Here are some of my most frequently asked questions from Instagram & Facebook
Know that I always do my best to get back to all of my (appropriate) messages and if I haven’t yet responded to you please feel free to send a reminder! I hope this segment helps to answer some of the more common questions.
How did you first get into fitness and weight lifting?
I think this question is prompted more by the fact that the women I talk to are interested to know how I overcame that communal fear of learning to use gym equipment on your own. I do think that this goes for men as well but they are either less vocal about it or are more likely to have a friend who can show them the ropes. We all know that it can be a little, or extremely, daunting to try to navigate the world of weight lifting when you don’t have any prior knowledge of etiquette, form, or technique.
Here are a few tips;
- YouTube videos can be a great resource but there is also a fair amount of trash out there so don’t be afraid to verify with someone else if you have questions about form or function.
- Don’t know how to use a machine? Can’t adjust the seat? Don’t be shy, go grab someone from the front desk or ask one of the trainers in your gym. Also, remember some machines are VERY well-loved and there may be a little trick to get them to adjust.
- If the thought of asking a stranger for help in the gym makes you want to shrivel up and explode into a thousand pieces, consider signing up for a month of personal training so you can feel comfortable learning the basics and proper form. (Don’t just sign up at the first place you think of, do your homework and read reviews!)
At the end of the day the sooner you get in there and just do it or just ask for the information you need the sooner you’ll feel confident walking in and setting up everything on your own so you can crush your workouts.
What is your favorite on the go snack?
I tend to eat more full meals than I do snacks but the easiest (and tastiest) thing for me to grab on the go are Fbombs, packaged nut butters. I’ve tried all of the flavors but since dark chocolate is my weakness I am partial to the Salted Chocolate Macadamia Nut. Some of my other favorite easy to grab snacks include;
- Mixed nuts
- Homemade protein bars
I honestly have never been big on sweets or candy and my diet is pretty void of sugar so I usually enjoy lots of veggies and good fats/carbs throughout the day. That being said, I will get down on some 90% dark chocolate and I may or may not have a good-sized stash in my fridge at home.
How do you eat healthy while dining out?
The last few months I limited the amount of time I spent dining out since I was afraid to aggravate my gut inflammation anymore than I had to. Now that I am on the mend I’ve been slowly been branching out and reintroducing more food items. I love salmon or a good steak, always medium rare for both. As well as anything involving grilled veggies like brussels, broccolini, or carrots.
Your first step to eating right while dining out is choosing the restaurant that will give you the most options to make a healthy choice. Obviously the better the choices are on the menu the easier it will be to stick to your guns but if you’re going to a place famous for fried chicken and buttered mashed potatoes you’d better be prepared to keep your self-control on a tight leash as you may not have much to choose from. (Or plan accordingly, I tend to be less restrictive with myself on days when I burn more calories).
- Most places nowadays offer “healthy” items or alternatives but you should still be cognizant of how food items and certain dishes are prepared. For example, margarine is a common cooking oil that can quickly add calories but you can always ask that they leave it out or use a substitute. There is a reason that so many dishes taste better in the restaurant compared to when you try to recreate them at home!
- Don’t be afraid to ask your server questions. As someone who used to work in the food and beverage industry it is literally a servers job to learn the menu and to be able to cater to you as best they can (although being demanding or rude won’t get you very far). I’m frequently asked if I am “that person” when I order off menu and while my boyfriend might jokingly agree with that I think there is an unfair stigma around removing or adding items to a dish due to an allergy. I am always polite and upfront, I let them know that I cannot have gluten or dairy, and that I am open to suggestions if they have any.
- If you have a legitimate allergy don’t let anyone make you feel bad, you are not being picky if it is a necessity. I can always find a dish that has a protein whether that’s fish, chicken or steak and I can sub the potatoes or french fries for extra veggies or a side salad without any issue.
- We all have social functions to attend, weddings, birthdays, baby showers, etc., and being able to pack a healthy snack or two (or even a meal) can be the difference between you feeling overwhelmed by a host of restricted food and sugary desserts or you feeling full and confident enough to indulge but not over do it.
If I had to pick a “cheat day” dish it would 100% be tacos and if they come with pickled onions, it’s game over. May as well bring on the margs. (Margarita’s always sound good in theory but I really only ever drink gin lol.)
What is your favorite ab exercise?
This is a tough one because I like to mix it up. Obviously the TRX Bands and the GHD Machine offer a variety of great exercises but I love Figure-8 Sit Ups with a 8 lbs. med ball or the exercise ball Pike to Push-ups since they always burn in the best way.
What do you do for bloating?
Here are a few common causes of bloating;
- Not enough water, I typically drink a gallon to a gallon and a half a day.
- Dairy consumption, many people have an intolerance and don’t know it. This was definitely apart of the problem in my case.
- A decline in good bacteria, a quality probiotic can do wonders for your digestive system.
I spoke a little bit about this in my first blog post, Think Before You Eat, but bloating was never an issue for me until this year when I started having GI issues. I tried apple cider vinegar and hated it, the taste was horrific and it made me feel nauseous regardless of the amount I took or the time of day. I tried a few different supplements that failed to make a difference before I started to dig deeper into the root cause of my issue. That’s when I began taking Hydrochloric Acid with Pepsin and Oregano Oil capsules. I started both of those pills in conjunction with my theory on having a bacterial overgrowth in my gut so do your homework and talk to your doctor before you decide to experiment with either.
My point is, if you are bloating on a consistent basis- you shouldn’t be. You need to get to the root of the problem whether that’s a food allergy, bacteria, infection, or anything else. Find the underlying cause and you wont have any bloating to deal with!
How many times a day do you eat?
I experimented with intermittent fasting earlier this year but I wasn’t a huge fan. I think the concept makes perfect sense but my days are just too long to be able to sustain it for an 18 or 19 hour day (my only exception would be long travel days I tend to stick to a shorter feeding window). Although, everyone is different and just because it wasn’t sustainable for me doesn’t mean it won’t be for you. The last 8 weeks I have been eating on a fairly consistent schedule as follows;
1630 Pre-workout meal
1800 Post-Workout meal
How many days a week do you train?
I don’t have a set schedule and I prefer to just train based on how I feel, which I know isn’t what most of you wanted to hear but I train whatever feels best that day. If I feel like it’s a good day to beat the shit out of my legs then I’ll kill an hour and a half leg day and follow it up with a shorter hour session for arms, abs, or back the next few days while I suffer through my second and third day sore. Typically I take 1-2 rest days each week and yes, those are real rest days, no gym and no trails.
How do you know when to train each muscle group?
To segue from the last question, I always plan ahead a day or two in advance so that when I get to the gym I already have my workout written down on a note in my phone. If I am ridiculously sore I tend to just let that muscle group rest until the following week when I am fresh. I hit each muscle group at least once each week (Ex. Legs, back/bis, chest/tris, cardio, abs/cardio) and have 1-2 days dedicated to cardio activities such as a spin class at Flywheel, trail running at Camelback, interval sprints, or rowing.
How do you feel about caffeine in supplements?
I LOVE coffee, one of my favorite things to do when exploring a new city is check out the local coffee shops. That being said, caffeine jacks me up and I have to be careful how much I consume on a daily basis, I’ll very quickly become wired and have a hard time focusing on doing one thing at a time. I switched to decaf for a while when my gut issues were at their peak but when I realized that there was formaldehyde used in the decaffeination process I went back to regular. You can buy organic decaf which should not use formaldehyde but since I have seen an increase in my caffeine tolerance as my gut issues have started to clear up I feel good sticking with regular coffee for now.
I drink 1 cup of black coffee with ground cinnamon and turmeric in the morning or occasionally a peppermint green tea. If I use my caffeinated pre-workout prior to the gym I use my decaf BCAAs and if I don’t use pre-workout I’ll take the caffeinated BCAAs. If I start my workout anytime after 1900 I don’t consume anything with caffeine, I wont sleep at all!
Why do you use Gnarly Nutrition?
Here’s the thing, if I spend all this time and energy eating clean and meal prepping with foods that I know bring good nutrients to my body why would I take supplements that are full of dyes, colors, and additives? Eat clean, train hard, recharge. Gnarly has created a line of clean products based on science and with endurance athletes in mind, the decision was easy.
How do you stay motivated?
There are so many directions to go in with this question. The days when I feel my worst, those days when I feel like I should skip the gym and go straight home to nap are honestly the days when I train the best. I just have to make sure I get myself to the gym and in the doors. I’ve gotten very good at using the negative things in my life as fuel for my fire and at this point working out is fun for me. It’s one of the only ways I can release the stress I have built up at the end of a long day. And truly, at the end of any day, after losing a sister to cancer and battling to stay above my anxiety and depression as a young adult I feel so f*cking grateful to be alive. I have bad days like anyone else and the last 6 months I haven’t felt like myself but all things considered I feel so blessed to be able to be active and participate in what I love. I finally came to a point where feeling sorry for myself or feeling that the cards I was dealt were unfair seemed like waste of my sister’s memory and of my own time that I have left in this world. Remember that not everyone has that ability; to run and jump and play. Being grateful for what you have and being grateful in the ability to choose how you spend your time can make a very big difference in your life.
That being said, there are lots of moves you can make to sway your decision in favor of getting up and going to the gym.
- Pack your gym bag before work, this includes snacks and supplements.
- Plan your gym routine the day prior or even plan for the week. This makes it easy to go in without wasting any time trying to decide what to do that day.
- Use a support system. If you tell your significant other, best friend, or family member to hold you to your commitment it’s going to be much harder to skip out on a gym session when you know they are going to ask you about it.
- Find a closer gym. I just went though this about two months ago. I was spending an extra 3-5 hours a week just sitting in my car due to traffic coming home from the gym. My new gym is right down the road and I can’t believe it took me this long to pull the trigger. Less traffic equals less stress and I can’t even begin describe to you how much extra time this leaves me with everyday.
- Trying to get up early Saturday morning for a hike or a run? Lay out EVERYTHING the night before, clothes, shoes, socks, keys, sunglass, etc. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to roll out of bed when the alarm goes off when you know everything is sitting there waiting for you to throw off the sheets and get moving.
Favorite place to travel?
I love traveling, it opens so many windows in your soul and the world will make you a bigger and better person when you take yourself outside of your comfort zone. I don’t think I could name one place in particular…I feel like each new city I visit has its own magic that can’t be compared with another. I a few months in India learning to ice climb in 2014, the Indian people and the Himalaya will always have a hold on my heart. If I had to pick somewhere in the states I would say New York (coffee lovers dream), Montana/Wyoming (a hiker and horse lovers heaven) or Northern California (what else do you need?). I love getting suggestions on new hiking trails to check out or places to visit so please keep sending them!