Morning workouts are rougher mentally than anything. Half the struggle is about getting yourself out of the bed and into the gym. Once you’ve done that, the rest is easy. Well, easier. There’s no way of making this process enjoyable—I myself have been there done that and hit the snooze button one too many times. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to make yourself into a morning gym rat, you kinda just have to suck it up and do it. That being said, there are some tricks to make that a little easier if you don’t naturally wake up with the energy to run three miles. Here are some tips to make it easier to get out of bed and hit the gym.
Let The Lights In
Sleep with the curtains open, and this way you’ll let in natural light either to gently wake you up or the sunlight will greet you when you get back from your workout. Either way, blackout curtains are not our friends right now. Save those for a weekend when you’re recovering from a nasty hangover and want to stay in all day.
Set An Enjoyable Alarm
Nothing raises my blood pressure more than iPhone default alarms. They sound like sirens. Even the other day, I came across someone who has set that sound AS THEIR RINGTONE. A serial killer, I’m sure. Once I heard it, my heart started racing. I have mild PTSD, I think. So, will that infernal sound get you up? Yes, because it will JOLT you out of bed, but that doesn’t set a good tone for the wake-up. Set an alarm that is a little more gentle on the ears, so you can wake up peacefully and in a good mood.
Set Your Gym Clothes Out Ahead Of Time
The less you have to think about at 6am, or whenever you get up, the better. So set out your clothes ahead of time, and this way you can just get up and go. It also helps if you have cute workout clothes to look forward to putting on, if any of you need another reason to go shopping. If you take pre-workout, get that ready too so you’re not fumbling around in the kitchen while your roommates are still asleep.
Plan Your Workout Routine The Night Before
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Is that so much to ask?? This week on @dietstartstomorrow we chat with yoga teacher, body positivity advocate, and author @mynameisjessamyn about how to start yoga even if you think you suck at it, and how to deal with "spiritually ashy" aka negative people. Listen now at link in bio.
When I first wake up, I don’t have the brain power yet to plan an effective workout routine, so I end up improvising. Efficient program planning requires time and strategy, and it’s something I don’t really want to mess with in the morning. If you’re not working with a trainer, plan your routine the night before. You’re already waking up at 6am for this sh*t, so let’s at least make it effective.
When you first wake up, your body is cool from little movement and lowered body temperature while you’re in sleep mode. Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes to avoid injuries and also help your mind and body transition into a workout mindset.
I am not a morning person. I’ve learned to accept that about myself, so waking up early to work out is not my favorite thing to do in the world. It will always be a pain in my ass to roll out of bed. It’s sad, but the harsh truth is sometimes you just have to deal with it, the same way you deal with that asshole boss every day or put up with your mother-in-law every Thanksgiving. It gets easier the more you do it, so just know that you’re really developing a healthy habit, and honestly, you’re going to feel so much better for it. That extra hour of half-sleep (let’s face it, you’re not getting quality sleep after the alarm goes off) won’t do as much for you as a workout will. And if you really can’t get up no matter how hard you try, as long as you’re getting in a workout at some point during the day, I can’t be mad at it.
Images: Kendal James / Unsplash; girlsonclasspass, Betches / Instagram; Giphy
Is it just me, or do people literally never crave salad when they’re really hungry? Like, if I haven’t eaten since lunch and it’s rolling on 9pm (I eat dinner late, sue me), I am never hunting around for a big-ass bowl of mixed greens. If “you are what you eat” is true, then I’m a Domino’s thin-crust cheese pizza, and I’m honestly fine with that. Here’s the thing, though: in the decades that have passed since that ridiculous phrase was coined, we’ve come a long way. And by “we,” I mean the nutritionists and doctors of the world. That’s because what you eat is not the only important factor in your diet. Sounds fake, but it’s true, at least according to Dr. Michael Crupain.
Dr. Michael Crupain, medical director at The Dr. Oz Show and author of What to Eat When, believes that it’s not only about what you eat; it’s also about when you eat. Thank the f*cking lord. I spoke to Dr. Crupain about why timing is so important in your diet. So if you tend to feel hungry before bed and always reach for the bag of pretzels, read on!
Does When You Eat Matter As Much As What You Eat?
Simply put, yes. They both matter a lot because, according to Dr. Crupain, “it has to do with something called our circadian rhythm. That is our body’s internal clock, which is set by the sun. We often think about it as important for sleep, and it is, but it also helps regulate all the systems in our body including our metabolism.” And our metabolisms actually change throughout the day. Did anyone else know that? I sure as f*ck didn’t!
In layman’s terms, our bodies generally expect a lot of high-quality food earlier in the day and less food in the evenings. “When you eat a big meal at night,” explains Dr. Crupain, “you throw a wrench into the whole system, and instead of burning fat you are more likely to store it.” Ah, so that explains the bloat I wake up with, that part of me worries is an actual baby bump at this point. So if you don’t want to massively confuse your body, don’t have your pesto pasta right before you plan on passing out. However, this does not mean that you can’t eat before bed. Like, sometimes, I am so hungry that my body won’t let me sleep until I feed it something edible. More on this in a moment.
What Foods Should We Eat/Avoid?
If you’re aiming to live a healthy and clean lifestyle, which, like, same, eat the good stuff like whole grains, healthy fats, lean fish (salmon), seeds, and veggies. This applies at any time of day. So if you’re mad hungry right before bed, spread some mashed avocado on a seeded cracker and, boom, you’ve got yourself a healthy snack that will actually help you fall asleep without f*cking up your metabolism. Eating a low-energy food before bed helps regulate blood sugar levels that usually drop while you sleep.
Dr. Crupain also notes one thing we all already know but refuse to accept: “The most important foods to avoid are ultra-processed ones that are loaded with sugar. Also skip fried foods and a lot of red meat.” Look, cheeseburgers are my best friends and I will never fully give them up, but after talking to Dr. Crupain, I will def limit my Shake Shack intake because it is slowly killing me. *Cries quietly* Baby steps, though, right?
When Should You Have Your Largest Meal And Why?
Has anyone ever heard “breakfast is the most important meal of the day?” Lol, I joke. We are all too familiar with that phrase. Dr. Crupain says that the jury is actually out on this but, “what we do know is that breakfast and lunch combined are the most important meals of the day because that is when your metabolism is expecting you to eat and is best able to process that food. We recommend that you make breakfast and lunch your largest meals of the day and dinner the smallest. Ideally, you should eat when the sun is shining and get 75% of your calories in before 3pm.”
*Pauses to perform elementary-level math* I mean, this makes sense given that your metabolism is hard at work during the day and not as much while you sleep. I, however, have been doing the literal opposite of this since graduating college. I have coffee for breakfast, then the chicken and cheese from my salad for lunch, and an enormous dinner every damn day. Where has Dr. Crupain been all my life?! Since speaking with him, I’ve started waking up earlier to have a legit breakfast that ranges from avo toast to Purely Elizabeth granola with bananas and a lunch that consists of actually eating the greens in my salad. Adjusting to dinners that aren’t Michael Phelps-sized has been hard, but I have found that I’m sleeping a lot better and haven’t looked super bloated in the mornings! Speaking of sleep…
What’s The Best Type Of Food To Eat For A Good Night’s Sleep?
“For specific foods that can help you sleep, studies show that eating a lot of saturated fat and sugar can interfere with the ability to fall asleep, while foods like whole grains and fish can make falling asleep easier. In a pinch, some research suggests that kiwis and tart cherry juice can help people fall asleep,” I’m not a huge fan of kiwis, but I’d be down to try tart cherry juice because that just sounds delicious
and like it’d be a great mixer.
So there you have it, everyone. What you eat is important, but so is when you eat. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should start eating Chipotle for breakfast, it just means maybe don’t have Chipotle for dinner if you eat dinner at 9pm. Of course, everyone’s bodies are different, but it’s safe to assume that having a heavy and enormous meal before bed will not work for you if you want quality sleep and a healthy gut.
Images: Giphy (4); Unsplash
Last week, most people flipped the f*ck out when WW (formerly Weight Watchers) announced it had purchased and was relaunching the app Kurbo, aimed for kids ages 8-17. While WW insisted the app was not a weight loss app, many people (us) felt like WW was not being completely transparent, and the app was just a thinly veiled weight loss app. Gary Foster, the chief scientific officer at WW International, called Kurbo “an app that teaches in a game-ified, fun, engaging way what are the basics of a healthy eating pattern.” But in an official statement, WW referred to Kurbo as a “scientifically-proven behavior change program designed to help kids and teens age 8-17 reach a healthier weight.” Hmm, so which is it? Are we teaching kids to lose weight or nah?
Kurbo uses a “traffic light system” to classify foods as red, yellow, and green. App users can play games to determine which category various common foods fall under, and there’s also a tracking component where they can record the foods they’ve eaten. As someone who did Weight Watchers as a “kid” (I was like, 15 or 16), I was initially torn when news about this app came out. On the one hand, the CDC claims childhood obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s, and nearly 1 in 5 kids aged 6-19 are obese. I would have probably done Kurbo in 10th grade when I went on Weight Watchers. On the other hand, kids already have body image issues, and appealing to that and encouraging weight loss for literal 8-year-0lds is pretty ridiculous and premature, and as many pointed out, it could promote or lead to disordered eating. So I decided to download the app to see for myself, and honestly? It’s worse than I thought.
I downloaded Kurbo, input my information (I pretended I was a 4’8″ kid who weighed 100 pounds, which is technically classified as overweight). Then I played a game called “Red Raisins”, where the app shows you pictures of various foods and then you have to determine which are red, yellow, and green through a variety of exercises. (Sometimes you’ll drag a fork to the “green” food, sometimes you’ll erase the “yellow food”—stuff like that.) Not going to lie, the game was actually pretty fun and may replace my desk habit of mindlessly scrolling through dating apps. However, I was seriously gobsmacked at some of Kurbo’s classifications. The green and red foods didn’t surprise me (carrots are green; fried chicken is red), but the yellow foods were another story.
From the Kurbo app, green foods mean “healthy foods—eat up!”, yellow means “watch portions”, and red means “eat 4 or fewer” (I guess per day, though it doesn’t specify). Seems like a pretty logical and intuitive system, until you get to what Kurbo considers foods you should watch your portions for.
Baked chicken breast?? Are you sure?? The same baked chicken breast annoying fitness bros swear by? Surely that baked chicken breast cannot be a food kids need to watch out for. And, to be clear, this is chicken without skin. Now, here’s the crazy part. I am on Weight Watchers (I’m Lifetime, which means I’m not losing anymore, I’m just maintaining), which works on a points system. Basically, depending on factors like your height, goal weight, age, whether or not you are pregnant, etc., you get a daily allowance of points per day. Each food (and beverage) has a certain points value, depending on things like calories, protein, sugar, carbs, etc. Guess how many points chicken breast is on the WW app. No, really. Guess.
Zero. Zero f*cking points. Don’t believe me? Here’s a screenshot from my app:
I don’t know what psychos are eating raw chicken breast, but the point is that adults can eat a serving of chicken breast and not have it count towards their daily points allowance. So why are we telling kids that this is not a “safe” food? If anything, you would think we would be more lenient towards kids, who are still growing and developing. But nope! Stay away from the chicken breast, children!
Check this out! Unsweetened applesauce is a yellow light food on Kurbo. Now, I kind of get that, because obviously no kid (or person) should be eating, like, 10 pounds of applesauce per day, sweetened or not. But, and you’re probably getting better at this game now, guess how many points WW assigns to 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce?
Correct! Zero points!
Even crazier? A baked chicken sandwich (which they depict as baked chicken with lettuce and tomato on a bun—no cheese) is a red food. That’s wild, considering that in my WW meetings, we always say that a grilled or baked chicken sandwich is a pretty safe option when you’re going out to eat. Crab is a yellow food, when lump crab meat is zero points on WW. It just doesn’t make sense.
To be fair to Kurbo, some of the games were helpful. I played one that had you guess what proper serving sizes are for foods, using things like the palm of your hand for reference. That’s useful, considering most people can’t properly eyeball 3 oz. of meat or 1/4 cup of nuts or whatever. But the food classifications were another story. You would think that an app owned and run by WW would be consistent for children and adults. You’d also think, again, that they would be more forgiving for children, because they’re growing and I’d venture that kids are generally more active than adults. But nope! You’d be wrong on both accounts. Instead of teaching children how to make healthy choices (a goal I kind of take issue with in the first place, since a lot of the time children don’t have much control over what they’re eating, and it’s up to the parents to provide healthy meals for them), we are teaching children to demonize the same foods that adults are permitted to eat freely! To borrow from Ramona Singer, wow. Wow, WW. Wow.
Images: Dan Gold / Unsplash; Kurbo (2); WW (2)
Summer means a lot of things: tanning, day parties, bikinis, vacations and a lot of food at BBQ’s, cookouts, and/or a boozy brunch. Unfortunately, a lot of these food options probably aren’t conducive to your bikini and vacation plans. Lucky for you (as opposed to my clients who go on their honeymoons never to return *ahem*), you have me. Here are some of my best food swaps for the summer so you can stick to your fitness goals but still enjoy yourself.
So instead of…
1. Ice Cream
Make banana soft serve with frozen bananas in a food processor. You also have the option to add in peanut butter if you want a nuttier taste—and I’ll even let you keep all your toppings.
2. Hot Dogs
Go for chicken or turkey dogs instead of pork or beef (it’s way leaner), and if you want the extra credit, do a naked dog and nix the bun. Go crazy on the mustard, be careful with the ketchup, and ditch the mayo completely.
The easiest thing to do is to lose one or both buns. If you’re eating out, maybe places will do a lettuce wrap instead of the buns (if you’re in a city with In-n-Out, the protein-style burgers are my jam). This way you could split a serving of fries without the carb overload.
Be a bougie betch and pick sparkling water. Throw in a slice or two of lime/lemon and you get all the fizz, with none of the sugar (even the fake one in diet sodas, they’re equally bad for you).
5. Chips And Dip
Okay, this is a rough one. Swap corn chips for bean chips for added fiber and protein, and stick to salsa and yogurt dips. Steer clear of like… those 7-layer dips (I know that you know that already sounds crazy, girl), buffalo chicken dips, artichoke dips, spinach dips, etc. I mean, you know those are full of fat. Just because they have a vegetable in the name does not mean you can eat it; their main ingredients are mayo and cream.
6. Popcorn Shrimp
Ok, so I don’t know if this is summer food to anyone, but I love me some popcorn shrimp, so I’ll just add it to this list. Popcorn shrimp would be fine if we can stop at like, five pieces, but who can really do that? Instead of this breaded diet grenade, grill up some well-seasoned shrimp and focus on making super flavorful dips for your shrimp instead, such as a spicy chili-lime dipping sauce made with lime juice, chopped peppers, salt and ground pepper.
I have never met a margarita I didn’t drink (this is not limited to summertime, btw). But here’s the thing: a margarita is a sugar bomb. So my thing is, do a super-skinny margarita. I add tequila, a lot of fresh lime juice (fresh is key) and an optional splash of agave nectar (I skip this). I cut up jalapeños into my margarita as well.
Making these healthy food swaps will slowly become second nature over time; the key is to stay consistent with your changes and make the best choices for your body and fitness journey. It’s all about balance and keeping nutrition first. So many times we focus on food and it’s either all or nothing: either we’re super strict and don’t even eat at the family BBQ or we’re going in and trying to eat off Aunt Edna’s plate. Remember that the main objective of these social gatherings is time with family and friends—it’s not really about the food. Make the most nourishing aspect of any of these events about the time with people you love. Food will always be there, this isn’t your last supper. This way, you get to eat a little and still feel hot enough to change into your bikini.
Images: Valerian KOo, Peter Secan, Louis Hansel, bradley, Sean McClintock, Anthony Espinosa, tanialee Gonzalez / Unsplash
Jessica Knoll is the novelist behind the New York Times opinion piece that blew up last week, entitled, “Smash the Wellness Industry.” In the piece, she describes her experience telling her obsessive dieting habits to f*ck off (she is obviously a more eloquent writer than I). Knoll joined Sami and Aleen in the latest episode of the Diet Starts Tomorrow podcast to discuss the process she went through in order to realize the “wellness” industry is basically a scam. After struggling with chronic dieting and disordered eating, she learned with her dietician that “it’s trying to unravel a lifetime of poor messaging,” and admits, “after two years I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface.”
On Influencers Pushing Fake Wellness
Jessica now thinks that what influencers and companies have been passing off as wellness is literally just the same thing as dieting. They call these new forms of diets “clean eating,” which just sounds so damn marketable. They trick you into thinking that the main idea is actual health. When reflecting on the way she used to think, Knoll said, “I followed all these healthy influencers on Instagram…what I realize now is that they would only talk about the things that affected your appearance, but so much of health has nothing to do with your appearance.” It’s scary as f*ck when you consider how strongly the “wellness” industry’s message is forced on us everywhere we go, especially in the unrealistic standard the media sets for what we should look like. “The models in these images are the 0.5% of our population that genetically look like this, or they’re doing harmful things to themselves to look like this,” Knoll says. And the ways wellness culture makes us feel like we have to diet in order to look like them are not only unhealthy, they just don’t work at all.
On The Problems With Dieting
After learning from her dietician Elyse Resch, who co-wrote the book Intuitive Eating and specializes in things like eating disorders, disordered eating, and body image, Knoll realized, “I could change these things that I don’t like about myself, but I can’t actually sustain the behaviors needed to change them, so the logic is off. I can’t actually do it so, moving on!”
While seeing the short term results of strict dieting can feel good, there comes a point where as soon as the dieter goes outside the lines a little bit, they won’t be able to control themselves around the foods they’ve been abstinent from for so long. “When you can’t have food, all you can think about is food because you’re hungry and you’re obsessed with it,” she explained. “There’s this Last Supper mentality that a lot of people who operate under a dieting mindset find themselves butting up against, which is that Bridget Jones ‘I should just eat all the chocolate tonight ‘cause I’m gonna start anew tomorrow.’” And the cycle repeats itself. Stigmas tied to weight are extremely harmful as well; they make people not want to work out, go to the gym, or even go to the doctor out of embarrassment and intimidation. “Dieting and shaming people about their weight—that’s not working. We’re already doing that, so maybe we should try something else,” Jessica told Sami and Aleen.
On Intuitive Eating
Knoll says that intuitive eating, which she now practices, is “about figuring out what tastes really good to you and what also makes you feel good. It takes work to figure out what that is, but then once you do, you feel like you trust yourself again.” Now that intuitive eating has made Jessica so in tune with her body, she doesn’t put herself down about her appearance anymore: “I’ve made this concerted effort not to bash my body and not to bash my appearance, and while it took time, those thoughts in my head have definitely quieted down because I’m not voicing them out loud anymore.”
To hear more on what intuitive eating is all about and how it can help you, check out her episode of Diet Starts Tomorrow below.
Images: Louise Burton / Unsplash; Tenor (4)
Summer seems like the most fun time of year almost by default, but it can be tricky to navigate for the people who are trying to stick to healthy habits. Temptation is everywhere: there are drinks constantly being poured, fried food, ice cream, and your skinny friend who orders whatever the f*ck she wants because she has that gene you weren’t blessed with that allows her to eat literally anything without gaining a single pound. While all this swarms you, there also exists the perpetual thought looming over your head of most of your body being exposed when you want to lay out in the sun or go for a swim. It seems almost impossible, but surviving a beach weekend really doesn’t have to be so difficult if you keep some healthy hacks in mind that will trick yourself into feeling like you’re actually indulging, which we talked about on the latest Diet Starts Tomorrow podcast episode. Here are some of the best ways you can skip both the food FOMO and the diet-breaking regret.
1. Bring Frozen Fruit To The Beach
Eating frozen grapes, mangos, or pineapples is basically like eating nature’s version of an ice pop. Freezing these fruits not only turns them into healthy and delicious snacks, it also makes them stay cold and fresh for longer when it’s hot out and slows down your eating to add a little extra control. If I went and ordered ice cream and then my friend whipped out some frozen mango I would feel like an unhealthy piece of sh*t who is jealous of her tasty-looking frozen mango.
2. Start Your Day With A Walk Or Bike Ride
It’s scarily easy to spend an entire weekend at the beach lying on a lounge chair and barely moving a muscle. If you decide to start your day with a nice walk, though, you will feel good about taking in the summer air and being somewhat productive, which will set the tone for a healthy rest of the day. You can also post an early morning Insta story to show everyone that going out the night before didn’t stop you from being the epitome of wellness and serenity that you obviously are.
3. Don’t Fall Prey To High Calorie Drinks
Squeeze half a grapefruit into a vodka on the rocks and you have yourself a nice, refreshing summer drink that will get you good and f*cked up without the calories of rosé or a margarita. Plus, grapefruit is great for your metabolism. You could also soak berries in vodka if you feel like supplementing your alcohol with some antioxidants, or if you want to go the extra mile, you can even put seltzer in a wine glass and then just use your imagination.
4. Do Not Skip Any Meals
Skipping breakfast or lunch during a beach weekend seems like an easy way to cut out calories but it ends up working in the opposite way. You’ll be so hungry that you’ll want to eat like a pig later, and you’ll feel like you deserve it because you didn’t eat before. It may seem annoying to stay on top of your usual eating schedule when you’re trying to enjoy and relax at the beach, but your body will thank you for it later.
5. Bring Sporty Games To The Beach
If you bring fun activities to the beach, you’ll get in a workout without even realizing it. Bring a volleyball to play with or a football to throw around so you get your body in motion. The best way to do a workout in disguise, though, is by playing paddleball. Passing a tiny ball between wooden paddles is all fun and games, but when the little f*cker gets caught in the wind and you have to chase after it through the sand, you get some serious cardio in. You could also take advantage of the body of water in front of you and actually go for a swim. Fighting the current takes some exertion and makes you do more than just snore under the sun.
6. Bring Healthy Crackers Instead Of Chips
All the delicious crunch and none (or at least not as much) of the fat. If you must snack, eating fiber-filled crackers instead of chips will satisfy you AND keep you full. Keep the Lays out of sight and out of mind so you can stay on track like the healthful goddess that you are. I believe in you.
7. STAY HYDRATED.
This seems like an obvious one, but for some reason, it is truly so hard to remember to drink water. If you’re out in the sun all day and especially if you’re drinking, your body literally needs you to stay hydrated. Also, drinking water will keep you full so you won’t feel like you have to snack as much. So just do it! Drink water and while you’re at it put on some sunscreen so you can make the most out of your beach weekend as YOUR! BEST! SELF!
For more healthy eating hacks that will save you this summer, listen to the full episode of Diet Starts Tomorrow below.
Images: Giphy (7); Vitaly Sacred / Unsplash
Spring is officially here, which for most women is a sign that summer is coming, which means bikini season. Oh boy! Not to mention, the weather is finally warming up, rosé season is upon us, and there’s nothing better than sitting on a rooftop with an adult beverage (or three) in hand. Ok, wait, let me back up and tell you who I am. My name is Justin Gelband—I’m the guy who created ModelFit—and now I have my own fitness studio in NYC. But I’ve spent the past 15 years training the world’s top models and A-list actors with my workout method (obviously called the JG method), so I guess that’s why Betches asked me to give you my tips on how to get summer body ready without giving up alcohol.
Most of my clients
want have to maintain their bodies, whether it’s for a new role, or for walking in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. They work hard and dedicate themselves to being the best they can be. But guess what—with hard work, comes reward! For the purposes of this article, that reward would be alcohol, right?! Now, I’m not telling you to slug a cocktail after every workout, but you also don’t have to give up a drink at Sunday brunch or a champagne toast at your best friend’s wedding altogether. With my method, I want to help women build the connection between their minds and bodies so they can not only look their best on the outside, but feel their best too—and I promise, a little alcohol won’t kill you with my method of functional movement based on Movement, Motivation, and Moderation!
Movement speeds up your body’s metabolism so you can burn the calories that come with alcohol! Dancing or simply moving around during your night out can help burn the calories you’re putting in your body. I would also suggest holding off on food an hour or two before drinking, and not eating at all after party time is over—I know drunk munchies are real, but you’re strong-willed, I believe in you! If you crack under tipsy pressure, and you HAVE to eat, stick to fruits, vegetables, or anything light. This way, you are balancing the toxicity of the alcohol with foods that won’t add to it. Especially since heavy amounts of sugar and salt are huge contributors to holding water and water weight!
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This might seem like a small piece of the puzzle, but motivation is a big key to success in getting ready for the summer (and life in general). If you’re motivated to look fantastic, you will put your energy towards treating your body with respect—that not only means working out smart, but drinking smart as well. You don’t need to drink til you drop, no matter how stressful your work week was. Put yourself towards the mindset that you are drinking to enjoy yourself, not drinking just for the sake of getting wasted. Then, your hangover days will (hopefully) be behind you and you can wake up in the morning feeling motivated to work out and sweat out the alcohol from the night before, so one equalizes the other.
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Drinking is going to cause you to gain water weight and can cause other body image problems, so please moderate your drinking! So, if you’re used to drinking three drinks in a night, drink two. If you’re drinking (even one drink) every day, cut that down to three days per week. If you find these simple ways to cut some corners, you will still be able to get summer body ready without giving up alcohol. Drink red wine instead of white, and keep in mind a glass or two doesn’t mean a bottle! We’ve all been there. Look at the calories in the hard alcohol you’re drinking and go with whichever has the least number of calories and sugar. And try to steer away from mixers—it’s the sugars in mixed drinks that really get you. If you can’t drink something straight, then add a mixer (sip, no slugging) and have one or two less drinks. This will cut down on the body holding water or gaining weight.
A common misconception in today’s age puts being “skinny” in the same category as being “healthy.” This is not the case, trust me. Sure, you can give up alcohol and maybe see some weight loss, but does this improve your overall health? Have a drink or two, but discipline yourself and commit to exercising, and you’ll be summer ready… but start NOW! Don’t wait until May and say, “Okay JG—I need to transform my body by Memorial Day—help!!” You have 2 months to get your sh*t together, so zombie walk over to my studio with some betches, and I’ll be there to whip your butt in shape.
Images: Elevate / Unsplash; Justin Gelband (2); dietstartstomorrow, justingelband / Instagram
Whenever I tell someone I’m in the fitness industry, I always get a lot of questions about what a personal trainer eats. Because of my background, I think people assume I’m always very uptight about food, which I am, to an extent. I think that it’s very important for everyone to put quality nutrition into their bodies. Like, if you drove a Lambo would you fill it up with anything less than premium gas? No. However, I am SO FAR from being super restrictive about food, and I take the same approach to my clients. Because I used to have such a shaky history with food in my middle and high school years, I am very aware of the effect tracking numbers (like calories) can have on someone’s mental health, so this might surprise you, but I don’t preach tracking calories or macros. I focus a lot of my nutrition counseling on actually deprogramming clients that have been on restrictive diets for forever to learn to think for themselves. A lot of people spend forever following food rules that when they don’t have guidelines, they’re completely lost. I hope that by sharing what I actually eat in a day, and why, this gives a more valuable example of what it means to eat “clean,” without the need for extra validation from a food tracker.
Pre-workout: A mug of warm water with lime and 2 scoops (I think it’s equivalent to a teaspoon?) inulin powder (an artichoke root fiber powder), 2 long espresso shots. So the espresso shots are self-explanatory, but the inulin powder is something that I’m recently trying out to add more fiber to my diet. I’ve been taking 4 scoops a day for about 2 months now, and the verdict is still out. It’s very meh. It’s not doing any harm, but I’m also not sure if it’s doing any noticeable good. I’ll be sure to update you guys if I think it’s a miracle maker.
Post-workout breakfast: 2 breakfast turkey links, 2 hard-boiled eggs with a lot of hot sauce (I prefer Crystal Louisiana hot sauce), 1 cup seedless grapes. So you’ll see that I worked out on an empty stomach. I do this because I like my body’s mechanisms to be focused on the workout and not digesting food. I also do this because working out on an empty stomach allows your body to more rapidly tap into fat stores to convert it into energy due to depleted glycogen (sugar/carb) stores. I try to make sure the post-workout meal is super high in protein.
Lunch: 8 oz. chicken breast, well-seasoned and baked in the oven for 30 minutes at 350, 1.5 cups broccoli (I cook it in boiling water for approximately 5 minutes, or until soft), 1/2 avocado, more hot sauce. I try to make sure my plates are protein, vegetables, and fat because this formula is the one that I’ve found keeps me full without weighing me down. Avocado is my go-to good fat or olive oil dressing on salads. HOT SAUCE ON EVERYTHING, ALWAYS.
Snack: 1 cup grapes, 2 date bites (I put pitted Medjool dates in the food processor, roll them into little balls, sprinkle a little salt on top, and refrigerate), 1 tbsp extra protein peanut butter, 2 more shots espresso. I’m big on grapes and dates because I have such a sweet tooth. The biggest set up for failure is ignoring your persistent cravings. The only way things will be sustainable for life is if you find healthy ways to indulge. What I’ve noticed is that once you start eating right, though, your cravings are rarely that severe, and your healthy alternatives will start to satisfy you more than junk food.
If you want to cut back preparation time while making butternut squash linguine with fried sage, just buy some Doritos and get tf over yourself, Heather.
— ??????????? (@kayyorkcity) March 3, 2019
Dinner: 2 glasses white wine, 1 bell pepper stuffed with ground turkey and topped with guacamole, salsa, and labneh (I prefer this a million times over sour cream. It’s got a richer taste plus it’s a fantastic probiotic), a Chloe’s fruit popsicle. 4 or 5 nights of the week I’ll have one or two glasses white wine with dinner, so yea I guess you could say I’m a moderate drinker? But this is my way of balancing everything. I don’t even see this as an indulgence, it’s just something that I do that works for me. I enjoy wine, I drink so if I were to try to cut alcohol out, it probably would not gonna stay that way for long. Again, protein from the turkey, fiber from the bell pepper, and fat from guacamole and labneh (which is like a mediterranean version of sour cream, very similar to greek yogurt).
Before bed: Green tea with 2 scoops inulin. Time to unwind! I don’t drink tea every night, some times it’s more hot water with lime. But I like this simply because it kind of sets the tone for bed.
Clearly, ya girl is a carnivore. This is typically my menu all Monday-Friday, and any changes to it will be super minor, like switching chicken to steak or broccoli to sautéed baby spinach. My main priorities are making sure I get protein, healthy fat, and veggies during my meals and keeping my sweet tooth limited to fruits and natural sugars.
I find that my body, like many people’s, works better when I don’t consume starches and sugars. If I eat that 10 oz. ribeye steak and broccoli (also a common menu item for me), I will be much less fatigued than if I consume a pasta or noodle dish of the same calorie amount. Knowing this, it’s very rare that you’ll catch me eating any kind of starchy items during the day, although on the occasional night out I’ll have that pasta.
Contrary to popular belief, when I do eat starch, I save those kinds of dishes for later on during the day because I know how it’ll make me feel—a little sleepy, kind of couch-stuck, and indulgent. Notice I didn’t demonize starches or pasta. I like to feel like that every now and then, especially winding down after a long week, but if I eat starches for lunch I’m going to be sleepy for work or my workouts. Not exactly what I want. I also don’t stress on the occasions I do eat a little more indulgently because I know what’s going into my body the rest of the time, and trust me, that pasta is not going to immediately land on your thighs. It’s a balancing act, the bigger picture of what you’re eating.
I understand that what I eat may not be feasible for everybody, but I do want to stress the importance of being able to know what is being put in your body, which is why I preach the importance of cooking your own meals. Invest in a non-stick pan and stop relying on takeout. Not only will you save money and know what you’re feeding yourself, but it will help you decipher how different food affects your body. Instead of demonizing or making certain food off-limits, I encourage everyone to pay attention to how certain kinds of food affect your body’s function in other ways. Get to know how your body and mind are affected by certain foods, and it will help you to take control of food rather than letting food control you.
Images: Giphy (2); kayyorkcity / Twitter