Reading Challenge - 100 Books Organized

So, I always get a lot of questions with this challenge. One of those is: HOW? The next of course is: WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND? 

I'd like to go ahead and put it out there that everyone is so different. The books that I enjoy, I'd almost bet that most people might NOT enjoy. I have a total of 14 fiction books of the entire 100 so as you can see, I lend myself towards nonfiction. There were also 7 thrillers (so 20 total fiction). 

I always read in circles, and what I mean by that is that I always keep a good fictional book on reserve for when my brain is like 'okay I need a break' and usually one down and I'm ready for learning some stuff again. I have broken down the non fiction on this list into different categories to hopefully help place things. It's REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to give recommendations because it's 100 books, and if I'm going to pick 'top 10' then it almost needs to be like the top ones in the nonfictional categories and then the top of the fiction because otherwise it's just not fair. haha! 

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How do I read so much? Well, it's what I do all the time. I don't reserve reading for down time or leisure. Reading happens on my busiest days. Kindle is on my phone and when I'm in line anywhere I pull it out. When I'm in my car, I actually never listen to the radio anymore, I only listen to educational podcasts. As some know, I read on the treadmill during speed workouts and slow workouts. I really do recommendation giving your eyes a CHANCE. Every single person says "OMG NO WAY!" but how about giving yourself a hot minute to TRY! Let your eyes adjust to the bounce and I promise you, it's not hard. Put your kindle on large print if needed. It's weird at first, but it makes the miles fly by and you're reading. Every day when I get home from work before I make dinner, I read for another hour. I also read before bed. I don't have kids, so I understand not everyone has those luxuries, but just sharing what I do. On the weekends, I read like 3 hours at a time. Most people don't WANT to do that. haha! But I just enjoy it .. alot. I feel like I'm traveling all over the world while I read. It's a blast. haha! I don't really have friends that I hang with on a regular basis..like at all. It really is okay. DO NOT PITY ME. I PREFER THIS. Society is set up where we are like 'aw poor katie' and I'm like 'NO. BUMP.THAT.' I love my friends but I enjoy my reading. IT'S OKKKKKAYYYYY.

Lastly, if I don't like a book, I drop it .. IMMEDIATELY. Aint nobody got time for reading pages that aren't worth it. There are approximately 129,864,880 books in circulation right now accordingly to Google and way too many that I want to read so if I don't like it a lot, I'm not reading it. I'm also really selective because of my habit, I know that I only have so much time in my entire life to read, so I want to read books I enjoy. I've done blogs on how I don't spend tons of money to do this..like at all. My local library is my best friend! I know the lady who orders the books so if I want one, I just ask. Meet that lady at your local lib ;) 

Okay, here goes the categories. I'm going to bold the ones within them that I think are the best. Ugh, this is tough. I'm not giving any explanations of what they are about or reviews and JUST the names this time. This is ONLY inclusive of the 100. I have read 168 since last July and some of those would be in my top 10 period, so I hate that. I'll add those another time haha!

 

FICTION

  • Lilac Girls 
  • The Light We Lost 
  • The Book of Essie
  • Rainbirds
  • The Girl who Smiled Beads
  • The Nightingale
  • The Rules Do Not Apply
  • An American Marriage 
  • Little Fires Everywhere
  • The Great Alone
  • Sing Unburied Sing
  • Reconstructing Amelia 
  • Goldfinch
  • The Alice Network

PHILOSOPHY

  • On the Shortness of Life
  • The Alchemist

BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR

  • Harry - Love, Life, and Loss
  • Love Ellen
  • A Lap Around Alaska
  • Walden on Wheels
  • Brave
  • Beautiful Boy
  • Reluctant Hero
  • Why Not Me
  • Dear Ijeawele
  • Girl Boss
  • I know why the caged Bird Sings

POETRY

  • Love Her Wild
  • Sun and her flowers

NONFICTION

RUNNING-

  • What I talk about when I talk about running
  • Once a Runner
  • Why we run

RELIGION-

  • Neuroscience, Psychology, and Religion
  • An Appeal to The world 
  • Science in the Soul
  • Grace without God

ANTI DIET ACTIVISM-

  • Letting Go of Leo
  • Health at every size
  • Things no one tells fat girls
  • Body Kindness

SOCIAL SCIENCE/BEHAVIOR

(this is my favorite topic!!-as you'll see by so many bolded ha) 

  • Tipping Point
  • Sway
  • Drive
  • Peak
  • Blindspot
  • Mindshift
  • Headstrong
  • Braving the Wilderness
  • Option B
  • Lean In
  • Quiet
  • Blink
  • What Makes Your Brain Happy
  • Other Side of Normal
  • Sleep Revolution
  • The Brain Has a Mind of It's Own 

THRILLER

 

  • The Woman in the Window

  • What She Knew 

  • The Husbands Secret

  • Room

  • Still Missing

  • Left Neglected

  • All the Missing Girls

 

SPIRITUAL

  • The Unbound Soul
  • Wherever You go there you are
  • Be Low Now
  • The Lost Art of Compassion
  • The Universe Has Your Back
  • The Power of Now
  • Uninvited
  • Troublemaker
  • Year of Yes
  • Talking as fast as I can 
  • I am Malala
  • Wonderlust
  • A River in Darkness
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains 
  • Bringing Adam Home 
 
 

POLITICS - 

  • Renegade
  • Unbelieveable
  • What Happened

HABITS-

  • Habit Blueprint
  • Manage Your Day to Day
  • Better Than Before
  • Happiness Project
  • (Power of Habit-was before this challenge but MUST read before others)

SCIENCE -

(some of these kinda incorrectly in this bucket and didn't know where to put them)

  • Laws of Medicine

  • Sex at Dawn
  • Homo Deus
  • Nutrient Power
  • The Tell-Tale Brain
  • NASM-CPT book 
  • The Sixth Extinction

YOUNG ADULT (love)

  • Matilda
  • Paper Towns
  • Turtles All the Way Down
  • Wrinkle in Time

MISCELLANEOUS 

  • Convicting Avery 
  • Committed
  • Blockchain Revolution
  • Ground Rules (Warren Buffet)

I really hope that this helps you to find some books of your own to enjoy! I will try to do some reviews of each ones and I'm sure the ones that are meaningful to me, I'll keep bringing up. I think I'll also organize the other 68 plus the extra ones that I read the remainder of this year in a similar post because like I said, there are some gems there such as : Grit, Power of Habit, Untethered Soul, The China Study, The Subtle Art of Not giving a F*, The New Jim Crow, The Gene, When Breath Becomes Air, The Glass Castle, Being Mortal, and The Surrender Experiment (READ ALL OF THOSE haha)! 

HAPPY READING YALL!! YOU CAN DO IT. JUST LIKE ANYTHING, YOU MAKE THE TIME!! As I read about in 'On the Shortness of Life', we just all wander around in idle busyness just to be able to say we are 'doing the things'. There's so many things that we volunteer for that we don't have passion for or we commit to when it's not our place and then we wonder why we are all so frazzled. OWN YOUR TIME. OWN YOUR LIFE. <3

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Self determination theory

While the title is a little out there, I want this blog post to be about motivation and how to achieve the goals that you set for yourself. 

The self determination theory is more based around the social aspect of motivation and how that plays such a larger role than we realize. In society at large, we all put ourselves into our perspective boxes and have labels associated with that therefore if you are trying to make a change for your life, you are having to put on a new identity and if that is not something that is easily put into your life, then it's going to be hard to implement those different goals.

For the most part, in every area that I've worked in, the issue is not with the actual nature of the client. It's not about whether a person wants a change or not. They can even recognize that there are hard things that have to be done within that to make that change, however they seem to feel like they are always coming up short and not able to truly implement these changes into their lives.

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I have realized how irresponsible and pointless it is to just "motivate and encourage" someone. It's important to really get to the root of what is going on. There is ALWAYS something going on. What are the triggers in the way of someone making that behavior change? What is the emotions that lead to the self destruction? And why do the things that we think will work to help keep us motivated NOT WORKING?! We lead into self guilt and self shame, and this is SO FLAWED. When has that ever served us? It never does and it never will, and it truly is not always your fault.

There are absolutely the people who are just making excuses, but 99% of the time, I have found that each individual person WANTS to change. The single biggest things for change are:

1. Understanding how habit change works

2. Recognizing your triggers

3. Replacing those triggers with something else

4. Being REALISTIC

5. Making something part of your identity and your social structure

I think that when I say the word "trigger", we automatically put that towards something like health and fitness and most frequently with binge eating, but that's not what I'm referring to at all. I actually would love for this blog to shift away from things being so heavily focused on diet culture. I simply want to help people live better lives in all areas, and there are many things that we do that are self destructive that are introduced through triggers. Triggers are essentially habits, and the habit loop starts with that particular item.

The fifth item that I mentioned can also be used to lead someone to damaging behaviors. I DO NOT mean "lifestyle change" as if your lifestyle needs to suddenly be restriction. That is not a lifestyle change that anyone should have, but if you are someone that truly feels like they are doing something destructive, then it has to become something you say "I am not that person" VS "I'm going to try to restrain myself from that particular activity or thing".

For example, in order for me to become more mindful and live more consciously, which is a goal of mine to be more present vs judging myself on the past, then I have to say "I am someone who is positive and looking at the current moment and the joy in this moment. That is who I am. I am no longer going to obsessively ruminate." I truly am an obsessive ruminator (aka I am too hard on myself-most specifically the things that I say, the things that I do, and the way that I treat people).

I do want to lead this back into wellness changes because the patients that I specifically see are those that are diabetic that struggle with this the most. Shelby is a culture of the land of plenty for palatable foods with no convenience of healthy options anywhere really. The culture is steeped in diet culture specifically in the rejection of diet culture without even realizing it. From a very young age, it is not within culture to eat well therefore any attempt at "getting healthy" is a temporary quick fix as fast as possible VS deconstruction and working towards making a more balanced approach a sustainable part of the self. 

All of this is based on psychosocial things, but then we have to look at the way that these highly palatable foods affect us cognitively and through certain neurotransmitter pathways as well as the way that our microbiome is formed from childhood. Eating is considered the most complex human function, and even harder to study in clinical trials because everyone is so different. 

Virta Health is a company that exploded due to their "ability to reverse diabetes" and they are based on the keto approach. Keto works, and not just because it's low carb, but many other processes that work towards insulin sensitivity. The data is compelling, but the study shown is a 10 week study. That's all well and good, but is this something that these patients are going to do for the rest of their life and if not, then what have we accomplished? That's absolutely not reversal of diabetes. And it's not about making people change their "lifestyle" to the keto diet. That's just insane to ever expect someone to do so. 

So, how do we mesh all this? I don't know. But it's more complex and complicated than we can really piece together right now so I truthfully believe the one approach we should stay away from is "this way or the highway." 

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Abelism, Intersectionality and Fitness

This is something that I've thought on for a good bit as I ponder about the intersectionality and the exclusivity of fitness. Are we being inclusive of those around us that would love to be able to participate in fitness but aren't able to do so? When I first began in the fitness and health space, it was all about extremes and tbh, I still venture into that space. I think how ridiculous that is now just thinking of those that may find it hard to run one mile PERIOD. Marathon runners might post an instagram story of "only 3 miles today" and I just think "NO BE PROUD OF THAT!" We are ALL at different points and I want to celebrate everyone. 

As I stepped away this year and started seeing others who were doing the things that I was doing before, I just started thinking about how I wasn't really able to do those things (albeit because of some seemingly choices of my own doing), but what about those that weren't choosing to have to sit on the sidelines? What about someone who had their entire identity in a sport and then got injured? What about someone who has MS? Or someone who was born with a congenital birth defect and paralyzed from the waist down and doesn't even know what running feels like? 

Do we think about the fact that black women must feel so out of place when they show up to marathons to the sea of white runners? I cannot even fathom what it would feel like as I sync into the start line with everyone that looks exactly like me. 

If someone is not able to physically run, and they would like to take care of their physical health, how can we help them to do so? But while we are helping them to be able to feel like they can participate, how do we make it so that they ACTUALLY feel normal because no one wants to be someone's little 'project'. They simply want a safe space to be able to take care of their body just the same as you or me and for someone to not call them "brave" by doing so. 

When we speak self love and companies reach towards campaigns that are inclusive of everyone, I do think about those in wheel chairs and how it must be so hard to maintain a healthy life (if they so desire to do so). 

My heart breaks for the girls with eating disorders who are rampant in the fitness space while at the same time not allowed there. They most likely WANT to be able to run marathons but yet can't seem to figure out how to fuel their bodies appropriately to be able to do so and when they go through recovery are basically told to be very careful to ever be into hardcore fitness. 

I think that it's important that we think about the ways in which we are privileged to perform different fitness regimens and activities and how those around us might not be able to. I think it's also VITALLY important that we don't afix a moral value to health and fitness and that it is PERFECTLY okay if someone is not interested PERIOD. End of story. There is no slap on the wrist for this.

These are simply thoughts that I ponder and I've never actually met someone who was in a wheelchair that had an interest in fitness, and I have to wonder, is that because of shame or because of actual general interest or simply just a sheltered life? 

I also think about bodies that might be larger but are in the pear shape and how that's more culturally appealing than someone who might be larger with a pear shape or spongebob shape. We see many pages that are body positive but MOST of the time, they still fit the beauty standards and the beauty ideals with an hour glass shape, big booties, and curves. 

I'm learning SO SO much about the areas of oppression and the areas of privilege in our society and watching very carefully and trying to be mindful. I have always been thin, so I have never experienced the things that my clients tell me they have experienced that I work with in Shelby. It makes me sad.

If the word intersectionality means nothing to you, it's just basically the crossing between gender, race, culture, and anything that you identify as and how all of those play on one another for the person that you have become based on the experiences that you have had and the way that you've been treated. For example, a black African American female who is lesbian is going to have an entirely different outlook on health and wellness than I will as a white Caucasian heterosexual female. 

I want everyone to know that they are welcome here on this blog and hopefully I can shed some light in these spaces for anyone and everyone that they can find useful to put into practice in their lives. I truthfully like to open up my eyes if I spoke in the wrong way on this blog post. If you are someone that knows more about this space, then feel free to comment or email me at katiesfitscript@gmail.com. I'm all ears and want to learn how to be more inclusive. Thank you for reading my stream of consciousness today! <3

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Birth Control / Hormones / Amenorrhea

Many of the posts that I want to do, I want to keep simple and to the point. I don't want you to feel overwhelmed with information, but rather have practical take home tips for topics that hopefully are relevant to your life. Here are some common themes that come up in female athletes: 

  • Primary Amenorrhea - not having your period by the age of puberty because of a possible issue whether that's anatomical or medical in nature
  • Secondary amenorrhea - due to some stressor your hypothalamus recognizes this and regulates these hormones and in order to conserve energy, you stop menstrating.
  • Secondary is most commonly seen in athletes where their body fat percentage is too low, or they are exercising too much (female athlete triad). You might be someone without a period, but you feel your body fat is high enough. This could mean that you simply have stressors in other areas.
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Amenorrhea is a state of stress essentially on your body so that it conserves energy in that particular area. Make sure that you are taking care of all of those areas.

Make sure that you are getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you say that you need less than that personally, then you need to read the book Sleep Revolution. It is your evolutionary design that you do in fact need that many hours.

If you have a high stress job, maybe start meditating, or maybe quit your job (lol-idk maybe not). If you have a high stress life, make sure that you are going on walks and taking time for yourself.

Also work on your exercise and eating habits. Don't just start binge eating. That's also stressful on your body and raises your cortisol level. Make sure that you are eating quality fats (unsaturated- walnuts, avocados, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, almonds, whole fat yogurt), and that your calories are sufficient for you. If you are maintaining weight, then maybe slowly increase your calories each week in a reverse diet fashion if it's psychologically hard for you to increase calories. Typically, women that are in this situation might have a relationship with food. In order to DECREASE stress, you also have to take that into account and not just throwing caution to the wind and eating ad libitum. 

Let's recap: 

  • Sleep 7-9 hours 
  • Meditate / Practice mindfulness / Take care of mental health 
  • Eat sufficient calories increasing slowly if need be 
  • Eat good quality fats for hormonal health 
  • Slowly decrease exercise or quit exercise entirely if possible 

Potential Medical Issues

The issues that arise from not having a period are predominantly these three issues (THIS IS NOT ALL OF THEM - I AM HITTING THE HIGHLIGHTS): 

  • bone mineral density  
  • increased risk of endometrial cancer 
  • infertility 

Humans by psychological nature and the way that our brains work do not predict well into the future and don't prepare well for it. Here is a LONG paper about the 'predictive brain'. The reason that I bring this up is because all of these issues are not symptoms that you will see on the forefront. They are issues that could come up later. It's possible that as an athlete, you've had a set back of a stress fracture, but for the most part, you won't really know about osteoporosis, mutating cells on the lining of your uterus and the possibility of infertility until you are trying for children, so these may not be things that you find to be of issue. It's the same attitude that is seen in diabetic patients that could develop kidney disease. We all make decisions and evaluations about our health every day based on our predictive brain, which humans inherently SUCK AT, so try to not do that! ;) 

I wrote this article about not panicking if you don't have a period and I got a lot of heat about it. I want to revisit that topic and explain what the purpose of that blog was. WE CAN'T BE AFRAID OF EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. We have to take our health seriously, and this is a very important issue, but when you don't know the details, you think that you are going to wake up with cancer tomorrow, and that's not helping anyone. It's important that we ease OUT of stress, and not back into it. That's all I meant by that. WE WANT THOSE PERIODS LADIES! 

Hormone Testing

I personally think that this is a good idea because it can give you a good picture of where you are at. Here is a FANTASTICCCC chart on the testing for secondary that a physician would follow, but the four hormones that you want to get checked out to make sure that everything is lined up is FSH, LSH, estrogen, and progesterone. Depending on where you are in the spectrum of values within those can help you to determine how "off" things might be and where to go from there. I highly recommend going to see your OBGYN for this as she will best be able to guide you through this process. 

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If you want to read this article in full, it's great so here is that about ameorrhea analysis and treatment: https://www.aafp.org/afp/2006/0415/p1374.html

You want to understand the process of how your hormones shift throughout the month and how that affects you, your moods, your digestion, and your performance. It really does all tie together, and so I wrote this article in reference to that.

I did however want to explain what happens with FSH, LSH, estrogen, and progesterone. 

When estrogen starts to increase during your follicular phase, your body will also stop producing as much FSH and switch to LH (lutenizing hormone). When your LH starts to increase, you will have a surge and this is the 48 hour window (ish) of ovulation when it's best to try for pregnancy. You will then produce progesterone, which is helpful for pregnancy. When you do not get pregnant, the lining tissue of your uterus will shed, and then your progesterone will decrease, estrogen increasing, and this will start the process again. You can monitor your temperature and your LH throughout one month to get a picture of when you are ovulating, and also the number of days of your cycle as everyone can be different (typically 28 days).

If you have extreme period cramps or symptoms, this could mean that something is off within those hormones as well so it's important to work towards regulation of that and not just accept that your period weeks are the death of you! ;) It is also of note that even if you are not having a period, you can still have period like symptoms, but your body is still conserving energy to not produce the actual bleeding. It is important to get your anatomy and labs checked by your OBGYN to make sure that there is not a bigger issue at hand, and I recommend reading the book "No Period Now What"  which is so extensive and broken down in language that is easy to understand.

Birth Control 

The biggest take home with birth control, as most know at this point in 2018 is that it's a 'false period'. The pro of birth control if you are not having a period is that it can help with the uterine wall thickening and endometrial cancer, however I believe that it's important to work through the other parameters first and foremost and try to get one naturally.

If you just DO NOT plan on doing that, then it's important that you get on birth control. I will relate this again back to my diabetic patients. I wish like everything that dietary and lifestyle changes could be made and we work towards that, but it might be something that the person is not willing to do at that time and in that case, they might need to go on Metformin or start insulin therapy. So, as a clinician, that needs to be evaluated individually with the patient. 

LETS GET TO MENSTRATING ;)

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NASM-CPT Exam

I wanted to pop on here and tell what the exam studying and the exam itself were like! 

First off, I want to throw in some encouragement for you. No matter how smart or not smart you think you are, you are CAPABLE of passing any exam at any time. I'm not saying this exam is super duper hard. I just want to encourage you that no matter your profession, no matter how hard the test is, if you put the practice in through deliberation, you WILL pass. This podcast by Seth Godin sums up quickly how I feel on this topic in his podcast, Genius. I also recommend reading the book "Peak" by Anders Ericsson for more of the science behind this. 

So, first, is the NASM exam "hard"? Well, how much do you want to learn the material? It's really not that bad if you just learn it. They are very straight forward with what they want you to know. The beginning of the book can seem very overwhelming if you don't have a scientific background but once you get into it, you realize they don't expect you to know all of that science-y stuff for the exam, so don't panic. 

What did I purchase? 

I got it on sale during Christmas, and when I look back, I see that I actually was able to get the guided study for $530 if I'm not mistaken. I'm a little confused because I really thought I just got the self study, but I got a hard copy of the textbook, so I don't really know. I did not get anatomy flash cards though or a live workshop, so I legit think that they accidentally sent me a book. LOL! If you can get the hardcover version of the book then I highly recommend it, because I really like that and there's also research to show that we don't learn as well if just looking at it online. Maybe you could do the self guided study and then purchase the book elsewhere (you can add it for $50 but dang - that's a lot-sorry I'm not help lol). HERE's that link. I also see that they are always having sales and some are even cheaper than what I paid.

What else will you need? 

You want to make sure to know that you will have to get CPR/AED certified. I luckily had this from pharmacy stuff, so I didn't have to get that. I took my passport to the test because you have to have some other form of ID, so just make sure you have one of those. The day of the test, they won't allow you to bring your materials into the exam. Get there early because I had to wait 45 minutes just to get through the line of people signing you in. Those that got there early were able to start before the 10am slot. 

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How did I study? 

I read the book in it's entirety twice. I knew I planned to take the entire 6 months and do things very slow. I read 20 pages per day the first time I read it through back in Jan and it's a 600 page book, so it took me only one month. I didn't take notes then. I just read it. 

After that, I went through all of the online materials little by little each day whenever I got like 15 minutes - I'd just watch one video and slowly worked my way through. After that, I read the book again but this time, I had a little more understanding of what was going on. The second time that I went through the book, I wrote down notes that I felt were both in the book and the videos. 

When I completed each module, I would take the practice quiz with the online materials. If I missed a question, I didn't worry about that ONE question. I just wrote down that particular topic and made sure that I understood it. I created imagery in my head to UNDERSTAND. I did not memorize except for a few topics. 

After I had read through the book twice, went through all of the materials, made notes, and watched the videos-I took the online practice exam. I wanted a raw but real vision of how I would do. I got like an 85% but I knew there were TONS of areas I needed to address. Things started to come full circle of exactly what they WANTED me to know, so I knew what to focus on. 

The things that I memorized: 

I am not a fan of memorization as I have studied a lot about the process of learning throughout the past year, and I memorized a lot in pharmacy school and felt that I didn't do well and didn't learn well. It was all about deliberately working to understand the material. However, I think that memorizing many of the charts can be really helpful. However, while I memorized them, I also though through why they were what they were. 

But I did memorize the Assessment Charts for overhead squat, single leg squat, and gait assessments. For example, if you are doing an overhead squat and your knee goes inward, this is an indication that you might have imbalances in certain areas. I would walk through those imbalances saying "Oh well that makes sense that the adductor would be overactive in this situation", but then each day as the test got closer, I'd go memorization practices for 5-10 minutes each morning. 

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What was the exam like? 

It's 120 questions, and the material was what I expected. To be honest, the only questions that I had on any of the questions were questions that I just thought were terrible questions and could have multiple answers or the answer wasn't there at all. This is not because of not studying the material. This is just my opinions on that material. haha! It took me 45 minutes to complete in full. It was held at a PSI center and I had to wait 45 minutes until they let me back. WHOMP. But they had computer issues and two people out, so that's probably rare to happen on the norm. 

It's a lot of material and I don't want to make it out like it's not. I really enjoy learning and I am very type A on studying material, soooo it's always hard for me to assess just how hard something is because I'm not going to stop studying until it's my second language. But you can do that same thing as well! :) 

What's my plan moving forward? 

I am going to start training locally at the YMCA and also hopefully at the Rock which is a local gym here that has 24 assess. I also am going to do online coaching for whoever wants to hire me (cough cough). I already have such a system going with my other clients that I'll utilize the same systems to a degree that I use with my run coaching and nutrition coaching. I will be doing both run coaching solo, personal training solo, and the combined if someone wants to do hybrid athlete training. 

I also would like to continue my efforts of deliberate study of exercise science and nutrition. I felt this was a good place to start, but I have subscribed to the American Journal of Sports Medicine to watch as new information comes out on the proper way of training. 

Model used by NASM: 

For this test, they will teach you about the OPT model that was developed out of UNC Chapel Hill actually. It focused on stabilization & neuromuscular efficiency moving into hypertrophy into maximal strength and then finally into power. It's a step wise process utilizing warm ups, stretching, flexibility continuums, speed, quickness, agility training and then resistance training followed by the cool down and the reason that you want to do it this way. 

While NASM is very reputable, I want to make sure that as the new science comes out, I'm up to date on the appropriate way to train clients.

I honestly studied really well for this test and not in a bragging way but just that I took it slowwww and steady and did a little bit each day or week throughout the six months making it to where I was never overwhelmed at any time :) 

Hope this is helpful! Let me know if you have any questions and I'm more than happy to help you! 

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Non fiction Book Reviews

I've read some great ones lately, and I wanted to share! Let's get right to the goods! 

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Mindshift

This is a book about "second skilling" and lifelong learning. It was written by the creator of MOOC (massive open online course), and talks about how important it is for us to continually be learning not just for job security but just for overall health and happiness. Learning is such an exploration and adventure, and this book really drives it home just how valuable it is as a society. Here is a link to the MOOC that I've mentioned before. I'm taking a course on Blockchain Technology starting in September. We shall see how that goes. Probably will be a hot mess, but we shall see if I can second skill up in here ;) 

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Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom

Honestly, this book was life changing for me. Man, I've read some good ones lately, and also I've read some bad ones. lol. But this is about a guy who works his a** off to pay off 32,000 in debt of student loans with a $8/hour job because he couldn't get anything else even after going to college. He went back to Duke for his PhD and lived out of his car. It was so so inspiring to 1) pay off debt no matter what it takes 2) live life by YOUR happiness not what the world expects of you. I LOVED THIS BOOK. 

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The Sleep Revolution

This is a book about the importance of sleep. Shocker, I know. But I don't think that ANY of us realize how important it is. We all act like it's okay to sleep less than 7 hours night after night, and it's just NOT. Thankfully, this is an area I've always been adamant about. I'm a huge sleeper, and if you read this, I think you'll want to start being one too. Crazy stuff. Our entire health from childhood into adulthood DEPENDS on every single night getting that 8 hours. It's so important.

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Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

Oh, I just loved this one. It's all about how nothing is related to talent. It all goes back to deliberate practice. It was so inspiring because it shows me that no matter what the task at hand- if I want it, I can achieve it even at my age through deliberate practice. It's all about putting in the time and learning / training appropriately. Super inspiring to chase your dreams! 

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Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction

This is a father's story of his son's addiction to meth and the ins and outs of being the loved one of someone with this kind of disorder. It consumes every aspect of everyone's life and it's just very hard. It also talks a lot about what leads someone to end up doing drugs that might even be part of their genetics. Thinking of those who have someone in their family with addiction. It's a hard road. 

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Things No One will tell Fat Girls

This is another book in the intuitive eating / health at every size / social justice movement sector of dieting. If you have never explored this area, then I highly highly recommend this book. I read a lot of reviews online that said that this was just repetition of those things, but I just think we all need to hear it over and over and OVER again. It breaks down the pervasive diet culture that we live in, the history of beauty, the history of dieting, female / race / abelism within the dieting sector, social justice for overweight people, deconstruction of the word fat, and the patriarchy. I loveeeee books like this. It opens up my eyes always to so so much of what I myself ascribe to in my own narratives.

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Happy Reading! These were all amazing!

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Critically Evaluating Literature

I know that we all know that we can't take blogs at face value sometimes, and that they might misrepresent literature. We almost all know that we should look to medical journals and science, but what about when you get to the medical journals? How should you evaluate things at that point? 

I like to tell all of my clients this when they ask about a medication or a supplement or a new diet fad or a new technology- Everything goes back to the literature for the most part. The reason that you think that this is good or bad technology or a good or bad food is due to whatever some study said at some point. Have you been able to find that study first? If you haven't, that's fine, but is it possible that wherever this is coming from even if it's widely accepted by society is something that was funded by the very people who are trying to make money off of it. 

For example, the idea of "chemical imbalance" came from a marketing campaign done by Paxil. That doesn't mean that there aren't neurotransmitter shifts that occur and that Paxil might be one that will help you with that, but now that term is used by EVERYONE to state that mental illness is a real disease (which it is), and it was started by a marketing campaign. How bizarre right? I think so. 

The other thing that I always say is that if you are implementing this into your life, what is the reason for it? What areas do you think that it will help you? If it's the ketogenic diet or the plant based diet, how specifically will those diets help you? When you think about these specific diets, are you thinking about nutrition as a whole? Have you tried something similar in the past and failed? Is this too extreme for your life? What percentage points is this going to help you in a) living longer b) whatever goal that you have for yourself? If in theory, that percentage point of using the supplement that costs $60/month is only going to change something by 2%, then is it really worth the cost? 

If you are saying that diet coke is worse than regular coke, isn't that like comparing apples to oranges? Are you saying that aspartame is worse for you than sugar? And at what endpoint? Are we talking death? Cancer? Obesity? See what I mean? 

There's so many things to consider, and so when you are thinking of making some big diet haul, it's important to take a step back and say "Is this really going to make a difference? Is this something that I can realistically do? Is this data just a marketing campaign and what experts are recommending this? What are their credentials?" 

Here is an image of the different types of studies that are done in clinical trials, and I think it's really well done and it actually is referencing sports supplements so it's perfect for this article. I got this from: 

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The bottom is basically this blog post (ha). The second to the top is "Controlled trials" and the most reputable within that within looking at a trial is a randomized controlled trial. So for example, here is a RCT (randomized controlled trial) on the consumption of yogurt and liver disease: https://academic.oup.com/jn/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/jn/nxy088/5040615?redirectedFrom=fulltext

The point of these trials is that they remove bias as best as possible and when it's "double blind", that means that both sides were blinded to what the studies objective was. 

At the very tip top of that graph, you'll see meta analysis. This is where they take a group of alllll the trials that have been done on a topic and can give a more collective consensus on what is actually happening or what we can definitely say that the literature states. 

Here is a great example! Apparently walnuts are very favorable on your lipid values! This study looked at 27 different studies together. That's a meta analysis.

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ajcn/nqy091/5042152?redirectedFrom=fulltext

At the very bottom, you'll see it says "anecdote". Refeeds are more of an anecdotal science as of right now. There are a few studies showing the increase in leptin after a period of calorie deficit which we can deduce means that leptin is increased with a calculated increase in carbohydrate intake, however there are not studies to prove this. Therefore, the science is weak on that, but this study basically is anecdotal evidence from bodybuilders of 10 +/- 3 years in the industry so they have observed that it works well. I have seen in my coaching that it works really well, and I've noticed in myself that it works. So, just because there is not science there (reverse dieting) does not mean that it can't be beneficial both psychologically and physically and metabolically if you observe that to be true in your life :) 

The field of science is very nuanced and full of shotty data driven by money and greed and everyone wanting their paper to be the one that's published to get ahead in the rat race of life, so I just wanted to hopefully shed some light on how to look at them! :) 

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Public Health and Food Relationships

So I could teach anyone to go on a diet and every detail about that particular style of eating. Keto? Plant based? Weight Watchers? Zone? Diabetes management? Cholesterol lowering? I gotchu. I could teach you the ins and outs of all the sold shake products and dietary supplementations and appetite suppressants.

As a public health sector, especially in the US, we are missing out on a really important piece of the puzzle - the psychological. We are forgetting about culture. We are not teaching about how the hypothalamus regulates our set point weights as much as our genetics determine our heights. We replace all of these pieces of the puzzle with shame. We project the things that we cannot control as something that we feel that we can and wake up each day vowing to do better.

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In an effort to control, we self destruct cycling and then making funny memes about how we eat juice shakes for lunch and then 47 oreos and ice cream after dinner. That's called disordered eating, and unfortunately it's become culturally accepted based on a narrative that we should all take up less space than we are.

We need to sit at the table with those that we love and enjoy the social and cultural aspects of our food. We need to quit pawning off the 'lifestyle' as the acceptance of lifelong restriction. But also focus on the health of the public as a whole making sure the values align with reduction of heart disease / cancer / stroke / Alzheimers. I think that we have become obese mostly because we have become SO obsessed that we have either said SCREW IT ALL or we cycle between binging/restriction causing damaged metabolisms and continue to gain over time. Our RELATIONSHIPS with food is what we need to work on starting from the top down. Everyone knows kale is better than a burger. We have to start somewhere else which can lead to balance.

But I could speak this truth until I'm blue in the face and unfortunately, even for those it directly pertains to, will continue to follow this narrative in their own lives thinking that THEY are different. THEY can fight it. THEY can diet. THIS MONDAY WILL BE DIFFERENT. But it won't be.

Here's to learning the knowledge of what we feel will work best for us while also taking into account the psychological and the mental aspects of dieting and wellness. Knowledge is power so that you are not pandered to by the masses trying to shell out and sale you the latest product but rather recognizing the balancing act between it all. 

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My Promise with KatieRingley.co

I wanted to write a mission statement in full on what my thoughts were surrounding the new change. I didn't want to water it down by putting it into another blog post, but rather making it a blog post in and of itself. 

I think that when we come to the internet or the world of business, we come at it with a heart of pursuing passion but the driving force ends up being status and monetary gain. We stop looking to what matters which is the people that we are serving, including ourselves and instead we look towards what we can do to get ahead. We think that the internet is saturated and instead of relaxing in that, we think that we need to create something that looks like the herd, and fall in line hoping that our material is seen. We launch Kickstarter campaigns hoping that ours will be the one to go viral. We churn out content like it's going out of style thinking that the more the better. We cheapen what we do because it needs to be quick and concise and fast to go along with the level of technology that the world is running. We don't read long books like War and Peace because we can get all of that info in one blog post so why waste the time? 

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We all have a baseline amount of anxiety because instead of human contact, we have fake human connection of the masses, and many of those are not those that align with us. We start to create false (or even validated through trolls) narratives about the people that we are. We sit in that day after day. We might try to fight it, but eventually, it gets to us because we are human. We want popularity and status, and all of that comes down to connectivity. Connectivity then ties into capitalism and you have instagram. Images after images after images every single day of everyone just continuing to churn the wheel of content. GOTTA BEAT THAT ALGORIGTHM? HOW DO WE OPTIMIZE? What strategies do we have in place to make sure that our launching of our e-book is the biggest yet? 

We would not be human if we were not constantly reaching for more. In hunter gatherer socities, they didn't work many hours. Street lamps started something during the industrial revolution that said 'We can now see at night therefore we now work'. It wasn't until 1916 that we established the 40 hour work week and that's been blown to bits and pieces with the advent of the internet where we all have our full times and then our side hustles. 1916 was only 102 years ago. In the span of history, that is a blip in time, and yet it's what we accept as what we MUST do. That's just culture. All of this is just culture. Our culture is evolving and we are falling in line. We become almost cult like, robotic. 

I refuse to fall in line. My promise to you in this blog is that I will show up consistently. I'm not sure how often that means and I'm not sure what content that means, but that I will show up with no agenda but just show up. I don't want to be a perfectionist either. I just want to provide you with what I'm learning. I just think that we have all become this culture of thinking we gotta move fast fast fast to get out on top, and it has overwhelmed me so I want to just be here for you. And also for me. If at any time, there is a topic that you would like for me to research the literature, I'll be more than happy to do that. I've got a running list of topics that others have brought up to me, and I'll slowly work through those. If one person reads this, then I'm happy with that.

I also want to promise that I will try my best to work on my blindspots and my biases recognizing that even some of those are not something that I can fight and I might mess up sometimes, but I will always self evaluate. I do not mean this in a derogatory manner because I'm the most confident version I've ever been of myself while still working on the social construct that have formed neural plasticity in my brain that I need to take up less space, and I will continue to break down those walls as I grow. 

I think that there is space at the table for all literature to be evaluated. If there is something that claims it to be ONE way then typically, that is not the way. There is no ONE way for just about anything. I want to teach others how to evaluate the blogs and all of the information that is spewed at us ESPECIALLY in the fitness industry with a critical eye to know where you stand on how you feel. The scientific method has flaws, and while there are some definite, there is also MUCH to be discovered. The world of science is honestly exploding quicker than any of us can imagine, and it's very very exciting, but also important that we all play devils advocate with ourselves when making life changes based on what we are reading. 

To end, I'll copy and paste what I have in my bio on the front page. It might be a little repetitive to the above, but just so it's here: 

full time ambulatory care pharmacist, wife, dog mom and overthinker who overshares

i like to be genuine, provide some useful content with unedited bad grammar that i type stream of consciousness, with things I find funny. i'm an avid runner and reader. i like to read science and present it in a way that's digestible. i am in no business to sell to you or spam you. i just like sharing. i try to be better, do better, and read more every single day. my hope is that if you want to work with me then you'll have such a great experience, you'll share with your friends. if you don't, then i will do better work.

i used to do this ole thing for a living, and i had to take a break. i'm back with no agenda, a recognition of my prior addiction to social constructs and a work in progress of mental health. my mom always said my life should be a book so maybe this is it. i hope i can come here with room for evolving and a space for honesty.

we all have some credentials right? heres mine:

Doctor of Pharmacy, RRCA Running Coach, NASM-CPT, NAFC Nutrition Coach

interests: chronic disease state management, prevention of disease, mental health and illness, bioindividuality, genetics, neuroscience (molecular & behavioral), sociology, anthropology, philosophy

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Life Update

Hiiii friends! Boy oh boy, life has been whirling, and I have tons to share. I'm hopeful that it will be short, concise, and to the point that you'll enjoy it! :) 

First off, as you might notice, there is a new look to the blog. This is what most would call a rebranding, but I don't want to have some big grand opening or announcement, or anything of that nature. I just simply wanted to be true to myself. I have a mission statement that I wrote to myself about this, and I will share that below, but for now I want to tell about some other things. 

If you're new here, look around. I've been on the internet for about 7 years now, and so there's a lot to catch up on. I'm 29 now. I was about 22 when I started all this, so I've changed aaaaaalot. Does this happen to anyone else in their 20's or am I just crazy? lol.

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so, here is what's been going down in my life: 

  • Tanner got a new position with his same company to open up oncology services in Gastonia (30 minutes from our house) - we thought 'oh well let's move there'-fun new place that's a little bigger city 
  • I saw a friend post that she was looking for a house and I was like 'oh come look at mine' 
  • She came. She saw. They conquered. haha! (aka they wanted to buy our house) 
  • We found a house in an adorableeee neighborhood in Gastonia in an area that's exploding so while it was a little more than we wanted to spend, we were okay with that knowing it was a great investment 
  • THAT ALL FELL APART
  • We found a new loft in uptown shelby 
  • That all fell apart 
  • I could share details but the one thing that I stay true to on this blog is not sharing details of OTHERS lives that they wouldn't like, so I'll just leave it at the short story ;) 

next up on the list, we have FITNESS! 

  • I'm working on some dietary measures. Over the past year and half, some demons from my past cropped up, and I've been working through that. I want to share this whole story, but this is not the blog for that. I'll always be honest though. 

  • Running is still my love and meditation. I don't have any set miles that I run or any set programming, but just doing it about 4X per week and distances that I enjoy. I have now set a gym routine of 5am and have gone every day but my rest day for the past 8 weeks so I know the habit is set. I absolutely love it. It's also made me disconnect my identity from fitness and health. Like, it had become ME which is part of this whole new blog shift. I'm an adult with a career. I have like 487 other interests that have nothing to do with silly fitness, so I go at 5am and I'm done and forget it.

  • I will start training for Savannah Marathon in 1.5 months. See two bullets above. That's my priority, so if I get weird, I will pull out, just like I did with Ironman Texas. 
  • I have officially hung up my tri/biking shoes. I do not enjoy it, and I refuse to spend another ounce of my life on some idea of who I think I'm supposed to be. Nopidity nope. Done-zo. 
  • I'll be a runner forever though <3 And I like to swim still :)
  • I lift 3-4X / week just like before - not much new there! See THIS blog post on how I do both.
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family/friends/life

I joke about this a lot but I say I have no life. I really don't do very much like I used to, and I honestly don't feel bad about it. I have free time on the weekends. I spend it with Tanner how I please and go see my nephew just because. We haven't been traveling much and everything is honestly very low key. I always have some new funny story, but as a whole, things are very calm here in shelby. For far too long, I gave myself the badge of being all that I could be. And I don't mean the badge of busyness. I meant I had to be the best and do it all. I just simply don't have that desire anymore. At all. I want this blog to be slow and methodical and purposeful. That's how I live my life now. I try to do things well vs doing it all. I like my life neat and organized. Remember that organization post? Yes, I still do that. 

The one thing about me now is that I have an INSATIABLE desire for knowledge. I take free courses online on science topics. I read all nonfiction books. I don't know. It's probably just my typical need to fixate on something, but I have learned that through deliberate practice, we ALL have the capacity for any level of knowledge that we so desire. It's not about 'knowing it all' but about the adventure that each new area takes you down helping you discover every facet of life. I just love it. 

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I really enjoy my job which I know is rare. My clients are really wonderful and I'm building their social media platform as well for the clinical trial side of the business. We recruit in the NC area typically trials related to chronic disease state management (diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc)

Here's our twitter: https://twitter.com/medmanagegroup and our website: https://www.medicationmanagementgroup.com/ 

coaching? 

This is not a plug for my coaching, but I just get asked all the time. Are you coaching again? And yes, I am. I honestly probably know more now that I have EVER known, and I'm proud of how much research that I've put into the scientific literature this year across the spectrum of running, resistance training, and nutrition across all spectrums from plant based to keto to eating disorders to health at every size and intuitive eating (run on sentence much lol). I also have a place now where you can sign in and make an account on the website so that each time clients renew each session, they will have all of that info saved for ease. I do personalized spreadsheets for every single client. Here are some really reputable websites / podcasts / resources for those looking to learn more about various topics: 

STEM-TALK: The leading experts in science and technology mostly in relation to health and fitness - these are people working at the top of NASA, directors of hospitals, etc. 

Pubmed : This is a place that you find all scientific literature. The search engine is not like google so it can be difficult to locate the topic you wish but it's where you find the actual sources of literature. If you have never studied the scientific method and how to evaluate studies, I advise you to do that as well 

MOOC: Stands for massive open online courses - There are so many free courses on anything from coding to health care administration to language to religion. It's all about life long learning

Akimbo : This is an INCREDIBLE INCREDIBLE podcast on social science and culture. A must listen. The Liturgist: An absolutely phenomenal podcast on liberal Christianity and athleism. The things they say absolutely blow my mind that seemingly solve all my life's biggest questions. haha. 

Ben Greenfield: He is like king of content on everything to do with the sciences of health and fitness. He was an endurance athlete so he talks a good bit about information in that realm. Sometimes his amount of content overwhelms me because I can't keep up, but it's great info that's easy to understand. 

Food Psych : I really can't recommend this podcast enough if you have any form of relationship with food. Everyone needs to know about this movement. I have thoughts in many different directions about this area of research, but I highly highly recommend this podcast. It might just change your life.

I'll stop there for now. I have a good bit more. I'm not into the trendy 'fitspo science' people anymore. It's all just too cliche for me, and I don't say that with an ego, but just that I do think that there are certain people within that sector that are doing a great job, but I like the places where their instagram photos are just words and info. I had to break up with my daily cup of joe of comparison every day. It wasn't good for my pscyhe. 

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I hope you'll enjoy the new me. I think that's why I don't blog anymore, because I told someone the other day that I just genuinely didn't think people would be too fond of it. All I really talk about with my husband is new research and ideas. He absolutely loves the new me, but I just don't know how everyone else will feel. haha. But here's to this not being about anything other than honoring myself, and hopefully sharing some helpful tips with you guys in the meantime. 

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Are diet breaks best for overall health?

So, you fell off the wagon? This is some term and phrasing that we use now to distinguish between dieting and non-dieting phases. I could get into my opinion on that but today I’d like to focus more on the aspects of eating not on a “plan” and how that can be beneficial for you.

I’m not sure if you are aware, but if you’re not, let me letcha know that dieting long term is not good for you, in any way, psychologically, physically, or mentally. Our bodies are not designed to be in a state of constant deprivation and this can lead to things such as whacky lab results and thyroid issues. Worst of all, because we all like a high functioning metabolism is that it can keep you at a lower basal metabolic rate. You will burn less NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) and you will feel run down in the process.

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So, should you take diet breaks? YES YES YES. I think that when I reference this I’m also discussing someone who might have been on a weight loss journey for a really long time, and not someone that eats a large amount of food and maintains their weight. There’s all of these variables in the type of person that you are and I have many clients that eat amble amounts of food that this might not apply to, but seemingly they are “on a diet” but that simply just meaning, a diet in which “diet” is the foods that we eat. Am I making sense? I’m talking about someone in a calorie deficit.

I have referenced it a lot in many of my blogs, but we have a hypothalamus that regulates everything. That set point range that your body wants to fall within that ranges from 5-20lbs dependent on your relationship with food can change with a weight loss journey as well however when you reach the bottom of that set point range, you will start to crave more foods, get hungrier, and your metabolism will slow down. This is in efforts of the body to restore back to homeostasis. If you hang in there past that plateau without doing anything drastic, then your body will adjust and keep on keepin on.

When you decide to take a diet break, then you get to capitalize on the OTHER end of that set point that not many people take advantage of. When you get to the upper end of the set point in which you become baffled at just how much your body can handle if you keep it consistent then you will get hot more, your metabolism will be burning strong, and you will be bee bopping around life with a much better attitude with great hormonal function (if your weight is appropriate).

When you diet for an extended period of time, you decrease your leptin which is that little hormone (again regulated within the hypothalamus), and when you take a diet break you are restoring that hormone. This hormone is also very transient dependent on the very day that you are eating so it can be restored super quickly and you don’t have to worry about that all that much if you feel that you don’t have appropriate hunger. The problem is that with chronic dieters, the anxiety produced from taking the break is almost too much and so therefore they never do, living in a chronic state of deprivation and never fully utilizing just how many calories their body can burn.

A few years back, reverse dieting became super huge. There wasn’t much research on it, and there still is not, but basically this is just the slow reintroduction of calories for minimal weight gain over time while coming out of a dieting phase. It works, and I’ve watched it work with hundreds of people however you can also skip that phase and go straight to higher calories. Most of the time, this will cause a big amount of water retention but if you hang in there and hold calories high and let your body adjust, you might gain 5lbs (WHICH YOU WOULD HAVE DONE ON YOUR REVERSE) and if you don’t jump ship then you will eventually level out and maintain there.

Some of the reasons that people choose to reverse diet instead is:

·       It’s more exact for their OCDness

·       They are able to find that upper end of their hypothalamic set point range through slow introduction of calories instead of arbitrarily jumping to what they think might be appropriate

·       It’s not as mentally challenging with all of the water fluctuations with the reintroduction of carbs

·       They don’t trust that their weight will eventually level out. They think that they will continue to gain and gain and gain

Believe me, I’ve been there. I prefer reverse dieting, so I totally get it, but I just wanted it to be known that you don’t HAVE to and you CAN jump. Many times you will see that once you figure out your ranges, you can go into a dieting phase, and jump higher out of it the second time because you are more aware of what caloric intake your body will be able to handle post dieting.

From a mental standpoint, dieting long term starts to make you a bit crazy. I think that we can look to the trends of many of the females that were long term competitors on Instagram and see what has happened there. Many of them have rebounded into higher weights than they were to start because they just kept themselves at chronically low calories, and eventually your endocrine system is just not having it anymore. Taking a break from things mentally allows you to have a good time with food, refocus if you so choose and go back to things brand new.

Of course, there is also the camp that states that we should just accept where we are, eat within hunger/fullness cues and intuitive eating principles and this hypothalamic set point will allow us to maintain weight eating whatever we choose. I am well aware of this sector of wellness, but just want people to have the information that they can choose to utilize or not :) 

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BOOK REVIEWS

I would say I'm going to start some grand monthly book review, but I officially prioritize the reading over blogging these days, so we shall see what happens ;) I have read way too many books within these two months to add them all (no one likes 25+ books reviewed) so I'm going to pick one out of specific genres and go from there, as hopefully it will give you some good ideas. Someone tagged me in this meme the other day and it couldn't be more accurate. 

FICTION: 

THE GREAT ALONE

This is the second book that I think has really gotten popular by the author Kristin Hannah. She wrote "Nightingale" as well, which both are mammoth of novels at 500ish pages I believe, but I finished this in TWO .DAYS. It was that good. It's about a dysfunctional father that has PTSD from the Vietnam war, and he moves his family to the outskirts of Alaska, and the life that they create in "The Great Alone". The daughter is who the story is based around and how she creates a life in Alaska like she never expected. She finds love and family and happiness, but also has to deal with a lot of trauma. With the mix of family trauma, addictions, mental illness, and the "Siberian" nature of the Alaskan wilderness, I just couldn't get enough. It was phenomenal. 10 out of 10 and I told Tanner it might be the best fictional book I've ever read. Update: I just finished Nightingale, and it was just as good. KH is a dang good author. 

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PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: 

THE POWER OF HABIT

In just about everything these days, if I can educate myself on the way that it works then I have much more success. The first area of research that I dove into was habit research. The power of habit is fantastic for explaining why we get really on tract doing certain things and how to break those bad ones and add in good ones. It was pretty life changing for me breaking some nasty habits I had created. This also led me into Gretchen Rubin's work (who wrote The Happiness Project) and I read her book "Better than Before" about habits and then "The Habit Blueprint" which is super short and a quick synopsis of some REALLY useful info. Check all three out if you have bad habits you want to break or add in some good ones! 

LETTING GO OF LEO 

Letting go of Leo is written by a Health at every Size dietician that I found on instagram, and she is SUCH a joy. Her book is one of the best that I've read this year (65 thus far) and I related to basically everything that she said. She's hilarious, relatable, and I just flew through this book. It's all about breaking up with the perfection of dieting. 

NONFICTION: 

OPTION B 

Ah- this book! It's written by Sheryl Sandberg who is the COO of Facebook, and the author of Lean In about being a powerful female in the workplace. Option B is directed towards losing a loved one and working through that grief due to her sudden loss of her husband while he was at the gym in the Caribbean. Her story is quite profound because it was just so shocking and they were very much in love but also really successful, not making tons of time for one another and her viewpoint on how to live her life moving forward. 

SOCIAL SCIENCE: 

I'll go ahead and put it out there that the social sciences are an area that I've been absolutely enthralled with this year. I just don't think that I ever realized how complex human behavior really is and everything that goes into our brains, and it just blows me away. Every book is so different and I have learned so much.

THE TIPPING POINT 

Malcolm Gladwell is probably one of the most successful psychologists of our time, and he is also the author of Outliers and Blink. I recommend reading all of them, but Tipping Point is all about how something tips into popularity basically. Why do things like fidget spinners take off? Why does a book become super popular when there are better works of literature? Why does word get around about certain stuff? It's more than what you think. 

SEX AT DAWN 

Boy oh boy. Some people will hate this book, and I think that it's because it causes you to REALLY open up your mind to new ideas that are not something that is culturally, socially, or religiously acceptable, but it's absolutely intriguing and fascinating. It's about the evolution of sex and how we were made for polygamy. If you read that sentence, you think I'm blasphemous, but you have to read the book to be able to make that judgement haha. As an evolutionary biologist with a focused on sexual behavior, this author has done his homework and it's a very convincing book that's long and hard to get through but kept me invested the entire 310 pages. He also presents a case for the shape and size of the penis and testicles on who will want to stay monogamous and who will more leaning towards cheating. SO interesting!

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SPIRITUALITY: 

THE UNIVERSE HAS YOUR BACK

Gabrielle Bernstein is just such a joy. She is a spiritual junkie and I just love her spirit. She's confident and a badass, but also sweet in her own right. It's hard to explain unless you know who she is. This book is all about the energy of the universe, and I am such a believer in it. When you manifest good things in your life, the law of attraction is going to bring good things to you. When you manifest negative, uhhh, you're gonna get negative. When you let life flow through you and not keep hitting up against walls then there is just so much that life is wanting to give you. Ahhhh, what a breath of fresh air. I also just started taking Lithium Orotate which is a trace mineral that helps with mood, so maybe I'm just hype on that. hahahaha! Google it ! ;)  

THE POWER OF NOW 

It's been quite a few months since I read this, but this is also one of those books that just leaves you feeling like you just breathed a breath of fresh air. I told T that I wanted to read 1 spirituality book per month because it always just gives me new perspective on life in general. The Power of Now is all about the NOW (obviously) and how you can take charge of your life and your happiness in this moment. There is no circumstance or situation that can take your joy because you own it! :) 

RUNNING: 

THE LORE OF RUNNING 

I have started recommending this book to everyone, and it's not a book that you are going to sit down and read. It's a textbook, but it's the textbook of running, and the only one that I've found of it's kind. If you can't get into a run coaching course (they are hard to get into due to demand) or if you simply just want to learn how to coach yourself better, this is such a valuable tool based on the science. It's HUGE, and about $20 on amazon. SO worth the investment. You'll keep it forever.

Hope you enjoy these! 

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Limitless Potential

I know that this past year has been a whirlwind for me – a whirlwind of feeling like I’m not reaching my fullest potential – a year where I’ve sat back and “rested” but really it’s just been a slump of not wanting to do anything productive. It’s been a year of watching life pass me by wondering when things are going to click back into place or that I’ll stop getting to the end of the day and saying “oh great, I wasted tons of time again.” The one thing that I’ve given “energy” towards is my brain and learning new things.

Here were part of the things that gave me hardship in reaching my potential:

a) I felt like if I was going to spend time on something, it needed to be the ‘perfect’ thing, and because I couldn’t find the right things to put my energy toward, I just didn’t put any

b) I didn’t feel fully at peace with life therefore I didn’t feel like reaching limitless potential was even something I was remotely interested in

c) I got a touch pessimistic “I’m just this one girl in a small town and not many people ever know what I do, check in with me to see how I am, or care at all so what’s the point?” – this are all lie narratives in my brain but just explaining why I’ve just been completely absent.

I look back on the past few years and I look to the times when I felt the best and was thriving and those were the moments when I was reaching in all directions to reach my fullest potential. I have realized that I’m one of those “high energy” people, and for so long I listened to the narrative that unless I was really reigning myself in and “resting” then I wasn’t doing life right.

I’ve realized that there is a difference between peace and rest. I find peace to be what I seek, and peace for me is found through also living a fulfilled life. Living a full life to me means reaching consistently for my fullest potential because if not then I just feel rather purposeless. For a long long time, I actually have found that to be a problem so I’ve continually worked through this, over and over and over again coming back to the same research and the same conclusion – that it’s okay to want fulfillment and purpose and there is nothing wrong with feeling in a funk when we don’t have that because it’s in our human nature to want to feel like we have a purpose.

I put in my retainers last night (yes, I just switched to speaking about my retainers lol) and realized that I got these retainers 14 years previously. FOURTEEN YEARS. It was this realization that life flies by and if you aren’t seeking your best, then you will literally look back and fourteen years pass you by.

When I run, it’s like the emotions of my life just come through me and I’m able to work through them and let them go. It’s a state of meditation for me. When I wake in the mornings, I have started a practice of 5 minutes of meditation. It goes by so fast, but it feels so good to spend five minutes every morning just focusing on my breathing before I go get my coffee. If I’m working out in the mornings then I get that five minutes, then I also get a run and by 630am, my workout is done and I literally feel like I could take on the world.

We have to be careful how deep we let ourselves get into our thoughts. We have to be careful how much we let our traumas whether big or small keep us back from our potential because until I had experienced going through the fire, I didn’t know about the flames. We have to be able to feel our emotions and then release. It’s so easy to allow yourself to sink into those negative emotions, and I do it frequently, and I’m always learning, but there comes those moments where you say enough is enough and start reaching for the stars.

When you look to the origin of emotions and the research, it becomes clear that emotions are so much more complex than an external stimulus that we are reacting to. As the age old phrase goes, “You choose to be happy” or “You make the choice to continue to love” and with intensive meta-analysis of all of the literature surrounding which parts of the brain do what, they see now that it’s not just about reactionary emotions but networks of neurons we set in place formulating tracts that we let ourselves go down and it takes EFFORT to break those. But, let’s break em 

We truly only get one life, and I’ve experienced such loss that I see how fleeting it can be. We can either sink into our negative thoughts or we can live out our unique gifts for the world. When you step into your unique gifts, you realize that your potential is limitless and your passion is on fire and your energy is directed into those spaces instead of the anxieties that life can bring. Sometimes it might be as simple as an energy re-direct. Time to take on the world, y’all    

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Meal Timing

Okay, first I want to write out some topics that I will be covering in the next few months just because I genuinely want to keep information coming to this blog. There isn't much of a timeline, but just some topics that you can expect me to cover and if you would like to subscribe, I don't think I've sent but 2 emails in the span of 3 years of this blog so I promise not to bother you but hope to at one point be able to provide a monthly recap email of all of the most popular and relevant topics. I hope to eventually be able to get my email list tailored to where you can choose the areas in which you are interested in so that the emails that you aren't, you won't get. Technology is expanding alldayerrday. Also, as always, I am not a medical doctor. I am a pharmacist and health coach with a heavy interest in this subject matter, so do not use this information to cure or treat anything and see a professional within the scope that you need professional help that is left up to your discretion. So, here we go: 

  • How to Build Mitochondrial density for endurance? 
  • Book reviews / Pertinent Books for endurance / nutrition / running / lifting if I have read these to review 
  • The Keto Craze and how this can apply to you individually 
  • Weight Lifting and the mTor Signaling pathway 
  • What is ACTUALLY creating a lifestyle of health and wellness? 
  • Neurobiology and parts of the brain and how this correlates with dieting and exercise
  • Warm up and cool down and the importance of this and what you can do different 
  • Diet breaks to help long term sustainability and metabolic capacity 
  • Micros and performance VS aesthetics and macros 
  • What are Nootropics? 
  • Nutrition in relation to cognition and learning and memory 
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Mental Models / Confirmation Bias / Changing your framework of thoughts to shift to the person you want to be 
  • Cellular autophagy and why you care ;) 
  • How to build endurance? 
  • Meditation / Mindfullness and how this is helpful for you 
  • Minimalism / Decluttering and the science of why it changes lives
  • Overtraining (what it is - how it happens - how to avoid) 
  • How to unlock your potential for your personal threshold of performance
  • Why the evolution of diets matter for you now 
  • Lifechanging books
  • Raising children with healthy relationships with food 
  • Marriage and creating space (I have a new outlook on marriage these days haha) 
  • Science of cold baths / cryotherapy 
  • How to train your mind (fighting narcissicsm, FOPO-fear of people's opinions, race day anxiety)
  • Connections and friendships in 2018 in a world of lacking human connection
  • Sprinkled in with life updates ;) 
 Pear glazed chicken with mushrooms, spinach salad and texas toast&nbsp;

Pear glazed chicken with mushrooms, spinach salad and texas toast 

Okay, now for today's topic:

The timing of your nutrition is a question that many many people have when they start a new program. As athletes, I think that it’s important to take into consideration a few variables.

1)      How much of a difference is food timing going to make overall?

2)      Is this something that I will be able to implement every day?

3)      Would this cause any mental loopholes with making it work?

As usual, if something is not sustainable then it’s not useful. If it stresses you out to look at different amounts that you should be intaking, then by all means take it or leave it. When people ask me about supplements, I tell them to evaluate what they really want to get out of the supplement, the percentage difference they think this is going to have on their life, and then evaluate the cost of that vs what it will give you and make the decision. Many times, I find the literature to not be compelling enough for me to spend the cost on the supplements, and I know that if I keep a healthful diet, then I’ll have that benefit anyway. For example, I’m a high energy person, therefore I’ve never taken a pre-workout in my life. My husband has however because he places value in that area and feels he needs that boost.:

There is more recent literature on recommendations (from 2017) about the amount of macronutrients applied at different times is the most useful in different goals. I’m going to link up this while also giving bullet points of what it says. This literature is also based on someone who is not fat adapted. If you are someone who follows a ketogenic type diet or metabolic efficiency then this information might not be as appropriate for you.

Here is the link:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28919842

Here are the bullet points of what the article states:

If you have less than 4 hours between high volume exercise

·       “aggressive carb refeeding should be implemented” (1.2g/kg/h)

To give an example, if you weigh 120lbs, this equals 54kg (120/2.2) * 1.2 = 65g carb per hour

It states to aim towards foods with a higher glycemic index (>70), which includes foods such as potatoes, white breads, white pasta, and all highly palatable carbs for the most part. They also suggest adding caffeine and protein (0.2-0.4g/kg/h) so using the same example – 120/2.2=~54*0.3g = 16g of protein per hour. An example of a meal with 16g of protein and 65g of high glycemic index carbs is 3 egg whites scrambled with 9oz of potatoes (maybe you could make them like hashbrowns).

Moving on to the next situation.

If you are doing exercise that lasts longer than 60 minutes

·       30-60g carb per hour in 6-12oz of carb-electrolyte solution every 10-15min throughout the exercise (helps with fluid regulation and carb repletion)

To give an example, Tailwind has 200 calories in a packet which is 50g C so consuming one packet per hour mixed in a water bottle would be sufficient.

Remember that your metabolism, and your gut and your body is different than a clinical trial so while these are recommendations, you definitely want to take all of that into consideration, try various options and make decisions based off of that.

If you are doing a resistance training exercise

·       Consuming a protein/carb source DURING exercise can help with muscle gains and recovery

This is an area that I just simply won’t do. Sure, the data might be there, but I’m not about to consume a protein shake during my workout. Yuck. No thank you. I’ll accept the lack of gains. Lol.

Pre / post workout:

Your post workout meal will be determined on what you eat pre-workout. Consuming a meal of carb + protein OR just protein immediately after a workout or within the golden hour (ha) can help with “muscle protein synthesis” aka gains 

Meal timing in general

Intermittent fasting is all the rage, and does a lot more for you than fat oxidation and fat loss, however when looking at clinical trials, most of the time people find it more enjoyable and find themselves more satisfied when they are eating every 3-5 hours. When looking for general weight loss, and whether or not you should eat at certain times of the day or not at other times, for the most part, the overall consensus is that it doesn’t matter. Intermittent fasting is a topic for another day, and I do think that it’s valuable in certain situations dependent on the client.

Meal timing can be confusing, and overwhelming so most of the time when doing a general plan for a client, I just tell them to eat as they please, aim for every few hours within their hunger and fullness cues.

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Body Image

I just want to go ahead and move forward with the designation that this is going to go really deep so therefore it might not be something that you relate to.

When I think about body image, my first notion goes to the size and shape of my body. I think about the things that I believe to be true when I look at myself in the mirror or the ever-changing relationship I have with that reflection back. I heard once, “Do you realize that you’ve never actually seen your body?” And I think to myself that I most certainly have, every single morning as I mitigate the way that my day might unfold based on how I’m feeling about the shape of it that morning. But the truth is, I haven’t. I have only seen a reflection of my body in a mirror. I have not been able to look at my body through the lens of those around me, and the bodies that I see around me daily are not tied to this emotional context in which I see my own.

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Is that narcissism I ask myself? Patriarchy? Childhood trauma? Disillusion to reality? Or all one in the same? Is this consciousness that I experience of my own accord or are these experiences that I feel so heavily something of the autonomy of my genetic make up in which I try my damnest to exert control and have none?

What is it about body’s that we desire? What is aesthetically pleasing to the eye? If you look to the history of the aesthetic across history and generations, symmetry, hip to waist ratio (not actual size) and shoulder to hip ratio stay consistent. Within that, things change across the zeitgeist (the social and cultural views at any given timepoint) but if we look to the body’s that we find attractive and pleasing to our eyes, this is what we want to see. If we lived on a deserted island with no social and cultural development of what is the ideal, would this ever be something that was even discussed? I think not, therefore I think that the mere idea of body image distortion is not just some ‘mental illness’ that people like to throw around, but another narrative that was created to let women know that their body’s are the only thing that give them social value. From the beginning of time, this has been the case and we still experience this as people continually ask me when I will have children. I truly don’t get upset with this question as it’s only natural of them to ask with my stage of life, but it’s simply a framework to let me know that I must be involved in the objectification and shaping of my body because that is what gives me value in our present culture.

I think that we all know this not ACTUALLY to be true, but as homo sapiens (I only use that word because I truly mean this as biological not like just an idea), it is within our framework to want to be connected and accepted. It’s crucial to our existence and babies who don’t experience connectedness at a very young age even if reconnected quickly to adoptive parents still experience immense trauma into their later years. It is written in our DNA to want connection so therefore when we don’t fit the ideal, we begin to experience shame. The closer that we get to the ideal, we feel pressing urgency to maintain, avoid the other, and society rewards us by cheering us on and letting us know that “we look great”.

We create camps because that’s also what humans do. We say WE WILL NOT ACCEPT THIS and go into that camp or we say “it’s really okay to play along” and we go down the dieting route. I think that the dieting route is never meant to be of harm. Many times we simply just want to be healthier, or if we look deeper we want to fit the ideal, but even that makes sense. It’s okay to want to belong, but at what point do we see it as a social justice issue? At some point we have to say that we don’t accept the narrative. We separate from it. We recognize that it’s okay to love ourselves in health, but that doesn’t mean that we take up less space. We recognize that sometimes that means not even talking about health and wellness because inevitably the conversation is always turned back to aesthetics within the population at large, and then there would need to be awkward conversations of how to navigate this in a healthful way, so then the camps get even more divided (how’s that for a runon sentence?). It’s either a rejection of diet culture entirely or become part of the wellness space. You must pick, and if you say you are body positive but yet teach others how to diet, who are you even? What are you even doing and if you are someone who has EVER struggled with body image in your past, then GTFO because NO ONE WANTS YOU THEN. You’re not even allowed to make healthy decisions because then it’s disordered. We create more and more narratives, more and more story lines of who is accepted and who is not when at the end of the day, it’s all confirmation bias to what we already feel or don’t feel.

We create a space where vulnerability is not accepted unless you want to go into a particular “space” on the internet, and so those that don’t want to choose a camp become isolated and feel shame. I become nihlistic. None of it matters in the end anyway.

Maybe when I thought I had it figured out, I did not, and as I’ve grown into a more mature human, that makes all the years of work fraudulent. This is what happens to so many in the health and wellness space. It reminds me so much of Jordan Younger of The Balanced Blonde, and how she had to witness her shame smeared all over the internet in gossip because she chose to say that she was no longer vegan because this had created an orthorexic vantage point of health for her, and she needed balance. I heard her on a podcast like last week explaining that she gets emails daily about orthorexia to this day. Her shame will follow her forever, and I’m thankful that Jordan has found a really great confidence in herself that she knows she is past it and it’s okay.

We have to be able to understand what is going on from a societal, cultural, and neurobiological standpoint if we want to get to the root of what we feel and how to manage it appropriately. We have to start shifting the narrative within the way that we live our lives and the ways that we have conversations with others to let them know that it’s okay for them to take up space, but it’s also okay for them to be healthy if they so desire and can do so within a mental model that’s appropriate.

We then have to look at the intersectionality of race and gender and realize that when we think about the topic of body image, the conversation TYPICALLY comes back to white females, and how that affects those people who aren’t in that group and the even greater shame and displacement from society that a male must feel when he is struggling in these same areas when his cultural ideal is supposed to be one that is strong and independent and confident. Black women have a culture of being thicker than white women but what if you are struggling to be that, where does that leave you? What if your body is shaped more like a white woman and you have light skin? Is that a bad thing? I don’t know culture enough, but I think it’s worth mentioning because white females are typically the forerunners on this topic and I’d love to know more about how black women feel. We do need to recognize that women are targeted more frequently and how can be part of changing this? How are we portraying ourselves in the health space that continue the portrayal of women only being valued for their body. 

But every female that I know of that has continued in the wellness space post body image disorder is targeted maliciously. My point of saying this is just to point out that even in the female vulnerability, we are just simply shamed for just living out our truth and our personal stories, which causes further isolation. But that’s connectivity in 2018 and so we must discuss it, because these ideas aren’t just something that we discuss amongst ourselves but things that are now pervasive in images on young girls phones, and how are we contributing to their narrative.

We might think that we are being a loving image of truth and wellness, but what does that say to those young girls? This is always something that I struggled with because I feel as a wannabe/used to be influencer, it brings a level of responsibility to the images that you are putting up online and the messages that you preach.

If you preach body image love and yet you diet and exercise, is that true body love? Some would say yes and some would say no. Your truth is your truth. I am not here to disrupt that or challenge anyone truly, but simply just to navigate my thought processes. And when we speak of body image, is body love and body acceptance on the same spectrum because then we told that we don’t have to love our body’s but we just need to respect our body by caring for it appropriately. But what is appropriately? I have people who ADAMANTLY would say that self love means going to the gym when you don’t want to go and sometimes eating the things you don’t necessarily want to eat because that will make you feel better in the long run.  I absolutely know there are those that feel a deep social justice issue with those very things, and I really align with that as well.

Through my soul searching, I have become super cautious of the images that I post and the words that I say, but it always ends up in a big WHOMP and I keep deleting posts. Hahaha! I should stop that, but whatever, I’m always like ‘oh that didn’t come out the way I wanted it to’ but I’m spending time on this one and hopeful that it will be taken in a positive, loving, caring for the future of women and the spaces we should be allowed to fill up.

Thank you for allowing me to write in this space and share this with you. I hope you'll see my heart in it and not judgement. 

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Hypothalamic Control of Weight

When I have a topic that I've explained quite a few times over email with clients, I like to write a blog post about it for reference! :) 

I GENUINELY think that this information, if you don’t already know it, can be truly beneficial for every person, so hang tight and utilize this information to your advantage. That’s why I find such beauty in the science of nutrition, exercise, and neuroscience because it allows potential to own your life and understand that the choices and decisions that you make are based on that knowledge.

 made this image to describe the lipostatic theory controlled by our hypothalamus

made this image to describe the lipostatic theory controlled by our hypothalamus

There’s typically two emotions to this information, and honestly, I’ve realized that for now in my journey, keeping my opinions to a minimum is best, so I just want to share the information.

1)      Intuitive Eaters: Your hypothalamus and your biology are fighting against you to lose weight. You can’t control that, therefore it’s best to accept your current set point weight, cut your losses, enjoy life and food, and just REST. Stop dieting because you can’t control what it’s going to do anyway.

If you are in this camp, I recommend the books: Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size

2)      Biohackers: What can we do to make this process easier to be able to fight this biological, evolutionary process because in times of scarcity, it was beneficial, but now that we are in the land of plenty and sedentary lifestyles, we can form high set point weights (aka we have gained

weight) and now for our health, we want to lose weight, so how do we do that efficiently?

If you are in this camp, I recommend the podcast: HVMN Performance / Bulletproof Podcast

Now, let’s dive into what I’m even talking about. Your hypothalamus is a bean shape in your brain that determines many of the process of your autonomic nervous system, which is inclusive of your metabolic rate, heart rate, body temperature, sex drive, thyroid function, hormone function, and so many other things. It’s really quite simple what the hypothalamus does when you are trying to lose weight.

When you lower your caloric intake, your body sees this as a problem. You have entered a place where food is scarce and so the body does what it does best – survive. In order to survive when food was scarce, all it knows to do is conserve energy. The hypothalamus will conserve energy, slow your metabolic rate, lower your body temperature, and adjusts your leptin and ghrelin to where you are hungrier and have more cravings. THANKS A LOT RIGHT?

We all have a set point weight range that is typically a 10-20 pound range dependent on our relationship with food. Our body’s fight for homeostasis so it will fight to maintain this in both directions. This is one of the reasons that reverse dieting works well when you start to increase food because the more food that you put into the furnace, your body will increase your core temperature, speed up your metabolism, and try to regulate you to your set point range. When you are trying to lose weight, it fights in the opposite direction. When you get to the lower end of your set point range, that’s when your body will plateau typically during a weight loss journey. This is typically when people give up, but if you hang in there, don’t do anything crazy and just continue a sustainable caloric deficit, then your body will continue to lose.

Here’s what happens A LOT. When you reach the lower end of your hypothalamic set point range, your cravings can become very intense. If you are someone with a binge eating type disorder which is a combination of neurotransmitter shifts, environmental triggers, and psychological restriction based on cultural ideals, then the first thing that you do when these cravings hit, you might binge eat, or you might fight the binge but you just overeat. Your body is PRIMED for weight gain due to the lower metabolic rate due to the conservation from the calorie deficit (scarcity) and then you bounce IMMEDIATELY back to the middle of your set point range. You do this for years and years and years and over time, if you keep yourself in a chronic dieting phase, you can really get your calories low while still not getting anywhere with your weight. It’s a maddening cycle.

If you have this form of relationship with food, then this is when I really recommend entering a reverse diet phase or start working towards intuitive eating. If you are someone who GENUINELY feels like they have a healthy relationship with food (and sometimes you can lie to yourself but you KNOW better so you need to be diligent and genuine in evaluating yourself) then that would be the only time that I recommend continuing to try to diet. I don’t think that trying to be healthier is inherently bad, but just being careful not to be overcome by the thin ideal and what you feel you are “supposed” to do.

The science is definitely compelling, and it’s all about utilizing it to the best of your ability to help you in whatever way is best for you.

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BIOHACKING

Ever find yourself wanting to learn so much and expand your brain so much that you don’t even want to take time to do normal things…like shower? Okay, just me? Haha! I’m joking..kinda. But my husband is going away for the weekend and I plan to work out in the mornings and then hole myself up all day with research and reading and learning. What topic you ask? Oh I don't know. I'll find something interesting. lol.

I’ve realized in the wellness space is that there is about 100 different avenues that you can go down for learning different topics. I was listening to a podcast about ketogenic diets the other day and it was done by a physician who knows what he is talking about and the information that he was sharing was in fact correct, however I thought about people listening to this podcast that didn’t know that much in this particular space and they would either a) become keto b) be really confused on nutrition in general. You can speak to the most well-respected physicians in different fields and become convinced that their way is in fact THE ONLY way to health whether that be plant based or ketosis which most of the time mean completely different ways of living.

In regard to all of that, I decided to go into a different wellness space to learn, and the cool kids are calling it biohacking. I found this cool photo that explains biohacking in full..

 SOURCE:&nbsp;https://blog.bulletproof.com/beginners-guide-to-biohacking-101/

SOURCE: https://blog.bulletproof.com/beginners-guide-to-biohacking-101/

Essentially, it’s looking at every aspect of your life and coming at it from a scientific perspective. Before everyone gets all heated, let me explain that these people are NOT crazy. Lol. They might seem that way but everyone has their hobby and I think that we are so quick to put a label on people that just want to do better for themselves and call it obsessive and weird. They see the general population as odd for not taking steps in every direction to better their lives inclusive of sleep quality/quantity, stress management, diet, exercise, attention, memory, intelligence. They are all big-time readers, and they study the science on how to retain the most information from the books that they read. They typically are only reading nonfiction science of course.

They have found the “best” exercise and for most of them that means some resistance training with HIIT in the mornings before they start their day and then a long endurance activity on the weekend. They are able to get the most benefit out of what they want out of exercise in this way which is maintaining a certain body fat percentage, cognitive function, and low anxiety. All of them typically fast, and not just intermittent fasting although they all do that. Some of them fast for days at a time. This helps them again go back to their goals which is to 100% optimize their life. They don’t have to spend time thinking about food most of the time because they are fasting, and during that time their body is also doing great things for them.

They manage their stress by meditation. They study the science of habit formation so that they are all able to quit their bad habits and start their new habits. They take all sorts of supplements and vitamins because they believe that 1% optimization of their physical or mental function is something they are ALL about. They optimize their gut health by eating in a certain way because they know that the gut is connected to the brain, and they optimize their brain health so that they can keep regular bowel movements.

They all churn out content like crazy because they are just the most determined focused people. It honestly has me like wanting to listen to their podcasts and learn from them ALL DAY LONG. Haha! They inspire me so much just by their sheer capacity to do all of these things. Most just think it’s such a hassle and just want to go about living their life, but they are the opposite of that. They want to find more and more good habits that they can add to their day and I respect that mindset so very much.

They want to be present with their jobs and present with their families. They want to be the most intelligent, physically active, and mentally sound person that they can possibly be. To them, that is the only way to live a full life. They find joy in the journey of learning and progressing. They don’t have anxiety over all of the changes that they make because to them, it’s seemingly no questions asked and they just find data to support things, and then they make change.

Sometimes, the wellness space that I find myself in is “ACCEPT YOURSELF JUST AS YOU ARE GIRLFRIEND!” and while I believe that’s a very valuable and needed space in the world, I also think that it’s really cool to find these people that don’t even bring up that topic. This isn’t about self love or self hate. They are all legit just have with all the nerdy science, and I’M LIVING FOR IT. Some of them encompass biohacking as a whole, but some of them are just specific to certain topics such as cognition or sleep or habit change/formation, etc. This topic can fold also into the meditation/spirituality realm because if you are looking into the neuroscience behind anxiety/depression then you start learning about how the brain works and how to heal it and meditation is a big part of that.

Here are some of the ones that I’m learning from:

HVMN Performance Podcast

Ben Greenfield Podcast (and his website www.bengreenfield.com where I signed up for the newsletter)

The Knowledge Project

Happier by Gretchen Rubin

The Bulletproof Blog

Mansal Denton

There’s so many more, but I’m going to stop there as that will be enough content to hold you over for weeks. I encourage you to delve into this space. I think the best way to approach it is to find a topic that interests you and go down that habit hole first.

For example, at first I wanted to understand anxiety and how to work on that, and then I wanted to understand habits, so then I went into all of the research on that topic. Then, I wanted to know about cognition, intelligence, memory, and optimizing that in my own life. I can say without a doubt that the steps that I’ve taken in the past year to optimize my intelligence and memory have been the most life giving thing that I’ve done for myself in a long time. Then, I wanted to get in to the science behind organizing your life. Like, I said, it’s never ending.

It’s intriguing and exciting and I think that in order for us to own our health, it’s important to constantly be learning and growing, and honestly…it’s just fun! The world is our oyster folks. LET US GET TO LEARNING 😉

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Compassion and Decision Making

Yesterday, I made an instagram post about whether I should continue blogging, re-route the domain to something less "fitness-y" or delete it or really just keep doing what I'm doing which is to just blog when I feel like it. I'm not going to go into those thoughts as I shared them yesterday. What I did want to do is apologize for continuing to ask that. It's honestly pretty narcissistic. Like who even cares honestly? There's a million and one bloggers on the internet. If I wanna write a blog, I can do that. If I don't feel like it, I don't have to. If I want to share a topic and some information, I'll share it in hopes that it will help people. It doesn't need to be some big freakin affair with a poll. Jesus Christ Almighty (sorry I'm annoyed at myself LOL).

What I want is connection and compassion. And sometimes I think that feels lovely on the internet, and sometimes it feels superficial and causes me to have a touch of fear on maybe not 'connecting' with the people who have my best interest at heart.

 Here's a photo of me. and those are my house shoes. HA!

Here's a photo of me. and those are my house shoes. HA!

I'm reading a book called "The Lost Art of Compassion" and the very nature of being annoyed with myself is the very nature of narcissism because again, I'm making it about me. Working through your demons and self assessing is something that I value. I think it's really important. If there is someone that will tell you her flaws, it's me. I don't say that in a self deprecating manner and I'm confident in the person that I'm becoming, but I'm not okay with who I am and I think it's important to always be growing.

One of the growing pains I am working on is decision making. I've researched decision making theories and the science of why we choose the decisions that we do. It's fascinating because I think that many of us just flippantly make these decisions without realizing what all goes into the workings of it. As humans, we are always going to look out for our best interest. We used to need that for survival but now we utilize those energies towards things that aren't nearly as important and that shields us from joy because we are always so consumed with worry about the future.

We worry about this superficial image that we will create to those around us and we all play these characters of who we think that we should be and we make decisions based off of that whether we realize it or not. I want to be someone who makes decisions based on genuine compassion and not the subconscious views of others by feeling the need to feel some void of human connection that is disguised as compassion. What I'm trying to say is that I want to provide content that is helpful. That's all I mean here. haha!

I went back and forth on selling our house that we live in now and while it's not our forever home and if someone bought it, I wouldn't be upset, I realized that my decision making process was based on what I thought would make me happy in the future but if I was to picture myself in the new situation, would I actually be happier? My moment to moment in my home right now is honestly lovely. We have a remembering brain and an experience brain and many times we think of our situations as worse (or maybe better) than they actually are, but if we look to the moment to moment, the experience is entirely different. Our brains do this to shield us from any sort of micro traumas that we might experience.

Kids are a pretty good example of this. Most likely no one would ever say that they don't love and adore their kids and when they think about their kids when they aren't with their kids, their hearts swell with pride and joy. They post about them on social media and they genuinely mean what they say. This is their remembering brain. But then, if you look to the moment to moment of children, we all know that's not roses and play dates but lots of exhaustion, annoyances, and headaches. It's absolutely WORTH IT but it's important to evaluate both of those perspectives when making decisions, in my opinion.

This also can lead to complicating things more than necessary and sometimes just making decisions on what feels good :) And sometimes that's all you need!

My biggest desire for my life is just that I'm providing others with the passion that I feel for the things that I feel passionate about and sharing the truths within those things.

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Where's Waldo?

Hi friends. 

I'm alive.

And well. 

It's been a while, and it wasn't really purposeful other than in late January, I was a bit annoyed with social media and decided to take a break and naturally that led me to actually *gasp* forget to blog. Blogging was my habit for so long. I know people set goals for how many times they will blog. They set out calendars of topics. That was never me. I woke up every morning and wrote what was on my mind. Good, bad, and the ugly. When I began to draw back from blogging, I had to actually force myself from blogging. I would like crave it. I wanted to share my opinions, dang it. I wanted to spam you with ALL THIS KNOWLEDGE (jkjk). I felt it was a needed space. And it was, but then again it wasn't. 

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Every day, I learn something new about this world and my place in it. I've dissolved myself less in the amount of words that I provide to the internet which has become so saturated, but rather in the thoughts of others - across all spaces. I've read a lot (have I mentioned that enough? I feel it's obnoxious but it's about like telling you I went for a run - I'm still gonna keep telling you when I do HA). I have realized how many other thought patterns on life, love, health, happiness, religion, philosophy, and nutrition then I could have ever imagined. 

I think this is my conclusion in every space. If someone says they 100% have it figured out, then they don't. Y'all, I literally laugh when I see someone produce a WALL of text on facebook about some political topic as if they have it figured out. Like I literally L-O-L. I'm just like "oh thank you for bestowing us with your wisdom. I totally am convinced now." Because whether it's philosophy or nutrition, exercise or parenting, everyone is going to have an opinion that is based on the culture they were raised in, their parents, their peers, their stigma, their trauma, their body, their intelligence...on and on and on. I get overwhelmed by this, and not in a bad way (well sometimes). Like, a really beautiful way. Like wow, life is just...so much. And I used to find the words so easy to come by and now I think too much. I find myself grappling how to explain what I feel on anything...like literally anything because if I go down one path, I find myself back tracking because of something else I've read/researched that makes me think that they also have a valid point in whatever space that they are discussing this. 

We live in the information age, and I've decided to soak that up. I don't want to be blissfully ignorant. I want to know who, what, when, where, and how. I want to EXPERIENCE life. I want to be apart of it and not on social - absolutely not on social - but like actually feeling grass beneath my feet and a calling in my heart and a purpose and drive that awakens my soul. 

So, what I'm trying to tell you is that I've become a hippy. 

But I'm like a really anxious hippy that hasn't quite figured out the namaste. Ya feel me?

I'm really lucky in that I think my husband is a fully formed chameleon (I had to google how to spell that). He's just like "WHAT GRAND PLAN DOES KATIE HAVE FOR US TODAY?" and just goes along with it! ;) No, but really. He is a really good listener, and so he is able to really see my vantage point on a lot of things and so we discuss a lot of things, like every day, in every way, and if anyone else lived in our household, they might actually go crazy. Shall we talk about North Korea or Ghandi today, mountain biking or plant based eating, buying nice quality things or selling it all and living out of a van? Racism? Gender inequality? Taylor Swift? MY NEW OBSESSION WITH REESE WITHERSPOON AND OPRAH? Let's discuss the research and the podcasts and the books...

(Let me interject here to say that my husband is a really good listening chameleon that then wants to FIX ME and I'm like "Can you not?" That's been an area he's been working on - the fixing - I tell him I'm flawless and don't need fixing and he's like 'but you just cried yesterday about this very thing and now you're over it?' and I'm like 'DUH. that's how this works' -- okay moving on but you needed to know he's not hot and perfect ;) hehehehehe)

 okay he is. he's perfect okay. jk i'm biased.

okay he is. he's perfect okay. jk i'm biased.

Do you get where I'm going with this? Probably not. Because I don't either. And that's part of the reason that I haven't blogged. I couldn't just come here with some FIVE FAVORITES FOR FRIDAY post after being gone for months. I couldn't formulate my opinions on just about anything because I see everyone's point on everything. It's like obnoxious what my brain does. But because I have like zero opinions anymore, there's not much to say. HA! I feel like if I was to give you advice, I'd follow it up with bullet points 1-5 on why other things would work for you as well dependent on your personality type and the culture that you were raised in. You know I saw a diet based on personality types the other day and IT TOTALLY MADE SENSE!! Introverts tend to be more empathetic and are more successful with plant based/vegan/vegetarian diets as they easily align themselves with the suffering of humans/animals due to meat consumption. I was shook. 

But maybe you see where I'm going. There is science out there for us to make our best estimations on what we feel is appropriate, but you can find a study on anything that you want to prove a point on. That's called confirmation bias and we do it in politics EVERY SINGLE DAY. We also believe what we want to believe and see, so while I want to provide people with what works for me and such, I also think that you may feel completely different and I don't want to take that away from you either. 

Does that mean that I don't know who I am? Well, I used to think that when I began this journey like 1.5 years ago? Girl, please. I'm so over that. It only took about 10 books of "The subtle art of not giving a f**", You're not that great, You're a badass, Ego is the enemy, blah-dy, blah. I'm over it. I just think it took me a while to realize that there was more to the world than the bubble that I had grown up in and only exposed myself to, and that confused me for quite some time. I'd get over it, then I'd start down the path all over again. 

Oh yea, and I got injured a few times so then my endurance was shot. I wish I cared, but I was in a space where I was just like man bump this, I'm taking a break so for about 6 weeks I didn't do much of anything. It was nice. I felt like a slug or a sloth or even...A NORMAL HUMAN BEING! ;) I keep getting DM's asking me if I'm still running. ha! Yeppp, I sure do. I know you're like waiting for me to drop the knowledge of what I'm doing for nutrition and workouts now, but I think that part of my elusive mystery of what I've got going on right now. Does Katie still run? Or does she not? HAHAHA! I just really don't even care enough to go into those details right now so can I just rant about life instead? K, cool. 

But let me interject this information to you. I'm sure you've all heard of Ben Greenfield, and he's one of those guys that if he tells me about some information, I'm pretty hype to believe it because I know he does his due diligence. He's all about some minimalist endurance training to be able to enjoy other things in life, and I'm like...HERE.FOR.IT. 

Basically in endurance training, other than pure enjoyment, the goal of the training sessions is to get you prepared for race day but scientifically increased endurance can mean: 

-increasing your heart rate, stroke volume, increasing your V02max, changing the density of your mitochondria (energy powerhouse)

Ultimately, you want oxygen to be delivered to your muscle cells efficiently and when you are more in shape more quickly and then how much that oxygen is being utilized from the muscles before it's sent back to the heart. 

You can do that in the traditional sense by the normal programming of altering between tempo days, speed workout days, and longer days in certain heart rates doing the craft that you love and enjoying it. But sometimes, ironman athletes don't have 20 hours per week to devote to their craft. I am like ALL ABOUT time management and being able to do all sorts of things. I'm not going to give all the details because this could be a full post, but just that you can do HIIT workouts throughout the week, one hour workouts on normal days and then one to two 2-4 hour sessions on the weekends and build the exact same density of mitochondria giving you the same results without all the burn out, exhaustion, and low recovery. YASSSS. PRAISE BE. 

And to be fair, another way you can do this is through doping (exogenous epoetin) but I'm going to guess you guys probably won't need to go that route! ;) I joke that I'd totally dope if it was you know...moral and legal. But it's not, so I digress. lol. 

I just wanted to come on here and let you know that I'm doing really well, specifically like this week has been like really good. I also bought a mountain bike yesterday because Tanner and I have found these new outdoor hobbies together and we want to hike and camp and explore all summer and I'm just so pumped. I can't wait.

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I'm taking the NASM CPT test soon - as in I haven't really studied and I need to do that because you only get 6 months but after pharmacy school and years in this biz, I feel like I already knew everything when I read the book just being honest. I'm NEVER confident in test taking..literally ever. I was ALWAYS ALWAYS the kid that has to study her brains off, but for the first time I'm like .. just chill. And it feels so badass. Like I almost want to walk into the test with sunglasses on. And then I'll probably fail. 

And can I just say how uncomfortable that last paragraph made me? Isn't it pathetic that we can't compliment ourselves without feeling like the entire world is going to judge us and think we are arrogant. Sheesh. So I'm actually really not very smart. Okay, I feel balanced now. 

LOVE AND PEACE AND ALL THE CHANGING WORLDS THAT IS KATIE. 

I almost type "that is katiesfitscript" but I'm really past that. Like really. Like, I'm fairly certain I'm going to reroute this blog URL, but we shall see. I'll probably change my mind 5000x before I would do that, then I'd do it, then I'd regret it. hahaha. I mean it's catchy but if one more person calls me "Katie fit" or "Katie script" in person, I might like actually sucker punch them. KATIESFITSCRIPT. WITH AN S AFTER KATIE. FOLLOWED BY FIT. THEN SCRIPT. 

Okay, I've been way too catty on this post. I'm still kind, I promise. Like, honestly, I feel really less judge-y these days and it feels good. Those were hard habits to work on.

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Training Updates

So, I mentioned this on all of my social sites, but I wanted to go ahead and go into a touch of detail for those that I know that might only read my blog. I’ve realized over time there’s still a lot of people that read this blog, and it makes my heart so happy and I stopped looking at stats years ago but I did tonight and was like WOW, people really do still read. HAAA! Hi, yall.

Or maybe you’re just here to creep. That’s cool too 😉

First, I’d just like to say that real life apart from all of this blog/fitness/health stuff is just wonderful. Tanner and I took so long to find our stride in Shelby, but we are happy..so so happy. We feel that both of our careers have really taken off here, we have really gotten closer with my brother and his wife and so we are able to just be like “Hey, it’s Tuesday. We are coming over.” So, that was yesterday and we went over and had grilled cheese, potato soup and I got to spend time with Jackson (who loves to be naked constantly hahaha-I loveeee age 3- it’s my fav!)

 This morning's workout: 1 hour of bike intervals + 4 mile tempo off the bike

This morning's workout: 1 hour of bike intervals + 4 mile tempo off the bike

Deciding maybe not..

I started the count down to Myrtle Beach sometime during the weekend (that I had planned to run 14 miles but got struck with the 2.5 day black plague of 101-103 fever that wouldn’t break that’s now completely gone-#muchconfusion) and was like “Good gosh, I have 5 weeks left.” Don’t get me wrong. I could pull it off. I could run this marathon. I might could even sub 3, but it wouldn’t feel “right” if that makes sense. I almost don’t WANT to run the marathon well if I only got 5 solid weeks. That’s like all the kids in pharmacy school that never studied then would make A’s on the exam. THAT’S SO ANNOYING. If I’m going to make this time, I’m going to DO IT RIGHT.

So, we are back to the drawing board. I decided to drop to the half. I’m actually kind of excited about that now because I NEVER run halfs (mostly because I’m cheap and if I’m gonna pay for it or train for it, I’m going to go the full). My PR was 1:32 per my watch but an official 1:37 at the NYC half marathon, so my goal would be to break 1:32. I feel confident in that.

Moving Forward..

My next full marathon after this one will be in the ironman, however my next stand alone sub 3 attempt will be Savannah Marathon at the beginning of November. I never even got a chance to truly train for this marathon, so I’m not changing anything in that approach. I feel very confident in the training program I have in my head for Savannah and just excited to execute it. I just simply had some fluke crap happen this time, but I’m so so thrilled because I have like a lot of time to really restore my body to good health and do some strength training to build my core to stabilize me moving forward.

I’m going to do an update soon with my plan to train for the ironman in a spreadsheet like I did for my marathon, and what I plan to do. As of this weekend, I’m 13 weeks out, and honestly, I said I wouldn’t “really” train for this until 12 weeks out because as we all know, I do better with shorter so I still have a week to chill! <3 We are going hiking this weekend to Chimney Rock (our first exploration of this area) and going to one peak, one waterfall, and then a tour of the lake and dinner at a famous place that is by the lake that the Dirty Dancing scene is in!

Nutrition

I have gotten Tailwind, and for now that is going to be my drink of choice on the bike. On the bike, and in the powders, my body just churns through calories, and I typically do about 150-200 calories, which is what I recommend to my athletes as well dependent on them of course. I will be using that as well. I like over loading calories also on the bike because I don’t like to take in as much while I’m running tbh. I’d rather just run, but during race days, I always take in one gu per 5 miles (100 calories per 35-40ish minutes), but oh boy how I hate it by the end of the marathon. I will be using this in practice this training cycle due to preparing my gut for it because it tends to want to revolt. I’m also having testing done next week in Charlotte to find my resting metabolic rate. I’m interested to see what this comes back as.

Resting Metabolic Rate +  Energy Expended in Digestion of Food + Exercise = Total Daily Calories (This can vary so significantly person to person and of course depends on what level you are in athletics but it’s all so super interesting to me).

I’m also doing a VO2max test soon as well and I’m going to get a follow up with blood work with Inside Tracker. JUST CALL ME A LAB RAT! LEGGO.

2018 Goal Updates

Since it’s the end of January, I thought I’d give some updates on my goals. Don’t be overwhelmed. I literally do nothing but work and train and hang out with family. I have tons of free time tbh and I love doing things in my free time. I should probably go volunteer and be useful to society but here I am folks hahaha!:

  • ·         I have written 10,000 words in my fictional novel that I’m writing. It’s such a joy of mine.
  • ·         I feel really connected with my co-workers and in my job since the New Year. I feel connected more and more with my patients, and we are rolling out new things for them which I’m so excited for.
  • ·         My reading goal is 100 books, and I’m 75% through my 11th book for the year. The books that I have read are:

o   The Alice Network, What Happened, All the Missing Girls, What I Talk about when I talk about running, Left Neglected, Committed, Mountains Beyond Mountains,The Tipping Point, NASM CPT book, and 75% through The Goldfinch (Pulitzer Prize winning novel and I’m OBSESSED! New fav!) All of these were really good, but my favorites: What Happened (oh so interesting by Hilary Clinton no matter your party) and The Tipping Point.

  • ·         I still don’t drink diet soda – so this is the longest I’ve been in my entire existence hahaha! I still don’t claim to be done forever, which is a slippery slope. HA! I really do enjoy NOT because carbonation was making me feel yucky constantly, and I get 9999.999% less headaches.
  • ·         I’ve been doing 3 items of gratitude daily (missed some days of course). I do it at the beginning of the day as I feel it aligns me well for the day.
  • ·         I’ve finished the NASM book and going over the study guide hoping to become certified in personal training at the beginning of March! YAY! I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK! I learned so much and relearned so many things I have forgotten and have a PLETHORA of appendices to use for workouts now. I’m PUMPED to say the least and can’t wait to be a trainer in person and online. EEK!
  • ·         We finished our wine class and I feel I have a new little skill in my back pocket.

These are things I’m proud of and not in a self deprecating way but y’all, I’m a hot mess express like every other day, so I never want to give some illusion like I’m just over here slamming goals and that’s all I do. Hahaha! I lose my debit cards. I lose my keys like every day. I set a hot skillet on my new handmade cutting board my father in law made for us and it bubbled up (Tanner says it’s fixable but I cried HA). My Christmas tree is still up (I mean personally I count that as a WIN-MAY THE SEASON NEVER DIE!). I have days where I waste hours at a time just because I get sad for literally no reason. Okay, you get the point. I just like to keep it real. Oh, I’m also backing out of a marathon that I absolutely love and was sad about for a hot minute, but like what are you gonna do? Mope? NA. I’m good. I just want to move forward.

DAILY ROUTINE

If you’re curious about how I do all of this and what my days look like:

445am – wake up//coffee

5-6: Read for pleasure

6-6:30: Make food for the day

6:30-7: Get ready

7-7:30 Answer Katiesfitscript Emails and look over client’s running notes

8-4ish: Work (This can vary depending on the day // client load // work from home load) – typically read for like 30 minutes while I eat lunch MAYBE just depending

4-6: Workout

6-7: Dinner // Catch up with Tanner

7-730: Write novel

7:30-8: More Katiesfitscript Programming// Emails // Blog post writing

8-9: Either watch Grey’s Anatomy or read again

9-445: SLEEP!

REPEAT!

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