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25 Apr 2011

6 Weeks Out

Author: alecia | Filed under: Fitness, Motivation, Pre/Post Pregnancy

I’m 6 weeks out guys! No, I’m not talking about training for a show. I’m talking about something “bigger” than that. This baby that has been growing in me is going to have to find it’s way out of me soon. And that has me more nervous than ever. To think I used to watch labor & delivery movies/shows with such interest and awe, while today I watch horrified. I find myself thinking, “Oh my God, that is going to be me in a few weeks”. Yes, yes I know every birth story is different and it’s all worth it in the end, but what it boils down to is an object of a small watermelon coming out of a space that’s not used to accommodating that, hence equaling immense amounts of pain.

Speaking of pain, now I remember why I wanted to write this post. Pain…Third Trimester Pain! I was moving and chugging along in my second trimester, but then the third snuck up on me. This is a whole different story. I wake up sore. I wake up more tired than when I went to bed. I feel like I must be running marathons in my sleep. And ironically, the days after I went in for a pre-natal massage, the soreness got a bit worse. (Happily it’s not as bad anymore). But climbing stairs often leaves me breathing a lil bit heavier. And bending down may or may not happen depending on how important the thing is that I’m attempting to bend down for is.

So for you ladies out there that have been pregnant or are pregnant, I now feel your pain. And the golden egg of this post is to encourage you to keep moving and working out (if your doctor has allowed you) during the last weeks of your pregnancy. It’s good for you, just maybe reduce the amount and intensity even more now that you’re reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. I have worked out this whole pregnancy so far, and have gained about 25-30 pounds…although I’m sure the number is going to increase over the next weeks for sure! (And yes, I’m already waiting for the green light after I deliver so that I can return to the gym and work at getting my body back!) There have been many studies done to show that importance of working out during your entire pregnancy, if it’s do-able: lower chance of developing gestational diabetes, better recovery, less swelling, etc. So don’t be one of those women that is like I’m pregnant, it’s my time to veg! Give your body the advantage it deserves, and keep moving!

22 Mar 2011

The Dukan Diet. The New “Royal” Trend

Author: alecia | Filed under: Nutrition, Products

There’s already been a book written about the “miracles” behind the French and their svelte bodies, called, “French Women Don’t Get Fat”. Which I’ll be honest I have never read. My theory is that many of the European nations, as well as other foreign countries don’t battle obesity like we do here in the states, for three main reasons:

1. Portion Control

2. Daily activity (many countries rely on traveling on foot, rather than hopping into a car to get from Point A to Point B)

3. Less or no preservatives and additives in foods

There’s no miracle gene pool in a certain country that breeds skinny people. Hate to say it. (I can say that some people out there are blessed with good genes though!) There are definitely different cultures that have healthier eating habits than others. There are fat French people out there!

Anyways, there’s a new diet out, called the Dukan Diet.  It’s not just some new French diet that tells it’s followers to eat more proteins and low fat, it’s also THE new diet that Kate Middleton has claimed to help her lose four pounds in four days (my oh my!). It’s a relative to the Atkins and South Beach diets that were the trends here a few years back. But now that it has a face like Miss Middleton to back it up, there is no doubt that that is going to become popular over night. And we know that anything having to do with the future Royal, or the Royal Wedding itself is going to be glorified more than it deserves.

It’s based on the principle: eat more protein, add some fiber, and of course don’t forget to fill up on water. There are also phases in which the dieter is allowed to incorporate certain foods at certain times, depending on how long they’ve been on it.

There have already been evaluations that say the diet is not necessarily safe for everyone. Also, like many diets out there, this one does not provide all the nutritional value that a person needs on a day to day basis.

I’m not even going to include a link to Dr. Dukan’s site because I find it all ridiculous. Just take this as a warning, because I’m sure you’ll be hearing about it the workplace and grocery stores soon enough, don’t get caught up in this one!

7 Mar 2011

Iron…Beyond the Pumping

Author: alecia | Filed under: Healthy Living, Nutrition, Pre/Post Pregnancy

I have recently been diagnosed with pregnancy anemia due to an iron deficiency. Anemia in general is when the body does not have enough of healthy red blood cells. In my case, it is caused by lack of iron. My mom was diagnosed with anemia back in the day, but to my knowledge it wasn’t anything severe. It’s actually common for pregnant women to develop anemia due to an iron deficiency because on top of the mother’s body needing it, the baby needs it as well. Iron is such an important mineral that the body needs to perform day to day functions.

Besides being a component of hemoglobin in the blood, Iron has many important roles in the body like helping muscles store and use oxygen. It’s also part of many enzymes that have important functions in cells found throughout the body.

It’s always best to get sources of minerals and vitamins from natural sources instead of supplements. However there are some interesting things about iron absorption that many people don’t know about:

1. Iron from meat, poultry and fish (heme) is more easily absorbed than sources from plants, or non-heme (spinach, dark leafy greens, etc.)

2. The amounts of iron absorbed from plants (non-heme) is based on what other foods are eaten at the same time, that aid in absorption.

3. Foods containing Vitamin C aid in absorbing non-heme iron. I always take my iron supplements with a swig of orange juice in the morning.

4. Calcium can hinder the absorption of iron from non-heme sources. This also goes for teas and coffees.

So how do you know if you have an iron deficiency, pregnant or not? Here are some symptoms:

1. Feeling tired or weak.

2. Decreased performance.

3. Difficulty maintaining body temperature. Do you always seem to have cold hands or feet?

4. Low immunity to colds and other infections.

5. Easily bruise.

If you feel like you could possibly have low iron, make sure to bring it up to your doctor at your next check up. But until then keep eating your meats and veggies. And if you’re a vegetarian seek information from a nutritionist about how to get the most out of your diet by eating a certain combination of foods.

15 Feb 2011

Hello, Again!

Author: alecia | Filed under: Healthy Living, Motivation, Pre/Post Pregnancy

There’s no way of sugar coating it…I have been slacking when it comes to by blog posts on here. There’s really no excuse except for the fact that I’ve been preparing for our first baby that’s making it’s journey into this world. There’s only 16 more weeks til I can let you all meet him or her. (Yes, we’re keeping it a surprise!) Fun Fact: Most people don’t realize that you’re actually pregnant for 10 months, instead of the ever so popular nine. So while I’m embarking on my 24th week tomorrow (6 months), our due date isn’t til June 8th. FOUR months away…

Now that I’ve shared the personal excitement in my personal life, I want to share with you all that I’m hoping to start a whole new segment of blog posts, nutrition tips and fitness routines/tips for expecting moms. It’s something that I would briefly touch on here and there in the past, but now seeing that I’m actually going through all the fun motions, I have an even better knowledge of what to really expect. I won’t abandon all the basics of Fitness, Health & Nutrition, however for all the non-preggos out there (you too, guys!). This is a new chapter in my life, that I really want to celebrate. And more so help other expectant parents out there as well.

So here’s the true star of this post:

Our Sweet Baby M!

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3 Oct 2010

Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake

Author: alecia | Filed under: Nutrition, Recipes

These days companies are making protein powders/drinks in every flavor imaginable. However, one of my favorite flavors has seem to not be made yet. So instead I whip up my own recipe. Not only is it delicious, but it is perfect for this new Fall season.

1. Use your favorite vanilla protein powder.

2. Add a Tablespoon (or 2) of Pumpkin Pie Filling. (If you’re opting for something lower in sugar, you can also use a Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend)

3. Mix with water or skim milk (follow your usual ratio for whatever mix you use). I like to blend mine in a blender with a little bit of ice to give it a shake consistancy.

4. Enjoy!

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15 Sep 2010

16th Annual Walk for Lupus

Author: alecia | Filed under: Healthy Living, Motivation

What a great cause! Saturday, September 25th, 2010 will mark the 16th Annual Walk for Lupus at Metro Beach in Harrison Township, Michigan.

If you can’t make it down and be part of it, there is always the opportunity to donate! It doesn’t have to be a large amount, but every little bit will count. Instead of buying a week’s worth of Starbucks, why not give those funds to a good cause. You will feel so good about yourself.

If you’re wondering what Lupus is, here’s a short, brief run down: Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that is hard to diagnose, difficult to manage, and if not treated can become life threatening. In simple terms, lupus develops when the body becomes “allergic to itself.” There is no cure for lupus. Lupus affects adult women 10 times more frequently than men. Lupus is more prevalent than sickle cell anemia, cerebral palsy and cystic fibrosis combined, yet it is the least known of all major diseases.

With that being said, it’s time to bring awareness to this serious disease. I know of three people personally who have been affected by this disease. Each have different degrees of it, yet suffer just as much as the other.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this disease, think you may have this disease or even if you know someone who’s battling Lupus, check out WWW.LUPUS.ORG for more information.

7 Aug 2010

iPhone App: My Fitness Pal

Author: alecia | Filed under: Fitness, Healthy Living, Motivation, Products

Back in one of our postings, I had written a review on the “Lose It” App.  Clearly I was in love with it, but like everything else these days I moved on and have found something better…”My Fitness Pal”.

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Luckily for those who don’t have an iPhone they also have a website. Check it out here! “My Fitness Pal” is established upon a community of people that are all in it for the same reason: to count calories. Whether it’s to lose weight, maintain weight or gain weight, this app is just what you need. The feature I love the most about it, is that it pulls nutritional information from a database from foods all over the place. You can also add your own recipes or favorites. The fallback of the other app that I reviewed was that you could only get select foods from outsides places.  OH! And of course it also let’s you track your workout caloric expense and set a goal weight. Their blog has postings as well on how to use it, too.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

5 Aug 2010

Ladies, Stop Being Afraid to Pump Iron!

Author: alecia | Filed under: Fitness, Motivation

It is the same story, just a different day. On a daily basis I hear my clients or other females in the gym talk about how they’re afraid to be “big and muscular like a man” or “end up looking like Arnold”. My initial reaction is to stop myself from laughing, and then put on the straight face and set their myths straight. I used to be one of those girls that would avoid the free weights and head straight for cardio to get my workout done. I was one of the girls who was afraid to get “big”. So I know exactly where they are coming from. From my perspective (and probably more of where I was coming from emotionally), this is the scenario that was played in my head back in the day:

MUSCLES = BIG and BIG=FAT or MUSCLES=MAN

And also that you’re at a loss of your feminine self when you start showing muscle definition. I had a poor body image when I started working out. I was in my senior year of high school through my freshman year of college, when I got used to the idea that working out means more than just cardio, and that lifting weights is beneficial for my weight loss goals. There’s one simple solution that everyone has to remember: Muscle burns fat!

Besides that cardinal rule, there’s a few things that women have to educate themselves about to better understand that they can not become the next Arnold or “freakishly muscular woman” without supplementation.

1. Testosterone. Everyones got it. The difference falls in the amount that us women have to amount men have, considering they are healthy and don’t have any medical conditions that would change this. Men have approximately 10 times more the amount than us women.

2. Female bodybuilders that are “huge” or have not feminine characteristics left on them, are typically on supplements.

3. Toning is usually the goal that most women are looking to aim for. However you need weight to challenge your muscle. The body adapts, and doing 20 reps of 5 pounds, just isn’t going to cut it. You must play with the amount of reps you do, along with the amount of weight that you use.

4. The fat layer on top of your muscles is usually the culprit of that “big” look you’re actually fearing. Once that is gone, through cardio and diet, you’re going to fall in love with that sexy, feminine muscle definition that’s been hiding underneath.

The bottom line ladies, muscles are sexy on men and us women. Weight lifting is great for your bone density, posture, strength, and metabolism. So go get your hands on some iron and start making it happen!

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29 Jul 2010

Hands Only CPR

Author: alecia | Filed under: Green Lifestyle, Healthy Living, Motivation, Pre/Post Pregnancy

Today an article about a study of the  “Hands-Only CPR” will be published in New England Journal of Medicine.

HANDS ONLY CPRI find this ironic because just two days ago I found myself sitting in a classroom at the American Red Cross renewing my CPR/AED certification, and asking the instructor what he thought or knows about the method of just using the chest compressions.  The same as last year, where I asked a different instructor, and got the same answer: “That theory hasn’t been proven to be supported by the American Red Cross”.  Puzzled, yet i just left it at that.

The “updated” chest compression version makes sense. It’s been ingrained into our minds from about elementary school age, that we breathe out carbon dioxide and not oxygen. Yet we need oxygen to breath. Go figure, right? Not to mention the safety risks that are lowered by using the chest compression only version: no chance of catching something from performing mouth to mouth on the victim. Not to mention the traditional way of CPR leaves you the rescuer with a list of to-dos before you actually get to performing on the victim (the tilted of the head, having a clear airway  and pinching off the nose). Granted it’s only 3 things you have to remember, but while in a panic situation. some people may forget. The new method, promoted by the American Heart Association for the past two years, provides a “easier” way of providing a possible life saving skill.

Please read Yahoo’s Article supporting this idea.

21 Jul 2010

Prevent Getting Fired By Your Trainer

Author: alecia | Filed under: Fitness

Having a personal trainer is a luxury. There are  many people out there that are lucky to have a trainer to help them with their health and fitness goals. If you are one of those lucky people or are just thinking about maybe one day hiring a personal trainer to help and motivate you, remember that besides hard work and dedication to your work outs,  there are some other things you should be doing.

1. Show up to your sessions on time.  You make appointments for a reason. If you’re going to be late, be courteous and call or text your trainer. In this industry, time is money.

2. Come warmed up. Unless your trainer specifies that your sessions include a warm up,  it is your job to warm up and prepare your body for it’s work out. Not warming up before working out can lead to stress on your body and even injury.

3.  No Complaining/Whining! Comply with the workouts. We know that everyone has a bad day. We know that women have “their time of the month”.  Unless you have a new injury that your trainer does not know about, there is a good reason that trainers put you through certain exercises.  Switch roles for a second, and think how you’d feel if your trainer told you, “I’m bored with you” or  “this is not fun”. People fail to remember why they hired a trainer in the first place. Also, when a trainer tells you to take the time to cool down/stretch… Just do it!

4. Cancellation Policies. Most gyms and trainers have established a cancellation of appointment policies. Make sure you abide by them. If they don’t have one, just get into the habit of giving the trainer at least 24 hours notice if you know you’re unable to make it. It’s common courtesy. This also means to keep track of your sessions, just to help avoid any discrepancies down the road.

There are a lot of trainers out there now who are including a statement in contracts that clients have to abide by, or else the trainer holds the rights to fire the client.

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