3 Fabulous Fitness Products

3 Fabulous Fitness Products

I’ll admit, fitness is not something I’m great at.

Besides dancing, my ideal life includes a lot of laying down and eating mangoes.

BUT.  Fitness is super important.  My friend Noelle is really the expert on all that jazz and if you’re just getting started, I recommend checking her website here

I’ve recently had the chance to try a couple of new fitness products that I really liked.

Super helpful and motivating, these help make working out more convenient and efficient. Check them out!

#1 Go Pockets

Okay, so this is one of the best idea EVER.  

What is the deal with women’s workout attire and not having properly sized pockets??

Like I’m going to take my key off of my full key chain or leave my phone at home as I traipse around the city?

Smart phones and credit cards are real and we need to carry them comfortably, but women’s workout pants usually seem more designed to cling as tightly to one’s butt as possible, no room for pockets.

It’s just not practical.

But now there’s Go Pocket.  They use a strong adhesive to adhere temporarily to your workout clothes, giving you a perfect pocket to place things in. 

They don’t last forever so you aren’t stuck with them, and the adhesive won’t ruin your clothes.  They are also easily removed when you don’t want them anymore or want to try a different color.

They are also washable and lasts through several wash cycles.

They can hold your phone, keys, cards, anything you need for your workout.  

They come in black and all kinds of fun colors and patterns, changed every season!

This is a brand new product so give it some love and try it with free shipping here.

#2 This Fitness Tracker

Okay, so you probably have one of these already.  It seems like everyone does.

But if you don’t, you need to hop on this train!

The Fitbit Alta HR is the best fitness tracker I’ve used.  

It’s a bit pricier than other brands but it is definitely worth it.  Heart rate monitoring, step counting, food tracking, and lots of fun calculations to see where your fitness is at.

It also tracks sleep (which is just as important as fitness!) and I love that it can help me identify if I’m not sleeping as well.  That way I know to kick back a little if I’m overdoing it.  

Plus, since so many people have it, you can always find friends to motivate and inspire you to hit those step goalz.

And you have to love the fact that you can change the band.  

I mean, looking good is life so… (I love these bands to match it all here

And if you have prime you can have one in 2 days!

So just take the leap and do it!  Find them here

#3 These am-ah-zing glass bottles

After working out, strenuous cardio or weight lifting exercise, recovery is important.  A good carb with a high quality protein is important.

Usually I do this by making myself a protein shake with some fruit, or sometimes I’ll take a branch chain amino acids drink as well. 

I get sick of constantly mixing my shakes in the same bottle, washing it out, and remixing it again.

Instead, I bought this set of 6 glass bottles (no BPA, yay!) and I just make my protein shakes up in advance.

I leave them in the fridge or freezer until I need them and voila!

Find the set here. 

What are your favorite fitness products??

--------

So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

3 Reasons I will Never Run a Marathon

3 Reasons I will Never Run a Marathon

In 2014, 541,000 Americans finished running a marathon – an all time high.

This past year several dozen of my acquaintances have also completed marathons. (They all say this bestseller – Born to Run – inspired them.) My facebook feed is on the weekends often nothing but finishing lines and bib numbers and hash tags about soldarity, perseverance, and the glory of marathoning.

I am super happy for my friends. Don’t get me wrong. I think – if my friends and the half a million other people who run marathons are happy and healthy – that their perseverance, their accomplishments, and their resulting pride and joy are super awesome.

I just will never be one of them.

Here are three of the main reasons I personally will never run a marathon… and why you, if you’re like me, might not want to either:

1. I don’t like running

Perhaps it goes without saying, but probably the main reason I won’t be running a marathon any time soon is that I don’t like running.

Sure, the sense of accomplishment might be nice, but the actual act of running itself doesn’t give me the pleasure it seems to be able to give some of my friends.

Now, the reason I brought this up is this that, unfortunately, I think a lot of people who run, or who aspire to do marathons, are like me. They don’t like running.

They simply think that they should like running, or maybe they shouldn’t, but they do it anyway. Usually this is for the sake of weight loss. Sometimes it is for feelings of social validation, or self-worth.

If you are one of these people, that is, if you don’t like running but force yourself to do it, I ask you to reconsider. Perhaps think about accepting yourself and your pleasures as they are, and seeking another activity that you enjoy. If it needs to be an activity chock full of challenges or with a high degree of social acclaim (as marathons are), you can still find that in pretty much any sport. Meet Up groups and at your local gym are great for finding communities for cycling, for rock climbing, for dance, for pilates, for yoga, for kayaking, or for whatever other activity feels right for you.

2. Long distance running is a stress on the body

Even if I enjoyed running, I’m not sure that I would want to subject it to long distance runs on a regular basis, and particularly not over an extended period of time.

While the panic over cardiac arrest and death as a marathon runner appears to be slightly overstated (that is – it seems as though most people who suffer deaths as runners already have underlying cardiovascular disease) – running can still cause stress on the body.

Exercise requires the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol spikes are fine in short bursts. If you elevate them chronically, as people do with long distance running and especially if doing it multiple times a week – then it can become a serious problem.

Chronically elevated cortisol is associated with immune system dysregulation, an impairment in fighting off diseases, chronic systemic inflammation, digestive issues, IBS, leaky gut, heart disease, hypothyroidism, anxiety, and depression.

This is a serious concern for all people.

Women, however, have one yet greater set of concerns: the hormonal response to running.

Why?

The female body can get pregnant. But if it gets pregnant at a time of famine or stress – then it is at a much higher risk of dying than it would be otherwise. Pregnancy is a highly demand period of a woman’s life and the body takes this very seriously.

In order to prevent you from becoming pregnant at the wrong time, the female body developed an ingenious trick: it shuts down reproductive function in response to stress – both physiological and psychological. This means that hormone production shuts down, thyroid function slows down, and fat burning slows down.

Without healthy hormone production, you can suffer symptoms such as adult acne, low libido, poor sleep, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and weight gain. Because this is important to note – not only does the body want to stop you from starving, but it is also going to try to hang on to as much fat as possible.

The more you over-exercise (read this post to find out if you overexercise), the slower and slower your metabolism will get. Your thyroid production will slow. This causes weight gain, but can also cause fatigue, brittle hair and nails, and feeling chronically cold.

(For a list of more symptoms of impaired thyroid functioning, see the post 19 Indicators You May Be Hypothyroid.)

Of course – if you are a chronic long distance runner – and you love it – you can most likely help prevent yourself from suffering from these things. You can make up for this by making sure you eat plenty of calories and plenty of carbs, and especially after your long runs.

3. I choose to spend my emotional energy elsewhere

Marathons take time. They take effort. They take commitment. They take gusto. They take physical exhaustion.

Unfortunately, we all have a limited amount of energy to expend. And this energy comprises all the kinds of energy we could expend – mental, emotional, physical. We are creatures with a gas tank, and we have to use it sparingly, making sure that we don’t overuse the gas until we are running on fumes, and stuck that way.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a professor back in college. He said, “you can do anything you want, just not everything you want.

These days, I simply don’t have an abundance of emotional energy. I spend so much of my life and time doing other things, such as working, writing, dancing, and teaching dance–not to mention managing my dysfunctional kidneys and the stress associated with that–that I simply do not have the emotional reserves to undertake such an endeavor. Nor do I anticipate I will ever do so. I don’t feel the call to engage in this public challenge the way so many other people do.

I simply feel emotionally demanded of and called elsewhere – so that is where I shall go.

And I am perfectly okay with that.

If you are unsure about running a marathon, I invite you to be okay with that, too.

(And if you don’t yet know what you want to do, perhaps consider a book on helping you figure it out.)

 

——-

And with that – I bring my list of reasons I will never run a marathon to a close. I know it’s a short list – but they are all very important and I think very deep points.

I would love to hear what you think…

I am curious about your own relationship with running and with marathons. Did you have any health setbacks while running? Any emotional struggles? Or do you love it and can’t wait until your next marathon? I’d love to hear all about it! Don’t forget that I have absolutely nothing against marathons for other people… they’re just not for me!

 

--------

So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

This Week in Paleo: Switch to Walking

This Week in Paleo: Switch to Walking

 

So many of my readers and podcast listeners are runners, cross-fitters, and heavy exercisers.

I get questions from these women EVERY DAY because so many of them struggle with hormonal concerns: excessive weight gain, ammenorhea, etc because they want that “perfect” paleo body.

And of course I encourage you to exercise in a way that makes you HAPPY.

BUT.

There can be a lot of problems when women over-exercise.  It can damage your hormones, over-stress and over-tax your adrenals, and be rather unhealthy in general.

If you’ve read any of my numerous articles on the subject, you know how I feel.

But today, I’d like to suggest something to you.  An alternative, if you will.

Switch to Walking!

Why Walking is Better

Walking has a host of benefits for your health, not least of which is stress relief.

Instead of being stressful and taxing to your body, like running and cross-fit can be, walking is good for you, gentle, and balancing.

Walking has been shown to improve insulin resistance, especially after meals, which is good news for women with insulin resistant PCOS or those with diabetes.

Not only that, it reduces your risk of various non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Get Walking

Arguably the best thing about walking is how EASY it is.

It’s the one exercise I always resisted because I never felt I was DOING enough.

But that’s precisely the point.  Walking is so good for women because it is so natural, so gentle.  It’s like breathing.

The key is to walk enough.

And that’s the hard part.

The average person with a desk job gets maybe 3000 steps a day, at the most.

If they take a 20 minute walk every evening, they’re up around 5000.

To see real results and feel the benefits of increased energy, we’ve got to up our walking game.

Of course any amount of walking is better than none, but I encourage you to start slow and aim to increase to something close to 10000 steps a day.

One way to do that is to choose among the numerous fitness trackers on the market to help keep you on track and remind you to walk.

There’s a ton to choose from, and everyone likes something different, but I like the Up2 by Jawbone.

It’s nothing fancy, just a cute bracelet band that connects to your smart phone.  It tracks your steps, your sleep, and you can sync it up to track your food as well, if you’re into that sort of thing.  The best part about it is it’s accurateness and unobtrusiveness.

I hardly notice the thing on my wrist after a while.  And it’s AFFORDABLE, which is something I can’t say about all fitness trackers.  Find it here.

When you’re walking, try going barefoot and walking in grass.  That’s called Earthing and as hippy-dippy as it sounds, it’s actually really beneficial and stress relieving.

If you can’t stomach going barefoot, try barefoot walking shoes.  These kinds of shoes have little to no arch support and wide toe boxes to give your feet the most natural walking experience possible.  I like these and these, but there are tons out there.

And to stay hydrated on your long walks, make sure you take along water, preferably in a glass water bottle like this one which is BPA free.

Finally, if you’re not into nature walks and need a little more stimulation, you can take along the modern day fanny pack so you can carry music and other distractions.

Yes, the fanny pack is back.

They call it a “runner’s belt” now, but it’s essentially the same thing.  It’s a belt you wear around your waist that fits your phone, headphones, money, and keys without sticking out and looking weird.  This is one that I like a lot.

So get walking!  You’ll start feeling more energetic than ever very soon.  It can be tough to get off the couch after a long day, but be gentle and kind and encourage yourself to be more active!

--------

So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

Do you exercise too much?

Do you exercise too much?

In today’s culture, it’s rare to hear someone talk about the dangers of over-exercising.

Normally, we are exhorted to exercise as long and as hard as we can, so that we can burn as many calories as possible. We are told to do cardio for no less than 30 minutes, and it’s better to do it for at least 60.

We are told to do it every day, and if we are the most hardcore, we do it twice.

(And then we get to brag about it later over drinks!)

But over-exercise is a real, even scary problem, especially for women.

Why Over-exercise is a problem for women especially

The female body it capable of giving birth. This is a miraculous, fabulous thing.

Yet it is also a potentially dangerous thing. Pregnancy is a very stressful, demanding time for the mother’s body. Without sufficient energy, nutrients, and safety from the surrouding environment (say, not being in a state of famine or war), ancestral women often suffered unsafe, malnourished pregnancies.

And died.

In order to prevent a life-threatening pregnancy, therefore, the female body developed systems that are highly sensitive to stress or energy deficits. When stress or restriction is detected, reproduction shuts down. This protects women from becoming pregnant at a time that might threaten their lives and the lives of their babies.

Over-exercise occurs in women more easily than in men exactly because of this sensitivity. It is a protective mechanism, designed to make sure they only get pregnant at safe times.

It is also, unfortunately, a big hassle for women trying to achieve health and hormone balance in today’s environment.

The problem with today’s environment

The problem with today’s environment is that exercise is not only valued, but is exalted beyond good reason.

The more you do, the better, they say. And if you don’t do it much, shame on you, because that means you’re fat and lazy and don’t deserve to feel sexy or healthy.

And so we exercise and exercise and exercise, run and run and run. At least I know  I did. At the height of my fitness life, I was lifting weights and running about 15 miles a day, every day. I thought that that  was normal. 

Women were supposed to train like that, I thought, if they wanted to be worthy. 

Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.

Signs of over-exercising

Do you over-exercise? Here are some potential signs of over-exercise:

1. Requiring yourself to exercise even when you don’t feel like it

If you have to force yourself to exercise, you may be doing it too much.

Forcing yourself to exercise when you don’t feel like it elevates stress hormone levels. If you do this on a regular basis it will over-fatigue you and you will become chronically tired (and likely sluggish and overweight) in the long-run.

It also indicates that your body isn’t well rested enough after your last bout of exercise and/or stress in order to perform well again.

If you’re feeling too fatigued to work out, consider taking a brief nap, then doing some lunges or push ups later in the day instead. Studies show that brief, intense exercises spaced throughout the day may be even more effective than one long work-out.

2. Under-performing

Perhaps it goes without saying, but if you find yourself performing less and less well during workouts, this is another sign that your muscles and your hormones are too fatigued to keep up at this pace.

3. Post-workout exhaustion

If you fall into a nap or are otherwise super fatigued at the end of a workout, this means you needed to use way too much of your energetic reserves while working out. Without any good stress hormones or energy floating around in your system, you will crash after a workout.

Make up for this by taking some more off days, or alternating between high effort and lower effort workouts.

4. Missed or irregular menstrual periods

If you find that your menstrual period has become longer or gone absent entirely while exercising a lot, the stressful demands of the exercise coupled with the caloric deficit may be to blame.

You may be able to help alleviate this problem by making sure you eat more – especially after workouts – but I highly recommend cutting back on the exercise by at least half as well.

For more on this kind of amenorrhea and whether or not you may have it, check out this post: Metabolic Distress and Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, or Overcoming Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.

5. Low libido

While there are many causes of low libido, the stress that comes from over-exercise very well may be one of them.

6. Feeling cold, thinning hair, brittle nails, constipation

Feeling cold, thinning hair, brittle nails, and constipation are all signs of hypothyroidism, which is one of the most common results of over-exercise.

In fact, if you over-exercise at all, hypothyroidism is a very serious risk.

You can read about some of the other indicators of hypothyroidism in my post 19 Indicators You May Be Hypothyroid – yet I really do caution you to be wary of hypothyroidism from excess exercise whether  you have some indicators or not. When the female body gets stressed or thinks it may be starving, the thyroid gland is one of the very first systems that shuts down.

7. Excessive soreness or slow muscle recovery

If you find that you are sore for a long time or cannot recover or build muscle well, then you may not be giving your body the time it needs to re-build. Exercise is a very serious stress that tears muscles apart.

Muscles absolutely require time and nutrients in order to re-build themselves to their optimal strength.

8. You get sick easily

Under chronic stress, the immune system falters. If you find that you are chronically under the weather while you constantly exercise, you may wish to ramp down and see if that helps your body recover more quickly.

9. Acne

Hormones are a key player in acne, and they can become significantly out of balance (with male hormones out-producing female hormones) if you over-exercise.

This acne is typically cystic, and appears most commonly around the mouth and jaw, though can also be on the cheeks, forehead, upper back, and buttocks.

This is a very real, significant problem for a lot of female athletes (go to your local cross fit box and you might find what I’m talking about.)  If you work out a lot and you struggle with this kind of acne, make sure that you refuel properly, and consider cutting back significantly to give your hormones a break.

Here is a post on hormones and female acne.

10. Cravings

If you find that you have increased cravings throughout the day and cannot seem to satisfy them no matter what you do, excessive exercise (and quite possibly under-eating) may be to blame.

The more you starve your body, the more it is going to try to make you eat, especially with high energy, super tasty sweet tooth foods.

How much should you exercise?

Of course, every person has a sweet spot, for how much exercise is good for them. I cannot give you a hard and fast number for how much is too much.

For some women, for example, even one work out a day is too many (especially if it is a hard work out). This may be the case if you have a history of dieting and over-exercising, if you’ve been over-exercising for a long time, if you under-eat, or if you are going through a stressful period in your life.

Other women may be able to easily tolerate one work out a day… at least for a while.

I generally recommend that women do no more than 4 really hard sprint or weight lifting work outs a week. That doesn’t mean that you cannot exercise in the meantime, but super hard workouts should always be followed by a rest day.

This is optimal for your muscles, optimal for your thyroid gland, and, in the end, optimal for your energy and waistline, because you are protecting your body’s ability to maintain both of them healthfully and happily.

Ultimately I cannot say how much is too much for anybody – but I do hope that this list has helped. I simply recommend that you remain mindful of the signs of overexercising… and start dialing back ASAP if you see them.

And… as ever, please let me know what you think! What works for you, what have your experiences been… I want to know everything!! 

exercisePIN

--------

So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

How fasting after workouts can cause high testosterone, acne, and PCOS

How fasting after workouts can cause high testosterone, acne, and PCOS

This morning one of my most dear friends posted to Facebook that she was so happy after an interview she just conducted with Mark Sisson. (This woman may or may not be one of the hosts of the ever famous The Paleo View podcast.) The reason she was so happy, at least in part, was that Mark helped her understand better how to re-fuel after a work out. Most fitness gurus know that muscle building is the most efficient when you refuel after a workout with carbohydrate and protein. What we forget to often talk about are the hormonal effects that occur at this time, too.

This is especially important for women.

When I was diagnosed with PCOS, I searched high and low for a link between muscles and testosterone. I thought maybe my high muscle mass was causing my PCOS. Exercise junkies on internet forums often hypothesized that this was the case…. that increased muscle mass causes women’s testosterone levels to go up. That made intuitive sense to these people. Men have muscles, and lots of testosterone.

So, QED?

But I couldn’t find any good science to back it up.

Today, still, women with high testosterone levels ask me all the time if their exercise habits have anything to do with it. Just last week I had to shrug my shoulders as a fellow blogger and say ‘hm sorry I don’t have a good answer for you?’

kthanxbai?

(By the way, I did write a book on PCOS, its causes, and how to support your body with it.  See it here.)

Then Stacy and Mark gave me the idea to look into the science of post-workout meals.

(THIS is my favorite post-workout snack.)

Because what’s important for the relationship between exercise and testosterone levels is not muscle mass, nor even the intensity of the workout.

It is, instead, whether or not you eat afterwards.

What happens when you workout and afterward

During the course of any kind of strenuous activity — whether more in the vein of endurance / cardio or in high intensity weight lifting — the body burns through its glycogen stores. Glycogen, in essence, is a form of sugar. It’s stored in the muscles. It’s one of the body’s favorite fuel sources for exercise. Athletes almost always start a demanding workout with full glycogen stores. Otherwise, they will have less fuel for their efforts and will perform less than optimally.

Fitness specialists recomment that after a workout that depletes muscle glycogen (so after about one hour of higher intensity), you eat a meal composed of 3:1 carbohydrate:protein. When you do so, insulin and growth hormone levels rise, and testosterone levels fall.  This boosts muscle building while at the same time maintaining healthy hormone balance. Cortisol levels appear to stay the same after you eat. For women, luteneizing hormone levels also stay the same . This demonstrates that it is not hormone levels in general that fall when you eat post-workout, but testosterone levels specifically.

Moreover, it seems as though post-work-out feeding reduces muscle soreness, too.

Testosterone is important for a lot of functions in the female body. Excess testosterone, however, is not. Excess testosterone causes infertility, poly cystic ovarian syndrome, acne, male pattern hair growth on the face and body, hair loss on the top of the head, and diminished libido.

Here are some summaries of papers I recenty read to demonstrate these effects:

Kramer, Volek et al 1998 compared the hormonal responses to consecutive days of resistance training with and without nutritional supplementation.  Subjects drank either a carbohydrate‐protein supplement 2 hours before and immediately after their workout or a placebo.  Blood was taken before and 0,15,30,45 and 60 minutes after the workout.  Lactate, growth hormone, and testosterone were significantly elevated immediately postexercise in all subjects.  Growth hormone and prolactin responses on day 1 were significantly higher for supplementing subjects, then leveled out.  After exercise, testosterone declined below resting levels for supplementing subjects during all three days.  Glucose and insulin remained stable for placebo subjects and were significantly elevated by 30 minutes during supplementation.  Insulin‐like growth factor‐I was higher during supplementation on days 2 and 3, indicating long-term increases in IGF1.

Chandler, Byrne, et al 1994 examined the effect of carbohydrate and/or protein supplements on the hormonal state of the body after weight training exercise.  Subjects consumed either a control (water), protein, carbohydrate, or carbohydrate‐protein drink immediately and 2 hours after a resistance training workout.  Blood samples were drawn before and immediately after exercise and during 8 hours of recovery.  Exercise induced elevations in lactate, glucose, testosterone, and growth hormone in all groups. Carbohydrate and carbohydrate-protein stimulating insulin levels.  Carbohydrate‐protein led to an increase in growth hormone 6 hours post exercise which was greater than protein and control.  Supplements had no effect on insulin‐like growth factor‐I but caused a significant decline in testosterone.  Testosterone levels fell below resting levels 30 minutes postexercise during all supplement treatments compared to the control.

 

The takeaway

Many people deliberately fast after a workout in order to burn as much fat as possible.

While this is a reasonable approach for people who are significantly overweight or who do only this only occasionally, women who repeatedly fast after workouts can experience significant long-term testosterone elevations.

I used to be one of these women. My testosterone levels were through the roof…. but I was completely insulin sensitive. Conventional wisdom says that insulin is the primary means by which testosterone becomes elevated in the body (it directly stimulates testosterone production in the ovaries). Clearly, insulin wasn’t my problem.

I can’t say that my daily high intensity workouts and limited fueling were the only cause of my high testosterone levels. Most definitely they were not.

But it seems that they were a culprit. And I can honestly say that deliberately refueling after every workout (like with awesomeness that is Tanka bars!) and dance class, along with being sure to include plentiful carbohydrates in my diet, relax as much as possible, and gain a few body fat percentage points, has drastically improved my sex drive and the quality of my skin.

The healthiest athletes I know – and some incredibly beautiful female fitness competitors, to boot – always, always, always refuel after a workout.

Julia Ladewski of Bella Forza fitness.

My body building friend Julia Ladewski of Bella Forza fitness. Image credit: Eva Cowan Fitness.

 

THIS is my favorite post-workout snack, rich in protein and carbs with a little bit of fat… from grass-fed buffalos!

I also really like this Wild Alaskan Salmon from Vital Choice with some Extra Virgin Olive Oil and some fruit.

Check out more awesome snacks like smoked salmon, protein bars, and powerhouse paleo granola here.

Even if you are on a low carbohydrate diet, I — and low-carbohydrate gurus, too — recommend consuming some carbohydrates after your workout. Make it at least 30 grams of carbohydrate — so about two apples, or a half cup of rice — and 10 grams of protein, so 1-2 eggs, or half a can of tuna. Fasting after a workout very occasionally is okay. And it varies by individual. Nonetheless science doesn’t lie – a fasted workout decreases muscle growth, increases soreness, and elevates testosterone levels in women.

And, of course, for more on how to fast, and how many carbs and fat grams and the like to eat…

you can learn all about that in my book on weight loss for women Weight Loss UnlockedTo get a jump start on it, you can dowload a free chapter of the book HERE, and sign up for updates on more free weight loss tips and info!

Pin it:

How Fasting After Workouts Can Cause High Testosterone, Acne, and PCOS.

--------

So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

There is a right way and a wrong way to do fitness

There is a right way and a wrong way to do fitness

 

The majority of my fellow bloggers went to AHS in Berkeley, California the weekend of August 7. A big part of my heart desperately wanted to, too. Berkeley is one of my favorite places in the world, and that weekend it was filled with some of my favorite people in the world. Nonetheless I chose to expand my horizons differently this August weekend.

Instead of  flying across the country to AHS, I drove a few hundred miles up the Atlantic coast to Auburn, Maine. There’s not a whole lot up there in the middle of Maine – aside from rivers and trout and good people and grass and serenity – but what is there, is astounding.

I am talking about Wolfpack FitnessYou may have heard me singing Wolfpack’s praises on Facebook before. This past weekend, however, was my first opportunity to actually see what this awesome community of women, men, and children has going on in real life.

August 7-9 marked Wolfpack’s second annual Strong is Beautiful celebration.

At Sib2 I got to witness, finally, a real life gym that does fitness right.

 

sib2

.

 

Here is what I got to witness while I was there:

-Scalable workouts that are possible for anyone of any skill level.

-Short bursts of high intensity exercise that never leaves anyone over-drained.

-1-3 intense workouts a week, and no more.

-Workouts that focus on abilities rather than on numbers on a scale.

There are no tens, twenties, or fifties at Wolfpack Fitness. There are, instead, cinderblocks, iron chains, buckets full of bricks, and tractor tires. There are no treadmills, but instead bear crawls. The Wolfpack leader, extraordinary energizer bunny Luke Robinson, celebrates being fit enough to keep up with toddlers, push a stalled car, or help friends move from one side of town to the other.

-A focus on strength rather than appearance

All body types are welcome and celebrated at wolfpack fitness. No one applauds anyones physique, nor denigrates anyone’s rolls.

-Community support

Members of Wolfpack fitness – at least so far as I can tell! – do not compete or try to tear each other down. They cheer for each other, chant each other’s names, and hug each other out of exultation and pride.

-Family

Members of Wolfpack fitness treat each other like their own.

-Fun Workouts are accompanied by fun outfits, pop music, and – admittedly bad, but appreciated nonetheless – jokes by leader Luke.

-Seriousness about health.

People at Wolfpack fitness focus on health first and foremost. While so much of what they do is about having fun, it is fun focused on healing the body and the spirit. This community is 100 % about empowerment. Nothing like a number on a scale.

-Community involvement and outreach

Wolfpack fitness won Robb Wolf’s farm-to-gym challenge for good reason. They are loyal customers of and advocates for Nezinscot farm, an organic farm with grass-fed, pasture-raised cattle, pigs, goats, and poultry. (If you’re in Maine, a visit to Nezinscot farm is a must!)

-Sustainability

Wolfpack fitness runs it’s own garden, completely directed and sustained by its members.

-Inclusivity

All with a positive attitude are welcome as one of their own at Wolfpack fitness – an incredible feeling I can personally attest to.

.

.

 

At Wolfpack fitness, there was no:

-Body shaming

-Food shaming

-Putting each other down

-Injury-prone exercising

-Obsessive fitness mentality

-Competition

-Hopelessness

-Calorie counting

—–

Before I drove up to Auburn, I suspected the Shevoles of Wolfpack fitness would show me that all the good fitness stuff I’ve always dreamed of is possible. Boy, oh boy did they ever deliver. I am so glad I went, even though it meant I had to miss AHS. And while I have moved work outs out of my own life to help me minimize body image issues, the Wolfpack had me charmed. I knew that if I lived in Auburn, my life would be enriched by joining, no questions asked. I wouldn’t be drawn into body image issues. I’d be held as a member of loving community.

So at the very least, I returned home with a warm, grateful feeling in my heart.

Wolfpack is a community focused on strength — which includes physical, mental and spiritual strength — that delights in each other’s spirits and capabilities of their physical bodies. This is how fitness should be done. If you are a fitness instructor, junkie, or participant, read through this list again. Check out Wolfpack’s Facebook page. Maybe you’ll be inspired them. I sure as hell was.

sib21

All photo credits go to Luke Robinson of Wolfpack Fitness.

 

--------

So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.