All Articles Tagged "fitness"
Working It Out is a health/fitness column chronicling MadameNoire Deputy Editor Brande Victorian’s journey to drop the pounds and get healthy.
Last time I wrote a column I was riding the weight loss struggle bus after getting distracted by the length of my journey and some other personal struggles I was dealing with. But I stopped by to tell you (in my old lady church voice) that the struggle is over — at least for now — and I’ve officially dropped 70 pounds.
One time for hitting goals!
I actually almost missed this milestone getting ready for work this morning. I’ve been working to move past a bit of what I considered a plateau– although considering the fact that I weigh myself an unnecessary amount of times per week, it may have just been water weight — so my main concern when I stepped on the scale this morning was seeing that the scale was at least the same or lower than it was earlier in the week. Low and behold, it was. But it wasn’t until I got on the train to work that I realized exactly what that number meant: 70 pounds was now gone from my body. For good (sometimes you gotta speak things into existence).
As I prepared for my weight loss struggle bus departure at the beginning of the month, I decided to adhere to a more strict regimen by way of a modified eating plan known as the V-diet — the v stands for velocity. I’ll give you the full breakdown on the plan in my next column, but the diet, as I’ve managed to follow it, consists of me drinking three-four protein shakes per day, one amino boost shake, and one solid meal that’s a healthy balance of complex carbs, veggies, and not much protein (because most of that comes from the protein shakes), rounding out to about 1300-1500 calories per day. While I’m not starving myself, the lack of solid food has been trying, but I decided to test my willpower in this way for two reasons: One, I’m three weeks out from my 30th and when I plop down on the sands of Punta Cana next month, I want to be able to say I did everything within my power to look my best. And Two, I needed to refocus my energy and remember why I started trying to lose weight to begin with. Yes, I wanted to look good (read: great) at 30, but more importantly I wanted to be confident at 30 because I decided that was too damn old to still harbor unnecessary insecurities, most of which were predicated on my size.
Confidence may work from the inside out but working on my outside has forced me to be honest about the issues I have on the inside and face them head on. Losing 70 pounds has by no means “cured” me, but it has helped me recognize my inner strength while I progress in my physical strength. It’s also helped me better embrace some of the positive attributes that others have pointed out for years, but I sometimes failed to see — though there are times I still find myself questioning the authenticity of compliments and accepting some remarks at face value. But when other people come to me with questions about how I’ve managed to stay on the (mostly) straight and narrow for so long, it’s a good reminder that sometimes I need to stop and smell the roses, i.e. take pride in the work I’ve done and the results I’ve achieved instead of worrying so much about when I’m going to get to this weight and that waist measurement. I’m doing good, I’m getting better by the day, and I’ve lost more weight in the past seven months than I ever have in my life and been more consistent in the gym than I’ve ever managed for more than three months. Attention must be paid.
Working It Out is a new health/fitness column chronicling MadameNoire Deputy Editor Brande Victorian’s journey to drop the pounds and get healthy.
A month ago, I revealed that I’d dropped 54 pounds within five months and many of you asked me to share details on the eating habits that got me there. Now with a total loss of 63 pounds under my belt, I’ve narrowed down a few key behaviors that have contributed to my success. Keep in mind, I am not a nutritionist, personal trainer, or doctor, but I can say that incorporating these methods has helped me stay on track during the past six months.
1. Counting Calories: Weight loss is math. About 3,5000 calories equals one pound. If you want to lose one pound per week, you must have a deficit of 3,500 calories per week, which would mean eating 500 less calories per day. I went about my current weight loss journey more aggressively, with an average loss of about 2.5 pounds per week, which means on any given day I eat about 1300 less calories than I expend.
To figure out how many calories to eat, I recommend an online calorie calculator like this one that takes into consideration your height, weight, age, and activity level, and recommends a small range of calories you can eat to lose, burn, or maintain your current weight.
2. Measuring Everything I Eat (and Drink): Yes, I have poured vodka in a liquid measuring cup before putting it in a glass with a splash of club soda and lemon and lime. Don’t judge me! Part of counting calories is making sure you’re calculating the right amount. While there are plenty of portion guides that will tell you four ounces of chicken is equal to the inner palm of your hand, I’m pretty anal about knowing the caloric value of everything I eat. So before anything goes in a baking pan or my stomach, it hits a food scale or measuring cup. #PortionControlOnFleek
3. Logging Everything I Eat: After I measure my food, I log it. I won’t act like this isn’t one of the more meticulous aspects of my journey (especially when calculating the total calories for a dish with a million ingredients), but for those times I step on the scale and don’t see the figures I expect, knowing that I didn’t underestimate my calories (and can therefore likely chalk up the disappointment to water weight or muscle gain) gives me peace of mind. I currently use DotFit to log all of my food because it comes with my Crunch personal training but prior to this I used MyFitnessPal.
Logging not only keeps me organized, but it keeps me accountable. It’s easy to convince yourself that you didn’t eat that many baked tortilla chips, but when you actually count and log your portions you know whether there really is room in your caloric budget to have that late-night snack you’re craving or if you need to drink some water and lay yourself down.
4. Tracking Calories Burned: If you want to take the accuracy of your caloric input and output to the next level, I recommend some method of calorie tracking. I use an Exerspy, again, via Crunch, and a couple of my coworkers use a FitBit. There are a couple of benefits to calorie tracking. The most obvious being that when you know how many calories you’ve expended, you know exactly how much you can eat to hit your deficit goal (again, weight loss is math). Calorie tracking also serves as a reminder to get moving. If it’s 4 p.m. and you’re thinking about skipping the gym tonight but you’re nowhere near 10,000 steps for the day, you know you need to get your butt moving! Third, we also tend to overestimate the number of calories we burn working out at the gym — as do the exercise machines we use — and a personal calorie tracker provides the highest level of accuracy.
5. Giving Up Everything I Thought I Loved: I don’t want to be too TMI, but the fact that I would end up on the toilet in the middle of the night every time I ate Popeyes, which I used to proudly proclaim my love for, should’ve been an indicator that such food wasn’t for my body. That’s why I say I’ve since given up all the food I thought I loved, like fast food (minus the occasional sub from Subway), soda, and even fried food that left me with “the itis” instead of energy.
Protein shakes and bars have been a big part of my diet over the past six months. I typically have two of either option per day, usually either as breakfast or a snack. I mix the shakes with unsweetened almond milk because it tastes better than water and has less calories than skim milk. And even though I’m totally over chicken at this point, I do routinely eat grilled chicken and also shrimp or turkey. For a dose of healthy fats, I almost always cook with either extra virgin olive oil or Pam cooking spray, and I love avocado. My carbs consist of corn tortillas, which I have to chill on sometimes; quinoa, which is considered a super food due to all of its benefits, and green vegetables like spinach that I can admit I don’t always get enough of.
Foods I’ve tried to get away with that my trainer shut down include: grits (oatmeal is more nutritious); canned soup (too much sugar); chips of damn near any kind, from corn, to pita, to spinach, and tortilla, although Quest protein chips have been approved; steak (not a lean meat); and chicken wings (they’re mostly fatty skin, though I do trim a lot of the skin off).
Foods I should be eating more of include: healthy nuts, fish, sweet potatoes (a healthy carb), and Ezekiel bread (if you have to have bread). I’ve included screenshots of some food logs on the next couple pages for more insight into my day-to-day eating.
6. Using #Fitspiration: Instagram has kept me on my toes almost as much as my trainer in two ways: Number one, I follow at least 15-20 women who have lost a significant amount of weight and maintained that loss to remind myself that I can do it too. Seeing their workout and results posts also keeps me from going off track (90 percent of the time) when I want to say eff it and either eat something I have no business or skip workouts. I also follow another dozen women or so who post healthy recipes. They help me switch up my meals and enjoy eating healthy more.
Hopefully this helps you on your journey. Of course, if you have questions leave them below. FYI, I’m currently working on a way to visually share my workout routine with you as well.
Are you thinking about shedding a few pounds or toning up for the summer months? It’s a great dream to have you can turn into a reality. All you need is time, dedication and a place to work up a sweat. Whether you choose to join a gym or find another alternative, here are some money-saving tips on your journey to getting fit.
A new survey by Nielsen looked at African Americans and their attitudinal views on health and wellness priorities and financial management behaviors. And the results could help marketers reach this untapped consumer–the African-American fitness buff.
According to the study, 92 percent of the African-Americans said they felt it’s important to live a healthy lifestyle, and they’re doing so by adopting healthier habits. Also, African Americans are more likely than the general population to reduce what they may consider unhealthy or bad habits, such as fatty foods, reports Target Market News.
And when African Americans get on a health kick, they go all the way. They take greater efforts to reduce their alcohol intake and decrease cigarette consumption.
So it makes sense that African-Americans’ (age 18 to 54) participation in fitness activities go hand-in-hand with their health goals. The most popular fitness activities are: running, swimming, and biking, where African Americans have reported activity levels of 40 percent, 34 percent and 30 percent, respectively, in 2014. There was also an increase by health conscious Blacks in yoga/pilates, jogging, tennis, soccer, and camping.
Ten weeks ago I signed my life (and a good portion of my money) away to a personal trainer. I’ve always wanted to hire someone to put an end to my cyclical weight gain/loss pattern every few years, but the truth is I had no idea what I was getting into when I put my signature on the dotted line. Twenty-nine pounds down, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that hiring a trainer was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life; however 29 minutes into my first real session my thinking was more along the lines of “f*ck this.” So, to help you get over the hesitation of hiring a trainer or the mental hump that might make you think you can’t handle the pressure of the experience, here are nine things I wish somebody told me before I took the plunge.
If you vowed to join a gym and lose weight for your 2015 New Year’s resolution, here is some advice that could save you a few dollars when joining a gym.
First, play hard to get. There are a ton of gyms around to choose from, so when you go in and hear the sales pitch don’t act interested. In fact, walk away. The gym will most likely call or email you with a better deal, reports Business Insider.
Ask for the gym to let you forgo the initiation fee. Paying in advance for the entire year will also save you a few dollars.
If you’re a student, see if they have a special rate for you. And some will offer a military discount as well.
And don’t be in such a rush. Usually the spring and summer months have lower rates. If you don’t want to wait, Business Insider suggests you “sign up in the middle of the month, as for the remaining weeks free and have your membership start the following month.”
Lastly, if you can’t get any sort of discount from the gym, ask them for a few perks such as a personal trainer or massages for free.
Given the time of year, you’re probably hearing a lot about gym memberships these days. It’s a big business, with lots of people paying lots of money to gain access. And there is a new gym trend emerging, sending prices through the roof. But luckily there is a counter gym movement going on as well — gyms that cost just about $120 a year are also seeing an increase.
For example, the high-end CrossFit has gone from 13 affiliate gyms in 2005 to a whopping 10,000 today. In Manhattan, CrossFit will run you about $2,500 annually. “High-end gyms catering to individuals with intensity and ample disposable incomes are proliferating, particularly in urban markets. The infamous and fast-growing SoulCycle costs an eye-watering $34 a class,” reports New York magazine. If you worked out four times a week for a year, this would cost you an incredible $6,000 annually.
On the opposite end of the pricing spectrum, Planet Fitness has more than tripled its number of locations nationwide. According to an industry report by IBISWorld, “From 2010 to 2014, many small, low-cost gyms with few amenities and month-by-month contracts have fared well. Poor economic conditions, coupled with many consumers continuing to be budget conscious over the period, have caused new trends to emerge.”
Most experts say to skip the middle-market gyms, where monthly fees were about $80 and drop-in fees about $10. Mainly because most gym goers at these gyms don’t go consistently enough to make the price worth their while. According to one study, gym goers went “so infrequently that 80 percent of the monthly members would have spent less if they’d just paid for dropping in. Only 1 in 10 or 20 went three times a week; about 1 in 4 people on a monthly or annual contract only went once a month,” reports New York.
If you skip from going to Planet Fitness, where you’re only shelling out $10 a month, it won’t be as much of a financial loss.
In fact, most gyms have built their business model around the fact that most people pay but don’t go. “Gyms have way more members than they can actually accommodate. Low-priced gyms are the most extreme example of this. Planet Fitness, which charges between $10 and $20 per month, has, on average, 6,500 members per gym. Most of its gyms can hold around 300 people. Planet Fitness can do this because it knows that members won’t show up,” reports NPR.
From less intimidating designs to annual contracts that make us feel better about making the commitment to go to the gyum (even if we don’t actually show up), health clubs have become experts on member behavior and use all that knowledge to get you to sign up. Even if showing up becomes the problem.
And when we finally realize that hey, we’re wasting money, the gym will offer an incentive to keep you. “Planet Fitness has bagel breakfasts once a month and pizza dinners. Those are its busiest times. It also has massage chairs. Other gyms have mixers and movie nights and spa treatments,” reports NPR. And get this, those who sign up but don’t go to the gym are actually helping keep te costs down for everyone. “People who don’t go are subsidizing the membership of people who do. So, if you don’t work out, you are making gyms affordable for everyone,” reports NPR.
So have you hit the gym yet in 2015?
In this episode of One Bold Move, we show a few series extras that didn’t make the final cut. Curly Nikki gives tips on maintaining natural hair for kids, YouTuber Missy Lynn gives advice for makeup newcomers, The Curvy Fashionista addresses plus-size fashion misconceptions, Mother/Daughter fitness duo Ellen and Lana Ector share their fitness inspiration and the co-founders of Black Girls Run! discuss whether you have to workout to stay in a relationship. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.
For anyone who used to work out consistently, but then took a long hiatus, getting back into the swing of things can be a little… interesting. Some things are harder than you anticipated, and you realize that your mind has to catch up with your current body (not the one you used to have or, the one you’re delusional to think that you still have. No shade, I have to remind myself I’m not as small as I used to be every time I go jean shopping, but that’s a different post).
Here are 14 things that tend to occur when you get back to your gym rat ways. Let me know if you can relate, or what you noticed when you start back working out.
In this new series, One Bold Move, MadameNoire profiled four popular bloggers in the categories of Hair, Makeup, Style, and Fitness. These bloggers discussed the one bold decision that placed their life on a completely different trajectory. In this episode, mother and daughter duo Ellen and Lana Ector discuss their motivation for working out and why it’s important for black women to workout.
To join their gym, purchase workout DVD’s or workout gear visit their website.
In this new series, One Bold Move, MadameNoire profiled four popular bloggers in the categories of Hair, Makeup, Style, and Fitness. These bloggers discussed the one bold decision that placed their life on a completely different trajectory. In this episode, the founders of Black Girls Run! Ashley Hicks and Toni Carey talk about their journey to get more African American women active and to not let your hair get in the way.
To sign up for a running group, visit their website.