Do you know one of the most important muscles in your body?

Everyone needs to understand their diaphragms importance…..

The importance of this in Pre and Postnatal women is huge, but in reality EVERYONE can benefit from some knowledge of this muscle of MAJOR importance in their body….. The diaphragm. Is yours activated? Can you feel it? 9 out of 10 of us will probably say no. Most of us don’t breathe as we should. If you tend to have tension headaches, tight neck, shoulders, upper back, feel like you can’t catch or take deep breaths, etc more than likely you definitely don’t. The good news is we can learn how to, and if you are pregnant or trying to get there, or even just had a baby and want to work on restrengthening that core then this is  prime time for you to learn! But first lets understand it a little better.

What is the diaphragm?

Our diaphragm is basically one of our main if not the main respiratory muscle (with the external intercostals that help elevate ribs). It attaches at the bottom of the lungs and top of our core structure. It is vital in our breathing process because it acts to pull lungs down to allow the thoracic cavity to open up and fill with air.

The problem is most of us don’t fully engage it with our breathing. When we don’t do this other muscles can overcompensate (like our traps, chest, tva, etc) and cause imbalances/ tightness and make us feel like we cant catch our breath. This also weakens our diaphragm and over time it causes our overall core to be weaker since it acts to hold our core structure together. Without a strong core we can develop back aches, lordosis, poor respiratory and functional performance (breathing and moving with ease) it can also cause dreaded diasistis recti with pregnancy/ and or hernias. Our core is our FOUNDATION!

In pregnancy think of the extra weight you are holding onto, if you’re not able to breathe properly that tension in your chest is going to lead elsewhere. You basically have a weight vest on so learning to breathe to get optimal oxygen consumption can help ease your pregnancy substantially!

The good news is we can learn to activate and use it the right way, BUT understand it wont happen overnight. We have to learn to breathe through it, not hold our stomachs/ core in. We’re all good at sucking in, think about it, I am sure you can name a time or 100 that you have stared in the mirror and drawn your stomach in when you inhaled….. That does nothing for your diaphargm, it actually can make it weaker. We need to focus more on letting it expand when we inhale, then as we exhale our stomachs should look more flat as we push all the air out. Make sense?

So take a minute and breathe. Do you see it going in and out? Or do you see your chest go up and down. Most of us probably see our chest initially. Thats that overcompensating thing I mentioned before, those muscles taking over for the one that should be doing the work. This means we aren’t getting as much air in our lungs and we aren’t working our respiratory system to its potential and possibly causing stresses in other parts of our body (tight neck/ back pain/ hormonal imbalances, etc).

If you see that chest moving I want you to do this. Lay on your back and place one hand on your stomach with knees bent. Lay flat and breathe, lay there until you see that stomach rise with an inhale and flatten with an exhale. Go slow with it. Keep at it until its easy. Once you reach that point do it standing, keep repeating that over time until its easy or second nature rather. Once you get to that point progress to movement such as squats, bending over, running. Breathe through the movement, don’t just keep that core engaged, but breathe through it!

Do this for as long as it takes to get second nature to you. I promise it will benefit you in more ways than you can count. It will relieve stress that we carry in our shoulders, our functional and cardio performance will improve. It can help fix your core if you have diastisis recti, and if you’re pregnant help you sleep and move better along with potentially easier labor.

Stay consistent and just like with everything else the results will come if you do, and speak for themselves. 🙂

– C

No Bake Protein Packed Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

I know I am not the only one out there who has a sweet tooth. Even with as healthy as I try to be I am human and give in to cravings here and there…. and lets be honest most “healthy” cookies taste “healthy” meaning…. like they came from a forest or are hard as a rock, I could go on….

I love cookies, not ashamed to admit it, and everyone who knows me I have an obsession with peanut butter. So combining the two and knowing it’s truly not bad for me definitely keeps my attention (which can be hard to do)…

So wanted to share 🙂

What you need:

1 serving:

Mix peanut butter, water, stevia and salt together. Mix protein powder and flour together then add liquid to dry mixture. Stir until dough like consistency. DONE.

Seriosuly that simple. You can add cacao nibs or dark chocolate to it if you wish. You could do this with other flavors/brands I am sure as well but the consistency of the PB quest protein powder makes it super easy.

Macros/Nutrition Info:

Calories – 170, Protein – 25.5 g, Carbs – 5.5g, Fat- 5.5g and only 1.8g sugar!

Yes those calories may be high but they are GOOD calories…. meaning your body will use them right. Know the difference 😉

Get your spoon out and you can thank me later 😉

 

And if you need ANY help, or have questions please do NOT hesitate to contact me!

CandiceCFitness@gmail.com 🙂

What the heck is “skinny fat”?

Well I will start off by saying that I use to be a poster child for it. If you have never read my blog about my struggles…      Coming Clean….. Eating Disorders and Food…. From me   do so. I used to count calories like no other, but it did NOT matter what they were. Oh and I did cardio, ALOT of time on the elliptical. I was unhealthy, looked gross, and was 100% skinny fat…..

Unfortunately a lot of people are skinny fat. Just because someone looks thin on the outside does NOT mean they are healthy. They can carry just as much if not more visceral fat than those who are obese. Visceral fat is the most dangerous to have as it accumulates around organs such as the pancreas, heart and liver and then can begin to release hormones and other secretions into the bloodstream that can lead to disease.

Recent studies have concluded that,”Older adults with normal BMIs (well-known to be an imperfect measurement) but high levels of body fat are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and death than previously realized, according to a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Cardiology. More recently, a 2014 report on people with “normal weight obesity”—normal BMI, high body fat—found that they have a significantly higher risk of metabolic problems and death from these diseases than any other group.” Time Magazine

If someone who is naturally thin is not utilizing resistance training into a workout routine, if they are just doing cardio and not watching what they eat, they are definitely a target of making skinny fat a reality.

So how can this be reversed? Or prevented? Add resistance to build lean muscle, women you will NOT get bulky by touching a weight. Work with someone to discover how you should eat, how you should train, etc. Feeding your body right will not only help your metabolism and body start working properly but it will help tone and rebuild those muscles you are breaking down during training. Which in turn will give you a more toned look! Winning 🙂

Bottom line is, take care of yourself. Don’t assume just because you are skinny that you are healthy. Watch what you eat, even if you can put away a pizza late at night and feel like you don’t gain a pound, it is NOT a smart idea to do…..

Lets make the best choices possible here on out 🙂 – C

 

Why you are not losing….

So youre not losing weight…..

You have been working out, trying to eat the healthiest possible…. yet the scale is now immobile and you’re starting to doubt your efforts. If you should even keep going or even trying.

If that sounds like you I promise you are not alone. There a multiple reasons that could be holding you back. Ive compiled a list for you to see if any possibly could be the reasons for your slower progress. Of course always check with your medical provider as well if you think there could be something more. I am no doctor ;).

 
Big Reasons That Could Be Hindering Your Weight Loss:

  • Not eating enough or the right stuff
    • When you are trying to lose weight, you need a combination of both the right nutrition AND exercise. You HAVE to eat. Fad diets where you simply cut out entire food groups, or starve yourself for a lack of better words do NOT work. Why? Because you will gain it all right back as soon as you stop with the diet. Lifestyle changes are key, and with that comes learning how to eat the right stuff. Not all at once and not 24/7 either.
    • Your body needs the right combination of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats to make up your calories each day and to function at full potential. This also ends up aiding in your metabolism working correctly. Depending on your body, your workout routine, and your goals everyones macronutrient (protein, carbs, fats) needs are different. Work with someone who can help you determine what you specifically need or do the research yourself.
  • Not enough protein
    • No you don’t have to eat meat 24 hours a day but you do need to up your protein consumption. Why? Because protein helps repair and build muscle, and muscle burns fat…. when you are not working out! That post workout fat burning process that occurs is aided by muscle. But muscle (LEAN muscle) has to be built. Aim to get .75- 1g of protein/ per pound of your bodyweight a day. If you divide it up I promise it is not hard to do! Great sources are grilled chicken, eggs, lean ground turkey and beef. Protein shakes are good alternatives too. I would stay away from most protein bars because they do tend to be more like glorified candy bars nutrition wise.
  • You don’t drink enough water
    • Our bodies need water! Did you know our bodies are made up of about 60% water? We have to maintain a certain amount to keep our bodies functioning properly. All of our bodily systems depend on it. We lose water through sweat, urination, exercise and certain illnesses. That is why it is imperative to stay hydrated. Think about it, if you are working out chances are you are sweating a good bit. If you don’t stay hydrated your digestion system is not going to work as efficiently, this can lead to bloating and storing excess fat that isn’t processed. Aim to drink 2-3 liters a day. I always keep 1 Liter bottles on hand and refill them a few times a day to ensure I am getting enough. Stay Hydrated!! If you hate water you can always add ID Life Hydrate 🙂
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  • You eat while watching tv
    • Now I am not saying you cannot eat why you watch tv but if you have a bag of chips for example in your lap while you watch… next thing you know the bag is gone. Mindless eating occurs. The key— portion stuff out. Also it is proven when you pay attention to what you are eating you eat less. Be mindful of it and don’t just eat mindlessly.
  • Too much cardio and not enough lifting/ resistance training
    • You HAVE to Build muscle. Yes ladies I am talking to you. You WILL NOT get bulky. Granted we all have different body types so some will require more heavy weight to get results than others. Case in point— ME. I am an ectomorph, I do NOT gain muscle as easily as some. Those legs in the picture below for example press about 400-500 lbs weekly…. and maybe its just me but I don’t think they look manly…
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    • Again I can’t stress enough to find someone who can help you determine the best path for you. If you are in Atlanta or would like to work with me remotely of course I would love to help! If not, please speak with someone close to you who does understand this! It will take a lot of stress out of your journey if you work with someone.
  • You cheat too hard on the weekend
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    • Binge eating. You stick to your nutrition plan or whatever you are working with ALL week so why not be able to eat whatever you want on the weekends? Well for starters eating TOO much bad stuff for an extended period will only derail your progress. Add in sugary foods and processed stuff to the mix and it will cause your brain to think you need that stuff. You will be more likely to crave the stuff as you try to get back on track at the beginning of the week. This will only create more challenges. Especially in the beginning of a lifestyle change – try your best to stay on track for the most part and if you want a cookie, eat A cookie, or have A slice of pizza but NOT the entire thing.
  • You think because you’re working out you can eat more
    WRONG.

    • Yes you may be burning more calories but that does not mean you can go eat an entire pizza multiple times a week. Moderation is key. Stick to the 80/20 rule. Stick to your healthy foods and good choices 80% of the time and that allows for splurges here and there.
  • You go after fat free foods
    • These are normally filled with sugar to suffice. Sugar especially added sugars is a no no when you are trying to lose weight. You can read more about that here.
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  • You drink too much
    • Yeah….. Alcohol is absorbed by the body as “empty calories”. With that being said your body uses it before anything else you have already eaten (healthy or not) for fuel. This causes a back up of the already stored food and if not used…. gets stored as fat. Double that with the temptation to eat bad stuff after a night of drinking and thats even more possibility to gain. It also leads to dehydration too… another road block. Stick to moderate drinking and you should be ok :).

 

Easy Breakfast Mini Quiche

I get asked ALL the time for easy healthy breakfast ideas. Probably more than anything else. It is always a struggle to find a high protein option that doesnt involve you standing in front of a stove or taking a … Continue reading