Tag Archives: #fitness

Accountability – The Key to Success

One of the questions I get a lot of the time is, “Why am I not seeing success in ………..(fill in the blank). Whether it is a fitness goal, a strength goal, or even a weight loss goal. Most of the time I can narrow it down to one thing. That one thing is accountability.

Accountability is key. It doesn’t matter how many times a week you work out, how long you work out, your intent to eat clean, or even what quick fix diet you are on that promises the moon. If you are not accountable you are not going to see results. You have to take a good long look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are committed to the goal. Are you willing to do and sacrifice the things necessary to be successful.

This past week we lost 9 beautiful lives in a horrible helicopter crash. One of those was basketball superstar Kobe Bryant. This week in my Monday Motivation I posted one of his quotes that I heard over the week-end that I fell in love with. The quote should apply to anything we do that we see as worth while. Kobe Bryant said, “I was blessed with talent but I worked as if I didn’t.” The thing I got out of his quote was no matter what we are doing, whether it comes easy or not, we have to be willing to work hard at it and commit.

So what does being accountable look like? Well, to start with sit down and prepare. Know what you are going to do before you do it. Plan your workouts. Don’t just show up and figure it out as you go. Be deliberate. Monitor how hard you are working. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor get one and then figure out your specific heart rate zones. Then use it!!!!! Plan your meals. Plan those meals and your eating around your macros (Protein, Carbs, Fats). Then track the things you are eating. Write it down and be honest. If you are going out to eat decide ahead of time what you can and cannot have. Don’t wait until you get there it will be much easier to make a poor choice.

Another way to be more accountable is to know the things that sabotage your success. If it’s alcohol make the deliberate choice to not to have the glass of wine with dinner or the after dinner drink. Don’t open the dessert menu if that is your weakness. Watch what you keep at home in your pantry. Quit buying and keeping the things you have a hard time staying away from. Those small choices we make can be the difference between success and failure.

On a quick side note, if you think or know that your eating habits are tied to emotions or stress don’t be ashamed to seek help. There are many great counselors out there. One place to start might be your local church or if you are working with a personal trainer they may have resources they can give you. Your physician is a great source as well. Be deliberate about your health.

Finally, if you have a bad meal, a bad day, or bad week, etc. Don’t give up!!!! Keep at it. If you stick with it and make accountability a lifestyle you will be more likely to see success. Failure is really a word that should not be in our vocabulary because it takes many failures to see success. None of us are perfect AND THAT IS OK!!!! Keep working at being fit and healthy. It’s worth it.

Tips to Survive The Holidays!

As is usually the case with many people the holidays approach and the worry begins about the extra 5 pounds that might be gained. You are not alone in that thought. Even I, as a trainer and nutrition specialist, worry about the dreaded weight gain. Here are a few tips that I have found that help me to keep my weight and overall health in check as I navigate through the months of November and December.

#1. Make yourself accountable to someone. I always do a holiday “Maintain” challenge with my workout class. The goal is to be accountable to each other with the exercise and food choices we are making as well as what the scales are showing . If we stay within a pound of where we started we consider that a success and we celebrate with some type of reward. As we go through the holiday months we encourage and lift each other up. It makes for a great incentive to stay on track.

#2 . NEVER SKIP A WORKOUT!!!! Make sure to be deliberate about scheduling your workouts. Put them in your calendar and treat them as VERY important meetings. Not only will you feel better but you will, also, burn more of those extra calories you may take in.

#3. Write down what you are eating. This helps you keep track of what you are putting in your body. It ,also, will help you see when you are about to make a poor choice.

#4. Be deliberate. Don’t deprive yourself but plan. If you know you are going to be having a large meal then account for that during your day. If you know you are going to be drinking alcohol decide ahead of time how many you will have. This will help keep you from over-indulging.

#5. Finally DON’T STRESS! Take time to relax and reflect. Try not to let yourself get stressed. Take short walks. Do a Bible study. Meditate. Take a hot bubble bath. Watch a Hallmark movie!!!! Something to relax you. Make sure if you have lots of activities that you put them in a calendar and don’t wait until the last minute.

Hopefully these five things will help you think less about those 5 pounds and more about the magic and joy of the holiday season. Enjoy your family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!!!! (Some of us already have our decorations going up!!! Ha! Ha!))

March Into Health

The month of March is definitely known for March Madness and centers around college basketball.  At my house in the month of March you will usually find the entire family creating their own brackets in hopes of having the most wins and eventually be the one who picks the winner of the NCAA Tournament.  We all have our favorite team and none of us usually has the same Final Four.  While all the basketball is fun during the month of March it is, also, the month known as “March Into Health” month.  There are many health days celebrated in March.  All you have to do is google “national health days in March” and you will see a different one for almost every day.

  In the last few weeks there have been many things happen making me want to take a serious look at health issues and share that information.  The fast pace of life and instant gratification life we lead, I believe, are costing us our health.  Society has gone away from the home cooked meal to fast food, take-out, and processed food.  Even when a meal is home cooked it usually is only semi-homemade.  The cost?  Our health.  I have to be honest I am as guilty as anyone of leaning on their convenience.

  One concern of late is visceral fat. It is different from subcutaneous fat which is the fat just under the skin that none of us likes to see on ourselves. Visceral fat, on the other hand, is found around the internal organs such as the liver, stomach, gall bladder, spleen, etc. and can’t be seen. Visceral fat releases inflammatory substance called cytokines which can damage your organs leaving you at risk for many health issues.  Some of these include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart  disease, stroke, insulin sensitivity, diabetes, cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, and even Alzheimer’s Disease. 

  There is only one way to know for sure how much visceral fat you may have and that is to have a CT scan.  However, there are scales that can estimate your level and you can, also, use your waist circumference to estimate.  For women a waist circumference of 35 inches and for men 40 inches or more is a good indicator that you may have high amounts of visceral fat and are at a higher risk for the above health problems.

  The good news is that visceral fat disappears twice as fast as subcutaneous fat.  By changing you eating and exercise habits you can make big strides to improving your health.  Reducing stress and getting the proper amount of sleep can, also, help.

   Daily exercise is important to decrease body fat.  Exercise should be high intensity.  Interval training is a great way to increase the intensity in your exercise.  Strength training is important as well.  Strength training will increase resting metabolism.  A higher resting metabolism means you will burn more calories at rest and this will help with reducing fat. 

   As far as your diet goes you should be doing your best to eat as healthy as possible.  Know your numbers and by this I mean know your Basal Metabolism Rate (amount of calories your body burns in a day without activity) and know what macronutrient splits ( % of protein, fat, carbohydrate) you should be eating.  There are formulas out there to help with this or if you can’t figure it out you can always contact a nutrition specialist and they can help you.  Your diet should include plenty of protein and fiber rich foods and your fat and carbohydrate intake should be lower.  Be sure your diet is balanced and full of veggies and fruits.

  Finally, sleep and stress both can effect your levels of visceral fat.  You should be getting more than 5 hours of sleep and no more than 9 hours.  For stress try meditation and deep breathing exercises such as yoga.  Spend less time on your smart devices or in front of television. 

Making a few changes in your lifestyle can immediately start helping to reduce levels of visceral fat and get you headed towards a healthier you.  Make it a priority this month to March to Health!  Oh and don’t forget to do your bracket as the NCAA tournament is beginning.  It’s a fun way to enjoy the games.

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Why I Can’t Seem to Lose Weight

So much of the time I hear statements like “As hard as I try I just can’t seem to drop any weight,” or “I try to eat right and I exercise but I can’t lose weight,” or something very similar to that.  That’s when I want to sit down and have a REAL conversation with them.  I have (even as a trainer & nutrition specialist) said those words myself.  That’s when honesty with myself comes into play and it must with you as well.

The first thing you need to look at is your actual eating habits.  Do you keep track of what you actually eat, how much, and what the macros are?  Do you tend to eat more because you have worked out?  Do you drink alcohol?  If you don’t keep track of what you eat I strongly suggest you do.  Take a couple of days and actually write it down…….both what you eat and what you drink.  Yes it can be a pain but the information you will get will be quite useful.  BE HONEST!  If you eat a Fun Size Snickers write it down……you will be surprised by the calories in one of those little boogers.  The next thing I highly recommend is that you find out your Basal Metabolism Rate which will tell you about how many calories you burn in a day based on your activity, age, weight, etc.  This can really be an eye opener for you.  Once you know your BMR it can be very easy to track your calories in a day especially with the technology out there.  My favorite app for tracking my daily food intake is “My Fitness Pal”.  It is very inclusive……even many restaurants have the food on their menu on this app.   Take the time to track your food but realize not tracking our food consumptions is not the only problem we may have.

Is it possible when you work out you are not working as hard as you think?  It is very easy to think we are working out a lot harder than we actually are.  Are you getting your heart rate up to burn those extra calories and are you lifting the weight you should to get the muscle you desire?  The best way to track this is to use a heart rate monitor.  There are many different brands out there from Fitbit, Apple, and Polar.  My personal favorite is Polar.  There are different ones for different activities.  My 2 favs are the Polar 600 or the Polar 800.  I have both.  A heart rate monitor will tell you how active you are being as well ad how hard you are working.  I hardly go any where without mine.  Here are links for Amazon to purchase either of these 2 monitors.  It is well worth the investment.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01I5GC2CY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=faithfitnessb-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01I5GC2CY&linkId=df015d1f58383bbfdd541279113723c7

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FRBB53M/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=faithfitnessb-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01FRBB53M&linkId=642c76fb7ff5d6309aa5379ea29a80b3

A couple of other hints I would give is know what your macros should be……protein, carbs, and fat intake.  Based on the results you want you should eat certain percentages of each of those.  A trainer/nutrition specialist can help you with this or if that is not in your budget you can do the research on your own.  The information is out there.  Another thing is to stay away from the processed foods if you can.  Know portion size….understand just because you order it doesn’t mean you have to eat it all.

Finally, if you have done all of these things and still no results (if you are being totally honest) I would suggest a trip to your primary care physician for some blood work.  Hormones can sometimes be the culprit for gaining weight or not seeing progress. A simple blood work-up can quickly answer that question.

I hope this information has been helpful for you.  Trying to lose weight can be a very trying and discouraging experience.  Understand its ok to not be perfect and that who you are is more important than what you look like.  Take getting healthier one day at a time and even sometimes one moment at a time.  Be honest with yourself.  My final suggestion would be to find someone or a group you can be accountable to.  Don’t be afraid to tell them what your goals are and don’t hold it against them when they actually hold you accountable.  You are on the right track just by being aware of what your body is going through.  You are amazing!!!!  Keep fighting the good fight to be healthier and happier for those you love and care about.

New Year New You-I’m Not On A Diet I Have A Diet

So in the last coupe of weeks we have touched a little on the mind and the soul which is where you have to start on any health and fitness journey. Today, I want to start addressing issues pertaining to the body and the choices we make that affect it. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 the Bible says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with you bodies.” God paid the ultimate price for me……..He gave his Son. When I think in regards to my own children I am quite humbled. I know I could not give up one of my children as He did.

So with that in mind, where do we begin? For me it’s not the exercise part (which we will get to next week). It is the diet. I heard something just the other day and please forgive me because I can’t remember who said it or if I read it some place but…….you can’t exercise enough to burn off ALL the calories you put into your mouth. So I think the place to start is nutrition.

First let me say…….I HATE THE WORD DIET!!!!!!! I especially don’t like to hear people say that they are “on” a diet. Diets don’t work plain and simple. Oh sure, you may lose a few pounds, maybe even a lot, but as soon as you resume your normal lifestyle the weight comes back on with a vengeance. This is why your weight goes up and down like a yo-yo. There are so many unrealistic diets that you and your body cannot maintain for very long. Examples being no fat, no carbs, paleo, cleanses, and I could go on and on. They are unrealistic and most unhealthy for sustained periods of time. Let me, also, make a point here…….while cleanses can be good for your body they are NOT a way to lose weight. They are a way to get some of the bad stuff out of your body but not a way to lose weight. So, if someone promotes a cleanse as a way to lose weight please be wary. I’m all for a good cleanse to prepare your body for a healthy lifestyle or after a vacation/holiday where you’ve eaten a lot of crap but not as a means to lose weight.

Your nutrition/diet should be your lifestyle. A way of life. Something you do 99% of the time. Your body can’t do no carb and no fat. It has to have those things to function. You just have to choose healthy fats and good carbohydrates. I could go into all kinds of formulas and lists of things you need to do and buy but I don’t want to overwhelm you. I would suggest when you are ready that you get with someone who can teach you these things. If you have questions please feel free to message me on my website. There are plenty of professionals that can help you with an eating plan and start showing you the way to healthier lifestyle.

What I would tell you the best way to begin is to start small. Make small changes in you lifestyle one at a time. If you have had an unhealthy life style making to many changes at one time will overwhelm you. I’ve seen it over and over again. You will just give up and go back to your old ways. Some of the things you could do is start by eliminating processed foods or most sugar. If you drink soda, both diet and regular, maybe you eliminate that. If you drink lots of soda you may want to cut down to one a day and go from there. If you have a glass of wine or cocktail every night try limiting it to the week-end. As you make and get use to one change then make another change. When you feel ready then add bigger changes. I want to give you a word of encouragement here. Please remember your weight did not come on over night. You put it on over time. It will not come off, and stay off, over night. Give yourself some time and most of all grace to do this the right way. God’s grace doesn’t mean we never mess up it just means he still loves us and forgives us when we do things that are wrong. Be sure you are giving yourself grace on your journey to a healthy lifestyle as well.

A few final suggestions I would give you. Be aware of portion control. It is possible to eat too much healthy food and gain weight. When you go out to eat, if you do not have he will power to not clean your plate, ask the waiter to bring a “to-go” box when he brings your meal and immediately put half your food in the “to-go” box. Restaurants are notorious for giving you more food than you need. Things to keep in mind on portion control is your meat/protein source should be about the size of your fist, 1/2 of your carbs/fruits, and 1 cup of veggies. It is fun to see actually how much each one of these are. I had a client one time tell me she really stuffed her mac-n-cheese in the 1/2 cup container I gave her. We had a great laugh over it.

Finally, drink water!!!!! Many times we think we are hungry when we are really thirsty. Our body cannot function properly with out being hydrated. Much of our body is made up of water and all our organs must have it to function. Being hydrated protects you from injury as well. There is a reason coaches tell their players to stay hydrated…..it helps protect against concussions, muscle injuries and prevents cramping. A good rule of thumb is half your body weight in ounces. If you sweat a lot during exercise or outside activity you need even more.

As I close to day I want to say two words…….NO DEPRIVATION!!!!!! Reward yourself with a cheat occasionally. Enjoy the holidays or that long over-due vacation. If you have a healthy lifestyle you can do these things. Since it is your lifestyle, when you get home from the trip or the holiday is over you can go right back to your normal way of life because you’ve made it a healthy one. If you can enjoy your lifestyle, you will stay on it. Enjoy the process. It can be a wonderful experience.

Strong Is The New Skinny

Strong is the New Skinny

Summer is here and there never was a better time to get fit. Work on building muscle and getting stronger not just getting skinny. The more muscle you have the more fat you burn. And girls……..building muscle WILL NOT make you look like a man.

Celebrating the Easter Season

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I could not call myself Faith Fitness by Tracey if I didn’t spend time during the Easter season to talk about my faith. It is Easter that represents everything about my faith. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” He loved me so much that he allowed his son to be sacrificed on the cross…..for me….and everyone!!!! I am the mother of 4 boys……I know I couldn’t do that. What an amazing love. I can only hope to live my life in a way that tries…..and I do mean tries because I am by no means perfect…..to be like Christ was. I want the people who know me to know Christ because of how I treat and love them. Do I make mistakes…..you bet I do every single day. It’s because of God’s son I know I am forgiven in those moments I fall short.

As you enter into this Easter season…..remember the sacrifice…..remember the forgiveness…..but most of all remember the love. May God bless each of my readers in the coming week.

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We Are Defined By What We Do

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We are not defined by what we think or by what we say. Our actions and what we do are what we are defined by. You can say all day that You’re going to get healthy or you’re going to workout…..tomorrow….but until we take action it’s nothing more that words. Recently at church camp with my kids I learned that we should let our “yes” be yes and our “no” be no. If you say you are going to do something then do it. Don’t be the kind of person who says they will do something and then not follow through with it. Be the kind of person that people know when you say something you’re going to follow through……not just say something because it sounds good at the time!!!!!