Sayulita Fitness Retreat

sayulita-2016

Sayulita Fitness Retreat
May 25-29, 2017 |  Sayulita, Mexico

Escape with us on a fitness retreat to beautiful Sayulita Mexico! Relax, re-energize, and refresh as we create a magical and unforgettable experience at Amor Boutique hotel, a luxury boutique resort with exquisite ocean views and a double infinity pool.

Are you ready to recharge as you exercise, surf and play in the warm sea and sunshine?

Reserve your spot by December 15 to lock in Early Bird savings!

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5 easy ways to clean up your diet

 

Eating healthy these days can be overwhelming when you have so many choices at your disposal.  It doesn’t need to be complicated if you keep things simple.  Here are 5 ways you can start:

1.Eliminate processed foods when possible -If you can’t cut out white breads, potatoes, rice and pastas, make the gradual transition towards whole grain, quinoa, sweet potatoes, wild rice, and brown rice.  The healthier options contain more fiber and incorporating them into your diet will keep you fuller longer.

2. Make improvements in the quality of your food -If you’re an omnivore, opt for grass-fed meats or poultry without hormones. Stay away from the genetically engineered hormone rBGH or rBST which is found in dairy. Choose pasture-raised eggs.  Buy organic produce when possible.

3. Check the labels -The fewer the ingredients, the better the chances are that the food is less processed. Stay away from all the added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup, salt, and preservatives.  Avoid hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, colors and excessive amounts of fat.

4.  Plan and prepare ahead of time -Without planning and preparation especially during a busy work day, your healthy eating can go right out the door.  Take the guess work out of it by either preparing your meals ahead of time or know when and where you will have access to your next meal. Snacks such as nuts and fruit are easy to bring to work.

5. Cook more meals at home -When you prepare food at home, at least you know what goes into your food.  Sometimes, no matter how healthy you think you are when you’re eating outside, this may not always be the case. Restaurants need to make your meals tasty so they will use different oils, fats and seasoning for added flavor.  If weight loss is an issue for you, the best way would be to prep your meals at home for the most part.

Smaller steps and not drastic measures will help you become successful in shedding that extra weight and toning those muscles. Eating a healthy and balanced diet in the long run will help you get closer towards your fitness goals.  Incorporate lean protein such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts, healthy fats such as avocados, coconut, coconut oil and healthier carbs such as sweet potatoes, squash, oatmeal, and brown rice to improve your diet. Always add a variety of vegetables from dark leafy greens to colored veggies for well rounded nutrition.

Aim to eat healthy at least 80% of the time.  If you crave something, don’t deprive yourself. Have a portion of your indulgence.  There is no “one size fits all” diet for everyone as there are different body types, goals and needs.  Experiment to see what works best for you.  Don’t forget, you can’t put all that work into exercising and the minimal into nutrition.  Both exercise and diet go hand in hand.  If you want the best results, you need to find a good balance.

 

Cindy Lai Fitness

NASM – Certified Personal Trainer

Health & Fitness Coach

7 tips to lean out without dieting

There are many ways in which you can lose weight or lean out without going on a diet.  I’m personally not a fan of diets as they end up in failure more often than not.  Anytime you’re being restrictive, especially when it comes to food, you’ll end up wanting more of what you can’t have. This usually ends up in bingeing and sabotaging the efforts you’ve initially put in. The physical and psychological effects of dieting are damaging in the long run. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed., author of The Rules of “Normal” Eating, explains, “Every diet takes the body further away from knowing what and how much food it needs for satisfaction and fullness. The push for dieting is nothing but reinforcement for everything that is wrong with restriction and arbitrary rules about eating.”  Instead of restricting your food intake, here are some tips on how you can make healthier choices and lean out without dieting.

1. Fill up on fiber

Fiber can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables so make your plate as colorful as possible.  Greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli and asparagus should be incorporated for nutritional value. Fruits such as berries and watermelon have higher water content and will keep you satisfied longer. Complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, quinoa and lentils are also filled with fiber which helps you feel more satiated during your meals.

Fiber

2.  Skip the carbs at night

Nighttime is when you’re less active so be wary of what you put into your mouth.  Stick with lean protein and a bigger portion of veggies for dinner.  Skip the bread and pasta unless you just had a major training session in the evening.  Consume most of your carbs for breakfast and for lunch.  You’ll having a better chance of burning that energy during the day since you’re moving around more.

3. Never skip breakfast

It sounds like a no-brainer but according to a poll from Instantly where 10,000 Americans were surveyed, more than half skip breakfast at least once a week because they weren’t “hungry in the morning” or “didn’t have time to eat.”  When you’re sleeping you’re already fasting for 7-8 hours.  After you awake, you should put something in your system within an hour to rev up your metabolism.  By skipping breakfast, your put your body into a catabolic state to store fat rather than burn fat.  Start with something light if you’re not used to eating in the morning. Greek yogurt and berries or almond milk with whole grain cereal are healthy choices. As your body adjusts to normal eating patterns and you crave more, you can add eggs or omelette to have a complete meal.

Healthy breakfast

4. Drink Water

This is an absolute necessity not only for a healthier lifestyle but for efficient weight loss and fitness gains.  Water also supresses appetite.  Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty.  Besides flushing out toxins, it also improves energy levels and keeps you  well hydrated for fitness activities. Aim for 8-10 glasses of water a day.  Always start your day off with a glass of water in the morning to get your metabolism going.

Water

5. Fill up on soup

Due to it’s high water content, you will remain more satiated for your meal.  Stay away from rich, heavy and cream based soups and opt for broth based and low sodium instead.  Throw in tons of veggies and add beans and lean protein for a balanced meal.

Healthy soup

6.  Savor your meal

It takes twenty minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full.  Take the time to chew your meal to prevent from overeating.  Drink some good ‘ol H20 along the way and enjoy every bite. Try to aim for being eighty percent full instead of one hundred percent.

7. Lift weights regularly 

Building lean muscle overall will increase your metabolism since you burn calories at rest.  When you perform high reps or intense weight training, it boosts your metabolism which keeps it elevated post workout. This is called EPOC, or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. Numerous studies have shown conclusively that strength training, in combination with good nutrition burns fat much more effectively than dieting alone and dieting with aerobic exercise. The more lean muscle you have, the more fuel you burn. By incorporating a strong weight training program into your regimen, you can experience EPOC as long as 38 hours after your workout which is great for fat loss and toning!

strength training

 

There are many ways in which you can lose weight or lean out those few extra pounds.  Dieting alone will not help you get there. Making healthier choices in nutrition along with the combination of the right exercise program will determine your results.  It all boils down to finding a healthy balance for yourself.  What you eat accounts for roughly eighty percent of your appearance.  Just because you exercise does not mean you’ll be able to achieve the desired fitness gains.  Everyone has a different metabolism and some people can get away with more than others.  Experiment through trial and error to see what combination works best for you.  Whatever you do, don’t restrict or beat yourself up for not being perfect.  Food can and should be enjoyed.  Indulge in moderation.  Exercise regularly.  Make healthy choices and work on balance.  Everything will fall into place if you aim to live a healthy lifestyle for the long run.

 

Cindy Lai Fitness

NASM – CPT

Holistic Health Coach

 

How to eat healthier

healthy eating

Healthy eating isn’t about strict dieting or having unrealistically thin expectations.  Nor is it about depriving yourself of the foods that you love.  It’s about finding a good balance which will lead to effective long term results. Don’t you want to feel great, look good and have more energy? Here are some simple tips you can use to help improve not only what’s good for your mind but for your body as well.

Tip #1 : Make the right changes and keep it simple

Plan accordingly each day.  Do not make any drastic changes as this often ends up in failure.  It’s the small changes which will eventually become a habit.  For example, add more veggies in your diet or increase your protein intake.  Cut down on your sugars and salt and try to avoid processed foods when possible.  One of the best things you can do for yourself is to prepare your own meals.  This will also be more economical.  You can control what you put into your mouth and feel good about it.  Make a big pot and portion out your meals for the next day or two.  Some people I know like to use a crockpot for convenience purposes.  I like to bake my sweet potatoes for the week and boil my eggs so I can take them easily with me.  I’ll make ground turkey which will last me for a few meals and have my frozen veggies ready at hand.  I don’t have time to cook often so I need something simple that fits into my schedule.  Preparing ahead of time is key as well as keeping it easy.

Tip #2 : Balance out your meals

Are you eating enough protein or overdoing it on the carbs? Do you have enough good fats in your diet? Every person is different and it depends on what your daily activities consist of.  If you’re sedentary, you would not be eating the same way as an athlete. I’m not going to get into percentages as I’m not a nutritionist but I believe in experimenting through trial and error to see what works well for your body. Results will vary for each individual.  You should be eating breakfast, lunch and dinner with two snacks in between.  Stick to healthy carbs which should include a combination of whole grains, veggies and fruits. These would be quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, beans and a variety of fruits and veggies.  Do not overdose on fruit and incorporate dark leafy greens as such as kale and spinach for rich sources of calcium. Add high quality lean protein to your diet such as chicken, fish, and grass-fed meats and organic eggs.  I personally don’t like to eat too much red meat and will try to choose grass-fed as often as possible. Plant based protein can be nuts, seeds, and soy products.  Cut down on saturated = bad fats and increase your good fats which are essential to physical and emotional health.  Examples of good fats are coconut oil, avocados, fish, nuts, seeds, and olive oil which should be consumed in moderation. Eliminate or decrease your intake of animals fats, dairy products and processed foods which can clog your arteries.

Tip # 3  Drink more water

I cannot stress the importance of drinking enough water.  This helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins.  Water keeps our skin healthy and helps us from becoming dehydrated.  You may get faint or dizzy if you’re not hydrated, especially during exercise.  Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty.  Water helps keep your metabolism in check and keeps you energized so drink up!

Tip # 4:  Cut yourself some slack and don’t compare yourself to others

Don’t be so hard on yourself.  You can still maintain your fitness goals such as losing weight or toning up once you find that healthy balance.  No one is meant to be perfect.  Don’t compare yourself to celebrities or what you see on social media.  What works for one person may not work for you.  We are all unique in our own way. By experimenting, you will find the formula which suits you best. You will need to go through trial and error to explore further.  It may be helpful to keep a food journal to evaluate how you feel after your meal. Did your energy dip? Did you feel sluggish at any point throughout the day?  Some foods may work better than others. You won’t know until you try so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Eating healthy is a lifestyle.  This is why diets don’t work.  You can still achieve your health and fitness goals by learning how to have a good balance.  It will be a learning process.  You will make mistakes.  It’s ok.  Have patience and allow yourself to be open. Embrace the journey.

Have an amazing day,

Cindy Lai

www.cindylaifitness.com

 

5 Weight loss myths debunked

There is no such thing as a quick and easy weight loss solution. One of the biggest misconceptions out there is that short term fixes will guarantee long term results.  Beware of all the products and services out there offering these claims.  Today I’m going to address five weight loss myths and how you can tackle them.

1.If you diet and exercise consistently, you’ll never gain weight

This may have been true when you first started making lifestyle changes, but it won’t stay that way forever.  Your metabolism slows down gradually every year.  The biggest change will happen around the age of 40.  It varies by individual.  Some people can get away with it more so than others.  You need to change with the times and adjust accordingly to avoid plateau.  You won’t be exercising the same way you were doing 5, 10 or 20 years ago, right?  Keep your food and exercise plans flexible.

2. Snacking is bad for your health

Snacking in between your meals will prevent you from bingeing or overeating later.  It’s important to eat smaller meals throughout the day to keep increasing your metabolism. Snacking has gotten a bad rap from the junk foods sold at vending machines at work. This does not have to be the case if you prepare ahead and bring your own healthy snacks.  Examples can be a handful of raw or roasted mixed nuts with fruit, whole grain crackers with hummus or almond butter, veggies with greek yogurt, greek yogurt with berries, and lowfat cheese with fruit.  There are plenty of healthier options aside from processed cookies, chips and sweets.

3. All carbs are bad

All carbs are not created equal.  You’d want to avoid the processed carbs as much as possible.  These are high in white sugar and white flour.   Substitute instead with whole grains, brown rice, beans, quinoa, sweet potatoes, fruits and veggies which are high in nutrients and fiber.  Eat most of your carbs throughout the day when you are more active.  Eating good or complex carbs with protein will help keep you fuller longer. Also, your body uses carbs as fuel during exercise so it’s important you do not eliminate them from your diet.

healthycarbs-and-grains

4.  Fat is bad

Just because you’re trying to lose fat does not mean you should avoid it completely.  Good fats are an important part of a healthy diet.  They keep our skin soft, provide essential fatty acids and also give us the fuel we need for energy.  These can be found in olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, fish and avocados.  Cut down on the fats found in fatty steaks, processed foods, cakes, cookies, ice cream, fries which can lead to clogged arteries, diabetes and heart disease.  In my personal experience over the last five years, I noticed that when I increased my intake of good fats into my diet, I had more energy and became even more toned.

GoodFats

5. Situps  or Crunches will make you lose belly fat

This is probably one of the biggest myths that people still believe today. You can do a million crunches or situps and you will not get the abs you want.  Abs are made in the kitchen and requires a combination of healthy eating and the right exercise program to give you those toned abs. Building lean muscle overall is key.  Spot training definitely won’t give you that six pack.  Methods involving strength training, HIIT Training and kettlebell training where you learn to use several muscle groups at once to build strength and endurance will yield much better results.  Check out my previous blogs on short workouts and core training for ideas.  I also post quick workouts on Instagram and Facebook to help you burn fat and get fit.  I will focus on healthy meals in my next blog so make sure you’re signed up to get the scoop.

Weight loss is a process.  If you want long term results, you need to make healthier choices and adopt positive habits.  It take a lot of experimenting to see what works well for you.  Don’t worry about the latest trend or what some celebrity is doing. Do what works for you and don’t be so hard on yourself. Embrace the process.  You will get there!

Have a great week,

Cindy Lai Fitness

 

 

Healthy snacks at work

 

 

 

images

Nutrition is more than half of the battle when it comes to weight loss and toning up. Normally, it’s easier for people to put in the work when it comes to exercise, but it’s a lot more challenging in making healthier nutrition choices. Consuming smaller meals throughout the day will continue to raise your metabolism and ensure fat burn stays constant.  If you wait too long in between meals, your body will store fat instead.  This is why it’s important to have at least two healthy snacks in between meals.

Here are twelve suggestions.  If you cannot have dairy, there are alternatives such as almond milk, coconut milk and vegan cheese.

1/ 2% lowfat plain greek yogurt with fresh fruit and raw nuts

2/ Turkey and avocado rollup with tomato or cucumber

3/ Handful of raw almonds or mixed nuts with small apple

4/ Natural Almond Butter with banana (Justin’s Almond butter

has ready made packets.)

5/ 2 Light string cheese

6/ Edamame or Chickpeas – steamed or roasted

7/ Hummus with carrots or celery sticks

8/ 2% Lowfat greek yogurt dip with tomatoes

9/ Almond milk with whole grain cereal and nuts

10/ Epic Bison Cherry Jerky

11/ Mary’s Gone Crackers with hummus or almond butter

12/ Smoothie with almond milk, berries, whey or hemp protein

 

These are some ideas which will help balance out your nutrition throughout the day.  Skimping on snacks or meals will lower your metabolism so it’s important to eat regularly and consistently. Everyone has different needs so experiment and see what works best for you.

Bon Apetit!

Cindy Lai Fitness

 

 

 

5 easy ways to clean up your diet

HealthyEating2

Eating healthy these days can be overwhelming when you have so many choices at your disposal.  It doesn’t need to be complicated if you keep things simple.  Here are 5 ways you can start:

1.Eliminate processed foods when possible -If you can’t cut out white breads, potatoes, rice and pastas, make the gradual transition towards whole grain, quinoa, sweet potatoes, wild rice, and brown rice.  The healthier options contain more fiber and incorporating them into your diet will keep you fuller longer.

2. Make improvements in the quality of your food -If you’re an omnivore, opt for grass-fed meats or poultry without hormones. Stay away from the genetically engineered hormone rBGH or rBST which is found in dairy. Choose pasture-raised eggs.  Buy organic produce when possible.

3. Check the labels -The fewer the ingredients, the better the chances are that the food is less processed. Stay away from all the added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup, salt, and preservatives.  Avoid hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, colors and excessive amounts of fat.

4.  Plan and prepare ahead of time -Without planning and preparation especially during a busy work day, your healthy eating can go right out the door.  Take the guess work out of it by either preparing your meals ahead of time or know when and where you will have access to your next meal. Snacks such as nuts and fruit are easy to bring to work.

5. Cook more meals at home -When you prepare food at home, at least you know what goes into your food.  Sometimes, no matter how healthy you think you are when you’re eating outside, this may not always be the case. Restaurants need to make your meals tasty so they will use different oils, fats and seasoning for added flavor.  If weight loss is an issue for you, the best way would be to prep your meals at home for the most part.

Smaller steps and not drastic measures will help you become successful in shedding that extra weight and toning those muscles. Eating a healthy and balanced diet in the long run will help you get closer towards your fitness goals.  Incorporate lean protein such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts, healthy fats such as avocados, coconut, coconut oil and healthier carbs such as sweet potatoes, squash, oatmeal, and brown rice to improve your diet. Always add a variety of vegetables from dark leafy greens to colored veggies for well rounded nutrition.

Aim to eat healthy at least 80% of the time.  If you crave something, don’t deprive yourself. Have a portion of your indulgence.  There is no “one size fits all” diet for everyone as there are different body types, goals and needs.  Experiment to see what works best for you.  Don’t forget, you can’t put all that work into exercising and the minimal into nutrition.  Both exercise and diet go hand in hand.  If you want the best results, you need to find a good balance.

 

Cindy Lai Fitness

NASM – Certified Personal Trainer

Health & Fitness Coach

How to stop self-sabotaging your diet and fitness goals

Cindy Lai Fitness Wellness GuideYou’ve decided to get healthier, maybe lose some weight and clean up your diet. You’re on a mission and you’ve set some major goals to be accomplished.  You’re on fire and think “I can do this, nothing’s going to stop me!”  Days turn into weeks, which turn into months, and little to no change is happening. By now you’re in this vicious cycle. You’re beyond frustrated and you keep beating yourself up. You don’t know how to get out of it.  Sound familiar?

It’s easy to get caught up in the internal chatter every time you feel bad about yourself.  You’ve missed a workout, indulged in more calories than you needed, or drank too much. You get angry at your lack of self-control and try to make it up by doubling up your workouts, all the time filling your head with negative thoughts. This gets overwhelming after a while and you fail before you can try again.

Unlike your career, where you need to put your best efforts forward and timing is crucial in succeeding, you cannot treat your health and fitness goals in the same manner without self-sabotaging yourself.  When you invest all your physical and mental energy into diet and fitness alone, the more you do so, the more likely you are to fail.  Your subconscious can be pretty powerful, but only if you let it take over your conscious. Taking care of your health and fitness should always be a lifelong goal. A healthy lifestyle and a good balance is required in achieving a happy mindset.

So how do we try to fix this?  Here are some quick tips to help you along your fitness journey:

  • Become self- aware –  What are the initial triggers? Is it someone from the past or a family member who made you feel bad about yourself? Or have you created these issues in your own head from the very beginning? Ironically, you may feel more comfortable with the negative self talk because it’s become familiar to you.  You already know what to expect.
  • Practice mindfulness – the definition is the intentional act of being present and focusing on your awareness objectively and without judgement.  If you’re mindful of your triggers and behavior patterns, this can help identify what’s causing these emotions. Accept the fact that you are human and just because you make mistakes or fall off track doesn’t make you a bad person. It would be helpful to keep a journal and write down what’s going on in your moment of weakness.
  • Take small steps along the way – Set realistic goals and adjust accordingly.  Be flexible with your methods and give yourself the praise you deserve when you make small accomplishments.  Any drastic measures will never last and will backfire in the long run.
  • Make sure you enlist a good support system – whether it’s a friend, significant other, family, mentor, personal trainer, or therapist, you need to surround yourself with encouragement and positivity to help guide you in the right direction.
  • Incorporate daily positive mantras and meditate – you deserve to be healthy and happy in your physical and mental wellbeing.  Instead of succumbing to the negative thoughts you’ve created in your head, you need to be more accepting of yourself.  It does take practice to clear your head of those thoughts which should be replaced with good vibes. Be patient and persistent.  Work on loving instead of bashing yourself.  Meditate, even if for only a few minutes a day to practice inner peace.  You can also download apps such as “Headspace” or “Calm” for guided meditations.
  • Don’t forget to have a life! Some of the busiest people are the most successful when it comes to achieving the desired physiques because they have other things to keep them occupied.  There is more to life than just health and fitness. Although it is very important, other things such as having hobbies, traveling, volunteering and participating in activities that you enjoy, leads to a much more fulfilling overall lifestyle.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others – this is a downward spiral which will never end unless you decide to change. Remember, YOU are unique.  There is no one like you, so focus on how far you have come.  Acknowledge your feats and accomplishments, no matter how small they are.  Stop being so hard on yourself and trying to achieve the impossible. It’s about growing, learning from your faults and moving forward.

Everyone has different ways of dealing with their issues. This is not an overnight process which you can fix with the snap of your fingers.  Whether you are able to resolve these issues on your own or with some help, show yourself some compassion. It’s ok to make mistakes and to face your fears.  You will only become a stronger and better person in the end. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.  Take all the time you need to do what’s necessary for your soul.  You’re in this for the long haul. And don’t forget, you are awesome!