Ever wonder how much energy you burn outside of the gym? It all comes down to “NEAT” or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis — the fancy way of saying calories burned through everyday activities. From walking the dog to cleaning the house, even minor movements add up throughout the day and contribute to your overall calorie expenditure.

Why is NEAT important?

Desk jockeys, listen up …you might think that gym time is enough, but neglecting movement throughout the day can hinder your progress. Here’s where NEAT comes in. By staying active during your daily routine, you can unlock a treasure trove of health benefits:

  • Burn more calories, all day long: Forget the all-or-nothing mindset. Every step, fidget, and chore adds up to a significant calorie burn, even outside of the gym.
  • Boost your overall health: NEAT isn’t just about aesthetics. It can contribute to better blood sugar control, a healthier heart, and easier weight management.

How to boost your NEAT:

The good news is, NEAT is everywhere! Here are some ideas to get you moving more:

  • Take the stairs: Ditch the elevator for a quick leg workout.
  • Park further away: Add a few extra steps to your errands.
  • Pace while on the phone: Turn those phone calls into mini walking breaks.
  • Fidget freely: Don’t be afraid to tap your foot or drum your fingers – it all adds up!
  • Stand up and move: Consider a standing desk or take short walking breaks throughout the workday.
  • Embrace daily activities: Cleaning, gardening, and playing with your kids are all NEAT opportunities.

Measuring NEAT:

While a “dressed up step count” isn’t the most precise method, aiming for 8,000-10,000 steps daily is a good starting point to track your NEAT activity.

Remember: Small steps = big results! Even simple movement boosts your body’s daily calorie burn, making you healthier.

Want more? Check out this NCBI research of this ISSA article on the subject!

You got this.

 

 

(Walk me!)

Hey friends, sustainable fat loss isn’t just about restricting calories or pushing yourself through grueling workouts. It’s about creating an internal environment where your body naturally burns excess fat. This requires a multi-pronged approach, and protein plays a central role in each step. Whenever I start to work with a new client, I ask about sleep, hydration, and PROTEIN intake.  That’s because protein is crucial to achieving and maintaining weight loss goals.

Here’s Why Protein Matters with Fat Loss:

  • Hormonal Harmony: Protein is the building block of hormones. Without sufficient protein intake, your body struggles to produce hormones that regulate appetite and fat burning.
  • Hunger Control: Balanced hormones translate to regulated hunger. Adequate protein keeps you feeling satisfied, preventing unnecessary cravings and overeating.
  • Cellular Reprogramming: Fat is the preferred fuel source for a well-functioning body. Protein is essential for restructuring your cells to burn fat efficiently instead of relying solely on sugar.
  • Cellular Renewal: Old, sluggish cells struggle to burn fat. Protein supports the creation of new, metabolically-active cells that contribute significantly to fat burning.
  • Muscle Building and Retention: Muscle tissue is a major fat-burning engine. Protein fuels muscle growth and repair, maximizing your body’s ability to incinerate calories.
  • Optimal Digestion: Protein plays a vital role in breaking down food effectively. Poor digestion hinders nutrient absorption, leaving your body without the building blocks it needs for fat-burning processes.

The Protein Advantage:

  • Enzyme Production: Enzymes, the chemical catalysts that drive fat burning, are built from protein. Insufficient protein intake limits enzyme production, hindering your body’s ability to burn fat efficiently.
  • Cellular Reconditioning: When transitioning from a high-sugar diet, your cells are initially programmed for sugar uptake. Protein is critical for restructuring them to become adept at utilizing fat for energy.

Beyond Protein Bars and Powders:

While convenient, protein bars and powders can burden your digestive system and may not provide optimal protein sources. Focus on incorporating whole food proteins like lean meats, fish, eggs, and legumes into your diet. These offer a complete protein profile and support healthy digestion for maximum benefit.

The bottom line is that protein is not just a building block for muscle; it’s the foundation for a body optimized for sustainable fat loss. By prioritizing whole food protein sources, you’ll support hormonal balance, hunger control, cellular reprogramming, muscle building, and optimal digestion – all essential ingredients for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

P.S. When we eat proteins that are not hormone/corn/soy free, ingesting those forms of meat raise cortisol. Try your best to eat whole, unprocessed foods  and prioritize protein intake. Your challenge this week is to track protein intake. I’d like you to take your goal weight multiplied by 1.05 to calculate a target amount for daily protein (in grams). And, try really hard to get protein from real food vs. protein powders –this one is a struggle for me, so I am right there with you. 

You got this!

Lisa

Happy New Year, friends! ✨

As the fireworks fade and the champagne flutes dry, many of us find ourselves contemplating the blank slate of a new year. We whisper aspirations about healthier habits, bolder careers, and deeper connections. But…change can be hard. We’ve fallen victim to resolutions before, derailed by the inertia of old habits and the siren song of comfort.

THIS year, let’s rewrite the narrative. Forget the lofty, all-or-nothing ambitions. Instead, let’s embrace micro-transformations, focusing on consistency over complexity. The secret weapon? A keystone habit. (see Forbes article on keystone habits for more)

Research tells us that building one keystone habit, a fundamental behavior that ripples into other areas of life, is far more effective than juggling an unwieldy list of resolutions. Think of it as planting a single acorn, nurtured each day, destined to become a mighty oak, its branches reaching towards a healthier, happier you.

So, how do we cultivate this keystone habit? Start small. Pick something achievable, something that ignites a spark of joy. Maybe it’s a 10-minute morning meditation, a brisk walk beneath the sunrise, or whipping up a nutritious breakfast instead of grabbing a sugar-laden pastry. These seemingly insignificant acts, repeated daily, become the threads woven into the tapestry of lasting change.

Simplicity is key. Don’t overcomplicate the process. Your keystone habit should be a seamless integration into your routine, not a battle of willpower. Find what resonates with you, what aligns with your natural rhythms and preferences.

Harness the power of the morning. Early hours hold a quiet magic. Our minds are fresh, our resolve unwavering. That’s why I champion the power of sunrise movement. A simple yoga flow, a jog bathed in golden light, walking barefoot in the grass, a dance session infused with your favorite music – these energize your body and spirit, setting the tone for a focused, productive day.

Consistency is the cornerstone. Every missed practice isn’t a failure, but a gentle reminder to recommit. Remember, progress, not perfection, is the true measure of success. Be kind to yourself, celebrate small wins, and trust in the momentum of daily repetition.  (See “8 Steps to Create Consistency in Workouts” post)

This year, let’s ditch the pressure and embrace the process. Let’s focus on nurturing one powerful habit, a keystone that unlocks a cascade of positive transformations. What will your keystone be?   The acorn you plant today might just become the oak that shades your tomorrow.

Wishing you a year brimming with health, happiness, and the quiet power of consistent, mindful change.

Happy New Year!

Lisa

The holidays are a time for celebration, feasting, and indulgence. But don’t let the festive cheer derail your healthy lifestyle! Here are 11 tips to help you stay on track and enjoy the holidays guilt-free:

  1. Get Enough Sleep: Sleep is essential for immune function, mood, and cravings. Aim for 7-8 hours per night.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, and cravings. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  3. Choose “Healthier” Drinks: Opt for organic/biodynamic wines, champagnes, or clear, unflavored liquor like vodka or tequila. Avoid sugary mixers and artificial additives.
  4. Make Time for Self-Care: Schedule activities that relax and de-stress you, like yoga, meditation, or spending time in nature.
  5. Plan Ahead to Avoid Stress: Make a list of tasks and delegate whenever possible. Set realistic expectations and don’t overcommit.
  6. Wash Your Hands Often: This simple habit can help prevent the spread of germs. Use natural soap and water instead of antibacterial products.
  7. Take Precautions When Traveling: I always pack healthy snacks and use non-toxic personal care products.
  8. Include Lighter Fare in Your Feast: Serve roasted vegetables, homemade pickles, and fresh salads alongside your traditional dishes. And, if few others eat it, that’s more healthy leftovers for YOU!
  9. Don’t Skimp on Raw, Cultured, and Bitter Foods: These foods aid digestion and support gut health. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, sauerkraut, and leafy greens in your meals.
  10. Say No to What Doesn’t Serve You: It’s okay to decline invitations, food, or drinks that don’t align with your goals.
  11. Practice Gratitude: Focus on the positive aspects of the season and express your thankfulness.

Remember, the holidays are a time to celebrate and enjoy!

Cheers!

The holidays are a time for food, family, and fun. But for those who are trying to eat clean, it can be a challenging time to stay on track with their goals. Here are 10 tips to help you stay on track with your clean eating goals during the holidays:

  1. Practice the 80/20 rule: Eat clean 80% of the time and indulge 20% of the time.
  2. Set SMART goals for yourself: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
  3. Consider non-food related gatherings with friends: Find other ways to socialize that don’t involve food or alcohol.
  4. Never go to a party hungry: Eat a nutritious snack before you go so you’re less likely to overindulge.
  5. Stick with your exercise program: Exercise helps to maintain your fitness level and supports your digestion.
  6. Manage your stress: Stress can lead to cravings and unhealthy eating habits.
  7. Say no to energy-sapping foods: Choose foods that provide a steady source of energy, such as lean proteins, nuts, and eggs.
  8. Find a partner or support system: Having someone to support you on your journey can make a big difference.
  9. Consider doing an alcohol-free or sugar-free challenge: This can be a great way to reset your habits.
  10. Enjoy time spent with your loved ones: The holidays are about more than just food. Focus on creating memories with the people you care about.

Embrace the holidays with a focus on clean eating and mindful indulgence to maintain your health and well-being throughout the season. Remember, an occasional treat is part of the festive experience, so savor your chosen indulgences and seamlessly transition back to clean eating at your next meal.

Wishing you & your family a season of healthy and enjoyable holidays.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Hi friends, is this you? Often, when starting a workout and weight loss program, we want to see results quickly! But…this can often lead to extreme measures (crazy, long workouts or super low-calorie diets) that are impossible to sustain.

To lose weight, start by making small, sustainable changes to your daily routine instead of trying to do too much at once. This will help you build discipline and avoid feeling overwhelmed, which can lead to giving up.

These small, repeatable habits will lead to lasting results.

So even if they seem small or insignificant, focus on doing them consistently. Remember, what we do consistently, we get good at.

If we consistently do things that make us gain weight, we will gain weight. If we consistently do things that help us lose weight, we will lose weight.

So focus on repeatable habits that can help you build a healthy lifestyle and see the results snowball over time.

Here are some examples of small, repeatable habits that can help you lose weight:

  • Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. Add a squeeze of lemon or a few drops of chlorophyll for an added health boost.
  • Eat a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts as a snack instead of chips or candy… or start skipping snacks.
  • Take a walk after dinner instead of watching TV.
  • Track your steps and increase them each week.
  • Schedule your workouts – or work in short micro workouts throughout the day (try my Tabata workouts!)
  • Add stretching pre & post workouts.
  • Pay attention to protein intake and make sure you are getting at least 25-30 grams with every meal.
  • Cook more meals at home instead of eating out.
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

These are just a few examples, and there are many other small changes you can make to your daily routine to help you lose weight. The most important thing is to find habits that you can stick with over time.

Remember, it’s not about being perfect. It’s about making progress…one small step at a time.

You GOT this!

P.S.  Our body doesn’t like change. It can feel threatened and this mechanism is a part of how it protects us to survive.

What I’m trying to say is the longer you’ve had the weight — or the farther you are from your goal, the longer it will probably take for you to get there — especially if it means hitting a new level of leanness you’ve never achieved before.

So while you may look at your friend who gained 12 pounds (like you) and you want your results to happen just as fast, IF you’ve had the weight on for a year and she just gained it on vacation, it’s probably going to come off more quickly for her.

Be patient. Be consistent. Don’t give up.

~xo

You know I love Tabata workouts…and for SO many reasons beyond their efficiency.

Here’s why.  Tabata is a type of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that is known for its efficiency and effectiveness. This type of workout consists of 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for a total of 8 rounds. This may not seem like a lot of time (just 4 minutes!), but it is enough to get your heart rate up and burn calories.  I fell in love with Tabata workouts when I was in the corporate grind and working a lot of hours. These workouts provided a great boost during the day while allowing me to stay in shape. Do several of these workouts throughout the day and VIOLA!

Another reason I love Tabata workouts is that they are great for people of all fitness levels. Because you work at a speed that is challenging for you, Tabata is accessible to everyone. In fact, it is often recommended for people who are new to exercise because it is a safe and effective way to get started.

Tabata workouts are also perfect for people with busy schedules. (This is how I came to love Tabatas.) A single Tabata workout only takes 4 minutes, so you can fit it in even on the busiest days. And if you have more time, you can string together multiple Tabata workouts for a longer session.

In addition to being efficient and effective, Tabata workouts are also a great way to get a full-body workout. The 20-second bursts of intense exercise work your heart, lungs, and muscles all at the same time. This makes Tabata a great choice for people who are looking to improve their cardiovascular health, build muscle, and lose weight.

Another reason I love Tabata workouts is that you can easily create a workout depending on fitness goals. I personally use the 2nd option below quite frequently. Here are two common ways to structure your Tabata workouts:

  • A/B: Choose two exercises to alternate between. You’ll do each exercise for 20 seconds of intense effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, for a total of 8 rounds. This is a great way to get a full-body workout, as you’ll be working different muscle groups with each exercise.
  • A/B/C/D: Choose four exercises to move through. You’ll do each exercise for 20 seconds of intense effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, for a total of 4 rounds. This is a great way to challenge yourself and your cardiovascular system, as you’ll be working different muscle groups in quick succession.

You can also choose any exercises you like for your Tabata workouts, such as:

  • Cardio exercises: Jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, sprinting, rowing, jumping rope
  • Plyometric exercises: Squat jumps, tuck jumps, lunges, box jumps, push-ups, sit-ups
  • Strength exercises: Dumbbell rows, push-ups, squats, lunges, pull-ups, bicep curls

No matter which exercises you choose, make sure to listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Tabata workouts can be intense, so it’s important to pace yourself and avoid overdoing it.

Here are some ideas for Tabata exercises you could include in your next workout:

  • Push-ups
  • Triceps dips
  • Mountain climbers
  • Tuck jumps
  • Burpees
  • High knees
  • Bodyweight squats
  • Bodyweight lunges
  • Lunge jumps
  • Jump squats
  • Jumping jacks
  • Jump rope
  • Speed skaters
  • Box jumps

If you’d like to make your Tabata workout more strength-based, you can incorporate weights. Some of those exercise ideas include:

  • Clean and press
  • Dumbbell snatch
  • Front squat
  • Alternating reverse lunge
  • Push-up to mountain climber
  • Biceps curl

When doing Tabata workouts, it is important to listen to your body and take breaks when needed. If you are feeling lightheaded or dizzy, stop the workout and rest. You can also modify the exercises to make them easier if needed.

Tabata workouts are a great way to get a quick and effective workout that is perfect for people of all fitness levels. If you are looking for a way to improve your fitness, lose weight, or build muscle, Tabata is a great option.

Before you go, the trainer in me wants to share some additional tips to get the most out of your Tabata workouts:

  • Warm up before each workout with 5-10 minutes of light cardio, movements and dynamic stretches.
  • Choose exercises that you can do safely and effectively at a high intensity.
  • Focus on form over speed. It is better to do the exercises correctly at a slower pace than to rush through them and injure yourself.
  • Listen to your body and take breaks when needed.
  • Start with 2-3 Tabata workouts per week and gradually increase the number of workouts as you get fitter.
  • Be consistent with your workouts. The more you do, the better the results you will see.

With a little planning and effort, you can easily incorporate Tabata workouts into your fitness routine and start seeing results quickly.

Try it….as one of my mentors used to ask, “What have you got to GAIN?”

the answer: A lot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Follow me on Instagram @Hlthchic for FREE Tabata workouts weekly.

 

What’s that? Healthspan is the period of life during which a person is healthy and free from disease. It is different from lifespan, which is the total number of years a person lives. A person can have a long lifespan but a short healthspan, or vice versa. I want my healthspan to align with my lifespan, don’t you?   To do this, I’ll focus on these 3 things: strength training, eating healthy, and sleeping well.

So, here’s the thing, as we age, our bodies “can” go through a number of changes. My friends, I’m here to tell you that many age-related declines in health are related to lifestyle decisions…not age. And, one of the most significant changes is a decrease in muscle mass. The loss of muscle mass can lead to a number of problems, including decreased strength, balance, and bone density. In fact, muscle is so important, that it is used to determine not just lifespan and healthspan, but as a metric that unlocks our longevity potential!

To combat potential aging changes, it’s very important to strength train. Strength training helps to build muscle mass and improve bone density. It can also help to improve balance and coordination.

If you’re wondering how to get started, there are a number of different ways to strength train. One popular method is to use weights. Weights can be used to target specific muscle groups or to do full-body workouts. While a gym can provide a variety of options, it’s quite easy to get a great workout from home using your body weight, bands, gliders, or a ball.  Resistance bands are a great option for individuals new to strength training or who have joint pain.

No matter which method you choose, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase the weight or resistance as you get stronger.

In addition to strength training, it is also important to eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet includes plenty of protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit ultra-processed foods and try to avoid chemicals, dyes, and preservatives AND be aware that “natural flavors” aren’t healthy. Read your labels!

To help your muscle-building efforts on the diet side, protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for overall health. Whole grains provide fiber, which can help to keep you feeling full and satisfied.

It is also important to get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for muscle recovery. When you sleep, your body releases hormones that help to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. Most adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep per night. However, some people may need more or less sleep. (see prior post about sleep!)

Finally, it is important to listen to your body and take breaks when you need them. If you are feeling pain, stop the exercise and rest.

While strength training is a great way to stay healthy and fit as you age, below are some additional tips for anyone looking to improve their health and fitness today:

  • Start slowly. If you are new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts over time.
  • Find an activity that you enjoy. There are many different types of exercise, so find one that you enjoy and that fits into your lifestyle.
  • Set realistic goals. Don’t expect to see results overnight. It takes time and effort to see changes in your body.
  • Be patient. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Just keep at it, and you will eventually reach your goals.
  • Listen to your body. If you are feeling pain, stop the exercise and rest. Don’t push yourself too hard.
  • Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet is essential for overall health and fitness. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for muscle recovery and overall health. Most adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially when you are exercising.
  • Manage stress. Stress can take a toll on your health and fitness. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, yoga, or meditation.

Following these tips can help you stay healthy and fit as you age.

As my friend Sharon likes to ask, “What have you got to GAIN?”

To read more:

The Best Anti-Aging Secrets Aren’t So Secret

Avoid These Seed oils (PUFAs) & Why

The Fountain of Youth (Lifting!)

Have you started a workout program only to have it derailed when life gets busy or tough?  Friends, I’m here to tell you: You.Can.Do.This. YOU are strong. See, strength isn’t about being the fastest or running the farthest.  Strength is about showing up for your commitments to yourself consistently & with a positive attitude.

Big, bodacious goals are great. But…did you know there is a LOT of success achieved when reaching 80% of your goals? You see, it’s not about perfection and 100% day in, day out. It’s about the consistency of effort. Consistency is arguably the most important component when working to accomplish goals, in or out of the gym. Without consistency, efforts can be thwarted and forming habits can be more challenging.

If you find yourself struggling to stay on track, check out the strategies below to help with your health and fitness goal success:

Remember your why. Whether you’re prepping for the next competition, trying to get healthy, learning a new skill, or just trying to live life fuller, remember why you are trying to workout. Find your why, write it down, and reference it often!

Something is better than nothing. Have you ever skipped the gym because you couldn’t finish your workout?  It is always better to do something than nothing at all. When you do something, you begin to develop a habit/routine that improves your health.  If you walked instead of working out intensely, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you did something.

Find an activity you enjoy that keeps your body moving whether it is going on a walk, riding a bike, playing a game of soccer or basketball, practicing handstands (a work in progress for me), or whatever.  Just do it.

The key is not to prioritize your schedule but to schedule your priorities.  Let’s be honest, life can get busy and hectic and crazy. Make taking care of yourself a priority so you can take care of others.   When you have the most energy in the day, so do your best to work out then. Schedule it.  Pay attention when you hear yourself say, “I don’t have time” because what you are really saying is that “It’s not important enough”. Schedule your priorities.

Listen to your body. Follow your body’s cues and modify your workouts accordingly.  Instead of doing your full workout, you can modify weights or the number of sets — or even do some mobility/stretching. Not only is it ok, but it’s also smart to listen to your body and adjust.

Imagine how you will feel after your workout (or a week or month or year)! Our bodies are meant to move and a body in motion stays in motion.  Visualizing the “after” can help.

Find community and accountability. Surround yourself with others who are seeking similar actions. This is huge for me. I am SO grateful to my fitness friends for our mutual motivation & learnings shared over the years.

Create a plan with SMART goals. Write them down, post them where you can see them, and then share them with your friends and family. There are many ways to set goals and track success – experiment and find what works for you. (See my blog posts on goal setting.)

I hope these strategies help you get and stay on track with your workouts!

Remember:

  • No one is perfect
  • Everyone’s “strong” looks different, and
  • Consistency has a bigger impact than anything

Consistency is more powerful than strength and speed and it will take you further than stamina and talent in this journey.

So, you got this. YOU are strong. And yes, you can!

As always, so thankful for your time for reading.

 

Friends, working out can be tough — but it’s a lot easier when you have someone to help you stay motivated. Workout partners can provide support, encouragement, and accountability — all of which can help you reach your fitness goals.

In addition, working out with a partner can make the activity more enjoyable. You can talk and laugh while you work out, which can help you make the time go by faster. You can also push each other to work harder and achieve more. Many of my best friends over the years are women I’ve worked out or run with.

If you don’t have a workout partner, there are many ways to find one. You can ask friends or family members if they would be interested in working out with you. You can also join a fitness class or group, or find a workout buddy online. 

Once you find a workout partner, share your goals and consider setting some together. This will help you stay on track and motivated. You should also communicate with each other regularly to make sure you’re both on the same page.

Working out with a partner can be a great way to improve your fitness and your overall health. If you’re looking to get in shape, consider finding a workout partner to help you reach your goals.  They can help you stay motivated, accountable, and safe. They can also make working out more fun and enjoyable. And…they are cheaper than therapy!!

Find a partner & #buddyup today!

Lisa