Why I don’t eat like a health professional

There comes a time in your life when you realize that you actually know a lot less than you think you do. Thankfully, the first time this really happened for me was a few months out of college. It was humbling, but I say that thankfully because the experience has kept me from ever getting too attached to either my own or other widely  held beliefs when it comes to health and fitness.

A few years ago, I too was on the “frequent feeding” bandwagon. For a long time in fact. I ate 5 to 6 meals a day. I packed snacks. I made sure to eat before I ever felt hungry. Every 3 hours, I ate. No matter what. And I had my clients doing the same. I didn’t particularly enjoy doing it, but it was the standard in the health and fitness world. It was THE way to look and feel your best. Plus, it made logical sense o I never really questioned it.

Then intermittent fasting came along. Now for all those people going, “OH I could never do that!”, don’t worry; this post is actually not about that either. Long story short: I decided to look into it and was amazed by the research and testimonies. It flipped a lot of what I thought I knew on it’s head and showed me how many of the common beliefs about nutrition were based more on good theories than actual research. It opened up my eyes to the fact that there wasn’t one way things had to be done. For the first time in a long time, I felt freed up to try different things and to find what worked best for me.

food clock

So I started thinking back to when I was the most content with my eating patterns as well as with the way I looked and felt. That was back in college, when I was eating 3 meals and sometimes a snack in between lunch and dinner. Now that I didn’t have that fear of ruining my metabolism or gaining a bunch of weight, I decided I would try it. Turns out, 3 meals a day works pretty well for me. Not only does my body feel and look good doing it, but I enjoy eating again. So for those who are interested, here are some of the reasons behind why I eat the way I do.

It allows me to listen to my body and just eat when I’m hungry. After so many years of trying to avoid hunger at all costs, it was very hard at first to go back to allowing myself to feel hunger. Once I understood that I wasn’t going to go into “starvation mode” if I didn’t eat for 4 or 5 hours, it was simply a matter of getting back to a place where hunger pangs didn’t feel so terrible, mentally or physically. This took a few weeks, but I loved getting back to what felt like a much more natural way for me to eat. Now I just eat when I’m hungry and it turns out I enjoy eating much more this way. 🙂

It allows me to feel full. Honestly, I love feeling full, so I was never very good at eating smaller amounts. Because of that, I often ended up eating more calories in a day than I really should have.  Eating 3 regular meals allows me that feeling of fullness without the guilt of knowing I ate too much to be hungry again in 3 hours.

It freed me from my food obsession. Eating so often made me feel like I was always either eating or thinking about eating. I was always making sure I had snacks when I left the house, worrying that I’d get hungry and not have anything, watching the clock to make sure I didn’t miss a meal. It was always on my mind.

food frustration

(Some people handle this much better. They see it as getting to take a break every few hours and refuel with a snack or meal. They love never feeling hungry or full. For me, it just felt all-consuming.)

I eat better. Unfortunately I’m not one of those people that just naturally loves to eat healthy all the time. (I hate those people. 😉 ) On top of that, I don’t love to cook AND I’m also kind of picky.  So it was a huge struggle for me to eat healthy for 6 meals a day. As luck would have it, your body doesn’t really care so much about the timing of when you eat. It cares much more about the total calories and the types of food you’re eating. This means you are free to eat 6 small meals or 2 huge ones or 10 tiny ones as long as the total calorie amount stays the same.

Mentally I have a much easier time making healthy choices on just 3 meals a day.

I learned to trust myself. Ya know, the funny thing about all of this is that I didn’t start eating 6 small meals because I needed to lose fat or was gaining weight because of the way I was eating. I changed because I thought it was the better way and the way I was supposed to eat. Choosing to break away from the norm was scary, but it forced me to trust my own instincts. If I had trusted myself a little more back then (and had a better system of evaluation), I probably would have stuck with what I was doing.

The moral of the story, folks, is simply that the best way to eat is the way that is most sustainable for you. We all have different body types, lifestyles, and preferences. I’ve had clients lose weight on intermittent fasting and on 6 small meals-a-day, so don’t feel like you can’t change your body if you don’t like one specific approach. The more you remove the perceived complications of healthy eating the more likely you are to believe you can do it and therefore stick with it.

And the more you remove the perceived complications of “dieting” the more you’ll feel empowered and in control that you can eat in a way that isn’t a burden and will increase your belief that you can achieve your fitness goals. – See more at: http://www.bornfitness.com/how-many-meals-should-i-eat/#sthash.JiwfNo4L.dpuf
And the more you remove the perceived complications of “dieting” the more you’ll feel empowered and in control that you can eat in a way that isn’t a burden and will increase your belief that you can achieve your fitness goals. – See more at: http://www.bornfitness.com/how-many-meals-should-i-eat/#sthash.JiwfNo4L.dpuf
And the more you remove the perceived complications of “dieting” the more you’ll feel empowered and in control that you can eat in a way that isn’t a burden and will increase your belief that you can achieve your fitness goals. – See more at: http://www.bornfitness.com/how-many-meals-should-i-eat/#sthash.JiwfNo4L.dpuf

If you’ve found something that works for you, don’t worry about what the experts are saying. You are the best expert when it comes to your body.

 

Ain’t No Swing

I talked in my last post about why I love kettlebells and all the reasons they are beneficial for you. This naturally leads me into the topic of the most famous kettlebell exercise: the swing. Reason being is it also happens to be one of the most misunderstood and incorrectly done exercises, which leads many people to believe the swing is dangerous. OK, sure. When done incorrectly it can be harmful. That is fitness. Any exercise can be that.

When you put a weight over your head and there is always the possibility of dropping it on your face. When you do any exercise with poor form or too much weight OR play a sport, there is always the possibility of injury.

That is why a good trainer will harp on your form until its perfect! And then continue to make sure it stays that way.

OK, back to the swing. There is good reason that it is so commonly done incorrectly. It is not like most exercises. In fact, it goes against most of the fundamental rules of weight lifting. That is: lower the weight slowly, keep your chest up, and slow down. Because of that, the swing is also pretty counter-intuitive. In fact, if you don’t feel pretty darn awkward when you’re first learning you’re probably doing it wrong.

So to get started, I would like you to watch this quick, uuh, educational video. And no I’m not joking. I got this brilliant idea from the lovely Jen Sinkler and there really is a point to it… 😉

SO, the 2 main factors in the kettlebell swing:

1.First you’re going to bend….but not at the knees, at the hips. It is not a squat. Just like Elle so beautifully demonstrated :), you’re going to bend forward, sticking your butt out and dropping your chest toward the floor; much more akin to a deadlift than a squat. As the bell falls, don’t resist it. Let the bell pull your upper body down. This is not one of those times when you should be “lowering it slowly”.

2.Then SNAP!… also called a hip thrust or “popping” your hips; it’s all the same idea. You’re going to snap your hips by squeezing your butt and driving your hips forward quickly and powerfully. You’re literally going to drive the kettlebell up and out with your hips. So don’t hold back!! This is what gets the bell to pop up. Remember what I said above. If you don’t feel awkward, you ain’t doing it right!

*Here are a few helpful tips to remember:

  1. Relax your arms. This is not a shoulder exercise. But if I relax my arms, how do I get the bell to swing up?!?!?!? That’s what the hip snap is for! The only part of the arm that should be working is your forearms from gripping the bell. That’s it.
  2. The handle of the bell should never drop below your knees! Most people want to drop it really low because they think they should be squatting, but the swing is a glute and hamstring exercise so you should mainly be feeling it in your butt and the back of your thighs.
  3. Keep your back straight fool!! Even all the ladies in the video had nice straight backs! So stick that chest out, keep it out, and your back will look the same. Ain’t nobody got time for that! 😉 (But seriously, I love you guys and don’t want you to get hurt. So keep that back nice and straight and let your glutes and hams do the heavy lifting.)

These things are all much easier to see and understand in person. Since that’s not possible, I did the next best thing…

I really do hope this clears some things up for you guys and helps you go from ain’t no swing to ain’t no thing! Good luck!

**As a little bonus, if you still aren’t sure you’re doing it right or it hurts your back, take a video of yourself swinging. Send me the video at info@fuelsocofitness.com or on my facebook and I will personally watch it and give you the tips you need to fix it!

***Interested in Colorado Springs kettlebell classes? Check out my in-home training studio, Springs Kettlebells!*

Finally, the answer to the question: is it kettlebells or kettleballs?!

I think it’s safe to say that words like trendy or trendsetter have never and will never be used to describe me. Usually if I’ve started wearing something trendy or using a certain buzz word, chances are it’s on its way out. Kinda like Joey here…

The kettlebells might be my one chance at the title.

When I first found kettlebells…that’s right, kettlebells, not kettleballs, not cowbells, kettlebells…nobody knew what they were. And on the off-chance that they did, they had no idea what one might do with them. Kettlebells have actually been around for a very long time, but as most of you have probably seen they just recently started making their way into the American fitness spotlight. (Now if only spell check would get with the times…you should see all the red squiggly lines!)

8 years ago, I was just getting out of college and really feeling bored with my workout routine. So my boss at the time gave me the number of a guy and suggested I go try out these kettlebell thingys. Long story short, I fell in love and we’ve been going strong (excuse the pun 😉 ) ever since.

Now I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m not a big fan of the fitness cultures that surround certain exercise programs or equipment. Ya know, the ones that think they are the best and only way. In fact, I’ll go ahead and tell you right now, you can get strong and have an awesome body without kettlebells! So this is more about why I use and love kettlebells. But just to play fair, I’ll also give you a couple things they are not so good for.

What they are good for…

First let me clarify that I’m going to be referring to the exercises that are kettlebell specific. There are lots of regular exercises that you can do with them as well, but for the purpose of this post I’m talking specifically about kettlebell exercises.

  • First and foremost, they’re FUN! (Especially if you find tradition strength training boring.) It’sP1000949 not often you get to swing heavy things around and look super cool at the same time AND actually have it be really good for your body.
  • Powerlifting is awesome for working your entire body and cardiovascular system, however, it is very technical. The kettlebell allows for an easier, more natural feeling, way to learn the powerlifts. Plus if you’re like me and have any issues with your wrists, kb’s are easier on them than the bar.
  • The way they are made, with most of the weight in one spot instead of evened out on both sides like a dumbbell, works more stabilization (especially of the shoulders) and balance. Two things most people struggle with.
  • They will strengthen your posterior chain. Wha?? The posterior chain is your low back, butt, and hamstrings. Who doesn’t want to strengthen those?! Plus if you have a desk job or just tend to sit a lot, chances are your posterior chain is pretty weak. While it might not feel like it, sitting is really hard on your body. Swings help undo some of that damage caused by too much sitting. This is also why most people say that swings just feel good.
  • They provide an awesome low-impact cardiovascular workout. Had to stop running because your knees couldn’t take it anymore? The kettlebell is your answer!!
  • So not only will they lift your booty, but working the posterior chain and cardiovascular system will help improve the basic athletic movements like walking, running, and jumping.
  • Kettlebells are great for strength training, fat loss, conditioning, and endurance.

For me, they are my favorite way to train because they hit all of my top priorities. I can use them for cardio and/or strength training. They give me an awesome full body workout in a short amount of time. With them, I enjoy my workouts more because to me they are fun and make my body feel really good.

What they aren’t good for….

All that being said, kettlebells are not the best for muscle hypertrophy. They tend to increase strength without size, so if you’re looking to bulk up you’ll probably want to add some more tradition weight lifting to your routine.

While they make learning the power lifts easier, they still come with a bit of a learning curve. In fact, it’s pretty awkward at first. It’s not something you can just watch someone do, then go pick up one and do it yourself (usually). This also means you can’t just go jump into a class on the first day. This is the reason so many people end up hurt.* They take a little more attention to detail and time to learn.

*Trainers are often the worst offenders when it comes to this!! So please make sure your trainer knows what they are doing if they are teaching or correcting you on kettlebell exercises.

One thing you should at least try….

If you were to ask me for my top 3 favorite exercises, the kettlebell swing would definitely be in there. Because of the multiple benefits, I do think everybody should at least learn the swing at some point (especially if you have a job where you have to sit a lot!). Then if you still don’t like it, you don’t have to do it. But from my experience, when you finally get it down and understand where you are and aren’t supposed to feel it, you’ll fall in love too. 😉

*Stay tuned for more on the correct way to do the kettlebell swing!!!

wrong kbs

No, no, Julian Michaels. Just….NO

**Interested in kettlebell classes and live in the Colorado Springs area? Check out my in-home training studio, Springs Kettlebells!*

No Pain, More Gain??

I discovered early on that I was never going to be the trainer that ran my people into the ground on day one. Actually I don’t really care to ever do that. Why? Well first, I want them to come back!! For heaven’s sake, if you can’t walk for the next 3 days, you sure as heck aren’t going to be working out. Then when you do come back, we have to start back at zero and this is just inefficient.  Secondly, because ultimately I care more about what’s best for you than what you think is best for you.

See, most of us have come to think that we have to run ourselves into the ground and go at 110% intensity all the time or we aren’t doing anything. I used to think the same way.

And why wouldn’t we? Known for its incredibly brutal workouts, Crossfit is all the rage these days. We watch the Biggest Loser and see these morbidly obese folks getting run into the ground… and losing weight. We see motivational phrases like, “no pain, no gain” and go hard or go home plastered all over the fitness world. So we pump ourselves up, hit the gym for the first time in 5 (or 10) years, run ourselves into the ground, are sore for a week, maybe try it again next week, get the same results, and we quit.

No wonder I get people all the time saying: “I wish I didn’t, but I just honestly hate exercise.”

Well friends, I come bearing great news: that “no pain, no gain” mentality is a load of shiz. The idea that you have to be sore after every workout or you didn’t accomplish anything?

Dwight-Schrute-False

What’s that you say?!?!? The fact is, if you’re working out at 110% every time, your productivity will stall or even digress because your body has not been given enough time to recover. Sure, some people can handle it for longer than others, but in the end the results will always be the same.

Now before I go any further, I would like to clarify that I am not saying that soreness or training at high intensity is always bad. On the contrary, I am saying you will get better results from high intensity work when you allow for proper recovery in between! SO, how do we make sure we are getting the most out of our workouts?

Gauging pain vs. discomfort

If you are just starting to workout, it probably won’t take much before you start feeling some discomfort. This discomfort is caused by exertion. Exertion usually takes the form of burning muscles or labored breathing or other things along that line. At first this is a very uncomfortable feeling. However, the longer you go the less uncomfortable it will become. Pain, on the other hand, should not be a regular part of your workouts. Pain usually presents itself in the form of sharp, stabbing, or pinching in the joints or muscles. Pain is your body telling you something is wrong. I do not believe pain should be pushed through.

Soreness

Soreness is inevitable from time to time, but it doesn’t mean your workout was better than when you didn’t get sore. And it shouldn’t be your goal. Here’s what you need to know about soreness.

Beginners, you will probably get sore. It’s hard to introduce your body to something new and not experience at least a little of this. However if you are sore for more than 3 days, you went too hard.  If you are sore on a regular basis, you need to back off. Ideally when you do get sore, it’s not extreme and it only lasts a day or two.

If you’re never sore and you’re not seeing improvements, you could probably stand to push yourself a little harder. If you’re never sore but you are improving-congratulations, you’ve found your sweet spot!!

This will be different for everybody.

Listening to your body

A good program or trainer will have progression built into your workouts. However, you are the only one who can gauge how your body is feeling.

-Are you new to the program? Don’t be afraid to ease yourself into it. Focus on form!

-Are you stressed out? Or just coming back from sickness or an injury? These workouts should be about getting your body re-acclimated or maintenance. This is when I would say you’re better off going too easy than too hard.

-Did you get a great night’s sleep? Are you feeling awake and energized? Been managing your stress well? Are the weights starting to feel easy? Now would be a good time to push harder. See if you can lift a little heavier or go for another set.

So I hope these tips help. A few final thoughts…

*This is gonna sound crazy, but exercise should leave you feeling refreshed and energized! For men, this usually means learning to leave some in the tank! You will get so much more out of your workouts when you don’t go to failure every set and focus more on your form. (It isn’t sexy but it will bring about some sexy muscles.) Women, learn to enjoy the temporary feeling of exertion and not fear it. You have no idea just how strong and capable you really are!

*Seriously, stop pushing through pain! Learn from my mistakes! Being active will inevitably lead to aches and pains here and there. When they come along, you might be surprised how quickly they resolve themselves if you just give the area of pain a rest for a day or two! (And no, that does not mean giving your knee a rest AFTER you finish 2 more sets of lunges!) Don’t be like the black knight….

** No matter how hard you push your body, you will not become fit in a week or a month. Fitness should be about consistent, enjoyable movement. There are so many amazing things to be done and seen but you need to be able to move to experience them. Don’t waste it in the gym running yourself into the ground until your body or your will gives out. 😉

 

***Interested in Colorado Springs kettlebell classes? Check out my in-home training studio, Springs Kettlebells!*

I am in really great shape!

Penny testimonial

I started taking Beth’s kettlebell class a year ago, just before I found out I was pregnant with my second baby. I have always been a runner and ran through my first pregnancy, but was unable to keep running through my second. Kettlebells were great for me during that time because I was able to stay in good cardio shape while strengthening my body in a way that was low impact. Since my baby was born I have been excited to see how kettlebells have helped me get back into shape and lose weight so quickly. For the first time in my life, I feel like I am in really great shape overall because kettlebells are a regular part of my fitness routine!

~Penny

 

*Interested in Colorado Springs kettlebell classes? Check out my in-home training studio, Springs Kettlebells!*

I look forward to class each week!

 

jes testimonial

“After the birth of my fourth child in less than five years I decided that since the baby factory was closed it was time to try to get the body I had always wanted. After procrastinating and wondering if there was really anyone who could help my post baby bod I finally broke down and decided to just try out Beth’s kettlebell class. She was so good about making sure she didn’t throw too much at me all at once and really took the time to make sure my horrible knees and shoulders didn’t get injured. It’s the most intense, fun and rewarding workout I’ve ever had and I’m completely hooked and in love with kettlebells! I dropped 20 pounds in 3 months! And a year and a half later, I’m 36 lbs lighter, 21 inches smaller, and down 4 dress sizes! I’m back into my “skinny” clothes and they are fitting better than before, and I feel great!!! Hard work really does pay off! I look forward to the class each week because I can see the great results of such a hard workout (and my husband loves the results too!). Beth, you’re amazing!”

~ Justine

 

*Interested in Colorado Springs kettlebell classes? Check out my in-home training studio, Springs Kettlebells!*

My conditioning and strength has improved immensely!

pam testimonial

Beth possesses all the qualities that make a great personal trainer – dedication, enthusiasm, and patience. Beth always got the best out of me even when I felt too exhausted to finish. She was able to bring out new confidence in myself especially since I had never worked out with kettlebells previously. My conditioning and strength has improved immensely. Beth is also very knowledgeable with fitness, health, and nutrition. Her cheerful personality and smile is contagious!

~ Pam

 

*Interested in Colorado Springs kettlebell classes? Check out my in-home training studio, Springs Kettlebells!*

Lean, toned, and one wicked hot body to show!

michele testimonial

*Note from Beth: When Michele first came to me, she asked for two things: to improve her strength and muscle tone and to not make her do anything that looked stupid. My first thought was, “Yay! A woman who’s not afraid of lifting!”. My second thought was, “What is she going to think about kettlebells?”

For anyone who has not tried kettlebells, they are not the most natural feeling exercises at first, but they are so much fun once you get it down and awesome for improving strength and tone. So I held off on using them with her until we had worked together for a while and I felt I had gained her trust. Then I introduced her to kettlebells and what do you know… she was a natural! Michele quickly came to love working with the bells and she is one of my faithful followers who encouraged me to start my own business.

It has been a blessing to have her as a client and now here she is: lean, toned, and one wicked hot body to show for all her hard work!

**Interested in Colorado Springs kettlebell classes? Check out my in-home training studio, Springs Kettlebells!*