Stop Enabling Your Weaknesses

I think the act of self deprecating is natural. It’s unfortunate, but it seems to be the way that we relate ourselves to others. How many times do you find yourself being complimented only to deny said compliment. I do it all. the. time. It’s like we don’t want to be seen higher up than those around us so we lower ourselves during conversation to be on the same level. The thing I’m worried about, though, is the sick cycle that begins once we start putting ourselves down.

A month or so ago I made a mental note to recognize whenever I was belittling myself or my potential in order to serve someone else. As you can imagine, I did it quite often. But what I didn’t realize was how often other people did it too. You know what I also realized? Once someone pointed out their weakness to me, it was something I automatically associated them with. Not in a judgement type of way…just as something my brain categorized them with.

Let me tell you something: if you continuously point out your weaknesses to others, then that’s going to be the only thing they see when they look at you.

There’s a sort of comfort in being the first one to lay it all out there. To go ahead and put all your insecurities on the table so no one else can pull them out themselves. But by putting them on the table you’re allowing other people to play with them. To use them against you. To seal them to your identity. You’re allowing the world to see those insecurities instead of your strengths. If you don’t put your strength out there to be seen – how will people know its there?

Let me tell you something else: you are not defined by your weaknesses. Why? Because they can be turned into strengths. YOU have that ability. They can and WILL change.

Something that’s really been helping me is learning to just say “thank you” when someone compliments me. If someone is going out of their way to point out something they admire about you, LET THEM. You are wonderful, and you serve a purpose, and other people see that. Let them see that.

And as far as your self talk goes, I think it’s important to be your own best friend. You can’t count on other people to uplift you because unfortunately that’s not always going to happen. So I challenge you to mentally correct yourself whenever you catch self deprecating thoughts going through your head. You’ll be amazed at the difference in your self esteem!

Happy New Years, guys! Let’s make 2015 a great one

xo Jacquelyn

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The Importance of Eccentric Training

You may have heard the term “eccentric” tossed around the gym before or maybe you read it on bodybuilding.com. There are a lot of training styles out there that I would classify as “gym science” that don’t really have any proof of effectiveness. Eccentric training, however, is not one of them!

But what is it?

Eccentric training is defined as active contraction of a muscle occurring simultaneously with lengthening of the muscle.

That’s straight from google.

To put it more simply, the eccentric part of your workout is during the lowering phase of any exercise. When you’re lowering into a squat you’re eccentric, when you’re bringing your arms down after a bicep curl, when the bar is descending toward your chest during a bench press. All of those are eccentric.

A lot of times we don’t think about that portion of the lift because we’re so concerned with getting the weight UP! That’s the hard part, right?

Well what if I told you that you’d have an easier time getting that weight up if you started incorporating eccentric training?

When the muscle is lengthened during any exercise, you’re experiencing muscle fiber tearing. That’s what causes the soreness the next couple of days! BUT there’s an enzyme within the muscle fibers that, when released, will promote protein synthesis (aka: muscle growth). That enzyme is only released when the muscle is eccentrically loaded to its full potential.

In other words, going half way down in a squat is ineffective. Not coming down to your chest during a bench press is ineffective. Not coming all the way down in a military shoulder press is ineffective. The list goes on.

I encourage all of my clients and anyone who asks me to never sacrifice form of an exercise in order to go heavier. Because if you look at the anatomy of a lift, you really aren’t getting any bang for your buck. If you pick a challenging weight that you can do FULL RANGE OF MOTION on a lift with, you’re going to release that enzyme and experience muscle growth and strength increase; allowing you to move up in weight over time.

Hamstrings are a muscle group that I tend to focus on a lot. I only work with women – and it is true that women typically have a poor quad:hamstring ratio of strength which makes it easier for us to pull our hamstrings. It has been scientifically proven that eccentric training will help prevent hamstring injuries – the NSCA actually just recently released a study that I had to use for my CEUs because this topic is so relevant.

So HOW do you work on your eccentric training?

1) Pick a challenging weight but one that you can still do flawless form with

2) Start the downward phase of your lift (ex: squat)

3) As you go down, slowly count to 5. You shouldn’t reach the bottom until you get to 5.

4) Come back up and repeat.

The idea here is that YOU are controlling every inch of that downward phase instead of gravity or momentum. Because lets be honest – how often do we get tired and sort of “fall” into the bottom of the lift so we can focus more on getting it back up?

When doing eccentric training you are going to see your muscles shake. You are going to be extremely sore. You are going to be altering your muscle fibers in ways that you might not have done before. It’s all okay, its all normal, and its all going to make you stronger!

Not totally sure if you’re doing it right? I always recommend calling a trainer over to spot you and watch to make sure that everything is safe and sound.

xo Jacquelyn

Oh the Holidays! (that’s my stomach talking)

healthyeating

So I know it’s only been November 1st for a total of 10 hours, but I swear the difference between my attitude yesterday and today is massive. Yesterday I was feeling a little like the Grinch dreading the upcoming holiday season! But now…just the mention of the word Grinch has me excited to watch the movie. And I’m currently sitting here in my flannel pajamas (it’s below 60 degrees in FL, guys!) with a cup of hot apple spiced chai tea. Yep. I’m ridiculous.

The holidays always bring that small dose of guilt. I am not immune to that feeling whatsoever. I’ve never used the holiday season to experiment with potential healthy recipes…I just cut those two months out as a loss and plan to get back on track in January (sound familiar?). But here’s the thing – that guilt is totally unnecessary! There are so many amazing, CLEAN, and HEALTHY recipes out there to satisfy any and every holiday craving you may have.

When it comes to cooking clean foods that TASTE GOOD…I go paleo. I pretty much eat a flexible paleo diet on a daily basis anyway – but when it comes to things like my sweet tooth, I make sure to find good quality paleo recipes that I can trust to indulge in.

In an effort to get more experimental with my own healthy cooking, I am going to challenge you guys to do the same! So…join me for the next few weekends in trying one new healthy recipe each weekend! I’ll be providing you guys with the recipes I find and decide to try. Honestly, my best friend when it comes to recipes is (of course) Pinterest. There is a never ending supply of amazing healthy cooking blogs at our disposal and I encourage you guys to check them all out!

But a couple of other go-to sites I like…

Paleo Leap: plethora of amazing recipes and tips about the paleo lifestyle in general. I always ALWAYS learn something new on this website.

Big Apple Paleo: Facebook page dedicated to paleo eating! Created by my mentor from NYC straight from Cenegenics :). Even I get to post some of my recipes on there too! We try to post often so that you constantly have access to paleo ideas throughout the day.

And now – without further delay, the recipes I’m trying this week!:

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Coconut Flour Pumpkin Muffins

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Spinach Cilantro Meatballs

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Bullet Proof Coffee

All of the pictures link straight to the blog so you can go check out the recipes and probably get some other great ideas too! I can’t wait to see what you guys decide to try!

Do you have any “go to” healthy paleo recipes that you like to make for the holidays?

xo Jacquelyn

Active Rests: Workout Challenge

Happy Thursday, everyone!!

Today I wanted to challenge you guys to add one of my workout staples into your routine. If your goals include: weight loss, endurance training and toning – then this is for YOU!

Typically, when doing a strength training program you want to designate certain rest periods after each exercise in order to get the maximum benefit for your muscles.

However, for fat loss, its super important to keep that heart rate up. I see a lot of people sitting around the gym wondering why they aren’t leaning up!

You can ask any of my clients – we don’t sit around. We are constantly moving! I love incorporating “active rests” in between basic resistance training moves. For example I’ll do 3 sets of 10 chest presses with 3 sets of 20 jumping jacks in between.

If I’m doing upper body exercises I like to incorporate more upper-body-focused active rests…and likewise for lower body. Some of these can be used for either muscle group!

Upper Body Active Rests:

Jumping Jacks

Pushups

Mountain Climbers

Ball Slams

Jump Rope

Plank

Side Plank

Plank to Pushup

Walkover Pushups

Burpees

Lower Body Active Rests:

Body Weight Squats

Alternating Lunges

Reverse Lunges

Curtsy Lunges

Jump Squats

Criss Cross Jump Squats

Tuck Jumps

Bound Lunges

Rocking Side Lunges

Burpees

You can even do lower body active rests in between upper body exercises if you want to give the upper body muscles more of a rest! It really doesn’t matter how you do it – the key is to just KEEP MOVING! Instead of pacing around or sitting for an undetermined amount of time between sets, get up and knock out 15-20 of one of the above exercises then go right back into your next set. I guarantee you’ll feel it – and I guarantee you’ll sweat ;)

I’m going to start posting exercise videos soon! If anyone leaves a comment asking about any of the above exercises that you’re unsure of: I’ll start with a video of it for you!!

xo Jacquelyn

Intermittent Fasting – The Run Down

I know we spoke briefly about Intermittent Fasting in one of my recent posts. But I figured I would give you guys a more thorough review of it since I’ve been able to do it for several weeks in a row now.

First of all, here are two helpful links if you’re just trying to get more of an idea about IF.

5 Methods of Intermittent Fasting

Leangains Protocol

The fasting method I chose was the Leangains method. I did this for a few reasons.

1) I associate myself with the “dedicated gym goers who want to decrease body fat and increase muscle”

2) Having a designated “eating window” was a lot more comfortable to me than skipping entire days of eating

3) I’ve always been on the fence about fasted training and I was curious to see how it affected me.

What I’m currently doing is pretty standard. I wake up around 7am. I workout around 10am while ingesting 10g of BCAAs and then break my fast at noon with a large meal of: 2-3 whole eggs, oats, small apple, avocado, and chicken.

Then I eat my small meals every couple of hours throughout the rest of the eating window, ending at 8pm.

Things I like about IF:

– I feel like my post workout meal is EXTREMELY effective. After fasting and working out with only BCAA’s, I feel like my body burns through my post-workout meal extremely fast. I load that first meal up with tons of good macros and it has helped with my recovery immensely. It’s like dumping all of that goodness onto a clean slate when the body’s adrenaline is at it’s highest..I can’t help but feel like its being put to good use.

– I’m not as hungry as I thought. Ever since I did my show diet a couple years ago, it’s been engraved in my head to eat breakfast within an hour of waking up. Not hungry? Eat anyway. Get the metabolism moving. Did this go with what I FELT like doing? Not exactly. But science was science and I wasn’t going to argue. When I started this eating window I thought for sure that I would be miserable missing out on at least 2 small meals in the mornings…but I rarely feel hungry at all! I feel alert and energized. I would imagine this feeling varies from person to person, but this is just how it has personally felt to me!

– I’ve seen results. Now I think it’s fair to say that I’d see results with any method of clean eating. I think the cool thing here is that I like and can consistently use this method. There’s a million different ways to be healthy – pick the best one that works for you! Everyone is different :)

Things I don’t like about IF:

– Eating around 7pm and then realizing the next morning that I finished at 7 instead of 8pm…so do I still fast till noon? Is it detrimental to my muscles? I honestly don’t know! So any insight here is appreciated!

– Sometimes it’s hard to get in enough calories. After that big post workout meal, I don’t really notice hunger throughout the rest of the day. There have been days when I looked back and realized I didn’t even eat 1200 calories which is a PROBLEM! To counteract that I started logging my meals again on an app on my phone so that I know I need to eat more. This has helped immensely but I understand that the logging is tedious and not realistic for some people. I think once I get more used to what a day of eating the proper amount of food feels like, I’ll be able to stop logging so much.

So what is my opinion about IF? Well, I say go for it if you want to try it. From all of the benefits I’ve read about it, I think its absolutely worth a shot. When it comes to lifestyle choices, you really have to pick what’s best for YOU. There’s so many “plans” out there, but they aren’t one size fits all.

A couple words of wisdom, though: if you’re going to try it, set aside a time frame and STICK TO IT. You’ll never know whether it works if you flip flop all over the place. Also, a lot of the IF methods don’t really specify that you should be eating clean. I disagree wholeheartedly. I think it defeats the purpose if you continue to eat bad foods…the idea is to create a healthy body, right? Just because you eat McDonald’s on an empty stomach doesn’t make it less toxic! :)

xo Jacquelyn