UN-Podcast 022: UNsettled

UN-Podcast 022: UNsettled

[source] Have you ever had a conversation with someone that was so powerful and earth-shatteringly beautiful that you wish you could have recorded it? Well, Ito and I had that conversation with today’s podcast guest, and thank goodness we have a record of it! If you do nothing else today, please, go and listen to the podcast. Jessi Kneeland, an NYC-based personal trainer and all-around badass, dropped some serious truth bombs on today’s show. From dressing for success to helping tomorrow’s youth succeed in beating the eating disordered behaviors handed to them in Cosmo and Seventeen, Jessi has an incredible perspective on what it takes to feel good in your skin on a daily basis. She can also rock a pair of MC Hammer pants while jumping out of an airplane. (And if that doesn’t make you want to listen in, I don’t know what will!) Are you ready to change the way you look at fitness and body image? Go listen now! And you can connect with Jessi on her blog at jessikneeland.wordpress.com (full website coming soon!) or on twitter @jessikneeland Stay hungry,...
UN-Podcast 019: UNtimed

UN-Podcast 019: UNtimed

[source] I’ve said it before, but I think it bears repeating (again and again, since it seems to surprise me every time): our paths are inexplicably intertwined with the paths of those who need to be a part of our lives. It seemed to be a theme of Paleo F(X), where every person at that event seemed to become a part of my journey in some way or another. One such fellow traveler is Madelyn Moon, of Moon Fitness. We met at the panel on transformation, realizing that we had found kindred souls in one another in terms of our history with fitness and body image in the world of figure competitions. Madelyn is in the middle of her own transformation as we speak–a different transformation. One that doesn’t necessarily involve competing on a stage (although the future may hold that kind of transformation for her again someday), but a transformation from student to health coach. In fact, it was Madelyn who convinced me to take the final leap and do my own health coaching certification through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. There’s something really beautiful about the spectrum of ways we can become coaches. For me, I intend to focus on helping men and women leave behind the transformation mindset–but I realize that, while I retired my 5 inch heels before they ever graced the NPC stage, not everyone wants to leave it behind. Madelyn’s approach to health coaching involves helping women who still want to transform their bodies–for competition or for fitness. Her desire, however, is not to simply coach people toward a certain body fat percentage...
Fitness Friday: Heavy Lifting Shouldn’t Be Taken Lightly

Fitness Friday: Heavy Lifting Shouldn’t Be Taken Lightly

Today’s post comes from a place of…uncertainty. Doubt. Acceptance. I’m writing it because I am not above the very mindset about which I’m railing against. Because I’m not immune to marketing messages, and I’m a lifelong perfectionist. Because I still feel like I have something to prove. At the same time, I know how powerful it is to speak or write the truth–to put words into the universe and make them real. To do the mental heavy lifting so I don’t just jump from deconditioned and atrophied back into the the literal heavy lifting I wish I could do. Today’s post is an insurance policy against my own potential folly in the future.  So there’s that.  Read on.  The very first time I walked into the weight room with the intention to do anything more than 20 quick reps of a bicep curl with a 5 lb weight–the very first time I walked into a weight room and headed for the squat rack–I experienced a serious mindset shift that was both wonderful and catastrophic. After flailing about for a few sessions, doing poor imitations of the exercises in the circuit I had printed off of bodybuilding.com, I got the hang of it. And suddenly, I was no longer that woman in the weight room. I was simply in the weight room. Reading Oxygen Magazine, I fully embraced the concept of “Sisters in Iron,” except when a woman actually wandered into the weight room and flailed about, doing poor imitations of circuits from Shape magazine. No, this woman wasn’t my sister–she was the reason I imagined men sneered when I...

A Day in the Life of Calories In < Calories Out

A typical day of “calories in < calories out:” Wake up at 4:30 am after about 5-6 hours of sleep. Raises my ghrelin (the hunger stimulating hormone) and lowers my leptin (the satiety stimulating hormone). Lower leptin means lower endorphins.  Coffee with artificial low-fat creamer. Raises my cortisol, stimulates insulin response.  Get to the gym by 5 am. Take an hour long spin class. Physical stress of intense endurance workout raises my cortisol, artificially increases my endorphins.  Down a protein shake (dairy proteins, lactose, and artificial sugar). Stimulate insulin response with lactose and artificial sugar, irritate gut with dairy proteins.  Get to my job, which stresses me out (because I hate my job, because I have a big project on deadline, because I hate my coworkers/my boss/my direct reports, whatever). Cortisol stays raised.  Stomach starts growling at 10 am. Have a Greek yogurt with berries on the bottom. Stimulates another insulin spike, more dairy proteins for the gut. Starving by noon. Have a big salad with tofu, low-fat dressing, and a piece of whole grain bread. Snack on a banana. More gut irritation from soy (lectins and phytates and phytoestrogens, oh my!), bread (gluten, wheat germ agglutinin, etc. Another insulin spike from influx of glucose and fructose from both the low-fat dressing (added sugars to make up for the lack of fat, for taste purposes) and the banana. Promote hormone dysregulation with phytoestrogens in soy.  Start yawning around 1 pm. Desperate to stay awake. Another cup of coffee. Cortisol stays raised, body/mind still physically exhausted.  Starving again by 3 pm. Forage in purse of 100-calorie pack of cookies with...

“But You Still Have To Go To The Gym”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1qc7VlGk1w] This commercial makes me so angry–it embodies pretty much everything that’s wrong with the state of fitness and nutrition in our country today. There are so many things wrong with commercial that it’s almost hard to find a place to start. So I’ll do my best to focus on the main reason why this seemingly innocuous Cheerios commercial makes my blood boil. Looking past the fact that I no longer agree with the contention that the whole grains in Cheerios are part of a “heart healthy breakfast,” the majority of my ire today comes from the last line: “But you still have to go to the gym.”+ Now, as a certified personal trainer and an incurable gym rat, I’m happy that General Mills is suggesting that fitness is an important part of anyone’s “heart health” and “weight loss” regime; however there’s a more insidious message behind the commercial, and it contains that ugly, 7-letter “C-word.” Calories. (If I never have to hear the word again, it will be too soon.) The crux of this commercial’s message is: no matter how healthily you eat, if you don’t burn it off, you’ll get fat. (And Cheerios carries disordered food messages throughout much of its marketing strategy. Dr. Deah Schwartz, a Health At Every Size blogger, did a great post on the disordered implications of its “more whole grains, less you” message on Peanut Butter Cheerios boxes). Here’s the thing: calories in vs. calories out does work. But only for so long. It goes something like this: I start eating well and working out. I eliminate processed foods but don’t change...