When thinking of today’s theme for my #livinginspiralized series, there were so many questions I was receiving and I felt bad not answering more by answering a single question/topic.
Therefore, today’s post is more of a “Q&A” where I am answering a bunch of your submitted questions!
You may see your question here and if you don’t, leave your question in the comments and I’ll be answering them as best I can. Or, you can always email me your questions so I have them and can save them for future Q&A series, if this proves popular!
What I Ate Today, April 11, 2017
Made a smoothie bowl in a cup! I woke up craving a smoothie bowl but also wanted to drink a smoothie, so I just put my granola on top of my smoothie along with some chia seeds. It was the perfect consistency! The smoothie has peanut butter, kale, blueberries, banana, almond milk, ice, and collagen powder.
Always eating a bag of nuts, haha! Same raw blend (pecans, walnuts, almonds, cashews) with raisins.
It was such a beautiful day out, I wanted to get outside, so I went to this little “Fresh Cafe” that’s in my building (I know, a grocery store, a cafe, a restaurant and a coffeeshop, I’m spoiled!) and got their Vegetarian Wrap which was AMAZING. Kale, hummus, roasted red peppers, avocado, onion, tomato, etc. Fresh and delicious!
I ate lunch late, so I just had more nut mix to hold me over until my 5pm Spanish lesson – and an apple!
I made the Chicken Cacciatore from the Inspiralize Everything cookbook but used spiralized potatoes instead of rutabaga and added brussels sprouts. BEST dinner!
Green grapes and some mango slices! I love these from .
Healthy Diet & Fitness Q&A
How did your workouts differ when you were more so on the weight loss journey versus now where you’re not trying to lose weight? – Meghan, via e-mail
I definitely did longer workouts. I worked out for one full hour, because I did more cardio and wanted to fit it all in – cardio and toning. Now, it’s rare I do a 1-hour workout, unless I’m in a workout class like yoga. 45 minutes is all I need to keep toning and maintain my weight loss (and I definitely do 30 minute workouts too now!). However, it’s not necessary to do 1-hour workouts to lose weight, I’m just comparing then to now. Back then, I wanted to expedite the weight loss, so I was focused on extra calorie burn. Now, my goals aren’t calorie burn.
When I was trying to lose weight, I did cardio 6 days a week. It was either running or spinning. I’d try to do at least 30 minutes of cardio on those days. Some days, I’d do 45 minute spin rides. It’s great for cardio burn (some of my spin classes burned 600+ calories!), but it’s necessary to also do toning. When I was toning, I’d focus on “programs” that laid it all out for me, so I could plan my workouts. For instance, I would do Tone It Up workouts 3 days a week (in addition to the cardio). Some weeks, I’d do BBG workouts 3 days a week. These programs take all the guess work out for you and when you have goals of weight loss, the concentrated toning is really helpful.
NOW, my priority is toning 100%. I’m at a weight where I’m happy, and now I just want to turn any extra pudge into muscle. Having more of an hourglass shape, I’m not the body type that builds muscle easily (say, for example, in comparison to an ‘athletic build’ or someone with a more straight up and down frame.) My workouts now are lighter on the cardio (although I always default back to cardio if my weight fluctuates a couple pounds after a long weekend), say 2o to 30 minutes of spinning or running and I finish with 15-20 minutes of toning workouts. There are also certain days that I do full toning workouts, no cardio. I don’t always do cardio now. I’ll do a 30 or 45 minute Nike Training Club app workout or a BBG workout for 28 minutes. That will be my entire workout for the day.
I’m just as consistent with my workouts still today, working out 5-6 days a week. Consistency is key, especially when toning!
I always wonder when I’m making or seeing your recipes if you watch calorie/fat intake at all? I know that you workout like crazy so you probably burn fast. I guess my questions is how do you have any guidelines for overall balance of your day? Thanks Ali! – via Instagram
Nope! I don’t count calories. For one summer (actually, two months of the summer) I started counting calories a bit and it gave me a very unhealthy outlook on eating, so I quit it immediately after and I’ve never counted calories since. I focus more on eating real foods and portion controlling. However, I do know that my body needs 1,200-1,400 calories a day to maintain my active lifestyle, so I make sure to eat at LEAST that (and on a day when I’m running around or have an extra intense workout), I may have an extra snack or two. I don’t actually count the calories, I just know what those portions look like, in comparison to the foods I’m eating. You can see my “What I Ate Today” for an example of that. If I had to run the numbers for today, I’d say I ate around 1,600-1,800 calories (but I’m also pregnant and adding 300+ calories a day over my normal consumption per my doctor’s instruction.)
If you focus on really nourishing your body with real whole foods (and a 100 calorie Yoplait doesn’t count), then you won’t need to get caught up in the calories. your body will tell you what it needs to run properly. If you’re ever light headed or feeling especially starving, you probably need to eat more – and probably more protein. Perhaps take a week where you just eat 3 meals a day and if you’re hungry in between, have a snack that will nourish you, not something like a bag of chips. From this exercise, you’ll realize what your body needs to have on a daily basis to run properly. And you won’t even know the calories! You should never feel sick-to-your-stomach full.
If you have any tips on finding motivation I would be very interested. – via blog
Great question! My answer: YOURSELF. Promise yourself that for at least 5 days/week for one full month, you’ll take a post-workout selfie of yourself in form-fitting workout clothes. After one to two weeks, you’ll start to notice a change in your body (more toned, perhaps a few pounds less), and THAT will serve as your inspiration. There’s no surprise that Kayla Itsines of BBG built such an empire – seeing our own progress is all we need for motivation! I’ve done this with @Getinspiralized and I started looking forward to looking at my photos, to see the incremental changes throughout the week and comparing myself to older photos.
Tips on how to craft a workout schedule for the week and how to figure out what weight training moves or HIIT moves to do each day would be greatly appreciated!! – Joanna, via blog
If you have no idea how to go about building a workout schedule, I highly recommend Tone It Up or Kayla Itsines’ Beach Body Guide (aka BBG.) They bought have easy to follow along and understand workout guides (with pictures). When I was first starting out, those are the workouts I did. I loved Tone It Up especially, because they had a lot of videos (I even bought their series, it was great to have – and I did the workouts, they’re really tough!) Most of them require little to no equipment (ie free weights or nothing), so it’s perfect for those that just want to workout in your living room.
After doing those workouts for months (I used them for the first 6 months of my fit journey), I was able to custom build my own workouts, based on my unique needs/goals. But at first, those are so helpful and both of them (TIU and BBG) have printables! And both have an amazing community of women working towards their healthiest selves!
Sometimes now, when I’m too lazy to come up with my own routine, I print out a workout and bring it to the gym with me!
You mentioned the late night snacking, and I’m totally with you on this. Any advice for how to handle those late night munchies? – Jamie, via blog
First off, it’s okay to have a snack before dinner and a little dessert afterwards. As long as your snack isn’t a bag of chips and your dessert isn’t a row of Oreos. It’s okay to have a cup of popcorn while you’re waiting for dinner to finish in the oven, and it’s perfectly fine to have a couple squares of dark chocolate after dinner.
What’s not okay is eating a tub of almond butter while watching The Bachelor (or is that just me?!) or eating an entire chocolate bar after dinner.
This will always be a struggle for me, but what I’ve found helps is what I call “taking a mental step back.” When I am going to have something that’s outside the reasonable amount of food (ie a sensible snack), I tell myself to “take a mental break” and I go fill a glass of water or make tea with steamed almond milk and tell myself, “If I’m still craving this in 10 minutes, I’ll have it.” What ends up happening is that I wait the 10 minutes and I either forget about the snack, the craving goes away, or the tea/water satisfies that craving.
If you just really need to eat something, just try your best to make it healthy – I love frozen grapes, berries with Greek yogurt, or some dried mango slices. Having an arsenal of healthy “munchies” makes it harder to overdo it – it’s much easier/more fun to plow through a bag of Pepperidge Farms’ Milanos than it is to have mango slices, you know? So just keep the temptation out of the house!
And if all else fails, try that “mental break.” Most of the time, we’re just not being mindful. The mind is a very, very powerful force, so use it well! After all, a healthy lifestyle is a mindset.
If you have a question to ask, I’d love to hear from you! Send me a question for a future Q&A series!