All Articles Tagged "fitness"

Working It Out: The Eating Habits That Led To My 63-Pound Weight Loss

March 25th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Working It Out is a new health/fitness column chronicling MadameNoire Deputy Editor Brande Victorian’s journey to drop the pounds and get healthy.

March 12, 2015 vs. October 20, 2014

March 12, 2015 vs. October 20, 2014

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.

Trying To Get That Summer Body? 11 Budget-Friendly Tips On Getting Fit

March 23rd, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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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.

Healthy State Of Mind! New Study Examines The African-American Consumer & Fitness

March 6th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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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.

With the collective buying power of African Americans projected to reach $1.1 trillion this year, that’s a lot of money to spend on fitness.

9 Things I Wish Somebody Told Me About Hiring A Personal Trainer

February 6th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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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.  

You Can Save A Lot On Your Gym Membership, But Most Gyms Are Hoping You Don’t Workout

January 6th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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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?

Do You Have To Workout To Keep A Man?

December 16th, 2014 - By jade
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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.

 

Episode 1 – Curly Nikki 

Episode 2 – Missy Lynn 

Episode 3 – Black Girls Run!

Episode 4 – Black Girls Workout Too

Episode 5 – The Curvy Fashionista

 

14 Things That Occur When You Start Back Working Out

December 2nd, 2014 - By Kendra Koger
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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.

Here’s Why Black Girls Workout Too!

December 1st, 2014 - By jade
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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.

 

Episode 1 – Curly Nikki 

Episode 2 – Missy Lynn 

Episode 3 – Black Girls Run!

Episode 5 – The Curvy Fashionista

Episode 6 – Series Extras

Black Girls Run! Founders Give Advice On Hair and Working Out

November 24th, 2014 - By jade
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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.

Episode 1 – Curly Nikki 

Episode 2 – Missy Lynn 

Episode 4 – Black Girls Workout Too! 

Episode 5 – The Curvy Fashionista

Episode 6 – Series Extras

 

Working It Out: That Time I Was Told Go To The Back Of A Zumba Class

October 22nd, 2014 - By Brande Victorian
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Working It Out is a new health/fitness column chronicling MadameNoire Deputy Editor Brande Victorian’s journey to drop the pounds and get healthy.

Working It Out: I Was Told Go To The Back Of Workout Class

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When you begin a new workout regimen to lose weight — or even think about beginning one — there are lots of things you can become anxious about. Can I really do this? Do I have time to do this? Do I have the money for this? Are there going to be creepy men at the gym staring at me? Are the skinny chicks who do this on a regular going to judge me? The latter actually wasn’t even a concern of mine when I got back into a Zumba routine several months ago at a studio not far from my office. I live for Zumba because the moves are ones I can actually do for a whole hour, I love Latin music, and I work up a crazy sweat. Plus the classes tend to be full of women — 90% of which are rhythmically challenged yet still doing their thing and having fun — so it’s always felt like a no judgement zone. Until the one day I met #ThisBish.

I always like to get to classes early so I can save up my energy for the actual workout, rather than running to grab a spot before the instructor begins, and because I’m one of those people who likes to workout toward the middle, if not the back, of the class. At this point in my journey, I’m just not interested in seeing belly fat flap all around in those gigantic jazzercise mirrors. The particular day I met #ThisBish though, I’d been running late and once I got to the class there were only a couple of spots left — one of which was second row left, right in front of those dag on mirrors. Though not my preferred spot, I wasn’t going to not workout because of that so I popped a squat for two minutes and began stretching when a voice not far from me said “This is kinda hard. You might wanna go to the back of the class.”

In my naivety,  which I still can’t account for because once I come into contact with people on the streets of New York City I tend to be overcome with the worst of attitudes, I simply smiled and replied “Oh, I’m okay here,” low-key thinking the woman was being sympathetic to the packed class struggle and trying to point out free space. When she returned my comment with an annoyed expression on her face I was confused, and almost as soon as the instructor turned on “Suavemente,” the light bulb went off in my head and I realized she was suggesting I go to the back of the class because there’s no way I’d be able to keep up or keep from embarrassing myself in the front of the class. “This Bish!”

When I tell you I have never pushed myself in a class so hard before I am not lying. For one thing, I’ve taken a Zumba class at least 75-plus times in my life. This wasn’t my first Latin rodeo so I wasn’t worried about keeping up. But just to prove little Halle the Hater wrong over there, I made sure I went from zero to a hundred real quick (in my Drake voice) and cut my eyes at her every time there was a break in the song to make sure she knew I caught on to her hateration. I also decided when the class was over, and my heart rate returned to a normal level, I was going to give her a piece of my mind for trying to play me. But low and behold, little miss I-do-this left the class early and I never got a chance to redeem myself.

As someone who writes about other people’s business all the time, I can’t exactly say with a straight face: why are people so concerned with what other people do? But, being overweight is always one of those conditions that, for some reason, always tends to lend itself to public scrutiny and suggestiveness as the expense of said plus-size person’s mental state. If my weight is that much of a personal affront to you, why not encourage me to push harder from wherever I am (like my Crunch instructor last week who ironically asked me why I keep going to the back of the class) or congratulate me for trying to get my life together (OK maybe not because that would be awkward to me).

Anyway, I know when some folks see me all they see is a walking burden on the health care system, but until I show up at your door with a doctor’s bill and a laundry list of comorbidities — or unless I stand right in front of you in a kickboxing class and block your view from the mirror, please let me live! I have enough stuff going on on my journey to Snatchedville. Trust me, I’m working it out. Has this ever happened to you?