Low Calorie Spicy Margarita

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Sometimes a hectic week just calls for an evening spicy marg while you sit on the couch and catch up on Master Chef. Or maybe it’s just me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Here is my Spicy ‘Master Chef’ Marg without all the sugary mixers!

SPICY MARG

1 SHOT OF TEQUILA (CAZADORES)

1/2 SHOT OF MEZCAL (VIDA)

1/2 SHOT OF SPICY JALAPENO LIQUOR OR ORANGE LIQUEUR (GRAND MARNIER)

FRESH LIME JUICE

AGAVE

GINGER KOMBUCHA

SERVE OVER ICE WITH MINT LEAVES

 

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Taco Tuesday Two Ways!

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TACO SALAD

COOK/BROWN KOSHER GROUND TURKEY & TRADER JOE’S HOT TACO SEASONING MIX IN SKILLET

SAUTÉE ORGANIC SWEET CORN, ORGANIC ORANGE & YELLOW BELL PEPPERS & SHISHITO PEPPERS IN SKILLET TOGETHER WITH OLIVE OIL

BAKE BROCCOLI DRIZZLED WITH OLIVE OIL IN OVEN AT 350 DEGREES FOR 10-12 MINUTES

HEAT BLACK BEANS FOR 3-5 MINUTES

MIX TOGETHER OVER ORGANIC SPINACH, SEASON WITH FRESH BLACK PEPPER & CHOPPED CILANTRO TO GARNISH

 

Lettuce Wrapped Tacos

LETTUCE WRAPPED TACOS

PREPARE SPANISH RICE, APPROX 10-15 MINUTES

COOK/BROWN KOSHER GROUND TURKEY & TRADER JOE’S HOT TACO SEASONING MIX IN SKILLET

HEAT BLACK BEANS FOR 3-5 MINUTES

TO MAKE GUACAMOLE: MASH 1 AVOCADO, ADD LEMON JUICE, BLACK PEPPER, GARLIC SALT & YELLOW ONION – MIX

USE LIVING LETTUCE FOR TACO “SHELL”. ADD GROUND TURKEY, SALSA, GUACAMOLE, CHOPPED CILANTRO. SERVE WITH RICE & BEANS.

Juice Cleanse + Elimination Diet

If you’re into health and fitness you are probably familiar with ‘juicing’. I recently finished a 3-day Pressed Juicery cleanse followed by an elimination diet and received a lot of questions so I would like to provide some feedback.

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Why Do A Cleanse?

There are a number of reasons why someone might choose to start a juice cleanse. There are also varied durations for how long you would like to do a cleanse. My reasoning? I was feeling boated every day, though I was eating the same healthy foods (fish, white meat, fruit, vegetables, etc.). I felt like I was retaining water, though my hydration and salt consumption levels stayed the same. My energy levels were low and I did not feel good on the inside. I felt uncomfortable in my skin and like my midsection was going to burst.

Note: Feeling bloated is not the same thing and feeling full or gaining weight. It is an abnormal swelling or increase in diameter of the abdominal area.

I decided I would like to do a combination of an elimination diet and a juice cleanse. The elimination diet is a short-term eating plan that eliminates certain foods that might be causing allergies or other digestive reactions – then reintroduces the foods one at a time in order to determine which foods are, and are not, well-tolerated.

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Step One: The Cleanse

I began with a 3-day Pressed Juicery cleanse. I ate an apple on the first day (to help eliminate wastes that were backed up), I ate an avocado on day two (since I did not take any days off work during my cleanse and needed energy), and ate two hard-boiled eggs on day three (to test my body’s reaction to eggs with nothing else in my system).

The beauty of doing juice cleanse is you can make it what you want! Based on the outcome I was trying to achieve – regular elimination of wastes, decrease bloating, and discover foods I have developed an intolerance to – this is how I wanted to carry out my cleanse. I am happy to report I achieved the outcome I was hoping for. I noticed a significant decrease in bloating immediately, affirmed hard-boiled eggs were not the issue for me bloating wise, and had SO much more energy.

Step Two: The Elimination Diet

After I complete my 3-day cleanse I began a modified elimination diet. I am lactose intolerant so I was able to skip Phase 1 since I already know what comes of consuming dairy – NOTHING GOOD.

I moved through Phases 2-4 and took notes of what caused and did not cause bloating.

If you deal with boating on a regular basis you might consider taking an enzyme to help with digestion. I take Enzymedica Digest Gold. It is best taken WITH food vs. taking it before or after you eat. I would highly recommend it.

Step Three: Look And Feel Better

After completing my juice cleanse and modified elimination diet I can definitely say I feel like I am back to my normal self. Energy restored, feeling good in my skin and flat in my abdomen.

If you have questions about stubborn bloating, juicing, the elimination diet or anything else please do not hesitate to ask! Email: BodiesByKate@gmail.com

Back With A New Look & New Content

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It has not been my intention to be away so long but it has been for all the right reasons! I am a new fur-mommy to our new fur-baby ‘Avery’ (14 weeks old, mini Australian Shepherd). We are in full potty training, no chewing/biting/barking, pick up all the rugs, hide the trash mode with this little love bug. It has been absolute bliss!! (Be on the lookout for Avery in the 2018 Puppy Bowl!)

In addition to Miss Avery, I have started working with several new clients and if you work with me you know, my undivided attention is always given to those in front of me. My passion is to take you to the next level, to challenge YOU to challenge your own boundaries, and to guide your nutrition choices for a healthier and happier lifestyle.

Some of my newest clients are training for summer bodies, weddings, long term weight-loss, post natal weight loss, half marathon training, and more! It all starts with a goal. When a goal is determined, a road to that goal is constructed. The road is often rough, but when you can picture that goal at the end you are more likely to stay on course and persevere. Without a goal and clear-cut road to get there, it is too easy to veer off course or prioritize other things in front of what you want. My job is to paint the picture, construct the road, keep you on course and help you overcome obstacles. It all starts with a goal.

What are you working toward this summer? Please email if you would like help with setting or achieving a certain goal (no purchase necessary and it does not need to be fitness related). BodiesByKate@gmail.com

I have also been busy in the kitchen working on new recipes for meal prep, summer dinners, healthy on-the-go snacks, sugarless/minimal sugar summer drinks and more!

In the upcoming days I will be posting new articles on the following topics:

  • Juice Cleanses
  • Summer Poke – my favorite recipe
  • Swimsuit Booty – avoid pancake butt with exercises for home and gym workouts
  • If You’re Not Prepped, You’re Not Prepared Part 2 – new recipes
  • Bands Only Home Workout
  • Low-Sugar Spicy Margs for Summer

Thank you for the continued interest and support! Follow me on Instagram for new post notifications – @Katetownfit

The Mind-Body Connection

Background Music (and therefore) My Current Mindset –
Artist: The Cinematic Orchestra
Album: Every Day

Intentional Exercise & Neural Pathways

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Have you ever heard the expression “Just going through the motions”? When you are exercising, do you find yourself just going through the motions or are you moving with intent and purpose?

When I work with my clients I place emphasis on moving with purpose; to feel the exercise, to match their breathing to the movements, to relax certain muscles, and engage others. Moving with intent and purpose means you are stimulating a connection to grow between the brain/spinal cord and the rest of your body.

Thought – wish – desire – intention – neural signal – signal transfer by nerves – completion of intended action. 

This is the neural process simplified. The job of the spinal cord is to convey the electrical impulses from the brain to the many nerves in the body which attach to the muscles, which carry out the desired action. Exercising and moving with intent strengthens this connection.

Let’s take performing a squat, for example. When you perform a squat, what is your thought process, if any? Do you perform the movement quickly and consider that to be complete and successful? Or is there a mental checklist you go through during the phases of the squat (starting posture, core engaged, where your weight is being held, breathing, muscles to relax, muscles to contract, finishing posture)? If having some sort of mental checklist describes your thought process, you are moving with intent. You are building a deeper connection between your nervous system (brain & spinal cord) and your muscular system.

We know that a strong connection between the nervous and muscular systems leads to greater muscle hypertrophy (growth) after multiple exercise sessions. If you are not seeing progress or change in your body, ask yourself, have you been just going through the motions? 

Mental Stress & The Physical Body

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Chronic stress has been called “the silent killer.” It compromises our immune system and it’s a major contributor to some of the most persistent and chronic diseases of our time, like heart disease, cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s, depression, and more.

It’s also a fact that it’s increasingly harder to avoid excess and constant stress. Too many of us live our lives in a constant white-knuckled, jaw-clenched state with our adrenal glands working overtime—all of which results in stored toxins and blocked energy (or chi). We become physically, mentally, and emotionally stagnated, and our systems slow down.

It’s important to understand that stress is a reaction—we can choose how to react to stressful situations. Lugging emotions, trauma, guilt, resentment, and memories with us can compound day-to-day stress, to further age us, wreak havoc on our bodies and health, and result in serious long-term consequences, such as excess weight, anxiety, and even physical pain and poor posture.

5 Areas Where You Might Be Carrying Stress

Stress can get stuck in multiple places in our body, causing it to get congested and intensify. In these areas stress is literally contained within the body. We all have the ability to build awareness around how we react or respond to stress, and we can all take steps to eliminate stress that’s being stored in these “containers” within the body. The five areas are the jaw/neck/face, the shoulders/heart, the diaphragm/lungs, the stomach/gut, and the pelvic floor/hips.

Releasing Stress From The Body (Activity!)

Jaw, Neck, Face

Tension in jaw indicates blockage of emotional and verbal communication, fear of expression. Thoughts and emotions come together in the neck, stiffness is due to withheld statements. The face expresses the various “masks” of our personality, shows how we face the world. 

  1. Masseter Massage: Place two fingers on either side of your jaw. Clench your teeth to feel the masseter muscle contract. Once you have found the muscle, apply light pressure, open and close your mouth 10 times, slowly. Next, massage your masseter muscle by applying light pressure with your fingers and move them in small circles. Do this for one minute.
  2. Neck Stretching: Sit up tall (on sits bones), clasp hands behind your back. Lean head from right to left 10 times, slowly. Next, make circles with your head, tucking your chin to your chest, back over the right shoulder, stretching back, forward over the left shoulder and back down to the chest, 10 times each direction.

Shoulders, Heart

Shoulders are where we carry the weight of the world and fear of responsibility. Tension in shoulders and heart relates to forgiveness.

  1. Shoulder Shrugs: Take a deep inhale, shrugging your shoulders up to your ears, feeling what it feels like to hold stress and tension in your shoulders – exhale and let your shoulders fall down, relaxed. 10 times.
  2. Snow Angels on Foam Roller: Lay with foam roller aligned vertically down your spine, hands starting by your side, palms facing the ceiling, raise your hands slowly until they are extended above your head, trying to keep you finger tips in contact with the floor throughout (as if to make an angel in the snow). Perform for 2 minutes.

Diaphragm, Lungs

The diaphragm is your power and wisdom center. Tension here relates to power issues and emotional control issues. 

  1. Rib Breathing: Place your hands around your ribcage with your thumbs behind you. On the inhale let your hands feel your lungs and ribcage pushing out against them. On the exhale, lightly squeeze your ribs together with your hands as if to assist in squeezing the stress out of your body.
  2. Thoracic Spine Foam Rolling

Stomach, Gut

Holding tension here can be a result of being too instinctual and over analyzing things. Not allowing yourself to speak your truth, feel empowered.

  1. Belly Breathing: Practice breathing deeper than your lungs, filling your entire diaphragm and belly with air. Challenges yourself to inhale and exhale slowly, for 6 seconds each.

Hips, Pelvic Floor

The hips are the seat of Kundalini energy, the root of basic survival needs and action. Holding tension in the hips relates to old memories, anger, loss, resentment, the need to control the past or present.

  1. Sumo Squat: Hold the sumo squat/deep squat position with hands in prayer hands position, taking deep breaths, exhaling negative energy, allowing the hips to open and deepen the stretch. Hold for 20 seconds, repeat 10 times.

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I hope I have inspired you to deepen your mind-body connection and challenge you to move with purpose and intent in your next exercise session. If you are holding on to unnecessary stress, or have chronic body aches and pains, I believe the above mentioned activities are right for you. (Honestly, I believe it is right for everyone!) And always remember…

“When the mind and the body work as one, anything is possible.”

 

To Macro, Or Not To Macro?

For some of us, calculating macronutrients comes naturally. For others, it’s rocket science. If you’re on the fence, here are both sides of the case!

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I get a lot of nutrition questions from clients; Do I carb cycle? Do I count my macros? How often do I eat? What do I eat?

First things first- It’s great to ask questions to be more informed, but you should never copy someone’s diet exactly. We are all built in different shapes, sizes, strengths, etc! There is no one-size-fits-all diet. I REPEAT, there is no one-size-fits-all diet! 

Your diet should be custom-tailored to fit your caloric intake needs, activity level, allergy needs, muscle building needs, fat loss needs, the list goes on. If you have questions about any of these needs or others, please do not hesitate to ask! Email: Kate@FitBodiesByKate.com. But I digress…

To Macro, or Not To Macro? That is the question.

To “macro” means to track the number of grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats you consume each day. Athletes, avid exercisers, and bodybuilders seem to have no problem with macro tracking. For others, well like I said before, it’s rocket science!

There are both benefits and drawbacks to counting your macros. After reading this you should have a better understanding about macros and whether or not counting them is right for you. You should note that with any nutrition program you need to be consistent. Results do not appear in the first days or sometimes weeks even. It takes time to change your physiology. Patience is key.

To Macro

Situation 1: You’re Lean, But You Want To Be Leaner

If you find yourself in situation 1, you have probably noticed small variations in your nutrition can be the difference between shedding those last few pounds of fat or staying right where you are. (One of my favorite quotes applies here: Tiny tweaks equal big changes!)

If this is you, it’s best to keep a tight reign on those macros and get yourself to that end goal! You can do it!

Situation 2: You Have No Concept Of What “Enough Protein” Means

You can google “How much protein should I consume daily” and you will see this:

“The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. This amounts to: 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man. 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman.”

Great! After reading this you fully understand where you fall on the spectrum and have no further questions, right?! WRONG. Even I can barely decode this and I majored in Molecular Chemistry and know ALL the conversion factors.

You might be that person that thinks to yourself “peanut butter is full of protein, right?” No. Not enough. Not even close. And sorry to add insult to injury but peanut butter is a fat source.

As a general rule, you should aim to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of your bodyweight. Of course there are variables to this number but I am keeping it simple. If you need more information, please ask!

Situation 3: You Have An Insatiable Appetite When The Clock Strikes Midnight

Did I just describe you, or did I just describe you?! We’ve all been there.

Paying attention to these hunger signals can get you in some serious caloric trouble and almost always leads to unwanted inches around your midsection. It’s unfortunate, but some people may need to conscientiously regulate their food intake by tracking their macronutrients to avoid becoming the midnight food vacuum.

Not To Macro

Situation 1: You Are A Macronutrient Pro

Some people can just look at a piece of chicken and tell you exactly how many grams it is, and give you the macronutrient breakdown on the spot. Good for you, buddy! Live much?

Don’t get me wrong, it takes great dedication to be a macronutrient pro and most often these are the people we are all trying to look like. But the truth is, most just want to be healthy and don’t care to be freaskishly shredded. Both are great! Follow your own path, light your own way. Be a leader, not a follower, and all that jazz.

If you are the macronutrient pro, obviously I wouldn’t spend the time. You’re doing just fine as you are and we’re all really impressed. No, really, I’m a fan!

Situation 2: You’re Neurotic And Getting Nowhere

Too many times I come across someone who asks all the questions, wants all the answers, makes all the changes, but doesn’t ever change. They do a complete 180 with their diet and let it play out for about a week. Then they are on to something else before giving their original diet plan a chance to let any real progress occur. I said it earlier, I’ll say it again. Patience is key! 

Constantly changing your diet to the newest, next best thing wastes a lot of energy and effort, and you will never see results. If this is you, you should abandon the macro counting and take the time to educate yourself on proper nutrition.

Learn what “whole foods” are. Learn how the body uses, stores, metabolizes carbs, fats, and proteins. Build a base layer of education so you can discern between what diets are worth your time and which are total crap.

Situation 3: You’re Just Getting Your Feet Wet In This Whole Fitness Thing

A. You are mostly sedentary and your idea of a healthy dinner is lettuce on your cheeseburger.

B. You do cardio for 3 hours per day, you now have “pancake butt”, you don’t weight train, nothing’s working so you just eat carrots.

C. “Is butter a carb?”

If scenario A, B, or C sounds like you, you’re not ready to make the leap just yet. This is OK! You are still in the contemplation, maybe even preparation phase and you’re making progress- to a point.

You need to focus on the basics. Are you getting enough sleep? Do you have negative stressors under control? Are you drinking water consistently? Are you able to look at two different food items and know the healthier choice?

Until you have the basics under control, there is no need to jump ahead and start counting macros.

I hope I have answered some of those burning “To Macro, Or Not To Macro” questions and you are on your way to achieving that body you have always dreamed of! And just in case you read this whole article wishing and hoping for that lettuce-wrapped burger recipe, I GOT YOU!

Ingredients:

  • Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Chicken Burger (3g carb/6g fat/19g protein)
  • Iceburg Lettuce Wrap
  • Sliced Tomato
  • Sauteed Bell Peppers (in 0 calorie coconut oil spray)
  • Microgreens
  • Broccolini (on the side)

 

Exercise Spotlight: Renegade Rows

The list of exercises for effective core training is ever-growing. Sit-ups and crunches are out, planks are in. Traditional core exercises are losing popularity as we learn more about core strength and proper ways to challenge the core. (See: Let’s Get To “The CORE”)

The Renegade Row has recently grown in popularity. I love this core exercise! A renegade row challenges you to hold a high-plank position while performing a dumbbell single arm row.

Here’s how to do it:

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  • Set up a dumbbell directly under your shoulder on one side.
  • Assume a push-up position with your hand grasping the dumbbell instead of flat on the ground. Position your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Tighten your core, and keep your back flat and hips square to the ground.
  • Pick up the right dumbbell and row it to your side. (You should control/not allow hip shifting from side to side while rowing the dumbbell)
  • Slowly lower the dumbbell and repeat.
  • Perform a set of 10-20 reps. Switch sides.

Seems simple enough, right? Well, appearances can deceive. Your core has to do some serious work to enable you to perform the Renegade Row correctly.

To perform the exercise properly in the plank position with your hips level and square to the ground, your core muscles work to keep you in the exact same position as when the dumbbell is on the ground—but now you only have one arm for support. In addition, it also works anti-rotation, meaning your core muscles prevent your torso from rotating (your hips from shifting side to side).

Of course, as you would with any other exercise, it’s important to gradually increase the weight. You might be able to use a reasonably heavy weight for the row, but if your form isn’t clean holding the plank and controlling hip movement, use a lighter weight.

Enjoy this fantastic core exercise and stay tuned for my next Exercise Spotlight!