Category Archives: Get Smart

Eating Out? 10 Tips to Keep you on Track

Well, I am officially a resident of NYC!  It is some craaaaazy stuff, let me tell you!  I can hardly believe I’m actually here!  I’ve been in the city a few days now, and I’m still without all my household goods – the big thing for me is that I have basically no cookware except for the frying pan I bought yesterday.  They’re currently somewhere in transit between here and Michigan…  The first estimate was that I’d see them by June 24th at the latest, but I’m hoping for earlier [fingers crossed].

What to do when you can't cook My sad, lonely skillet… I also realized I have no knife to chop veggie with! Lol

Anyway, this whole being without a kitchen (and groceries) for the first few days has presented some unique challenges.  It means that I have been eating out every single day for each meal.  Not that I’m too upset about this… you see, I’m living in Hell’s Kitchen, and there are tons of amazing restaurants and bars in this area that I’m dying to explore.  However, it is going to present a challenge when it comes to my fat loss goals and not going completely broke my first week here, lol.

Challenge: If I want to at least maintain my current physique, I’m not going to be able to treat this lack of a kitchen as an excuse to eat anything I want.

Which brings up an interesting topic…

I’ve noticed something about myself– anytime I travel for work or pleasure, or am just out of my normal routine, I feel like all bets are off and I can eat absolutely anything I want AND as much of it as I want.

In thinking through this a bit, I figured out where this attitude came from.

Back in college and during tournaments for my club team, anytime we traveled we were playing a LOT of games in the course of a couple days.  For my club team, if we advanced to the finals, we’d easily play five 90 minute games in 2 days.  That’s a TON of energy expenditure, so it was important to replenish our fuel stores between games.  Processed carbs (grains like pasta, breads, granola bars, etc.) were a staple of the “replenish before the next game” diet because they give a quick burst of energy.

So I learned the habit that anytime I was away from my normal routine, I didn’t have to worry about what I ate.

It’s no one’s fault necessarily that I carried this attitude into adulthood.  I’ve just been doing what always worked for me in the past – when I’m away from home, replenish with calorie dense foods that are lower in nutrients.   However, that approach no longer works for me.  It doesn’t help me attain the physique I want.

Because I want something different, I have to start DOING something different.

 Therefore it IS my responsibility to change this behavior now that I’ve recognized it.

In trying to change a behavior, I gotta change how I think about the situation (it’s really all about your mindset).  So I look at each meal/stop for a snack as a chance to practice making better choices than I would have before.  Instead of thinking just about what will taste good (old habits), I think about what the food will actually do for my body – will it help me get results I want or keep me from results I want?

Sometimes it’s tough to know whether what you’re eating will help you get results or not.  So here are some tips that have helped me the past few days and when I’ve been on business trips.

These tips are useful anytime you’re not cooking at home – whether you’re out to dinner with friends, traveling for work, when you’re on vacation, or when you’re trying to get settled into your new place like me!

Remember – do your best in the current situation and cut yourself a little slack. :)

1.  DO drink plenty of water.

Anytime I’m out of my regular routine, I know I’m not drinking enough water.  The past few days I’ve been wandering around the city a ton and not carrying a water bottle.  Big mistake.

You need water for all sorts of crucial body functions, so don’t let this fall by the wayside.  Each time you sit for a meal or stop for a coffee, drink a huge glass of water.  This will keep your digestive system on track, help offset any increase in sodium and/or alcohol consumption, and keep pseudo-hunger away (often times when we feel hungry, we’re actually dehydrated).  So drink up!

2.  DO eat protein and fibrous veggies at each meal.

Make these the foundation of any meal you eat, and eat them first when possible. Save the starchy or processed carbs for last.  The idea is that you’ll have started to fill up on the protein/veg and won’t need to eat all the other carbs now.

If you’re getting a wrap or sandwich, be sure to pick a sandwich that comes with plenty of lean meat and veggies.  Other meal ideas – salads with lean protein, omelets with veggies, fibrous veggies or fruit for sides over baked potato/fries, eat your hamburger with extra lettuce, onions, and mushrooms on top (and tossing the bun would be even better).

3.  DO decrease portion sizes.

Often time restaurants serve massive portions of food.  As much as I WANT to eat that huge burrito all in one sitting, I probably don’t actually need to.  I can eat half and take the rest back to my hotel.  Or if I can’t take it back with me, order something smaller or order off the ala carte menu.  As much as I hate to say it, you can also leave food on the plate.  My parents taught me well to not waste food, so I hate doing this.  But sometimes it’s the only reasonable option so that I don’t leave stuffed and ready to slip into a food coma.

4.  DO be smart with the booze.

Often times my travels mean that opportunities to drink alcohol come up more frequently.  I do two things that help me out – 1) for every adult beverage I have, I drink a glass of water before I order more booze, and 2) I try to stick to either red wine or vodka/soda with lime.  They’re good options for drinks that are lower in sugar (a huge culprit especially in mixed drinks).

5.  DON’T reach for the bread basket.

Let’s be honest, at very few restaurants is the bread at the start of a meal actually worth the calories it contains.  And the resulting insulin spike is never worth it.  So ask the server when they come for your drink order to NOT bring the bread.  If others in your party want it, then tell yourself you can have some after your meal if you still really want it.  Don’t eat it mindlessly.

6.  DO pack snacks like almonds, jerky, protein bars to hold you over between meals.

To avoid the crazy hunger that almost always drives me to eat the bread from the basket at the restaurant, I like to snack on friendlier things between my meals to keep me from getting ravenously hungry by the time I make it to the restaurant.  Stuff like almonds, jerky and protein bars can be picked up at most convenience stores.  A lot of times, convenience stores also carry fruit too.  An apple is high in fiber and can keep you from going crazy on the appetizers.

7.  DO get in a workout, even if it’s a quick one.

This isn’t exactly about the food, but it’s something that helps when my eating patterns are weird.  I always feel better when I’m out of my routine if I can at least get in a 15 minute workout.  It gives my metabolism a little boost, plus I like the feeling of a good sweat even when my nutrition isn’t exactly on point (it almost feels cleansing to me… weird, I know).  I love the workouts in my 6 Week DIY exercise program.  All the workouts can be done basically anywhere, and there is no equipment needed.  Plus, they get a good sweat going!  That makes them perfect for hotel rooms/fitness centers or empty apartments.

8.  DO decide what you’ll eat before you get to the restaurant.

I know this isn’t always possible, but if you know where you’re going, check out the menu before you leave or on your way there.  Decide on the lean protein/fibrous veggies dish you’ll have before you get there so that you won’t be tempted when someone else in your party orders the fettuccine alfredo.

9.  DON’T stress over small stuff (butter on veggies, the sauce on the meat).

Seriously, the whole point of your trip is not related to your fat loss efforts, so don’t get too hung up on small things.  Your goal is to maintain where you are now, so a few little things aren’t going to wreck your progress.  They put the dressing on your salad instead of on the side?  It’s ok!  Eat and enjoy!  The tacos you ordered came with 2 corn tortillas each instead of one and you ate them anyway?  Oh well, it’s really ok!  <– I did that 2 nights ago… Make sure you don’t stress over the small stuff.  You’ll be back to normal soon.

Tips for Eating OutThis was my lunch today – a stuffed chicken breast (breaded) and veggie stew.  I didn’t let the breading on the chicken bother me; instead I focused on how much protein I was getting in and that the veggies were delish!

10.  DO watch out for “dangerous” food combos.

Whenever you’re eating out, there are a couple food combinations you should try to avoid because they’re a hormonal and therefore fat loss nightmare.  Combining fat and starchy/processed carbs is a no-no (sadly fried foods fall in this category).  Also, combining booze and carbs is the kiss of death.  When you’re metabolizing booze you can’t burn fat, so either have the starch and forget the booze or drink the booze and forget the starch.

There ya have em – my tips for eating when you’re traveling, out to eat, or just generally out of your routine.  Any of you have a chance to use these soon?  Let me know what your favorite one is!  I plan to enforce smaller portion size, protein and veg at each meal, and no starch/fat at the same meal today!

<3 Lauren

A Short Break… But I’ll be Back Soon!

Whew!  It is hard to believe that my move is almost here!  I’m putting the finishing touches on projects, drastically simplifying my life, and getting ready to move next week!  Eek!

I even sold my car since I won’t be needing one living in NYC!  That was SUPER weird to me, because I’ve had a car since I had a driver’s license.  It’s definitely an odd feeling being officially without wheels (even though I have a rental until I leave).

Anyway, with all I have left to do over the next week or so, it’s going to be pretty tough to be 100% sure I get a post up next week.

I don’t want you to think I’ve forgotten you, so I wanted you to know ahead of time that you may not hear from me until mid-June.  I’m hoping to have an interview with another former student athlete ready for you by June 12th.  Then by the following week, I should be back at it.

Please try not to cry…  Seriously, keep it together… If you start crying, I’ll start crying and then we’ll both be one big crying mess. 

Plus, I tend to cry more when I’m stressed anyway so it won’t take much for the waterworks to start…

Going a week or two without a post from me is going to be EXTREMELY difficult to handle, I know ;)   So, to help distract you from the pain of disconnection, I’m providing you with some fantastic blogs and websites full of generally awesome stuff to go check out.

I know a few of these folks personally, and I can vouch that 1- they’re legit and 2- their stuff is awesome.  Some have been blogging longing than others, but they’re ALL worth checking out!

Enjoy!  I’ll be back soon, y’all!


FUN and AWESOME places to go.  You can find most of these peeps/groups on FB and Twitter, too, so be sure to Like and/or Follow them!

Jill Coleman (my mentor – seriously awesome stuff – she’s all about fitness and getting in the right frame of mind when it comes to deal with your body and life in general)

Metabolic Effect (have you noticed I love their stuff!?  LOL)
Website and blog:

Neghar Fonooni (she’s good friends with Jill, lifts heavy and does yoga – I am jealous of her strong legs, btw)

Jen Sickler (another friend of Jill’s and awesome gal!)

Cut the Fat Podcast (they have great podcasts and a blog, too!)

The Smarter Science of Slim (all sorts of good info via blogs, podcasts, etc.)

The Sweaty Betties

LifeHacker (all sorts of random info – love it)

Brain Pickings (more random info that’s gear more towards art, literature, etc.)

Ink Young (she has all sorts of info on raising healthy kids)

Robb Wolf

Susan Cain (she wrote the book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” and I loved it!  Give it a read if you are an introvert or know one… it’ll give you massive insights into introverts)

The Best Way for Former Athletes to Lose Weight

UPDATE:  Hey y’all!!  So in the post below, I share the secret to getting in shape for good (hint: it’s your lifestyle:)).  Trust me, I know it can be overwhelming to think about changing your lifestyle cause I’ve done it myself, so I’d recommend changing one thing at a time.  As former athletes, we tend to have an affinity for exercise, so many times it’s easier for athletes to change up their workout routines FIRST before changing up other aspects of life in order to lose weight and get back in fighting shape.  

To help support you as you take your first steps towards changing your lifestyle, I created a 6 week DIY exercise program that you can learn more about by clicking here.  The workouts are ass-kicking and in a word, AWESOME.  So read on, grasshopper, then check out the DIY program :)

<3, Lauren


It’s not a magic pill.  It’s not a crazy “eat only caviar and radishes” diet.  And it’s not a workout routine from some trainer to the stars.

The secret to get back in shape is to alter HOW YOU THINK so that body change becomes a lifestyle – a journey really - instead of only a crash diet.

To adopt a new lifestyle, it’s going to require a shift in your thinking and perspective.

Maybe you just need to tweak your perspective a little – or maybe you need to tweak it a lot (**raises hand**).  But whether you’re looking to hit cardiovascular goals, strength goals or lose some body fat permanently, you’re gonna need to change up your definition of “better” options.

Change your mind, change your life

Let’s ruminate on this a bit…

Back in our heyday, “more” usually got us the results we were looking for.  More practicing, more eating whatever, more running, more studying, more partying, more late nights, more intense workouts…  It all focused on “more” in order to get results.

Welp, not anymore.

If you’re going to lose weight as a former athlete, you’re going to have to learn that “more” is not better.  BETTER is better.  That is something that my mentor’s husband and a founder of Metabolic Effect (Jade Teta) likes to say.  And it’s worth repeating.

More is not better.  BETTER is better.

This is what I mean by a change in perspective.  This is why I’ve had to look at life through different lenses.  The “more is better” perspective worked in the past, but I’m seeing that more of something doesn’t necessarily get me the results that I’m looking for.  Instead of just doing more, I can see better results when I make “better” choices.

Let me give some specific examples of what this means in my life.

It means I actually don’t need to hit up the gym every single day of the week for at least 1 hour or more.  It means I shoot for efficient workouts, not longer or more frequent workouts.

It means that instead of carb-loading like I used to the night before the game (or just eating a ton of carbs in general), I make better choices about WHICH carbs to consume and figure out my optimum amount of carbs.

I remember sometimes deliberately pacing myself during Belmont practices cause I didn’t want to be dead by the end of the session. [And subsequently have to run more because I was one of the last people to cross the finish line in sprints - ugh.]  Adopting the “better is better” approach means instead of pacing myself in order to get through the workout, I push as hard as I can until I get breathless, my muscles are burning, the weights I’m lifting feel heavy and I’m hot and sweaty.  And I rest when I need to.

[Of course I sweat at the drop of a hat so that part is not too tough for me]

It also means that instead of constantly pacing myself in life, I intentionally push myself (maybe at work or with family stuff), then I set aside time for relaxation and recovery time.  So it means I carve out time in my schedule for things that truly rejuvenate me instead of just zoning out in front of the TV or mindlessly surfing FB or Twitter.  I don’t need more downtime, it means I need better spent downtime.

It also means I set boundaries in my life and enforce them.  I don’t take on more things because I feel like I have to.  I better invest my time in things that I REALLY want to do and things I feel like I can really contribute in.  

See?  More isn’t the answer.  Our lives have changed drastically since our college or high school sports days.  Our bodies are different both inside and out.  We have stress we didn’t have before.  We have families.  We have taxing jobs.  We have bills.  So the approach we took in the past probably won’t work anymore.

We have to find better ways of doing things, and I believe that changing our thinking will allow us to do just that.  To me, that is the “better” approach.

I firmly believe that when you change your thinking, you truly can change your life.  And while it’s not easy, it’s possible.  And if you set out on a fat loss journey, I can guarantee you will learn TONS about yourself and your body in the process.  And I’m guessing lose some weight and improve your health along the way ;)

So tell me, are you in it for long haul?  Leave a smiley in the comments if you are, and if you have any questions, please feel free to find me on FB or Twitter and ask away (see right side of this page).  I’m always here for ya!

<3, Lauren


UPDATE Cont’d…. Remember if you’re interested in changing up your workout routine to something that’s BETTER (not more), then check out this awesome program I made to help you transition to a smarter lifestyle.

Be a Bombshell in a Bikini: Part 1 – Save your Muscle!

There are a few times each year when people get especially motivated to lose weight or lean out a little (New Year’s resolutions, anyone?).  Well with temperatures rising, the official start of spring, and vacation plans in the works, another one of those times is upon us. 

Brace yourself.  Swimsuit season is just around the corner. 

If you are like me, as the details of your beach vacation are starting to come together (I’ll be off to Gulf Shores in May!  yay!), you realize with slight panic that, um, you aren’t necessarily feeling ready to peel off your cover-up at the beach and reveal your somewhat soft and pale self (ok maybe pale is just me).  If you’re hoping to rock a bombshell-esque bod in that bikini, what can you do?

Well as I see it, there are a couple different options.  You can choose a crash diet that, if you really stick to it, will likely work to get you basically beach ready.  But guuurl, trust me!!  You do NOT want to do that. 

Crash diets are an eat less/exercise more approach that are unstainable longterm, meaning you eventually quit the diet, and the worst part – they result in INDISCRIMINATE weight loss.  This means that the weight lost can be water, fat or muscle, and if you’re eating less and doing lots of steady state cardio it’s likely the lost weight is mostly muscle.  Not good.

Why save your muscle?

First, muscle is responsible for giving you those shapely, goddess-like curves that many gals crave.  When you starve away your muscle, you significantly decrease the potential of sculpting a tight tush or shapely shoulders precisely because there is no muscle to sculpt

Remember, you can’t “tone” muscle that you don’t have.

Second, muscle is metabolically active tissue – this just means that it uses resources (calories) even when it’s at rest – like when you’re watching TV or sleeping. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn without doing a thing.  Uh, sounds like a pretty good deal to me!

Third, when you inevitably come off the diet that probably had you exercising exorbadent amounts of willpower in order to stay on track, binging and rebound weight gain is in your future.  You will likely eat everything “bad” that you craved while on the diet and probably lots of it.  Couple this with LESS metabolically active muscle tissue and it’s a recipe for disaster.  In fact, research shows that a large percentage of people who go on crash diets are fatter than when they started 2 years after the diet ends.

[Are you starting to understand why I want you to avoid crash diets like the plague??] 

Fourth, indiscriminate weight loss will not change your body shape.  You will become a smaller version of your current shape.  But if you want to decrease the width of your hips in relation to the rest of your body, crash diets won’t do it. 

Take a look at the photo below from Metabolic Effect that illustrates just this.  If you’re a pear and lose “weight” on a crash diet you will only shrink to be a smaller pear (green to green).  This is why you can train for a half marathon hoping to make your saddlebags disappear and all you do is shrink everything – so proportionally, the saddlebags look no smaller.  But if your focus is on fat loss, you can change your body’s shape (green to red).

Weight Loss vs Fat Loss

Alright, now that we are clear on why it’s good to keep muscle around (and dare I say, build some??), we still need to figure out how to get rid of excess fat while holding onto our muscle so we look friggin’ hot in our bikinis this summer, and the next, and the next…

Fat loss with muscle retention happens when you approach body change with a “hormones first, calories second” perspective.  And there are 4 big themes to think about here – nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress.

You might wonder -  How many calories do stress or sleep have??  As you’d expect, they don’t “contain” any number of calories BUT the hormones associated with sleep and stress can drastically affect whether your body decides to store fat or burn it.  The same goes for the types of foods you eat (and how much and when) and the type of exercise you engage in.

The next few posts, I want to take the time to dive deeper into each of these 4 aspects.  But since we’re on the subject of muscle right now, I want to share some ideas for what you can do to hold onto your muscle as you prep for summer.

How to save your muscle

1.  Eat plenty of lean protein.  It keeps you full and satisfied much longer than say donuts would (not to mention you won’t have the same type of sugar crash!). 

Also, the energy required to process lean proteins is pretty high too (this is known as the thermic effect of food).  The thermic effect is why something like celery is essentially negative calories – it takes more calories to break it down than the celery contains. 

Another thing is that when you’re in a lower caloric state, you don’t want your body to break down your muscles for energy.  If you make sure you’re eating enough protein, the amount of muscle chewed up will be minimal. 

How much is enough?  A generally accepted amount for women is 0.8-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight.  So if you weigh 150lb, your goal should be to consume 150g of protein throughout the day.  Now, I know this seems like a TON of protein, and compared to the standard Western diet (and even to what you ate in your college athlete days), IT IS a lot of protein.  But don’t fret.  When you break up that amount over several small meals through the day, it’s definitely doable. 

We’ll talk more about the why/how of meal frequency next time, but for now, think of it this way. 

All of these things have 20-30g protein per serving – 5 egg whites, 1 scoop protein powder, 1 medium chicken breast, 6oz white fish, 4oz lean beef cut.  If you have egg whites at breakfast, a salad with chicken at lunch, a protein shake in the afternoon and fish or steak for dinner, you’ve EASILY consumed at least 100g protein and probably more. 

At the minimum, include a serving of lean protein at each meal.

2.  Lift heavy weights.  And try it rest-based style.  I talked about the importance of efficeint exercise already, but it’s important enough to repeat.  As you may have experienced since you finished your college career, if you don’t use muscle you will lose it.  Thus the importance of consistently lifting heavy weights. 

In all honesty, getting to the gym regularly is something I struggle with.  It’s an easy routine for me to get out of and a tough one to get back in to, but I notice huge differences in my strength, lung capacity, and general feelings of self-confidence when I have been at the gym regularly.  

If you struggle with getting to the gym, try this Jedi mind trick that I use on myself…

Tell yourself you just have to walk into the gym and do 5 minutes of a circuit then you can leave.  Usually by the time I get myself there, warm up and get going, I’m mentally ready to do a whole 20 minute workout.  Voila!  I just worked out!

3.  Lower cortisol.  This is key because cortisol can signal to your body to eat up stored muscle for energy.  And yeah… we don’t want that.  So we need to make sure that we are not constantly in a high cortisol state. But a constant environment in the body of high cortisol can drastically impair your fat loss results, and one of those reasons is because you can end up losing muscle. 

How to control cortisol? 

Walk – leisurely (no power walking). 

Take a hot bath with delicious smelling bath soak (I love the Sleep Lavendar Vanilla scent from Bath and BodyWorks) and light some candles around the tub.  This is my go-to stress relief option.  I take at least 1 bath a week, more when I’m really stressed by work stuff (like now). 

You could also spend quality time with friends who make you laugh, get it on with your partner, read a good book, do a restorative yoga class, or journal.  Find something that relaxes you then engage in it consistently.

My Favorite Addition to a Hot Bath

4.  Sleep more!  More on this later but it is SO critically important that you sleep enough (8-10 is ideal but even 7-9 hrs is better than what most people get).  I know it’s difficult to make time for this, but sleep is prime recover/rebuild time for your muscles.  Getting enough sack time is critical to keeping your muscle around.

So this week please please PLEASE avoid the temptation to drastically cut your calories and do hours of steady state cardio.  It is bad for your muscles, your physique and your health in the long run.  Instead, show your muscles some love.  A role model of mine is bodybuilder Tom Venuto and I love his approach to body change.  He says that you want to “burn the fat” and “feed the muscle”.  LOVE that visual.   So let’s all ditch the crash diets and feed our sexy muscles!  Who’s with me??

5 Fat Loss Lessons from “The Croods”

This weekend I went to see the most recent DreamWorks spectacular called “The Croods.”  Yeah, I’m 9 years old at heart :)  It got a 65% on, and I (generally) tend to agree with the reviews on there.

5 Fat Loss Lessons from The Croods

I’m glad I went because I enjoyed it!  It was funny (think Ice Age type humor) for kids and adults. Even though there wasn’t as much adult humor as say Shrek had, the cast did a great job (Nicholas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds :) ), and there were some really sweet parts – especially father/daughter stuff — I might have shed a tear or two in my popcorn….


I realized later that “The Croods” also had a few lessons for me about fat loss and living a lifestyle that supports fat loss (known by many as the “fat loss lifestyle” or FLL).  Huh?!  I know, right?! I’m just as surprised as you are!

What are these lessons?  Here are the tidbits I picked up…

1.  The cavemen knew what they were doing when it comes to physical activity and balance in energy expenditure.  These people alternated between times of HIGH intensity energy expenditure (you know, running for their lives from some sort of prehistoric tiger OR chasing down their own dinner) and times of LOW or NO energy expenditure.

It was either a dead sprint or a leisure pace.

[I'm also pretty sure cavemen never decided to go do an hour of steady state cardio. :) ]

So, the caveman’s favorite “cardio” would have probably been HIIT (high intensity interval  training), and it’s also my favorite way to approach cardio equipment.  On the elliptical, I go all out for a minute and rest till I’m ready to go again for 15-20 min and wow! I am dripping sweat and feel all sorts of muscles burning!  

2.  Cavemen did a LOT of walking, and walking is a big part of living the FLL.  I don’t mean power-walking either.  The walking I’m talking about is slow, leisurely, and RELAXING.

If you’re on a treadmill, I mean a pace of 2-3 mph.

Walking is a great way to lower cortisol while still moving your body (most exercise actually   releases cortisol which is a good thing when you’re working out!  but chronically high cortisol is not good, so we gotta find things that help us relax and lower cortisol when we’re not working out).

Incorporating 30-60 minutes of leisure walking a day can be a huge benefit for anyone!

3.  Don’t let yourself get ridiculously hungry- cause then you overeat!  There’s a scene where the family hasn’t eaten in a while, then they finally catch some huge bird thing and they devour it all in about 30 seconds.

I know if I don’t eat enough during the day, I become the incredible eating woman when I get home from work.

Eating meals/snacks high in lean protein and fibrous veggies at regular intervals throughout the day often helps many people to control their hunger, energy and cravings (HEC) <– When these get out of whack (i.e. low energy, high cravings, high hunger) it’s easy to over-indulge.

4.  Caveman Guy says to girl, “You’re SO heavy.”  Girl says, “Thank you!!!”  Remember ladies, muscle weighs more than fat.  I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but don’t forget it when you step on the scale.

As a former athlete, there’s a good chance that you still have quite a bit of muscle on your frame, so don’t fret if you and your girlfriend are both a size 8 but you’ve got a good 15 lbs on her – that’s the muscle!

Avoid the scale. I vote pictures and circumference measurements for keeping track of progress!

5.  Don’t “never not be afraid.”  This is the opposite of what Father Caveman taught his
family in the movie initially (I think his name was Grug but whatevs).  He told his family “Never not be afraid.”

Well, I’m saying to do the opposite.  DON’T be afraid.

How does this relate to FLL?  Cause living a FLL requires changing up how you live your life if you want fat loss results to stick.

And change can be scary.  But don’t be afraid.

Make one manageable change at a time, and these little changes will add up to the FLL over time.

So there they are!  The 5 Lessons I got from The Croods :)  Leave a little love (<3) in the
comments if you’re like me and are psyched when you find lessons in unexpected places!



How to Get in Shape by Working Out Less

I was never the best player on the team.  Ever.  I usually wasn’t even in the top 3 best on the team.  Someone was always quicker, faster, more aggressive or had a better first touch than I did.  But what I lacked in skills I made up for in my work ethic.

My work ethic was always something I took pride in, and I wasn’t about to let anyone out-work me.  Plus, I learned over the years that my work ethic got me noticed even if I wasn’t awesome, so that was all the more incentive to work my ass off. (yeah, I’ve got issues… but who doesn’t? ;) )

And on top of that, as athletes we were constantly judged by whether or not we were slacking off. Didn’t go up for the rebound or dive for that ball?  Slowed up during that sprint?  Well then we weren’t working hard enough and must not really want it. (um, NOT true!!)

Now hear me before I go on – I DO think that there is a time and a place when going all out is needed, however….

The problem comes when we think the ONLY way to get something is to

Hard work is great.  It’s important.  But it’s not the only thing you need to succeed in whatever it is you’re doing.

And it’s definitely NOT the only way to get back into shape.

Too many people beat themselves up when they don’t lose weight because they think they aren’t exercising enough.  So they tack on another 30 min to their already 40 min long cardio sessions.  They end up on the elliptical in the so-called “fat burning zone” for over an hour in the mornings and a spin class after work.  And what do they get?  They’re starving with wild cravings later.  Their body starts chomping on the muscle they already have, and eventually they have to add MORE cardio because the body is smart and has adapted to what they’ve been doing. Not to mention that they don’t really have time for 2 hrs at the gym every day.  [I speak from experience here - been there.  Done that.]

The “just work harder” approach usually fixed the problems we faced as athletes (or so we thought…)  But it actually works against us – in fat loss and in life.  So what do we change if we want results?

Start working SMARTER.

Seriously, that’s the key.

Instead of working harder, i.e. spending 2 hours of your day at the gym, change your workouts so that they’re more effective, more efficient.


What do effective and efficient workouts look like?  They incorporate weight lifting and intense cardio and they don’t last very long at all (think, 20 min of actual work).

They also incorporate Rest-Based Training (RBT) – the brainchild of the folks at Metabolic Effect.  The idea of these workouts is to “Push until you can’t, Rest until you can”

Basically, you work as intensely as possibly until you can’t do another rep or until the weight is too heavy or you can’t get your breath.  Then you STOP and REST!  You rest as long as you need until you can go all out again.  Then you pick up where you left off and continue the workout.

Honestly, at first I thought there was no way something like this would work.  Bc, duh, stopping for a breather is for wimps and slacker-faces.  …Oh how little I knew :D  Trust me, you pick up a set of dumbbells and run through the workout below WITHOUT PACING YOURSELF and you will get why RBT works.  You’ll be sweating like crazy, breathing heavy, your muscles will be burning and you’re using heavy weights (ladies, please avoid the 3lb set… remember your lifting sessions in college where you were piling the plates on the squat rack or leg press??  you can lift more than you think!).

The workout below is based on something Metabolic Effect designed called the “Spark” workout.  The movements are simple but effective.  It’s my go-to workout when I want an efficient and effective full-body workout that takes under 30 minutes.  (To learn more about what happens with your hormones in these kinds of workouts, read this ME article – especially the section on EPOC.  Awesome stuff!)  Here’s how it goes:

1.  Choose your dumbbells.  Start by taking the weight that you can perfectly curl 3 times, and 3 times only.  Then cut that # in half.  Use a set of dumbbells that weight.  If you’re between sets, I’d round up.  Example – I can do 3 perfect form bicep curls with a 30lb dumbbell (I break form if I try to do a 4th curl).  So then I cut 30 in half and use 15lb set for this workout.

2. Warm-up for ~5 minutes.  Get the heart pumping and blood flowing – jumping jacks, high knees, butt kicks, whatevs.

3.  Start a timer for 20 minutes.  Do 12 reps of each of the 4 exercises below in order.  Then repeat.  So –> 12 of A, 12 of B, 12 of C, 12 of D, then 12 of A, 12 of B…. you get the picture.  You should probably get through at least 3 rounds in 20 minutes.  If you get more than 5 rounds in 20 min, you’re not resting enough and should choose heavier weights next time.

4.  During the workout, DO NOT PACE.  Stop to rest as needed, then pick up right where you left off.  Remember-


5.  Stop after 20 minutes.  Please cool down and stretch.  Go for a slow walk.  You’re not as young as you used to be ;)  JK, but seriously… stretch and walk.

6.  Enjoy the endorphins :)

**Don’t forget, it’s time to rest if you can’t do the movement with proper form**

A – Squat into a shoulder press
B – On the floor – Chest press into a crunch
C – R leg Lunge – curl – L leg lunge – curl
D – Bent over row into a tricep kickback

That’s it!  If you have questions, ask away here or on my FB page (Once An Athlete, Always an Athlete).

Just leave a “Yup!” in the comments if you’re gonna give RBT a try this week and see how amazing it feels to stop working so damn hard and start working smarter!