If 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.
My friend Gigi and I dined on massive amounts of healthy, lean protein…
…got to meet the Editor-in-Chief of Fitness Mag, Betty Wong (gush, girl crush)…
…and took a ton of ridiculous pictures.
We 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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.