All Posts By

Hannah Chapman

Make Your Own Acai Bowl for Less Than $5

You know them, you love them, you pay $10 for each one at your local health-food juice bar.

They’re packed with antioxidants and vitamins, taste like a healthier ice cream, and are usually topped so heavily you can’t see what’s at the base of the bowl. Any guesses? 

If you guessed acai bowls, you deserve an acai bowl yourself (pronounced ah-sigh-ee for all of those who are still afraid to say it out loud).

But please don’t go out and spend your paycheck on it, because I’m here to show you just how simple making one at home can really be. 

Smoothie bowls have taken the health and pop-culture world by storm lately, and for once, I am 100% on board. My philosophy is: why drink something when you can eat it?

Sure, smoothies are great, but I love nothing more than spooning a thick bite of banana-acai-peanut butter goodness into my mouth, no matter what the occasion. After trying this recipe, I’m sure you all will be able to relate. 

What makes acai so great? Let me tell ya, it lives up to the hype. Acai is:

  • Packed with antioxidants (10x that of grapes!).
  • Low in sugar so your insulin won’t spike, making it a great option for people of all health backgrounds. 
  • Loaded with iron, calcium, Vitamin A, and fiber. 
  • Rich with flavonoids– plant-based pigments that help fight against free radicals. 
  • Suspected to help prevent issues including arthritis, inflammation, obesity, erectile dysfunction, and more

Note: I personally prefer the frozen packs to powdered acai as it provides a lot of texture and thickness to the smoothie, but powdered acai will provide the same health benefits. 

Basic Acai Bowl

Time: 5 minutes

When to Eat It: Whenever

Perks: Read above

Sh*t You Absolutely Need:

1 pack Sambazon Acai
1 banana (frozen for a thick smoothie, fresh for thinner)
1/4-1/2 cup milk of choice

Sh*t You Might Want, But Do Not Necessarily Need:

1 tsp Sun Potion ashwagandha powder (aids stress, anxiety, and energy levels when taken over a long period of time)
1 scoop Further Food collagen peptides (helps strengthen hair, nails, and skin, provides most of the matrix of connective tissue)
1 tsp maca powder (helps balance hormones & energy levels)
1 scoop protein powder of choice (for the gains!)
1 tsp ground flax seeds 

Most Importantly… Topping Ideas:

Nut butter of choice
Granola
Bananas/frozen or fresh berries
Chia seeds
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Coconut shreds

The Recipe:

  1. Place all the sh*t you need and whatever you may want but not need in a blender, and blend, blend, blend!*
  2. Transfer to a bowl, scraping the bottom of the blender to get all of the mixture. 
  3. Top with whatever your heart desires and devour!

*The less milk you begin with, the better; then you are better able to gauge how much you need for the smoothie to blend without thinning. I would recommend starting with a splash of milk, crushing up the pack and banana, and blending before adding more liquid a little at a time. 

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All Your Oats Have Been Missing is Golden Milk

Introducing, my obsession… golden milk!

Now, you’ve probably heard the term and thought it sounded cool, but had no idea what the heck it actually was.

Well, I’m here to give you the low-down on what is, in my opinion, one of the best health crazes out there right now. Yes, I particularly love the taste, but there are a ton of health benefits from golden milk, too.

What is golden milk, and why is it good for me?

Golden milk is essentially a spiced milk whose key ingredient (turmeric) gives it a luscious golden color. Turmeric has recently stepped onto the stage as a near-superfood with all of its transformative health benefits and versatility in the ways you can incorporate it into your diet. 

Turmeric has been used for thousands on thousands of years in ancient practice and its potential is beginning to be unlocked again today. Known for its medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties, the spice owes this all to curcuminoids, some super strong antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.

This is important, because many widespread Western diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, and type II diabetes can be attributed to long-term inflammation. By adding some turmeric to your diet, among other preventative measures such as eating a healthy diet and exercising, the risk of contracting these diseases can be significantly reduced. 

Beyond reducing inflammation, curcuminoids have a significant effect on your brain and nervous system. They enhance BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which stimulates new neural connections to be formed. I’m not saying this stuff makes you smarter, but like, the science doesn’t lie.

Bottom line?

Turmeric is super good for you and any amount of it in your diet won’t hurt.

I love incorporating it into:

  • Tea or milk lattes
  • Curry
  • Eggs (also obsessed with turmeric-poached eggs; they’re beautiful)
  • Veggies
  • Chicken.

I literally put this s*** on everything. And I have zero shame about it.

If you’re not sure how you can start using turmeric, or golden milk, I have a recipe to give you so you can try it too.

These golden milk overnight oats are super easy, delicious, and can be eaten hot or cold. You simply make them the night before, open up your fridge, and VOILA, you’ve got yourself a nutritious, wholesome breakfast. You can thank me later. 

All Your Oats Have Been Missing is Golden MilkGolden Milk Overnight Oats

Time: 2-5 minutes prep, 8-10 hours in the fridge

When to Eat It: Any time of the day, I won’t judge. 

Perks: Easy, delicious, and can be eaten hot or cold

Sh*t You Need:

1/2 cup oats (I used steel-cut, but any kind will work)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
Pinch black pepper (to activate turmeric and make it more bioavailable)
1 T brown rice syrup, honey, agave, or other sweetener of choice
1/2 cup milk of choice

Optional:
1 tsp ashwagandha
1 tsp maca powder
1/2 tsp chia, flax, or hemp seeds
Berries/banana (for topping)
PEANUT BUTTER (also for topping)

The Recipe:

1. Place all that ish in your favorite mason jar and shake, shake, shake!

2. Leave in the fridge overnight, wake up, and enjoy!

3. Oats can be eaten hot or cold; I prefer mine hot, and microwave them for about a minute and fifteen seconds before eating. 

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I’ve Meditated Every Day For a Month, and You Can Too

It’s actually been more than a month. 

But it wasn’t always easy. And it wasn’t always what you’d think of as “meditation“. When I first started, my mind was RACING about 2000 mph with no hopes of slowing down. My thoughts used to go from 0 to 100 real quick. 

But now? Now, after some practice, I can sit in silence and just appreciate it. I can surrender to my experience in the moment without any judgement or expectations. Rather than worry about what might go wrong or what isn’t perfect, I accept the moment for what it is without labeling it as good or bad. Because at its core, every moment just is.

Why should you care about meditating?

Okay, okay, let me back it up a little bit. Mindfulness and meditation are making a big break in society these days, and for good reason. Basically, it’s the practice of being present in the moment, wherever you are. That probably sounds terrifying, right?

I used to think so too. I used to fear reality more than I fear frogs (and believe me, I’m really afraid of frogs) because that would mean I’d be forced to see things for what they were. My worries, my insecurities, my doubts, my stresses, they’d all be revealed to me and I couldn’t deny them. 

I’d see all those things in their true form.

Well, once I did, guess what that true form really was? Nothing. Nada. They were a figment of my imagination. I had fabricated all those doubts and insecurities myself. As soon as one uncontrollable negative thought would come to mind, it would snowball and build itself up so big it could eventually control me.

The worst part? This is how most people live every single day. And let me tell ya, it’s straight up exhausting

I've Meditated Every Day for a Month, and You Can Too

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Well, how else am I supposed to live? I have this and this and this and this to worry about, my problems exist.” And maybe you’re right! But all I’m saying is that in this moment, right now, does it matter what happened at work earlier that day? Does it matter that you said one little thing you thought was wrong? Think about it. No. The answer is no. 

How to get started with your own practice

It seems too simple, right? Clear your mind, focus on the now, and you’ll be happy. It may sound easy, but the execution takes diligent practice, consistency, and hard work. I promise you, though, that it’s worth it.

You deserve to live with ease and to have the ability to enjoy your experiences without getting lost inside your head.

The key to waking up to your mind’s habits is to simply observe them. Become a silent watcher of your own mind, and you’ll be freaking amazed at how ridiculous some of the thoughts that cross your mind really are. Don’t judge them, don’t judge yourself for thinking them. Just acknowledge them, let them be, and then let them go. This is the essence of meditation, and it’s possible for everyone.

As a beginner meditator, I would suggest using guided meditations (I usually just search for one on Youtube). It gives you structure, commits you to a certain amount of time, and essentially keeps you in the moment by constantly reminding you to come back to the present. A few of my favorites are this one for manifestation, this one for chakra clearing, and this super short one to open your heart and awareness.

meditation

I can’t tell you exactly how to begin meditating. I can only tell you that you 100% should do it. There is no right or wrong way to sit with yourself or become more present; meditation is extremely subjective. Each person will respond differently to different methods.

Explore some options, such as:

  • Mindfulness,
  • Visualization,
  • Breathing techniques,
  • Or even physical meditations such as yoga (especially kundalini yoga, if you’re down to be open-minded). 

So, you might be overwhelmed with all the options out there. Rather than see that as an obstacle, see it as an opportunity.

Try sitting in silence and watching your thoughts for just one minute at first. You’ll find that you can do anything for just one minute, and you’ll probably go over your time limit (that’s good news).

Continue this practice, bumping it up to two minutes when you’re comfortable and progressing from there. Things feel easier when they’re broken up into tiny chunks and eventually, you’ll be able to sit for 15-20 minutes without fidgeting or reaching for your phone.

Just take the first step and meet yourself where you are at that very moment. Whether you’re a student, full-time employee, parent, or simply a human being, you need meditation. Trust me, it will change your life, like it changed mine, and slow it down for the better. Things will look richer, feel easier, and simply be more enjoyable. Stop making life into an emergency and start living it fully. Just do it.

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The Secret to Quick and Effective Workouts

Superset Your Way to Success With This Full-Body Workout

All the gains, half the time.

Want to get fit but can’t seem to find the time? Hate spending hours on end in the gym trying to get through a grueling workout? Tired of just wasting your time? Well, you came to the right place because I have a solution: supersets.

Supersets are my secret weapon for ultimate gains and time economy. The idea is to complete two exercises consecutively without rest before continuing on to the next. For example, if you’re working on arms, a good example would be tricep cable pushdowns followed by cable bicep curls. No rest or transition needed.

Performing one exercise directly after another raises your heart rate (a plus for for all of my cardio haters out there), allows one muscle group to rest while another works, and saves you SO MUCH TIME. Believe me. 

Superset Your Way to Success With This Full-Body Workout

There are two main “philosophies” of supersetting: 

1. Perform two exercises that target the same (or paired) muscle groups.

This overloads your muscles and, in effect, forces them to grow. You won’t be able to lift as much weight as you would normally, but this is a great option if you’re trying to hit a single muscle group and still save time. 

For example, if you’re working shoulders, a good superset would be lateral raises followed by front raises. You’re targeting different muscle fibers of the deltoid, yet still pushing the limits of that group since you aren’t resting in between.

2. Choose two unrelated muscle groups and opt for a more full-body type workout.

This allows one group of muscles to rest while the others work, and ensures that you are targeting more muscles in your body. If you can’t get to the gym 5 times a week or are simply aiming to be healthy rather than making measurable gains, full-body workouts are a good place to start. 

I would personally incorporate some more cardio-focused exercises for this category so that you get all the benefits of exercising. An example would be to perform jump squats followed by back rows, or something to that effect.

Now, I realize a lot of this might sound confusing. So, to help get you started, I have a workout for you, complete with videos of the exercises I used.

Use this full-body workout as a starting point or adjust it to fit your needs, whatever works for you!

Full-Body Superset Workout:

Hint-each group of 2 exercises is to be performed together in a superset.

1. Skullcrushers (can be subbed for an overhead tricep press), 3 sets of 10-12 reps
2. Barbell bicep curls, 3 sets of 10-12 reps

1. Renegade row + push-up, 3 sets of 8-10 reps
2. Svend press, 3 sets of 10-12 reps

1. Barbell upright rows, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
2. Barbell front raise, 3 sets of 10-12 reps

1. Walking lunges (weighted if possible), 3 sets of 15 reps
2. Jump squats, 3 sets of as many reps as possible for 30 seconds

1. TRX mountain climbers, 3 sets of 15 reps
2. Plank, 3 sets of one minute

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Why You Need to Stop Fighting Your Body, and Start Loving Yourself

Stop Fighting Your Body, Start Loving Yourself

Love yourself first.” It’s easy to say, but incredibly difficult to do.

I’m here to tell you my story– to show you that even under the strongest doubts, it is possible to practice self love and forgiveness. With nearly four years of self-improvement under my belt, I can say I’ve made immense progress in my journey to self love. But I’ll never be perfect. Even now, I sometimes struggle to love myself all the time. But that is okay. That’s part of it.

I still look in the mirror with a critical eye sometimes. I still occasionally feel guilty when I eat one too many cookies. But the difference is that now I can step back, realize what’s really going on, and forgive myself.

In the past, I would labor over that cookie or that unflattering photo and create a storm of self-hate and disrespect.

Self-love is something to be cultivated, not perfected, and it’s possible for everyone.

My story began when I was in elementary school: a happy-go-lucky, carefree kid who loved cake and pushed the limits of Abercrombie’s sizes. Soon enough, though, the beauty standards of society became a reality surrounding me, and I was forced to face the fact that I was… different. My friends were all smaller than me, I couldn’t share clothes with anyone, and I compared myself with every other girl in the room.

Fast forward to high school, when fasting and cardio became my identity. I hated my body, I hated myself, and for some reason I thought that if I was skinny, that everything wrong in my life would suddenly turn right. I was so wrong in this assumption. I found “clean eating” but took it to an extreme; my orthorexic tendencies caused me to miss out on birthday parties, get togethers, and, to be honest, life. 

After months, or really years, I got there. I was skinny.

But nothing else in my life changed. I still hated how I looked, I couldn’t stop comparing myself to other girls, and I was still incredibly unhappy. Sure, it was nice to hear the compliments, but that external validation only fed into my fears. I was so blind to the idea that there could be something other than this, that body positivity could be a reality or even attainable.

I guess I got tired. I guess I got fed up with counting every single calorie I ate and ensuring that everything I fed myself was “low-cal” or “clean”. I felt something inside of me that wanted more, that knew there was a different path for me– and that if I continued down my current one, I would just keep on searching for something that didn’t even exist.

Your body does nothing but work to keep you alive each and every day. It exists for you and cares for you in ways that nothing else can.

Each cell inside of you is there to serve a purpose, affirmed by you: either you can help your body grow and flourish, or you can hinder it. Sure, it’s easy to work against yourself, but there is absolutely no sense in fighting against the one thing that is all for you… So please don’t do it. 

We all have stretch marks, we all have rolls when we sit down, and we certainly all have that little fat pocket between our arms. But you know what? That makes us human. It means we are alive and here, and that should be enough. Nobody’s judging you as hard as yourself but, on the flip side, nobody can love you as much as yourself.

How you treat yourself is extremely telling in how much you will tolerate from others. I used to punish myself and put myself down; I had the idea that I was undeserving of any kind of love or happiness. In return, I interpreted negativity from situations that aligned with my thinking.

Body image is woven into all other aspects of life– whether it be relationships, work, school, or well being. What you put out, you will get right back.

There’s no easy way to get past a negative self-image. I’m not saying there is any one path, but it’s important to recognize that there is a path. Start listening to your body and remember that balance is the key to sanity. While you should be nurturing your health nine times out of ten, it won’t be the end of the world if you slip up. That makes you human and serves as a reminder that you are trying, and I promise, even that is enough!

Once you free yourself from negative self-talk and restriction, the world opens up to you. You’ll be amazed at the situations and opportunities that begin to arise when you stop saying no and begin to say perhaps. Really, the world is yours to take and anything you could imagine is within reach. It just starts with self-acceptance. Before others can love and accept you, you must be able to sit alone with yourself and feel comfortable. It takes work and by no means is it a quick fix, but it is accessible for each and every one of us.

So, please, stop fighting your body. Put the weapons down and trade them in for love, gratitude, and self-care. Listen to your body and make sure that your head and your heart are in balance. Release the idea that you have to restrict yourself or look a certain way to be happy, because otherwise you will be chasing an ideal that cannot be reached. Love yo self, treat yo self, cherish yo self. Life opens up when you do, so make the step towards reaching your potential today by deciding to work with your body rather than against it. 

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Upgrade Your Coffee by Going Bulletproof

We’ve all heard the term “bulletproof coffee” thrown around and, most likely, we’ve all wondered what the heck it could mean. Uh, yeah, coffee makes me feel bulletproof, but that’s only after approximately three cups. Just me? 

But really, “being bulletproof” is a new trend sweeping the nation. The idea was curated by the founder of Bulletproof, Dave Asprey, who believes in biohacking the brain and biology of the body through nutrition, exercise, and some other weird things we probably haven’t heard of before.

Wait, what is biohacking, you may ask? It’s basically the philosophy that we can better our mental state and performance with the help of external forces.

Upgrade Your Coffee by Going Bulletproof

In the spirit of complete honesty and transparency, I’ll preface this article by saying that though I am a pretty big fan of Asprey and his company (I listen to his podcast religiously and enjoy a nice hot cup of bulletproof coffee myself), I take most of his ideas with a grain of salt. A lot of claims are not backed by specific scientific research but by general research that could support it. In other words, none of his claims have been specifically tested but there are ideas borrowed from past experiments that have been conducted.

So, to give you an example:

In a nutshell, bulletproof coffee is regular coffee blended with up to 2 T of butter (grass-fed and unsalted or ghee, nothing else) and MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil, meant to be a breakfast replacement. It’s marketed to be delicious, curb hunger for four to six hours, promote mental clarity, support hormones, and initiate fat burning. But here’s the science of it: 

Your body goes into a fasting state during sleep and remains in that state until your first meal of the day. Where carbs and protein are converted to glucose and blood sugar is raised by insulin, fat in itself converts to ketones, which keep blood sugar relatively low. When carbohydrates are kept at a very low concentrate in your diet, your body will go into a state of ketosis, in which ketones are burned rather than glucose for energy. Therefore, you burn more fat by using this energy source rather than glucose.

What the heck does this all mean?

Basically, drinking bulletproof coffee promotes fat burning throughout the day. And helps you with that brain fog. And is an amazing upgrade from your normal cup of coffee. I mean, who doesn’t love butter? And coffee?

Upgrade Your Coffee by Going Bulletproof

Here’s my take:

I love bulletproof coffee, but I never consume it by itself for breakfast. Never. Not once. Maybe this makes me biased, but I don’t believe in drinking your breakfast and I never will.

Though Asprey claims it’s sufficient energy for your morning, I tend to disagree. Fat does contain 9 kcal of energy per gram, but even still your body needs fuel to get through the day– fuel which coffee in itself cannot provide. 

I do, however, believe that eating low-carb, high-fat breakfasts is beneficial for metabolic function, specifically fat-burning. For me, this makes breakfast a mixture of bulletproof coffee, eggs and egg whites, and an extra protein source, usually turkey or chicken sausage. 

Upgrade Your Coffee by Going Bulletproof

Yep… Definitely some carbs in there.

That being said, my body is different than yours and I am not one to prescribe breakfast recommendations. I’m just putting options on the table. If you feel better after eating carbs for breakfast, then do that! If you want to try only slurping a bulletproof coffee down for breakfast and see how it makes you feel, I support your decision 100%. What I don’t support is drinking coffee for breakfast, feeling sluggish and hungry till lunch, and continuing to do it anyway because you think it’s going to make you lose fat. Don’t do that.

Find what works for you and live it.

And now… A recipe:

Bulletproof Coffee

Time: 2 minutes

When to Drink It: With or before breakfast

Perks: Read above

Sh*t You Need:

1-2 cups of your favorite coffee*
2 T unsalted, grass-fed butter or ghee
1-2 T MCT or brain-octane oil

*Dave recommends mycotoxin-free coffee, but it’s not completely necessary to get the effects.

The Recipe:

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend, blend blend!

2. Pour into your favorite mug.

3. Sip that frothiness and enjoy!

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How to Get at Your Goals, According to Psychology

We got goals.

Everyone does, right? Yet how many times have you set a goal, only for it to slowly slip from consciousness and become abandoned within weeks…? I don’t know about you, but I have quite the goal graveyard.

We tell ourselves, “I’m going to lose weight,” or, “I’m going to workout more,” but without true intention and action, those words alone don’t make anything happen. They don’t have any meaning on their own.

I’m here to direct you through adding meaning to your goals. I spent the past semester learning about personal health and behavior change, so believe me when I say I gotchu. Get ready for the science to blow your mind.

Goal Getter: A Comprehensive Guide to Realistic Goal-Setting

According to the health belief model, whether or not a person will change their behavior is based on their perspective. They have to believe that the perceived benefits, barriers, and consequences are too great to ignore. This, paired with this is the belief in one’s ability to succeed in making a change, influence someone to take action. That belief in yourself is called your self efficacy

There are several stages of change, illustrated in the transtheoretical model of behavior change.

  • Someone in the “precontemplation” stage believes that there is nothing wrong with them and that their behaviors are just great the way they are.
  • Then, “contemplation” includes thinking about changing, but not being incredibly serious about taking action.
  • The “preparation” stage is when you start to actually plan for the behavior change. For example, you might buy a gym membership or plan a new workout regimen
  • Those preparations quickly turn into action; this is the stage where the behavior change is actively being made.
  • After six months of action, one enters the maintenance stage, and voila! A change has been made. 

How to Get at Your Goals, According to Psychology

So that’s how it all goes down. When you find yourself in the preparation stage, it’s important to set goals to fuel your action phase. Not your big goal, your “I’m going to get in shape!” or your “I’m going to build my resume!” These goals need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. To clear up what that kind of goal looks like, let me break it down with an example.

“I’m going to workout (with a mix of strength training and cardio) 4-5x a week for a month straight before the first week of May.” 

Specific: Outlines what type of exercise will be performed and how many times per week. An example of a non-specific goal would be, “I’m going to go to the gym more.” 

Measurable: It’s certainly possible to measure how many days per week one works out! Check.

Attainable: For someone who’s pretty fit who has access to a gym, there should be no problem getting in the gym 4-5 times a week. Check.

Realistic: Similar to above, this goal is pretty realistic. Something that wouldn’t check the box (for me, at least) would be, “I’m going to squat 500 pounds by next week.” See what I’m getting at?
Unrealistic goals, or aiming higher than is kind or forgiving to yourself, might seem like a good idea but they can set you up for failure and low self esteem. If you’ve taken a year off exercise, maybe don’t start with 4-5 times a week. There’s a difference between starting off strong and overdoing it

Time-bound: This goal has an end date and clarifies how long the intention will be set for. Of course it could continue after the first week of May, but the fact that it’s set for a month straight is a good sign. Check!

Goal Getter: A Comprehensive Guide to Realistic Goal-Setting

Get the point? I hope so! Now you’re ready to begin goal-getting.

It’s important to remember that goals are mere guidelines and that your journey towards reaching it won’t always be smooth sailing. You have to be prepared for hardship and failure. After setting your goal, write down every single thing you could think of that would block you from attaining it; these are called barriers. 

If you plan ahead and decide how you will react to each barrier as it meets you, you will be less likely to abandon your goal when the going gets tough.

In terms of the example goal I’ve been using, some common barriers to working out include time, materials, relationships, etc. You may believe you don’t have time to workout, you may not have a gym membership, or you may prioritize school and friends over working out. As long as you know this, you can plan for the change and ensure that these barriers won’t get in your way. Make time, use what you’ve got, and if it’s really important to you, it’ll show.

Now, all you have to do is start. I promise you that the hardest part of doing anything is just getting going with it. I can’t promise you that it will be easy, but I know that it’ll be worth it.

Anything you could wish for is already yours, you just have to unlock it! Armed with these tools, you’ll be sure to succeed. Determine what you want to change and GO GET IT. You got this.

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Lift Like a Girl: The Benefits of Strength Training for Women

After a year of working on my own fitness, I made a breakthrough. Rather than spending hours on the treadmill or stairmaster (hating my life), I could spend thirty minutes to an hour in the weight room and get better results while, you know, not hating my life.

Crazy, I know. But let me elaborate.

It’s an extremely common belief that lifting weights (as a girl) will make you bulky. I’d like to challenge every bit of this belief and support you in your own journey towards weightlifting.

I know from my own experience and a lot of research that just doing cardio is not the answer, and success lies in a combination of cardio, preferably high-intensity, and strength training. 

While cardiorespiratory endurance exercise such as running five miles or laboring on the elliptical for an hour burns muscle and fat, weight lifting burns almost exclusively fat. Sorry ladies, that “fat-burning” zone is kind of a scam.

Plus, with more muscle mass, your resting metabolic rate increases, causing your body to burn more calories throughout the day than you would normally. That means you’ll be burning calories just by checking Instagram! On a serious note, though, it will boost your metabolism in a way that detox teas or a magic fix will never be able to. 

Lift Like a Girl: The Benefits of Strength Training in Women

To address the idea that lifting makes girls bulky, I’ll just say this: you have to try really, really hard to become bodybuilder muscular. It’s not going to happen by accident.

Believe me, I’ve been trying for three years, and I still haven’t reached that status. A goal many girls have is to “tone up,” but just cardio will never give you those muscle-building results. Building a baseline of muscular strength and building it up will give you the “toned” look, in conjunction with some cardio (which helps to shed off that extra fat).

In summary, it’s a combination of the two that will boost your results, depending on what works for your body.

Lift Like a Girl: The Benefits of Strength Training in Women

If I can do it, so can you!

Beyond sculpting a super hot bod, weightlifting has incredible effects on the mind. Once you begin to see results, it becomes an addiction and you strive to better yourself each and every time you step into that gym. You learn discipline and begin to find motivation within yourself rather than from an external source.

Confidence and self-esteem inevitably get boosted and all aspects of your life seem to fall into place.  When you learn to love your body, somehow you learn to love and appreciate all other corners of yourself and your life. If you’re skeptical about this, try it for yourself and let me know. 

If and when you do begin lifting weights, don’t expect results to come overnight. Like the 50 day squat challenges and what not, success just doesn’t happen in such a short time frame. You have to want it, be consistent, and love yourself along the way. Nothing good in life comes easy, and this applies to your own self. So get in the gym, get your head and heart in it, and lift all the things.

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Meal Prepping 101: How to Do It and Stay Inspired

Meal Prepping 101: How To Do It and Stay Inspired

Let’s talk for a minute about my one true love: food!

Alright, now that I’ve got your attention, let’s get serious. What even is meal prepping? Quite simply, it’s exactly what it sounds like: prepping meals to have on hand a week ahead in order to meet your goals and ensure that you’re eating enough on any given day. It is an art, it is a science, and it is very subjective.

Depending on your dietary needs, energy expenditure, plus a thousand other factors, your prep will look much different than mine, and you know what? That’s the beauty of it! Make it personal, make it fun, and keep it interesting. Here’s how.

Meal Prepping 101: How to Do It and Stay Inspired

Tips to Get Started

First and foremost, you need to have a plan. Fail to plan, plan to fail, am I right? Yes, in this case I am.

Okay, so set aside five to ten minutes to plan out your food intake for the week. Typically, I only prep for lunch and dinner as I leave myself enough time to make breakfast in the morning. If you’re the type of person to get up and go, make sure you prep for the most important meal of the day as well. Write out a meal calendar to serve as a rough draft of your intake for the week.

Be sure to include three meals and a couple of snacks as well. This way, you won’t have to question what you’ll eat and when, leaving you doubtless, productive, and full on tasty, healthy food!

Meal Prepping 101: How to Do It and Stay Inspired

Even if you don’t follow your meal calendar to a tee, it’s good to have some idea of what your food week will look like. This allows you to stay on track and maintain your lifestyle. It’s too easy for busy bees to forget to eat during the day, and meal prepping is a surefire way to avoid this.

Next up, choose a few staples from each macronutrient group to prepare in bulk. That way, even if you don’t make specific recipes, you’ll be able to mix and match to whip up a delicious, nutritious meal at any time! Here are some ideas.

Proteins

Meal Prepping 101: How to Do It and Stay Inspired

  • Chicken
  • Ground turkey -make meatballs, tacos, burgers, etc.
  • Steak (may be a little out of budget, but treat yo self sometimes)
  • Eggs/egg whites
  • Fish
  • Shrimp
  • Tempeh (find my absolute favorite recipe here)
  • Tofu
  • Beans/lentils – perfect in chilis, soups, or on their own

Carbohydrates:

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You’ll get the majority of your fat content from the not-so-lean meats (such as beef and chicken with the skin on), eggs, dairy (not the non-fat kind!), and the oil you cook your food in.

If you need an extra source of fat, my go-to is peanut butter but some other options include:

  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Fatty fish
  • Chia seeds

After you’ve planned out what you’re going to eat, you need to carve out some time to cook. For me, meal prep Sundays are the greatest day of the week, but Sunday may not be the perfect day for everybody. Look at your schedule and determine when you have enough time to chef up food for a whole week. Sure, it’s a bit time consuming, but it’s way more rewarding.

Finding Your Own “Recipe”

Meal prep is an art and, like all other art forms, is extremely subjective. Only you know what works for you and only you have the ability to control what you eat and when.

Your goals are obviously going to be different than mine, and that is okay! It’s important to tailor your prepping technique to fit your lifestyle and goals. Here are some tips on that…

  • For bodybuilders/powerlifters in the middle of a bulk or cut, I would recommend meal prepping in bulk. That means cooking up heaps of rice, sweet potatoes, protein, etc. to have on hand throughout the week. That way, you can mix and match to create meals at any time of the day.
  • For someone who’s looking to simply live a healthy lifestyle, I’d recommend preparing some food in bulk such as vegetables and grains, but preparing 2-3 meals to eat throughout the week. I like to make something like chili or a stir fry bowl and nibble on it for dinner all week. You may get a tad tired of it, but it’s better than scrambling for everything but the kitchen sink!
  • If you’re a bit forgetful, PLAN AHEAD. Have your tupperware for each meal and portion out each food appropriately. This way, there’s really no excuse to eat junk because you’ve set yourself up for success rather than failure. 

Staying Inspired

I get it… It’s easy to get tired of eating the same foods all the time. It’s important to switch it up as often as possible so you don’t get bored or underwhelmed, much like you would do with your workouts! If you have no idea where or how to find inspiration, let me help ya with that as well.

  • If you’re not all that creative (like me), don’t be afraid to admit it! Start checking out a couple of food blogs as a source of inspiration. You can make the recipes ingredient for ingredient or take what you like and leave the rest, whatever you may choose. A few of my favorites are The Roasted Root, Ambitious Kitchen, Minimalist Baker, The Iron You, and Oh She Glows, just to name a few. Shop around, find what works for you, and make it yours.
  • Another alternative for the option above is to follow healthy food and fitstagrammers. It’s a super easy way to spark ideas and share recipes and information. A few accounts to get you started include realfoodmatters (me!), shutthekaleup, eating_peanut_better, purely_elizabeth, and goodhealthgoodvibes
  • Beyond finding inspiration from others, another source is to step outside your comfort zone and continually try new things! If you love grocery stores as much as I do, really look at what they have and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Try new spices, vegetables, meats, and don’t be shy to make new combinations for meals. Let’s be real, life is more fun when you’re open to new experiences, right? 

No two meal preps will look the same, and that’s the beauty of it. Whether you need to scoop out every single meal into Tupperware or want to follow a more recipe-based approach, find what works for you and stick with it. Once you realize the benefits of prepping, I can promise you’ll never go back. Happy cooking and bon appetit!

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