Category Archives: Team Sizzle Fitness Members

Where do I go now?

Life has changed drastically for me. May 14th 2016 was the day that everything changed for me. It was the day that my fitness career, and any way I knew how to make money (bartending, teaching fitness) came to a complete stop. My ex boyfriend and I had an argument, and he broke my leg. I tell you this not for sympathy, but I have become a very different person in the past 9 months, and want to be completely transparent.

Life has been pretty damn tough. HOWEVER.. I always want to try and look for the positives in it. I know now, my relationship with my children has GREATLY improved, not that it was ever bad, but we have such a close bond now. Same with my mom – we have definitely had our ups and downs, but my mom is seriously the best ever in the world. She came to our house every single day to pick us up and take us to do stuff, take us grocery shopping, take care of me, and I am forever grateful to her. I am also very aware of my friends, and the “so-called” friends I kept around before. My relationships in general have become so much more important to me.

Recently, I found myself having to pull away from teaching my classes..and I am completely heartbroken over it. Teaching group fitness, being around groups of people and bringing that party energy is what I LOVE to do. I haven’t worked an 8-5 job in over 8 1/2 years, and now I’m finding myself looking at my days TOTALLY different. Before, I had much more time freedom, and that is so very important to me. What do I do now, I wonder? I shit you not, I absolutely had the thought of “let me get a sugar daddy” or “let me win the lottery”. Obviously, neither of those are viable options, and I have to create my own destiny.

I’ve had this website for about a year, and while I thought I had a vision for it before, it is not my vision for it now. My dream for this website is to create a community of women who are like minded, want to get healthier, and can be there for everything we struggle with daily as a support system. Bear in mind – I have been in fitness for 8+ years, and I’ve never had a 6 pack. Does this bother me? HELL NO. Did it use to? Absolutely. I always felt bigger than I should be, but now? Knowing that I have big strong legs that carried me through and out of an abusive relationship, I’m good. Do I have rolls when I bend over? WHO DOESN’T? Have I ever met a man I’m interested in for him to tell me “sorry girl, I don’t date women your size” HAHAHAHAHA no. The best part  is I am coming into myself and learning to love every single part of me, from my stretchmarks, to the grey hairs in my head that rear their ugly heads once a month before I color them away for 4 weeks 😉

Be on the look out for a lot more updating in the upcoming weeks, things are about to get a facelift round here!!!

Dance on and BE HAPPY!!! Life is too short to not see the blessings we have in front of us.

Love,

Em <3

 

Oh Snap, it’s September..

Which means, unless you’re here in Texas, you’re heading into jeans weather in the not too distant future. Jeans, go-with-everything, huge-staple-in-your closet, jeans. Also, muffin-top, dig-into-you-when-you-bend-over, jeans.

Are you ready for that lack of wiggle room in your life? I know I’m not. While I should have been eating perfectly over the summer, just as I attempt to plan every year, I always manage to fall off the wagon and then those jeans that made my booty look all kinds of good last year aren’t fitting the same now, WAHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Pity party over, it’s time to really buckle down and clean up my diet! I tried Intermittent Fasting, and while I find I can rock it out for a couple of days, I tend to fall off and eat something late night and it is hard for me to keep the schedule tight. I figured I’d give carb cycling a shot, since I always notice I feel leaner after days with low carbs.

flat_stomach_abs_workout_-_exercises_-_womens_health_uk__medium_4x3

Basically, what carb-cycling boils down to is mixing a high carbohydrate day with lower carbohydrate days in effort to lose weight.  Here are some facts about carb-cycling you should know if you want to give this a shot!

1. High Carb Days Should Be Placed On Your Heavy Training Days

The very first thing you must know as you go about designing this type of diet program is that in order to see your best results, you should be putting your highest carbohydrate diets on the days you perform your hardest workout sessions. For most people, this will mean leg day (or if you’re using a full body workout, it may mean going high carb on all three of those days).

2. Expect To Experience Some Water Weight Gain

Second up on the list of ‘musts’ that you need to know, and be prepared for, is that you will very likely experience some water weight gain when doing the higher carbohydrate day. For every gram of carbohydrate you take into the body, you’ll store four grams of water with this. If you’re eating 200-300 grams of carbohydrates on those high carb days, this adds up very quickly.

3. Choose Carbohydrates Highest In Glucose Or Complex Carbs

When it comes to food selection while performing a carb cycling fat-loss diet, you want to think glucose. Either simple glucose sources (preferably around the workout period when they are absorbed quickest) or complexcarbohydrates that will break down into glucose.

4. Decrease Fat Intake On High Carbohydrate Days

It is normal for most people to increase their overall calories on the high carb day (to boost the carb intake that much higher) but by lowering the fat intake, you allow more room for those carbohydrates without going really crazy with your calorie level.

5. Maintain Your Target Weekly Calorie Level For Fat Loss

The fifth fact to know about carbohydrate cycling, linked to the point above, is that your total weekly calorie intake must remain at what is necessary for overall fat loss.

Let’s say that you currently maintain your body weight at 2200 calories per day or, 15,400 calories per week. This means to lose one pound per week, you must create a calorie deficit (per week) of 3500 calories, or take in just 11,900 calories.

Let’s say you actually want your high carbohydrate days to be above maintenance (to really boost the benefits that this diet has to offer), and plan to have three high carbohydrate days.

Let’s set those three days at a calorie intake of 2400 (keep in mind protein should stay constant throughout the whole week).

Now, since those three days equate to 7200 calories, this means you have 4700 calories left over for the remaining four days, or about 1200 calories each.

As you can see, those low carbohydrate days are quite low in calories, however, after coming off the higher carbohydrate day most people find this to not be a struggle.

If you’d prefer not to bring your low carbohydrate days that low in overall calories, simply adjust the total calorie intake on the high carbohydrate days slightly downwards. That will give you more calories for those low carb days. For example, you might do three high carbohydrate days at 2000 calories and four low carbohydrate days at 1500.

I’ve been doing this since Monday. Today was going to be my high carb day, but time won’t allow me to get the “heavy” training in today, so I’m saving that for tomorrow. I do FEEL leaner, but I am waiting to make it through a week to take progress pics… I will update this when I have them!

For more of the article, please visit Bodybuilding.com

Image sourced from womenshealthmag.co.uk

 

What up, Water Workouts!!

Having spent a great deal of my summer unable to walk due to an injury, I had to find ways to keep moving even though I was on crutches. As soon as I was given the all clear to go in the pool, I chose this as my avenue to start my journey back to fitness! You may think of water aerobics, or working out in a pool as something your grandma might do! Maybe it wouldn”t be challenging enough for you, specially if your fitness level is high? Give it a shot – it’s a lot more tough than I anticipated – as well as a lot more fun!!!

tone-in-water

There are many benefits to working out in the pool, as opposed to on dry land:

Increase muscle strength – Water is a flowing and constantly changing product of nature, and as such can be every unpredictable in its movements. Since water flows in multiple directions, the resistance in the pool can range from four to 42 times greater than air, ensuring the body’s muscles get a rigid workout.  In fact, a study conducted in 2007 found that after 12 weeks of regular aquatic aerobic exercise, participants had made significant gains in strength, flexibility and agility.

Low-impact exercise – We may not often think of it, but the traditional impact we place on our joints during a “land workout” can be taxing. In water aerobics, the buoyancy of the water helps takes off some of the impact we tend to place on our body, due to our own water weight. In layman’s terms, our body’s is not subject to gravity in the water, therefore the impact our joints take on when, say, running in water, is not equal to the impact when running on land. This is particularly appealing to those with joint conditions such as arthritis or those currently undergoing physical rehabilitation.

Reduces blood pressure- Water resistance is not just a buoyancy feature to help work the muscles. In fact, the water pressure actually works with your blood as well and enables one’s blood flow to circulate more effectively throughout the body, effectively decreasing blood pressure and, in the long run, decreasing resting heart rate. This benefit means your heart is maintaining its productivity while putting less stress on your heart!

One of my favorite workouts to do was the kickboxing class I held at the gym, I just brought it to the pool and slowed the music down, but if you prefer a series of exercises to complete, check out this workout here.

For more benefits of exercising in water, please visit Healthfitnessrevolution.com

Image sourced: google.com

 

I’m injured – what now??

I recently had a wicked break in my leg, and found myself seriously sidelined. For me – working out was my LIFE..like, I taught 15 classes a week. How was I going to survive? Of course, for most people, working out isn’t how the bills are paid, but something done because EVERYDAY, you wake up and make a CHOICE to workout. Now, these choices are taken away, or seriously limited, and it’s overwhelming at times!

Physically, you can’t continue at the pace you have set for yourself, and that is a daunting factor, not only can you not do it RIGHT NOW, but when you are healed you have to learn how to get back to your previous state or better! The problem I encounter, as I’m sure many people do, is the desire to jump back in at the first sight of success. DON’T RUSH IT!! 🙂 Seriously though, listen to your dr and/or your body and don’t push it too hard..you don’t want to invite future issues to show up, not one bit!

Mentally I found it super hard to be injured. I had all this energy boiling over at first, I had a hard time sitting still. I wouldn’t say I fell into a depression, but more of a funk. This is super common when you stop exercising, because you’re missing out on those amazing post exercise endorphins that help keep you happy! Just like Elle Woods says..legally blonde

Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life. Keeping yourself limited and away from exercise can lead to the opposite outlook, so it’s important to try and do something!

I was able to find a few things I could do while being injured, but I also took the time to get to know myself better instead of going crazy trying to keep up with how I worked out prior, only now with modifications. I have this desire now to go out and try new and different things, and take more time for myself. It’s a humbling feeling to know I took the awesomeness of the human body, MY body, for granted until it’s abilities were taken away from me!

Eating healthily while injured is not only important to avoid unnecessary weight gain, but also to help heal your body from the inside out. Broken bones (as I discovered) need a lot of protein, so it is now the time to watch your food closely and not give in to all the comfort food that tends to make itself at home during times like this! (I ate a lot of pasta and carbs, carbs, carbs..lesson learned – don’t do it!!) Up your leafy greens and proteins to help your body heal.

Now I am well on my way to recovery, I do have to remind myself constantly I can’t just go do whatever I want. I have to take it easy, and listen to my body. I’ve always said as a trainer, “If it hurts – STOP!!” (if doing burpees suck, then keep going..if it hurts, then stop) and you have to be aware to avoid reinjuring anything that would set you back even further

How have you dealt with being injured? Did you find it affected you mentally, physically, emotionally?

 

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Obesity is taking over the world!

I just read an article that shocked me. Growing up, I was always made aware of just how many hungry children were out starving every night in the world, so I needed to think about them before refusing to eat the food that was made for me. Needless to say, I (up until this point) have always “known” that there are people who have to go without food for days on end.

A study has found that, for the first time, there are more obese people in the world than underweight ones. The research was published in the Lancet.
The percentage of people who are dangerously underweight has gone down pretty dramatically in the last 40 years.
last 40 years.

The percentage of people who are dangerously underweight has gone down pretty dramatically in the last 40 years.

BuzzFeed / The Lancet / Via thelancet.com

People are defined as “underweight”, medically speaking, if they have a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18.5.

Your BMI is your weight in kilograms divided by the square of your height in metres.

That’s obviously good news – it means fewer people are malnourished or starving. However, there is a flip sided. At the same time, lots more people have become obese.

 

That's obviously good news – it means fewer people are malnourished or starving. However, there is a flip side. At the same time, lots more people have become obese.

BuzzFeed / The Lancet / Via thelancet.com

Barely one person in 25 was obese – defined as having a BMI over 30 – in 1975. Now that figure is about one person in seven. BMI isn’t a perfect measure of whether someone’s obese, because it doesn’t take into account whether their weight is due to fat or muscle. But it correlates well with the health problems.

As the Lancet notes, high BMI and obesity is linked with “cardiovascular and kidney diseases, diabetes, some cancers, and musculoskeletal disorders”.

I’m certainly not understating the fact that there are many, many people in the world who are severely malnourished, I just find it saddening that in reading the article further, the obesity epidemic is spreading mainly in the rich, English speaking countries like the US, UK and Australia. This brings more attention than is needed to a disease of indulgence, where we should be focusing on bringing some supplies and relief to those who need it to survive.

What can WE do about it though? We can focus on ourselves and those around us, and try to be as healthy as possible. Obesity is a proven killer, but it can be defeated. Try to get good eating and exercise habits instilled into your daily way of life, and do the same for your kids. We have to teach our children a different lifestyle so they have a long, promising future, instead of a life cut short too soon.

For more on the article, please visit Buzzfeed.com

Images sourced from same article.

Featured image Copyright: lculig / 123RF Stock Photo

Feeling blue? Try moving your body!

Do you ever just feel down in the dumps for seemingly no reason? Or for a very good reason? I get it. I have been there countless times. What always, always has helped me overcome the struggle is just getting up and moving. I’m no medical professional, so I’m not gonna get all doctor-y on you. I can only say what works best for ME.

It’s hard when you’re not feeling like doing anything, when even getting out of bed is just such an arduous task. When you’re stuck in a rut, it is so incredibly important to remember to look forward, even looking forward just a couple of hours.

Exercise can offer a huge relief when it comes to depression. The movements will cause your body to release endorphins, that interact with the sensors in your brain to reduce the perception of pain, but also trigger the “feel good” positive feelings, similar to morphine! These endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind some pain medicines. However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body’s endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence.

Interesting to read about the science behind why exercise works as an anti-depressant!!

Speaking of endorphins, have you ever heard of a runner’s high? I’m not a runner, and can honestly say I’ve never had a RUNNER’S high, but I have most certainly experienced the feeling of everything being right in my world after a great hour of dance fitness or kickboxing! This is in part helped by the sense of community I have helped create, so grab a friend or family member if you don’t have access to a group to participate in. What is so important is knowing you have a support system behind you, not just in fitness, but in life. If you aren’t a member of Team Sizzle Fitness, I suggest you get signed up, as we have a community right here that has your back, specially on those down days!!

Regular exercise has been proven to:

Reduce stress
Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression
Boost self-esteem
Improve sleep

Exercise also has these added health benefits:

It strengthens your heart.
It increases energy levels.
It lowers blood pressure.
It improves muscle tone and strength.
It strengthens and builds bones.
It helps reduce body fat.
It makes you look fit and healthy.

If you’re having a hard time getting up and moving, it’s ok! Start out small. Work on 15 minutes, then as you get stronger, build up the time. I know you can do this!! Stay the course, or start anew, just remember we’re all on a journey, just at different points in the road.

For more information, and to view the article I found with the info, please visit WebMD 

Image source: Copyright: lightpoet / 123RF Stock Photo

Let’s talk boobs.

Ha, got your attention now!! But really, let’s talk boobs. Specifically, how you hold the ladies up when you’re exercising. No matter if you’re a hardcore athlete, or you are more of a yogi, if you are small chested, or if you rival Dolly Parton in the rack department, you need some support for multiple reasons!

I’ve always been large up top, so I have made my way through many, many sports bras. Uniboob, lack of support (leading to maximum bounce), multiple bras at a time, and one that I always felt like I was putting on a bulletproof vest! For the longest time, if you had anything larger than a C cup, you were stuck wearing black or beige vest looking things reminiscent of something your grandma might wear. Thanks to the rise of our workout clothes getting cuter in general, and in more places, we now have way more options that could EVEN be worn without a shirt! Whaaaat.

Not forgetting the smaller chested women, I know there is still a need! I guess it’s a personal choice, as I’ve seen some women go without, I just can’t wrap my head around the idea of not having to wear over the shoulder boulder holders. Ya’ll just get WAY more options when it comes to umm, everything 😉

Check out the video from Buzzfeed (click link for full article) I found that puts some popular bras on trial!

 

Here are some of my personal favorites:

The Ultimate by Victoria’s Secret
bra

This one is my go to when I have a hard day – like when I teach 4 high intensity classes. Minimal bounce, and it keeps my boobs looking normal shaped but it is definitely tight and you don’t forget it’s on! It’s like game face, only for your boobs.

I also like the Incredible by Victoria’s Secret
bra2

This one is for sure my lower impact workout bra. I’ll use it for pilates/yoga or just lifting. Plus side, it makes my boobs look amazing. Downside, a whole lotta bounce.

I’ve tried everything from Target bras, Nike support, Victoria’s Secret (obviously!) to Enell (this was the bulletproof vest).

There is one bra that I’ve always wanted to try since I saw it on Shark Tank – the SheFit. This bra looks like it could completely be life changing. Not kidding! It’s completely adjustable, you can change both the strap length and the band size! How awesome could that be – it would be like a tempur pedic for your boobs!! Here’s the link for it – check it out!! SheFit

A good sports bra is like a good foundation for your exercise. You get the girls contained and happy, and you can move along nicely with your day. Wear something that doesn’t fit well or is uncomfortable – forget focusing on the workout. You’ll be constantly messing with it and feeling bothered! Take it from me, if you haven’t already encountered that miserable feeling, it’s no fun, I promise! Find something you love and it’ll make you happier to get ready to go workout. What are some of your personal favorites? Which ones DON’T you like? Comment below!!

XO

Emily

Images courtesy of Victoria’s Secret

Featured immage : Copyright: alanpoulson / 123RF Stock Photo

 

Intermittent Fasting..what the whaa???

If you haven’t heard by now, Intermittent Fasting is the latest and greatest in new diet trends. Summed up, Intermittent Fasting (or IF) is breaking up your day (or week) between periods of eating, and fasting (NOT EATING?!?! Yes.) It doesn’t say much about which foods to eat, rather than when you eat them.

The jury is still out on this one, but there are zillions of studies in favor of IF, and also against it, so it’s up to you to make the decision if IF is right for you! (Also, check with your doctor if you have any health issues).

You can choose between sleeping/fasting for 12 hours each, or fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8 hour period. Depending on your day and your schedule, different hours may work better for you than others. It may be better for you to fast for 24 hours, then have the “eating window” be the following 24 hours.

A little bit of history..

Humans have actually been fasting throughout evolution. Sometimes it was done because food was not available, and it has also been a part of major religions, including Islam, Christianity and Buddhism.

When you think about it, our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t have supermarkets, refrigerators or food available year-round.

Sometimes we couldn’t find anything to eat, and our bodies evolved to be able to function without food for extended periods of time.

If anything, fasting from time to time is more “natural” than constantly eating 3-4 (or more) meals per day.

Some of the most popular methods include these:

  • The 16/8 Method: Also called the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, for example from 1 pm to 9 pm. Then you “fast” for 16 hours in between.

  • Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.

  • The 5:2 Diet: On two non-consecutive days of the week, only eat 500-600 calories. Eat normally the other 5 days.

For a lot of people, myself included, the 16/8 method works best for my day. I am extremely active 4 days a week, then moderately active 2 days and I do absolutely nothing active on Sundays.

How does it work?

Here are some changes that occur in your body when you fast:

  • Human Growth Hormone (HGH): The levels of growth hormone skyrocket, increasing as much as 5-fold. This has benefits for fat loss and muscle gain, to name a few (4, 5, 6, 7).
  • Insulin: Insulin sensitivity improves and levels of insulin drop dramatically. Lower insulin levels make stored body fat more accessible (8).
  • Cellular repair: When fasted, your cells initiate cellular repair processes. This includes autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells (9, 10)
  • Gene expression: There are changes in the function of genes related to longevity and protection against disease (11, 12).

These changes in hormone levels, cell function and gene expression are responsible for the health benefits of intermittent fasting.

Most people will try IF for weight loss purposes, so in order to lose weight there must be a general decrease in calorie intake which is definitely something IF will do! Be aware though, during the eating period, it’s not a free for all!! We still have to be conscious and make good decisions, so it’s not a “lets go to Cici’s pizza and go HAM, then hit Ben and Jerry’s”!!!!

A huge side effect of course is going to be HUNGER (or if you’re like me, you get HANGRY!) Your body will adapt to your new schedule, provided you make a choice to stick to it, otherwise you will be confusing your body (and not in the good way like muscle confusion!) As mentioned before, do not proceed with IF if you have a medical condition and haven’t consulted with a medical professional.

For the full article, please visit Authoritynutrition.com

Image sourced from same site.

How to deal with the winter gym blues..

We all tend to get sick in winter. It’s just one of those things that happen. But how can we stay healthy, when everyone around us seems to be on their deathbed with the flu, or constantly sniffling and sneezing? Being active sure helps! I was reading this fantastic article and found some very interesting facts..

In 2012, for example, research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that adults who reported at least five days of exercise per week spent 43 percent fewer days suffering from upper respiratory tract infections than those who were only active one day or less per week. The researchers were not shocked to find that sick individuals who exercised on a regular basis also experienced reduced symptoms. Duh! — right?

You want to listen to your body though..too much of a good thing can be a bad thing!! (Hey, donuts, looking at you)

A study conducted by the Society for General Microbiology made headlines by suggesting that while lighter exercise (such as walking) can keep colds at bay, strenuous exercise (think marathons) can actually increase the likelihood of developing an illness — like a cold or flu — due to immune system depression.

The studies that raise the “too much exercise might be bad for you” alarm primarily have to do with aerobic activity. In fact, there is very little research to suggest that lifting weights suppresses the immune system in those who strength train regularly.

The bottom line: Making strength training a regular part of your routine, if you haven’t already, is imperative to keeping your immune system in high-functioning form and seasonal bugs at bay. And since strength training only once in a while may be counterproductive, try not to fall off the strength-training wagon at any point this winter — or ever, if you can avoid it!

We know that doing a little bit of exercise, or just moving, can help when we’re feeling awful, but we need to take care not to over-do it!

A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology compared the effects of light versus strenuous exercise on the immune system explained the body’s response to “overdoing it” in the following way: endurance athletes and heavy exercisers can become more susceptible to colds and upper respiratory infections because their immune system cells, called Natural Killers (NK), which are responsible for going after the microbes and viruses that invade our bodies and make us sick, don’t react well to stressful endurance activity. NKs love a brisk walk, for example, which causes them to increase in number, but running a marathon can reduce NK numbers in the body, thereby leading to illnesses and potentially serious infections like pneumonia.

One of the most important things we can do for ourselves when we’re feeling rundown? SLEEP!!! (Listening to your body again, blah blah)

Aim to get seven to eight hours per night. To get a better sleep, set a regular bedtime and try to stick to it, then try waking up at the same time every day. Try scheduling morning workouts — if you put your sweat sessions off until the late evening, they can boost your energy levels too much and keep you awake.

Being mindful of your stress levels and getting adequate rest can benefit you in many areas of your life, not just in the gym — and not getting floored by the flu is just one added bonus!

Ok, all things said, do I go workout, or do I hide out in bed and binge watch some Netflix??

“Generally, a good rule of thumb is that if your symptoms are above the neck and there are no body aches or pains, then you’re probably okay to go to the gym,” says Cedric Bryant, PhD, FACSM, chief science officer and fitness expert for the ACE. “If you just have the sniffles or a mild head cold, going to the gym and participating in low- to mild-intensity exercise can actually give you a slight boost and help you feel better. But overall, generalized body aches and pains tend to be more suggestive of the flu, and exercising is not advised in this case.”

If you feel the need to get up and exercise when you’re sick, be mindful of everyone else at the gym, and maybe just keep the workout at home!!

Full article at Oxygenmag.com

Image sourced Copyright: subbotina / 123RF Stock Photo

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