The FitLife Challenge

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The Fitlife Challenge

Please consult with your health professional before starting FLC or any new fitness/exercise routine. Regular exercise can help you control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease, and strengthen your bones and muscles. But if it’s been awhile since you’ve exercised and you have health issues or concerns, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

Program Outline – Three Pillars

  1. Exercise: 5-6 days a week. The ultimate goal is 6 days a week of exercise for the rest of your life! Start with 5 days/week goal and build up to 6 days/week. Commit to 3-4 days of cardio, 2 days of strength.
    1. Time: Aim for 45 minutes per session. If you are just getting started with an exercise program and need to build an aerobic base, start with 30 minutes a day for the first 2 weeks and gradually add 5-15 minutes to get to 45 minutes.
    2. Cardio: Move with intention – fast power walking, then add a few minutes of jogging to your pace. Progress to more jogging than walking. If you are aerobically conditioned, add a few faster intervals to your practice to activate your anaerobic threshold.
    3. Strength: This is vital to long term health. If you are just getting started, begin with the basic daily strength challenge outlined below and focus on form not on number of repetitions. Start with 5-10 reps and build up weekly. If you are conditioned, incorporate 2 days of strength training, HIIT, bootcamp, or other weight bearing workouts to your schedule.
    4. Recovery: Your muscles, body, and pysche need a break to recover, rebuild and replenish. Be sure to add in 1-2 days of gentle yoga, meditation, walking, riding, or some restorative activity to your mix.
  2. 9 Healthy Habits (HH). These are lifestyle habits based on basic clean eating versus diet depravation. Follow them and you will see change. Cut corners and, well you know, your results won’t be as exciting in the end.
  3. Daily Strength. There are 3 basic yet very effective daily strength exercises you can do at home before work, school, or starting the day. These 3 exercises impact multiple parts of your body and result in healthier muscles, bones, and greater agility
    1. Mondays & Thursdays: Push-ups and/or Planks. Start with modified form on a chair or wall for pushups or on your knees for plank. Do 10 reps and add 5 weekly. Progress the form as you get stronger.
    2. Tuesdays & Fridays: 100 Squats
    3. Wednesdays & Saturdays: 100 Sit-ups

You got this! Be kind to yourself. No judging or self shame when you miss a day. Each day is a new day. Let’s do it, grab a partner, and let’s have fun doing it.


FLC Healthy Habit 9

Avoid unnecessarily adding fat to food

Do not overthink this one. If you add less fat to foods, you will eat fewer calories and hence lose more weight. Fat is necessary in our diet and most of us eat adequate amounts of fat through cheese, meat, poultry, fish, nuts, and dairy products.

Remember healthy fats help with satiety and most foods that contain fat also contain protein and additional vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, B12, and more. Some of the healthiest fats include olive oil, peanut oil and canola oil. Nuts and seeds are a good fat source as well. The fats found in fish such as salmon, tuna, and makerel are also considered healthy. Vegetable oil fats are second best.

Animal fats, coconut oil and palm kernel oil are not as healthy. Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils found in products like margarine and many processed foods are the worst. Hydrogenated fats go through a heating process that has been shown to negatively impact cholesterol levels and overall health. The body just doesn’t know how to process these fats versus naturally occurring fats. Spinning(R) 8-week weight loss program

How to do it:

  1. Stick to the healthy fats such as olive oil or canola oil for cooking and baking.
  2. If having a salad, add olive oil and vinegar versus ranch dressing.
  3. Avoid margarine and “tub” spreads.
  4. Avoid frozen foods, breaded foods and french fries. Most have been pre-fried before they were frozen.
  5. Pick peanut or almond butter for toast versus cream cheese or butter.
  6. Pick hummus or salsa for vegetables versus creamy dips
  7. Avoid deep fried foods

AvocaDOPE people!


FLC Healthy Habit 8

Avoid Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Fats

This is a big one. Check the labels and avoid foods that list hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils/fat (also know as Trans fats) in the ingredients. These are the bad fats. Unlike other dietary fats, trans fat — also called trans-fatty acids — both raises your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lowers your HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

Researchers from Wake Forest University discovered eating trans fats increased the amount of fat around the belly. “Diets rich in trans fat cause a redistribution of fat tissue into the abdomen and lead to a higher body weight even when the total dietary calories are controlled.” Trans fats create inflammation, which is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. They contribute to insulin resistance, which increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Here is an important statistic, even small amounts of trans fats can harm health: for every 2% of calories from trans fat consumed daily, the risk of heart disease rises by 23%.

Granted, trans fats are found in small amounts in meat or dairy but they are primarily formed through an industrial heating process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, which causes the oil to become solid at room temperature. As a result foods made with it are less likely to spoil and have a longer shelf life. Good for shelf life, not good for you.

I’m not bashing fat. We need some fat in our diet. It’s a major source of energy and helps you absorb some vitamins and minerals. Fat is needed to build cell membranes, muscle movement and more. But some fats are good and some fats are bad in the long run. Good fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Bad ones include industrial-made trans fats (hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fat). Saturated fats fall somewhere in the middle.

Make it your goal to avoid hydrogenated fats entirely but if you insist on eating hydrogenated fat containing foods, the suggested safe limit is 2 grams per day. If you see the words hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated or interesterified fat (a new and unhealthy type of fat that food chemists have learned that if you put fully hydrogenated fats through a few more processes, they become less solid and product friendly — often found in wraps and burrito shells), pick something else.

How to do it?

  • Pick farm to table. Choose foods in their original purest form. Fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, dairy, cheese, fish, organic meats, and whole grain foods do not contain hydrogenated fats.
  • Avoid deep-fried foods.
  • Avoid “breaded” foods.
  • Avoid margarine and tub spreads.
  • Read the labels of all the food items you buy and avoid buying anything with the words “hydrogentated”, “trans-fatty acids”, “partially hydrogenated fats”, and “shortening” (yes crisco) listed in the ingredient category.
  • Prepare your own food from original ingredient
  • Limit convenient foods
  • Limit eating out. Most store and restaurant breads contain hydrogenated fats. Most eating establishments use bread products containing hydrogenated fats and cook with shortening or margarine. Good to know what your favorite eateries use to cook with and avoid fast food.

Go natural. I like to eat food in its simple, natural, organic form. If I buy prepared or packaged food I want to be able to recognize and understand what each ingredients is versus a chemistry assignment.


FLC Healthy Habit 6

Eat At Least Six Fruit and Vegetable Servings per day, Excluding Juice

This is my favorite healthy habit. I do love fruits and veggies and I typically eat three to four servings a day, so adding a few more servings really helps me attend my satiety scale and stave off after dinner snacking.

The reasons are plenty for why this healthy habit helps with managing your diet. Fruit and vegetables, even the starchy ones, are low in calories. Since fruits and vegetables are high in water content, high in fiber they help you fill up faster and leave less room for higher-calorie foods. I also recommend you start with your salad or fruit before digging into the entree.

How to do it?

  • Plan ahead and map out your daily menu so you include a minimum of two servings of fruit or vegetables.
  • Grocery shop frequently and make sure your kitchen is stocked with yummy fruit and vegetables that are easy to access.
  • Prep and cut your fruits and vegetables so they are convenient to grab and go.
  • Squeeze a lemon on fruit to keep it fresh longer
  • Blend up fruit and vegetables that are ripe and about to expire.
  • Keep frozen fruits and vegetables on hand so you don’t have to worry about running out.
  • Drink a large glass of water. It is incredible how effective this is.
  • Go to sleep earlier. You can’t eat when sleeping plus getting adequate sleep enables you to make better food choices and improves your metabolism.

So orange you glad you can eat loads of fruits and vegetables! Get creative, try new produce. Make it fun for you and your family!


FLC Healthy Habit 7

Do Not Eat Any Sweets or Drink Alcoholic Beverages

This is hard for some and easy for others. This is hard for me. I have a sweet tooth and I enjoy my wine. It is also a game changer for me and the extra few pounds I want to take off and keep off.

Bottom line, many sweets and alcoholic beverages can significantly add to your total daily caloric intake. Reducing the intake of these foods can dramatically contribute to a caloric deficit.

Diet drinks, diet desserts, soda, fruit drinks, frozen yogurt, frappacinos, cookies, cakes, ice cream, candy, you know the drill- anything sugary, high in calories, and without any natural nutrition counts as a sweet. Diet desserts are also included due to the fake sweeteners, preservatives, hydrogenated fats and unrecognizable chemical ingredients they are made with that we’ll talk about more in the upcoming HH8.

Alcohol should be limited because it’s as full of calories as fat, is dehydrating, slows down your metabolism, increases the chance that you may overeat and may make you tired the next day.

This may be where your work starts. I recommend being realistic and with your health goals in mind, may gradual adjustments to your sugar and alcohol. If you tend to have dessert every night, pick three night a week to start and over the next few weeks move to two and one. Same with that glass of wine, beer, or booze. You will feel better and the pounds will follow.

Give it your best. Don’t give up when you have a set-back. Start each day with a focus on what you “get” to have with good health. My hope and goal for you is improved health, strength, endurance, energy and alertness, more patience, lighter attitude and enjoyment of endless fruits, vegetables and delicious healthy food.