How to Flip the Bird to the Halloween Candy Binge! (and other events that test your resolve)

We’re nearing the end of my first 5-Week ‘Change You’ Challenge (it’s going fantastic! Squee!) and at the end of last week’s meet-up, as we were talking about the importance of staying the path before next week’s fit test and measurements, someone gasped, “Oh no! Halloween is this week! I always binge on my kids’ candy!” Then another person chimed in, “And I’ll be drinking! So my guard will be down!” Halloween isn’t the only challenge we’ll face. We will be faced with opportunities that challenge our resolve often. So how do we handle them? Do we stand our ground and resist all temptation? (And say no to every party invitation until the end of time.) Or do we chalk it up as “it’s just one night” and binge away? Here are several tips for dealing with Halloween and other such temptations (including some no-nonsense, tough love advice for those who respond best to a verbal smackdown): 1. Get Full If you’re worried you won’t be able to stop grazing the buffet table once you arrive at a party, eat before you go. Eat a LOT. A lot of high-fiber, nutritious foods. Think protein + veggies + healthy fats. That will ensure you don’t hit the buffet table first thing upon arrival, cutting down on the sheer number of hours you’ll want to stuff your face, and arriving full makes it easier to make sane choices. When you’re starving, everything sounds good. When you’re full, you might still want some of your favorite foods but you’re more able to skip over other options. Get full before you Trick or...

HiiT Essentials – and Why You Should Be Doing It

What is HiiT? HiiT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training and involves alternating periods of high-intensity exercise with periods of rest and recovery. For example, in my HiiT Quickie Workouts we do 3 rounds of 5 exercises for 50 seconds on, 10 seconds rest. HiiT workouts are designed to improve cardiovascular capacity and conditioning, which in turn improves glucose metabolism (how your body produces energy) and fat burning. Research also shows that short HiiT workouts can be just as or more effective than longer, steady-state cardio because of the EPOC effect. What is EPOC? Also known as the afterburn effect, EPOC stands for Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. Simply put, this is the amount of oxygen your body requires after exercise to return to its resting state and adapt to the work you just did. EPOC matters because it means you’ve pushed your body to the point of having an oxygen debt.  If you sprint up a steep hill as fast as you can, it will be quite difficult to catch your breath afterward, right? That is EPOC in action. Your body is now forced to work harder to return to normal, and all the while you’re expending more energy. The good news – that means you’re burning calories even after you’ve stopped exercising! Brilliant! Interestingly enough, you may burn fewer calories during a HiiT workout (as compared to a steady-state workout like jogging), but you’ll burn far more calories after the workout. According to one study, for up to 38 hours afterward! Most forms of exercise will generate an afterburn effect to some degree, but not all forms are equal.  After...

Rock This Workout!

We’re battening down the hatches, throwing wood on the fire, stocking up on food, doing 25 jumping jacks approximately every 3 minutes, and randomly screaming things like HOLYEFFINGSH*TBALLZISITCOLD in defense against – and reaction to – the wicked cold that has descended upon the Midwest. I’m not sure I’ve felt cold like this ever. And it makes me wonder about the sanity of those who live in northern regions. No seriously, what’s the matter with you people. I’m always cold, and I hate it. If I’m moving around I’m not too cold, but if I’m doing work at my computer, I can wear three layers, a scarf, and a blanket wrapped around me like a toga and still be cold. IT’S SO ANNOYING. But I’ve discovered two things that truly warm me to the core: a hot hot hot shower, and exercise. And that, my friends, is my motivation to keep up with my workouts even on days when it sounds more reasonable to burrow under down comforters and never come out. In fact, I just HiiT last week’s workout, In Your FACE, and topped it off with some specialized strength training sets (push-ups, front-weighted step-ups, push presses, and so on), and for the first time all day, I’m warm. I’m warm!  I’M WARM! I mean, I’m hot. RAWR. So I know you feel like holing up with a non-stop supply of carbs, but buck up little camper. It’s time to hiit this workout. No, wait – it’s time to ROCK this workout. Cuz that’s how we roll. For this week’s workout, you’ll need two light Sandbells, one heavy...

12 Days of Kicking Ass Workout Challenge – Day 12! We Did It!

Merry Merry! You made it! It’s Christmas! It’s Day 12 of our 12 Days of Kicking Ass workout challenge! I won’t take up a lot of your time. Today is a day of celebration, family, faith, food, and fun. And if you wanna make room for all those holiday goodies, hiit this workout before you head to Grandma’s house! You know what my favorite exercise is, so no one will be surprised that the last challenge of our 12 days is a 3-way burpee challenge!  From my family to yours, I hope you have the merriest of holidays! Catch you on the flip side!  ...

Fat-Burning Foods – Really?

By Briana Eruren We have all seen those attention-grabbing headlines on magazine covers and those pesky side ads that distract you from your dot-com searches or Facebook creeping. (Don’t even pretend you don’t.) I’m talking about the ones you just can’t get out of your head because they sound too good to be true. “Melt Fat Away Over the Weekend on the Ben and Jerry’s Diet!” or maybe something like, “Top 5 Belly Bulge-Blasting Foods!” They’re often accompanied by graphics like this and they get forwarded 8 bazillion times on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. How could claims like these not catch our attention? Just eat these foods and lose my extra inches? I’M IN! I’m sure by now you’ve caught on to the fact that I love sweets, and if the Ben and Jerry’s diet were in fact legitimate, my life would be forever changed for the better (or worse….which ever way you want to look at it). However, I prefer to deal in reality, so I’m here to offer a realistic perspective on fat-burning foods so that you can proceed with your dot-com searches or refining your creeping skills.     In order to fully understand the fat burning food concept it’s critical to know the basic science behind it. In simple terms, a fat burning food is one that uses more calories to be digested than the calorie content of the food itself. A good example of this could be celery because the body will use more calories while chewing and digesting than the piece of celery actually contains. These foods will cause the body to work...