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FIVE Tips for Choosing THE Right Nutrition Plan​

When it comes to nutrition it is safe to say there are hundreds of different fad diets that are claiming big results in less time. Some of the latest fads include Paleo, Ketogenic Diet, The Whole 30, Atkins (is still holding strong), No Fat, No Carb, Low Carb, Cabbage Soup, I can go on… With all of these options how do we know which one is right and safe for us?

Competition Rebound: It’s Real​

For many of us that have been competing for multiple years we have learned that post competition nutrition is an important thing to understand, especially if you do not want to torch everything you’ve worked so hard for the previous three to four months. I have seen hundreds of competitors just a couple of weeks post show and am baffled to see they gained anywhere from 5 to twenty pounds after watching them work so hard to get lean and ripped for a show. I understand after being on a restricted competition diet we want to eat everything in sight. For me, I am constantly looking at foods on Pinterest and saving recipes of foods I want to eat after my show.  We want what we can’t have and we definitely miss the foods that make us feel good.  Our mind loves to play tricks on us and it’s human nature to want what you can’t have and lord knows I want it all after a show. The problem is our body has been on a restricted plan for a long period of time and the moment you flood it with foods you haven’t eaten in months like dairy, high glycemic carbs, bad fats, and sugar from dessert and alcohol we put our body through an emotional roller coaster and flood it with chaos. We immediately go into carb overload and with every gram of carb comes 4 grams of water which causes us to bloat because we were depleted just days earlier. The ideal thing to do is take baby steps into regular eating. It took one time for me to learn that eating what I wanted post show was not the way to go. You would be surprised at how easy it is to lose that tight midsection and ripped body.  So before you start hoarding your favorite cookies and stocking up on every flavor of bluebell there are a few things to understand. First, for the last few months you have been eating clean and your body has been working like a machine to get you to your goals.  Many of you have been eating a set number of carbs that your body has been using for energy and to fill out those hard earned gains.  When you eat more carbs than the body needs it is going to take the extra carbs and store them for later use.  But if you are use to eating 100-150 grams a day and eat a whole pizza, then your body is going to take the extra carbs and store as fat. Let’s not forget all the additional water that comes with the carbs, hence the post show eating bloat.  I recommend easing your way into eating more. After a show your body is depleted so a good cheat post show is fine. The disaster begins when we start an eating binge that continues into the week post show. Second, I recommend getting back on your usual eating plan and slowly start adding calories by increasing portions or adding a few foods that you’ve kept away but are still good for you like a little fruit, yogurt, and healthy grains. Don’t completely stop eating your healthy meals. Balance is everything and understanding how many macros/calories you need to maintain your weight is important when planning your meals for the day. Remember, you still need to stay on track to keep your hard earned body fit. This is a good time to talk to your nutritionist about future goals. Finally, take what you’ve learned from your competition prep and continue to grow. Now that you understand you have to be consistent with your nutrition to get the amazing results of a bodybuilder use that to continue reaching new goals. If your next goal is to add more muscle then start a plan you will follow consistently to reach that goal. Grocery shop, meal prep, take your supplements, track your progress, and most importantly build that physique you have pictured in your mind! You are the only person that can get you to your goals and the only person that can keep you from them. It’s up to you. To contact Juliana for competition prep or questions: feistyfitness@gmail.com​

My Early Sessions​

The first thing I do when I wake up at 3:40 a.m. is put on my workout gear. I work 14 miles north of the city of Chicago and take public transportation to work. Lucky for me I work at a gym and since I start work at 6 a.m. I get there early to do my fasted cardio. This past year when I was preparing for the Chicago Pro I had this routine for several months and got into a rhythm of doing it and feeling good afterwards. I felt wide awake and had more energy for the day. I would do the stairclimber and get into a rhythm of side steps and changed it up to every other step with a glute extension. I do intervals and switch the level 16 for 1 minute and levels 7-8 for 3 minutes. This would go on for 40-45 minutes and by the end I’d be drenched with sweat and felt accomplished. I also noticed that I interacted more positively with my clients and members when I did my early cardio sessions and that is why I continue to get to the gym early to maintain this routine. It’s important to feel good and in a positive mindset when working, it allows for a more productive and beneficial day. I realize we all can’t get to the gym early in the morning and many of you do not work in a gym like I do but when you find the time to do what is important to you it can be exhilarating. Do what you love and love what you do. After my cardio I shower and get ready for work and then eat the breakfast I pre made the night before. I also pre make my snacks and lunch for work. They are usually the same meals every day. I keep it consistent and that is what keeps me healthy and in shape. We have to plan ahead and prepare to reach our goals. Every move we make is either a step back or a step forward. I realized a long time ago that I never want to move backwards and have always looked at every decision as an opportunity to improve. It’s as easy as sitting down and writing down what you want. We all have goals and should never be afraid to dream big. Ten years ago I had a dream to change my body enough to compete with other Pro’s in the IFBB and over time I made it happen. What do you want? Whatever it is, write it down and put it where you can see it everyday. Make a plan to accomplish it and start right away! I believe if you visualize yourself as having what you want, then you will soon have it. If you are looking for fitness or nutritional consulting you can contact Juliana at feistyfitness@gmail.com​

It’s All Mental​

Today I started thinking about a comment a member said to me last week. “You’ve got it so easy, you already look amazing.” Although she didn’t intend to make me feel I’d been slapped in the face I still felt the heat on my cheek lingering. Does she honestly believe ‘this’ is easy? Sorry sister, you don’t get to give me a compliment I didn’t even ask for, especially a back handed one. I work for THIS, I workout, for THIS, I eat for THIS, I supplement for THIS, I recover for THIS, I drink a lot of water for THIS, I do cardio for THIS, shall I continue?? Every morning I visualize how my day is going to go and what I want to accomplish.  As a body builder I plan every meal, workout, cardio session, supplement intake, and getting in my gallon of water. A routine I have been perfecting for 10 years and every year I find new ways to improve my strategy of prepping and training to conquer the body I want.  But you don’t have to compete to get the body you want. I compete because it holds me accountable and I look forward to the discipline, consistency, and development of my training along with helping others learn to live a healthier lifestyle. The will power it takes to accomplish my goals is not easy.  Some days are tougher than others but I know I can do it.  When anyone sets a goal to lose weight, change their body, eat healthier, begin a workout routine, run a marathon, it all starts with the power to decide. You don’t start losing weight or adding muscle because it’s the in thing to do. You do it because something intrinsic has been stirring up inside of you and is ready to express its reality through your body. For some, they believe doing cardio and weight training is enough but do not give nutrition much effort. They aren’t ready for real change and continue doing the same bad habits with little effort to improve their daily eating. You have to be all in to feel and see change. In other words, going from 1-2 meals a day to 3 meals a day is nothing to get excited about if it’s still unhealthy/crappy food. If you are going to add a 3rd meal then make all 3 healthier and part of your plan to a healthier you. Our bodies are complex but when you find the formula that works it becomes easier. It’s when we give up that we fall short of our accomplishments. You have to see it through til the end. Have patience and stay consistent. Juliana Halloran​

Gluten Free: Fad, or for Real??​

This week I am going to talk to you about gluten and living a gluten free lifestyle. I’m going to introduce the basics of a gluten-free diet and introduce you to foods that are nutritious and better for you than gluten filled foods. First, let’s go over what gluten actually is. I’m sure you’ve heard the term gluten-free being thrown around, how some people think it’s nonsense, or like me,  live by. Let me be clear, I am not 100% gluten free. I still indulge here and there in the occasional baked good if it’s not of the gluten-free variety. Gluten is actually a mixture of proteins that are found in wheat, barley, and rye. What does that mean exactly??? It means it’s found in everyday foods like breads, most pastries, pasta, cookies, crackers, croutons, boxed foods, cereal, and pizza. They’re also found in not so obvious products like licorice and in natural flavorings. There is a part of the population that have to eat gluten-free if they have been diagnosed with celiac disease. For others, eating gluten free is a choice. There’s a huge mis-education on eating gluten-free and living the lifestyle. It’s not just about your diet, it’s about gaining control of your health. Eating gluten comes with different symptoms like joint pain, fatigue, depression, headaches, irritability, and other issues going on with your gut. When you eat wheat filled products the symptoms tend to stay with you from day to day because gluten can be found an many of our foods. Gluten is known as an inflammatory food and when our body rejects a food it has a not so friendly way of telling you to stop eating it like having gas, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and bloating. You know, the basic I don’t want to leave my house symptoms due to the lack of control of my bowels. Well, then why do we eat food that has gluten??? Because no one really knew that foods containing this had such a negative effect. In fact, humans don’t fully digest wheat. Wheat has not been around very long and our digestive systems have not evolved to digest it well. In other words, we aren’t met to eat it therefore we reject it.So what do we do?? We start removing the foods that contain gluten. This can be hard at first. When you stop and look at everything you eat you will notice it’s in a lot of your daily foods. As I mentioned earlier it’s found in our every day foods that have become staples. So the next question is what do we do? This week I want you to make an effort to start removing wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten is also found in preservatives like MSG and in natural flavorings but for now let’s start with the basics. If you tend to eat bread every day for breakfast then replace your usual bread with a gluten-free bread. If you tend to cook with pasta try replacing it with rice or quinoa or better yet get a gluten-free pasta you can use. When you start removing the wheat the symptoms will start to go away. Trying to remove gluten is not an easy task so take it day by day meal by meal and make sure you’re more conscious of what’s going into your body. Grains (including bread, pasta, rice, crackers), specifically whole grains, are an important part of a healthy diet. Whole grains are a good source of healthy carbohydrates, providing energy to get you through the day. Most whole grains are high in fiber, which keeps you full and helps with digestion. Though many grains have gluten, a wide variety are naturally gluten-free. NATURALLY GLUTEN-FREE GRAINS & STARCHES: Rice QuinoaMilletOats: But be aware that oats may be processed in a facility that also processes wheat. You’ll need to confirm your oats are labeled gluten-free or check with the manufacturer to rule out cross-contamination.Cassava/YucaSorghumTeffCornBuckwheatAmaranthPotatoes and potato flour  WHAT TO AVOID WHEN SHOPPING FOR GRAINS: IF YOU’RE NOT SURE IF YOUR BREAD, CRACKERS, PASTA AND OTHER GRAIN-BASED PRODUCTS ARE GLUTEN-FREE, A QUICK LOOK THROUGH THE INGREDIENTS CAN HELP YOU TELL. AVOID PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN ANY OF THE FOLLOWING, AS THESE ARE NOT GLUTEN-FREE. WheatOther forms/varieties of wheat that should also be avoided: whole wheat, spelt, wheat berries, kamut, durum, farro, farina, bulgur, graham, semolina, bromated flourBarleyRyeTriticale (a cross between rye and wheat)Malt  Finally, if you’re not already keeping a journal then start. This helps you keep track of symptoms. Keep a journal and also when you start removing it more and find one day that you do eat it right down any symptoms that you get that day and notice how your body reacts when you eat gluten and when you don’t. Eating healthy is a lifestyle and something that should be practiced daily. When I decided to start eating gluten-free I noticed a big difference in my body composition and the way I felt. Now if I do decide to have bread or pizza or pastries made with regular wheat I definitely get the symptoms and they remind me of why I no longer put it in my body. Eating clean and making healthier choices isn’t a fad, it’s a lifestyle. If you are serious about reaching your fitness and nutrition potential schedule a consultation with me  via e-mail at feistyfitness@gmail.com Juliana Halloran #getfeisty​

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