My Take Tuesday: Cutting Carbs and Cardio.

my take tuesday: cutting carbs and cardio
Alright, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. I’ll start off by telling you my position on both matters: In regard to cutting your cardio, I am very much a pro! But, in regard to cutting your carb intake… I am a solid heck no!

cutting cardio: when too much sweat is not sweet

Being the erstwhile cardio-queen that I am, I can completely understand why people absolutely love cardio. And, I am not going to sit here and say that isn’t a good form of physical activity, at all! But at the end of the day, I don’t think it is the most important for, by any means!

I guess it really all depends on your goals, but even in the even that you’re looking to lose weight, I think cardio should merely be something to further your toning regime. In my opinion, cardio is extremely harsh on the body. Don’t get my wrong, I love a good sprint or HIIT on my spin bike, but my cardio is usually broken up into small, intesne 5-20 minute blasts. If it is a mainly cardio day, I’ll warm up for five minutes, do a 20 minute HIIT routine, then cool down for 5 minutes. Alternatively, if I am doing Barre/Pilates or Yoga, I will often add 15 minutes of cardio into the circuit, just to keep my heart-rate elevated. That’s it, though. No long distance running. No two hours on the elliptical.

First of all, what is that really accomplishing? Unless you’re training for a marathon of some sort, long distance cardio has virtually no benefits if continued for longer then an hour (depending on your energy expenditure, this time could easily lessen). The more fuel your body burns, the more fuel your body requires. Therefore, after a certain amount of time running on the treadmill, while you’re thinking ‘I’m awesome’, your body is thinking ‘you’re nuts’. By the end you look down at your caloric burn, seeing a high number (which is probably incorrect) and get a feeling of accomplishment.

Then, you go eat a lot because you’re starving.

In my opinion, long distance cardio is best at a low intensity for about 45-60 minutes. If the idea of it didn’t bore me so much, I’d probably adhere to committing to doing this once a week, but eh, it’s not for me. Not to mention, who really here has the time to be at the gym that long? If you do, you might want to evaluate your life a little. Fitness is a great additive to any lifestyle (one I think more people should include in their own), but I don’t think it should ever become the main part of your life. For me, fitness is huge. But not that actual doing of it. Yes, I work out daily, but what I love more is the feeling after and the learning of new and inventive moves. And from there, sharing it with everyone I know! Teaching, inspiring and growing. Not just the part where I sweat.

In the event that you are looking to lose weight, I would suggest HIITs as well as longer distance cardio. Maybe twice a week do a HIIT routine lasting 20-3o minutes, then two times a week do a long distance cardio routine lasting 30-60 minutes. Pair this with ample stretches and toning exercises and you’re set. Oh, and of course – let’s not forget – a clean diet.

Abs be made in the kitchen, not the gym!

 

cutting carbs: when you can have you’re cake and eat it, too… kind of… 

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the healthy living phenomenon of the ‘low carb’ diet.

I’d like to go on record to say:
This, right here, is bullshit.

Excuse my french.

First of all, I will never condone the ‘cutting’ of any major macro-nutrient from one’s diet.  Second of all, carbohydrates are the best form of energy out of the three! Carbohydrates – from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and pulses – give your body ample energy! So, if you’re looking to increase your cardiovascular activity, please don’t think for a moment that you’re allowed to cut out these bad boys! In all honesty, if you were to talk to a marathon runner, you’d probably find yourself shocked with how many carbs they eat. Why? Because they’re burning so much fuel in their work outs, that that need to refuel with – yes, that’s right – carb-y carbs!

What people don’t seem to comprehend is that fruits and vegetables are carbs. When people hear the word carb, I think they’re actually registering the word ‘cake’ or ‘cookie’. Carbs are not the enemy! What is? simple sugars, processed and refined carbs and even starches in high amounts.

This is where things get a little tricky.

While I don’t ever want you to cut carbs, I am a huge advocate of focusing on getting your carbs from certain foods, instead of others. If you were to read the Canada’s Food Guide, you’d see that you should be getting seven to 11 servings of grains a day. I think that is a load of crock, to be completely truthful. You can get the same nutrient value from fruits and vegetables. You just need to eat more of them and focus on vegetables with a lot of fiber! Broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, sweet potatoes, squashes, cauliflower… etc. They’re all starchier, but they’re full of vitamins and fiber. Not to mention your body is meant to process them, so during the digestive process your body knows exactly what to do! This is why eating refined foods – like cakes and chips and stuff – causes weight gain. Sometimes your body isn’t sure how to react to the fuel your giving it. So, instead of thinking too hard, it stores it as fat. It’s kind of like your body’s ‘when all else fails’ approach. Aside from produce, whole grains are a great way to get your carbs! I have committed to having four full grain servings (around 90-110 calories each) and four full fruit servings (60-80 calories each) and an unlimited supply of vegetables. Eat your greens!

yum, carbohydrates!

This works for me, but it may not work for you. Remember when eating listen to your body and you’ll see great results.

That said, I also don’t condone refusing yourself treats. I am kind of a weird girl who doesn’t crave baked goods. If I want a bite, I’ll have a bite. But I don’t have much of a sweet tooth (okay, honey aside) so I don’t really ever want it. I’d much rather suck back on a spoonful of nut butter, to be honest.

Probably with some honey…

and some Greek Yogurt…

Regardless, if you want a slice of cake, I am in no way saying that you can’t have it. That’s, again, denying your body of something, which is just not at all productive. Treat yourself to cake!

 

Gosh dang, Mama makes a good looking baked good, hmmm.

 

That’s my take
Stay sweet,

Caitlyn

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The Other 47 don’t Really Matter…

To start, I have two small things to say:
1) Does anyone else find that certain texts on your computer make it easier for you to write more eloquently? I do. I always HAVE to write in Georgia or Times New Roman, but I do prefer Georgia. If it is for something professional, I will change the text following the editorial and writing processes, because I need to write in my Georgia to really get my point across. I know, I know. I’m nuts.
2) Is anyone else jazzed the Canada metaled in Synchronized Swim? I AM!
three shades of gray
I decided that today I would write a ditty on the different ‘grey’ areas in life. Everyone – regardless of your age, sex and so on – have moments wherein they discover that things are not simply black or white. In fact, more often than not this proves to be the case. Over the past few years, I’ve found this to be true in several facets of my life. In my relationship, in my education, in my fitness and healthy lifestyle pursuits. You name it, there is a grey area.
 
lightest gray: healthy fitness

There is a very fine and faint line between a ‘healthy’ exerciser/eater and an ‘unhealthy’ one. I’ve straddled the line and I’ve been on both sides, so I can tell you this much – being is a healthy eater is far more exception.
Unfortunately, coming with a truly clean and healthy lifestyle, judgement is bound to grow – especially if you’re like me and have an unhealthy history. Some people might look at my current lifestyle and think: she has a problem. Why? Because I am very structural and intuitive in my eating habits, passionate and committed to a workout routine, have a slight obsession with anything related to yoga/Pilate and Ballet Barre… et cetera. To me, this is life. To others it could look like an unhealthy addiction, driven by my past issues.
I understand this. Completely. I mean, yes, in the past I underwent a lot of issues, but working out isn’t so black and white (eh?). People who work out and eat right will all have their own reasons for doing so. Mine is no longer to lose weight, but merely stay toned and feel happy. I do some of my best thinking while working out. It calms me, makes me feel attractive and elegant. I can’t explain it; I just love it. So, I guess what I am trying to say is, if you see someone who seems to be extremely dedicated/addicted to exercise, take the time to really get to know their work out schedule (if you truly care that much), or even just take the time to get to know them! Yes, perhaps you’ll discover that their mentality toward a sweating session isn’t ideal, but maybe you’ll discover that they have a love for it, similar to your love of… reading, or playing video games or… for me, writing and helping people (and, let’s be honest, fitness).
Furthermore – on the topic of fitness, alone – each person has their own idea of what is and isn’t challenging or fun. As I have said many times, I’ve tried to be a cardio lover… I’m just not. You will never see my running a marathon (that said, I’d totally be on the side lines cheering you on… maybe doing some jump squats or a burpee ;D). It just isn’t for me. I do love getting a good sweat on, but I have found other more effective ways of doing so (for me). Again, I state: healthy fitness is not something that can put tucked into one category! Healthy fitness could simply be walking for 20-30 minutes every night after dinner. Does it make you happy? Do you feel good about doing it? Do you feel good about yourself while doing it? Then that’s all that really matters. Don’t feel the need to have the perfect legs, or the greatest buns or whatever! Just love life and you’ll shine!
light grey: healthy diet
This is another one similar to the category above. The definition of ‘healthy eating’ is not simple, at all. It might be more complicated than the definition of healthy fitness, to be completely frank. People watch others all the time and compare what foods they’re stuffing in their mouth to the food others are stuffing into their mouths. STOP. Right now, in this moments, quit it. Okay?
First of all, everyone’s body has a different genetic makeup, so why would we all eat the same way? We wouldn’t. Some people can’t handle certain foods, while others can; some people metabolize food more quickly, causing them to require a higher intake of X, while others need more Y. It’s all about your body at the end of the day.
Let’s talk about potatoes.
Let’s talk about popcorn.
Contrary to what you might think, both are extremely nutrient dense foods. AKA: healthy (of course, coating them in butter and other saturates will lessen this, but on the whole… they’re super good for you). I don’t eat either.
Let’s look at pre-packaged granola bars like Fiber One and Havest Crunch.
Both – in my opinion – hold creditable nutrition, yet I don’t eat them… ever.
Let’s look at chocolate.
Gets a pretty bad rep, right?
I eat it daily.
Yeah, yeah. And I probably eat kale like their is no tomorrow, right?
Uh, no. I never eat kale. Use to – not anymore.
So, what gives? I am a self-credited ‘health  nut’, am I not?
Well, I most certainly am!
To start, potatoes and most other starches (with an excepting to oatmeal, some cereals and quinoa) cause my a great deal of pain and… I don’t like them. While most people see a plate of pasta and think ‘heaven’, I think ‘okay, cool’. I used to love it, but I just don’t anymore. I’ve much rather a plate full of broccoli or brussel sprouts…. or both. Okay, both. It’s just my preference. There is nothing wrong with these foods, at all. So, when I say I don’t eat them… I don’t mean you shouldn’t either. I mean… I don’t eat them. For my own reasons. Popcorn, on the other hand, has more to do with my not being much of a snack-er. I never feel the need to ‘snack’, so snack foods and I don’t really happy. I have snacks, but I look at them more as one of my mini-meals.
As for the granola bars, I do ample research on a product before eating it. I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with entire of the mentioned products, but they’re not really on my list of ‘highly approved foods’. Again, this in no way means that you shouldn’t eat them. I eat very ‘clean’. What does that mean? Everything I eat, I eat in what can be considered it’s truest form. I don’t not eat granola bars, but I have a list of companies I try to stick to when choosing to do so (Luna, Kind, Lara and Simply). This also goes for crackers (Lentil Crackers and Nut Thins). I look for products with minimal ingredients and try to find products that have few-to-no GMOs. I am also in favor of Kashi products, too. But don’t think because I’m  not (or anyone, really) eating a certain food you are eating, there is a reason you shouldn’t be eating. I don’t even eat ‘clean’ solely to be ‘healthy’, it’s just something I’ve been doing for so long that to not doing it would be… weird.
Chocolate and kale? Well, I am not huge on kale. First of all, I do like a good kale chip, so when I crave that, I’ll buy some. But often I find it to be too much work (yes, lazy). I like it, but I’d rather buy pre-washed and cut foods to make my life easier. Shoot me. Chocolate, I just really like it. A year ago, I’d never eat chocolate. Ever. But now I enjoy dark chocolate nightly (and have even purchased white and milk chocolate granola), so chocolate is on my list. I am much more interested in the sharp taste of dark dark chocolate than I am milk, but if you like milk… eat it!
All in all ‘healthy eating’, is eating in a mindful way that makes your body feel good. That’s all. Don’t feel the need to eat this, or do this in order to be deemed ‘healthy’. If you’re happy with your meals and love how you feel in your skin, my opinion is, you couldn’t be doing any better.
grey: love and intimacy

Love is a gray area onto itself. First it is impossible to define, or explain and you don’t really know how it feels until you truly experience it. I know this first-hand. I used to think I knew what love was, but I didn’t. In friendships, in relationships… with my family. I thought I had it all figured out. But it isn’t that simple.
First of all, you can be intimate without being in love. An individual I know (well, a few) have been intimate with people they didn’t really ‘love’ several times. This used to confuse the heck out of me. First of all, intimacy is the act of closeness and love… so should you not be in love with the person you’re being intimate with? For me, yes. For others, maybe not.
This above all else has become the most notable ‘gray’ area I’ve come to meet.
There are one thousand reasons one might be intimate with another person. Maybe they are hurting and need some solace, or they enjoy their time with the person, but know that it is not something that will leave the confines of an intimate setting. Perhaps there was genuine love in the past and while that love was easy to let go, the physicality of their relationship was not so easy to.
This is something I’ve had to come to terms with in the past. I have had to learn to accept and support others for their choices in intimate encounters, regardless of whether or not it is something I would or would not do. Everyone has their reasons for needing things – just as I have my reasons for not eating certain foods and exercising daily. There should never been any judgement, because there is never a true reason to judge.
What about love?
In most things in my life, I’m crazy structural and planned out. Love isn’t structured and love isn’t planned. Love will hit you when you least expect it – probably for someone you didn’t expect to fall. Love is also not two 2d. When you fall in love, an array of emotions comes over you. You begin to think of that person before yourself and all the time. You want nothing more than to see them happy – sometimes to a fault. You can’t explain why and even though you never thought you’d be the kind of girl who gets excited over making some one a chicken sandwich, you do.
But as I stated before there are several kinds of love, and it cannot be easily defined. My love for my mother is different than the love for my father, as my love for Omar differs from both. Similarly the emotions harbored by another individual toward their close ones could manifest itself completely differently than mine might. Everyone is different, so even love cannot be compared.
Just on a side note: Please don’t be afraid of love. I used to be. I’m still often fearful of intimacy, but love I’ve come to terms with. If you open your heart and let someone truly in, you’ll never ever want to go back. So don’t fear love and don’t fear intimacy. The closeness you’ll experience with those to whom you are intimate with will be breath-taking, I promise you. I just feel I am unable to lecture too heavily to that, being that I still have my own growing to do in this field. Luckily I’ve found an amazing man who is willing to work with me through all my little nits and pics.
🙂
Holy poo, I am pasty.
Stay Sweet, 🙂
Caitlyn