Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Friday 5

Hi and happy Friday!

I’m in Arlington, Virginia right now with Stay Arlington, who is going to show me why the American College of Sports Medicine ranked it as the “fittest city in America” – two years in a row! How cool is that? I’ll be be experiencing some of the fun ways to get out and be active in Arlington. I can’t wait to tell you guys all about it. If you’re on Instagram today and tomorrow, be sure to follow along @carrotsncake and #stayfitarlington!

My goodness, there’s been a lot of traveling around here lately! We’re also off to Newport and Portland this Fall, and I might end up in Los Angeles in early November. That mixed with Quinn going off to school, it’s been a busy season for sure. All good things, but I am looking forward to getting back to my usual routine.

In this week’s edition of The Friday 5, there’s a mix of some of my favorite things: food, fashion, safer skincare, and (things for) Quinn! I hope you enjoy your weekend!

1. Overnight Resurfacing Peel + Band of Beauty Deal!

A FREE full-size Overnight Resurfacing Peel? Oh, yes… it’s yours for free! Read on…

I often get asked how to save money on Beautycounter products, and my answer is always to sign up for Band of Beauty (BoB), which is Beautycounter’s loyalty rewards program.

With BoB, there are truly no strings attached – no auto shipments, minimums you need to spend, or quotas to meet. It’s simply an awesome reward program with all sorts of perks of Beautycounter customers. It’s really the best way to save money, aside from signing up as a consultant.

Through the end of September, when you add the BoB membership to your cart with a $50 order, you get a full-size Overnight Resurfacing Peel for FREE! 

The Overnight Resurfacing Peel is easily my favorite Beautycounter product. You may have heard me rave about it just a few times in the past! 😉 I use it nighty, and it’s dramatically improved the texture and overall appearance of my skin. You can read my full review here.

If you plan on shopping with Beautycounter more than once, the math makes since. For $29 for an entire year (no auto renewal either), you’ll not only get a free peel ($63), but 10% back in product credit on every order, and free shipping on all orders over $100. It’s really a no brainer!!

2. Brandless Cheese Square Crackers

These cheese squares from Brandless are so addicting – and much healthier than Cheez-Its. Quinn (and Mal) love Cheez-Its, so it makes me so much more comfortable knowing that they’re not regularly consuming chemicals (i.e. glyphosate) and other junk. The Brandless crackers are organic, and free of GMOs and glyphosate. We love using Brandless to order pantry staples because it’s extremely reasonable (you can’t beat it when everything is between $3 and $6). If you’re interested in Brandless, you can check out my full review of it here as well as some of our favorite products. It’s absolutely worth a try!

box of Brandless cheese square crackers

3. Brooks Notch Thermal Hoodie

This Brooks hoodie is so comfy! I actually professed my love for it earlier this week, but I’m still thinking about it. I can definitely see it being the perfect piece to layer over a workout tank to and from the gym, or wearing on walks or runs around the neighborhood. It’s typically $85, but I found it for $59.95!

brooks running notch thermal hoodie

4. Hickies Kids Elastic No-tie Shoelaces

We got Quinn some new back-to-school gear for Kindergarten, which included these handy dandy no-tie plastic shoelaces. (They just clip on to the lace holes.) Quinn hasn’t quite mastered tying his shoe laces (almost there!), so these make getting out of the house onto the bus in the morning so much easier!

5. Bellroy Classic Backpack 

I’ve been searching for a new backpack, especially for travel. I found this Bellroy Classic Backpack, and it’s perfect! It fits my laptop and has plenty of storage for other travel necessities. Plus, it’s both cute and functional (not too awkwardly big), so it’s the best of both worlds. The quality is also amazing, so I plan to have this pack for a while! I actually packed it + my Tokyo Tote Bag for my overnight to Arlington, which make travel a piece of cake!

Flashback Friday

Sales of the Week

This post contains some affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission from the company if you decide to purchase the product linked to. This compensation helps with expenses to keep CNC up and running. Thank you for your support!

P.S. I’m hosting a FREE macro tracking challenge starting on Monday, 9/30. Details and to sign up!

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Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Getting the Results You Want in the Gym

Good morning, folks. Today’s awesome post is offered up by Primal Health Coach Chris Redig. 

Are you struggling to see results at the gym? Has your strength training hit a dead end? Maybe you’ve noticed that lifting heavy things doesn’t automatically build muscle. It doesn’t automatically get results.

There’s nothing worse than putting in the work but seeing no benefits. Carving time out of a busy schedule to lift heavy things is already a Herculean effort. That time needs to be productive. So, if you’re struggling to get results, here are the ten most likely reasons.

1) You’re Not Fully Motivated (Yet)

Building a lean muscular physique takes considerable work. There’s nothing quick or easy about it. To maintain your motivation, it helps to remember the benefits.

Not only is it fantastic for your health and a great longevity strategy, but it’s arguably the best form of exercise to lose fat.
A lean, muscular physique is useful, visually appealing, and built for adventure. Whether you’re climbing trees with your kids, portaging a boat or carrying someone away from danger, muscles help get jobs done.

Strength training checks all the boxes, and it’s hard to imagine a better use of your time at the gym. But it’s not always easy to make consistent progress. If you’re struggling to get results, your training may lack progressive overload.

2) There’s No Progressive Overload

How do you build muscle? The answer lies in the concept known as progressive overload. When you lift heavy things, you create a significant challenge for your muscles. In response to that challenge, they grow bigger.

So far so good.

But as they grow bigger, the heavy things stop being heavy enough. It may feel heavy enough. You probably don’t enjoy lifting it. But for your muscles, it has stopped being a reason to get bigger.

Consequently, to maintain growth you must strive to increase the challenge. The two best ways to do this are by either increasing the amount of weight you are lifting or increasing the number of reps you are performing.

In other words, if you lift the same weight for the same number of reps week after week and month after month, you are not building muscle. Progressive overload is central to success. To get bigger, focus on lifting heavier.

If you’re not sure how to maintain progressive overload, you’re probably not logging your sessions.

3) You’re Not Logging Your Sessions

But how do you know how many reps to aim for? How do you know how much weight to lift? Initially, the answers will depend on the program you’re following. But once you get started, the answers will be determined by your last session.

So, you need a log book.

First, a log book tracks your progress. It will record how many reps you performed and how much weight you lifted. This is how you know what to do at the gym at your next session. And this is how you know if you’re building muscle.

Second, having a log book will keep you honest. It will force you to train hard. You’ll know the numbers you need to beat. It will prevent you from putting down the bar and thinking, “Well, that was easy.”

Third, it will give you a record of achievement. It takes months to see significant results. That can seem daunting and discouraging. A log book brings those future results into the present. It’s a regular reminder that you’re getting stronger.

Finally, if you start keeping a log book, you may notice that you train inconsistently.

4) You’re Training Inconsistently

Habits first. Muscles second. Nothing short of time and consistency is going to get results. A single hard session at the gym isn’t going to cut it.

Therefore, it’s crucial to build some habits. Going to the gym should be on autopilot. First, this requires a different mindset and a shift in focus. The desire to get results should become an obsession to become consistent.

Second, a fitness journey needs to be sustainable. To be fit requires consistent work. If the work stops, the fitness slips away. Ask yourself, how many times per week do I want to go to the gym 18 months from now? Make gym time sustainable. Become consistent.

But with consistent training comes the risk of training too hard.

5) You’re Training Too Hard

As you progress and strive to beat your last session, you will start failing reps. Failing a rep is exactly what it sounds like. You hit a point where you simply cannot finish another rep without taking a break.

It’s easiest to experience with pullups. After a certain number of pullups, you hit a wall. You can’t get over the bar again without taking a rest. The purpose of strength training is to push that point of failure back further and further.

But you can train too hard. It’s probably not a good idea to constantly fail reps. The goal isn’t to feel wrecked the next day. And if you can’t do another rep, resist the temptation to cheat. Progress shouldn’t come at the expense of good form or range of motion. You don’t want to get sloppy to show fake progress. Your last pullup shouldn’t look significantly different than your first pullup.

Instead, always leave a couple reps in the bank. Stop one to three reps before failure. It’s okay to occasionally hit failure. But don’t spend a day at the gym training to total failure or getting sloppy.

If you’re training too hard, you might also be too focused on fatigue.

6) You’re Too Focused on Fatigue

You’re at the gym lifting heavy things. You’re pouring sweat, out of breath and about five minutes from total collapse.

Good workout?

If you want to build your mental toughness, work capacity or conditioning, then yes. But if your goal is muscle, then it’s questionable. The body adapts pretty narrowly to the stress you impose.

If you’re too focused on fatigue, your body will primarily get better at preventing fatigue. If you want more muscle, then you need to focus on stressing your muscle through progressive overload.

This means you should catch your breath between sets. You don’t need to jump straight from one set into the next just to keep your heart rate up. Take your time. Be ready mentally and physically to lift the weight. Be ready to give your best and most impressive effort each and every set.

Instead of pushing your endurance, try pushing your comfort zone.

7) You’re Stuck Inside Your Comfort Zone

The goal is to feel comfortable all over the gym. Maybe you’ve noticed there are specific areas where all the fit people train. They spend their time by the squat racks and deadlift platforms. There’s a reason they’re over there. Compound lifts work.
They’re time efficient. They improve coordination, movement patterns and flexibility. And they’re useful outside the gym. It’s worth taking the time to learn the challenging lifts. Just take it slow, and do your research.

Owning the difficult lifts will also give your motivation a big boost. Few things are as motivating as stepping outside your comfort zone and mastering a new skill. Stay safe, but don’t stay comfortable.

Weighing yourself can also be very uncomfortable. But is it the right measure?

8) You’re Using the Wrong Measure

The scale doesn’t tell the whole story. Nothing tells the whole story. Progress is slow and hard to see. A fitness coach might ask for weigh-ins, measurements and pics, and even then progress can be hard to detect, until one day it’s obvious.

If you’re starting out or struggling, then you need to build a foundation of improved habits, health and fitness. This is the hardest and most important part of the journey, but it isn’t easy to measure.

Fortunately, it is easy to measure progress in your strength training. You can judge your training by your log book. If you’re getting stronger, then your gym time is productive. The visual results are coming.

If your progress is still stalled, you’re probably training too little.

9) You’re Training Too Little

When you first start strength training, almost any amount of lifting will produce results. Newbie gains are fantastic. You’re constantly setting new PRs and getting stronger. But over time the progress slows and eventually stops.

You could stop right there. Those initial gains are plenty to look, move and feel great. You could focus on other dimensions of fitness or active leisure. And if you have dialed in your diet and lifestyle, you will look completely beach-ready.

But for those who want more, the answer is often more volume. And at this point your training becomes a balancing act. On the one hand, you need to ask “Can I spend more time lifting? Am I recovering? Am I avoiding injury?” And on the other hand you need to ask “Am I getting stronger? Am I increasing my lifts or reps?” There’s no formula. It’s an N=1 experiment.

If you’re struggling to increase your volume of training, it may be time to look at your recovery strategy.

10) You’re Not Recovering

The central pillar of any recovery strategy is diet and lifestyle. As readers of Mark’s Daily Apple, you already know what you want to be eating. Now the hard part is doing it. If past efforts have been ineffective and you’re struggling, I recommend taking a slow approach.

Better and best are not enemies. Many of the benefits of eating a good diet are dose responsive. This means that small improvements in your diet provide real benefits. Plus, those small improvements become habits and generate momentum.

Eating well is a set of skills. And skills need to be practiced.

My own diet transformation was a multi-year journey. Over time bad habits turned into good habits. The good habits accumulated. And one day, my diet was on autopilot. It takes time. It takes consistency. It’s worth it.

Strength training is a key ingredient of looking, moving and feeling your best. I hope some of these recommendations help you break through to the next level. Thanks for reading.

About the Author:

Chris Redig is a health and fitness coach. He loves helping people move, look and feel their best by optimizing their nutrition, movement and lifestyle. He is a Primal Health Coach, a Henselmans Personal Trainer and a Movnat Master Trainer. He has lived, adventured and traveled in 20 different countries and holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs. In particular, he loves to help adventure-enthusiasts build ready-for-anything minds and bodies. He currently lives in Denmark with his wife and two kids. For online coaching or a free consultation, visit www.chrisredig.com. Or you can follow him on Instagram.

To learn how you can become a certified Primal Health Coach like Chris Redig, click the following link and download the free eBook How to Become a Health Coach: 5 Steps to Embarking on a Career You Love.

Thanks to Chris for stopping by the blog today and sharing his coaching wisdom. And thanks to everyone out there for reading today. Have a question for Chris—or a post idea our Primal Health Coaches can weigh in on? Let us know down below. Have a great end to your week.

Primal_Fuel_640x80

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FREE Fall Macro Tracking Challenge

A free macro tracking challenge to help you find balance with your diet!

This FREE 5-day challenge will provide you with everything you need to jumpstart your nutrition and build momentum with your diet by learning about macros and getting a taste of what CNC 1-on-1 Nutrition Coaching is all about.

Tracking macros is often eye-opening and a great way to learn about your food choices and eating habits. This tracking challenge is great for just about anyone – whether you’ve tracked macros or not! The CNC Fall Tracking Challenge starts on Monday, September 30! 

When you sign up, you’ll receive:

  • instructions how to calculate your own macros (or you can purchase a personalized calculation via Registered Dietitian on my staff)
  • “How to Track Macros” guide
  • 5-day sample meal plan
  • 10 macro-friendly recipes with nutrition info
  • meal prep guide to help you make the most of your time in the kitchen
  • detailed grocery list
  • macro cheat sheet
  • daily accountability and check-ins in our private Facebook group
  • support and access to our coaching staff to ask questions via our private Facebook group
  • freebies and giveaways!

The CNC Fall Tracking Challenge starts on Monday, September 30, so the deadline to sign up is Thursday, September 26th. I’ll send out all of your materials on Friday, September 27, so you’ll have plenty of time to calculate your macros, meal prep, and get ready for Monday!

Are you in? Let’s do this!

SIGN UP HERE

Disclaimer: Our macro plans are not medically-prescribed diets. The focus is meal prep education and recipe ideas. Please consult your doctor before adhering to a new diet. 

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The #1 Reason To Take Digestive Enzymes

You’ve heard the phrase “You are what you eat.”

But the truth is:

We are what we digest and absorb.

And that’s a hard truth to swallow…

Because like me, you may do everything in your power to feed yourself healthy food. You might be eating all your veggies and cook meals from scratch with the healthiest ingredients. And it’s all worthwhile, because what goes into our bodies matters. However – if food isn’t properly digested and absorbed, it can lead to some not-so-fun problems like:

* Gas and bloating
* Heaviness in the stomach
* Embarrassing burps
* General stomach discomfort
* Pieces of undigested food in your stool

Our bodies may also have a harder time absorbing important nutrients found in our food.

That’s why taking a digestive enzyme before my biggest meal gives me confidence knowing I’m not only absorbing the nutrients my body needs, but I’m feeling the way I should after eating my favorite foods (including healthy ones, like kale!) – energized. Not sluggish and bloated.

I have been taking digestive enzymes for the past 8 years, and couldn’t wait to create one that could meet Truvani’s strict ingredient standards…

I’m so happy to announce that Truvani Easy Enzymes are now available! Click here to give them a try.

Right now, you can take advantage of our special launch pricing.

Truvani Easy Enzymes supplement

Compared to other options on the market (made from animals), our enzymes are 100% vegan and grown on plant matter here in the USA. These diverse, plant-based enzymes aid in the digestive process so your body can better absorb and use nutrients from your diet.

Our Easy Enzymes were created with 9 heavily researched digestive enzymes that support the breakdown of carbohydrates, protein, fat, lactose, and fibrous vegetables.

Vegan digestive enzymes

Ensuring your gut has the right balance of diverse microbiota and enzymes is the key to feeling great and getting the most out of your food.

In a perfect world, we’d have all the enzymes we need in our gut. But there are many factors that can affect our body’s ability to produce enough enzymes…

  • Stress
  • Age
  • The health of your gut
  • Chewing gum (crazy, right?)
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Lack of variety in the diet
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Genetics
  • Dietary changes

So, even though you eat well and live a healthy lifestyle, your body might not produce enough digestive enzymes.

You do A LOT to give you and your family the best quality food… so make sure your bodies are getting the support they need!

Truvani Easy Enzymes vegan digestive enzyme supplement

Xo,
Vani

 

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Back In The Cook Of Things

When you’re short on kitchen time, Blue Apron makes a great bridge between take out and cooking from scratch. Thanks to Blue Apron for sponsoring this post. 

I remember back to when Mazen first became mobile, crawling around at my ankles and getting into things, I had all kinds of strategies for cooking. I used to make meals in the mornings, I subscribed to a meal planning service, and I wholeheartedly embraced the prep day for that season of life. I prepped every ingredient in little glass bowls, down to the minced garlic, so when it was dinnertime I could throw the food in a skillet or pot and it would nearly cook itself. Now that Birch is mobile, and also getting into EV. ERY. THING. I’m ready to put some of those old practices into place.

He did have fun unboxing the ingredients with me!

Many of you know I have partnered with Blue Apron over the years and truly love the diversity and inspiration that comes from the recipes. (It’s also a whiz to get in and out of the grocery store with a baby when you only need staples because the bulk of your ingredients are coming to your doorstep.) We generally do the 4-person plan so we can have leftovers for lunch, and there are 16 recipes you can choose from there are no surprises. If you haven’t tried Blue Apron for yourself (and itsabouttimeyoudid!) I’m offering $60 in FREE meals for you and your fam.

The first 50 of you to sign up will get $60 off your first 3 weeks of Blue Apron! Click here for more details.

Valid for first-time meal plan subscribers only. Cannot be combined with any other offer. 

Pull up a chair and let’s make a meal together!

Orange & Sweet Chili Chicken

This recipe was a huge hit in our house! It was packed with flavor from the sweet chili sauce to the togarashi seasoning on the finish. (I didn’t know was that was either!) The little white discs are Korean rice cakes called tteok. I had never heard of them, but I LOVED their chewy texture! I also appreciated that this meal was packed with vegetables – generous amounts of broccoli and cabbage.

Let’s cook!

I put Birch down for a nap, turned on a podcast, and got to cookin’ at 10am. It was lovely!

I boiled the tteok for just 3-4 minutes until they were ready. They reminded me of flat dumplings.

I also really appreciated all of these aromatics pre minced for me!! My kitchen smelled delicious.

It made enough to feed a crowd!


Thanks to Blue Apron for sponsoring this post.

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How To Love Your Body (Even When It’s Large)

Learning how to love your body is not always easy.

It can take years to get to the point where you can honestly say that you love yourself. Some people don’t even know what that means! Learning to… Read more →



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