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Is Carb Cycling and Intermittent Fasting Right for You?

Is carb cycling and intermittent fasting right for you? Well, since spring has sprung, you’re probably like me and thinking about tank tops, sundresses, and swim suits. And maybe about shedding a few winter pounds… Ugh!

Yes, I love my body for all it does for me, but sometimes I want to make improvements. It’s not about hating where I’m at, but rather feeling better and more confident!

About a year ago, I had the opportunity to work with a top coach, Amanda Tress, in her carb cycling and intermittent fasting boot camp. It was an amazing experience and gave me the boost I needed to lose a few inches in time for summer!

Since then, she has tweaked, adjusted, and improved the program until she could wholeheartedly say it was the very best program on the market. Her signature program is called FASTer Way to Fat Loss, and she is opening the program up to you!

Like Amanda, when I began experimenting with intermittent fasting and carb cycling, my results were incredible and the methods sustainable! Amanda took these concepts and created the FASTer Way to Fat Loss program based on strategies that help women burn fat, feel energized, and finally break past their weight loss plateaus. Amazing, right!?

Carb cycling has been being used in the fitness industry for a long time – long before I was in it! Fitness professionals use it to lean out while preserving muscles and to help with losing those last 5-15 pounds all while staying sane and satiated.

Carb cycling involves cycling your carbs/calories based on the type of workout completed that day. Typically, there are high carb, low carb, and possibly “regular” carb days (somewhere in between high and low carb grams).

With carb cycling, the amazing results come by manipulating hormones in a way that’s in favor of fat burning and muscle protecting.

In recent years, low carb diets have been all the rage, however, our bodies need healthy carbohydrates. Carbs help maximize muscle growth after a strength training workout. So if you want to have #musclegainz (i.e. lean, toned look), you need carbs!

Cycling carbs strategically with your workout regimen is where it’s at! You can use carbs to your advantage on days they are needed by the body and then lower your intake on days when your body doesn’t need as many (i.e. sprint days and rest days, for example).

This manipulation of carbohydrate intake helps you enter fat burning mode while maintaining or even growing lean muscle tissue. This is not a calories in/calories out model. Carb cycling is a way to manipulate with the hormones that affect body composition.

For example, by having lower carb days and fasting periods, you are able to manipulate insulin and keep your body insulin-sensitive (i.e. using insulin in your favor). Having high carb days help keep leptin, a hunger hormone, in check. When leptin isn’t in balance, the result is increased hunger and a slower metabolism which is a terrible combination!

carb cycling

Coach Amanda

In a nutshell, with carb cycling, you boost your carbs when you strength train and lower them when you don’t. Your lower carb days deplete glycogen stores so that on strength training days your body will have no choice but to burn fat as a fuel source at your next workout. It’s all about timing and strategy!

If you are looking to try carb cycling to lose 5-15+ pounds or break a plateau, Amanda (pictured to the right) has just the program to help you achieve that goal! She will guide you through cycling food/carbs throughout the week strategically with your workouts.

I’ve been using carb cycling combined with intermittent fasting off and on for the last 5 years, and it has been awesome! I don’t feel deprived (actually quite the opposite). You can certainly make room for treats within your macros!

How do you know if FASTer Way to Fat Loss is right for you? Read the following list and see if this sounds like you…

10 Ways to Know if Carb Cycling and Intermittent Fasting is Right for You:

1. You’ve been on what feels like a never-ending roller coaster when it comes to fitness and nutrition.

2. You’ve seen some success, but feel depleted, overwhelmed, and out of control.

3. You want your macros to strategically match the workouts provided.

4. You need a solution that helps you feel in control again.

5. You’re looking for a program that gives you back your energy.

6. You want physical results, but you want more than just a few pounds dropped.

7. You want your body to become a pro-fat burner in order to look lean, fit, and toned.

8. You want to feel stronger, better, and more confident.

9. You need a solution laid out for you, with lots of support, guidance, and accountability along the way.

10. You need a community, a coach and a program that actually works…for life, not just the next 21 days.

Through FASTer Way To Fat Loss, you’ll learn how to fuel your body effectively to maintain optimal energy levels throughout the day.

If you are ready to bust through a plateau or move into an active fat loss mode, please consider joining this 6-week program! You will not be depriving yourself of calories but rather fueling your body with proper nutrition for your workouts.

Hormonally, this protocol sets up your body’s metabolism to shed body fat! You’ll be working strategically with your body! Smarter not harder. 🙂

Please note that the first week will be a “prep” week to familiarize yourself with the program through trainings, reading through the program manual, and getting your questions answered by Amanda before the official start. This “prep” week is in place to set you up for success!

Join HERE to get started with the next group. This is a great opportunity for you to work with a top coach in the industry!

p.s. In case you’re wondering what’s included with this program, here’s an excerpt from Amanda’s website…

What does my program investment include?

  • A convenient 6-week program that fits your busy schedule
  • A comprehensive program guide with resources to help you thrive including sample meal plans, a detailed program overview, and video interviews
  • Prep week with online trainings to set you up for success
  • Weekly workout plans which can be completed at the gym or at home
  • Accountability and a supportive approach that keeps you on track to accomplish your goals
  • Affordable package option that is among the lowest cost option you’ll find (only $199 total)
  • The focus, quality, intensity, and commitment you’d expect from Coach Amand, a trainer with 10+ years of success!

Join FASTer Way To Fat Loss Today!


Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your program pricing does not go up, but if you register through my link I get a bit for referring you. Thanks for supporting my blog!

 

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Q & A: What are BCAA benefits for women?

I’m a huge proponent of eating a whole foods diet and limiting supplements. However, there are a few supplements I do take personally and recommend for clients. The big 3 are protein powder, Krill oil, and BCAAs. Today, I want to share a bit with you about BCAA benefits.

I was recently asked by Emily and Debbie from Momsanity to sample their brand new BCAA powder. I happily obliged because it has all natural ingredients and perfect ratios of leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

BCAA benefits

Overview

BCAAs are branched chain amino acids. Simply speaking, they are broken down protein molecules and the building blocks for muscles.

Usually, BCAAs are purchased in powder form and added to water. They can be used for multiple purposes. Many people (including myself) use BCAAs when working out in a fasted state. The purpose for this is to provide the body with amino acids so that muscle tissue is preserved. When you workout, muscle tissue can be burned ALONG with fat. BCAAs help to preserve muscle tissue without having to eat prior to your workout.

BCAAs can also provide the body with energy similar to ingesting carbs but without the insulin response. This is another benefit to drinking them prior to working out fasted. BCAAs are also great for muscle retention and muscle gain, particularly in the post workout window. This is why most all commercial protein powders include BCAAs in them. Note that if you are eating a protein packed meal after your workout, you do not need to supplement with BCAAs at that time.

BCAA Benefits For Women:

  • Hunger and Craving Control – Given that fat loss often requires a lower carb intake than you’re used to, BCAAs can become your best friend for achieving leanness. They can help in regulating hunger and cravings by supplying the brain with the energy it needs. BCAAs can also lower cortisol. These lower cortisol levels will work to suppress your stress induced cravings. Research shows time and time again that BCAAs are fabulous for controlling cravings and managing hunger, especially for active women following a relatively low carbohydrate diet. In addition to balancing blood sugar, the BCAA leucine activates hunger controlling molecules in the brain.
  • Energy Boost –  What busy mom doesn’t need this benefit! Valine is considered the energizer. It promotes muscle endurance, blunts fatigue, helps with mental sharpness
  • Muscle Preservation – We work WAY too hard to put on muscle as ladies to lose it! As explained in the overview, BCAAs will help preserve your hard-earned muscle when you workout in a fasted state. Working out fasted is good for fat loss, but can cause muscle loss as well. Having more muscle is great for fat loss. BCAAs can provide the best of both worlds and allow us to workout fasted without the loss of hard-earned muscle. Leucine helps promote muscle (think lean mass) growth while assisting with fat-loss.
  • Lower Cortisol Levels – Cortisol is an important stress hormone that is responsible for increasing blood sugar and aiding in protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism – we need it in proper doses. The problem is most of us produce way too much. When we release cortisol along with low levels of Human Growth Hormone (think when you don’t get enough sleep) or high levels of insulin, cortisol causes muscle burning and fat storing (not good!). BCAAs lower cortisol and therefore help suppress cravings and hunger instigated by stress.

How and when do I take BCAAs?

For best results, it’s recommended to take BCAAs before/after a workout and any time that cravings strike – for many this is mid-afternoon or later in the evening.

While there are may different forms of BCAAs (flavored powders, pills, unflavored powders etc.) Momsanity’s NATURALLY flavored and sweetened BCAAs are THE BEST!

The pills get pricey and require a LOT of pill swallowing for proper dosing. The unflavored powders are unpalatable and VERY bitter. Almost ALL powders on the market are full of artificial ingredients and stimulants. Be cautious of any products marketed for “pre-workout” or even workout recovery as they often contain stimulants like caffeine and beta-alanine. These two things aren’t inherently BAD, just unnecessary and some women will respond negatively.

BONUS – BCAA gummies recipe:

Emily and Debbie are including a recipe book with your purchase! I wanted to share one of the recipes with you. The gummies are easy to make and great for those afternoon cravings.

Ingredients:
  • 1 scoop Momsanity BCAA powder
  • 3 packets of unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • Optional – drops of lemon or lime juice
  • Optional – pureed fruit
  • Optional – package of flavored jello
Directions:
  1. Mix ingredients in a bowl (if using pureed fruit, add this after mixing).
  2. Microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time until mixture is clear and goopy. OR, cook on a stove top on low heat, whisking frequently, for 5 minutes.
  3. Spoon mixture into silicone candy molds or ice trays,
  4. Place in freezer for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove molds from freezer. Pop gummies out of the molds. Store in airtight container or eat right away.
  6. Enjoy!

Video: Why Use BCAAs


Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your pricing does not go up, but if you register through my link I get a bit for referring you. Thanks for supporting my blog!
moderation myth
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The Moderation Myth

Avoiding extremes is a good thing.

That’s what moderation is by definition. Avoiding extremes. Extremes in nutrition are, on one hand, eating low-calorie diets like the HCG diet that has the dieter eating just 500 calories per day. The opposite extreme is free-for-all eating.  I think we all agree that both are harmful to your health.

Moderation eating falls somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. However, I believe that fitness professionals often misrepresent what moderation really is. This misrepresentation is leaving the “everyday woman” confused and believing something false. I call this the moderation myth.

moderation myth

The Moderation Myth

Many women who are into health and fitness have a few fitness professionals they follow and admire. They read their blogs and follow their lives via social media.

It’s fun to see behind the scenes footage from the pros, right?! These pros post every dessert the eat, every glass of wine they drink, and every morsel of less-than-perfect food they ingest. It’s fun to see that, sure. But it leaves women thinking, “If they can do that and look so fit and lean, then I can do that too.” <– There’s the myth or false belief. Here’s why.

Firstly, we are only seeing a small slice of what they are really eating. It’s easy to let the imagination run wild and think that everything they eat is *that* indulgent! This creates an unrealistic view of the truth.

Secondly, the problem is that a moderation diet (where you’re tasting lots of treats) is a diet that leads to physique maintenance (and possibly weight gain). When you’re in “maintain mode” with your weight, you stay exactly the same. Many pros will tell you when they switched to maintain mode, they gained 10-15 pounds but can easily maintain that despite the additional treats. That’s great for them! BUT, it’s a fact to accept when you decide to maintain. You may gain weight because your body wants to be at an easy place to maintain.

Women watching these pros “eating moderately” are often women with goals. To reach goals with your weight loss, fat loss, and fitness, you have to move into “attain mode.” You need to eat in a way that helps you attain or reach your physique and fitness goals.

Women with goals to reach are the women I’m writing this blog post for.

If you are one of them, I want you to know that the journey you are on is your own. It’s different from those fit pros you watch from afar. It’s different from your sister’s journey, your best friend’s journey, my journey, or your neighbor’s journey. Not only are your goals and your journey unique, so is your metabolism, so are your preferences, and so is your body. You are unique and fearfully & wonderfully made!

Moderation Myth

The good news is that attain mode doesn’t have to be extreme, but it does have to be a bit tighter for the majority of us. It leaves room for fewer indulgences (note: I didn’t say no indulgences!).

It’s a time to take action and do things differently. It a time to enjoy and trust the process. It’s a time to keep your eyes on your own paper. Mind your own business. Stay in your lane and move forward.  You can’t compare what you’re doing to others. Comparison is a trap, a distraction, and steals our joy!

Comparison is the thief of joy. ~Theodore Roosevelt

Sadly, “all things in moderation” has become a cop-out for making unhealthy food choices and over-indulging. With fitness professionals perpetuating the moderation myth, it’s no surprise! We want to be like the ones we admire.

I fear that women see a fitness pro with a large plate of pancakes bigger than a basketball and think she ate every bite. We don’t really know. She may have had just 5 bites. Or one. Who really knows?

Moderation, to me, is being in touch with your body and what it needs to function at its best. A moderate person is careful to weigh the cost of an extreme choice.  How will it affect their goals? How will it make them feel both physically and mentally? Will it tilt them in the direction of over-indulgence and over doing? Will it tilt them in the direction of under eating or not doing enough? Will it trigger other extreme behaviors or cravings?

You don’t have to view foods as “good” or “bad” but you need to investigate your body and your reactions to food and adjust accordingly.

In order to reach your goals, you have to get to know your body. It’s a process and can be a fun process if you look at it that way! I’ve been working at it for at least 7 years and learn new things about myself all the time and love that!

If you are looking to move into “attain mode” and lose 5-15+ pounds, I have just the program to recommend to help you achieve that!

Coach Amanda

About a year ago, I had the opportunity to work with a top coach, AmandaTress, in her carb cycling and intermittent fasting boot camp. It was an amazing experience and gave me the boost I needed to lose a few inches in time for summer!

Since then, she has tweaked, adjusted, and improved the program until she could wholeheartedly say it was the very best program on the market. Her signature program is called FASTer Way to Fat Loss, and she is opening the program up to you!

Like Amanda, when I began experimenting with intermittent fasting and carb cycling, my results were incredible and the methods sustainable! Amanda took these concepts and created the FASTer Way to Fat Loss program based on strategies that help women burn fat, feel energized, and finally break past their weight loss plateaus. Amazing, right!?

If you are ready to bust through a plateau or move into an active fat loss mode, please consider joining this 6-week program! You will not be depriving yourself of calories but rather fueling your body with proper nutrition for your workouts. Hormonally, this protocol sets up your body’s metabolism to shed body fat! You’ll be working strategically with your body! Smarter not harder. :)Please note that the first week, beginning the

Please note that the first week, beginning the 27th, will be a “prep” week to familiarize yourself with the program through online trainings, reading through the program manual, and getting your questions answered by Amanda before the official start. This “prep” week is in place to set you up for success! The 6 week boot camp + prep weeks means you’ll be working with Amanda for 7 total weeks!

Join HERE to get started with the next group. This is a great opportunity for you to work with a top coach in the industry!


Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your program pricing does not go up, but if you register through my link I get a bit for referring you. Thanks for supporting my blog!

 

 

Exercise at Home
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Top 6 Tools You Need to Exercise at Home

When I made the transition from working out at a gym to working out at home, I purchased just a few things to make my home gym awesome! I’d like to share with you the top 6 tools I suggest you purchase to exercise at home successfully. You don’t have to invest a whole lot of money, but these few tools will make working out at home a breeze!

First, let’s get this straight. You do not *need* a gym to get a boot camp body! While going to a group fitness class or boot camp is super fun and motivating, it’s not always possible. With crazy schedules, it’s often convenient to fit in a few of your workouts at home each week (or month). If you’re not prepared with some minimum supplies, however, it definitely won’t happen. 😉

This is why I suggest that you have a few things in place at home so you can be successful even on busy days.

Exercise at Home

Top 6 Tools You Need to Exercise at Home

  1. Weights – The most cost-effective way to add weights to your home gym is with dumbbells. They are very easy to find online and even at local stores like Target or Walmart. Kettlebells are my personal tool of choice. You can read why in these articles. 🙂
  2. Bench and or Stability BallThis adjustable bench has been a great asset to our home gym! It was affordable and has held up to many uses per week for a couple of years now!  A less expensive alternative to a bench is a stability ball. You can perform many of the exercises done using a bench with a stability ball instead. exercise at home
  3. Yoga Mat Yoga mats are nice to be able to exercise on the floor comfortably whether on your back or just to have something soft under your knees while stretching or elbows while planking. Plus, they roll up and go anywhere with you!
  4. Wall Clock – We do a lot of timed workouts and timed intervals. Having a nice clock that counts seconds is great! We have one similar to THIS that can go on the wall or sit on the floor (i.e. during a plank). Or you can go for a barbell plate clock to set the tone for your home gym! 😀
  5. Whiteboard – I love having my workout written on a whiteboard. We keep the whiteboard hanging under the clock so we can see both at a glance. It’s motivating to me to *see* the workout written out and be able to check off rounds. I love to check things off!
  6. A Workout Plan – Having a plan is KEY. When you head to your home gym, you want to be able to pull up your workout (on a pdf, video, etc) and get started! Free workouts are everywhere online, but if you want to follow a specific protocol or a program designed by a professional, you will most likely need to purchase a program that fits your needs, desire, and fitness level.

I have several plans that I can suggest! I’ve personally written a kettlebell program for busy women that want to workout at home. Find out more about that 8-week program called Simply Kettlebells here. Currently, David (my husband) and I are completing a 12-week program called Metabolic Prime.

The Metabolic Prime workouts are designed to be short (just 15 minutes!) and burn fat for 48 hours after! There are new workouts for each of the 4 phases. There are 3 workouts per week x 4 phases for a total of 12 video, follow-along workouts. Each phase also has a 5-minute burnout (or finisher) that can be done at the end of each workout. Some of the exercises use dumbells or bands (or you can use no weight at all – especially if you’re a beginner).

What’s included with Metabolic Prime?

  • Downloadable video workouts (or you can purchase the DVD version for the same price plus shipping charges)
  • A Workout Calendar
  • Progress Tracker
  • Accountability via a private facebook group with the other challengers
  • A 12-week metabolic meal plan with recipes, shopping list, and nutrition guidelines for the program
  • A Metabolic Blueprint Manual

If you have any questions about getting started with exercise at home or setting up a home gym, please comment below or contact me HERE. I’d love to answer any questions you may have.

xo -Jill


Affiliate Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. If you buy through the link, the price is still the exact same for you, but I make a small percentage for recommending the product. The opinions expressed in the post are my own and all products shown are those I have used and truly believe in. Thanks for supporting my blog!

 

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3 Ways Kettlebells Improved My 5k Race Time

I have trained with kettlebells for over 4 years now. Kettlebells improved my 5k race time, no doubt.

Running isn’t something I enjoy, but it is how I got back into an active lifestyle years ago. The running part made me want to die. All I wanted was for the training day to be OVER. That feeling at the end was awesome which is what kept me running, day in and day out.

Later, I learned a better way to get more powerful at running! In turn, I was faster. And, more importantly, I enjoyed training!

Live and learn, right?!

I created Simply Kettlebells as a way to share my love for kettlebell training with women who are intimidated to try kettlebells. I know I was at first! I’ve reaped many benefits from stepping out of my comfort zone and giving them a try. Below, I map out some of the benefits that kettlebells brought to my running game and how using kettlebells improved my 5k race time.

Note: Originally, the blog posted below was published as a guest post written by me on jillfit.com and includes a sample kettlebell workout!

By Jill Jacobs

In 2009, I was exclusively a runner. I ran anywhere from 3-6 times per week and I was constantly focused on my next 5k. My continuous goal was to beat my previous time. That was my motivation- beating myself! But honestly, my 5k time remained SLOW and I really didn’t understand why??? I seemed to be training and running ALL.THE.TIME.

Enter kettlebells.

I began training with kettlebells in 2011.

I also QUIT running.

I’m certainly not suggesting that you quit running. I think we all need to do the exercises that we enjoy and that we will ACTUALLY do! For me, I saw how kettlebells offered me a TWO-IN-ONE workout- both cardio and strength training, together in one package. As a busy mom that homeschools her two boys, this was a huge bonus that kettlebell training brought to the table for me. It was a no-brainer.

After training with kettlebells for 6 months, I decided to enter a 5k just for kicks and giggles. Surprisingly, I set a new PR with a crazy better time than before! I had decreased my time from 2009 of 32:21 to 25:32 just 2 short years later!!! Yeah! Who knew? I even won my age group against many other women who were “daily runners”. And who shaves nearly 7 minutes off of a short distance run like 5 kilometers? Truly, kettlebells improved my 5k race time!

THAT is what kettlebells can do for YOU, too!

This experience proved to me that kettlebell training truly “speaks for itself”.

Kettlebells Improved My 5k Race Time

How can this happen? How does one quit running and yet improve their 5k time with a round ball of iron with a handle on top? Let me explain…

Here are the top 3 ways that Kettlebells Improved My 5k Race Time (and will yours too!):

1) Kettlebells increase your power.
Through ballistic movements like swings and snatches, kettlebell training can truly improve your power and explosiveness in running. The swing is a hip hinge, hip dominant movement. The Russian kettlebell swing is well known for building a nice posterior chain (hello glutes and hammies!) giving you the famous kettle “booty.” And who doesn’t want that!

Having increased power from a strong posterior chain will certainly increase your speed and endurance during your run!

2) Kettlebells increase your strength.
Kettlebells can be utilized for traditional movements like the squat and the deadlift. Because of the kettlebell’s unique shape and size, kettlebell trainees are required to use a lot of force, core strength, and coordinated movement which in turn increases overall body strength. The control needed throughout kettlebell exercises magnifies your core strength for what I call a kettle “CORE.” 🙂

Having a strong backside and a strong core is a great way to improve your performance and decrease your chances for injury in ANY sport!

3) Kettlebells increase your endurance.
Kettlebells have the unique ability to combine both cardio and strength training in one. Utilizing the same explosive movements that increase your power, your endurance will also increase as you advance with kettlebell training. Your ability to swing a higher number of reps, to swing heavier bells, and by tracking your 5-minute snatch test results (fun, fun!!) can all help to measure your endurance progress. Your progress will also be revealed through decreased race times!

Your Quickie KB Circuit:

Set your timer for 20 minutes and go through the circuit AMRAP (as many rounds as possible):

  • 5 Swing Cleans (right)
  • 5 Squat Presses (right)
  • 5 Swing Cleans (left)
  • 5 Squat Presses (left)
  • 5 Rows each, R then L arm
  • 20 Kettlebell Swings

Do this circuit 1-2x/week for best results!

If you are a runner, I can tell you from experience that cross training (with kettlebells) will not only build a toned, leaner physique, but it will improve your race times and performance. The kettlebell has proven to be the perfect tool for me. It completely changed my physique and my performance, I’ll never go back!

If you’ve been on the fence about trying kettlebell training, I highly recommend my signature program, Simply Kettlebells. It’s a super accessible program for beginners with progressions throughout the 8-week program as you improve.

Kettlebells Improved My 5k Race Time

xo -Jill