Woman Up: Heather Burba

 

By Jill Farr

Connect with Heather: @babies_to_biceps

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The impetus for many women’s fitness lifestyle changes isn’t always positive. Often, it’s a dissatisfaction with our appearance or strength and energy levels that makes us realize we need to get back to the gym. (Or start going in the first place).

Sometimes, dealing with a curveball that life throws is what leads us to seek out physical strength.

When Heather Burba was pregnant with her third child, she found out her husband was cheating on her. To say it was devastating was, as anyone who has been in those shoes knows, an understatement. 

When it became apparent that the infidelity wasn’t going to stop, Heather packed up her three kids and moved across the country, to try and start over. With three small kids to support, she knew that she needed a stable long term career, so she took out loans, applied for all the assistance she could, and enrolled in nursing school.

The pain of a deep betrayal, the stress of nursing school and the pressure to build a career and suddenly become a breadwinner for a little family--not to mention the interim poverty while she got her degree--added up to a huge amount of stress.

“I was so angry,” Heather says.

“I was angry about buying Goodwill stuff for my kids, I was angry that my ex-husband was galavanting around, living the single life, while I was doing this.”

“So I started running. I had no clue about how to run, I just started, and I ran and I ran and I ran. I would walk until I caught my breath, then I’d run some more. I did that to stay sane. And I was a better mom because of it. Sometimes I would park in the daycare parking lot before picking up my kids, and go run in the neighborhood.”

“I had just spent 8 hours at school, now I have to go home and be a mom and do homework. It made me angry. So I would run, to get all that out.”

The running did its job, and Heather not only became stronger physically, but psychologically. She became a nurse, she bought a house...and she found love again.

After getting stood up for a date, she went to a friend’s house to vent and eat ice cream...and the friend’s younger brother happened to stop by. Fate conspired, a romance blossomed, and eventually she and the little brother (John) fell in love.

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Even in the midst of building their “happily ever after”, however, there were challenges. And once again, those hardships served as a springboard to Heathers strength. Heather discovered her boyfriend’s porn use, and without her realizing, it fed some unresolved insecurities she had about her own body.”

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Eventually, even though her initial reaction was to try and change to fit what she thought he wanted, Heather decided that this wasn’t about her--it was about them. She also decided that instead of starving herself for a man, she would get stronger. For herself.

Two things came from that moment; Heather had a heart-to-heart with John about how his porn use made her feel, and she had a talk with herself. “There’s no man on Earth that’s worth killing yourself for.” It turned her towards strength training.

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“Instead of being skinny, I wanted to be strong. I went in--didn’t know what I was doing--and just started lifting. Like with running...I just started. I’m a personal trainer now because I want to give that feeling to women--look how strong you are!”

That moment was a huge turning point for Heather and John, by tackling the issue of pornography and healing the residual emotional damage left over from her first marriage, they realized that together they could conquer anything and got married, on a Tuesday afternoon 3 years later.

In addition to being a personal trainer, Heather is also a doula--bringing the same empowerment mindset to birth experiences that she does to fitness training. As far as her own personal fitness goals, she doesn’t really have any end game in mind, other than the best fitness level possible.

“I basically just want to live forever--to see my grandbabies have babies and not have my children have to care for a sick, elderly mother.”

When asked about her message for other women, Heather doesn’t hesitate.

“I would tell them, ‘You have the power to create the life you deserve and are dreaming of.’  It doesn’t matter how long it takes. It doesn’t matter how many times you start over or try a new idea.  Slow deliberate movement forward will always keep you moving. You can do every single thing you put your mind to. I am living proof.”

“You just have to woman up.”

Lessons from Heather:

Make a 10 minute investment.

When Heather was at a low point, her dad gave her this advice: You can’t look at the end.

“I never looked at the end of nursing school,” Heather says. “I couldn’t look at it as “the next three years”...I had to look at it ten minutes at a time.” That same philosophy is her fitness mantra. “Just go to the gym/run/spin/whatever for 10 minutes.  If you still want to quit after 10 minutes, then quit. I can almost guarantee you that you won’t. If you do, then it’s still 10 minutes of something that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Give yourself 10 minutes and see if it changes your day.”

Don’t stuff your emotions.

“Everyone tells women, don’t be angry,” Heather says. “I say...Eff that! Maybe that’s your fuel! You don’t have to live there forever...but you need to be able to remember where you came from.”

“I don’t live in the past, but I know the past can repeat itself, so you can’t forget. Those are the moments that built who you are--I would never know how strong I am and how resilient, if not for those moments.”

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Heather has some mindfulness backup in this area; while a lot of positive thinking teaching will have you only focus on happy thoughts, many mindfulness teachers advocate acknowledging your feelings as they come up--not stuffing them--and then finding ways to comfort those feelings. Heather’s system of pouring anger into a fitness pursuit is a healthy expenditure of physical energy--consider a meditation or relaxation practice, as well.

Just get up and do it.

It’s more than a sports slogan--just doing what needs to be done is a key part of success in physical fitness and overcoming heartbreak--both areas of expertise for Heather. And her spin on the traditional “Man up!” is a long overdue one.

“I was never late with my rent, but I did have the electricity cut off on one occasion,” Heather says. “I was in the midst of cooking dinner, and the power shut off. I thought maybe someone had knocked down a pole, but no...I had stretched it out too far and let the bill go too long. It was a low moment.”

“But again, it was one of those moments where, you have to be a woman. You have to woman up.”

“We lit candles, and I took the meatloaf outside and finished cooking it on the gas grill. We slept together in extra pajamas to stay warm, because it was December.”

“But in the middle of all that is where I found my fitness, where I found my power.”

“If I can do it, you can too.”

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#GORGOGirl Leah Brouwers

When you are part of a movement, a gathering of compassionate, direct yet gentle, all-kinds-of-strength women equipping one another in more ways than technique under the bar, you accept the challenge and choose to leverage on this opportunity for permanent personal growth. I can’t wait go back and re-connect with the amazing women that collectively make Camp Gorgo!

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Get Over Yourself: How your Mindset is Affecting Your Results (and your life)

 

By Ali Ludovici

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Having had the honour of successfully coaching many clients in health and wellness, in addition to my own experience as an athlete and weight-loss journey, I can tell you with certainty, that mindset is the single most important element of success. If you don’t have the right mindset it doesn’t matter how credentialed your coach is, what exercises you are doing or what diet you are on, success will be elusive.

What you perceive and believe creates your reality. Though you may be predisposed to a positive or negative mindset, you can choose your perception (how you interpret the world) and your attitude (your beliefs and reactions/interactions).

In the world of health and wellness, your mindset will determine whether you succeed in achieving good health and peace with your body and food. You can purchase all the nice workout gear, fancy gym memberships, coaching, and diet plans you want - if you don’t have the right mindset, you won’t achieve what you desire. So what exactly is the right mindset?

Believe in yourself

Your body and mind are intimately connected; if you believe you can, your body will find a way. Disbelief leads to self-sabotage as you will create your reality to prove your mindset correct. Set your goal and believe in your ability to achieve it. You are stronger and more capable than you give yourself credit. Just because you can’t do something today, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to in the future. Keep working and believe in yourself. In time, you will amaze yourself with what you have accomplished.

Focus on the solution

Your health and wellness journey will certainly have its ups and downs. There will be nights you don’t have the energy for a butt-kicking workout and the days where you just don’t have time to pack a healthy lunch, don’t beat yourself up. No road to success is straightforward or easy - but all good things are worth the effort. In fact, having to put in some challenging work and overcome a few obstacles, makes you value your success that much more. You can choose to focus on the obstacles, or you can choose to focus on the solutions. “Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off your goal”, Henry Ford.

Be positive in your self-talk

Many of our limitations are created within our own mind. You tell ourselves you aren’t good enough, strong enough, fast enough. You create excuses and barriers where there needn't be any. What you tell yourself, your mind believes. Change the way you talk to yourself and you infinitely increase your ability to succeed. Tell yourself it is possible, believe it is possible and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish. Challenge yourself to replace any and every negative thought, with a positive (and realistic) alternative.

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Seek pleasure and balance

Despite the “hustle harder” and “no pain, no gain” mentality perpetuated by some fitness personalities, exercise and good nutrition can be pleasurable. You can enjoy both health and, athleticism while having a fulfilling and joyful personal life. While I do encourage every woman to lift weights for the physical and mental benefits, I also encourage them to seek exercise they find pleasurable. Whether you enjoy swimming, yoga, running, kickboxing or pole fitness, find something that gets you sweaty and smiling. When it comes to nutrition, trust the innate wisdom of your body. As long as you are predominantly eating whole foods (healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates) with a plant-based focus, you are welcome  to enjoy a treat now and again. Balance, pleasure and respecting your body and its wisdom, is how you will discover a fulfilling healthy lifestyle.

Focus on Abundance

When trying to achieve a specific fitness goal, you will likely need to be more diligent with your nutrition and fitness routine. You can choose to focus on the lack; of calories, indulgent foods, and changes to your social life.  Or you can focus on the positive; your improved aesthetic, all the delicious nutrient dense foods, and the pleasure in seeing results. If you perceive your journey as a punishment, you will have a negative experience that will work against you and increase your odds of rebounding. Choosing to see the positive, you will have a more pleasurable journey and be more likely to create a healthy lifestyle with life-long reward.

Your mindset is the single greatest influencer on your reality. You can choose to have a pleasurable journey towards achieving your goals; you can choose to see yourself as a strong, capable woman; you can choose pleasure and balance. You can also choose to see the opposite. Your reality, your success, is in your control.


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Ali Ludovici is a blogger at Charm and Grit, writing about fitness, nutrition and strategies for extraordinary living. As a wellness and mindset coach, she specializes in helping women create healthy and fulfilling lives they love. Ali promotes respecting the innate wisdom of your body, doing exercise that gets you sweaty and smiling, as well as recognizing the power of your mindset to create your desired reality. She is well known for her tough love attitude, no excuses mindset and her supportive positivity. She is a natural bodybuilder, who also enjoys yoga, running and trying new forms of fitness. Ali is on a mission to inform, inspire and empower women to live extraordinary lives.

 

5 Snacks to Keep Kids Energized Through the School Day (That Mom Can Eat Too!)

 
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By Kelly Keltner, naturallynourishedkid.com

Busy schedules have been received. School supplies, new clothes and shoes bought. Bedtimes are being enforced again. Mornings are a rush to beat the clock.

It can be a hectic time as your household gets back into the school year routine. To help you avoid the drive-thru and takeout, here are some snack ideas that are free of refined sugars and will keep your kiddos full and energized through the day.

BONUS: They’re mommy friendly too!

TIME SAVING TIP: Make batches and freeze for convenience.

Honey Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

This powerhouse food, also known as garbanzo beans, packs 6g of protein in just half a cup. This is as much protein as a large whole egg! Pair with a side of fruit or veggie sticks for a snack that will keep kids full until mealtime.

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Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 10-15 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried

  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon

  • 1 tbs raw organic honey

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a small bowl, combine the chickpeas with the cinnamon and honey and mix well.

3. Lay the chickpeas in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake until crispy and browned, about 10-15 minutes.

Store in an airtight container up to 3-4 days.

Recipe from @KidFoodIdeas on Instagram

Flourless Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

If you have a bunch of overripe bananas, put them to good use and bake up a batch of these yummy banana muffins. You won’t miss the flour and superfoods like chia seeds and ground flaxseed pump up the nutritional factor.

Prep Time: 5 min    Cook Time: 20 min Makes 9 mini muffins

Ingredients:

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  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (or any nut/seed butter)

  • 2 ripe medium to large bananas

  • 1 egg

  • 2 tbs raw honey

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (sub gluten-free oats to make recipe gluten-free)

  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed

  • 2 tbs chia seeds

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until the batter is smooth and creamy.

3. Pour batter into greased muffin pan or use cupcake liners. Fill each cup about 3/4 full.

4. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze.

Recipe by NaturallyNourishedKid.com, adapted from RunningWithSpoons.com

Mango Fruit Roll-Ups (aka Fruit Leather)

This one ingredient (yes, one ingredient!) treat will have your kids pumped to open up their snack totes! This takes some time to cook in the oven but it is worth it. Start it on a lazy weekend morning.

Prep Time: 5 min    Cook Time: 3-4 hours    Makes about 15-20 rollups

Ingredients:

3 large mangoes

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Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Puree the mango in a food processor after removing the skin and core.

3. Pour the puree onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a spatula to smooth and spread the puree as even as possible. The layer should be thin but not see through. You may have to use 2 baking sheets.

4. Start checking the puree at 3 hours. Oven temps vary from oven to oven, so it may or may not be ready at this point. When the puree is dry to the touch, it is done.

5. Remove from the oven and cut the sheets into strips. Roll up strips.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week..

Recipe from Clean & Green Kids App

Avocado Toast with Tomatoes

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This power snack gives you fiber, fats (the good kind), protein and vitamins all in one.  Choose Ezekiel bread to avoid added sugar and preservatives. It is usually found in the freezer aisle. Ezekiel bread also provides twice the amount of fiber and protein compared to conventional store bought bread.

Prep Time: 5 min    Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • Ezekiel Bread - 2 slices

  • ½ avocado

  • handful grape tomatoes

  • lemon wedge

Instructions:

1. Toast the bread

2. Top the toast with sliced avocado, grape tomatoes and fresh ground black pepper.

3. Squeeze lemon juice liberally over everything. This helps to prevent the avocado from browning if you plan to eat it later.

Recipe from @NaturallyNourishedKid on Instagram

Spinach & Mushroom Mini Crustless Quiche

Bake a batch on Sunday and keep it in the fridge. It heats up in 20 seconds in the microwave - perfect for a grab-and-go breakfast on busy weekday mornings.

Prep Time: 15-20 min    Cook Time: 20-25 min Makes 12 mini quiches

Ingredients:

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  • 1 tbs EVOO

  • 12 oz white mushrooms, chopped

  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced

  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped

  • pinch nutmeg

  • 4 large eggs

  • 4 large egg whites

  • ¼ cup whole milk

  • ¼ cup grated fontina cheese

  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

2. Heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add mushrooms, shallot and season with S&P. Saute and cook until shallots are soft and mushrooms are slightly browned, about 8-10 minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the baby spinach and nutmeg until the spinach is just wilted. Set aside to cool.

4. Whisk the eggs, egg whites, and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese.

5. Divide the egg mixture evenly between the muffin tins, filling about halfway.

6. Top the egg mixture with the mushroom and spinach sauté.

7. Bake until the quiches are well-risen, golden brown and set. Check it at 20 minutes.

8. Remove from the oven and let the pan cool slightly. Remove the quiches and set on a wire rack to cool completely before refrigerating.

Recipe adapted from The Food Network.

 

Breaking Down the Deadlift: Conventional and Sumo

 

By Sascha Teems, @creepshowphysiques

The deadlift is one of the big bar movements that all athletes should be doing. If you can walk, you can deadlift. Everyone gets fired up about them, but I see a lot of form issues with most lifters. It has to become very technical to work the intended area: the low and mid back. I'm speaking of the conventional deadlift. This is the version that you'll see most powerlifters doing. You'll also see them do a sumo stance in competitions. Most affiliations will let you do either. I'll explain why you should be doing both.

Conventional Deadlift

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I want you to think of the conventional deadlift as a mid and low back exercise. It's not a leg exercise. Do it on back day. Your focal point should be the low and mid back. Put your mind there. The chest is up and you are looking straight. Your back needs to have a natural curve. This really makes the spinal erectors work. The whole trick of deadlifting is to keep this position during the whole up and down motion.  Don't let that back round, which starts happening when you are pulling to much weight or start getting fatigued. If the back rounds, the lats do the pull and the lower back is taken out of the equation. Remember, the deadlift is a low back exercise. So, if you continuously keep rounding, the lower back never gets conditioned because it is taken out of play. Even advanced powerlifters doing a one rep max break this rule. Stay true to good posture, and it's only a legal lift if you get a clean lockout. Saying you pulled "X" amount of weight has no merit if the Kinesiolchain has a kink in it. I see horrible deadlift videos all day. The lifter will even admit the form wasn't there. In my own gym I've had many discussions about correct form. The lift is over if form is lost. It's not worth risking the injury. Leave the ego out in the parking lot.

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Sumo Deadlift

So what about this Sumo stance deadlift? Your powerlifting purists will do more conventional pulling in competition, but Sumo is normally allowed across all affiliations. The conventional pull is more quad dominate. The Sumo stance opens up your foundation and points toes outward for posterior chain boom. If you've hung out with me longer than 5 minutes, you will know I salivate over hamstring training. The Sumo stance gives you that hambone love you have been longing for. There is no greater love. Do this version on a leg day. Your goal is to get those legs down to parallel like a squat. At the beginning of the pull the hams will activate and then the low back takes over. It's a great hamstring beating if done correctly. The same form rules apply just as in the conventional. You can experiment with a wider base to get more glute activation.  Do these slow and controlled.

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Some key points to remember when doing both versions of these deadlifts:

1. Wear a flat shoe. Cons or Chucks are great. The lower you keep the heels, the more backside activation you get. Don't deadlift in tennis shoes or lifting shoes with heels raised. They transfer the load to the quads.

Your hamstrings and glutes need the extra activation. I also recommend squatting in flat shoes. The heels raised shoes mask ankle mobility....the lack of. I've seen guys squat beautifully in a pair of platform shoes, but they have a flabby ass and fall apart in flats. Heels low activates those glutes and hamstrings.

2. Lift RAW! No straps, belts, suits, fancy gripping gloves, or regular gloves. Knee sleeves and chalk are fine.

3. Run bar up against shins and quads. It makes sure your form stays locked in on the way up and down. Never bounce on quads to get a lockout. Lighten up. An actual deadlift bar will bend slightly before the plates come off the ground. Most gyms don't have them. Practice with one if you can.

4. Stop doing one rep maxes every lift. Four to six weeks is a good measuring tool. Pull what's safe for you. If back rounds, the set is over.

5. Hands need to be over/under right out side legs for conventional and 10-12 inches apart for Sumo. If you are wanting a career in Olympic lifting, use an overhand grip. You won't be as strong, but it will condition your forearm strength for hang cleans, power clean, and clean and jerk, etc.  

6. Enjoy high rep counts. Warm up with sets do 15 to 20. Do some light hamstring work before deadlifting and make sure the back has done some other form of rowing beforehand. Sets of 4 to 6 reps will get you strong. There is also nothing wrong with having one long deadlift session. Do both versions in a lift. If you feel really frisky, add stiff legged deads, Jefferson deads, and Romanian deads. It's fun to do them all in one session.

7. Make side, front, and rear videos of your deads. Dat camera does not lie. Send me your vids, I'd be happy to break them down. Steems2000@yahoo.com

Heck, come see me, 42701.

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8. Yes, you are using the whole body for a deadlift, but you should be feeling it mostly in your low and mid back. If you lose that feeling, your technique is off. You're specifically training spinal erectors. That's what a deadlift is supposed to hit with controlled weight. The movement has become one of the most macho movements on the planet. I've had grown big men walk out on me when I broke down their form and kept them at 95lbs. If you don't master the deadlift, your squat form and even your upper body movements will be in jeopardy. The Popsicle stick breaks in the middle. If you don't get that low back stronger, you will be calling into work with a thrown back.

9. Have fun. Make it competitive but safe. Watch everyone's deadlift. I do. I have a mental note on everyone in my gym. I'm not a stalker though. I do make it a point to catch the teenagers if they are headed for destruction. I'll throw them off by talking about pizza and their sock game, and the next thing you know their back is good and sore for a week because they finally trained it properly.

Get out there and deadlift now. Don't be intimidated. You must master the big bar. It takes time, but progress will come. Keep pumping that good iron!

~Creepshow

 

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way: America Garcia

 

By Jill Farr

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Single parents who work full time are experts when it comes to understanding that time and energy are precious resources--if anyone on the planet has an excuse for lacking the schedule and head space to work out, it’s someone working 40+ hours a week and parenting alone.

America Garcia is a single working mother who has a seemingly contradictory message for everyone--single, parent, childless, or otherwise--that’s worn out and tapped for energy.

Work out.

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A typical day for America usually starts with her getting up at 4:30 a.m. so that she can catch an early bus and get a one hour workout in before her job starts. With two kids, ages 11 and 4, there’s really no such thing as a “typical” day, but America has a system set up that allows for life to happen and still leave time and means for fitness; she has a gym membership that provides a place to work out near her home and also near her job. If the early workout doesn’t happen, it can take place after work. Have to miss the bus? Work out before the later one. Or after hours.

If you think that this early workout routine sounds exhausting, you might be surprised to find that the opposite is true; America credits working out with increased energy, and science actually backs her up. University of Georgia researchers conducted a study in 2008 that indicated that regular exercise--even at a low intensity--increased energy in participants by 20% and reduced fatigue by 65%.

“On my commute, on the bus everyday, I look around,” America says. “It doesn’t matter what time it is--it could be the super early bus, the late bus--people are passed out. They’re exhausted! They’re fatigued...and I’m wide awake. I believe working out is the difference.”

Getting over the hill of “I’m exhausted” to an actual workout can feel enormous, but starting that momentum can be a game changer. If anyone should be exhausted, it’s someone with America’s schedule, but she’s on fire...and she credits pushing through those tired times with upping her game. At 41, she’s no stranger to the hormonal dips and energy struggles that seem to be par for the course of getting older, but she’s thriving--she insists--due to her fitness focus. She encourages everyone--but most especially, older single moms--to take the issue of increased energy seriously, and focus on working out as not just a solution for a problem, but as the most important life hack you can adopt.

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“I feel like for me...every workout that I do, I feel like I’m adding to my life. You gain so much--energy, self confidence, the endorphins that support a good mood--you’re enjoying life. You’re not stressed out or sad. I feel like you gain life in the gym. It’s important to make time for that.”

Even a superwoman like America isn’t immune to overdoing a good thing, however. After several months of a CrossFit-type regimen, she admits that she burned herself out, but instead of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, and stopping workouts, she simply changed up.

“It happens,” she says. “I decided I needed a switch. Now, I’m back to predominately weight lifting--heavy--and I love it.”

Another aspect of the importance of fitness in America’s life is that she’s seen its benefits in her improved mental state. Single parenting can be stressful, and anything that strengthens your mind in a positive way is a benefit worth pursuing.

“I go hard,” America says. “This is my therapy. A lot of life spins out of control, but this doesn’t. It’s the place where I don’t feel anxiety or stress.”

“Through my divorce and any dark times, I’ve always turned to the gym to keep me grounded.”

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When her children were younger, America adapted her need to pursue fitness with the demands of mommying by being a little more flexible, and engaging in workouts that she could do even when she was restricted to the house.

“I had a million workout gadgets when my daughter was little, so that I could workout at home if I had to. There was no excuse.”

There can be even more of a pressure to put kids first when you’re a single parent--but you’re important, too. Not just because you provide for others, but because you matter as an individual, and if you don’t have a partner’s support...you have to take that role, yourself. America exhorts single parents to really look at working out as an investment in yourself.

“The worst thing you can do as a single mother is not take care of yourself. I don’t allow any obstacle to get in the way of my workouts because fitness and my health are priorities to me. I feel that if I’m good, my kids are good.”

The demands of being limited to 24 hours in a day are still a reality, however, and America admits that she feels the strain the most in the area of nutrition.

Meal prepping as a busy single parent doesn’t always (or ever, probably) look like a Pinterest fairy tale, but America has a work-around for that issue, too...as well as a big helping of realistic balance.

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“Sometimes I don’t eat that well,” America admits, “But I’m very mindful--I feel as if I eat healthier more often than I don’t.”

“The weekends are hard, with kids--they want things like mac and cheese--and it’s hard to not take a bite!”

America uses Isegenix products to hit some of her wellness markers, and buys premade Paleo lunches from Plate Therapy, ensuring that for the biggest part of her day, her nutrition is handled.

“I definitely struggle with nutrition more because I’m so busy,” America says. “The one thing I can do consistently, however, is make it to that one hour every day where I’m working out.”

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“I just do my best. With workouts, with nutrition...it’s all I can do. I realize that it’s important, and I have to have it in my life.”

Lessons from America:

  • Make it easy to be flexible so that your workout can happen even if there’s a curveball. (Membership to a gym with multiple locations = opportunity to quickly work out before or after work, close to home or the office; YouTube videos, etc., if you’re at home with young kids).
  • Make at least part of your day’s nutrition automatic; protein shakes and premade lunches might need more budgeting up front, but you’ll be getting insurance for your gains down the road.
  • Understand that getting in that workout now can pay dividends in the energy department later.
  • Look at your health as important, because you’re important...but also because your kids need a healthy mom.

 

 

How to Get In More Greens: Meal Plan

How to Get In More Greens: Meal Plan

If I had to break it down, I would admit that getting in my veggies is THE challenge of all challenge. I’m mindful of my protein, choose whole grains, skip the refined sugar (most of the time), and drink ample amounts of water but getting those greens in, it requires intention!

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#GORGOGirl LIFE: Shelley Heavens

Today, I am in the best shape of my life. Over the last decade, I am proud to say that have lost over 100+ pounds. I have worked hard to accomplish my goals that I have set for myself. As I have focused on my health, I have less flare-ups in my joints and less RA symptoms. Taking care of myself really is the best medicine.

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Becoming Protein Minded: A Non-Obsessive Option for Getting in Macros

 

By Valerie Solomon

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I’ve found a rhythm of eating that works for me on a daily basis as a busy mom wanting to get and stay fit. Although I do track macronutrients for a rigid competition prep and coach clients to do the same, on a normal daily basis, I eat in a way and teach a concept I call “Being Protein Minded”.  

It’s not realistic to think you can stay on a strict meal plan for life.  It’s no fun.  What is doable long term is to fit in the foods you like and work within certain parameters that have some flexibility.  Learn to track calories for a bit, and then learn how to get in enough protein.  Start making lasting changes slowly.  It is possible for a busy woman to learn to eat to progress without an endless diet you dread.

What is this “Becoming Protein Minded” stuff?

To become protein minded, I want you to think PROTEIN PROTEIN PROTEIN at every meal and snack.  If you are like me and most women I coach, and gravitate towards cereal, bread, crackers, and yummy soups…. that’s fine, but get a side of PROTEIN with it.   Want a salad?  Have a side of protein.  Want that veggie pizza?  Think about where you will get in your protein as well.  It’s a small mental adjustment that can really help you build the muscle and strength you want.  Get protein on your brain!

Tip:  Cook extra meat when you cook dinner and keep it in your refrigerator for adding in those protein sides when needed.  My freezer is full of leftover options!

Below, I’ll introduce you to some of the dieting concepts from my Busy Mom Gets Fit Next Step Plan.

  • PART 1: CALORIES: choose your own food options and aim to fit them into the calorie parameters

  • PART 2: YOUR PROTEIN TARGET RANGE: learn to hit your protein target range daily

It’s helpful when learning to eat in a new way to have a guide.  There is a meal plan included for GORGO Premium Subscribers, but please know you CAN eat other things!  Continue reading to learn to fit the foods you love into parameters.

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PART 1: CALORIES
How many calories should I eat?!

You’ve probably heard the number “1200” tossed around a lot. Often 1200 calories is too few calories for most women.  Most women will actually see good weight loss on a 1700 calorie diet if they include exercise at the same time (that’s you!).

The number of calories a woman should eat largely varies based on body type, her level of activity, the state of her metabolism and her goals.  That’s a lot of “it depends”.  However, a good rule of thumb for a healthy-weighted woman looking to control her weight while staying healthy, is to begin at 10-17 times her bodyweight in calories (10-12 if you want to lose weight, 13-17 if you want to maintain, 18+ to gain).  As you progress and want to shed more fat, you can lower your calories slowly over time, but we do not recommend going below 10 times body weight for any extended period of time or staying at 10 x your bodyweight forever.

Graphic:  body weight x 10-17 = calories

Do you think this number is too high?!  It can be a scary thing to eat MORE to lose weight! If you are a serial dieter and have cut calories for long lengths of time, you know there comes a time where you throw up your hands because you can’t eat any less and your body is still not changing!  You’ve stalled your metabolism; your body goes into starvation mode.  With a better plan and learning to eat to fuel your body, you can get it running again and you may be surprised that you can eat a greater amount of food and get leaner.

If you want to learn more about this area, I recommend you check out the GORGO Magazine article called “I Want To Lose Fat AND Gain Muscle?!” in our OCTOBER 2015

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Track Your Calories

Now that you have a target number to shoot for, it’s a good idea to track your calories for a while until you get in a rhythm of eating at this level or until you reach your goals.  This may be as little as one week or as long as a couple months.  I recommend using an app such as MyFitnessPal to help you track.

Do I Have to Track Everything Forever?!

It’s not realistic to track calories every day for the rest of your life.  At minimum it’s an annoyance and it could promote obsessive food behaviors which I don’t support.  Yet it is often very important to track your food initially to reach goals and to learn how much you consume.  Consider it a “Food-u-cation”.

To put it into perspective, let’s say you track your food all week and hit your calorie targets each day.  Then the weekend rolls around and you just want to relax a bit so you say “Screw it, I deserve to take a break.”  In just the 1 day (even 1 meal), you can undo the work you did all week long tracking.  You may think what you chose to eat wasn’t “that bad”, but the portion size along with what else you ate that day can take you way off track.  Until you innately know what portion sizes and food choices are in accordance with your goals, I recommend you track your food, otherwise be satisfied and accepting if your desired changes don’t materialize.

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PART 2: Your Protein Target Range

A key element in building muscle tone, is to eat enough protein to support the muscle growth. I’ve not met a woman starting out on a fitness journey yet that eats enough protein.

By following the workouts in this magazine, you are officially an active women who regularly strength trains.  This means you should aim to eat 1-1.2g of protein per pound of body weight.  Don’t let this overwhelm you.  I’m introducing you to this important concept because you work too hard in your workouts not to get the best results.  This is often a missing key for too many women.

Let me hold your hand here to implement this part:

  1. Track your total calories following the guidelines above using MyFitnessPal

  2. Find in the MyFitnessPal app or on your MyFitnessPal diary webpage where “Nutrients” or “Macros” are shown.

  3. Write down the total number of grams of protein you ate for the day.

  4. Divide the total number of grams of protein by your bodyweight in pounds (e.g. you ate 126g of protein / 140 lbs = 0.90 = too low in protein! Target is 1-1.2)

  5. If the number is less than 1-1.2, work at increasing your protein each day.

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By knowing your parameters and what that looks like on a plate throughout the day, you can begin to ease up and buckle down when needed.  Keep protein on the brain.  

 

EmPowerlifting: A Beginner Powerlifting Program

EmPowerlifting: A Beginner Powerlifting Program

Hey there you strong woman. I am so pumped that you want to learn more about powerlifting. This type of strength training has completely changed my life and helped change my relationship with my body and food.

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The Power of Femships: Finding a Modern Day Tribe

The Power of Femships:  Finding a Modern Day Tribe

Finding balance between work, family, and fitness is a topic that has been discussed with frequency, but the need for female support systems is often neglected. Gorgo Magazine and Camp Gorgo tackled this often overlooked imbalance by introducing thousands of women to the theme – MY TRIBE. 

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#TheBarbellProject

 

Inspired by Lisbeth Darsh's article "How to Change the
World" we have an ongoing GORGO challenge, #thebarbellproject

"...when we put barbells in women’s hands, we change them for
the better." ~Lisbeth Darsh

WILL YOU PLEDGE TO TEACH ONE WOMAN OR GIRL TO
LIFT WEIGHTS?


1. How do I take part?  Share this image on social media tagging us and letting the world know that you believe in the movement and accept the challenge to teach at least one woman or girl to strength train.

GORGO Instagram - @gorgomag

GORGO Facebook - GORGO Women's Fitness Magazine

GORGO Twitter - @gorgomag


2. Challenge your fitness friends to take part by tagging them too in your post!

3. Find your girl! Let your circle of friends and family know you are looking for a willing soul to introduce to the power of the barbell.

4. Bring us along! Tag us along your journey on social media.  We want to be a part of it!  We definitely want to see a picture of you handing the barbell to our new sister in iron.  Let them tag along with you when you work out.  Introduce them to the world we love.  Show
them the way.

"THAT’S HOW YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE: THE WORLD CHANGES BECAUSE YOU CHANGE."


"PUT A BARBELL IN A WOMAN’S HANDS. PUT A (LIGHT) BARBELL IN A GIRL’S HANDS. TEACH THEM WHAT TO DO WITH IT. TEACH THEM HOW STRONG PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY THEY CAN BECOME.

Change the world … if you dare." ~Lisbeth Darsh
from "How to Change the World"

 

6 Protein-Rich Vegan Foods For Muscle Building

6 Protein-Rich Vegan Foods For Muscle Building

Vegetarians and vegans, for instance, struggle to intake enough protein, thanks to an absence of meat in their diet. If you’re struggling to get your protein requirements, these meat-free options should help you achieve your goals and improve your body much more effectively.

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