As you probably know already, I’ve been hustling hard to get fit for my March 25th (!!!) wedding. I’ve been working with Scott Keppel (see my other posts with him here and here) and he’s taken me down a totally different road than I’ve ever been down before nutritionally. He has been more interested in tightening my body than making it a lot smaller. This has required a lot of trust from my end because I’m used to a drastic calorie cut and feeling guilty if I ever eat something I really enjoy and he is actually having me eat more calories.
So I’ve been counting macros… and I haven’t seen much of a change on my scale. But I’m working my @$$ off (hopefully, literally!) so is there really no progress happening?
False. There absolutely is! So how do you measure your progress when you aren’t doing a drastic weight loss program? The first way is free and easy – and that is to keep track of your measurements. Measure your chest, biceps, natural waist, belly button area, hips, and thighs once per week and keep track of them. This is great incentive to keep working because your body is changing.
The second way is my absolute favorite. Actually, as a statistics nerd, I’m obsessed with it. It’s called the Bod Pod and it measures your body composition with about 98% accuracy meaning that once you take the test, you’ll know how many pounds of your body are made of lean muscle mass and how many pounds are made of up fat. I’ve been going every 2 weeks at Marathon Fitness in 12th South (which also has great group fitness classes and nutritional planning as well!) and it’s so interesting to monitor the changes happening in your body. Recently I went and had lost 1.3lbs of fat and had gained .7lb of muscle. Another week I tested and I had gained about 2.5lbs of muscle and lost .3 lb of fat. I think this evaluation is so helpful when you’re not on a massive weight loss journey but you’re wanting to get leaner, tighter, and more fit. It has helped keep me stay motivated and excited about the changes that are happening in my body.
Make sure to schedule your appointment at a time where you won’t have eaten or drank anything for 3 hours. Wear either very tight fitting workout wear or even a swimsuit for your most accurate results – and don’t be scared of Joe when you walk in… he could beat up anyone you know, but he’s super nice and is the man behind Kelleigh Bannen‘s perfect little booty, so you know he knows what he’s talking about! haha
As you may know, fitness is at the forefront of my mind more than usual right now with my upcoming wedding in March. (!!!) I’ve loved working remotely with Scott Keppel who is an expert in both fitness and nutrition and is slowly changing my way of thinking from “eat way less to get skinny” to eat more to nourish your body and replace fat with muscle. He’s helped me find the right program that works with my lifestyle and so far I’ve lost 2 inches off my waist, whoop! I thought it would be helpful for him to answer some questions that had been plaguing me that I thought would resonate with most people. I’ve also sprinkled some awkward pictures of myself working out throughout this article for color and to break up the massive blob of text – enjoy! haha
1. What is the biggest misconception about losing weight/getting in shape?
“Often times, I get women who feel they need to lose weight, but in reality they want to lose body fat. As a coach, I educate my clients on the importance of not focusing on the scale and being more mindful of the changes that are being made in how they feel, how clothes fit, and overall how they are looking. Keep in mind, a pound of muscle is 3x smaller than the size of one pound of fat! In addition, 1lb of muscle can burn up to 4x’s the amount of calories in a day! A misconception a number of women have is that muscle weighs more than fat – this is not true. Muscle is more dense than fat (but again, 3 times smaller!), but a pound is a pound no matter what it’s made of. If you were to drop a pound of feathers and a pound of coins, they would fall at the same rate. However, you would need a lot less coins.
Getting in shape is relative to many. For women, if you are between 18-24% body fat, that is optimal fitness – so if you are looking to be in shape, this is an ideal place to fall. Women often feel they should cut calories and do a ton of cardio to lose weight. This is another misconception. Most women should not be below 1200 calories in a day and often 1400-1600 calories per day is ideal. When a woman cuts her calories too low, her metabolism will start to slow down in order to preserve energy (fat) and she will hit a plateau. Fueling the muscle so it can burn the fat and fuel you for a calorie burning workout is ideal.”
2. If people were only going to change one habit, what is the most important one to change?
Nutrition! Nutrition is 70-80% of achieving results. As far as what nutritional habit to change? It’s hard to pick just one, since everyone woman has her own unique set of deficiencies. Overall, I would suggest making sure to get enough water – 3/4-1oz per lb of your body weight. Water will help with certain vitamins, flush out toxins, and keep you from being dehydrated. When someone is dehydrated, performance decreases both mentally and physically. If you’re already drinking enough water, talking a multi vitamin and fish oils is the next habit to start. Take as suggested. Studies have shown that by simply adding these to one’s daily regiment, there is a decrease in anxiety and mood swings! Next, work on limiting your alcohol to 1-2 drinks per sitting. Anything more and your body will not be able to function properly until the alcohol is out of your system. This means whatever food you’re eating at that time will be stored as fat.
3. In your opinion, what is the most effective workout?
It varies for each person. If you’re a woman that has more body fat than you’d like and you weigh more than you like, I suggest a metabolic style workout. Metabolic = fat burning! These would be workouts that incorporate complex movements (squats, dead lifts, squats and presses, squat jumps, etc.) along with cardio throughout (jump rope, running, squat jumps, burpees, etc.) Rest 30-60 seconds between rounds. Here’s an example: Dead lifts: 3 rounds of 12-15, Close grip push ups: 3 rounds of 12-15, Squat jumps: 3 rounds of 12-15.
If you’re already thin, but want to build a little more lean mass, I suggest you lift a little heavier (8-10 reps) and skip the burpees, jumps, running, etc.
4. How important is getting enough sleep/water when you’re trying to get in shape?
I can’t emphasize this enough! If you are even slightly dehydrated, you will get headaches, dizziness, weakness, muscle cramps, constipation, and more. Sleep = rest, rest = recovery, recovery = gains. You must sleep to allow your body to recover from the stress of your daily activities and exercise. Keep in mind, when you’re lifting weights, your body is tearing down muscle and the sleep and rest will allow your muscles to recover.
5. When you’re on a weight loss plan, but you feel like you need tocheat what is a healthy snack you like to have that satisfies thecraving?
Fruit is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Try to stick to berries, grapes, apples, and fruits from the northern hemisphere. They are lower in glycemic index (which means they don’t impact your insulin levels as much as bananas, melons, etc.) You can mix protein powder with unsweetened almond or coconut milk, freeze it in a cupcake papers, or make popsicles with the mixture. You can mix in peanut butter, almond butter, berries, etc. If you’re more of a salty fan, air popped pop corn is a great treat that is low in carbs, calories, and you can get more volume than turning to chips or fries.
So… I’m starting the year with a double whammy. Being engaged, having a wedding in 3 months (we only just booked the date), aaaand the New Year aka that goal body is at the forefront of my mind. But how am I going to get there?
As luck should have it, I was asked to judge the Miss Minnesota USA pageant at the end of November and sat on the judging panel with Scott Keppel – personal trainer and nutritional consultant who’s resume is impressive to say the least. Some of his clients include: 9 plus different Miss USA and Miss Teen USA states meaning that each year he prepares about 18 different contestants to be on HDTV in their bikinis. He is also certified in Pre and Post Natal, Breast Cancer Recovery, Power Plate, MovNat, Spitfire Sled training master programmer and NASM sled training. (His wife is a 2-time breast cancer survivor, so this topic is extra close to his heart.)
This Miss Minnesota USA and Miss Minnesota Teen USA judging panel. Loved this whole crew! Also, can we talk about how big of a contradiction my outfit is? haha High leg slit, but yet, fur coat. Because Minneapolis in late November. You can take the girl out of the pageant, but you can’t take the pageant out of the girl…
I was so impressed over the course of the weekend in talking to him by how much he individualizes his programs for each specific person. He resides in Arizona. but trains most of his clients from a distance by having them track their workouts, nutrition, and measurements and having them check in once a week via text and phone calls. I offhandedly made the comment, “maybe I should have you train me for my wedding…!” and he was all over it. In my mind I was going to start my training AFTER the holidays, but he reached out shortly after the pageant and I’ve been working with him since the first week in December. I’m happy to report that I made it thought Christmas and New Years and lost some inches on my measurements while still being able to enjoy myself! (As I type this, I just ate 3 mini Reeses cups… which is fine as long as they fit within my daily intake goal.)
Scott has me tracking my macros which means I eat a specific gram amount of protein, fat, and carbs. My typical diet pre-Scott was drinking green juice and eating salads mostly during the week and then eating and/or drinking whatever I wanted on the weekend. In case you couldn’t have guessed, that wasn’t working. I was actually not eating enough the majority of the time, but then on the weekends I was taking in too much. He has actually increased my calorie count for the time being from what I was taking in before – and somehow it’s still working. #nocomplaintsthere
The thing that’s been the biggest adjustment for me has been how much protein I’m consuming. He has me taking in 100-110 grams per day which is much more than I would usually consume.
I have a little tip out there for people who don’t necessarily want to consume meat at every meal or protein powder. Introducing, your new best friend: fage nonfat greek yogurt which has 23 grams of protein, no fat (obvi) and 7 grams of carbs. I stir in a teaspoon of honey and voila! The easiest breakfast ever that also tastes really really good. Sometimes I’ll throw in some sliced almonds and raspberries too if I’m feeling extra fancy.
A typical day in the life – tracked using the “My Plate” app which makes it really easy to keep track of what you’ve consumed.
More recipes, workouts, and a q&a with Scott to come soon. If you guys have any questions you’ve been wanting to ask a trainer – comment below and I’ll pass them on to him! Also, if you’re looking for personalized accountability to reach a weight loss or fitness goal, I couldn’t recommend Scott more highly.
When this photo was taken I had no idea how much my life was going to change within the 365 days that made up 2016.
As 2016 comes to a close, as I often do, I’ve been thinking back on this year – all that has changed, all that has remained the same, where I’ve been, where I want to go, etc. This year though, has been more life altering than most and as I think back I get a little teary because 2016 has been a fairytale year for me that can never be duplicated.
2016 wasn’t messing around – it showed me its colors right off the bat on day 1.
Literally starting on January 1st. I was on a New Year’s trip to Seaside, Florida with two of my best girlfriends, Marcia and Taryn. It was rainy almost the entire trip which was fine with us because we hardly left our respective perches in front of the fireplace at the cozy cottage we were staying in. We relaxed, read, slept, journaled, made vision boards, ate our weight in guacamole, and talked about all of our goals for 2016. (I know, I know, very Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.)
When your NYE vacay house looks like this, you know you’re setting yourself up for a good year!
I can take you to the exact page in my journal where I wrote that I wanted to: a.) go on a mission trip this year and b.) spend a month living abroad which Taryn ingeniously titled an “adult internship.” All 3 of us were single at the time (FYI two of us are engaged now… there might be something to those vision boards!) so we also spent some time talking about the types of qualities we would be looking for if we were going to date someone. One of my must-haves was someone I could adventure with. Both Marcia and Taryn made a point of telling me that the next guy I dated needed to be a “grown ass man” aka mature and able to take care of himself – and maybe even take care of me sometimes. Fast forward to that very night at dinner at The Pearl in Rosemary Beach when a handsome acquaintance I hadn’t seen in 3 years called the restaurant from 600 miles away to pay for our dinner. Continue reading →
If you don’t love coffee, you can abort mission on reading this post, but if you’re like me and the first thing you do every morning is stumble to your coffee pot, then I’m about to change your life and the way you drink coffee forever.
I have to give all of the credit to my friend Jessica for introducing me to the game changer that is better known as Bulletproof Coffee. Bulletproof coffee is a less acidic coffee infused with brain stimulating, energy/life giving nutrients. As someone who has self diagnosed themselves with ADD, I swear this coffee gives me a clear, focused, energy that is unlike anything. Since discovering this elixir of life, I have sold almost all of my best friends and family on not only the taste, but the nutrition behind it.
So what is Bulletproof Coffee? The recipe consists of 3 simple, but very specific ingredients:
–Bulletproof brand coffee
-Kerrygold Butter (must be this brand – Kerrygold is pure grassed butter)
–XCT Brain Oil (derived from coconut and palm oil) Blend all ingredients together and you’ll have a creamy, smooth, frothy and delicious cup of coffee that will make you feel incredible all day.
It tastes even better on a day like we had in Nashville just over a week ago!
Why use the specific Bulletproof beans?
“Our coffee is carefully produced and lab tested using the Bulletproof Process™ to minimize toxins, so you can enjoy a pure cup of coffee worry-free.
Upgraded beans are harvested in Central America from passive organic estates without chemicals (herbicides, pesticides, etc.). Each bean is hand-picked by experienced coffee harvesters – skilled people who only pick perfectly ripe berries. When the coffee beans are not carefully hand-harvested, the beans can be mistakenly picked unripe and damaged, which impacts the taste and can possibly affect the way it makes you feel.
Most coffee beans are left in the sun to wither and dry, or by pressing them and letting them ferment (spoil) to remove the outer layer of the bean. Both of these processing techniques are known to produce significant levels of performance-robbing mold-toxins.
After we pick the ripest cherries, we use the proprietary Bulletproof Process to create a special class of green coffee bean with minimized levels of harmful molds, bacteria, and toxins. The beans are then medium roasted in small batches in the United States under the strictest conditions, which minimize the formation of toxins from the roasting process. Roasting the beans enhances their naturally occurring antioxidant capacity and flavor to provide you with a cup of coffee that has a minimized level of performance-robbing mold-toxins.”
Think putting butter in your coffee is gross or will make you fat? Check out this article for all the info. on why you SHOULD be consuming butter. (Grassfed only!) I also wrote a little piece on this topic several years ago if you’d like to check it out!
If you would like to read even more about the science behind Bulletproof coffee, this article is fab.