Viewing posts from: September 2015

Getting Back on Track with Ease – Post Special Occasion

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Habits Mindset Nutrition Uncategorized


Red velvet wedding cake - amazingly delicious one year later!

I was fortunate enough to enjoy a wonderful long weekend away with the husband to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary. In all honesty the weekend included zero formal exercise, all meals eaten out & many glasses of delicious wine. Plus a side of wedding cake with champagne to end the weekend right.I went into the weekend making a decision to skip my normal hotel gym workouts & to not over analyze how to make every meal perfectly balanced. I wanted to relax, let my body rest & enjoy the special occasion with my husband. As much as I like to strive for that perfect balance, it just doesn’t always happen. I am 100% ok with that! In fact I still ate lots of nutrient dense foods, walked all about Atlanta & most importantly enjoyed the moments without stress or guilt around every little decision.

A much needed night out at a hilarious murder mystery dinner theater.

As with most overly indulgent trips, when I arrived back home the mind games of guilt still kicked in regardless of making a mindful decision to relax for a couple days. My pants felt a little tight, I felt a little less fit & my stomach was rather unhappy with some of my food decisions. The negative self talk crept back in & less than kind thoughts began swirling in my head about my body. In the past, after returning from a vacation such as this one I would have been angry at myself about the bites of desserts I partook in. I would have pinched the imaginary added fat that magically popped up overnight on those love handles & vowed to fit in punishing workouts while eating nothing but lettuce for the next week to make up for my unacceptable behaviors. Which usually lasted a few days until it backfired with an eating binge confounded with a week long bad mood. How unrealistic as well as unnecessarily cruel to my body right?NegativeSelfTalkAll that sounds pretty dramatic & ultimately futile. It's taken YEARS of changing those behaviors & my mindset but progress has been made. As I'm a work in progress like everyone else & am certainly not immune to my emotions being in conflict with what my brain knows. This is how things have changed these days. Instead of the emotional freak out I took a deep breath & said “ok, back to normal today”. These are a few of my must do's to get back on track after a vacation:1. ADDING healthy additions back into my daily routine. I focused on getting back to my normal water intake, centering meals around colorful veggies & including quality protein at every meal. I quickly felt that eating out bloat & newly added sugar cravings subside as I re-balanced my diet.

Give me all the veggies!

2. EASING back into my normal workout routine. A few years ago I would have immediately dragged myself to the gym as soon as I rolled back into town. This trip I knew I was tired & had a 14 hour work day ahead of me. Instead I skipped the workout, got organized for the week, prepped healthy food & made sure to sleep. I eased back into a normal workout week with my regular rest days included. I really tried to listen to my body & probably went a bit lighter in my first few sessions to not overdo it. By Friday I had a killer workout & felt back to my usual badass self.
A little more stretch & a little less intensity is ok sometimes!

A little more stretch & a little less intensity is ok sometimes!

3. SLEEP SLEEP SLEEP was on the agenda during the week. I always need a vacation once I arrive home from my vacation & normally come home feeling a bit rundown. I got into bed a bit earlier & even snuck in a nap or two when I had the opportunity. Again focusing on being kind to my body instead of punishing is the key.
Nothing like a sleepy puppy after a weekend with the grandparents.

Nothing like a sleepy puppy after a weekend with the grandparents.

4. SAY NO TO SUGAR is also a must do for me upon returning. I don't eat a lot of added sugar items anyway but on a weekend away there was dessert on multiple occasions. This is a trigger food for me so once I get back home I bow out of those extra treats I often eat in moderation. Not forever, but I try to reach for fruit instead of the chocolate I might usually choose or a kombucha instead of a glass of wine.
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Dialing back the sweets that trigger those cravings.

5. STAY AWAY FROM THE SCALE is another must do for ME. Everyone is different & I actually don't weigh myself on a regular basis. It causes me unnecessary stress so why bother. Reality is I know when I'm living according to my health goals by what I put on my plate. Also how my clothes fit tells me when it's time to readjust. Yet occasionally I'll have that curious "how much damage did I do" temptation to hop on post-vacation. All it ever does is make me feel bad about myself & jump on the deprivation bandwagon. So for me personally, I give myself a week or two to get back to normal before I care to ask the scale how I should feel about myself that day.Here it is a week later & I feel happy, back to normal physically & in my everyday balanced nutritious routine. For me, it all started with a bit of kindness, trusting my ability to get back to healthy habits & a bit of fake it til you make it positive self talk. Plus a lot of repetition along the way!How do you take care of yourself post-special occasion celebration? 

Top 5 Training Mistakes & Tips for Effective Workouts

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness Workouts

TipsEvery single person that has stepped foot in a gym was a newbie at one time or another. Heck even Arnold Schwarzenegger experienced his first time lifting a weight & putting it back down without knowing what to do next. It can absolutely be intimidating & unfortunately I see a large portion of the population not getting the most bang for their gym time buck. There is nothing I hate more than seeing someone working hard or hearing about the hours spent without seeing any results. Hard work & commitment should pay off right?

Top 5 Training Tips for Effective Workouts

Common-Gym-Mistakes1. Focus on Compound Movements: unless you spend 7 days a week in the gym, it's not the best use of time to spend a significant portion of your workout doing bicep curls or tricep kickbacks. Ask my clients how many arm or ab days we've had? Answer is none! This is pretty universal whether you are looking to lose fat or gain muscle. Start with the full body movements such as squats, hip hinges, rows & presses. If you have extra time & want to throw in a few curls at the end, by all means feel free. But if you are like most people with a limited workout window, get in the big moves for the most results.bicep-curl_02. Total Body Workouts Over Split Routines: Body part split programs that are broken down into chest, leg & arm days are popular among the body building world. People like the feeling of going in & smashing their legs to "feel the burn". Yet muscle burn doesn't equate to calorie burn or muscle built. Another side effect of working one muscle to fatigue is creating a great deal of soreness. This intense discomfort may linger for days, causing you to skip the next few gym sessions or a planned run. If you are planning to spend 3-4 days a week lifting weights, I would recommend using a total body program for beginners or an upper/lower split for intermediate athletes. Hit the big moves with a day of rest in between. This will work each movement pattern multiple times a week for plenty of stimulus. You will also get better at each lift by performing them more frequently. All while achieving amazing results!20130424153625-back-squat-35-of-your-body-weight3. Never Progressing in Weight or Repetitions: I often see the same gym goers doing the same workout, year in & year out. They never change aesthetically because they stop challenging their bodies. The body is amazing in it's ability to adapt to whatever we throw at it. It adjusts to doing the same repetitions at the same weight & has no reason to work harder to produce change unless we push it to. Progressive overload is the name of the game in order to see continued results! Challenge your body & don't just go through the motions mindlessly. If you are spending the time, you might as well make it count for something right?Fat-Guy-with-Pink-Dumbbell4. Going in Without a Plan: Glance around any gym & you will find many a person wandering from machine to dumbbell. A few reps here & a set there before sneaking out the door, hoping to not be noticed. Serious kudos for showing up & giving it a go! That is often the hardest part & most important first step. However not having some sort of plan usually ends up in a relatively random workout that won't really do the trick. Plus having a guide to follow will build your confidence & give you focus. Whether it's a basic online program or better yet custom built by a trainer. Having a to do list for the day is a great start to becoming an experienced lifter.il_fullxfull.381514743_63r75. Not Tracking Workouts: Playing guessing games with what exercises you did last week at what weight is no way to spend you gym day! Heck I sure can't remember exactly how much weight, sets or repetitions I did 2 hours ago! Much less 2 weeks ago. Keep a simple journal on paper or an app on your phone to track your workouts. This goes along with having a plan & progressing over time. Looking at your journal will guide you to increasing your efforts week to week. It's also very motivating to see how much stronger you've gotten over time. Not all victories have to be on the scale!I can tell you that I've absolutely been there, done that with most of these gym offenses when I started out. The mainstream magazines & online articles don't help to clear up the confusion either. Their job is to sell magazines & a catchy cover of "5 exercises for sexy abs" is more appealing to our instant gratification instincts than "a simple systematic 3 day a week workout". However I don't want anyone to give up on strength training or waste countless hours of the day following bad advice.a35224d27293b74a4bf73ef7915693d0What's been your personal gym faux pas you've learned from?Have questions or interested in a custom plan? Email me: lifting! 

Healthy Dining – Football Edition

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

goals Habits Mindset Nutrition Uncategorized

Dust off the jersey, break out the koozie & pull up a chair to your favorite sport's bar because it's officially college football season! Since my football team (Go Jackets!) already kicked off the season with a 69-6 win, I decided it was the perfect time to discuss how I still have fun, participate in the festivities & enjoy a balanced sports season. Without wrecking my health goals, ruining all the hard work put in Monday-Friday or feeling deprived of all the fun! Here are a few quick tips for ordering out with nutrition in mind on your teams game Standard American Bar/Restaurant:

  • Munchies:

- Hummus Plates: several of my favorite football watching locations have a hummus plate on the menu. I skip the load of pita bread & simply request extra veggies for dipping. The same can be done with chips & salsa, but yes I realize skipping the chips w/ salsa is tough!

- Wings: Request baked w/ sauce on the side or simply seasoned. I have on multiple occasions asked if they can make baked wings instead of deep fried. They are still awesomely delicious & include some protein!

- Side Options: Check out the vegetable side dishes if you are in need of something to munch on during kick off. I recently enjoyed a nice bowl of roasted brussels sprouts while watching a game. It was a side for entrees & a great choice over the standard loaded potato skins. Guess what? They were super delicious!


  • The Main Meal:

- Ditch the Bun/Balance the Sides: Who doesn't enjoy a deliciously messy burger. Truth be told I hit up my favorite local grassfed burger joint almost every weekend. What I found was I enjoyed the meat, the veggies & other delicious toppings. The bun was just a device to consume it. So I started ditching the bun & requesting a lettuce wrap, eating with a fork or asking for it as a salad topper. All of which are completely satisfying & I have never walked away hungry. If you are trying to keep it pretty clean, skip the fries as well or at least split them with someone. Again look for a great side salad or vegetable to pair with that juicy burger.

- Appetizer + Side: I like variety in my meals so if an appetizer pops out as sounding tasty I gravitate towards pairing it with my favorite side dish. Ex. charcuterie plate + garlic green beans I recently enjoyed at a local craft beer pub. ceviche + black bean soup at a tex mex soccer game viewing. Even ahi tuna + a side salad at wild wings. The portion size of appetizers are more reasonable & you often save a few bucks!

- Salads: Ok this may be the obvious choice but these deceptively sneaky "healthy" options can frequently be calorie bombs. Choosing a pile of leafy greens loaded with fried proteins, tortilla strips, tons of cheese, sour cream & thickly coated dressing may leave you better off choosing the burger option. Stick to a salad that has a few fun toppings such as berries, a flavorful funky cheese, nuts, avocado, roasted vegetables & other nutritious ingredients. Choose meats that are grilled, blackened, roasted, pan seared or baked. If it's not on the menu don't hesitate to ask! And as always, get the dressing on the side so you can control the portion.

  • Delicious Drinks:

- Beer: Choosing a light beer may be the best option, assuming you are still going to limit your quantity. Having 5 light beers as opposed to sipping on 1 or 2 craft brews you really love is not necessarily the best decision. Plus who wants to gulp down that many water flavored brewskies? Slow it down, drink water in between & savor the taste. Another tip? Start with water & wait to order your beverage until the food has arrived.

- Mixed Drinks: Even at a sport's bar I have no shame in ordering a fruity cocktail. However don't even attempt to serve me a bottled sugar filled mixer w/ a splash of vodka. Not worth the extra intake in the slightest. My go to beverages include a flavored vodka + club soda + a splash of juice or large squeeze of lime. If it's a fresh mojito kinda joint, that is my top pick with a few twists. Skip the sugar & double the lime with extra mint. It's amazingly delicious!

- Wine: Another decent option when ordering out but the same goes for wine as anything else. Moderation, water in between & game plan how many you want to have while staying within your health goals for the evening. As always...drink responsibly. Don't drink & drive...seriously.mojito-full-900x600

  • Other Tips:

- Go with the pick 1 treat game plan for a healthier game time experience. That means choose the one item that's a treat for you & keep the rest of the ordering on par with your healthier eating plan. For me that means if it's sweet potato fries I am craving? I skip the glass of wine & dessert. If I'm craving a delicious glass of wine? I enjoy every last sip along side my salmon & vegetable entree.

- You don't have to go along with the crowd. I get that it's a challenge when everyone else is going full throttle nachos plus a pitcher of beer. But you are an individual & have the strength to make your own choices. Don't be peer pressured by your meal time companions. We all have different goals & theirs may differ greatly from yours. If they are good friends they should support your decisions & have your best interest at heart.

- If you know all the options are going to be pretty poor, eat before you go. Then have a small bite with the group & focus on the game. It's a great way to save a few bucks!

- Enjoy the people, atmosphere & football! Try to work on making it less food focused & more fun filled. Yes it's a practice & not necessarily an easy one. If you are truly on a journey to make necessary dietary changes for your long term health then it has to be an internally motivated, non-negotiable decision going in.NCAA-Georgia_Tech-logo-541pxAny favorite football foods?