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Making The Switch

Crush-Fitness-Tracking-Macros-Nutrition

 

Daily intake. IIFYM. Food scales. Grams. Ounces. Macro Cap. Micros.

 

What do these all these words entail? Macro counting.

 

And what is macro counting? Well, essentially, it’s finding and tracking the correct breakdown of fats, protein, and carbs your body needs in a given day to help you reach your specific fitness goals.

 

For many, it can be a reliable, methodical method for attaining your goals, whether that be gaining muscle, maintaining your physique, or cutting fat. Used by the competitor and the fitness lover alike, it can allow for a flexible, yet systemized meal plan that may just be the key ingredient to helping you stay on track!

 

But…what happens when macro counting becomes more of a burden than a benefit? Well, then it may be time to make the switch to intuitive eating.

 

And what is intuitive eating?

 

It’s listening to your body. Visually portioning out your food, and leaving the food scale behind. Eating until you’re satisfied, without thinking about how many ounces of chicken breast you’re having or how many grams of nut butter you are going to spread out on your toast.

 

However, sometimes making the switch from counting to not counting can be a time of confusion and stress. Am I getting enough protein in? Am I going over my macros? Should I just go back to tracking?

 

It can be a little bit of trial and error at first. But, when it comes down to it, if macro counting has become more of a burden than a benefit, switching to intuitive eating may be the healthy choice to make—mentally and physically. So, here are some tips for how to make the transition as smooth as possible!

 

  1. Aim to get some protein, fat, and carbs in every meal! That’s not to say you need to have the exact breakdown down to the very gram every time you want to munch on something. But, if you approach each meal with the intention of getting your three main food groups in, by the end of the day you should feel satisfied that you’ve properly fueled your body!
  2. Don’t neglect your micronutrients! Now that you’re not tracking, you may forget about hitting your micronutrients. But, it’s so important to provide your body with the vitamins and nutrients it needs, so keep in mind that it’s never a bad thing to add some greens to your meals!
  3. Portion out your meals ahead of time! One of the tricky parts about intuitive eating can be questioning exactly how much you need to eat. Preparing your plate ahead of time—that is portioning out your protein source, carbs, and fats—will allow you to visualize what you’re about to eat. And then, once you’re finished, take a moment to listen to your body and see if you feel properly satiated. If not, go back for more!
  4.  And remember, it’s all about trial and error! Like most things in life, this process might be a little bumpy! But, we’re only human, and mistakes are to be expected. The first few days you may eat more than you’re used to, less, or just the right amount. Slowly learning to understand cues from your body and taking progress photos along the way may be just the thing you need to complete your transition!

 

So, with these tips, hopefully you can go forward, making the right change for you and your body---no food scale necessary!

Hitting A Plateau

Crush-Fitness-Hitting-Plateau-Olivia

 

Your fitness journey was off to a great start! You were making gains, losing weight, seeing changes in your body composition…whatever your goal was, you were getting there, one day at a time.

 

But then, you hit a rut.

 

The scale stalled, your body started aching, and your motivation practically ran out the door.

 

Worst of all? It feels like nothing you’re doing makes a difference.

 

Frustrating? Yes. Normal? Completely.

 

Plateaus. They happen to most everyone. Our bodies get stuck. Same workouts. Same diets. Same weekly check ins. Same everything.

 

As humans, we are adaptable by nature. And just like your body adapts to the seasons, it can adapt to your regime as well. Unfortunately, sometimes that means your progress can be temporarily stalled as a result.

 

But, not to worry! There are plenty of ways to push past a plateau, and today, I’m going to walk you through a few of them!

 

  1. Change up your routine! This is key. If you do the same exercise over and over again, your body is going to become accustomed to it, which may be why you’re not seeing those great changes in your physique you were seeing when you first started working out. So, try a spin class, go to yoga, lift some weights. Anything that will shock your body and give you that push forward you need!
  2. Switch up your style! If you love lifting weights, that doesn’t mean you have to completely change what you’re doing! If you always lift heavy with low reps, maybe try out a high volume workout with lighter weights and more reps. If you’re a natural born runner, try switching out those long distance runs with sprints!
  3. Add something to your workout! Go for a walk after your yoga class, add in a 10-minute run, throw in some plyo during your lift. Sometimes getting those few extra minutes of sweat time in is enough for your body to break free from that plateau!
  4. Make sure you’re eating enough! Even if your goal is weight loss, you still need to be fueling your body with the nutrients it needs! Not having enough food will only do your body harm, and just like your body can adapt to your workout routine, your metabolism can adjust to cope with a low intake. So, eat your protein and your veggies, and throw in some sweets for good measure! To see results you have to be taking care of yourself!
  5. Know change will come! Plateaus can be frustrating, but it’s important to keep in mind that we are our own worst critics. A fitness journey doesn’t follow a linear path. There will be bumps along the way, but it’s moving forward and staying motivated that will make the difference. You will get past this!

The Basics

Crush-Fitness-The-Basics-Olivia

 

The Pieces To The Puzzle

 

Bulking. Toning. Cutting. Lean bulking. Shedding fat. Caloric surplus. Body composition. Gains.

 

These words and phrases circle your brain in an endless cycle, scrambled like pieces to a jigsaw saw puzzle you can’t quite put together.

 

You’ve heard that blogger on Tumblr mention that she just entered her off-season bulk, boasting about how she can’t wait for all those extra carbs in her diet.

 

You’ve been following your favorite Instagrammer who’s a day out from his body building competition and can hardly wait for those last few days of his cut to be over.

 

You’ve watched video after video of Youtube vloggers’ high carb full day of eating clips and have nearly drooled over your keyboard at the protein cookies and nut butters that seem to work their way into their every meal.

 

But now you’re left sitting at your computer trying to figure out what in the world it all means.

 

Well, today we’re going to take it back to the basics, and by the end of this article, you’ll have all the pieces to your fitness puzzle sorted into a big, beautiful, and oh-so clear picture.

 

Caloric surplus: Eating more calories in a day than you burn, thus resulting in weight gain.

 

Caloric deficit: Eating fewer calories in a day than you burn, thus resulting in weight loss.

 

BMR: Basal metabolic rate. The amount of calories your body burns at rest by carrying out normal bodily functions.

 

TDEE: Total daily energy expenditure. The amount of calories your body burns throughout the day, taking into account things like work, walking, exercising, etc.

 

Bulking: Eating in a caloric surplus and weight training with the goal of putting on muscle. Cardio is typically cut out, and some fat gain is inevitable.

 

Cutting: Eating in a caloric deficit with the goal of shedding fat. Cardio is typically added, and some muscle loss is inevitable.

 

Lean bulking: Eating slightly above maintenance with weight training and moderate cardio with the goal of slowly putting on muscle. While the timeline for muscle gain is longer than a more traditional bulk, the fat gain that comes with it is kept to a more minimal amount.

 

Toning: A word used to describe changing one’s body composition—that is, putting on muscle, cutting fat.

 

Gains: Achieving your goals, putting on muscle, hitting a new PR, finding a healthy mind set, and hopefully the new knowledge you gained from reading this!

 

And hopefully now that some of the puzzle is starting to come together, you can continue on your journey, collecting new pieces each and every day!

When To Take A Day Off From The Gym

 

It’s 6:45 AM. Your alarm is ringing next to you, your head is pounding, the sun is barely starting to peep through your windows.

Your mind is telling you: come on, get up. It’s gym time.

But, your body is telling you: come on, go back to bed. It’s snooze time.

And you start to wonder: what should I do?

Rest days. They’re just as important as all that time you’re spending in the gym. It’s crucial to give yourself a mental break from training, and time for your muscles to recuperate from all your hard work.

However, one of the trickiest things can be deciding when to take one. Sometimes we may wrongly convince ourselves that we’re just being lazy, or that taking time off is going to derail our progress. But, a lot of times, that’s anything but the case, and a rest day is actually exactly what we need.

So, here are my tips on deciding if you need one:

  1. You’re sick. The flu, a sore throat, a high fever. It happens. We may catch a seasonal bug or simply be run down from school or work. But, whatever it may be, it’s important that we give ourselves time to recover. Taking a few days off may feel mentally tough, but training while you’re too sick is only going to cause you more harm than good. So, when you’re throat is killing you or you’re too nauseous to walk around, leave your trainers in your gym bag, and rest up with some Netflix and chicken noodle soup.

  2. You’re tired. This is not to justify snoozing your alarm every morning you wake up and feel the need for some extra shuteye. But, it’s recognizing that sometimes that ‘tired’ feeling is more than just a desire to sleep. It was a long strenuous week at work, you had three finals in four days, you stayed up all night studying in the library…life gets hectic from time to time, and it’s important to recognize that sometimes letting your body relax needs to take precedence over a 40 minute cardio session in the gym.

  3. You’ve had a bad day. You came home after a long day where nothing seemed to go right. You had promised yourself that you would drag yourself to the gym for a training session, but all you really want to do is curl up on the couch with a good book and forget about everything for a little while. And that’s exactly what you should do. Yes, working out can be a nice mental break, but it can also feel like a burden when we’ve had a rough day. So, put your pajamas on, pour yourself some tea, and get your mind off things.

  4. Something comes up. Your friend who lives out of town surprises you with a visit. Your boyfriend or girlfriend drops by and asks you out to dinner. Your brother invites you over to watch a football game. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem like that evening training session you planned is going to happen. And that’s okay. Fitness shouldn’t be all encompassing. Life should be. It’s okay to take another day off to get froyo with a friend you haven’t seen in years, or to enjoy a meal out with your family. It’s the little moments that make lasting memories.

So, next time you are thinking about taking a rest day and feel guilty or don’t know if you should take one, think about these few things. One, two, three days off…at the end of the day, all your hard work will still be there; and the gym will always be waiting for you when you’re ready to go back!

Picking A Gym: What to Keep In Mind

 

 

The day has finally come: after pondering the idea for months between runs outside and workouts in your living room, you’ve decided to finally make the move and join a gym! You’re excited, you’re pumped, and you can hardly wait to walk through those shiny, glass doors.

But, wait…

What gym should you even join?

As it goes with many things in life, there is no one size fits all gym.

And just like you might adore leg day, but hate training back, you may love one gym and hate another. So, before you jump into things and purchase a membership, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Location. Even if you absolutely love a particular gym, if it’s too far away, it may not be worth it. Bad weather, lack of motivation, short timing…all of these factors may get in the way of your workout routine. To get the best bang for your buck, try to find a location that’s relatively close to you that you know you’ll be able to access on a daily basis.
  2. Equipment. Take a tour! Any gym manager will be eager to show you around the space. Try out the equipment, see what they have to offer, and double check that everything works for you and your regime.
  3. Environment. This one is key. It’s likely that you’re going to be spending a decent amount of time in this space, so getting a feel for the ambiance is crucial. Look around at the type of people working out there, sense your comfort level, and ask any questions or voice any concerns you may have. You want to feel good at the gym, so you’re going to want to be at peace with the environment you’re in.
  4. Cost. Gym memberships can be pricy. So, before going to visit one, check out the gym’s website and look at the member packages to make sure joining will work well for you and that the timing feels right!
And with these 4 thoughts in mind, visit as many gyms as your heart desires! You’ll know the right one when you see it!

Getting Back On Track

 

 

So, you took one day off. And then another. And now it’s been a week, and your gym shoes are sitting in neglect by your door and your Crush workout guide hasn’t been opened since last Friday.

And you think: why bother? I’ve already gone off track this long, all that hard work has amounted to nothing.

Right? Wrong.

The thing is, we’re only human. Sure, we might like the idea of working out 6 days a week, of churning out Soul Cycle classes like it’s no big deal, of leaving the gym drenched in sweat after every workout. But, at the end of the day, that’s unrealistic.

Life gets in the way. Friends have birthday dinners after work. We are in desperate need of that extra hour of sleep in the morning. Our day didn’t go as planned. These things happen, workouts get missed, and life moves on.

But it’s keeping ourselves from letting these “setbacks” prevent our future workouts that’s key. So, here are my tips for getting back on track:

  1. Don’t go in thinking it’s all or nothing: if you adapt the idea that you have to go to the gym 6 days a week or it’s not “worth it”, or that taking a few days off means all your hard work is rendered meaningless, you won’t be progressing forward, mentally or physically. Life is flexible and working out should be to.
  2. Enter each week with a goal in mind: whether that’s walking to work or school instead of driving, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or making it to the gym 3 days in a given week, setting goals can help us jump back on track. Write them out, tap them into your cell phone, lock them into your head. It’s the little things like crossing items off your list that make all the difference in the end.
  3. Start back with your favorite workout: pick out your favorite class, try out Zumba with a friend, workout your favorite muscle group. Sometimes our general nerves and anticipation about getting back into things can deter us from action. But, beginning with something you actually love doing will make things all the more fun.
  4. Put on your favorite gear: never underestimate what putting on your Nike gym shoes and your favorite Crush t-shirt will do for your confidence. It’s amazing what simply changing into workout clothes can do for our motivation.
So try out these tips! Get your mindset in the right position, start with a goal, get your gear on, and head over to the gym. Because sometimes it’s walking through the door, like ripping off a band-aid, that’s the true game changer in the end!