Eat the Rainbow. Clean Eating Acai berry bowls from Hawaii!

My green acai bowl from lanikaijuice in hawaii : "the mana green bowl" with kale, spinach, orange, mango, papaya, chia seeds, blueberries, and extra added protein.

My green acai bowl from lanikai juice in hawaii : “the mana green bowl” with kale, spinach, orange, mango, papaya, chia seeds, blueberries, and extra added protein.

Eat the Rainbow with this new trend in the Healthy Eating World: The Acai Bowl!

Acai berries (pronounced ah-sai-ee) are the fruits of acai palm trees, which are mostly grown in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest. These small, dark-purple berries pack a nutrient punch with a whole host of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Named by the Brazilians as the “Beauty Berry,” acai berries truly do the body good from the inside out, with health benefits such as increased energy levels, a boosted immune system, improved metabolic function and better hair and skin. Not only is this superfood incredibly good for you, but it’s also delicious (it kind of tastes like dark chocolate!).

One of the most popular ways to eat the acai berry is by blending it up into an acai bowl. An acai bowl is an acai berry smoothie in a bowl. It’s a combination acai with other frozen fruit and healthy ingredients blended until thick and frosty. This acai blend is then poured into a bowl served with of fun and delicious toppings. Acai bowl blends are thick, creamy, and eaten with a spoon like healthy ice cream. The topping combinations are endless and include fresh fruit, granola, nuts, seeds and more. I dont know about you, but anything edible that includes toppings is an instant win in my book 😉

One of the most popular places where acai bowls are enjoyed outside of South America is Hawaii. I had my first acai bowl on vacation in Oahu last week and was instantly in love with its fresh flavor and refreshing taste.  I’ve taken some inspiration from the island to create a few recipes below. I also reached out to one of my favorite healthy living nutrition brands ALOHA for a few of their recipe ideas as well! The result? Four amazing acai bowls to sample! Dont blame me when you get addicted….. keep reading for my “How to Build an Acai Bowl Guide” and fun, delicious recipes to add to your healthy life.

My traditional acai berry bowl from Goofy Cafe and Dine in Oahu, Hawaii

My traditional acai berry bowl from Goofy Cafe and Dine in Oahu, Hawaii

How-to Build an Acai Bowl Guide:

First Buy Acai. Acai comes in a few forms. Frozen acai smoothie packs, acai juice, and acai powder. My favorite way to enjoy acai is via the frozen smoothie packs because you can easily blend up frosty smoothies and creamy purple acai bowls. When choosing acai you can either buy 100% acai or a “blend” product. Here are a few brands and options for frozen smoothie packs.

      • Sambazon: This sweetened acai smoothie pack contains energizing guarana. To taste, the pack is quite sweet, and almost tastes like a popsicle. The acai flavor is a bit less bold due to the added sugar that “waters down” the acai content a bit. The color is a light purple rather than deep purple. Delicious, but a bit less potent than 100% acai packs. Note: The Sambazon brand has a wide variety of delicious acai juices worth trying and testing out as well! Great company and you can find them in many stores which is even better. They also have an acai powder that is very high quality. Check out all Sambazon Products on Amazon
      • Acai Roots: This pure premium acai is 100% wild grown and organic too! Again, 100% acai, unsweetened, nothing added so you get a super deep purple color and rich caco-berry acai flavor. Start with Acai Roots Organic Acai Pure Powder, 16-Ounce Pouch
      • Amafruits. Very high quality and deep purple color. Another great option for frozen acai freezer packs. Pure Acai Berry Puree Smoothie Packs
      • Acai Powder. You can also buy acai powder. I like the wonderful Navitas Naturals brand of acai. It is super easy to add to smoothies to boost the flavor and nutritional content. Try these: Navitas Naturals Organic Acai Powder, 8-Ounce Pouches

Second Build Your Bowl:

Blend. First blend together two acai smoothie packs, a generous splash of liquid and (optionally) some frozen fruit. I like to add one fresh or frozen banana. Vanilla almond or soy milk tastes delicious as the liquid base of an acai bowl. Or you can try coconut milk for a richer, creamier tropical flavor. Blend the ingredients in a high speed blender until creamy, but still very thick and frosty.

Texture troubleshooting:

Too thin? To prevent a too-thin texture, add the liquid in very small amounts, gradually. Just until the blend starts churning.

Too thick? If you have trouble with a “too thick” blend, simply keep adding liquid slowly until things smooth out. You could also add in vegan yogurt or even a scoop of silken tofu. Taste test the blend before serving. You can add sweetness (if needed) via agave or maple syrup, fruit like bananas or even using a more sweetened non-dairy milk base.

Chocolate spin:
Want a super chocolate-y flavor? Blend 1-3 tsp cacao powder into your acai blend. Or blend in raw cacao nibs. You could even use a chocolate protein powder if you’d like.

Pour. After your acai is thick, frosty and blended, spoon it out into a bowl. Tips: Use a chilled bowl to help keep your acai from melting too quickly! – Or add some frozen fruit to the bottom of the bowl (frozen wild blueberries or frozen organic strawberries perhaps) to prevent quick melting as you eat.

Top. Start adding toppings! Nuts, cacao nibs, a splash of coconut milk, coconut shreds, fresh berries, sliced fresh banana, chopped nuts, chia seeds, ground flax seeds or even a spoonful of almond butter. There are so many options for toppings. Choose healthy foods you have on hand and fresh fruits that are in season or have a tropical vibe.

Third ENJOY! Serve right away and eat with a spoon! Here are a few recipes to get your creative cooking juices flowing:

Hawaii 5-0 Rainbow Bowl
Serves: 1
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

Using frozen fruit in the acai purée helps to achieve a thick consistency, but avoid adding ice as it can water down the flavors. For the topping, fresh fruit works best, but frozen and thawed can also work in a pinch.

INGREDIENTS:

ACAI PURÉE

  • 1/2 small banana
  • 1 100-g (3.5-oz) pack frozen unsweetened acai berry pulp (TRY: Acai Berry Puree with Guarana Smoothie Packsbefore opening your acai pack, run pack under water for 5 seconds to thaw and break the frozen pulp into smaller pieces.)
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

TOPPINGS

  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 kiwi, peeled and sliced or chopped
  • 1/2 small banana, sliced
  • 1/4 cup peeled and chopped pineapple or mango
  • 1/4 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup granola, optional
  • Drizzle of raw honey, optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prepare acai purée: In a blender, add banana, acai pulp, strawberries, blueberries and a splash of milk. (TIP: Add to blender in that order as adding softer ingredients first makes it easier on your blender blades.) Blend on low until larger chunks are broken down, then gradually increase speed, adding a splash of milk at a time, and stopping to scrape down sides of blender if needed. When ingredients have mostly come together and all of milk has been added, blend on high for 15 to 20 seconds more.
  2. Add toppings: Pour acai purée into a bowl and arrange toppings in stripes of their respective color to form a rainbow: from left to right, arrange blueberries, kiwi, banana, pineapple and strawberries. Sprinkle with granola and drizzle with honey (if using).

Nutrients per serving (1 bowl): Calories: 327, Total Fat: 9 g, Sat. Fat: 2 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4 g, Carbs: 63 g, Fiber: 11 g, Sugars: 37 g, Protein: 4 g, Sodium: 106 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg

Green Tropicalada Bowl
Serves: 1
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

For an added health and color boost, try adding about 1 teaspoon of spirulina to the acai purée.

INGREDIENTS:

ACAI PURÉE

  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup fresh kale
  • 1/2 small banana
  • 1 100-g (3.5-oz) pack frozen unsweetened acai berry pulp (TRY: Acai Berry Puree with Guarana Smoothie Packsbefore opening your acai pack, run pack under water for 5 seconds to thaw and break the frozen pulp into smaller pieces.)
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (TIP: Instead of almond milk, you can substitute a mix of ¼ cup coconut milk combined with ¼ cup water.)

TOPPINGS

  • 1/2 small banana, sliced
  • 2 tbsp peeled and chopped pineapple
  • 1/4 cup granola, optional
  • 1 to 2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
  • Drizzle of raw honey, optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prepare acai purée: To a blender, add spinach, kale, banana, acai pulp, mango and a splash of milk. (TIP: Add to blender in that order as adding softer ingredients first makes it easier on your blender blades.) Blend on low until larger chunks are broken down, then gradually increase speed, adding a splash of milk at a time, and stopping to scrape down sides of blender if needed. When ingredients have mostly come together and all of milk has been added, blend on high for 15 to 20 seconds more.
  2. Add toppings: Pour acai purée into a bowl, then add toppings and drizzle with honey (if using).

Nutrients per serving (1 bowl): Calories: 344, Total Fat: 13 g, Sat. Fat: 6 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4 g, Carbs: 55.5 g, Fiber: 10 g, Sugars: 31 g, Protein: 8 g, Sodium: 153 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg

And a few to try from the amazing people at ALOHA, one of my favorite healthy living nutrition partners. The ALOHA way is a source of happiness!

Fit for a Princess Pink Acai Bowl

In honor of Princess Charlotte, I am sharing an açaí bowl from The Whole Tara. This is the most refreshing and energizing breakfast choice bursting with antioxidants and nutrients.

Ingredients

1 banana frozen

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup raspberries

1/2 cup blackberries

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 tablespoon almond butter

1 handful spinach

1 tablespoons açaí powder

1 packet ALOHA Daily Good Berry (Im obsessed with these little pouches of antioxidants and add them to everything I can smoothies, oatmeal, and more. Use the code “CAROLINEJORDANFITNESS” at checkout for a great discount on these superfood daily greens pouches)

Oats for topping

Preparation

Blend all the ingredients, except the toppings, on high speed until smooth and creamy. A thick frozen yogurt consistency is best.

Top with oats or any fruit, nuts, and seeds. Serve and enjoy!

Get more recipes from Tara at TheWholeTara.com. Follow @TheWholeTara Instagram.

Acai Banana Super Antioxidant Bowl

Ingredients 1 frozen unsweetened acai pack (you’ll need to run it under water for a few seconds and break it up into pieces before blending)1/2 frozen banana (Make sure you don’t freeze your bananas until they’re quite ripe – it means that your acai bowl will be naturally sweeter!)1/2 cup frozen berries

1 packet ALOHA Daily Good Berry Blend (Use the code “CAROLINEJORDANFITNESS” at checkout for a great discount on these superfood daily greens pouches)

1/2 cup coconut almond milk blend*

1/2 sliced fresh banana

1 tbsp chopped almonds

1 tsp bee pollen

Honey or agave to taste

Preparation

1. Blend together the frozen acai pack, frozen banana, frozen berries, Daily Good, and coconut almond milk. I use a food processor, but a blender should work well too, you might just need to add a little bit more liquid

2. Top with 1/2 sliced (not frozen!) banana, 1 tbsp chopped almonds and 1 tbsp bee pollen

3. If you like it on the sweeter side, drizzle a tiny bit of honey or agave on top!

*I make my own coconut almond milk, but it can be purchased in most major health food stores

DIY Coconut Almond Milk

Ingredients

1 cup raw and organic almonds

1 cup dried, unsweetened organic coconut flakes

5 cups of filtered or best quality spring water

1 tsp cinnamon

Preparation

1. Soak the almonds overnight in a few cups of water to soften and to release phytic acid (an enzyme inhibitor that can interfere with digestion)

2. Strain and rinse the nuts until water runs clear.

3. Cover the coconut with two cups very not (but not boiling) water for about 10 minutes, until coconut softens

4. Add coconut and its water to a blender with the nuts, cinnamon and two more cups of water and blend (If your blender is big enough you can add all three additional cups; mine isn’t so I add the last cup of water at the end)

5. Strain through a nut bag (squeeze HARD to get out all of the water) into a container, add one more cup of water and shake to combine. You can use the ground almonds and coconut to make almond coconut meal if you desire!

The nut milk will last about four to five days in the refrigerator. It will separate, so before use just make sure to shake it up before you use it!

Follow Julia Taylor-Brown on Instagram and Twitter

*** For all of the above, feel free to sub in different nut milks, add in a scoop of nut butter or protein powder for added protein, or sprinkle in boosters such as bee pollen and get creative with your toppings! That is the best part after all 😉

After all that reading Im seriously craving an acai bowl! Have you tried acai bowls? What is your favorite combination of toppings? Leave your thoughts as a comment below, Id love to hear from you! And as always, if you enjoyed this post SHARE it with your friends on Facebooktwitter, or email. More great content is headed your way every week to help you live a happy, healthy life! 

Now off to blend up a bowl of goodness,

Caroline

Other Things to Check Out This Week:

  • I’ve been nominated for 80’s Prom Queen! (yes seriously lol). Help me support the Gaurdsmen and raise funds for at risk Bay Area youth. 100% of your donations go directly to the cause. Not only that but the nominee that raises the most dollars in donations gets to be crowned Queen of the court! Thank you for your support and totally awesomeness. Please share this link:   https://www.crowdrise.com/SF80sProm/fundraiser/carolinejordan 
  • Teaching Fitness 101. Questions to consider before starting your fitness career. 
  • Have you tried ALOHA healthy superfood chocolate? Peruvian fair-trade organic cacao combined with nutritious superfood greens. Indulging in your chocolate craving has never tasted this amazing. Want to taste some for yourself? Enter the code: “CAROLINEJORDANFITNESS” at: https://aloha.com/home for 10% off your superfood chocolate!

Dear Dad 2015

10363347_10103002695231513_2449325251862892728_n

Dad,

Im currently up in the air flying home from Hawaii. Such a great trip – I think Hawaii was made for me. Theres so much adventure – running, hiking, swimming, wildlife, nature, and sunsets that make your heart melt with every cloud. Im so happy I said yes and took the time off. That trip was a gift that now is a special memory in my heart.

I did a lot of adventuring but also a lot of thinking while I was on the island. Vacations are good for that yea?  I feel like maybe we are closer now as a family than we’ve ever been and I think everything we have been through together has made us stronger as a Jordan clan. I want you to know how much admiration, respect, and love I have for you. You have been the captain that has steered our ship through both easy and rough waters. We wouldn’t still be sailing without your leadership and huge heart. Your courage, strength, and compassion inspires me DAILY. And I just want to thank you for that. Because who you are moves me to be the woman I want to be.

While in Hawaii I spent time with a lot of really cool, real, and unique people. We went hiking, beach surfing, and dining together. I found myself often telling my new friends stories of you. How you would take us out in the world, adventuring, and be the family leader that allowed us to have a beautiful childhood and grow up with positive memories. I told them of how you taught me about the constellations  – Orion, beetlejuice, and the big dipper. I told them how much you loved hiking and how we would conquer mountains, waterfalls, and national parks together. I told them of how you encouraged our dreams and supported us in our ventures (from dance, to business, and beyond). I told them of some of your passions like sailing, traveling, and reading that allowed you to live fully and be happy. I found myself talking about you a lot and it made me really realize how impactful, inspirational, and powerful you are in my life.

While beautiful, Wakiki is a really touristy place. There are many people who travel all over the world to stay put at a hotel in, sit in a lawn chair, and drink expensive drinks with pineapples. I shared a shuttle ride back to the airport with a father and daughter from New Zealand. They were traveling together to celebrate the daughters 15th birthday for three weeks through SF, LA, Vegas, and Hawaii. They were very friendly and VERY talkative. When I asked how their trip had been and what they experienced over their three weeks together, they shared stories of shopping, shopping, and more shopping. The father basically took the daughter on a three week trip all over the world to go shopping in malls. They were so excited about all the things they had bought and fancy restaurants they had experienced. I smiled and nodded as she showed off her new Gucci sunglasses and necklace but my heart was so sad. All I could think was, “you traveled all over the world from NZ and all you did was go shopping?!?!”. And while her sunglasses were nice I wasn’t the slightest bit jealous. I actually just felt really bad for them. I didn’t do a lick of shopping or stay in the hotel at all while I was in Hawaii. Thats because the best things in life aren’t in a hotel and can’t be bought in a store. They missed it, all of it, and that broke my heart. Thats when it really hit me. Im so grateful my dad raised me the way he did.

Thanks to you I have memories that last longer than any pair of sunglasses ever will. I have experiences that have shaped me into the woman I am and the woman I aspire to be. I know it sounds super sappy but Im so grateful for you it makes me feel happiness and emotions that move me to tears. And that comes from the bottom of my heart, I hope you can feel that.

I’ll probably always be learning about how to be a better daughter, sister, and woman. Thank you for standing by my side through my short comings and forgiving me for my faults. You could have fired me several times and you didn’t. Im very lucky for that! I hope we have more adventures, stars, sunsets, hikes, and experiences to share and I can’t wait to make memories with you. You are the best dad. You do it right. Thank you for being the parent and person who has shaped my life and made it a blessed, beautiful, and full one (all almost 30 something years of it).

I love you I love you I love you. Thank you Dad. Thank you for everything.

Happy Fathers Day.

Your Daughter,

Caroline

 

hiking Mt. Tam, California

hiking Mt. Tam, California

Dancing at brother Tim's wedding

Dancing at brother Tim’s wedding

Christmas in San Francisco

Christmas in San Francisco

10659244_10103005492949863_4814256807667339530_n

How to get a “Toned” Physique. 16 Reasons You Want to Strength Train.

76034_10102418393531803_828041676_n

Women always ask me for my top tips on getting a “toned” physique. You want to know the truth? Pick up some weights and make them heavier than your purse.

Im still surprised by the number of women I talk to who think that the key to achieving the body they want is cardio – and hours of it! While cardio is an important tool for weight loss and fitness, it is not the only style of training that you should be focusing on. Resistance (weight) training is what gives your muscles shape, tone, and definition. Yet many women STILL buy into the cardio only myth or believe that if they do strength train 3-5 pounds is the most they should hang with. Wrong. Stick to the light weights and you limit your potential.

10857782_978020052213011_5191740519142111266_n

Get it out of your head right this second: you will NOT look like a body builder if you add regular weight training into your workout routine. In fact you may finally just achieve that lean, “toned”, body you are killing yourself over with all that cardio.  How do you know it wont work if you haven’t really tried it?? It’s worth a shot…. be prepared to be impressed with your body and your results. Here are 16 great reasons you should add strength training to your life:

16 Reasons You Want To Strength Train. 

1. Get ‘that body’ you really want (Lean, toned muscles; More definition)
How do you get more toned? Light weights and lots of reps right? At least that’s what we’ve been told for years to believe. However, training to “get toned” with high-reps and light weights will not provide the same benefits as lifting properly with heavy weights. Getting ‘toned’ requires two things to happen:      

•    Ridding excess body fat

•    Increasing the size of muscle cells to provide shape.

‘Toning’ is all about building muscle. For some, it requires the additional removal of any fat covering up the muscle, but it is muscle itself that gives you sleek, sculpted curves so you don’t just look bony once you lose excess body fat. So how do you lose body fat and increase lean muscle concurrently? Combine a healthy amount of cardio / anaerobic exercise (HIIT, sprint-type workouts, plyometrics) with at least one to three weight workouts a week with weights that are a ‘just right’ challenge for you (heavyish weight with proper form).                         

2. Strengthen Bones & Muscles. Lifting weights not only builds muscles, it makes for stronger bones too. Did you know an average woman can lose up 1% of bone mineral density every year? For men, it is not quite as much, but it adds up! After the age of 25, we lose more than one-half pound of muscle every year without a regular strength-training regimen. Add strength training to your arsenal of weapons against osteoporosis. When you strength train, the act of moving your bones through muscle action increases its density. Your skeletal system becomes stronger in response to the demands that strength exercise places on your body. Increased bone density will reduce the risk of fractures and chronic disease as you age. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) you can significantly reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis by engaging in regular weight training workouts.

3. Burn More Calories. We tend to think of cardiovascular exercise as the calorie torcher necessary for losing weight. However, it’s better to lose inches AND gain muscle than to just simply lose pounds. Muscle, unlike fat, is metabolically active. Cardio burns calories during the workout. Strength burns calories both during AND after the workout. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that women who completed an hour-long strength-training workout burned an average of 100 more calories in the 24 hours afterward than they did when they hadn’t lifted weights. Replace 10 pounds of fat with 10 pounds of lean muscle and you can burn an additional 25 to 50 calories a day without even trying. This “afterburn” effect is the metabolism boost needed to maintain a healthy weight over time and maximize your calorie burn.

4. Lose More Fat. In addition to burning more calories, resistance training may help your body to burn more fat overall. Score! In one study on over 700 females, lifting weights for just 25 minutes three times per week led to the gain of nearly two pounds of muscle, and the loss of four pounds of fat. If you’re familiar with how physiques work, then you know that is a radical change in appearance!Now, picking up heavy things burns a respectable amount of calories on it’s own. No doubt about that. But that’s not why lifting weights is so effective for burning fat.When you lift something heavy, you’re setting your body up for metabolic reactions that allow you to utilize nutrients better and continue burning calories for up to 36 hours after your workout. There’s this thing called your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). It controls how many calories your body burns while you rest. As you gain more muscle, you increase your BMR, along with how much you can eat and still stay lean. The more lean muscle on your body, the less body fat you will store, and the harder it will be to gain weight.

It is important to remember that losing fat may cause noticeable changes in your body (e.g. decrease in size, increase in tone) when looking in the mirror, but the number on the scales may not change. This is because resistance training can increase the amount of lean muscle you have, which is heavier but takes up less space than fat. So simply put, if fat goes down, but muscle goes up, your weight could essentially stay the same. Read more here: The difference between weight loss and fat loss and why you should focus on FITNESS not skinniness for long term health. 

5. Have Better Posture. Stronger bones will improve your posture and how you carry yourself. Weight training can ensure that the muscles between the shoulder blades, lower back and abdomen stay strong, which reduces the likelihood of developing muscular imbalances that can lead to poor posture. Better posture will enhance your overall appearance and reduce your chances of suffering from back pain.

6. Ease Joint Pain and Prevent Injuries.  Muscles function as shock absorbers and serve as important balancing agents throughout the body. Well-conditioned muscles help to lessen the repetitive landing forces in weight-bearing activities like running or basketball. Also, well-balanced muscles reduce the risk of injuries that result from muscular imbalances (super strong quads and weak hamstrings?! not with smart strength training). Build a foundation of strength and you’ll be less likely to run into injury from sports or daily activities. Stronger muscles better hold your joints in position, so you won’t need to worry about your knee flaring up during your next run.

7. Impress Yourself With Progress. The amazing thing about resistance training and lifting weights in general is that it is you are able to see how far you’ve come. For example, you may have started weighted lunges with 10lb dumbbells and barely making it through your set, to being able to easily get through it with 20lb dumbbells. I love weight training because it helps bring you satisfaction, you can physically see and feel if you have gotten better. Both of these things can encourage you to keep going and continue to improve. 

8. Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack & Diabetes. As we age we naturally lose muscle mass, which makes us weaker and more prone to weight gain. Resistance training can help slow down age-related muscle loss, which means that you are not only looking better, but you are also protecting your health. During exercise, muscle tissue helps to remove additional glucose and triglycerides from your bloodstream, which can help to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. There is also evidence that suggests that resistance training can help with high blood pressure.FullSizeRender

9. Kick A$$ in life.  Yes, you heard right! When you are stronger, fitter and have more endurance, you will automatically become better at other movement-based activities that you attempt. Like lifting your suitcase into the overhead bin on the airplane…arm wrestling your brother…carrying all six-eight grocery bags at once…lifting (and keeping up with) your kids…moving boxes and furniture in your house…opening a pickle jar…and on and on..

10. Maximize Your Gym Time. Cardio sessions can sometimes take up a good portion of an hour, which can be tricky to squeeze in before work or between commitments. Fortunately, with resistance training, you don’t need to spend hours at the gym to see results. All you need is a 30-60 minute lifting session about three times a week to start seeing great results in as little as two weeks. However, I like to reinforce this efficiency mindset with all of my trainees: Get In. Work Hard. Get Out. You’ll have more time to spend with your favorite people, and to do your favorite things.

11. Build a Nice Butt. Want a nice booty? The gluteus maximus is one of the strongest muscles in your body. The shape of your glutes are influenced by muscular development. When it comes to building size in your glutes, there is no substitute for a deep, heavy squat. This will also help rid you of cellulite, while “firming” and “toning” your legs in the process. You’ll also strengthen your lower back and help prevent back injuries that are all too common as we age.945679_10101935774134943_1641053119_n12. Change your body shape. You may think your genes determine how you look. That’s not necessarily true. Weight training can slim you down, create new curves, and help avoid the “middle-age spread.” Dropping only 3 percent of your body fat could translate into a total loss of 3 inches off your hips and thighs.

13. Boost Your Flexibility. Ignore that super ripped guy fumbling in yoga class for just a minute. Researchers from the University of North Dakota pitted static stretches against strength-training exercises and found that full-range resistance training workouts can improve flexibility just as well as your typical static stretching regimen. The key word here is “full-range,”. If you can’t complete the full motion—going all the way up and all the way down—with a given weight, you may need to use a lighter dumbbell and work up to it.

14. More energy. Exercise gives you endorphins (natural opiates produced by the brain), …endorphins make you happy, feel great and give you more energy!. Ever had a workout, where you were just ‘going through the motions’, as opposed to a workout where you were really ‘in it’—putting your mind into the muscle or movements at hand, giving 100% effort…then…how did you feel after? Perhaps, initially, a bit tired…but chances are, you left that workout with a new spring in your step—renewed energy. Lifting heavy weights challenges you in new ways…leaving you with newfound energy from the ‘rush’ you got in that workout. Strength training has also been showed to help you sleep better (since your muscles are craving recovery, rest and repair post-workout)—and better sleep equals more energy in the long run.

15. Boost Your Body Image. Lifting weights can help shift the focus of your body image from size to ability. In other words, instead of focusing on your weight or the size of your waist, you’ll begin to better appreciate your body for its strength and what it can do. When we focus on actual fitness instead of body size, more muscle can mean more ease in moving our bodies, and better relationships with our bodies and with exercise.

16. Gain Confidence. You know it: Exercise boosts the ego—it helps you feel great in your own skin. The foundation of building inner confidence (and self belief) lies in setting goals that may seem beyond your capabilities and working towards them (consistently and with commitment) until you achieve them.  And there’s something about strength training that makes you feel, well… Strong. And that feeling of inner strength — that your muscles are growing, you’re developing definition, and you’re boosting your metabolism — all of those work together as a powerful confidence-booster.

At this point you’re probably thinking everything sounds amazing, but have this little voice in your head telling you that you’re going to get big or bulky. I hear this way too many times. It’s simply a mis-belief that is holding you back from seeing results you love in a short period of time. 

1000871_10101989498790303_1178827676_n

If you are really still worried about gaining size and becoming the next incredible hulk, consider this: Bodybuilders are doing EVERYTHING in their power to build muscle and are still struggling! Its very difficult to see massive muscle gains, unless, of course, you’re training like a monster, consuming a massive amount of calories, and injecting yourself with synthetic hormones. When you follow a strength training program customized to fit your body’s needs and goals, you’ll see the results you want (not the extra bulk).

Now that you’re ready to pump some iron, here are a few tips to get you started on the road towards strength success. When developing your personal weight training routine, it’s best to consult with a personal trainer or coach to establish a program that suits your specific needs and abilities. If you’re not familiar with the basic principles of strength training, a fitness professional can give you the guidance you need to start strong. Working with a trainer to establish a foundation of strength training knowledge and good form can get you started with safe and effective program. You can also reference the Ace Fitness Exercise Library, a fabulous online resource to learn proper form and great strength training moves.  As always, be sure to check with your doctor before you start lifting weights if you have any medical conditions, injuries or illnesses.

Remember, it’s never too late to start! Strength training can take your body to the next level, while also having a number of positive effects on your overall health. Don’t be afraid to lift weights! Just keep in mind that resistance training is not the ONLY solution to achieving your health and fitness goals. Instead, focus on creating a balanced exercise program, consisting of strength training AND cardio training, while also leaving time for rehabilitation and rest.

I believe in strength training. I have seen it change my body, boost my performance, and powerfully impact my life. And I believe every woman deserves a chance to discover her own strength. So heres to you – living without limits.

Yours in strength,

Caroline

Have a LAUGH: 14 reasons women should never lift weights. Because no one wants a lean physique, faster metabolism, or better self esteem. 

Did you like this post? Share it with your friends on Facebooktwitter, or email. More great content is headed your way every week to help you live a happy, healthy life! 

How to Be Fit Without Obsessing about it. Getting In Shape for Summer the Healthy Way.

922899_10101856510794313_625466728_n

Every year around this time, gyms get the influx of new members wanting to get “beach-ready” bodies in time for summer. We go crazy trying to find the perfect “30 Days to Perfect Abs” workout and the right fad diet that promises to make us fit and fabulous by the time we need to get into a swimsuit.

Is there anything wrong with that? I mean, at least people are trying to get into shape, right? There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to shape up for summer, but it’s important to go about it in a healthy manner that promotes your overall wellness and doesn’t push you toward unhealthy fad dieting or injury from overly intense workouts.

The summer fitness obsession distracts from the joy of the season and is often the reason so many people’s healthy living goals are failing. Listen up: Just because beach weather is a few weeks away does not mean you have to go on a crazy crash diet. Instead, I suggest you take action with these expert tips to get your body (and mind!) in tip-top shape — the healthy way. Can you get fit without obsessing about it? I think so, here are my tips on how :

11057459_10103414779770793_842898698092633864_n

How to Be Fit Without Obsessing About It : Getting In Shape for Summer the Healthy Way. 

  • Ignore the hype and lose the extremes. If a program offers “instant” results—AKA, 30 days or less—it is probably either complete  nonsense or extremely unhealthy. As fabulous as it would be to go from size 12 to size 6 in one months, it’s simply not feasible or sustainable. The kinds of diets that promise this kind of impossibly fast change are usually those that encourage you to starve yourself and deprive your body of essential nutrients in favor of dropping pounds or getting “lean” for your swimsuit. This is unsustainable because your body can’t function off of gummy bears or cotton balls for long before it starts deteriorating. You’re also pretty much guaranteed to gain back the weight afterward. Avoid falling into the “quick fix” trap and….
  • Make SMALL changes consistently. Instead of jumping on the next 10 day juice cleanse or giving up carbs forever, make small healthy consistent changes. Many studies have shown those who focus on slow and steady lifestyle changes are far better at sustaining it. Start small and make healthy changes that work for you. Anything from eating a better breakfast or adding one more workout to your week counts. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day – the secret to lasting lifestyle change is to keep going in a positive direction. Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.
  • GET OFF the scale. This is controversial advice, as many studies have shown people who weigh themselves regularly are more successful at long-term weight loss. The problem with the scale is that it can lie, it can be frustrating when it barely budges, it doesn’t reflect gaining muscle, and it can just become something you hate doing (or cause more body obsession – not a good thing). While the studies show regular scale users are better at weight loss, they haven’t been compared with what I think are far more positive things to measure, such as miles run each week, weight lifted, fitness classes attended, fast food meals avoided, healthy meals prepared, fruits and vegetables consumed. And there are better ways to assess results, like how your clothes fit, your energy levels and even your sex drive. If you can use the scale in a way that elicits a positive mindset, then go ahead, but if it stresses you out, consider tossing it and tracking other more important variables instead.
  • Stop comparing yourself to other people. It’s okay to be in friendly competition with your gym buddies. It’s not okay to get so caught up in trying to be the best that you become discouraged when others seem to be making more progress than you. Everyone is different. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes, with differing metabolic rates, body fat percentages and capabilities. The best thing to do is to judge your own progress. If you’re doing better than you were last month, or last week, then you’re doing something right.
  • Get Your HEART pumping. Regular exercise helps you achieve both physical and mental wellness. Make movement part of your life and exercise most days of the week. For cardio, aim for at least 20 minutes, everyday for health; 30-45 minutes 5-6 days per week for aerobic and fitness improvement. There’s no need to hit the gym HARD everyday. Vary your cardiovascular training with low, moderate, and high intensities. And most importantly don’t forget to….
  • Build lean muscle and body confidence with Strength Training. Strength training is the secret to maintaining a healthy body and mindset throughout every season of your life. It gives your metabolism a major BOOST by increasing the metabolic rate, allowing the body burn more calories throughout the day. It also increases lean muscle mass and overall strength, helping to improve performance, endurance, and energy levels. These things combined work to help you maintain your weight goals over a long period of time. Not only that but lifting weights has been shown to improve psychological health, by increasing self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth (all KEY components if you want a healthy body and mind for your lifetime). Aim to strength train 2-3 times per week to reap the lifetime benefits. Get motivated here and follow the A.C.E. strength training guide to get started. 
  • Find Your Team. A good support system is a vital element to reaching your goals in a healthy way. Often times its not about getting tons of support, but about finding the RIGHT people to help you. Communicate your goals to people in your life who will hold you accountable, help you overcome obstacles, and keep you from going crazy with extremes (no 30 day juice cleanses!) when it comes to reaching your goals.  Im a big believer in coaching, as I have seen the rewards that investing in yourself can bring. A coach can help you overcome roadblocks, keep you moving forward towards the life you want, and give you constant encouragement and support. The secret to a life of lasting healthy habits is surrounding yourself with others who lift you up and keep you in check so you don’t become “obsessed” with a bikini brain mindset 😉
  • Don’t diet. Just eat HEALTHY. If you go ON a diet you will eventually have to go off a diet. Want lasting, healthy, positive change that doesn’t have a yo-yo effect? Improve your relationship to food and learn to nourish yourself. Don’t just eat salads this summer – learn about nutrition and how to eat to feel amazing – it’s worth investing time in and will help you eat healthy for all the seasons.
  • MIX it UP. Routine is the enemy of results. After doing the same cardio/strength routine your body adapts and you burn fewer calories. Eventually your results – weight loss, muscle definition – will slow down. And repeatedly placing stress on the same muscles and joints could lead to an overuse injury. Also sticking to a super strict routine can cause you to become too obsessed with it. If you feel like you always have to run 10 miles a week or do yoga on mondays at noon, it might be time to force yourself out of your routine comfort zone. Heres your ACTION PLAN: Once a every 2-3 weeks, change one thing about your workout regimen. Take a dance class instead of your saturday run, or use a resistance band instead of dumbbells. Not only will you see better results with a varied plan, mixing things up may help you stick with exercise in the end. Refresh your mind, body, and spirit on a regular basis by mixing things up consistently.
  • Stop criticizing your body. Quit grabbing the skin around your waist and staring at it angrily in the mirror. Stop complaining to your friends about how bloated you are or how much you’d rather look a certain way. Stop! None of this is helpful. Obsessing over how great some model or over how you wish you had a different body part is only detrimental to your health. If you continue to beat yourself up over your imperfections, you’ll never be happy with yourself. You are going to be in your skin for the rest of your life – you might as well learn to love and get comfortable in it.
  • Think beyond the bathing suit. FOCUS ON HOW YOUR LIFE FEELS. Getting into shape is great for beach season, but it’s also much more than that. Eating clean and exercising regularly won’t just make you look good—a healthy lifestyle will make you feel better all-around. So while getting bikini-ready might be a good starting point for your fitness journey, it shouldn’t be the sole reason for the changes you make to your lifestyle. Because of the culture we live in, we’re always going to be under-impressed with our own bodies. It’s human nature to constantly feel like we could do more and look better. But if your perspective is to focus on how you feel more than on how you look, you’ve got a much better chance of sticking with your goals and being healthy longterm. Besides, feeling good is addicting! The more energized and productive you feel, the more you’re going to want to continue doing the things that are contributing to your wellbeing. Live a life that feels good on the inside, not just one that looks good in a bikini. 

Getting in shape is a great goal, and getting started on it in time for summer is fantastic! But do it for the right reasons, the right way. Health is not a 30-day thing, a 60- or a 90-day thing. Healthy is not about being “fit” for summer, its about living fit for your lifetime. Put your overall well-being ahead of any aesthetic details. The better you feel about yourself, the better you take care of yourself, and the healthier you are for the rest of your life.

There are so many other amazing things to enjoy this summer. Dont waste your days in diet and workout obsession trying to get to a image of “beach body” perfection that doesn’t exist. Love yourself, accept yourself, take care of yourself, and enjoy the season FULLY in health and happiness. Now how does that sound for a summer vacation?

Till next time, keep shining, 

Caroline

Did you like this post? Share it with your friends on Facebooktwitter, or email. More great content is headed your way every week to help you live a happy, healthy life! 

Other Things To Check Out This Week:

10291108_10103036615335353_8814027828200085753_n