Watch Giveaway and Winning the Weekend

First of all, there is an amazing giveaway opportunity for someone to win a beautiful, wooden Jord watch in today’s post! I am wearing the Ebony & Sable watch from the Cassia collection. It was fun to swap my Apple watch for something a little fancier for the weekend! (I also have world’s puniest wrists and Drew loves to make fun of them and say he could snap them like twigs….thankfully he hasn’t tested the theory)

Some topics are disputable, but I think we can all agree that weekends are welcomed by everyone and never seem to stay long enough. This particular weekend is was extra special because Drew and I celebrated Valentine’s by staying at a downtown hotel and just spending uninterrupted time together (and if you’ve read this post, you know that’s my love language). I know you aren’t here for all those details, so let’s talk about some practical takeaways that might help you balance all the memories and life-giving experiences that the weekends bring without sacrificing your health and fitness goals.

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Loving Yourself Without Being In Love with Yourself

The “Self-Love” topic is one I never thought about until I got more involved with social media. I was not raised hearing my parents tell me to “love yourself, Madeline, because if you don’t....you can’t expect anyone else to.” They told me every day that they loved me. My parents showed me (and continue to) that I was loved with their provisions, their time, their correction, and everything else that I took for granted as they selflessly invested in my siblings and me. But honestly, nobody had to teach me about loving or prioritizing myself, that comes as naturally as my desire to eat (no problem there).

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Day Dates, Carb Cycling and Protein Goals

For those of you who are familiar with the idea of tracking macros instead of calories (although they are similar concepts), let me offer some answers to BROAD questions that could help navigate a sometimes confusing conversation. I cannot answer extremely specific questions about what your personal macro count should be unless we work together in an 8 Week Coaching format, and that isn’t to be vague, it’s just that macros are the MOST individualized approach to nutrition and in order for your nutrition to accurately match all of the characteristics that make you who you are (height, weight, training style, goals, diet history, body type, carb sensitivity, non-exercise calorie expenditure, etc) I have get all the details to give you the best advice

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Exercise Smarter, Not Necessarily Harder

This training technique marries two elements of training that are synergistic even though most people never bridge the gap. There is so much inner strength to be gained from the discipline of exercise, but there is also tremendous frustration when a person’s efforts seem futile in the results they are hoping to see outwardly. Strategic circuit training will change the cycle, accelerate results and have you excited for each new challenge. 

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Marriage: You asked, We answered....

With that being said, when I asked for topics that would be of interest and value to you, one of the most prevalent was marriage/relationships. To be fair, I don’t think anyone qualifies to be an expert in this area and if they tell you they are, I’d steer clear. Relationships are so tender, so deep, so uniquely multifaceted that it takes constant sharpening, repairing, sacrificing to allow them to flourish. So yeah, anyone who tells you that they are “easy” or should be is probably missing out on the deeper levels that are completely worth the work.

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Be STRONG to RUN-- Strength vs. Cardio

Let’s get right to it-- this post is for all my running friends out there who know strength training needs to be a bigger part of their routine, but don’t know exactly where to start or just have trouble staying consistent. If you asked me to write this post two years ago, I wouldn’t have much to say because I ran all the time, loved it and suffered through strength half-heartedly out of conviction, not enjoyment.

Fast forward two years and I’m at a point so happy and excited with strength training that I am having a hard time training for the Boston marathon because it means giving up some of the time I spend circuit training (I NEVER would have predicted that). I still LOVE to run and want to improve as a runner because it will always be one of the most invigorating, mind-clearing, endorphin-boosting, challenging, satisfying form of exercise to me,

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Meal Prep Simplified: 80% of Your Success

Meal prepping is not a recipe for success in and of itself, but it’s about as close as you’ll get. It's common knowledge that nutrition is more important than any workout, and can be the missing link in many people's progress. Food is fuel for your brain and body, so a little extra time and planning is worth the investment. For many people it’s the convenience of less nutritious foods that sabotages their intentions more than anything else. Taking a an hour or two twice a week to set yourself up for quick, easy, delicious options will allow you to fuel yourself well even amidst the busiest of schedules.

And you'll feel on top of the world when you finish and your fridge is full and ready to go!

Escelante, Utah (totally safe, Mom)

Escelante, Utah (totally safe, Mom)

1. Prioritize Protein

Whether you track your macros or not, protein is the most effective way to stay satiated (full) and the hardest source to find on the go. When you first realize what your body’s protein needs are, it seems like you’ll never get it in, but then it becomes second nature and you’ll get strategic about fitting it in throughout the day little by little and in no time you’ve got lean muscle, fewer cravings and more clarity of thought.

I always cook 3-4 chicken breasts with various herbs and spices (usually from Trader Joe’s) to have on hand throughout the week. I can incorporate them into so many meals and I find that I cook them well (I typically sear them, then cover to allow them to cook with steam) they don’t dry out at all.

Hard Boil eggs or just have a carton of liquid egg whites on hand to make omelets, add to oatmeal for more volume or add to rice for a protein boost to simulate “fried rice.” Eggs are a great source of protein since they don’t have carbs or fat (unless you use the yolk).

Greek yogurt (fat free or low fat) is an easy way to boost protein without many additional carbs and fats. You can add stevia, berries, protein powder, granola, etc to sweeten it without too many unnecessary carbs. Cottage cheese is also a yummy snack paired with vegetables or fruit!

EXAMPLE: Chobani Flip Vs. Plain Chobani Greek

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EASY way to save 10g Fat, 18g Carbs, and gain 6g protein by adding choosing plain and adding some "friendlier" toppings

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Checking the labels of foods will quickly show you where the sources of protein are that allow you to fill your daily allotment without sabotaging your carbs and fats. You;ll learn to flip things over before you add them to your cart and get creative with your foods to avoid unnecessary items (like fatty sauces) that steal a lot of macros without filling you up!

2. Have “VOLUME” Foods Ready To Go

What I mean when I say “volume” foods is basically foods that take up space on your plate that you can eat a lot of that don’t add up to many macros. Everyone likes to munch, but it can quickly add up if you’re not careful. My favorite volume foods would be:

  • Spaghetti Squash- (WAY fewer carbs than sweet potatoes per serving)

  • Greens- You can add a huge side salad to your plate, kale to your stir fry, lettuce to your sandwich, etc

  • Broccoli, Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts- Fills your plate, your tummy and barely makes a dent in your macro budget

  • Cauliflower “Rice”- You can make the biggest stir fry you want with chicken, eggs, peas, carrots, soy sauce, etc and you carbs will still be sitting pretty.

  • Cantaloupe, Honeydew, & Berries- These are some lower carb fruits that fill you up without sending your carbs out the window like bananas can.

  • Protein Ice Cream- I’ll let you make this and then you’ll understand why I have it 4-5 times a week.

3. Treat Yourself

That’s right! Food is enjoyable and SHOULD be. It’s natural to crave chocolate and sweet things, so be realistic about it and realize that it CAN be part of your diet without it sabotaging all the healthy options you are choosing. My advice is to make some compromises and retrain your taste buds a bit. Try some items that are a little “lightened” up and stick to the serving sizes you have planned for.

Inputting the treat that you plan to consume into your app of choice (if you’re tracking your macros), allow you to piece together the rest of your day while knowing all along that you’re going to enjoy something later! When you get to that point of the day, you enjoy every bite of your Enlightened Ice Cream or Halo Top or dark chocolate square or candy bar. Realizing that it’s made up of carbs, fats and protein like everything else. Granted, it won’t provide many micronutrients, but that’s OK with the ratio of whole, nutrient-rich foods you have consumed throughout the day.

I'm no food blogger, but come on....

I'm no food blogger, but come on....

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MY BEST ADVICE:

Any eating approach that strips you of your enjoyment of food, is not going to last long. It’s better to have a plan that allows you a little wiggle room, but ensures sustainability and can be more than a 6 week test of will power while your family is counting down the days until you are yourself again. So track your treat, enjoy your treat, and be done with your treat with no feelings attached other than, “Halo Top is pretty good for healthy ice cream.”

HOW TO LIVE WELL THIS YEAR

I can’t offer insight into many areas of your life, but I can promise you that each of those many areas will improve if your body is healthy, strong and equipped to live well. I say that with every ounce of understanding that our health is in God’s hands and people will face trials that no amount of human effort could prevent or change. For many, exercise is not a means to an end in itself-- it is a box to be checked just as brushing one’s teeth.

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ULTIMATE STOCKING STUFFER GUIDE

Christmas is around the corner and this post is going to make those last minute gifts for your fit friends (or yourself) a lot less stressful! Thank goodness for Amazon Prime because Drew and I are getting a little dangerous in our last-minute shopping. I always promise myself I won’t do this and then without fail, I always end up waiting until the last minute to buy gifts!

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How To Stop Diminishing Your Passion

I think that’s what I enjoy most about getting to know people and learning about where they find their energy and passion creatively. Ultimately, all of these strengths come from the Lord, but seeing the different way He has packaged and distributed them is incredible to me. Women are powerful and anytime I get to share this passion of mine through fitness in order to learn about their passion and power, it’s an exciting collision of sweat and so much more.

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