Why do a Sugar detox

Detoxing can be a scary concept. I know this word is floating around the fitness and health industry like crazy. When we think of the word detox, we often think of juicing and fasting, but a detox can be approached in a more sustainable way as well. 

Another word that is all over these days, is sugar. Yes, sugar. We drink it, we eat it, and just when we think we have cut sugar out of our diet, it creeps up on us in our protein powders, granola bars, etc....

So why do a sugar detox? For several reasons. One: Sugar is highly addictive. Research states that sugar is 8x as addictive as cocaine. Crazy right!!!! With the average american consuming about 152lbs of sugar per year, about 22 teaspoons per person, per day, I think it is safe to say we have a huge problem. Not only is sugar contributing to the rise in type 2 diabetes in adults and children as well as the rising obesity epidemic in both adults and children, it is also an underlying contributor of many other diseases and health conditions. 

I started a 7 day sugar detox along with a group of my friends and clients on FB today (with a 7 day reintroduction phase after the initial detox). I think the initial reaction I received when I sent out the protocol to my participants was, "wow that looks really strict". However, the goal, is to fuel my clients and friends with plenty of protein, fresh veggies and healthy fats in order to curb the need for sugar and carbohydrate(the bad carbs of course, not all carbs are created equal). So if you want in with us, if you are ready to reset your body and learn a little bit about the effects sugar has been having on your body, shoot me a message on my "About me" page, and I will add you to our exclusive Facebook group. 

Have a great week everyone! 

Goal setting and SMART goals

We all have goals. Whether it be fitness, health, weight loss, financial, career, or relationship goals, we all have something that we long to accomplish. Goals keep us driven, motivated and give us something to work towards. But how many times have you set a goal, started off strong and then slowly forgot about your goal or just stopped working towards it all together. The thing about goals, is that you cannot go in blindly. Just like with anything of importance in your life, it is crucial to go into it with a plan of action. 

So how do you ensure that the next time you set a goal you actually stick to it? One of the best ways to do this, is to set S.M.A.R.T goals. What does that mean ?? Let me break it down below

S - The S stands for specific. Don't be vague about your goals. If you are trying to grow your business, don't just set the goal "I want to grow my business". Instead, say something like, I would like to grow my business by 30% this year which means I need to gain 20 new clients in the next 6 months. See the difference? By being specific, you can now set a plan in action to figure out how to market yourself, in order to gain those 20 clients. Once you reach your specific #, you can move on from here.

M - Measurable - Another thing we often do when setting goals, is we are too vague with our timelines, When I was a bikini competitor, I was always on a specific timeline, I would pick a show so that I knew how many weeks I had to prepare. So for example, I would say, "ok I have 12 weeks to prepare for my show, and the final week of that is peak week which means all of the hard work needs to get done in the next 11 weeks.." This is a measurable goal. I had a timeline with which to stick to. I knew if I was going on stage in 12 weeks, I didn't have any time to mess around. Its the same thing with your goals. Say you went to the doctor and your cholesterol was a little high so the doctor mentioned that he would like you to lose 15lbs and eat more fruits and vegetables before he puts you on cholesterol medication. You have a follow  up in 6 months. So now you have a timeline 6 months. You can say "since I have 6 months to lose the weight, I will eat vegetables with every meal, 2 servings of fruit a day, and do cardio for 20 minutes 3x per week in order to try to lose 2.5lbs per month." This plan of action is clear and concise and now its easier to navigate your week, since you now know that you will plan to set aside 20 minutes 3x a week for your cardio, and now you will make sure to add vegetables to your grocery cart weekly. 

A - Attainable/ Achievable. Now this is a big one. Is the goal you set achievable in the time and context in which you set it? Or are you setting yourself up for disappointment because you are setting a very ambitious goal, but only giving yourself a short amount of time to accomplish it? Make sure that your goals are realistic and achievable in the time frame that you have set. Make sure you always set yourself up for success. Maybe you just need to split your goal into 2 parts. Do one portion in 6 months and once you have gotten that far, you move on to the next portion until the full goal is accomplished.

R - Relevant. How relevant is your goal to your long term future goals. If you are trying to pay off debt, but set a goal to save $10,000 that year towards a new car, wouldn't it make more sense, if you said " I plan to save $10,000 in the next 12 months in order to pay off my debt. After my debt is paid, I will save $1000 a month towards my new car since I won't have the burden of debt to worry about. Of course saving is important, but these 2 goals conflict each other, so its best to tackle them one at a time since one will not help the other if done simultaneously. 

T - Set a time limit. Write it on your calendar. I will save $2500 by March, 2, 2018 so that I can book that vacation to Aruba in May with my wife. Here you have set the exact date that you would like to have the money by, so that when the time comes, you can book the dream vacation without having to worry about missing a good flight deal, or without having to worry about dipping into your savings or cards in order to book the trip. 

Simple steps, but steps that we often forget about. I get it, setting goals is exciting and fun and sometimes we just jump right in. But just as easily, we often jump right out as fast as we started. So set yourself up for success. Go into your goals with a plan of action and with a positive mindset. With these tools, you will set yourself up for success.

As always, 

In Health and Wellness, 

Crystal :)

Found this photo on Pinterest so I am not taking any credit for the photo :)

Found this photo on Pinterest so I am not taking any credit for the photo :)

New Goals

The past few weeks have been a little insane, as I am doing my best to manage training clients full time, taking Health Coaching calls, teaching classes and of course, doing my best sharing the responsibility of training our pup(which has not been easy lol but we love him). So when I say that my workouts have been less than ideal, I mean it. I have been doing my best to squeeze in about 45 minutes, 3 days a week, and taking 1 class if i can. It has been mostly total body interval work(which I love anyway), and 1 running class a week at Mile High Run club. If any of you are runners, and want to check out a cool studio where you can run with others, its a great place, They have 3 different class structures, so there is something for everyone.

Why am I writing about this? Because I like to remind you guys that life happens, and sometimes, getting to the gym 6 days a week is just not an option. And that is 100% ok. So what have I been prioritizing? Eating well of course. So clean food, veggies and as much home cooked food as possible. I have been making fresh juices at home which is also a great way to stay on track. I will post the recipe of the week below( I can't take credit for this one, my husband came up with it!!). And my 2nd priority, has been to make sure that all of my workouts consist of a short interval run. Why you ask? Because after an extremely long break from racing (we are taking since 2014), I have decided, that I would like to get back into racing, yikes!!!! After the Brooklyn Half in 2014, I hurt my hamstring pretty badly, then I started competing in fitness competitions, and I stopped racing. But I miss it, and I miss how it made me feel to cross the finish line. So I am going to take you guys on this journey with me. I will be posting my weekly runs, post and pre-run nutrition, as well as what I am doing for my own personal strength training so you guys can get a glimpse of my week. And, as always, if you have any questions, just send me a message, or comment below.

So what about you guys? What are your goals right now? Any exciting events, competitions, races coming up? Or are you just enjoying your workouts and working hard towards doing your best daily? I love hearing about your journeys. Let's chat about it below!!

Until next time!! 

In Health and Wellness,

Crystal

Me at the Rock and Roll Half marathon in Washington DC, my first half marathon!!

Me at the Rock and Roll Half marathon in Washington DC, my first half marathon!!

An Exercise in being grateful

Have you ever woken up after a long stretch of stressful days and just realized how lucky you are to be where you are ? I know a lot of you are like ,”ok enough with all of this positivity”, but I’m serious here. For those of you that know me well, know that I am a worrier and I tend to overwhelm myself with work and personal tasks. My schedule is always full and I go through phases where I get so caught up in my day to day that I forget to make time for family and friends and I instead keep working or I go home and rest (which is important too), but as part of this balanced life I am trying to lead, I sometimes need to just sit and remind myself to slow down, and not forget to live. So I’m making it a priority to do the things I love, and slow down a bit. For any of you that follow me an Facebook or IG, you know that Frank and I have a new member in our family, Elmer, our beautiful 9 week old Alaskan Malamute. He has brought so much joy and so many laughs to our home already, and he is forcing me to slow down and prioritize my schedule in order to spend time with him in between my crazy client load. I couldn’t be happier that I have him here and that I can come home to this loving little guy.
Aside from that, I am grateful to have spent some time this weekend reconnecting with a good friend who I haven’t seen in a very long time, to celebrate her bridal shower. I’m lucky to have friends who understand me and my craziness , and who are here to reconnect, even if it isn’t as often as we would like. 
So the point if this short blog today , is to get you guys thinking about the things you are grateful for today. I know we can all sit here and vent our woes and complain on social media about the things that aren’t going right in our lives, but how often do we sit down and say “I am lucky to be here” or “I am grateful for..”. I challenge you all to take a second, and think about what makes you happy, who and what are you grateful for, and how can you make some more time for these things ? Take some time, write it down for yourself, and leave some comments below for me if you would like.  As always, I look forward to connecting with you all.

In Health and Wellness, 
Crystal
 

 

Setting priorities and time management

I think oftentimes when we talk about healthy lifestyles and wellness, we automatically think about diet and exercise. But what we often forget to take into account are the primary foods in our "diet". It is easy to forget how much of our health is more than just what we put on our plate. It's also what we have on our "plate", such as our relationships with friends, family, spouses, children, our careers, our spirituality, finances. It is easy to get caught up in our lives and neglect ourselves of self care and proper sleep. Some of us live off of coffee and haven't taken a vacation in a long time. Some of us are so overwhelmed that we are constantly stressed out, and we neglect ourselves of the time we need to decompress and refocus. 

It's hard to balance all of these things. But honestly, you can't consider yourself fully healthy just because you drink green juice and eat kale everyday. If you aren't sleeping enough, if you aren't making the time for self care and if stress has taken over your life, your health is going to take a hit. Stress will cause you to hold onto excess weight due to rising cortisol levels. Lack of sleep will also hinder weightloss and health goals, as it will trigger an increase in the hormone Ghrelin(which stimulates your apetite, causing you to eat) while simultaneously causing a decrease in the production of the hormone leptin (suppresses your appetite and tells your brain when it is full). Do you find yourself craving more sugary carb filled foods in the morning after a sleep deprived night ? This is the reason why. And it's important that you do not ignore that. So if you are stressed and having a hard time sleeping and in turn not losing weight, this could be the problem. 

What is the best way to solve this problem. More sleep of course, but that isn't always easy. And trying to reduce the stress levels in your life, in order to get more rest, and be in a better mood. I know you aren't all able to fit in extra rest(trust me, as a trainer, my mornings begin at 4am and sometimes I don't get to bed until 11- so sleep deprivation is something I am more than too familiar with). So what I suggest to my clients, and what I do with myself, are these small things, that make a huge difference.

First: time management
- if you plan ahead you will get more done. So I set appointments in my Google calender with myself). For example: I schedule a yoga class for Thursday on Sunday so that I make sure I schedule my clients around my yoga class, so that I am sure to keep this appointment for self care with myself.
-I write a quick to do list in the morning, so that I have a guide for the day. Whatever I couldn't get to, I save for the next day, and I build my list for the next day starting with my unfinished tasks from the day before. What I do NOT do, is stay up all night finishing things just to cross it off a list. I prefer to be engaged in my tasks so I would rather, rest up, and finish things the following day.
- If possible, try to get to bed 1 hour earlier at least 2x a week. It makes a huge difference, and once you get it, you will find more nights where you can add the extra hour. 

All of these little things add up to big things. And trust me, just an extra 2 or 3 hours sleep a week, makes a huge difference in your mood, cravings and overall level of productivity.

Try it out, and let me know what worked and what didn't work for you. As always, I love to hear about the ways you find more time for sleep and bow you like to practice stress management. Leave your thoughts below so we can engage in a little healthy group conversation here. 

Finding Balance on Vacation

For those of you who follow me on IG, you know that my husband and I recently traveled to Austin Texas for a mini vacation to celebrate both of our birthdays. Now, he and I have been following the Whole 30 for the past 2+ months with great success.  So of course, I was a little concerned with how we were both going to enjoy the delicious food that Texas has to offer while we were away, without completely destroying our whole 30. Just a quick side note, both of us have seen such amazing things from Whole 30 which I will talk about on a future blog post, but just to name a few things, Franks skin cleared up and he lost 9lbs. My allergies have been almost non existent  (huge for me and anyone who knows me knows that I took allergy pills everyday, all year round for both my indoor and outdoor allergies for my entire life), and the joint pain and cramping I have been felling in my hands for the past year is now gone. Anyway, I’ll talk more about this in next post. Back to our Vaca 
Austin had some amazing food (ex : delicious BBQ, an abundance of meat, tacos, and of course, my weakness- Voodoo Donuts which had the best donuts I have ever tried). Anyway, back in the day when I was a competitor, I  either would have not taken a vacation, or I would have packed all of my food for the 4 days, forcing my husband to dine alone at restaurants or via room service. My priority, was my diet, and I didn’t care who or what I neglected, I only knew one extreme way of living and I did not think that it was possible to find balance. I missed out on a lot of things during that time, and it makes me sad to realize that now. (To any competitors out there, please note that this was my experience and I know that many of you have found that balance while competing, but I wasn’t able to). Of course I am not a competitor anymore, but there is still that part of me that fears falling completely off track, just because this has always been a slippery slope for me. But at this point in my life, thanks to my education and Integrative Nutrition, I realized, that there is a way to stay on track, stay healthy, but to also live my life and enjoy experiences with loved ones without depriving myself, neglecting my loved ones, or stressing over food and macros. Finding that balance between indulging in things that I wanted to try since I was traveling, and making choices that kept me as close to whole 30 as I possibly could while away, was exactly what I needed.
So here is what I did, and what worked for me. I woke up every morning to a 25 minute intense HIIT session at the hotel gym. In the past I would have spend an hour and a half as my husband waited for me to get some breakfast. But I realized how out of balance that was. Vacation is about relaxation and breaking from your normal routine. I’ve always stayed on my routine on vacation which never made me truly feel like I was taking time off to reset and relax. So this shorter gym routine actually energized me , and got me ready for the day. After that,  we started our days walking all over Austin visiting galleries and the Capital building and of course listening to some great music at various bars and rooftops. At every restaurant, I made the choice to either indulge or make a smarter choice. Thus balance enabled me to enjoy the amazing southern food with my husband,  while finding balance with green juice and avocado smoothies later in the day to get in my greens and nutrients. The hardest part for me, was trying a donut(ok 2 donuts) at the famous Voodoo Donuts on 6th street , which was amazing and worth it. I was afraid that my sugar demon would return, but luckily, because of my balanced mindset, it did not. And the indulgence was just that, an indulgence. 

I can honestly say, that we thoroughly enjoyed our trip and the delicious food with my husband and I do not feel badly about any of it. Food shouldn’t be an obsession ( as it was for me in the past ), it should be something we enjoy for nourishment, but also something we enjoy with family and friends. I know for some of you, like me, it’s hard to not count calories, it’s hard to not feel guilt when we eat a treat, and its hard to not workout everyday for 2 hours, but we need to stop beating ourselves up over these things. We need to stop bringing negativity to our relationship with food, and exercise.  The freedom I have found with food and exercise since becoming a Health Coach, has been life changing, and I am truly grateful for that.
If any of your guys struggle with what I have in the past, please comment below and let’s chat it out. I am also offering complimentary Health and Nutrition Consultations, where I can help you find that food freedom and build a healthier and easier relationship with food. As always, I love to hear from you all so, please leave some comments below and let me know how you have found balance on your vacations. 
Thank you as always for reading
In Health and  Wellness
Crystal
 

Self Magazine Article!

In this week’s blog I wanted to talk about the amazing opportunity that I had 2 week ago, to contribute to an article on Self magazines online platform. For years, even before I started getting really serious about my fitness, even before I decided to compete, I would live reading articles in fitness magazines such as Self, Shape, Women’s Fitness , Runner’s World etc.. as I am sure many of you read as well. So when I received a phone call 2 weeks ago as I was walking out of a run class at Mile High Run Club, asking me if I would be interested in doing a video/photos shoot with Self.com for their Fitness section, my immediate answer was :Where, what time and yes!!! When I started competing 2 years ago, I remember saying to myself, that because I was in the best shape of my life, I would love to be given the opportunity to be featured in a magazine like so many other bikini competitors I knew had been. This  was a dream of mine since I was younger, but I never talked about it, since I wasn’t considered fit at the time. But now that I was competing, I had finally come to a place in my life where I was starting to look like I could come close to these fit, athletic bodies that I saw daily in the magazines. So I worked hard on my body, but I neglected everything else. I never felt ready or good enough to be considered for something like that. So I didn’t push and network, all I did was workout, measure my meals and hope that I could perfect my body so that I could eventually feel confident enough to get some photos taken of myself and eventually be confident enough to approach a magazine or any editorial platform to be featured. But that never happened. As fit as I was, as lean as I got, my confidence was lower than ever. So my goal and one of my dreams just seemed out of reach. I would never be ready.


Fast forward 2.5 years later. I no longer compete. I workout to make myself happy, to feel strong and to stay healthy. I eat whole food and preach holistic eating instead of deprivation. I put my energy into my clients and their programs, workouts and diets,  since that is what brings me happiness. Sharing my knowledge and my passion with others so that they too can fall in love with fitness and wellness in the same way that I have. My goals went from vanity to wellness. I now just want to spread my message of positivity behind the fitness industry and self love of our bodies which come in all shapes , sizes and fitness levels. So getting this call, to do this article was surreal. I do not look like that competitor anymore but, in my opinion, I am my healthiest, strongest self at this moment, and I feel more fit than I ever was in the past. I also now have so much more knowledge in regards to nutrition and workouts so I am so excited to be able to share that with you all in this article. 


The takeaway from my blog today (sorry if I seemed to ramble), is to never give up on yourself. Always work hard to be your best self and carry around confidence at every stage in your life. It will influence everything you do and it will attract the things that you strive to achieve. So here it is, my link to this week’s workout on self.com . It’s a great piece on 11 plank moves that can double as a cardio workout.  Please enjoy, try the workout and let me know what you think !!

http://www.self.com/gallery/plank-exercises-that-double-as-cardio-moves

In Health, Wellness and Positivity always,
Crystal
 

 

 

Here it is !!!! My Feature on Self.com

Here it is !!!! My Feature on Self.com

A little BTS from the shoot. Such an amazing day !! Thank you Self Magazine.

A little BTS from the shoot. Such an amazing day !! Thank you Self Magazine.

What we feed our Children

So I know this is a bit of a tricky topic to discuss since I myself do not have children (yet), but as a society, we have a huge problem with the food that our children are eating and with the type of food that is being targeted to them in advertisements and media. Let's be honest, as mothers, we are completely over extended in our day to day responsibilities. We work full time jobs, some have more than one child, we are responsible for getting children ready in the morning, feeding them, sending them to school, going to work, picking them up and bringing them to whatever extra curriculars or sports they are involved in, we go home, cook dinner, make sure homework is done, put them to bed, get ourselves together, sleep and start it all over in the AM. I'm exhausted just writing about it. So the thought of having to cook a fresh dinner every night can be daunting. Time is not always on our side right? So what happens in most American households? We order takeout or we go out to restaurants where we load up on carb heavy and overly salted meals, and maybe indulge in desert or a soda. We spend excess finances on these meals that are not promoting optimal health in our children or in ourselves. Our children are eating chemicals and processed foods most of the day instead of real whole food that will provide them with the proper nutrients for optimal growth and development. 

But still, we are tired and we don't have enough time in the day for any of this. But lets take a step back for a second. Dont we want the best for our children and ourselves? We want to be healthy and well and live long healthy lives. We want our growing children to recieve the proper nutrients for their growth. They are coming into their teen years with acne and skin issues, allergies, lowered immune systems, digestive issues, possibly menstruation issues and painful periods (for our daughter of course), some are overweight and on the road to high blood sugar and high cholesterol amongst a slew of other health issues that should not be plaguing our children. 

 

So what's the solution? I say it often but I feel like I can keep saying it and spreading this message. We need to start really paying attention to what we are putting into our bodies. The best way to nourish our family and the easiest way to not question the quality of our food, is to eat whole real food from nature. That's all, it's that simple. Spending more money on produce and lean proteins as well as legumes, nuts etc and less money on processed food, packaged food, sugary food and sugary beverages, candy and fast food. I know it's hard to find the time to cook and pack all of your meals fresh, I get it. But I challenge you this week to make an attempt at family meal prep time. Involve your kids if you can, and prepare your meals on Sunday so that you are at least prepared for the first half of the week. I like to roast a variety of veggies in my oven and then roast a turkey loin or cornish hens at the same time on Sundays. Sometimes I will cook quinoa or rice on the stove top as well. After all is cooked I cool everything and package my food in containers so that through out the week, I can combine different veggies with whatever protein I made in containers and I bring them for lunch. For dinner, we use the raw veggies for salads and prepare a simple lean protein like fish on the stove top or even finish up whatever protein we prepared on Sunday. Usually I will make a variety of proteins on Sunday such as chicken breast, Turkey meatballs and chicken burgers etc ...to last until at least Wednesday night. This will take the guesswork out of what to pack the kids for lunch and what to eat for dinner when everyone gets home. Adding one fresh ingredients to each dinner -such as cooking the protein fresh the night of or preparing a fresh salad- helps to rejuvenate the meal and make it more satisfying. As families, we need to make the time to prepare food together, eat together, and nourish each other together. 

Will this be possible 7 nights a week? Maybe not. Maybe your family will only be able to do this 3x a week. But you know what? 3x a week is better than nothing, and the more of a routine you develop, the easier it becomes to make this possible more days during the week. Let's try to involve the kids, have them help in the kitchen, teach them about food and nutrition and let them be part of preparing their food. As a child, I loved this, and it really helps them to enjoy what they are eating as they feel like they took are part in the preparation. Develop healthy habits instead of rushed eating with your children and I promise that you will all reap the health benefits.

In this week's newsletter, I will be sending a free downloadable recipe book that contains some very easy, healthy recipes that you can prepare for your week. If you want to recieve this ebook, please sign up for my newsletter in the newsletter tab and I will send it right over!!
Let's build Wellness and encourage healthy habits together! 

In Health and Wellness

❤Crystal❤

My lunch from last week consisting of tuna and leftover roasted veggies with some fresh baby spinach and an avocado for freshness and healthy fats! Yumm!!

My lunch from last week consisting of tuna and leftover roasted veggies with some fresh baby spinach and an avocado for freshness and healthy fats! Yumm!!

Diets VS Healthy Eating

Diet and healthy eating go hand in hand. But as we all know, diets aren't always healthy. There was the 90's low fat craze, which was a compete disaster. People lost weight, but as far as health was concerned, people were loading up on low fat snacks and products that were loaded with chemicals and sugar alcohols. So it was acceptable to eat your days worth of calories in low fat snack cakes, but don't you dare touch that hard boiled egg or avocado. Why did we not question this earlier ? 

Thankfully, things have evolved, and we have become much more educated on food, diets and nutrients. The millennial generation is practicing good healthy eating habits and spending most of their income on Matcha and Organic Fresh produce, which is amazing.  But some people still swear by the old school mentality of calories in versus calories out, and low fat being the way to go instead of embracing healthy fats (which our brain needs to function). Some still seek a reason to justify eating low fat junk food instead of a serving of veggies or a package of almonds. The problem is, these artificially created snack foods and low fat products are exactly that, artificial. The body has to work very hard to break down these food products, as our digestive system was not built to bread down chemicals. It was built to break down real food. Avocados, eggs, nuts, veggies, fruit and lean animal proteins are whole foods and what our digestive system was built to break down and use for fuel. When we neglect these foods, and start to over eat the artifical junk food what happens? The body has to work very hard to try to break down these artificial food items. As a result of the excess stress on the digestive system, we experience inflammation in the body. You probably hear this word on every food blog these days, but it is a real thing. For some people, (again we have to keep in mind the concept of bio individuality which I discussed in an earlier blog post) certain grains, sugar, alcohol, legumes and dairy have a very inflammatory effect on their bodies, especially when consumed in excess. This can lead to weight gain, a tired sluggish feeling from the body working so hard and for some, bloating and excess gas which let's be real, is never convenient. 

So what's the solution. Do we eliminate dairy and brown rice forever? No, not necessarily. This is where we practice moderation. All of these food categories that cause inflammation, are completely fine to eat in moderation. As individuals, we need to learn how much of a certain food group we are able to tolerate. It will be different for everyone. So what might work for you might not work for your best friend or sister. It's important to pay attention to how your body feels after each meal and really start to tune in more. 

The easiest way to avoid this inflammatory effect, is to introduce mostly whole foods to your diet and try your best to avoid anything artificial or any low fat packaged products that have ingredient lists full of chemical that you do not recognize. As far as grains and beans which are whole natural foods, please eat and enjoy, but pay attention to how your body responds to them. Listen to your body so that you can learn on an individual level, what is agreeing with your body and what isn't. 

In conclusion of this very long blog post, the main takeaway I am offering is to eat from nature as often as you can, and indulge on occassion. If a certain food group does not agree with your body, then avoid it as as often as possible so that you can feel your best. Veggies, leafy greens, lean protein, fruit, nuts and beans, whole grain and legumes (eat as frequently as your body can tolerate-for some that can be every day for some that  may only mean a few days a week). Avoid processed and artificial foods as they will reek havoc on your digestive system. And of course, indulge on occassion. Enjoy that glass of wine when you are on a date, and enjoy the piece of cake that your mom baked at a holiday gathering. Do not neglect family and friends because of your diet, instead, make healthy choices around them in these situations. Don't create restrictions that are so tight that you neglect your family and friends. I have done this and I promise you, it isn't worth it. Take care of your body, feed it whole real food and live your life with the people you love.

If you need help Kickstarting a healthy eating plan or if you are looking for a new way to balance healthy eating, please shoot me an email on my "Contact me" link. I have a great online health coaching program that is personalized to each individual. I would love to help you on your journey :)

In Health and Wellness
❤Crystal❤

I found this on Pinterest and absolutely love this message!!! 

I found this on Pinterest and absolutely love this message!!! 

Food Relationships

In my industry, the word diet is used on a daily basis more than several times a day. On a personal level, diet had always been a tricky subject for me to talk about. When I first started getting serious about my workouts, I thought that the only way to be successful in losing weight was by counting calories, calories in versus calories out. I was a believer in low fat food and diet food products. Sugar free products enabled me to still indulge in sweets and have something to pour over my pancakes without guilt(or so I thought). I didn't realize how many unnatural ingredients and sugar alcohols were in these products. I just thought, hey its a fiber one bar so it must be healthy. I didn't know any better and I honestly didn't understand the association between processed food and how the unnatural ingredients in them effect not just our weight, but our hormones, and our mood. I didn't understand why I could snack on these things that were healthy and diet friendly, but my body was not able to get lean. I worked out so much and I ate as healthy as I thought I could, but I just wasn't seeing the results I wanted in my body. On top of the fact, that my sugar cravings were at an all time high and I was always hungry. I thought the hunger was just from my workouts, but now I know they were from eating so many empty calories which weren't satiating me, and from boredom(which is something we will talk about in another blog post). In addition, I was depending on Protein powder and protein bars to get me through my workouts or to fuel me after a hard workout when I didn't have the time to sit down and eat a proper lunch. Some of my protein powders has ingredient lists that were so long they took up the whole back of the tub. Just FYI, every single one of those protein powders are no longer in my pantry and I only eat RX Bars or Larabars want something quick, since these bars have so few ingredients all of which are natural and unprocessed.

I didn't grow up eating healthy food. As a kid, my diet consisted of a lot of carbs, sugary drinks, cereals, sweets, soda, pizza, and on occassion fast food. My mom had a pretty busy schedule being a single mom with 3 daughters who were all in different schools in different parts of Long Island. We all had after school activities like band practice, twirling lessons and acting classes. Quick meals, snacks like chips and candy bars became the norm as we constantly needed to be somewhere on a schedule. On addition to that, my mom was a pretty picky eater, so there were certain things she just didn't cook, because she didn't enjoy them. And as we all know, kids learn their eating habits from their parents. We only eat what we are exposed to, so it is normal for us to develop palettes that are similar to our parents. 

I had a massive sweet tooth most of my life. Never really with candy but chocolate and ice cream, snack cakes and juice were my addictions. I didn't think there was anything wrong with these things because juice was healthy right? And sugary cereals are what all kids ate for breakfast. I mean, what kid didn't love a bowl of lucky charms with a glass of orange juice in the morning. I was super tiny and thin when I was young and I was that way up until high school, so again, I never thought much about my eating habits and how bad they were. In high school, as my body started to change, I became a little self conscious in my skin, and of course I decided to be more cautious with what I was eating. So when I bought snapple iced tea, I went for the diet version and I went for the Sun Chips instead of Doritos, because somehow they seemed to be the healthier choice. Guys, I'm not saying that my mom was at fault for my eating because honestly, nutrition is all about education. And if you don't know what is harmful, you won't know what to avoid. And I know many of my peers had similar eating habits growing up and maybe some have even continued those habits. But that is why I beleive I have made this leap of faith in my career. My mission, is to educate people about what they are putting into their body. So many of our bad eating habits stem from our childhood, and it's hard to break habits when this is all we know. Education is key when it comes to nutrition. The more you understand how food effects your body and your mood, the more prone you will be to make better food choices. 

As a 34 year old woman, who has spent most of her life having a very odd relationship with food, I think it is so important to really understand what we are putting into our bodies. Whole food, real food and food grown in nature is what we were meant to eat. If you can't recognize an ingredient in your food, you probably shouldn't be eating it. I know that this is still a very difficult thing for most of us to adjust to. Throwing out the food scale and not logging in our calories or points can seem really scary right? I mean, numbers comfort people or freak them out. And for all the people who count 

calories and macros, it can be a scary to give that up. Trust me, it took me a long time to get over that fear. It made me uncomfortable to eat blindly when it came to numbers. But once I started seeing my body change just eating real food, I felt so free. Finally, food didn't control my day. I controlled what I ate. And I was eating things that I loved to eat, without feeling guilty. I felt a comfort in my skin that I never felt in the past. And the way I eat now, is a lifestyle not a diet. I encourage my clients to view healthy eating as a lifestyle not just a quick diet. I find that this mindset shift, has left them feeling free and empowered with their food which leads to success in the long run. 

I will be posting more about this topic with some articles very soon. If you want to stay the most up to date on my posts and articles, sign up for my newsletter and you will receive the most update information on nutrition, whole foods and of course fitness. 
I would love to hear about you all and your food journeys. Feel free to leave your comments below. If any of you are seeking guidance with your nutrition and getting on the right path to wellness, please feel free to shoot me and email and I can guide you through the programs that I offer in this area.

Thanks for reading guys!!
In health and wellness,
❤Crystal❤ 

 

 

Fresh Veggies at Union Market. Such a Beautiful place to shop!!

Fresh Veggies at Union Market. Such a Beautiful place to shop!!

Bio Individuality

Bio individuality

Hi Everyone. I wanted to talk a little bit today about the concept of bio individuality. As a trainer, I often get asked "what diet should I follow" or "my friend is following this diet and she lost 20lbs so should I do that too"? And of course I get similar questions in regards to workout programs. "I've been following this workout I read about but I'm not seeing the results that my other friend is seeing. Why isn't it working for me?". The answer to all of these questions is simple. Bio individuality.

As individuals, we are exactly that, individual.  We all come from different backgrounds, have different needs, and we all respond to workouts and diet plans differently. You might know someone who gained weight being a vegan or someone who lost weight eating fattier food. And all of that is ok. Because our bodies are different, and what works for one person, might not work for someone else. We have to take into account how different we all are. We come from differnt molds and things like our environment, our genetics, our hormones, our blood type, gender, lifestyle, stress level, etc... all play a huge role in how our bodies react to diet and exercise. It is important to listen to your body and to follow a program that was made for you not for someone else .

Back when I was a Bikini Competitor, I remember working with a coach who gave a group of us very similar meal plans. I lost weight, as it was quite calorie restrictive, but I also felt sick. My digestive system was irritated and I had constant pain and discomfort in my abdomen. I also felt tired and sluggish all of the time and my workouts were suffering since I felt like I did not have any energy. I was bloated and I was not able to use the bathroom without tea and fiber supplements. I knew that something just wasn't right, and I needed to make a change. I then started working with another coach, who asked me a whole bunch of questions regarding food and what allergies I have, what digestive issues I was having etc, and before prepping me for a show and getting me on a restrictive diet to get back on stage, she said to me, "let's fix your stomach first, then we will talk about getting you back on stage". After 3 weeks with her, I felt amazing. She then customized a place for me based off of what we learned in the 3 weeks together about how my body reacted to food. This is where I realized, how important it was to listen to your body, learn about what your body is teaching you, and do what feels right for you not what everyone else is following. We are all different and we thrive off of different things. That is why bio individuality is so important. 

As a trainer and a health coach, I work on on one with my clients in order to make custom programs for them, based on their individual needs and goals. We are all so different and our bodies need and thrive off of different things. So my suggestion to you, is to start listening to your body. Start journaling and keep track of the foods that irritate your digestive system. Maybe you can try eliminating them to see how you feel. Take a break from your current workout plan if you feel like it isn't working, and try adding in something new, shock your body and see how it reacts. This whole process is about learning, and the more attention you pay to your body on a daily basis, the more you will learn about what does and doesn't work for you.

Start listening to your body, and don't get discouraged when a new plan doesn't work for you. There is something for everyone, it just takes some time and effort in order to find what will make you feel your best.

If you are looking for some guidance on where to get started, check out my list of services and feel free to shoot me an email with any questions you may have. 

In health and wellness
❤Crystal❤

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Why I Became a Health Coach and Personal Trainer

I wanted to talk a little bit today about what brought me to the world of Health coaching and Personal Training. I wasn't always in the Fitness and Wellness Industry. For 10 years I was a Fashion Designer. I studied at the Fashion Institute of technology and received my BA in fashion Design in 2005. I was so excited to be a designer and I started working immediately after graduation. I loved my industry, the shopping, the creativity, the fact that I was doing something I had wanted to do since I was a little girl making clothes for my Barbies using scraps of leftover fabric that my mom would have otherwise thrown away. It was everything I thought I wanted. But the industry quickly took a toll on me. The long hours, the tight deadlines, the many hours glued to a desk and a computer screen designing patterns and working on presentations. I found myself eating junk food, sugar, drinking way too many Starbucks lattes and of course indulging in happy hours several times a week in order to release stress and feel like I had a social life. In other words, I was leading a very unhealthy lifestyle for a woman in her early 20's. Living in NYC, it is so easy to fall into this lifestyle. You work late hours and then you don't want to rush home, you want to relax with a glass or 4 of wine and then of course eat junk food since you never made the time for dinner before leaving the office.

When I was 25, I decided to join a gym. It was a small local gym and it was affordable so I figured this would be a good place to start. I would go workout about 2x a week, which wasn't much, but I always felt good when I went. I also realized how out of shape I was when I could barely run 1 mile without feeling drained. I started to grow bored of working out alone, so I started taking classes like spin, Zumba and Total Body conditioning which I loved. I started to enjoy the gym but I felt like I needed more in order to really start seeing my body change, so I started working with a  personal trainer. That was the best thing I could have done for myself. It held me accountable by scheduling time for my sessions and for the first time I was doing workouts the were specifically made for me. I continued to take classes and then I started running which was a challege for me, but I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I signed up for 2 Spartan races and a year later 2 half marathons. The discipline that I gained training for races was so important to me. I loved having something to work towards and finishing these races felt amazing, I went from eating horribly and never working, out to signing up for races and commiting to my fitness. I felt amazjng. The only thing that frustrated me, was the fact that my body was still not as fit looking as it felt, I was fast, I was strong but I didn't look as fit as I wanted to. So, through the encouragement from a friend, I decided to train for a Fitness Competition. In  2014, I hired a coach, and started my journey to the stage.

It was during this journey to the stage that I started learning about food and macro counting. My body was changing fast, with a lot of hard work, both at the gym and in the kitchen. But it was also here, where I started focusing on depravition rather than health, and working out in excess rather than working out to feel good. I have a bit of a competitive side to me, so of course, I wanted to reach perfection and I wanted to win. 3 shows later, I was tired, and frustrated, and because I did not  place well at my shows, despite my hard work. I became depressed, and instead of working hard to continue to improve my body, I was angry and I took it out on myself. I started eating everything in site that I had deprived myself of for a year and a half. Sweets, which have always been my weakness, junk food, everything that I wasn't "allowed" to eat during my prep, And the more of those things I ate, the more I wanted them. I hated how I felt and looked, but I couldn't seem to get myself back into a routine. I wasn't working out, I was eating badly, and everytime I said I was going to go back on my "diet", I was only able to maintain that for a few days before I fell off the wagon. 

At this same time I was preparing to take my NASM exam to become a trainer, and I felt like I needed to get my act together if I was going to work with clients. I needed to be the person I was before I started competing. The person who loved her workouts, who loved healthy food and who enjoyed encouraging people to take care of their bodies. It was that person that wanted to change her career to become a Personal trainer in order to make a difference in other people's lives. It was that version of me, who remembered what a positive impact fitness had on my life, and I wanted to give that back to people. People who were new to fitness and people who needed someone that they could trust and relate to. So I did just that. I got back into my workouts, I started eating healthy without depriving myself, and I started researching nutrition programs that would best suit my goals. That is when I enrolled in a Health Coaching program that changed my life. I learned so much about myself and about food/ nutrition. I learned that it wasn't about the quantity of food but rather the quality of food  and I was excited to share this with my clients. I wanted to get them away from the old school mentality of dieting and get them to think in a more modern way about nutrition. Food quality is everything. Eating natural, whole foods is the way to go, and I will talk more about this in later blog posts. So this was my new mission. I not only wanted to provide my clients with workouts and exercise plans, but I wanted to be able to guide them nutritionally. I want my clients to enjoy food and to feel good about what they are eating. I do not want my clients to feel like they have to deprive themselves of food and I want them to understand that they don't need to count calories or depend on a food scale in order to lose weight. My programs teach them more sustainable habits.

This is probably the longest blog post that I will ever post, but I want you all to understand where I come from, I want you all to know that I was once that new person at the gym just trying to find my way. We have all been there and if that is where you are right now, I am excited for you. This journey can be life changing and I am excited to be a part of it with you.

I would love to hear about you guys and you stories. Please feel free to share in the comments below and thank you for reading my post!! 

In Health and Wellness

Finding your why

Hi Everyone and welcome to my page. I am so excited to have you here and I look forward to sharing many workout and nutrition tips with you all. I wanted to talk a little bit about your reasons for embarking on a path to fitness and wellness. I will share my personal story on my next blog post, but today, I want to hear about you all. What is your Why? Is your journey a personal one of self love and self discovery. Are you preparing for a special event? Are you trying to get healthy for your family? Are you looking to get fit after having a baby? Or are you looking for an outlet to release stress and find your happy place? We all start for different reasons, but one thing brings us together. That one thing is this amazing Fitness community that we belong to. That you now belong to.

Fitness and wellness brings people together. On my page, in one on one training sessions, and in my Bootcamps, we all support each other to work hard and push past our comfort zones. It's an amazing community of positive energy and a journey we all are taking for our own reasons.

So, my request today for all of you, is to take a minute, take a breath, and define your why. I would love to hear from all of you so please feel free to leave comments below. Thanks everyone and I look forward to sharing my story with you all on my next post.

In Health and Wellness
❤Crystal❤

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