Category Archives: Beauty

Our 2016 Summer Essentials

iGnite - Summer Essentials

It’s time to get into the summer state of mind – ready to face the sun, relax & spend time by the water with family & friends. When it comes to summer essentials, there are lots of things that come to mind: music, sunscreen, beach totes, cool drinks, flip flops and much more.

Here is our Summer Essentials guide to make sure you’re ready for your best summer ever:

Summer Essential Playlist

  1. Seven Years / Lukas Graham
  2. Sugar / Flo Rida featuring Wynter
  3. Work From Home / Fifth Harmony featuring Ty Dolla $ign
  4. Let’s Go / Calvin Harris
  5. Can’t Stop the Feeling / Justin Timberlake
  6. Peanut Butter Jelly / Galantis
  7. Cake by the Ocean / DNCE
  8. Boys of Summer / Don Henley
  9.  Sun Daze / Florida Georgia Line
  10. Summer Love / Justin Timberlake
  11. I Want You to Know / Zedd
  12. Hula Hoop / Omi
  13. Send My Love / Adele
  14. Just Like Fire / Pink
  15. Wasted Time / Keith Urban

Beauty Essentials

  1. Keep your nails looking fresh with our favorite nail polish colors: OPI Mod about You or Essie Bikini So Teeny
  2. To keep a bronze glow while protecting your skin, try these sunless tan products – Arbonne Liquid Sunshine Tinted Self Tanner and Clarins Self Tanning
  3. The best summer antiperspirant is Secret Clinical Strength Clear Gel in “Completely Clean” — it does not leave white marks and keeps you smelling fresh even after workouts!
  4. No time to shower?  Try GoodWipes Body Wipes — they are biodegradable, hypoallergenic, alcohol-free, Paraben-free, and have no added fragrance. Use them after workouts, while traveling, nights out…they truly make you feel like you just had a shower!
  5.  Go days without washing your hair with Aveda Shampure Dry Shampoo – even after time outdoors and lots of sweating. This product actually adds body to your hair!
  6. Keep your summer hair looking great with Sun Bum 3 in 1 Beach Formula leave in hair treatment, it’s UV protecting, and smells great! Perfect for at the beach or long days at the pool or lake. Sold locally at Perri Berri.
  7. Another great idea for hair care is to get a Brazilian blowout treatment – leaves your hair sleek and easy to manage all summer. Try N salon on Lamar for a local blowout treatment.
  8. To keep your face feeling fresh and hydrated, put a pump of Shu Eumura oil on your face after swimming. The oil is a gentle cleanser and hydrates skin, giving it a nice feel and glow.

 

 

Style Essentials

  1. The most important piece of clothing in the summer – bathing suits! Check out the Maaji suits like this one – super comfy and reversible with mix & match styles. Available locally at Perri Berri and Nordstrom’s.
  2. Add a fun flare to any outfit with Statement Earrings like these Tassel Drop earrings from baublebar.com
  3. Keep cool and trendy with an Off-the-shoulder sundress like this one from The Find Auctions
  4. A soft scarf is a summer staple like the Lotus Scarf  from Lululemon- great for traveling or wrapping up on the beach in the evening
  5. Everyone needs a packable summer hat like this one from J. Crew – it flattens and folds for easy packing and has an extra-wide brim to keep you cool and protected.
  6. Our iGnite Shine Bright Tank is perfect for workouts or just to wear as a cover-up at the beach – it is soft, flattering, draped fit with a racerback
  7. A great pair of Tkees flip flops are a summer must – comfortable and lots of color options to brighten any outfit

 

 

Poolside/Beach Essentials

  1. How fun are these Life Factory wine glasses? They have a cute protective rubber covering so they are great for outdoors and summer parties! Sold locally at Perri Berri.
  2. Make your own Spa Water – In a two quart pitcher, add a cut up lemon, 1/2 cut up cucumber, fresh mint and sparkling (or regular) water. Chill overnight.
    Or use a pitcher like this one and place strawberries in the funnel of the pitcher lid, fill pitcher with sparkling water and fresh mint, refrigerate and enjoy!
  3. Dry off or lay out on the beach using this Shine Bright beach towel – it is so soft, absorbent and long – it’s 100% terry velour and measures 30″ x 60″
  4. The best goggles for lap swimming – Special Ops by TYR swim goggles –  they have soft cushions around the eyes, a super comfortable fit and are polarized.
  5. Don’t forget the sunscreen – our favorites are the Neutrogena ultra sheer dry-touch
    SPF 55 with helioplex – it has a lightweight clean feel or Alba botanicals very emollient SPF 45 pure Lavender – great if your skin is feeling dry.
  6. For even more protection for long days by the water throw on a stylish Rash guard like the Pacifica UPF 50+ from Athleta
  7. These Royal Standard totes are great for the pool or the beach and can be monogrammed. We also love this tassel straw beach bag from Target.
  8. Stay hydrated all through the day with this 32 oz, PBA free, wide mouth iGnite Shine Bright water bottle
  9. For the ultimate relaxing experience – delicious summer cocktails to sip poolside! Our favorite refreshing poolside drink is Deep Eddy Grapefruit vodka mixed with our Cranberry Water recipe and a splash of lime. Or try Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka with Fresca – yum!

 

 

Now get out there and ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!!


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Our 20 Habits for Feeling Our Best

20 Habits for Feeling Your Best

As a group of health & fitness professionals, the iGnite leadership team uses a number of habits to keep ourselves feeling our absolute best.  And since we all love hearing new ideas, tips & tricks for living our best life, we thought — better to share them!  So, here are some of our team’s tips & tricks for feeling our best — hopefully you’ll find they enhance and improve your life in body, mind and spirit, too 🙂

1. Prioritize Sleep

Catherine Sanderson

Catherine Sanderson

“The thing that has made the biggest difference in making my body feel its best and healthiest has been prioritizing SLEEP.  Yes, that means over working out(!), over late nights of squeezing in that last to-do followed by early mornings, over my favorite tv shows, over … lots of things! I’ve found that I am a completely new person when I make sure that I get around 8 hours of sleep.  The idea that you will be ‘healthier’ if you skimp on sleep in order to exercise more is just plain wrong.  Your body needs sleep to heal and rest before it can perform exercise well and in a way that is helping your body more than hurting it. The second I accepted this and prioritized sleep for health above all else, my energy, mood and ability to take on other things skyrocketed.
I’ve learned that that workout/errand/to do list item/television show can wait.  Making sleep #1 and then scheduling in an exercise routine that allows me to get the zzzzzz’s our bodies so crave is my feel-great secret!”  

2. Prepared Healthy Snacks

Amy Younkman

Amy Younkman

“I always fave a variety of cut-up veggies in the fridge so I’m less apt to reach for crackers to dip and munch on.”

3. Regularly Getting in the Water

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker

Dunking myself in any water, anywhere, anytime is something that I crave and that makes me feel rejuvenated.  Studies have proven that if you are in, on or near water you are 90 percent happier!  I don’t think there is anyone around who does not feel rejuvenated when jumping in a pool, river, lake or ocean.”

4. Take Probiotics

Betty Cunningham

Betty Cunningham

“One of my stay healthy secrets is Ortho Probiotic.  I used to suffer from dry mold allergies every fall.  I was congested from October into November, and I had a constant cough.   The Ortho Probiotic has made a huge difference.  I take one in the morning on an empty stomach before I run.”

5. Planned Date Nights

Amy Younkman

Amy Younkman

“One thing that helps me feel my best is my Friday date night with the hubster at Fonda San Miguel here in Austin – we hit happy hour followed by a quiet evening at home.”

6. Get Regular Massages

Jill Watts

Jill Watts

“I get monthly massages at Massage Envy, it’s reasonably priced and a sure way to get yourself a relaxing massage once a month! I really enjoy it — they have great therapists for all types of massage and the monthly fee is only $59.99. Plus you get other perks and discounts being a member and you can go to locations all over the U.S. if you want to get a massage while traveling.”

Molly Daniels

Molly Daniels

“I make sure to schedule a 60 minute massage quarterly, if not more often! I have been to several places in Austin, all varying in price, including Mecca Gym and Spa, Massage Harmony in Westlake and Foot Massage in Northwest Hills. With how much I am on my feet during the week, I make this a priority to help me feel good!”

7. Morning Prayer

Amy Younkman

Amy Younkman

“I make sure to pray before I get out of bed in the morning.”

8. Juicing

Jill Watts

Jill Watts

“I bought a NutriBullet about a year ago and I absolutely love it! I try to have one a day, and it’s a perfect way to get a healthy boost without spending $8 on a green smoothie.
I just pop in 1/2 greens (I prefer spinach), and then 1/2 fruits, (whatever I have) and then a boost like flax seed, chia, almonds, etc.  Then you just add water, so no added sugar!
It takes a few minutes to extract all the healthy nutrients from those veggies and fruits. You can put any type of veggie and fruit in. It’s quick, easy and healthy!”

9. Calming Pet Time

Cary Fyfe

Cary Fyfe

“My go-to for nurturing my emotional self is to sit down — that’s the key part, sitting down — to pet my dog, Sam. Within seconds, I feel my heart slow down, my brain quiets and a smile comes across my face — no matter what weights I’m carrying that day. Then the icing on the cake is when all my other animals hear the “love-rubs” happening, and here they come! It’s a guaranteed drop in blood pressure…and, really, what is better than a dog-smile?”

10. Homemade Skin Care

Alli Phillips

Alli Phillips

“With ingredients most of us probably already have in our pantry and fridge, I create lotions, scrubs, and occasionally masks, to supplement my skin-care routine. I have a few “must-have” skin-care staples, listed below.  And when I have time to treat myself to a full “home-spa-day” I’ll experiment with more “complex” recipes.

Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil
Instead of store-bought moisturizer and body lotion, I use coconut oil (unrefined and organic) on my skin. I apply it daily after I shower/bathe to both body and face, and I also use the excess on my hands as a “leave-in conditioner,” running my fingers through my hair after applying to my face and body. (Also, although I don’t wear make-up very often, I discovered coconut oil is a great natural make-up remover.)

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Organic Brown Sugar
About once a week I make a body-scrub using EVOO and brown sugar. I don’t follow a recipe, I simply mix the two ingredients together adding more or less of one or the other until I get the consistency/texture I want, depending on the exfoliation intensity needed/desired (coarse for feet, legs, hands, and arms; medium coarseness for torso; light coarseness for neck and face). This scrub is very gentle and leaves the skin feeling amazing.

In a quick online search of “home-made skin-care” you’ll find countless recipes that include nourishing yet simple ingredients like oats, honey, almond milk, peaches, avocado, pumpkin, cucumber, lemon, and even coffee and cocoa(!) to name just a few!”

11. Nutritionist Consultations

Molly Daniels

Molly Daniels

“I see Applied Clinical Nutritionist Joseph Strickland of Better Body Clinical Nutrition once every 12 weeks. I began seeing Joseph in May 2012 specifically for allergy issues, hives, and constant fatigue, and after the success I’ve had with him, I continue my visits to check in and see how my body is functioning. I currently take 4 different Standard Process supplements that he specifically recommends for my body that I buy from People’s Pharmacy. I can tell a difference when I miss a day or two, and I know how important they are for me to maintain a healthy body.”

12. Nighttime Technology Turnoff

Amy Younkman

Amy Younkman

“I make sure to turn off the computer at night and crawl into bed with a good read.”

13. Evening Treat

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker

“I always drink a large glass of chocolate milk each evening.  It has been proven by studies over and over again–even by our University of Texas — as the number one muscle recovery drink of all time!  It tastes SO good and truly helps my muscles recover, and I sleep so well.  I love it!”

14. Varied Workouts

Molly Daniels

Molly Daniels

“I make sure to go to different iGnite workout classes weekly. Yes, I know I work for iGnite, but I feel different when I teach versus when I participate. I am “on” in different ways when I teach than when I take a class. I’m able to step out of my ‘teaching brain’ and simply follow the leader’s instructions. I don’t enjoy working out on my own, and in fact, I don’t do it. I appreciate going to different classes, and I listen to my body when it’s telling me to speed up or slow down.”

15. Self-Guided Yoga

Amy Younkman

Amy Younkman

“I make sure to schedule a weekly yoga session with and for myself.”

16. Cranberry Water

Molly Daniels

Molly Daniels

“I always have a pitcher of the iGnite cranberry water in my fridge! I get bored of drinking plain water, and I enjoy this refreshing drink.”

17. Morning Stretching Ritual

Amy Younkman

Amy Younkman

“Kitchen counter stretching and moving my spine in 6 ways first thing each morning while waiting for my tea to steep helps me continue to feel my best.”

18. A Favorite Eye Cream

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker

“My eye cream Olay Total Effects 7 in 1 Eye Cream: I am addicted to it and put it on three times a day!  It has a little glisten to it and it so hydrating.  It truly has helped my bags under my eyes go away that I inherited from my sweet Mom — it is awesome stuff, AND is available at the grocery store!”

19. Body Oil

Cary Fyfe

Cary Fyfe

“My go-to for just feeling pretty and well-taken care of is to spray a few drops of my favorite oil — Caudalie Divine Oil — onto my palms, then I rub it behind my ears, under my nose and on my neck. It smells so quietly fresh, and hydrates my skin beautifully. I sometimes rub a little onto the ends of my hair, and, well, it just makes me feel pretty and fresh!”

20. Bike Ride Escape

Amy Younkman

Amy Younkman

“I go for a bike ride and leave any worries or distractions behind me!”


Although all of these habits are unique to each of us, one common habit we all share (in addition to exercise!)  is that all of us rest and recognize that we can’t have one (exercise) without the other (rest)!  No one can perform exercise to their fullest ability without adequate rest.

So, go ahead — pick out one or a few of these habits and test drive them in your own wellness routine!  We hope they iGnite your body, mind and spirit.

Have some great healthy habits and tricks of your own? Please share them with us by leaving a comment below!  We love hearing your feedback and learning from you.

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The Compliment Dare

Loving Yourself & Others, Part IV

compliments

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

When I sat down in January to plan what I was going to write about in February, the idea of loving ourselves and others felt natural because February is all about love. As I pondered different actions we could take that would demonstrate love, the one that continued to stir in my head was the ability to receive a compliment with a simple and gracious “thank you.”

Let’s face it, we women are THE WORST at receiving compliments with a “thank you” or without the extra “oh”, “well”, “but”, and “really?” On the flip side, we are THE BEST at giving compliments! We have no problem showering others with compliments, but when it comes to loving ourselves and the person giving the compliment enough to graciously receive it with a “thank you”, as a whole we’re pretty bad.

How do I know this? Because graciously accepting compliments was something I once stunk at, and I continue to struggle with. It wasn’t until a friend called me out many years ago that I became aware of how rude, ungrateful and unflattering it was for me to not to be able to say “thank you”. I thought a lot about why I couldn’t receive a compliment. Did I feel unworthy? Did I not love myself enough to receive a beautiful compliment? Or was it because I was too focused on my imperfections that I couldn’t see or appreciate what others saw? Honestly, it was probably all of the above.

Taking it a step further, my whole life I’ve wished I had long, slender legs. I’ve never been satisfied with my long torso and short legs until Dietitian Anne Wilfong spoke at one of our winter retreats. She too referenced her dislike of her short legs and long torso, and said that it wasn’t until she ran her first marathon that she realized how grateful she was for her short, strong legs. Not only did they carry her for 26.2 long miles, but they allowed her to train all of those miles! It was then that I realized I needed to stop wishing I had longer legs and simply be grateful for what I do have. So, to my short legs: I am blessed to have both of you. You are strong and allow me to run, jump, walk, play, skip, ride my bike and go everywhere I need and want to go. Thank you, and I will never wish you were longer again!

Gratitude. I’m learning that expressing gratitude is the key to living our best life, and while being able to receive a compliment with a gracious “thank you” and complimenting a body part that we are typically critical of might seem trivial, to me it all equals loving ourselves, loving the person who was kind enough to give us the compliment and appreciating what we’ve been given.

This week and moving forward, I invite you to join me in the Compliment Dare. The goal is to begin receiving compliments with a simple “thank you”, while also loving yourself enough to say “thank you” to your unique features and characteristics. And as you embark on the Compliment Dare, below are two beautiful iGnite leader examples of complimenting a body part that will inspire and encourage you to start saying “thank you”.

Amy

Amy

“On a good day when I’m feeling confident and self-assured, I call them my “character lines.” On a rough day when I am feeling anxious, worried and insecure, they show up as “old lady wrinkles.” What I realize when I am honest with myself is that every single one of the deep groves in my forehead and furrowed brow carry a lifetime of rich living. The etched wrinkles are complemented by the crows feet around my eyes that light up my face every time I smile and laugh…..which I must have done a lot of in this lifetime if their prominence is any indicator!  I have earned every single one of my wrinkles; a testament to a life well lived!”
-Amy

Catherine

Catherine

“When I get the occasional compliment on my hair, my tendency is always to respond with the bad — “oh really? Wow, it’s so fine and straight and flat and there’s so much of it…and this…and that… but thank you though. ” When really I should just rock it. Why am I responding with negativity when someone is saying something nice to me? The fact that my hair is relatively ‘easy’ to handle is something I should be incredibly grateful for and stop nitpicking about the things I wish were different about it. So, there — thank you God for this crazy head of hair that I should be nothing but grateful for!”
– Catherine

Action Item:
When given a compliment, practice receiving it with a gracious “thank you” and begin complimenting and being grateful for the physical features you are often critical of.

The Final Step: Having Gratitude for our Ungratifying Traits

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
-Frederick Keonig

Point to Ponder:
What physical attributes of yours do you regularly wish were different?

Action Item:
Learn to appreciate your so called “flaws” for what they really are by making a list of all of things that body part HELPS you do.

Throughout the past three week’s we’ve covered many transformational topics, that when applied to our lives will allow us to live less exhausted and more wholehearted. They are:

  1. Be selective with what you choose to spend your time on, as this eliminates exhaustion and allows for passionate living. Think it terms of ‘less being more’.
  2. Comparison is the thief of joy” – Teddy Roosevelt. Stop comparing your life, your body, your career, your relationship, or who you were yesterday to who you are today. Live your life.
  3. Don’t take things personally (The Four Agreements)
  4. Don’t make assumptions (The Four Agreements)
  5. Be impeccable with your word (The Four Agreements)
  6. Always do your best (The Four Agreements)

As we conclude our ‘Antidote for Exhaustion Challenge,’ the final step is one that in theory is simple, but because of our  tendency to compare, it takes significant intention and practice.

Below is an honest and beautiful example in appreciating the things that we typically don’t appreciate and even take for granted.

 “Hands On!” Gratitude for our Ungratifying Traits

by Kathleen Parker
by Kathleen Parker

A couple months ago I went to lunch with a group of friends that I have known for a very long time. All of our kids grew up together and we gather for birthdays and other celebratory events. One of our interesting topics landed on plastic surgery, which drifted to despite our efforts to keep our faces looking youthful, our hands show our true age. At that moment I looked down at my hands and smiled. I noticed that they were larger than most women my size, and my fingers are long with maybe more “knuckle wrinkles” than most too. I also have a sunspot on my right hand that looks like a huge freckle.

As I was driving home, I continued to look at my hands on the steering wheel. I felt this overwhelming sense of gratitude as I was reminded of all the amazing things my hands have done and continue to do. They held, loved, and raised four babies. They may not be delicate and beautiful, but they are strong! They can grip and hold a ski rope behind any boat (which is when I am my happiest!). They even won the “grip test” at the Austin’s Fittest Competition and they were great to have at the pull-up station, too. They enable me to live my dream job everyday! They are holding my husband’s hands as we take our dance lessons this spring.

Realizing that one of the least aesthetically pleasing parts of my body is actually one of my best assets has made me appreciate my big, long-fingered and sun-spotted hands.

Through our critical eyes we may see some of our greatest blessings as unattractive, too big, too small, or not good enough, but they are actually allowing us to walk, run, hold, clap, see, hear, hug and so much more. We are all wonderfully made, and we are all given different gifts. So, rather than wishing we had less, more or were created differently, let’s focus on being grateful for everything we do have.

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The Magic of Coconut Oil

by Nancy Dacy, Health Coach

by Nancy Dacy, Health Coach

To cut straight to the chase, coconut oil is good for almost everything  you can imagine.  Just some of the seemingly endless benefits of this incredible superfood are:

  • Coconut oil is a healthy fat that is anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant and anti-fungal
  • It will balance cholesterol levels. Higher consumption of coconut oil is linked to healthy cholesterol levels and a lower rate of heart disease.
  • It is easily converted into energy and does not lead to fat accumulation in the heart or arteries. It boosts energy and endurance and enhances athletic performance. Coconut water is a great post workout drink!
  • It will help fight Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and MS
  • It will enrich a mother’s milk.
  • It helps boost metabolism and aids in weight loss and promotes fat loss.
  • Yes, it is a saturated fat, but we need that for hormone production, cellular health, bone health, and our immune system.
  • It is a very powerful immune booster.
  • It increases the activity of anti-oxidant enzymes in the body.
  • It kills bacteria and parasites, eases acid reflux, aids in bowel function, lowers the risk of hemorrhoids and protects against liver degeneration.
  • It is good for stress relief.
  • It is good for the hair as it promotes healthy hair growth, keeping it shiny and eliminating dandruff. It can also be used to rid the head of lice and is a great hair conditioner.
  • It is great for your skin. It can be used as a cleanser, moisturizer, eye makeup remover etc. It will help delay wrinkles and aging. You can even use it as a body lotion and can put it on your feet to soften calluses.
  • It heals infections both topically and internally. It can be used as a solid or a liquid, but be sure to NEVER liquify it in the microwave — this will completely change the molecular structure.
  • It is great for cooking, as it has a high heat tolerance and will not become rancid due to high heat.

There is not a single reason not to add coconut oil to your daily regimen! It’s a super food.  While you’re at it, drink coconut water and add coconut flakes to your recipes, too!  And MOST IMPORTANTLY, use extra virgin organic coconut oil. Can’t find organic? Go for extra virgin coconut oil as a bare minimum.

A FEW EASY WAYS TO ADD COCONUT OIL TO YOUR DIET:

  • The simplest way is to add a tablespoon of coconut oil to any smoothie as you are making it. One of my daughters actually loves to just eat a spoonful right off the spoon!
  • When I make the iGnite Peanut Butter Protein bars, sometimes they can be a little dry depending on the oil in the peanut butter or almond butter I’m using.  So, I melt coconut oil and add it to the bars to make them more moist. You can do this to pretty much anything!
  • It is great to use to sauté or stir fry when not using a very high temperature.
  • You can substitute coconut oil for olive oil. (Olive oil is best served at room temperature.) I often see chips at The Barton Creek Farmer’s Market that are made solely with corn tortillas and coconut oil!
  • You can add it to morning cereal, oatmeal, cream of wheat etc.
  • It is a good oil to pop popcorn in for your “movie night” at home. (Try to avoid microwave popcorn!)
  • You can actually buy coconut oil pills to take if you absolutely do not like the taste/texture of the actual coconut oil.
  • And to re-emphasize, always buy extra virgin organic coconut oil! In Austin, it can be easily found at Sprouts, Whole Foods and Central Market.

And last but not least, for a sweet treat I recommend making these delicious truffles:

CHOCOLATE COCONUT TRUFFLES

images-13

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t. sea salt
  • 1 cup dried shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 1/4 cups cocoa or carob powder divided
  1. Toss coconut oil, honey, vanilla, 2 cups of the cocoa or carob powder, salt and     coconut in a food processor, processing until smooth.
  2. Remove and allow to chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  3. Form truffles by rolling into small balls and dredge with remaining 1/4 cup of cocoa or carob powder.

The Truth About Revealing Strong Abs

Ab Workout

When we talk about strength training for abs, we are really talking about using strength training for fat loss. Lets face it–we all have abs, we just need to achieve a low level of body fat to reveal them! And in order to lose fat, you must be conscious of the food you put into your mouth. Put simply, a low-carb/high protein diet that is not excessive in calories is what will work for you. Remember, there is no such thing as spot reduction.  Building muscle is important for fat loss because muscle is metabolically active tissue!  In other words, muscle is the physical place where body fat is burned.

by Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

FAT LOSS IS A 2 STEP PROCESS:

Step 1: The body must release the stored fat from the adipose tissue. In order to do this you must keep your insulin levels low (eating low carb) because, when insulin (a storage hormone) levels are raised, your body cuts back on producing glucagon, which is the hormone that is responsible for allowing your body to release stored body fat!

Step 2: The fat is then sent into the muscle tissue to be burned as energy (i.e. fuel).

With the above information in mind, you now have a clear understanding of how building a “bigger engine” (building lean muscle mass) can help you more effectively burn fat, which will help you get better abs!  When it comes to fat loss, you want to be the opposite of your car–you want to have a “bigger engine” (i.e. more lean muscle mass) that is “gas inefficient” so that you burn as much fuel (stored fat) as possible to keep your body running!

The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism is – not just when you are training, but even when you are sleeping.  

Keep moving!

Source:

Tumminello, Nick. “FitnessRX.”  Women Magazine.

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Mirror Mirror OFF the Wall

If you learn to love yourself and all the flaws, you can love other people so much better. And that makes you so happy.
– Kristin Chenoweth

Unfortunately, I cannot keep an organized office to save my life. I have all of the necessities that would allow me to do so; however, despite my ongoing efforts to make the office my official and inspirational space to work, I can’t seem to make it happen! Instead, my office has officially spilled over  into the closest room — our formal dining area. As a result of my disorganization, I am constantly shuffling through my piles trying to locate an important document, article, or reminder.

Last week and while in hot pursuit of finding a note, I saw a reminder on my bulletin board that I posted last fall. The note read, “No Mirrors/Negative Voices.” I immediately recalled the mind-blowing and introspective story I saw on 20/20. It featured Kjerstin Gruys, a 29-year-old PhD student in sociology and bride-to-be, who in an effort to boost her self-esteem and inspire others to stop focusing on external perfection, avoided her reflection for one whole year!

In the past, Kjerstin struggled with her body image and battled eating disorders. After reading the book Birth of Venus, she was inspired to “live life experiencing the world for itself instead of constantly reflecting on how you looked. It was a life where you could get away from yourself.” She also noted, “I kept coming back to this pattern of perfectionism and obsessing about my appearance, and I thought, if I can’t think myself out of this, then maybe I need to change something about my environment to force me to change. The project was to get rid of mirrors with the intention of focusing on everything else in my life.”

While many months have passed since seeing Kjerstin’s story, I vividly remember being more aware of how many times I looked at myself in the mirror, a reflection in a window, or in my rear-and side-view mirrors of my car. Honestly, the result was disturbing. I found myself being critical of my appearance, and when I acknowledged my truth, my truth told me that I was too concerned with the opinions and approval of others.

Do I think that avoiding mirrors and reflections for one whole year is extreme? Yes. But do I think we should care about our appearance? Of course. However, I think Kjerstin’s point is powerful and brings up the very important subject of self worth, self acceptance, and self love—despite our physicality or societal approval. Furthermore and regardless of age, I believe that the junior high girl in us all has the capacity to show her insecure face at any time, so it is important that we do what is necessary to suppress her — even if that means covering all mirrors. Not only do we owe the gift of high esteem and self-value to ourselves, but we owe this to our daughters, sisters, mothers, girlfriends, husbands and future generations.

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Point To Ponder:
Do you find yourself overly concerned or critical of your appearance and what others think?

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Action Item:
Look at yourself in the mirror and tell a friend or loved one (each day) at least one thing you like about yourself and that you are good at. Rotate the attributes so they include physical, mental, and personality characteristics and skill sets.

To Your Health,

Neissa

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