How to Have both a Social Life and a Healthy Life

Happy Thursday everyone! I g397061_10150813175798056_1526232110_net this question from my clients all the time: How do I stay on track for my goals and living a healthy lifestyle and still maintain a social life?

That is a great question!! It can be tricky, especially if your social life consists or eating at cool restaurants, drinking at fun bars, baking for girls night and then eating some more… sound familiar??


Here’s my best advice on this sticky situation…

One of the best things you can do is tell your friends/family about what you are doing & your goals. Most likely they’ll be super supportive! Then suggest that you guys go for a hike or run on the beach together and then grab some lunch, instead of just grab lunch.

When going out for food, just try and do the best you can!
  1. Try and pick healthier options. With the health and fitness craze going around these days, there are usually plenty of hip, healthy restaurant to try. You could try a cool juice/smoothie bar, a salad place etc.
  2. If you do go to a restaurant that has tempting unhealthy options, here’s a good rule…
“Try to and make at least half of your plate healthy. For example, if you are going to have a burger, then get a side salad instead of fries; or if you reallyyy want those fries then get a salad as your main course. Same for Italian and other restaurants – get some pasta but don’t eat the bread they put on the table, OR get a chicken salad and then eat the bread. Think either/or, not both! That way, not everything you eat at that meal is bad for you”
As for going out, that get’s tough. Obviously, you want to try and avoid alcohol if you are going for weight loss; but you also don’t want to be a buzz kill if you are meeting friends for drinks right? Here are two tips…
    1. Get red wine or a super dark beer like Guinness if you are meeting up for drinks with people (red wine isn’t terrible and actually has some anti-oxidants that are good for you! Dark beers like Guinness have the least calories of any beer… shocking right??)
    2. If you are going out then try and stick to vodka sodas or vodka waters (I call that disco water – some bartenders know what I mean and others don’t haha) and then squeeze some lime, orange, and/or lemon slices into it and it actually tastes pretty good and it is about 100 cals (instead of 200-500 in a normal cocktail).
Hope all that info helps! And most importantly just keep in mind your goals and why you are changing your diet and routine. That will be your best motivator 🙂
– Amanda
Be Happy. Be Fit.

Losing Belly Fat Isn’t Just About Diet & Exercise!

Ready to hear something that just might blow your mind? Diet and exercise, although VERY important, are not the only factors to weight loss, especially fat loss in the stomach area! If you’ve ever felt like you have hit a weight loss plateau, or that the rest of your body is toning up but your waistline just won’t budge, there is something else to consider: hormones! There are many different hormones in our body that affect how each of us burns and stores fat in the stomach area. But basically it boils down to two major hormones: cortisol and insulin. 

Let’s pause about the hormones for a second and talk about fat. There are two types of belly fat: visceral and subcutaneous fat. The visceral fat is deep inside, surrounding our organs. This fat cannot be seen by the eye or pinched. On the other hand, subcutaneous belly fat is what you can pinch at your waistline and is often nicknamed a “muffin top”. The good news is that visceral (deep inside) belly fat recieves a lot of blood supply, is rich in beta-receptors, is more responsive to cortisol, and is less sensitive to insulin. Those are bunch of fancy scientific words basically saying that visceral fat is hard to store and easy to burn, thus can more easily be managed by exercise and diet. 

However, our subcutaneous belly fat is a different story. It has more alpha hormone receptors, meaning that it is less responsive to fat-burning hormones. It also is far more insulin sensitive and less reactive to cortisol. In a nutshell: subcutaneous fat is easier for our body to store and harder to burn and get rid of. This is where healthy hormone levels come in!

Hormones, specifically cortisol and insulin are responsible for the storage and release of fat cells, especially in that pinchable subcutaneous belly fat. Simply put, if these hormones are out of whack, they cannot do their jobs correctly. What effects these hormones? You can think of cortisol as the “sleep and stress” hormone and insulin as the “starch and sugar” hormone.

It is a known but often overlooked fact that we all NEED 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Even slight sleep deprivation can cause a stress response in the body, which alters cortisol levels. Other stresses such as work, relationships, and physical stress (ie. over-exercising, posture) can also alter cortisol levels. Thus, it is very important for each of us to manage our stress in order to shrink that waistline. This could be a nice long walk, a restorative yoga session, massages, spa treatments, meditation, laughing, reading, or any other activity you find relaxing. Eliminating stress and increasing sleep are the keys to keeping your cortisol levels in check, and therefore promoting belly fat loss.

The other main hormone, insulin, is more affected by how many starches and sugars you consume. Foods high in sugar and simple carbohydrates can cause your insulin levels to spike (bad news for the subcutaneous fat!). However, consuming more complex starches (brown rice, quinoa, and other foods with a low glycemic load) has the opposite effect and actually helps maintain a stable, healthy insulin level.

Phew that was a lot of information! Take some time to understand it. If you would like to read the entire article, and learn a bit more about the science behind burning subcutaneous and visceral stomach fat, check it out here!

Now get some sleep and de-stress! See below for one of many de-stressing ideas.

– Coach Amanda

Why Cardio Intervals are so Dang Effective: A MUST READ

Intervals are BY FAR the most efficient way to do your cardiovascular workout. These are the reasons why intervals kick long, constant-cardio workouts in the butt:

  1. Your metabolism will sky-rocket! It will stay elevated post workout for so much longer than if you just jogged at one level pace. This is due to EPOC (Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption). To the average person: all this means is that you will continue burning calories at an elevated rate even as you are sitting on your booty throughout the rest of the day!! Wahooo! (Note – weight training + cardio intervals has an even higher EPOC :))
  2. You put your body into neuromuscular confusion – a state where the body doesn’t know what is coming next and must “re-boot and re-assess the neuromuscular patterns of your body every time you change speed, rather than allowing the body to find a calm state of homeostasis. This challenges your body so much more! Think about how much easier a math test would be if it was the same question 20 times vs having a test with 20 different questions… same thing with your muscles and body!!
  3. The periods of high-intensity followed by rest allow you to reach higher thresholds of your VO2max (Think about this being your maximum effort level possible).
  4. You burn way more calories in a shorter amount of time!! (Due to reason #2 and #3)
  5. It is great for your heart!! You receive the same (or more!) cardiovascular benefits when only doing 20 minutes of intervals as you do 45 minutes of a constant jog!! Talk about efficient! 🙂

Bottom line: Intervals are effective, a great calorie burn, and can be done when you are short on time. Long runs are great too, but this is just another tool to add to your repertoire. Intervals can be done on any cardiovascular machine (treadmill, row machine, elliptical, bike, etc) and even done outside via hills or just changing your pace as you run.

Try THIS for an example of an interval workout, enjoy!

Be Happy. Be Fit.

Tuesday’s Tip: Treadmill Running vs. Outdoor Running

Happy Tuesday! I’m starting something new this week, every Tuesday I’m going to post some sort of fitness tip! Today let’s briefly discuss running on the treadmill vs. outdoors, read on to expand your brain and knowledge!

First of all, both are great forms of cardiovascular exercise! Running is not for everyone, nor is it the only type of exercise you should do, but it is great to incorporate into your routine. Here are a few cool facts about indoor and outdoor running:

  • Walking or running indoors requires less effort than moving at the same speed outdoors (According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research). This is due to factors such as wind and uneven terrain. A breeze of 9mph can increase energy expenditure by about 5%, and an uneven surface can up expenditure 10%!
  • According to the same study, increasing a treadmill’s incline to 3% most closely resembles the energy output of an outdoor run (without any hills).
  • To replicate an outdoor track, elevate your treadmill to 1% incline. (A track is level and usually an even surface – that’s why only 1% grade on a treadmill effectively mimics your energy output on a track)
  • Running uphill activates 9% more muscle each stride compared to exercising at the same  intensity on level ground (Researchers at the University of Georgia)
  • The impact of running on a treadmill can be very hard on our very important knee joints, but did you know that increasing the incline just 3% can decrease joint shock by 24%! (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise)

Well now you can say you learned something today! Questions? Thoughts? Let me know 🙂

Be Happy. Be Fit.


Do something you love as your workout

Do something you love as your workout

I can’t emphasize this point enough. You should think of your workout not as a chore, but as a fun part of your day; as a break from the daily grind. Find something you love to do for exercise and/or … Continue reading

Sometimes a Run is all YOU Need; or a Walk!

Sometimes we just need some fresh air. Need time to yourself? Need to de-stress? Think about life?  (Or maybe you just ate three of those delicious brownies I just posted ;)) Go on a run or walk!

Treat yourself to some time out in nature, appreciating what’s around you. Whether it is a 5 mile run or a 1 mile walk, do it! You’ll feel so much better afterwards 🙂 It’s great exercise and its good for the soul.

TIP: If you run or walk a mile a day for 26 days in a row, then you have completed a MARATHON, try to do this for the month of October!

Be happy. Be fit.

Sometimes a Run is all YOU Need; or a Walk!

Benefits of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a fantastic little seed! These are their amazing health benefits:

  1. They are very high in Omega-3 fatty acids – in fact they are one of the richest plant-based sources of these fatty acids. The omega-3s in chia seeds can help reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol.
  2. They are very high in fiber! They have 10g of fiber in only 2 Tbsp, that’s 1/3 of your daily fiber! Fiber regulates bowel function, keeps the colon healthy and is associated lowering cholesterol.
  3. So many minerals! 2 Tbsp of chia seeds contain 18% percent of the recommended intake of calcium, 35% of phosphorus, 24% of magnesium and about 50% of manganese.
  4. They contain many antioxidants!
  5. Helps with satiety – aka it prolongs the feeling of being full, this is due to it’s high protein and fiber content

You can do so much with chia seeds! Anything from throwing them into a smoothie, baking them into a bread, simply adding them to water, or use as a thickener for jams, jellies and puddings. Check my recipe section for ideas!

Benefits of Chia Seeds