Should I Use Machines or Free Weights?

Walk in to any fitness center, and you’ll see lots of machines taking up space – from treadmills, bikes and ellipticals to weight machines that seem to be medieval torture devices, seemingly working every muscle in the body. What do all of them do? Do you need all of those machines? If walking into a gym with lots of machines is intimidating enough,walking into a gym without any machines is even more so! What do you do with all that stuff? All you see are free weights, and maybe some bars, ropes, boxes, and other, different looking, torture devices. Is one better than the other? Will machines get you better results? Or will free weights? As with everything related to your health, the answer is, “It depends”. It depends on where you are in your fitness journey: your physical abilities and what you know about exercising. Pros & Cons of Read More . . .

Two tricks I use to avoid the “eff-its” over the weekend

We all work so hard during the week. And once Friday night rolls around, we just want to put on our sweatpants, sit on the couch, and be a vegetable – not eat vegetables. We are worn down from all the adulting that we do during the week, that all we want to do on the weekend is NOT be responsible. Weekends tend to be a bit more relaxed. We typically have more time, so we want to sleep in, hang out with friends, have fun & not have to think about our diet. Well, unless you have kiddos who are in soccer, baseball, basketball, go to birthday parties, and other activities. In that case, weekends aren’t such a relaxing time O.o When we finally get through the week, we feel like we deserve a treat – and one of those treats is to not think about it. So, there are a Read More . . .

Eat the Freakin Banana

So, here’s the scene: It’s after dinner, and you want something. A banana. But you don’t eat it. Because you heard that it’s got a lot of starch in it. And sugar. And they can also have a lot of calories! And all of that is bad to have before you go to bed. So you eat a handful of almonds. Because even though they can be higher in calories, at least they don’t have any starch or sugar. And that’s good because you’ve heard that at least it won’t raise your blood sugar before bed. But the almonds don’t really hit the spot. So you find some fat free Greek yogurt. And you put a touch of honey in it to sweeten it a little. But that’s okay because you read that you should always eat carbohydrates with protein – because protein slows down the spike in blood sugar. And Read More . . .

How many carbs do you need to eat?

Carbs! Such a controversial subject in today’s national conversation about nutrition and proper diet! It’s so confusing. Eat carbs or don’t eat carbs? Which carbs are good? Which carbs are bad? (hint: there are no bad foods. There may be more or less nutritious foods, but none are good or bad.) Okay so let’s break this whole carb thing down. What is a carb? We get our calories from Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates (these are called macronutrients). If we divide macronutrients into two vveeeerrrry broad groups, we have things that grow out of the ground (plants), and things that had a mother (animals). Carbohydrates come from plants, and protein mostly comes from animals. Fat can be found in both plants and animals. Good Carbs & Bad Carbs? First. Carbs really run the specturm in terms of nutrition (aka: nutrient density). Nutrient density is the term you want to think about Read More . . .

Why You Should Make New Years Resolutions in September.

Although I realize that January is the beginning of the calendar year, and folks like to make health resolutions at that time of the year, but I think it’s a terrible idea. It’s no wonder that by Superbowl weekend, most resolutions are broken and forgotten. There are many reasons why resolutions go by the wayside: often times they’re vague (I’m going to get healthy!), or overambitious (I’m going to start running every day – even though I haven’t run a mile in 5 years), or there’s just no real planning behind the resolution (HOW are you going to get healthy? What steps are you going to take to accomplish that?). When looking at people’s behaviors and what factors make them change their habits, researchers discovered that many folks changed their habits after a major life event. They didn’t even realize that they were doing it. But when their life changed due to Read More . . .

Why am I so much sore-er now that I’ve turned 40?

People tell you that it’s going to happen but you don’t ever think it’s going to happen to you. Why is that? Why do we think that somehow our body is a special snowflake, impervious to the effects of aging? I remember hearing my sisters talking about how ‘everything changed’ once they turned 40. And clearly, I knew that some stuff was going to happen – that I’d get wrinkles, generally just look older, that where I stored fat might change, and I’d heard that it was more difficult to lose body fat as we age. But nothing really prepared me for how freakin’ sore I would be after I would take a week off from working out. Pre-40 As I think about my younger self, I’m reminded of the quote, “Youth is wasted on the young.” I’m jealous of the days that I used to be able to strength Read More . . .

Which should I do first? Lift Weights or Cardio?

It’s one of the most common questions I get asked, “Elizabeth, which one should I do first? Strength train? Or cardio?” And, as always, the answer is, “It depends.” It depends on your goals. Why are you doing one or the other, or both. Do you have goals to run a sub 3 hour marathon? Or do you have a goal to compete in a strongman competition? Okay – I realize that you probably don’t have either of those goals in mind, BUT you might want to run a 5k, or just look toned – like your muscles are flexed even when they’re not. While doing higher amounts of cardio to prepare for your race is going to compete with muscle growth and maintenance, the flip side is that having a ton of muscle is going to slow you down for your speed goals. The short answer is that you want to Read More . . .

The 4 Best Weight Loss Foods

I’ve never felt comfortable creating meal plans for clients. It’s just never felt right to me. Although, it’s the most popular question I get: “Elizabeth, just tell me what to eat!” I mean, sure! I can tell you what to eat – but chances are that you’re going to get bored with it. People’s tastes are so different! I love eating eggs for breakfast. But I know a LOT of folks who don’t. I can eat the same thing over & over & over again – every day. I rarely get bored with eating the same foods. But I know a lot of folks who need something new at every meal. Some people are really drawn to Asian flavors; others, not so much. Most folks like minimal preparation meals, but there are a number who have the time, and like to cook. (yes! really – they’re out there.) So, although no Read More . . .

How can meditating possibly help me lose weight?

I don’t know why, but I’m reluctant to admit that I meditate. It just seems so new-agey, and I am so NOT new-agey.   Because it’s not like that. The vision that you have in your head right now? Yep – nothing like that. What is it then? I guess it’s just breathing to me. But paying attention to breathing with the intent that I’m not focusing on anything else.   About once a day, (but there have been periods where I’ve totally forgotten to practice – for like weeks!) I just sit, wherever I am, and pay attention to my breathing – and then, as I’m doing it, I’ll also check in with my body.   I start with trying to match the length of my inhale and exhale. Then I’ll try to make them last to a count of 4. Sometimes, to start, I repeat, “In, two, three, four. Read More . . .

How to prevent your diet (or exercise routine) from derailing

Life gets in the way. Doesn’t it? How often do you plan to do something, but then, something else comes up? And then that thing that you wanted to do gets put on the back burner?   I always kind-of laugh to myself when I make a big ‘life decision’ because it always seems like the universe conspires against me to make it not happen. What typically happens is that I’ll decide to make a change, and then 3 or 4 other events happen at the same time that make my situation that much more stressful.   The best example of this I can give is when I moved from Chicago to Austin to live with my husband, Gary.   Granted, moving across the country is already a HUGE, stressful event. But the reason I was moving was to be with my husband because we were in a long distance Read More . . .