra marathon in a couple of weeks.  It was convenient timing that I was researching a recipe using matcha around the same time I was to run my longest training run, 27 miles. When running that many miles at once, you have to eat.  You have to eat a lot of food while you are running.  It’s one of the hardest adjustments I had to make when I started running longer distances.  I have tried eating the energy “goo”  packs, which just left me feeling kind of sick, and might or might not have led to some post-run gastro-internal issues. I perform much better when I make my own, real food.

After reading about the “clean” form of caffeine matcha contained, I knew it would be a perfect addition to some mid-long-run snacks. I decided to make some matcha energy balls with whatever I could throw together to make it stick together into a ball.  I used oats, almond butter, honey, goji berries, vanilla, and of course, matcha.

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I mixed the ingredients together, and packed them into a small 1-ounce scoop.  I placed them on a sheet pan, and in the refrigerator.  They came together perfectly, and tasted great!  On the run they were a bit burly.  The next time I make them, I will either soak the oats, or grind them up in the food processor.  Burliness aside, they were magic balls of “zenergy,”  which really made a difference in boosting our energy throughout the run.

Click here for the recipe.

More Than a Trainer – Kim Rhodes Boose

 

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When I set out to do a series of posts on what inspires me in the area of health and wellness, I knew I would be doing a key post about Kim Rhodes Boose.  Kim is the Queen of group fitness at the Asheville Racquet Club. She is my fitness guru, as well as the fitness guru of dozens, if not hundreds, of people in the area. Kim is the ass kicking fitness trainer, crazy partying partner in crime, nagging mom, sympathetic shoulder to cry on, no bullshit drill sergeant, soon to be third time grandma – all in one package.

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When I arrived here in Asheville, I thought I was pretty fit.  I’ve been an athlete most of my life, and have always enjoyed a good ass kicking workout. I ran, and ran, and ran, and ran.  I did a couple of strength-cardio type programs including The Firm and Tapout, but I mostly ran.  I met a new friend through my children’s school, who invited me to go running.  She and a group of other girls ran from the Racquet Club.  After running with them a time or two, I found myself inside the club, taking classes.

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At first, the move to Asheville was a big adjustment.  I had to be the emotional rock for my kids adjusting to a new school, and my husband adjusting to a very sharp learning curve at work.  We were living in a small apartment, and all of our things were pieced together in storage lockers across Western North Carolina and Upper East Tennessee.  I admit, some days I didn’t want to get up.  If I could only drag my butt to Kim’s class, I left feeling like a new woman.

It was like going to a party every day.  Her spin classes were mesmerizing with disco balls flashing in each corner of the room, coupled with a well thought out soundtrack that would never disappoint.  Whether the theme was country, pop, Katy Perry, classic rock, Eighties Wrap, Bon Jovi, or “blonde bombshell,” each song was timed to a cadence which felt like a choreographed Beyoncé dance sequence on a bike. Her strength classes were full of jokes, laughter, and an equally strategic party blueprint.  I would surprisingly wake up the next morning with a thigh and butt burn making it hard to climb stairs.

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Kim also welcomed me into the group as if I was an old friend.  She celebrated my strengths as well as my quirks.  When she found out that I was a chef, and that I would be cooking for many of her clients, she celebrated me as if I was a James Beard award winner.  She told everyone to buy into my services, before she had even tasted any of my food.

Kim Boose has taken my fitness to another plane. She’s prompted me to focus on my core strength, leaving me a well-oiled machine, rather than a tall question mark who runs up mountains. While training for my fourth marathon two years ago, she taught me the importance of being truly total body fit.  In previous marathons and endurance runs, I had thought that the important training was in the miles slogged on the ground.  I enjoyed that challenge of the long events, but the last couple had left me physically sick – with vomiting, or major G.I. issues for several days.  The recovery from the events would be rugged as well.  Several days of not feeling like doing much at all.

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This time was different, however.  I had hitched my car to the full steam locomotive called Kim Rhodes Boose.  Instead of running 6-7 days, I ran three days.  Two mid-distance runs, and one long run.  The other days I would attend Kim’s spinning, weight, and cardio classes.  I also tried to fit in some yoga – at least twice a week.  Kim confronted me a few days before the marathon, and asked me how I felt. I told her I was apprehensive about getting sick again.  Kim’s reaction was that she would hear none of that bullshit!  It was going to be different this time.  I was truly fit, and I was going to crush that marathon. I walked away ready to run.

Sure enough.  Kim was right.  I did crush that marathon with a personal best time of well under four hours. The recovery was much better as well.  I was back in class, spinning away to the beat in a couple of days.

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Kim has helped me take fitness to a new and different level.  She has taught me that exercise should not be a chore – it should be a party every day.  She is an expert in several different types of exercise training who has years of experience and a wealth of knowledge.  Her classes are always different from the last, and they are always fun.  I have never seen signs of burn-out in her, or for that matter, even a bad day.  She is so much more than a fitness trainer.  She empowers us, by celebrating us, and reminding us to always love ourselves.  She remembers everyone’s birthday, and dedicates a spin class to them; again with a well-planned, appropriate soundtrack for that person. She shares lessons not only of fitness, but of life.  She teaches us the most important life lessons – to celebrate each moment, take nothing for granted, and to…”stand up straight, hold your head up, shoulders back, tummy in!” …just like my Momma always told me.

To find out more about Kim’s personal and group training services, go to the Asheville Racquet Club’s website

Fighting the Holiday Blues and the Holiday Bulge

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When I was younger, I loved Christmas. What child doesn’t? I even loved it as a young adult. Christmas Break always meant parties and fun. Once I had children, Christmas got a bit more complicated. All of the sudden, the season became full of financial stress as well as expectations.
Trying to hide “Santa” gifts as well as keeping up with traditions can also be exhausting. I don’t mean to sound like a total scrooge because I really do love making Christmas cookies, Panetonne, and Christmas dinner. Let’s face it though, buying a Christmas tree, putting it up, and decorating it is at least a two day process. I know making 1,500 plus cookies is my choice, but as busy as we all are these days, it can be difficult to squeeze it in.
Since I’ve had kids, I’ve kind of struggled with the whole Santa thing. I know it’s a fun, magical, old tradition. It is really fun when your kids are young, but isn’t there something a little scary about a strange, large man coming into your house while you are sleeping? My daughter, Lidia, is one of the most confident souls I have ever met. She will walk up to any group of kids anywhere and say, “Okay guys, what are we playing here?” She was totally into the idea of Santa, but trips to see him, and the idea of sitting on his lap, would always send her running for the hills.
I also struggled with having to lie to my kids. I hated when they got older, and the lies had to be more elaborate. I felt like I always had to be on alert for a radio or TV show that would “spill the beans.” So many of us have stories of finding out, and feeling totally duped by our parents. Aren’t these the people we’re supposed to trust more than anyone? Once you find out about Santa, you question the Easter Bunny (how frightening is this character), the Tooth Fairy, and perhaps, even baby Jesus. Worst of all is the child who makes it to seventh or eighth grade, still believing, standing his or her ground, only to be completely humiliated and crushed. Maybe it’s just life. Maybe believing in Santa and finding out about his lack of existence is a rite of passage that all kids must endure. Maybe our ancestors hundreds of years ago knew exactly what they were doing.
This year was no different. My personal chef services tend to slow down approaching the holidays. Three of my steady clients moved to Florida for the winter. Also, my weight loss and clean eating programs sort of get tossed out the window during party season. I decided to pick up a job waiting tables through the holidays to help with seasonal expenses. Working at Biltmore’s Stable Café, I knew I could bring in good money, besides, it would be really festive and fun. It is also the busiest time of year for my husband’s job. He’s stressed, I now find myself with three jobs, and relatives are headed down to stay with us. The Biltmore job was fun and festive, but it was hard physical work, and long hours, AND the kids were out of school. I found myself getting up at 4am to roll out, bake, and decorate cookies. Waiting tables, running the household, my personal chef business (I still have active clients), entertaining relatives, keeping up with traditions, shopping, and cooking was about as much as this Momma could take. I found out several years ago that you can’t beat Christmas. You just have to weather the storm, ride the current, flow with the rapids. It’s a wonder we all get out alive. It makes sense that everyone is stuffing their faces with cookies and candy, and downing cocktails, wine, beer and other treats.
My husband and I have been suspicious for a year or two that our kids totally knew about Santa. They are such bright, smart, sharp little humans. I felt that we were almost insulting their intelligence by continuing the charade. We wanted them to find out the truth from us. We also wanted them to be aware that Christmas gifts, toys, and electronics did not just fall from the sky. It’s a big expense, and we have to work extra to cover the cost. We had several discussions, and the topic happened to come up in conversation over dinner one evening, so we went ahead and told them who the “real” Santa was. My son, who is 10, said that he kind of figured as much. Our daughter, however, who is 8, had tears shooting from her eyes. She absolutely had no idea. Major parenting fail!!! In hindsight, I still agree with our decision to tell them, but perhaps we should have waited one more year. She assured us that we didn’t ruin her Christmas, and she decided to “just pretend” that she didn’t know the truth. Hopefully, when she has kids of her own, she will truly understand.
Fast forward to now. Christmas is over. New Year’s is over. My diet and exercise has been spot on for two weeks. I love it! I feel as if I am reborn. Everyone is hitting the gym with an intensity like no other time of the year. The internet is full of juice fasts and new exercise programs. My inbox is flooded daily with whole food, paleo, vegan, clean eating, and low calorie recipes. I am training to run an ultra-marathon. I am hitting the gym daily. I am in a flurry of yoga, meditation, setting and visualizing goals, boot camps, spinning, running, and weights. This is my Christmas! My husband tells me that I might be flying too close to the sun (meaning that I might crash and burn), but I disagree. Please join me for a series of posts for the next couple of weeks. I will be sharing what motivates me and lights a fire under me in the areas of diet, exercise, wellness, and overall success. Cheers!