Should You Workout in the Morning? Or the Evening?

Should you start your day with an endorphin rush? Or wind down at night with a good sweat? You’ll hear different answers for different reasons from different people. Frankly, there is no one answer. It comes down to what works for you. But this is what works for me and how I have found success…

For me, morning workouts are key and the #1 way to achieve success. This is why:

1. It starts my day off right! My mood is elevated and I feel more stable to take on any emotional issues during the day. I feel more productive at work and more likely to get out the door instead of lounging around home, especially on the weekends.

Image

2. I’m more likely to make better eating choices. I don’t want to ruin all of the work I have done earlier in the day. I’m already in that healthy mindset and am more in tune with my body.

3. Along the lines of healthy eating, I already know what my exercise calorie burn is for the day. I can input exactly how much I burned from my heart rate monitor into a calorie tracking app before any meals. I can make adjustments to my meal plan if needed. When I worked out at night, I always seemed to have consumed too many calories during the day, or left with a bigger deficit than needed.

4. Just knowing that your workout is done for the day is therapeutic. You know that when you get home, you can relax, spend time with your family, go out with friends, etc.

5. You’re more likely to workout if you get it done first! You know how it goes. You are going to workout right when you get home, but you’re really hungry instead. So you eat and wait an hour. But you’re still a little full so you’ll wait a little longer. Then your phone rings or you remember an errand you needed to run. The chances of getting it done start slipping away. Do yourself a favor and get it done first thing!

Sidenote: If getting your workouts done in the morning requires you to get up earlier than you’re used to, start this week by setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier. Keep adding time on until you have enough to move your workouts to that time slot! Do it slowly and make it stick!

 

Advertisements

Low-Calorie = Healthy… Not Necessarily!

When seeking a brand new healthy lifestyle the first thing we turn to is the food we eat. In the aisles of the grocery store we can find numerous products boasting “low-calorie,” “low-carb,” “high fiber,” and “all-natural!” Sometimes when you combine the good intentions of wanting to have a better diet with the need for convenience, disaster can happen.

I want to teach you what has worked for me in sifting through all of the healthy claims made on food packages and finding the truly good-for-me, nutritious fuel I need!

When I first decided I needed to make a change my husband and I went grocery shopping with little to no knowledge on the subject of nutrition. I think most people are like we were. It’s incredible the lack of knowledge people have on health and nutrition. Shouldn’t there be mandatory classes taught by an actual nutritionist, not the gym teacher? That’s an entirely separate topic for another day! Anyway, we hit the grocery aisles looking for our new healthy options. I picked up anything that was low in calorie, not knowing how many calories I actually needed in a day. I stocked up on $0.98 frozen meals with words like “Lean” and “Healthy” on them. We bought all kinds of fruits and veggies we thought we would just eat raw and be totally satisfied when we hadn’t ever done that before. Needless to say the frozen lunches were unsatisfying, the fruits and veggies went bad, and I was under-eating, then binging on fatty foods when my body was crying out for nutrients.

After a couple of years of trial and error and making small adjustments these five steps help me make the best decision based on my needs, NOT on the food package!

1-Figure out how many calories you actually need – We are all SO different in body type. At 5’10” and curvy, I burn far more calories in a day than a woman who is 5’4″ and more slender. If you under-eat, you might lose a little weight at first, but don’t expect that to last for long. Your body needs fuel to properly function! And that also means getting rid of fat. Find an app or website that will help calculate your caloric need. My favorite app is MyFitnessPal and you can also log on to myfitnesspal.com. You can edit your profile and see how much you should be eating! My username is trsorensen, so add me and we can be friends! 🙂

2- Read the ingredients, not just the label – When you turn over a package, what are you looking for? Typically you find the calories and decide if it’s good for you based on that alone. But what else is lurking in your food? If you are finding all kinds of things you can’t pronounce or have no idea what they are, it’s probably not the best option. Now I know we live in the real world and need convenience, so I’m definitely not perfect in this area, but I make a conscious decision to make MOST of my meals of the whole variety. Food without labels is best! (ex. veggies and fruits).

3- Start Small – You don’t need to vow that next week will be the most perfect week of eating that has ever happened! Pick 2-3 small goals per week that will lead you in the direction of your overall goal. Some examples: stop eating 2-3 hours before bed each night, prepare at least one meal for the next day in advance, get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.

4- Know how many calories you are burning – People often overestimate the amount of calories they are burning during a workout. This leads to consuming too many calories, then inevitable frustration. The number one way I can tell you to track this accurately is to invest in a heart rate monitor. I know they can be pricey, but look for deals. This will change the way you look at how your body functions and lead you to success! Personally, I use a Polar FT7 because it has a chest strap so I know my counts are accurate.

5- Invest in a Food Scale – Can you really say you know what 4 oz. of broiled chicken looks like? I couldn’t, until I got a food scale. Now I know without a doubt how many calories are going into my body. Take the guess work out! These are not expensive either. I picked mine up for $20 on Amazon. It’s an EatSmart Precision Pro. Love it!

How To Plan Your Meals

I made a very entertaining video for you… Well, at least I think it’s entertaining. 🙂

I developed this outline for planning meals several months ago and have done it every week since. It makes so much sense to me and takes out a lot of work each week. It removes the excuse, “I don’t have time to cook, let’s go out.”

I would also love to know what kind of video topics you would like to see in the future!

Modify, modify, modify… did you get that?

This post goes hand in hand with my last post Be A Tortoise… Not A Hare.You may be inspired by a certain workout or infomercial where people are pushing it to the max. You just know if you had access to it you could work just as hard as anyone there and look perfect doing it! Well, you have to be realistic. This is not to say you CAN’T do that dream workout. You CAN. You just have to build up to it and there are a couple of ways to do that.

Test a Program and Start At Your Actual Fitness Level
This is the first way to build up to your dream workout. If there is a program you’re absolutely dying to try, chances are you know someone that is trying it right now or you can find someone online who is. I want you to get their advice. If they’re extremely fit and it’s difficult for them and you’re just starting out, chances are it’s not for you… YET. If you have someone in your neighborhood that would be willing to lend you one of the workouts for a day, then try it. (Don’t ask for their whole program, they’re probably using it and you’re going to know with one workout if it’s for you.) Be honest with yourself. If you haven’t worked out in 5 years and you want to do Insanity, that’s awesome! Just build up to it. *Disclaimer: Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT burn another person’s fitness DVDs for four reasons. First, if you don’t invest in something, you are less likely to follow through. You basically have nothing to lose. Second, you don’t get the entire package. Most fitness programs come with nutrition guides, workout schedules, tips, etc. and you don’t want to miss out on these things. Third, as a Beachbody Coach it is my business to help people find the right program. You are likely taking away from someone’s business by burning no matter what company you’re purchasing from. Fourth, it’s stealing, plain and simple.
Get Your Dream Program And Modify
You’ve probably seen YouTube videos of people who lost 150+ pounds and were able to do it with P90X. How did they do it? They modified. The first day they did the warm-up, the second day they did the warm-up a little bit better. By day 30 they were getting through half of a workout. It’s hard work, but they never gave up! They committed to pushing it just a little bit more every single day. They probably even did multiple 90-day cycles of the program, but they did it. So what I’m saying is, you CAN do your dream workout now. You just have to listen to your body and do what you can do. Then tomorrow you commit to a little bit more.

Bottom line: 30 days, 90 days, a year will come and go no matter what you do. You can either choose to be more fit, stay the same, or decline.

Be A Tortoise… Not A Hare

We’ve all been there. It’s Sunday night and you have just consumed an entire baking dish of Mac and Cheese followed by a pint Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. You’re very full and very mad at yourself. So you make a solemn oath that tomorrow you are going to start fresh and finally transform into that girl you just watched on the Olympics whose abs are completely solid while she runs. (Seriously, did you see those runners?)

You’re going to push yourself so hard this time. You’re going to get up at 5:00AM and run three miles followed by an hour of intense lifting and eat like a champion and no one can stop you! Monday you do awesome. Tuesday you kind of do awesome. Wednesday you miss the alarm. Thursday you break your alarm clock. Friday you eat cookies…all day.

The lesson here is: BE REALISTIC. If you haven’t exercised in a few years and your diet has consisted mainly of fast food, you can’t expect to be perfect on Monday. Sure, you’ll have some people tell you, “You can’t have that, it’s processed.” “That has too much sodium.” “Did you check the carbs in that?” Everyone thinks they’re a nutritionist.

This is what you actually need to do. You need to pick a workout program that looks interesting to you. If you hate running and vow to be a track star, it ain’t happenin’. Do something fun for you. And then realize you’re not going to be able to do it the first time. When I started doing Turbo Fire I was making it through half of a workout TOPS. I could have said, “I can’t do this. I’m done.” But instead, I decided to do an extra couple of minutes everyday. Anything is better than nothing! Modify, modify, modify. If you can’t do a move exactly how it’s supposed to be done, do it in your own way. Make the perfect move a goal.

As for eating, use your common sense. If you are new to a more healthy diet, I want you looking at two things and two things only: Calories and serving size. After a few weeks of being a label reader, you will start to become more interested in things like fat content, sodium, carbs, and protein. Don’t overwhelm yourself! Find out what works for you! And sometimes, with your likely busy schedule, you just have to make the BETTER choice, not the perfect choice.

Start slow and go the distance! Gradual improvements win the race.

How To: Make The Commitment To Your Health in 5 Steps

I’m going to tell you a secret… The hardest part about getting healthy, is deciding to actually do it.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “I’ve told myself a million times I’m going to get in shape and then I just never really do it. Deciding is the easy part!” I’m not talking about the hundreds of times you’ve told yourself you’re going to “lose weight”. I’m talking about the defining moment when you decide you are going to take back your HEALTH.

The desire to lose weight is hardly ever enough. You can lose weight by any number of unhealthy avenues. You can lose weight by eating milkshakes everyday and nothing else. You can inject yourself with serums and swallow pills and have something surgically altered. None of those are going to improve your HEALTH. It’s the actual changes in your lifestyle that will improve your health.

Once you realize you don’t want to lose weight, but you want to be healthy, nothing can stop you.

I’ve followed multiple fitness professionals over the last few years, listening to their guidance and picking out what works for me. Did you hear that? WHAT WORKS FOR ME. It may not be the same thing that works for you; however, just one of my compiled tips may be what you need to hear to get the ball rolling.

These are the 5 tips and realizations that have changed my life into a healthy one:

1. You have to love your workout – If you hate running and you decide tomorrow you’re going to train for a marathon, you’re not going to last. If swimming is boring to you and your workout plan is to hit the pool three times a week, good luck. Try different things! My heart will always lie with Turbo Kick/Jam/Fire. I love teaching my classes and I will never get the same joy out of another workout. That was what made the difference for me. There are so many different kinds of workouts out there. Find one that is safe, fun, and right for you… then do it!

2. Realize what you are capable of now and what you want to be capable of in the future – It’s going to take time. Improving your health is not a quick fix. You’re in it for the long haul. So commit right now to not beating yourself up when you can’t complete a full DVD workout, or you get winded one lap in. The human body is an amazing thing, and it will improve more quickly than you ever thought possible, but it still takes time. If you get discouraged easily, you will quickly quit. Understand where you are physically and then each day, commit to pushing yourself just a little bit farther. Add up all of those “little bit farthers” and you’ve reached your goals.

3. Track your progress – TAKE PICTURES, TAKE PICTURES, TAKE PICTURES. Even if you want to take your before pictures then hide them away from the world, take them. And then repeat 30 days later. You may not see the changes everyday looking in the mirror, but they’re happening. You need the comparison to see how far you have come. Plus, when you have crazy abs, you don’t care who sees the flabby before pics 🙂

4. You have to invest – It took me a really long time to figure this one out, even though I did it to begin with. It goes along with the idea that nothing worth it is ever free or without hard work. I’ve heard a lot of people say there is no reason for them to buy a workout program because they can workout for free outside. How’s that workin’ out for ya? Sure, there are those who are just prone to be outdoorsy and get all kinds of physical exercise on a daily basis. Most of us are not those people. If you find a great, helpful gym (I say helpful because you need some guidance) that has everything you need to start your journey, make the investment. If there is a workout program that speaks to you and you just know that trainer can get you up and moving, invest in it. If you want step-by-step help from a personal trainer, invest in one. My life has literally been changed because of at-home fitness programs and products and it’s all because I made the investment. What you put into something is what you’ll get out of it. And if you invest, you’re less likely to give up.

5. Accountability, accountability, accountability – This is probably the most important one and there are two categories. First, accountability to yourself. Other people can inspire you, but only you can motivate yourself. To keep that motivation high, expose yourself to self-improvement material everyday. Right now, I’m going through Chalene Johnson’s book PUSH for the second time because I realized I was letting my organizational skills slip. Taking those few minutes to read a chapter about improving myself does wonders for my motivation. Find an audio series about being more positive, buy a book about how to better organize your life, listen to webinars and conference calls about how to be successful. Any kind of self-improvement will effect your health in a positive way. Improving your life in one area will lead to improvement in another. Second, accountability to others. I have the great pleasure of running accountability fitness groups multiple times in the year and those who are successful all say the same thing, “I needed someone to check in with that would hold me accountable.” This can be a friend that will workout with you. A personal trainer that will guide you. A personal coach, like myself, that will help keep you on track. You have to tell people what you are trying to accomplish so you know someone else is watching your progress.

It’s all about the commitment to your health. Begin your journey and you will never look back.

The Unexpected Weight-Loss Obstacle: The Green-eyed Monster

I came in contact with a very unexpected, very disheartening side effect of getting healthy. As a result, I learned an incredible life lesson.

The side effect? Jealousy. As I started losing weight and meeting/exceeding my health and fitness related goals, I noticed an odd change in some of the people around me. While many close to me were truly happy for me and cheered me on, there was a second group not so supportive of my self-improvements. Some were very close to me and it truly hurt when their own insecurities got in the way of our relationship. They didn’t like that I was meeting my goals and they weren’t.

At first, I was angry. How could they be so obvious about their frustrations toward me? Why couldn’t they bring themselves to say, “Good job!” When I got my Turbo Kick Instructor certification, a goal that had been several years in the making, why couldn’t they celebrate with me? At times it consumed me and took all of the joy out of my accomplishments.

Then came the life lesson. Because I had been ignored by some really important people in my life, I became more supportive of endeavors my friends and family were taking on. I began to cheer on others more than I had before because I knew the green-eyed monsters were in their lives too. I realized which people in my life were truly so happy for me they could burst. I learned who was priceless to me and who I could count on. It made those people so much more valuable.

I was just telling my 12-year-old sister last week, who was having some friend drama, what it took me until now to figure out. I told her the most important friends in her life would be the ones that could be truly happy for her. I told her to start finding those friends now. I said, unfortunately, there are going to probably be more people out there that are consumed by their own insecurities that they’ll try and bring her down. But if she had those unconditionally supportive friends, the others wouldn’t matter.

So thank you to my true cheerleaders! Thank you to those who keep me positive and celebrate with me! Thank you to my true soulmates!

And thank you to those who have put me down, not congratulated me, ignored me, and hated me for my accomplishments. You, above all, have taught me who in my life is most important, and you have pushed me to be more supportive and kind to everyone.

Remember to always be kind! Praise those who are following their dreams! If someone is pushing you down while you’re trying to rise up, take their power away. You are strong, capable, and amazing!

Image

Potato chips, pink overalls, and self-worth: my fitness journey

Oh, those pink overalls… Beautiful, baby pink overalls.

I walked with my mom through the department store for our back-to-school shopping extravaganza. I was no more than 8 or 9 years old, but new clothes were becoming more exciting. T-shirts, jeans, socks, underwear… and then I saw them. OshKosh, baby pink, corduroy, short overalls with silver buttons. They were the most gorgeous piece of back-to-school apparel I had ever seen. I had to try them on. My mom grabbed a size, the biggest they had, and we went to the dressing room. I envisioned my first day of school, sporting my new pink overalls. I slipped my feet in, pulled… and they stopped at my thighs. I looked down to make sure I had undone the little buttons on the side and I had. I pulled and pulled, but they weren’t going anywhere. The tears started to fall and my mom consoled me, telling me it would be ok and we could work on some healthier eating and then buy the overalls. When I brought this story up with my mom not too long ago she didn’t even remember it happening. I like to think she was too traumatized by her daughter’s emotions that she blocked out the tragic event, but that’s beside the point. I was devastated about my gorgeous pink overalls.

When I was 10, my extra weight actually became somewhat of a blessing. I was feeling sick all of the time. I had no appetite and when I was finally able to eat something it stayed in my body for a matter of hours. My digestion was completely off. I was VERY tired and missed weeks of school. My weight all of a sudden started dropping off at an alarming rate. The first doctor gave me a depression test and told my mom I might be giving myself laxatives to lose weight. I didn’t even know what laxatives were. The second doctor gave me some antibiotics to fight an infection, which was interesting since there was no infection. The third doctor was a little closer and put me on a very strong cocktail of drugs which made me even more sick. At this point I was 13. I was tall for my age, about 5’8″ and had lost so much weight I was now barely 85 pounds. I have a picture of me holding my brand new baby sister when I was at my lowest weight. It’s truly terrifying how skinny I was. Finally the miracle doctor was found in the form of a dermatologist my mom happened to take my brother to. She brought up my condition with Dr. Parkinson who insisted on seeing me immediately. Strangely enough, he knew exactly what was wrong with me, because he had been diagnosed with it too a few years earlier. It was Clostridium Difficille, C. diff for short. The easiest way to explain it was the good bacteria in my stomach had been destroyed, most likely due to an over-prescription of antibiotics when I was young. 3 weeks, and a lot of Vancomycin later, I felt better for the first time in almost four years.

Food tasted good again! I hadn’t loved food at all in years and now, everything tasted amazing! My mom and grandparents weren’t about to curb my appetite when they had watched me become so emaciated. In a very short amount of time I was heavier than I had ever been with the stretch marks to prove it.

Fast forward past the many instances when my weight made me self-conscious in middle school, my binge eating made me hate myself in high school, the zero school dances I was asked to, the zero boyfriends I had, and the thousands of times I committed to getting skinny.

I was working as an Assistant Manager at a clothing store at 22 years old. I loved the discount on clothes, but frequently layered an unnecessary amount of extra-large tops to hide my body. I had dealt with my fair share of difficult customers since my first job at a movie theater when I was 16, so one particular lady didn’t seem very special when she called to complain. This particular woman felt one of the other store workers was dressed inappropriately when she came to shop that morning. “She was showing too much cleavage!” the (completely unreasonable and horribly delusional) woman said. Being good at her job, my manager continued to listen to the woman as she described other girls working in the store and how their attire was inappropriate. We’ll just skip over the fact that no one was dressed inappropriately. She had attacked everyone except me. And then she said, “…and there was a bigger girl working at a table and I could see her underwear over the top of her jeans!” That was me. First of all, I’m pretty sure I was wearing blue undies with cute little penguins that day, so you’re welcome lady. Secondly, she said bigger. Her adjective of choice was bigger. Bigger. I was horrified. Had I really reached that point? When people talked about me and needed to explain who I was, did they use the word “bigger”? That day I left work, drove to Wendy’s, ordered a Spicy Chicken Combo with no lettuce, add American cheese, large fry and drink, Dr. Pepper, two sides of ranch, and hated myself.

Let’s skip to the positive stuff. July 25, 2010 my husband bought Turbo Fire for me as an anniversary present. I had seen the infomercials, I had actually owned Turbo Jam at one point, and I loved Chalene Johnson. Something about Turbo Fire just told me it was, as Chalene puts it, my “soul-mate” workout. I opened it and immediately went to the TV to watch the “Getting Started” DVD. This was it. I was committed. I was ready. I was sick of feeling like crap.

The workouts were amazing. 5 lbs. down. The nutritional plan was flawless. 10 lbs. down. I was able to make it through almost all of the workouts low-impact. 15 lbs. down. My old jeans fit. 20 lbs. down. “Tia you look so good!” 25 lbs. down. Cupcakes became really popular. 2 lbs. up. Chalene told me I wasn’t tired. 30 lbs. down. I felt amazing! 35 lbs. down.

My life had quite literally, changed. I became more confident, I became more nice, I loved myself physically and mentally. It was like a snowball. I couldn’t get enough of the workouts, I missed them when I couldn’t do them, and healthy food tasted amazing.

Honestly, I don’t even remember how, but I connected with Molly Richards on Facebook. Molly was in the cast of Turbo Fire and I always loved her Meet the Cast interview: “Hi, I’m Molly Richards! I’m from Huntington Beach, California and I love happy, positive, motivated, energetic people!” Those of you who have done Turbo Fire probably have those interviews memorized because, like me, you sit on the floor, drink your water, and listen to it after every workout. The first time I talked to Molly I was super scared and shy. She was on my DVDs! And she was the probably the nicest person I’d ever talked to. She talked to me about becoming a Beachbody Coach. She told me about Shakeology, so I tried it. 40 lbs. down. (And I’ve had it everyday for the last two years.) And then I made the best decision I had made since starting Turbo Fire. I became a Team Beachbody Coach. Coaching made it possible for me to help others use programs like Turbo Fire to change their lives.

In May 2011 I reached one of my biggest goals of becoming a certified Turbo Kick Instructor. For those who don’t know, Turbo Kick is the gym version of Turbo Jam/Fire created by Chalene Johnson. Shortly after I certified in Hip Hop Hustle, another one of Chalene’s gym formats and most recently completed my training in PiYo Strength. In December of 2011 Chalene came to Park City, UT and taught 3 classes. I made the 45 minutes drive to go to two of them and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Molly had told her about my transformation so when I met her she knew who I was. She is one of the most genuine, amazing people I have ever met. In 2012 I was able to attend Chalene’s Camp Do More in Southern California, which was another life changer.

I have confidence. I have good health. I have energy. And my passion is to help others get the same things.

And if I had one wish, it would be that OshKosh, baby pink, corduroy, short overalls were still in fashion…

 

Image

Chalene Johnson and me. Park City, December 2011

Nice to meet you! I’m Coach Tia Sorensen.

Hi! My name is Tia Sorensen and I’m a Turbo Kick and Hip Hop Hustle fitness instructor in Salt Lake City, UT. I’m also an Independent Team Beachbody Coach.

Fitness has not always been part of my life. A few years ago I was sick of feeling awful with no energy! I decided to change that. I have lost 35 pounds (so far!) and I reached my goal of becoming a fitness instructor.

I love motivating others to get healthy and conduct monthly Beachbody Fitness Challenges (Turbo Fire, P90X, Insanity, etc.) I love helping people develop healthy habits and ultimately lead a more energetic, fulfilling, positive life!

Keep an eye on this blog for fit tips, motivation, opportunities to improve your health, and much more!

You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter as well as Instagram @coachtiasorensen!