5 Things I Learned at #FitBlogLA

FitBlogLAIf you follow me on Instagram, then you likely know I had one of the best days of my life on Tuesday. OK, “best of my life” is probably an overstatement, but it was pretty darn awesome.

Fitness Magazine invited me and about 50 other L.A. based bloggers to spend the day at the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica meeting other bloggers, chatting about health and fitness, and getting a s*$% ton of swag from amazing brands like Roxy, Athleta, Saucony, Dermalogica, CamelBak, CLIF bar, and Birkenstock.

It was a healthy living blogger’s wet dream.

aneneberg

My friend Gigi and I dined on massive amounts of healthy, lean protein…

protein

…got to meet the Editor-in-Chief of Fitness Mag, Betty Wong (gush, girl crush)…

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…and took a ton of ridiculous pictures.

hoodiesWe call this “Hoodie Rats” <3 Athelta

But the most valuable part of the day was listening to the speakers talk about the latest news in nutrition and fitness.

We had some of the top health and fitness professionals in the biz at our disposal: P90X creator Tony Horton, Registered Dietician and Nutritionbite founder Alyse Levine, and pretty much the most well known celebrity trainer in the biz, Harley Pasternak.

While everyone has their own opinions about the best way to get in shape or lose weight (and even these professional speakers disagreed about it), there were a few pieces of information that I found extremely helpful.

5 Things I Learned at #FitBlogLA

  • “Most of us are over-exercising but under-active.” – Harley Pasternak

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Compared to most of the world, we are way less active in our everyday lives. While many people commute to work on foot or bicycle, most Americans sit in their cars, then sit at their desk, then sit in front of their T.V. This is not to say that many of us don’t work our butts off for one hour of the day at Spin, Pilates, or Circuit Training. But the the other 23 hours of the day, we’re pretty sedentary.

Harley recommends that we aim to take 12,000 steps everyday, including our scheduled exercise of choice. The World Health Organization puts this number at 10,000. But for himself, Harley wears an activity tracker and goes the ‘extra mile’, aka 2,000 steps.

If you’re not familiar with Pasternak, he’s the man behind a ton of hot Hollywood bods — Rihanna, Megan Fox, Julianne Hough, Maria Menounos, Amanda Seyfriend, just to name a few. So if you want to look like them, I suggest you start walking.

  • “It’s all about mindful eating.” -Alyse Levine, M.S., R.D.

Alyse says the main reason we overeat (and gain weight), is because we deprive our bodies of food it really needs and wants, and ultimately end up binging on those things.

Focusing on how we eat instead of what we eat is the key, says Levine. Be present — not distracted by the television or other stimuli. Remove guilt by letting go of the idea of “good and bad foods.” Eat what you want, when you want, but mindfully.

“Once you let go of that forbidden fruit or ‘last meal’ mindset’ you won’t have the drive to eat these ‘bad’ foods all the time, or to overeat them.

Lastly, don’t count calories. Your body has different needs everyday, especially for women with our menstrual cycles. “Your body is not a machine. You don’t have the same needs day in and day out,” said Levine. Instead of counting calories, listen to your body’s natural hunger cues as a guide to when and how much to eat (more on this below).

  • “If you’re not seeing results, it’s because you’re not working out of your comfort zone.” -Tony Horton.

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When it comes to making the most of your workouts, Tony says it’s all about getting better. Every time you exercise, you should be challenging yourself: lifting more weight, doing more reps, going harder. If you’re cruising along on the treadmill — even if you’re sweating a ton — you’re not changing your body.

Tony says our bodies get acclimated to their workouts. So even if you’re doing an intense routine, if you don’t feel exhausted by the end, it wasn’t worth it. While that 3 mile run or 10 lb weight set may have once been very challenging for you, if you’re breezing through it now, you need to kick it up a notch. Tony says to keep track of your routines and try to beat them each time you workout.

As for “rest days,” Tony doesn’t have them. That may sound a little insane to most of us, but it works. Here’s his outlook:

“If I have a workout scheduled for seven days a week, there’s a greater likelihood that I’m going to show up for 22. Twenty-two is the magic number.”

And he’s not doing a crazy workout everyday. Some days it’s just yoga to heal. But he’s moving. “Moving is the fountain of youth. When you exercise and eat right everyday, you thrive. Try skipping a couple of days of brushing your teeth and see how you feel.”

  • Juice cleanses suck. -Harley Pasternak

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Besides the obvious reasons (they’re really hard to stick to and you feel hungry/tired the whole time), Harley says that juice cleanses are unnecessary and unhealthy.

“Your body is constantly cleansing itself,” says Pasternak. The bodies cells are continuously replenishing themselves, and you don’t need juice to do that.

Harley says juices are simply full of sugar and lacking all the nutrients your body actually needs. “I call it the holy trinity: protein, fiber, and healthy fat.”

Instead, as a way to kick-start a healthy diet, Harley recommends a smoothie cleanse. As someone who has a protein smoothie almost every night for “dessert,” I’m a huge fan of this.

Try my Green Goddess Beauty Smoothie >>

With a smoothie, you can incorporate all the things your body needs to stay full and energized, and you’re not losing the fiber from fruit and vegetables that is discarded during the juicing process.

  • The Fruit Test. -Alyse Levine, M.S., R.D.

fruit wash

This is probably the most valuable piece of advice I took away from the whole conference, a test to see if you’re really hungry. With acid reflux, I constantly struggle with determining whether I’m actually hungry or my stomach is just irritated (they feel surprisingly similar).

Levine says when you think you’re hungry, ask yourself, “Would a piece of fruit satisfy this hunger?” If the answer is no, you’re likely not hungry and instead looking to food to fill some other void.

The reason? If you’re really hungry, you’ll eat anything.

Instead of fruit, I’ve been using this trick and thinking of carrots. When I’m really hungry, I will eat a handful of baby carrots to satisfy that hunger. When I’m not really hungry, baby carrots will not do. I need something heartier, carb-y-er, I need bread. Which means, I’m not actually hungry. I’m probably bored, tired, frustrated, or simply having a craving.

Which brings us back to Alyse’s first tip: if you’re having cravings for something (i.e. bread), it’s likely because you’ve been trying to deprive yourself of this thing. Stop labeling this food as “bad”, let yourself eat it when you want, and the craving-guilt-depravation cycle will end.

Thank you again to Fitness Magazine and all of their wonderful sponsors for this incredibly fun and informational event. I plan on implementing all of these helpful tips into my everyday life.

And a shoutout to all the cool bloggers I met there: Lisa of HealthUp, Kara of The Lifestylista™, Melissa of The Valentine RD, Cassey Ho of Blogilates, Sarah of Skinny Runner, Monica of Run Eat Repeat, Trish of Fitness MOMents, and Tiffany of Running Hutch.

Weigh In: Did you find these tips helpful? Which one really resonates with you? Do you disagree with any of them? Let me know!

Comments

  1. Great recap, Whitney! I’m happy to hear that the experts agree that juice cleanses are unhealthy!

    I also love your point about our population being over-exercised but under-active. That really puts things into perspective! I know I need to make a better effort of being more active throughout the day instead of just my hour or two at the gym.

    • Whitney English says:

      Thanks Katy!

      Yeah, that point really resonated with me. When I do a really intense workout, I tend to feel justified in not moving much the rest of the day, which is totally not right.

      Trying to up my walking each day…having Mr. Chow helps :)

  2. No doubt you had some great days !! :)
    Victoria recently posted…F-R-I-D-A-YMy Profile

  3. Love your blog and this re-cap. I loved the fruit test — that and the splitting your plate up into 1/4s and doing check-ins as you finish each one. I have a tendency to eat WAYYYY too fast so I am hoping that will also help me slow down.

    I want to but a FitBit or Nike Fuel Band and try and get those 12k steps a day!
    Gillian @ That’s G recently posted…controversial yoga in the park?My Profile

  4. Great write-up! These are pretty much my key takeaways. As for juicing, I do think they can be beneficial, if we’re talking veggie juicing and not fruits. I did buy Harley Pasternak’s new book after listening to him and tried some of his smoothies in the past few days. His smoothies are a little heavy on fruits, so I do sneak in greens to get more nutritional benefits.
    Lisa recently posted…Recap – Fitness Blogger Meet & Tweet in LAMy Profile

    • Whitney English says:

      Thanks Lisa!

      I must admit I do drink green juices on occasion. I really like Greens 1 from Pressed Juicery. But I don’t use them to cleanse. I will drink one juice (once in a while) just to get a burst of vitamins and nutrients on a day that I know I won’t be eating any whole vegetables.

      And like you, I stick to greens—kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, parsley, romaine, etc—no fruit juice at all. If I want fruit, I eat an apple!

  5. Awesome recap! Thanks for filling us in on the key points- it sounds like it was an amazing event.

  6. Uh oh! Both Tony & Harley would hate me right now…… #steadystatecardio #sorrybutimnotsorry LMFAO! Yes, I hash tagged my comment!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted…The Deck of DeathMy Profile

  7. What a fun event! I’ve started wearing a pedometer to try and get 10,000 steps in a day, so 12,000 will definitely be a challenge! Even with a walk during my hour lunch break, hitting 10,000 still isn’t easy. I definitely agree about us being an inactive compared to most of the world. It’s too easy to be lazy if you want to be! Thanks for sharing :)
    Pam S @nutsfornutritionblog recently posted…Run, Rings, Walkers, and Wind!My Profile

    • Whitney English says:

      That’s great that you;re wearing a pedometer! I want to get a NikeFuel band or something like that to keep track of mine. I’m sure I’m way under the recommended number.

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