Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Online Macro Calculators and Why You Need a Nutrition Coach

One of the most common questions I receive from prospective clients is: Why do I need a nutrition coach when I can just use a free online macro calculator?

While there are a dime-a-dozen free calculators out there, they only take into account a few variables and then output numbers – they do not account for the whole picture, and there’s a reason why no one finds long-term success with just an online calculator.

I mean, think about it. You would hire a coach or a personal trainer to help you improve your fitness, so it doesn’t make sense that you wouldn’t do the same with your diet, which is arguably the much harder part? Macro calculators only do the first part of the work – a coach takes it above and beyond, taking into account what an online calculator has no way of doing. How much sleep are you getting? Are you training for an endurance event? What’s your alcohol intake? Do your workouts leave you feeling energized or fatigued? Macros are just one part of the equation. It’s knowing these lifestyle factors and adjusting macros accordingly that can make all the difference!

Simply put, a nutrition coach can help you make changes based on what’s working and what’s not working. A macro calculator can give two different people the same set of numbers, but each of them may respond differently. For example, some people thrive on a higher carb diet while others feel great eating higher fat. Working with a nutrition coach ensures that your numbers don’t have to remain stagnant – they can be adjusted accordingly, which takes so much of the anxiety and guesswork out of it!

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Lastly, a nutrition coach holds you accountable! Yeehaw! Just like you are more likely to stick to a workout plan if you have a buddy or trainer, you are more likely to stick with a nutrition plan if you have someone to check-in with, answer questions, and encourage you all along the way. 

And if you’re someone like me, who generally knows what to do when it comes to healthy eating, but needs the extra accountability, we have an awesome group starting the Master Your Macros Challenge on Monday, January 7th. You have the choice of a 4- or 8-week plan with a coach, and its purpose is to TEACH you about macros, so you can take what you learn and implement it into your life for long-term results. I like to say, it’s the last “diet” you’ll ever try! 🙂 The deadline to sign up is December 31st, so make sure you’re on the list!



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How Does Alcohol Affect a Workout?

Postpartum Fitness – Easing In

It’s been six weeks since Birch was born (HOW?!) and I’m hoping to be cleared for all kinds of exercise at my appointment soon (it was cancelled on Monday due to the snow). I plan to ease in very slowly to strength training and anything high impact (my sister keeps warning me about my pelvic floor!) I’m excited to start working back toward the fitness level I was a year or so ago. Exercise is so important to my mental health and makes me feel so good, inside and out.

The day after Birch was born, I asked my doctor when it would be ok to do more than just stroll. Should I do nothing but rest until my six week appointment, or could I listen to my body and do some light cardio if it felt good? He said to take it easy, listen to my body, and don’t do anything crazy. (I turned down an invitation to play in a soccer tournament during this time! It was tempting!)

The first week I was home I took a few outdoor walks around the block. I was still pretty sore, and 10-20 minutes was plenty of strolling.

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The second week I inched up to closer to 30 minutes. My pelvic floor and abs were tired by the end. I needed to sit down for a while to rest everything when I got home.

The third week everything started to feel much more normal. My walks increased to up to an hour, and I was still feeling OK at the end. I think this week was the one we took a family trip to the gym on a Sunday and Thomas and I traded walking the track with Birch in the Solly with a little bit of cardio. I did 15 minutes of light stairmaster climbing and it felt amazing to break a sweat!! My body felt great afterward too. (I still counted this as walking – just walking up!) I also started power walking on our new treadmill (see below!) and added incline to get my heart rate up a little more.

The fourth week I was feeling great and doing 45-60 minutes on the treadmill or a long walk outside. I was up to walks about 4-5 days a week with a few rest days. I even tried jogging a few times for short intervals and that felt good. Everything down under feels normal, but I can tell my lower abs are still gaining their strength.

The fifth week I did a little more jogging on the treadmill and again, it felt great. I alternated a fast walk and a slow jog and literally have added a minute or two each day that I’ve done it (maybe 3 of the 7 days.)

The sixth week I felt great – aka totally normal – and started to increase my speed to a run and also added in some bodyweight strength work – just a little.

My doctor cleared me for all sports at my six week appointment!

I want to be clear that my eagerness to start workouts has had nothing to do with weight loss or “getting my body back” and everything to do with how I feel. Having been very pregnant for the last few months, it felt SO good to feel normal again. Breaking a sweat makes me feel happy, and I thrive on those endorphins.

I haven’t done any actually weight lifting or any kind of workout besides walking or jogging (until I went to strength class on Monday). I’m hoping to add in a weekly cycle class, a weekly strength class, a few home strength workouts, and indoor soccer in the next month or two. Indoor women’s soccer should be a nice transition back into full field outdoor soccer later next spring. Indoor soccer is shorter, much less running, and more low key. I can’t wait!

I probably won’t be going to the gym much this winter. I want to avoid putting Birch in Kids Zone until the spring when cold and flu season passes. I might go a few times because the little babies are pretty well separated from the toddlers, but I don’t intend to make it a daily habit anytime soon. I’m too sleep deprived to go at 5-6 am and our nursing schedule is too unpredictable anyways. So if I do go to the gym, I need to rely on Thomas or a sitter to watch Birch. I might be able to convince T to let me go to a weekly lunch break class : ) And I have a few work-from-home friends who have offered to watch B while I slip out for a bit.

All that’s to say I’ll be doing a lot of home workouts this winter, so we bought a treadmill! (Old news if you follow me on Instagram!) It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time, but since most of the time I am able to go to the gym, it just didn’t make sense to spend a lot of money on one. When I realized I’d probably be doing a lot of home workouts this winter, I decided to look at Craigslist just to see what was out there. And I found one that looked pretty nice for $125 a mile away. It’s 10 years old, but it works ok and has speed and incline – that’s all you need, right? A day later it was in our downstairs mud room that we never use. (But man that thing was a beast to get down there!) The downside of putting it here is that I can’t watch the TV, but the upside is I don’t have a giant treadmill in any of our nice living spaces. It’s sort of the perfect spot, and it has a great view too.

One morning while Birch was sleeping Mazen and I went down there and did some intervals. I let him walk at a very slow pace while I did some stretching and then we switched and he did some squats and jacks. (Check out the nice view!)

He got bored after about 10 minutes and went to color at our desk while I kept walking (and then ended up printing out Pokemon cards from my phone to our wireless printer – eye roll – whatever makes him happy!)

While watching TV would be nice (and I could with our iPad too if I wanted), I have discovered Aaptiv!!! My gym friend Erin told me I had to check it out because the workouts were totally awesome – and she was right! They offer a huge variety of sports like: outdoor walks and runs, treadmill workouts of all kinds, strength training with weights or bodyweight, elliptical, cycling, stairclimber, rowing, stretching, yoga, and meditation. The workouts are set to all kinds of music, and the trainers walk you through them, motivating you and telling you exactly what to do. “When the beat drops we’re going to drop the incline from 10 to 4 and increase speed from 3.5 to 4.0!” My favorite trainer is John and I love that he does a lot of his workouts to the beat of the music. It’s so motivating! You can filter the workouts to find exactly what you need in the moment like “Less than 20 minutes // Treadmill // Walk + incline // Pop music.” Dare I said this little app has made me excited for my treadmill workouts?! You can use it at home, at the gym, while traveling, outdoors, etc. I work so much harder while doing an Aaptiv workout than if I’m just listening to music on my own.

Aaptiv hasn’t sponsored this post – I’m just doing a free 30 day trial with them. I think it costs from $60-100 a year depending on what specials you can find going on, and you can pay by the month too but it’s more expensive that way. You must try it out!! I will definitely be subscribing.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. I am on the hunt to procure a few sets of weights or a kettlebell or two to use through the winter. I’ll probably get 10, 15, and 20 pounds and a heavier kettlebell? If anyone has any good suggestions on where to get them, please let me know. I’m going to try Play It Again sports.

You know what I just remembered and got totally excited for? Hot yoga!!! Soon.



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