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!)

Friends, muscle loss is a common concern as we age, impacting strength, function, and overall health. Read on to learn what you need to know and how to combat or reverse it.

What is Muscle Loss?

Muscle loss, called sarcopenia, starts as early as your 30s and accelerates with age. It increases the risk of falls, and fractures, and limits daily activities. Experts believe inactivity, poor diet, genetics, and chronic conditions play a role.

The Good News:  Muscle loss is treatable! Here’s how:

  • Exercise: Strength training and aerobic activity are crucial.
  • Protein Power: Prioritize protein intake and consider EAA supplements for better absorption. (Check out my last few posts related to this subject…you’ll see why it’s near and dear to my heart!)
  • Stress Management & Sleep: Reduce inflammation and promote tissue repair.
  • Regular Checkups: Early detection is key.

You also may want to consider an amino acid supplement after talking with your functional medicine practitioner. Here’s what I take during different periods of the year depending on that quarter’s goals. 

By taking action today, you CAN build AND maintain muscle health, stay active, and age powerfully.

 

As we age, our muscles naturally lose strength and mass. This is called sarcopenia, and it can make everyday tasks like getting dressed or climbing stairs more challenging.

You might think sarcopenia is a problem for much older people, but it actually starts earlier than you might think! Muscle strength and power (how quickly your muscles can contract) start to decline around age 40. This happens because some muscle fibers, called type II fibers, shrink faster with age than others. These type II fibers are the ones responsible for powerful movements.

As we age, we can lose muscle mass and strength. This is called sarcopenia, and it can make everyday activities like getting dressed or climbing stairs more difficult. You might think this is just something that happens when you get really old, but it starts earlier than you might expect.

Around 40, our muscles can start to lose their power and strength. This happens because the type of muscle fibers used for powerful movements (like sprinting or lifting heavy objects) are more prone to shrinking with age.

But, here’s the good news: even though muscle loss is common as we age, it’s not inevitable! Recent research shows that strength training with weights can actually reverse some of the age-related changes in these muscle cells! This means you can potentially slow down or even prevent muscle loss by incorporating resistance training into your routine.

So my friends, it’s never too late to start strengthening your muscles. AND, the benefits of preventing muscle loss with age are clear: regular exercise, especially weight training, can help you keep your muscles strong and functional as you age. Imagine a world where everyone feels strong and capable well into their golden years!

Are ya ready to get started? Let’s ditch the “too old” mentality and embrace the power of lifting. TODAY.

Stay active, lift some weights, and keep your muscles happy! They’ll thank you for it later.

Carpe Diem,

Lisa

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

Ditch the Stereotypes, Embrace the Benefits: Why Everyone Should Lift Weights

Weight training isn’t just for sculpted bodies or gym rats anymore. It’s rapidly becoming a powerful and accessible form of exercise for people of all ages and abilities.

The best part? The benefits of weight training are universal! Whether you’re a woman, man, or young adult, incorporating lifting into your routine can bring about:

1. Increased Strength: Putting stress on your muscles during lifting triggers them to adapt and become stronger. This translates to effortless everyday tasks, improved athletic performance, and a boosted sense of confidence.

2. Boosted Metabolism and Weight Management: Building muscle is like adding fat-burning furnaces to your body. Muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than fat, helping you manage weight and achieve your fitness goals.

3. Improved Heart Health: Don’t underestimate the impact of lifting on your heart. Studies show that it can lower blood pressure, reduce hypertension risk, and enhance circulation, keeping your cardiovascular system strong and healthy.

4. Better Body Mechanics: Strong muscles are the foundation for good balance, coordination, and posture. This leads to smoother movement, reduced risk of injury, and a more confident physical presence.

5. Protected Bones and Muscle Mass: Lifting weights stresses your bones in a healthy way, boosting bone density and lowering your risk of osteoporosis. Additionally, it helps preserve and build muscle mass, crucial for overall health and well-being.

So, how often should you lift? It’s an individual journey! Beginners can start with 2-3 sessions per week for 20-30 minutes. As you progress, you can increase the frequency and duration to fit your goals. Remember, consistency is key!

Don’t let outdated stereotypes hold you back from experiencing the transformative power of weight training. Customize your approach, find what works for you, and unlock a world of strength, health, and confidence!

How often you lift weights depends on your individual goals and experience level. Here’s a roadmap to guide you:

Beginners:

  • Aim for 2-3 sessions per week for 20-30 minutes each.
  • Focus on mastering proper form and technique to build a strong foundation.

Advanced Lifters:

  • Gradually increase to 4-5 sessions per week for 30-60 minutes.
  • Consider incorporating split routines, targeting different muscle groups on different days.

Remember:

  • Listen to your body: Take rest days when needed to avoid overtraining and injury.
  • Consistency is key: Aim for regular workouts to see optimal results.

Bonus Tip: Consult a certified trainer for a personalized workout plan tailored to your specific needs and goals. They can help you determine the optimal frequency and duration for your weight training journey.

The icy grip of winter tightens, days dwindle like fallen snow, and motivation for that jog around the park? Buried deeper than a penguin in Antarctica. But hold on, fellow fitness enthusiast! Resist the siren song of hibernation, for within the winter wonderland lies a treasure trove of movement possibilities. Let’s ditch the doldrums and rediscover the joy of staying active, even when the thermometer dips lower than your willpower.

Indoor Oasis: Your Living Room Gym Awaits

No need to brave the blizzard! Transform your living room into a winter fitness haven. Dust off those trusty bodyweight exercises: lunges that sculpt and squats that strengthen, push-ups that defy gravity, and planks that chisel your core. Invest in a set of resistance bands for endless possibilities – bicep curls with a wintery twist, rows that banish holiday-season slouch, and leg presses that’ll have you conquering icy hills with ease. Embrace the cozy atmosphere: light some candles, put on uplifting music, and let your workout feel like a cozy dance party, fueled by hot cocoa and determination. Mmmm!

Embrace the Chill: Winter Sports – Nature’s Playground

For those who crave the crisp bite of fresh air, winter offers a playground of invigorating possibilities. Lace up your boots and hit the snow-covered trails for a cross-country skiing adventure. Imagine the crunch of snow under your feet, the rhythmic whoosh of your poles, and the breathtaking scenery surrounding you. Feeling playful? Grab a sled and relive childhood joy, careening down snow-covered hills with laughter echoing in your wake. Ice skating offers a graceful glide, a dance on a frozen canvas, where strength and artistry meet. And who can resist the thrill of a downhill tumble? (It’s all part of the fun, right?) For those of us in Texas, we may not have snow, but we DO have the cold right now!

Community Spirit: Warmth Within, Togetherness Without

Staying motivated isn’t a solo act. Find your community, your winter fitness family. Join a local indoor exercise class, a yoga studio offering candlelit sessions, or a dance group that grooves to frosty beats. Let the energy of others fuel your own, and forge bonds with like-minded individuals who share your love of movement, even in the coldest months. Don’t underestimate the power of virtual communities! Join online fitness challenges, share your winter workouts on social media, and connect with others who are also battling the winter blues. The encouragement and shared experiences will keep you warm and moving.

Building a Cozy Routine: Embrace the Slow Burn

Forget about pushing yourself to the limit in sub-zero temperatures. Instead, embrace the winter pace. Schedule shorter, more frequent workouts throughout the day. (Check out my 4-minute Instagram Tabata workouts, for example!) Take a brisk walk during your lunch break, do a quick yoga flow while the kettle steams, or squeeze in some bodyweight exercises while your morning coffee brews. These bite-sized bursts of activity are more manageable and add up to big benefits. Listen to your body, prioritize rest, and savor the slow burn of consistent movement.

My Winter Story: From Icicles to Inner Fire

Last winter, I fell into a familiar trap: the cozy hibernation mode. “It’s too cold to go for a trail run!” But one freezing morning, inspiration struck in the form of some girlfriends braving the cold, so I donned my warmest gear, laced up my sneakers, and stepped into the crisp air. The initial shock, a slap of cold reality, soon gave way to invigorating warmth. My lungs filled with icy air, my muscles protested, then embraced the challenge. And as I finished that run, while my cheeks were numb, I felt a fire rekindled within.

Challenge Accepted: Ignite Your Winter Flame

This winter, let’s challenge the narrative. Let’s banish the notion that cold weather equals fitness surrender. Instead, let’s embrace the season as an opportunity to move differently, to discover new joys of movement, and to build a cozy, sustainable fitness routine that keeps our flames burning bright. So grab your warmest scarf, your most determined spirit, and step out into the winter wonderland. Remember, the snow might be cold, but your inner fire is hotter than ever.

Ready for the Adventure?

Share your favorite winter workout tips in the comments below! Have a favorite cozy routine? A quirky indoor activity that keeps you moving? Let’s inspire each other and conquer the winter blues together! Remember, a little movement is better than none, and every snowflake we dance through strengthens our resolve. Let’s make this winter a season of movement, a testament to our unwavering spirit, and a celebration of the joy that comes from staying active, even when the world around us is frozen.

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