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Q&A: How soon and what should I eat post-workout?

By Jill Jacobs

I vividly recall leaving the gym after a strength training sesh, opening my car door, adding water to my shaker bottle that was pre-filled with a scoop of whey protein powder, and shaking it vigorously. I peeled my banana or grabbed my apple and began noshing on it while sipping my protein shake in between bites. I was convinced that my the muscle I was trying to build would shrivel up or I’d miss out on all the gainzzz, bro, if I didn’t eat immediately after my workout. 😉

how soon and what should I eat post workout

There is a lot of science behind meal timing and macronutrients for muscle building and fat burning, no doubt. But did I really need to be that obsessive? Was it so important to eat that quickly post workout or could I wait until I got home?

While I’m not a biochemist, I am a certified nutrition coach and have studied many reputable articles on the topic of post workout nutrition. Here’s my opinion.

Q: How soon and what should I eat post-workout?

1. How soon should I eat post-workout?

A: In the story I told you above, I was of the understanding that I needed to eat right after my workout or I’d lose any gains.  I’ve come to believe that I was taking an extreme viewpoint and that the post-workout nutrition window is much larger than a few minutes! No need to take food to the gym. 🙂

Through my personal studies, certifications, and research, I now recommend eating within 2 hours of working out if your goal is fat loss. If your goal is muscle gain, the window is a bit smaller (30-60 minutes).

2. What should I eat post-workout?

A: Post workout nutrition serves the purpose of increasing protein synthesis, decreasing protein breakdown, and replenishing glycogen stores (for energy). You will need a good dose of protein for the first two processes and some carbohydrates for the latter one.

To keep it simple, I stick with a one-to-one ratio of protein to carbs and keep fat grams less that 5.

Protein intake should be approximately 20-25 grams with about the same numbers carb grams whether your goal is fat loss or muscle gain. (With fat loss, you can certainly drop the carb level if that works best for you. But post-workout is an optimal time to eat carbohydrates.)

Good sources of protein are whey protein powder, egg whites, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, lean beef, turkey, chicken, and fish.

Carb intake for muscle gain needs to be quick, higher GI carbs like rice cakes, honey, higher sugar fruit like bananas and raisins, or potatoes (white or sweet).

Carb intake for fat loss is ideally slow digesting carbs like oats and other grains, starchy vegetables, or beans.

What do I eat post-workout?

Here is my GO-TO chocolate banana protein shake! It’s YUMMY. 🙂

For more Q&A blog post, go HERE. I love answering the frequently asked questions that I receive from my readers and clients. Email me at jill@jilljacobs.me if you have a question you’d like me to cover. 🙂

xo -Jill


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{Workout Wednesday} Turn Any Playground Into A Gym

By Jill Jacobs

I have very active boys. While they love their electronic games, they tend to prefer the outdoors if it’s anywhere close to a nice day. My oldest can turn any activity into a competition with his buddies, and my youngest is obsessed with pull ups and jumping rope lately. It’s fun to this side benefit of working out at home; my kids *want* to get involved and be active too.

Here is my youngest programming his own workout. 🙂

Turn Any Playground Into A Gym

We have a park about 1/2 mile from our house as well as a few playgrounds within our neighborhood. I confess that taking them to play at a park is NOT at the top of my list of desirable things to do (after all, we have a perfectly good yard and cul-de-sac!), but when I do, I like to use that time wisely.

If the boys are entertained with each other or friends (and don’t need me), then I use the time to read, catch up with a girlfriend or family member on the phone, or fit in a playground workout!

There are so many exercises you can do on or near a playground. I’ve put together a workout below that will help you get started thinking about ways to use your local playground to exercise. This is family fitness at its best!

Turn Any Playground Into A Gym

Turn Any Playground Into A Gym

With your children in your view, of course, start by warming up a bit by jogging around or in place, doing some butt kicks, jumping jacks, and any other dynamic exercise. Then, clock in for a specific amount of time. I think 20 minutes is perfect, but if you only have 10 minutes then clock in for 10 minutes! Never, ever, ever allow perfect or ideal to be the enemy of good!

Once you’re warmed up, start your clock and go:

  1. 1-5 Pull Ups or 15-30 second Flexed Arm Hang on the Monkey Bars – If you can perform pull-ups, using the monkey bars is a great way to fit in a set. If you can’t, jump up to the bar and hold a flexed arm position for as long as you can. You want your chest to the bar with your shoulders back and down. I suggest 15-30 seconds but do what you can even if it’s less or more. Also, letting yourself down slowly is a great way to build pull-up strength. This is called a negative pull-up.
  2. Stationary Reverse Lunges – You could do forward walking lunges around the perimeter of the playground, but I find that reverse lunges are better on the knees (at least for me!).
  3. 5-10 Push Ups – You can adjust push ups to your ability by changing the position used and/or number of reps. Choose any position from incline, to standard, to decline if you’re advanced. For incline and decline, find a park bench, ladder rung, or any elevated surface.
  4. 20 + Mountain Climbers – Staying in plank position after your push-ups, perform 20+ mountain climbers.
  5. 10 right/10 left Step Ups on a park bench, the bottom of a slide, or another stable surface – If you can find a place for step ups, these will work your booty!
  6. Sprint 20-40 yards* (On a hill if available) – Here is some more info on sprint training.

Repeat the circuit until your time is up!

*If you don’t have a place to sprint, do 20 squat jumps instead. 

There are so many more exercises you could perform on a playground including burpees, squat jumps, split squats (using a park bench for your back foot), box jumps onto a bench, any core work if you take a yoga mat or a have nice grassy area, hanging leg or knee raises (on the monkey bars), crossing the monkey bars, swinging with your child, pushing your child on a swing (especially vigorously on a tire swing!), inverted rows on a low bar, pike push ups with your feet in a swing, any type of crawling exercises, not to mention all you could do with a suspension system like TRX! The sky is the limit. 🙂

Turn Any Playground Into A Gym

Skitterphoto / Pixabay

The most important thing is to enjoy your time with your kids. The added benefits are exposing them to the outdoors and showing them how important exercise is to you!

Families that play together, stay together. 🙂

xo -Jill



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The 5 Best Exercises for Fat Loss

By Jill Jacobs

Two things are important when planning your workouts: aligning your workouts with your current goals AND enjoying the way you exercise.

In this post, I’m sharing 5 of the best exercises to help you with your fat loss goals.

Going back in time to 2009 – that was the year I decided enough was enough. I didn’t have to feel stuffed into my clothes just because I had given birth to 2 babies. I didn’t have to settle for being overweight because that’s normal in your 30’s in our current culture. I didn’t have to continue on the path of complacency and acceptance of my current status.

I had always valued “health” and “healthy eating” even though I was confused about what that meant most of my adult life. I mean, in my early 20’s and newly married, I swapped hamburger helper for tuna helper on our grocery run and was super proud of my “healthy choice.” Haha!

This time (2009) was different, though. I decided it was time to reclaim myself and my body and educate myself on what healthy eating and exercising really were. This time, I was serious!

As I embarked on the journey of education, I played around with multiple ways of exercising.

First was steady-state running (pacing, not sprinting). I lost a few pounds, but running made me soooo hungry and did little to nothing to add muscle tone to my body (plus I pretty much hated it).

best exercises for fat loss

I TOTALLY need this sticker!

Then I tried P90X. I LOVED that program and used it with my husband, David, for around 9 months. I learned how much strength training could change my body (and yours), especially when going heavy and eating for fat loss.

To challenge myself with something new, I joined a local kettlebell gym and fell in love with kettlebell training so much so that I got certified to teach myself! This was where I learned about one of the best exercises for fat loss I’ll be discussing below. Stay tuned!

I continued my education with Metabolic Effect by getting my personal training certification as well as my nutrition coaching certification.

Taking the combined knowledge base from my education and experience, I put together the list below to help you define what your exercise program needs to incorporate if your goal is fat loss. There are tons of exercises that will help you lose body fat, but these are my favorite and work well for my clients and me. 🙂

The 5 Best Exercises for Fat Loss

Here are the 5 best exercises for fat loss:

  1. Sprint Training: Sprints are often an overlooked exercise, but that’s a mistake! They are known for building muscle, tightening the core, and leaning out the body. Great combo! Sprint speed is relative, so anyone can do them. There are many exercises such as biking, running, swimming, and really any form of cardio that can be morphed into sprint training!
  2. Kettlebell Swings: The 2 hand kettlebell swing has a reputation; a reputation for torching fat that is! The swing is an explosive move that fires up the body’s metabolism burning fat for many hours after the workout is over. (Here’s a tutorial on the swing if you’re not familiar with how to perform it.)
  3. Hybrid moves like the squat press: (videos – double squat press, single arm squat press) Hybrid moves use multiple joints and multiple muscle groups. Working more muscle at the same time makes for a quicker workout with more fat burning potential. With these type of exercises, I like to go heavy ensuring that my muscles burn, I sweat, and I get out of breath. This creates an optimal hormonal response for fat loss.
  4. Leisure walking and other restorative practices: I’ve written on this before, but want to re-state how important restorative activities are to a balanced, healthy lifestyle. They lower the stress hormone cortisol. This helps reduce hunger and cravings making it easier to get better results. BINGO!
  5. The exercise you will actually do. 🙂 The reality of exercise is that if you hate it, you won’t do it. That’s what running became for me so I changed things up. Life is too short to exercise in a way you don’t enjoy! Finding a way to move your body regularly that you enjoy may take some experimentation, but it’s totally worth it!

In exercises #1-3 above, I recommend training using Metabolic Effect’s signature exercise style called Rest-Based Training (RBT). With RBT, you rest as needed. The goal of this style of exercise is to force you to rest. You never pace yourself. You are “all in” for an exercise until your body tells you to stop. This makes every workout scalable to any fitness level. Magic! If you’re finding that you don’t need rest, you need to increase the amount of weight you’re lifting or increase the intensity level (as with sprints). 😉

Dr. Jade Teta says it like this, “Push until you can’t and rest until you can”.  The workout will flow from exercise to exercise until you must rest. Then, you rest as long as YOU need to and move on. Resting can happen in the middle of a set; it can happen any time you need it. That’s totally fine! Everyone is at a different fitness level, so this style of working out adjusts to YOUR level.

There are several other factors besides exercise when it comes to fat loss including nutrition choices, lifestyle factors such as sleep and stress, having an organized program, and seeking out the accountability and support you need to stay you on track. That’s why Coach Amanda Tress created FASTer Way to Fat Loss. Her program is super robust utilizing advanced fat loss techniques such as carb cycling and intermittent fasting. Most importantly, FASTer Way to Fat Loss is a supportive community full of like-minded women who can hold one another accountable throughout the 6 week program!

As always, let me know if you have any questions either in the comments, on my facebook page, or by email (jill@jilljacobs.me)!

xoxo -Jill

FASTer Way to Fat Loss is a 6 Week Boot Camp that Utilizes Carb Cycling and Intermittent Fasting – HIGHLY effective program!

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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9 Reasons to Include Sprints in Your Workout Program

By Jill Jacobs

Some exercises are good, some are great, and some are superior when it comes to fat loss. Sprints are among my top recommended exercises when it comes to getting a lean physique while also building muscle for a toned look.

“But hold on, Jill! I’m not a professional athlete. How do you expect me to sprint? I’m super slow!”

The good news is that sprint speed is relative! All you have to concentrate on is sprinting for you, not setting a world record. 🙂 Sprints are super effective for fat loss, and barring an injury that prevents you from sprinting, anyone can benefit.

From my professional training, research, and personal experience, here are 9 reasons to include sprints in your workout program:


Pepperdine University in Malibu is probably the most beautiful place to sprint!

  1. Sprints are time-saving. You can fit in a sprint workout in 20 minutes or less! For this reason (among all the rest!), Coach Amanda Tress uses sprint workouts in her FASTer Way to Fat Loss program! Her clients, including me, are all busy ladies looking for time-efficient workouts!
  2. Sprints are scalable. Like I stated above, all you have to do is a sprint for YOU. You don’t have to go at record speeds; you just have to bring an intensity that challenges you in order to reap the many benefits. You want to get breathless and in need of rest between sprints. The intensity level should also leave your muscles burning and your body sweating.
  3. Sprints can be done anywhere. I’ve sprinted in my front yard, up my stairs, at the beach, on a treadmill, and at the park while my kiddos play. Boom!
  4. Sprints boost your metabolism by producing a huge hormonal response. Not only does your body release testosterone and growth hormone during sprints (great for muscle growth and fat burning), but it increases insulin sensitivity. This is the perfect hormonal cocktail for hours of fat burning activity post workout! Moderate intensity running lacks this hormonal combination. sprints in your workout program
  5. Sprints improve your cardiovascular health. Including sprints in your workout program will strengthen your heart muscle and increase circulation. Additionally, sprints have been shown to lower blood pressure. Your cardiovascular endurance and muscle endurance will increase. If you are a long distance runner, incorporate sprint training 1-2 times per week to increase your overall endurance and speed (see #6).
  6. Sprints build strong muscles! After your first sprint sesh, I guarantee that you’ll feel it ALL over. Your shins, calves, feet, hamstrings, quads, glutes, abs, and more will be sore. The explosive nature of sprint training will use muscles from all over the body, utilize your core (read: tighten up your core! Have you ever seen the abs of a sprinter?!), and ultimately increase your speed and endurance in other exercises.
  7. Sprints are fun. 🙂 If you ever get bored with your workout, head to a track to run some sprints. You’ll feel like a rock star when you are done!
  8. Sprints release endorphins. Endorphins help with depression, increased energy, and an overall sense of well-being.
  9. Sprints are versatile. Many forms of exercise can be transformed into sprints. Besides running, you can perform sprint intervals with swimming, biking, pushing sleds, battling ropes, rowing, and even the elliptical.



As you can see, the benefits of sprints go well beyond body composition. But before I close out, I’d like to leave you with 9 things to consider before you head out for your first sprint session. These suggestions will help you prevent injury.

  1. Ask your doctor if you are healthy enough to exercise before starting any new program.
  2. Make sure you warm up before you start sprinting. You want to spend a good 5-10 minutes jogging around, skipping, performing walking lunges and lateral lunges, leg kicks, high knees, etc. before beginning your sprint workout.
  3. While your goal may be to eventually do 10-12 sprints in one workout, start with 3-5 sprints. You will be plenty sore, so don’t worry about not getting a good workout. Add 1-2 sprints each sprint workout until you reach 10 or so sprints.
  4. REST in between sprints. So many people will jog between sprints. I suggest you walk back to your starting point. Once your back, stand there until you’re fully ready to sprint again with intensity.
  5. On your first couple of sprints, sprint at about a 60-80% effort. Build up to full intensity throughout the workout.
  6. Don’t sprint over 30-40 yards. Seriously, a sprint coach once gave me this advice. He said that keeping sprints short will prevent injury for those of us who have no reason to be sprinting 400 meters. Unless we are competing, we regular folk need to keep our sprints short and sweet!
  7. Start sprinting uphill. This is actually a tool that helps prevent injury, keeps your stride the correct length, AND teaches (forces) you to sprint on your toes which is proper sprint form.
  8. Softer surfaces (sand, grass, track surface) are better for sprinting. They will be easier on your joints than cement surfaces.
  9. At the end of your sprint, slowly come to a stop. You don’t want your stop to be abrupt. Just cross your “finish line” sprinting, then start your slow down.

To add sprints to your workout program, start with the 9 suggestions above. Make sure you warm up. Start with just a few sprints and work up to more each week. Keep your sprints short. Sprint on your toes. Lastly, be sure to honor this process. Practice sprinting and you’ll watch yourself get better at them and faster!

Need a workout program that incorporates sprints? Check out FASTer Way to Fat Loss coached by Amanda Tress! Get started reaching your goals. 🙂

xo -Jill

FASTer Way to Fat Loss is a 6 Week Boot Camp that Utilizes Carb Cycling and Intermittent Fasting – HIGHLY effective program!

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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This is How I Stay Motivated to Exercise

By Jill Jacobs

Lately, I’ve been contemplating why certain people can stay motivated to exercise regularly and eat healthily while other people’s motivation wanes easily. They exercise a week or two and just quit. They lack exercise motivation.

I see it in friends, family, and even feel a lack of motivation in myself sometimes.

I think it boils down to a couple of things.

First, if a person has a dieter’s mentality, they will always feel either ON a program or OFF a program. Adopting a LIFESTYLE mentality would make a huge difference in this group. If you know you are committed to something for the long haul, you are not likely to give up when you aren’t performing perfectly. (I mean, perfection is a myth anyway!)

Take parenting for example. What if the first time you make a mistake with your new baby, toddler, or teen, you just threw in the towel and gave up? Never! That’s not how it works when you have a long-term commitment to something. You’d never give up on parenting your child and just hand them over to someone else to raise because of a misstep in your parenting!

The same goes for our health. Taking ownership and having a lifestyle mentality will go a long way towards staying motivated. When you make the switch to the lifestyle mentality, you become committed for the long haul. (If the dieter’s mentality is a struggle for you, having a coach and some type of accountability system in place are 2 ways to overcome this type of thinking.)

The second reason I think people quit is not having a solid purpose for exercising. Purpose allows you to tap into your inner motivation which is the kind of motivation that stands the test of time! Digging deep is how you ultimately find lasting motivation.

I’d like to share a few of my reasons (or my deeper purposes) for exercising, hence how I stay motivated and on track. I share these with the hope that something here will resonate with you. 🙂

5 Reasons I Stay Motivated to Exercise:

1. I’m training for the sport called life. I need to feel good and be strong to be the best mom I can be. Motherhood requires athleticism. Have you ever lugged around a toddler and grocery bags at the same time while having to squat down to get the keys you just dropped on the ground? Have you ever played tag with your kids? Sprinted against your daughter? Played football with your son? Exercise allows me to stay in shape so I can enjoy life to its fullest!

Exercise Motivation

I found this funny mousepad on Amazon!


2. I value my health and the health of my family. I want to avoid certain diseases that run in my family. I want to be healthy in my old age. I want to pass a legacy of healthy living to my sons and their future families.

When I value health, my example trickles down to the entire family. My sons make sure to do their pull-ups every day without being prompted. They just want to! (Daily pull-ups was their idea back in the fall of last year. I promise I’m not being a drill sergeant! ha!) My sons ask me questions like, “What’s my protein going to be for dinner?” 🙂 They’ve learned balance around food, and when they make poor choices, they are able to recognize that their bodies feel different (i.e. not good, sluggish, nauseous). I know I didn’t have that type of awareness as a child!

Raising my kids to value health is important to me, and I must lead by example not just words.

3. I value hard work, strength, dedication, and meeting goals. Outer strength begets inner strength. I can tell you this because I’ve witnessed it in myself and so many other women. Putting in the hard work, discipline, and dedication to meet a strength, endurance, non-appearance-based goal will not only make you stronger on the outside; you will be stronger on the inside!

You do not have to be hardcore, “I train, eat, sleep, repeat,” to be consistent and dedicated. Set up some minimum standards for yourself. This could be something like never missing a Monday workout, working out 4 times per week minimum, or making sure to move in some way (even leisure walking) daily. This will build healthy habits and you will start to feel strong and confident! There’s nothing more motivating than getting a few “wins” under your belt.

4. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. What I do with my body, what I put into my body, and how I treat my body MATTERS. I truly believe that God wants both our hearts AND our bodies to be used for His glory. Not one or the other; BOTH. My body is a gift. I need to be a good steward with this gift, treat it well, nourish it, and avoid abusing it.

5. I love endorphins! Heavy strength training is one sure-fire way that I use to feel better and more energized.  This is because of the endorphin production that comes with heavy lifting.  It makes me feel happy and alive. Even when I dread the workout and am completely unmotivated, within a few of minutes of starting my workout, I’m already feeling so much better. And then when I hit a PR, I’m on top of the world, smiling, confident, and feeling accomplished. Plus, when I have those endorphins flowing through my body, my husband is completely safe from harm. 😉

I’ve listed several reasons why I exercise. These reasons keep me motivated to stick with it for the long haul! Before I sign off, though, I’d like to leave you with a list of a few things that are NOT reasons I’m motivated to exercise:

  • I don’t exercise to be skinny.
  • I don’t exercise to achieve a certain number on the scale.
  • I don’t exercise to punish myself for eating “bad.”
  • I don’t exercise in order to earn food.
  • I don’t exercise to wear a certain size of jeans.
  • I don’t exercise to be a hardcore, “no excuses” #fitmom. 
  • And most of all, I don’t exercise because I hate my body. I do it because I love and appreciate my body and all that it does for me!

Exercise Motivation

One thing is certain, maintaining exercise motivation is more difficult when you don’t enjoy the type of exercise that you do. Finding a way to move your body in a way that you LOVE and enjoy is so important! My love is for strength training, preferably with kettlebells I keep my workouts short and intense. This way, they don’t take my day away from me AND they are still effective!

What are some of the reasons YOU exercise? How do you maintain exercise motivation? Or do you? I’d love to know! Comment below and let me know. 🙂

 xo ~Jill

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