The Beginner’s Guide to Macros

Disclaimer: the advice in this post is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Before beginning and exercise regimen or diet, seek counsel from your healthcare practitioner.

There are lots of dieting fads out there, so many that it can be overwhelming to try to balance nutrition for the average healthy person who just needs a basic guideline to help them figure out the amount of nutrients they need on a daily basis. They say there is no magic formula, but there is a simple way to manage nutrient intake, and that’s where macronutrients come in. Macronutrients are divided into 3 groups: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. The USDA recommends the following ranges for macronutrients, based on your activity levels:Protein: 10 – 35%, Carbohydrates: 45-65%, Fat: 20-35%.You need all 3 of these categories in order for your body to function at it’s best. And the word macro means big, so think of tracking macros as looking at the big picture of your overall nutrition. Still wondering “why these categories”? We’ll tell you.

Protein

Proteins are the building blocks of cells and muscles. The 8 essential amino acids found in many animal proteins and even a few plant proteins can help you build muscle and repair tissues in the body. Lean protein is necessary to refuel after a workout. Protein also keeps your metabolism functioning in a healthy way. Several lean sources of protein are chicken, lean beef, quinoa, whey, greek yogurt, lentils, and fish.

Macros

Carbohydrates

The carbohydrate category probably contains the largest variety of foods. When counting macros, carbohydrates include, fruits, vegetables, and starches. Although many look at macros as simply energy in vs. energy out, I encourage you to remember that the quality of the fuel you put in your body does count for something. Carbohydrates help preserve muscle and low glycemic carbs, such as sweet potatoes, help stabilize blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates also restore energy levels. Examples of nutritious carbohydrates are strawberries, broccoli, and brown rice.

Fats

In the 90’s, fat was a dirty word in the nutritional sense. People were obsessed with everything being low-fat. However, the human body needs healthy, unprocessed fats in order to store energy and transport nutrients effectively. Imagine trying to have a healthy metabolism without your body being able to transport the nutrients you receive from other foods, pointless, isn’t it? Fats make this happen for vitamins A, E, and K.  Healthy sources of fat are nuts, avocado, coconut oil, and extra-virgin olive oil, as well as small portions of real butter.

If you have trouble making sense of nutrition and and figuring out what you need and in what portions, tracking your macros can make keeping up with your food intake much simpler. Just remember to get your nutrients from healthy foods, and you will be well on your way to eating a better diet in no time!

Sources

https://www.acefitness.org/blog/5904/how-to-determine-macronutrient-needs-based-on

https://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/Nutrition/DRIs/DRI_Macronutrients.pdf

 

Happy Women’s Health Month!

disclosure: The following post contains affiliate links.

Hi There!

It’s national women’s health month! These days it seems like there’s a never ending list of exams, checkups, and screenings all pertaining to a woman’s health.

You could spend your entire lifetime in the doctor’s office, or at least, in the waiting room.

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about it all right now.

There’s a way to condense the amount of tests you have done each year.

See the graphic below. Thanks to Oscar Insurance for providing this cool graphic that helps de-mystify all those yearly check-ups! They are a new type of health insurance provider in NJ and NY, moving into Cali and Texas soon, that offers many services that help their members take better control of their health, for example their Doctor on Call service. Through the Oscar app, their members can speak directly with their doctor with the Doctor on Call service with any health questions they may have, without having to make an appointment or even leave their house!

http://www.hioscar.com

Okay, so that’s a lot to remember! Most importantly, Give yourself a good health foundation by taking charge of your health now.

Be sure to eat nutrient-dense foods.
Energy comes from what you eat, not from energy drinks.

Workout several times a week. This is something that
I love doing and ties in with my third point. Strength training is something that can be done in a gym or at home, using resistance bands and body weight.

Manage the stress in your life. Find a hobby that you love, and no Pinterest is great, but pinning does not count as a hobby. Get alone and pray and read Scripture. Keep a prayer journal

Keep a fitness and nutrition journal. I have pen and paper journal, but I’m also part of an online community that lets me send out a notificatioan whenever I complete a workout, and I post my meals for the week on my fridge.

Set goals for yourself. Having trouble breaking those goals down? Hire a personal trainer or a fitness coach that has experience in areas that you want to work on.

These are all tools I use to manage my health.

Are there any specific tools you’ve found motivate you or inspire you to take care of your health? Share them in the comments below!

Julie

Motivational Monday: Jessica’s Transformation

 Good morning! I’m so excited about my week, and have a huge announcement for Friday! Yes, this is a big step for me. Oh, and my hubby has a full-time job now! PTL! Now we’re on the same schedule, and I’m so excited about the changes going on at our house!

This week’s inspirational story come’s from the heart of my good friend, Jessica. The transformation of this lady is especially dear to my heart. You see, we were good friends in college, and are still friends. She’s one of the most caring people I know! I remember when we would go to the gym and Jessica would laugh…the entire time…now I laugh thinking about that. hahaha. Her story is proof that all things are possible to them that believe!

 What was your fitness defining moment?The moment I was no longer terrified to run outside. I used to run in my townhome because I had such a fear of what people would think seeing a woman so obviously obese running. Now, I run with confidence! 
 Who impacted your journey into fitness and why? The two people who come to mind immediately are Kodi Reed & Jessica Dinka. Both are my coaches to fitness and help push me beyond the limits I attempt to set for myself. They both believe in me even more than I believe in myself at times. what are some ways that you sneak fitness into your day? My lovely 25 pound toddler is a simple way. Picking her up, dancing around the house to music, squats, and her favorite is downward dog. I catch myself accidentally exercising without even thinking with her around.
How do you go about planning healthier meal choices for your day?Currently, I am following a personalized meal plan from Beachbody. Typically, I would look online to find good recipes with ingredients I already had but needed to branch out some. I track all of my calories using the free application, MyFitnessPal–add me jessicagross94 
What scripture best describes your health journey? 
“I will praise you, Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of the marvelous things you have done.” Psalm 9:1 This Scripture reminds me always to go back and thank the Lord. Every step of my journey to health He was with me giving me the strength to push through a hard workout, stamina to run a half marathon, wisdom to plan out of meals, and even the finances to support a healthier lifestyle. God is the author of all good things, so all the praise in my journey to health ultimately goes to Him.
Here’s Jessica’s before and after pics! 
 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Overcoming-Obesity/178173405709290

Jessica’s results of clean eating, T25, and running!



I’m so proud of my friend, and her accomplishments! I can’t wait to see the next chapter of her story unfold! 
What was your health/fitness defining moment? Comment below! 

Get an extra 40% off all bargain books at Booksamillion.com. Hurry! Sale ends Wednesday.

Allergies, Pollen, and Hayfever, OH MY!

Tis the season…to sneeze.
News stations have been reporting that we have had the highest pollen count in 20 years…and my ears, nose, and throat said, “Amen”! This has been a rough allergy season for me, but the past few days, they seem much better, and my migraines have ceased for the moment. I don’t even have to take medicine but once every 3 or 4 days, as opposed to every 3-4 hours. “What has brought about this turnaround?”, you might ask. Well, allow me to share with you what has worked for me, so that you may try it yourself. Of course, with a doctor’s supervision.

No wheat, or dairy, except for yogurt, and pepper jack cheese(because of the capsaicin, which clears sinuses). Although recently stated by prominent members of the medical community to be an old wive’s tail, this always reduces my symptoms. If I’m having too much drainage. I know immediately to not cheat on my gluten-free diet, and eliminate dairy as well. After a few days, my sneezing reduces.

Black Cumin Seed Oil. A natural inflammation fighter, this supplement tastes like aftershave going down, but after a week’s time, cut my use of claritin in half. My headaches are almost non-existent now.

Leave your shoes at the door. Not tracking pollen all over my house has kept my symptoms to a minimum. We leave our seasonal shoes in a basket by the door.

Vacuum, often.

Wash your hair and face, daily. Pollen gets blown into our hair around our face, and for those of us with longer hair, causes the little pests to be in close contact with our eyes and face.

Breathe. Practicing pilates has taught me to breathe more deeply in order to calm my body’s response to allergens, not allowing my system to get too hyped up. The unrelieved stress will often trigger a headache or allergy attack for me. Be patient. Take a moment to pray.

I hope this will help ease your seasonal issues. I still have some days that are better than others, but my symptoms have been greatly reduced.

Consider it pure joy when you encounter various trials. James 1:2

How to Have a Healthy St. Patty’s Day

Hi There!
As you all are aware, St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner! I was thinking this morning, since Micah and I try to be healthy, and avoid gluten, this holiday could be a challenge, but I gave some thought, and realized that this should be the easiest holiday to celebrate! It’s all about green! (And please, forget about those cookies with the green sprinkles, can’t we be a little more creative?) There are so many healthy options out there that are healthy and green.
-take a Clean Green tray to your office/school party filled with green fruits and veggies.
Kiwis, spinach, cucumbers, bell peppers, honeydew, pistachios, wasabi peas, edamame, sugar snap peas, bean sprouts, celery, white raisins, avocado/guacamole, salsa verde, artichokes, green beans, broccoli, green onions…and many more
-make an all green salad…these are really full of flavor, and antioxidants
-get out and walk (in green grass)
-get up and dance to irish folk music
-wear green to a group fitness class

-do a simple leg workout, such as 40  squats, bridges, or lunges or standing kickbacks and leg raises
-drink green tea
-if you must dine out, ask for a box as soon as your food is delivered, and box up half of the portion. this will decrease your calorie intake
-everything in moderation, if you’re going to have a beer. drink a low calorie, and that’s it.
Maybe my St. Patrick’s Day won’t be so unhealthy after all!

Have fun and be safe!

Yours in fitness!
Julie

How Determined Are You?

Committment: This word is one that probably holds less meaning than any other word in the dictionary, to the current generation. We are a society of instant gratification. Period.We want our fast food, entertainment, and our lives to be well, uh, faster. Never mind who we hurt in the process…who cares about learning the value of people…we must get to where we’re going…AND FAST. The most appreciated journeys are just that. It is so important to enjoy or at least learn from our journeys…when you’re at a destination, yes you’re there, but your deepest memories of the experience will come from the journey itself, not the destination. So many people look at a destination, i.e., competition, wedding, weight loss, and think the result is amazing, so they sign up for change, and then get frustrated and quit, after the first roadblock. CHANGE is UNCOMFORTABLE. But through change, you have the opportunity to learn something you never experienced before. So before you decide to make a change, count the cost, and purpose in your heart to make that change happen. You will spend less time backtracking and spend more time headed in the right direction if you do some serious soul searching BEFORE you begin. When you begin to take those next steps in you fitness journey, enjoy the process. Find a class you enjoy, a trainer you get along well with, healthy meals you actually like, a time amount that is challenging but reasonable for you to devote to your routine, and stick with it. Don’t look back.
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3,4

Motivation:When it’s tough to move on

       Let’s be honest…The past few weeks have been difficult for me to get motivated….You might think, “But you’re a fitness professional…you’re immune”. WRONG. I’m not immune. Let’s banish the thoughts of fitness professionals who claim to never eat sweets, bread, alcohol, or other such temptations…It’s not a realistic picture. I learned a long time ago that if I never treat myself, then I’ll crash and man, will I crash hard and quickly. And I’ll crash for hours, maybe days, maybe weeks…lol, but really, that picture is not pretty. Life happens, that’s the blessed truth. But one valuable lesson I’ve learned is to make the most of the times when I’m at home…It’s MY time, my clean meals, and my fitness routines that matter then, no one else’s. I was asked recently by someone what it would take for me to give up my health and fitness regimen. I looked at that person and said, “You’re asking me to give up the one thing I do for me – that’s not going to happen. If I don’t get that time in, then what you want from me is not going to happen.” Really though, some women go shopping, some love pedicures (there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that), some women have other hobbies. The one thing I do for myself, and my hubby is we try to indulge in healthy foods and exercise. Next to my quiet time with God, then time with Micah, this is the most critical part of my day. If I don’t get that 15 min. – 1 hr., then I’m one cranky caterpillar. Here lately, fitness has helped me deal with stress, with emotional pain, and brother has there been a lot of it.

       Micah’s grandmother passed this week. But she wasn’t just his Nana, I claimed her too, even for the short time I knew her. After both of my grandmothers passed away last year and my husband and I started dating, Nana adopted me. It has been during the past month as she digressed that I spent a lot of time on the recumbent bike, praying that we’d get to love on her just one more time. My thoughts would be so blurry and scattered to the outer edges of my mind, but something about hopping on that bicycle became my prayer chair, and the place where I could clear my head…I took out stress from work and other areas on that bike, and honestly, it helped. But oh, how my goal of working towards that fitness contest in November was not as all important for me. I had to find another reason to train in addition to that. Strength training makes me feel like a valkyrie…just kidding…but pretty close. I needed to feel strong. The tension I felt in my mind began to fade as a contracted my muscles to the max…the more I thought, the more I placed the tension in my muscles. Now I’m back working towards that contest, but more importantly, I’ve persevered….I didn’t just stop…I still kept going. I pity those who think they can not deal with the physical because of the mental and emotional issues they face. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivators affect each other… so Persevere.
“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7