Winter Is Coming

Tracydowntown-20
Photo by Christine Scott Photography

There’s nothing better than an oversized sweater, crackling fire, and marshmallows drowning in hot cocoa when it starts to get cold.  This time of year is when my motivation for physical wellness starts to slip, but my mental wellness is at its peak.  Food, family, and festivities abound in the winter months.

But how do you make time for your physical body without compromising on all of the waistline destroying treats of the holiday season?


Get the people you love involved!  I signed my family up for 8am Christmas Eve yoga this past year, and though my brother wore his Christmas pajamas, we got in a pretty good workout before hunkering back down.  It’s hard to make time to workout when you picture the rest of your loved ones snuggling by the fireplace, so by all means, be the team motivator.  Motivating your loved ones will also motivate you!

Remind yourself that you won’t be nearly as jolly and bright if you come down with a winter bug, and exercise is a great way to boost your immune system!  If you feel a little stuffy, it’ll drain your head and clear your sinuses.  Just remember to wash your hands thoroughly to avoid catching any gym bugs.

Mix up your routineThe exercises you do when it’s warm out don’t have to be the same as those you do when it gets cold.  I’m always an advocate for a little variety because being stuck in a rut makes it hard for me to keep going.  Right now, I’m crazy about hot yoga!  I love that it’s warm, as well as how detoxed and stretched my muscles feel when I get done.

As part of your new routines, find workouts you can do at home.  I have a list of these for rainy days, or even lazy ones, when leaving my apartment after class feels out of the question.  A quick 30 minutes before you shower and start/end your day will make a huge difference.  You can add it to your list of accomplishments, and just like making your bed,  accomplishing this small goal will make a big difference in how you perceive yourself.


The earth will warm back up soon, and sweaters will be traded for swimsuits in the blink of an eye.  Make sure you’re treating all facets of your wellness so you can feel great with every seasonal change!  Stay warm, and as always, love the skin you’re in.

#APerfectFit

Miracle Challenge 2015

Motivation is what gets you started.  Habit is what keeps you going.
Jim Ryan

September 1 – September 27 marks the days of a challenge whose causes are near and dear to my heart.  Miracle Challenge is a fundraising campaign for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals that emphasizes getting up and getting fit.  After selecting one of 5 different athletic “tracks”, you embark on a 27 day fitness challenge.  You receive e-mails every day with motivating quotes, motivating stories about children in the hospital, and a challenge from your fitness trainer.

For me, this challenge really puts things into perspective.  We all have days when we want to be lazy.  I’m guilty of having days I want to skip my workout and eat cookies instead.  The idea of this challenge is to be active for children who cannot run and play themselves.  This challenge asks you to run for kids who are stuck in hospital rooms, whose inability to get active is not laziness but circumstance.

Imagine being a child living in a hospital for weeks on end.  You cannot go on a bike ride in the sunshine with your sibling.  Maybe you can go on a stroll to the hospital’s decorative fish tank if you’re feeling well, but if it’s a bad day, you might not get to leave bed at all.  Instead of the rough and tumble days we imagine for most children, your days are spent with quiet artistic expressions and the comfort of a favorite movie.  Your parents have created this new construct of childhood and are doing the best they can to provide you with fulfilling experiences each day, but you know you are missing out on the fun your classmates get to have.

Being a child in a hospital is hard, but the kids you meet there are inspiring.  They face challenge after challenge with courage, but they need our help.  Please support my participation in Miracle Challenge today by going to
http://events.dancemarathon.com/participant/tracyelizabethmcgee
and donating $1.  Every dollar goes directly to CMN and impacts a child’s life.  My goal is to raise $100 during Miracle Challenge because that is the cost associated with a pair of hanging basketball hoops.  These hoops would provide children in the hospital with their own means of staying active, and I want to help provide kids with a normal athletic activity that makes some of their time in the hospital seem like just a day as a kid.

James MasonA special shout out to my friend, James Mason, who is going in for surgery this morning.  He is on my mind and in my prayers a little extra today.  I know his mom and I would appreciate you lifting him up in your own prayers.

Thank you for reading this message.  If you want to get involved in the Miracle Challenge, it’s not too late!  Go to www.miraclechallenge.org and register today.  FTK All Ways, Always.

Worth It

I have the best job of all time.  Working as a personal trainer means clients lay it all out for me.  They tell me what their fears and weaknesses are, and they entrust me with their goals.  I not only get to know their weight, their body fat index, and every other quantifiable measure of their health, I also get to know mentally where they are at.

My clients come to me with their own goal, and it’s usually to lose X number of pounds in X number of days.  I get that.  I always start by explaining it’s not as much about the scale as it is about your overall fat percentage, and we go from there.  I want to help them achieve their goals.  I know feeling in charge of their body will give them confidence in their life, and I also know losing the fat is going to improve their health in the long run by taking pressure off their joints and strain off their cardiovascular system and so much more.

At the same time, I have my own goals when I meet a new client.  I do not believe the number on a scale is as important as the client’s outlook on fitness following a package of sessions with me.  I have three goals with my clients:

  1. Meet the client’s goals (if they are reasonable).
  2. Educate the client on what is healthy.
  3. Give the client the confidence to continue workouts long after their sessions are over.

I recently received a Facebook message from one of my favorite clients, and it warmed my heart to hear about her progress.  While we worked together, she did start to drop pants sizes and meet her goal.  After her sessions with me ended, I continued to impact her life through what I had taught her.

That’s “great” not “fear” – iPhone problems.  Messages like this are why what I do means so much to me.  The number on the scale may be a quick and easy assessment, but it is not the best indicator of real health.  By teaching people what health should really look like – from the food choices down to the active minutes in their day – I have a lasting effect on my clients that goes far beyond the sessions they pay for.

I want my clients to know what a healthy lifestyle should be, and I want them to leave me feeling comfortable in a gym.  I may not get feedback from all of them, but I am so proud of those who have stayed in touch.

 

If you answered “yes” in the above poll, reach out at your local gym.  I’m sure there are staff members and trainers who would absolutely love to educate you on the equipment.  They will work with you to come up with a workout plan that makes you comfortable.  It’s their job, and I promise you won’t be the first person.  If you answered “I use to” in the above poll, I would love for you to comment and explain how you overcame the discomfort.  Everyone should be able to feel at home in the gym; it should be a safe, judgment free zone.

“Healthy” is a lifestyle.  To be healthy, you have to make decisions about your daily living, and you have to stay committed.  #APerfectFit

Food is NOT the Enemy

There is no diet that will do what eating healthy does.  Skip the diet.  Just eat healthy.

As we have started getting closer to Miss South Carolina, people have begun to ask me about my diet.  Diet is a huge part of cutting fat and building muscle, but some of the questions I’ve gotten have been hard not to laugh at.  Some of my favorites have included:

1.  Will you be taking water pills to ensure you lose your water weight?
No.  2/3 of my body is water because my body needs water.  I have no intentions of dehydrating myself to win a pageant.  In fact, I won’t even be turning down water on swimsuit day.  Why?  The human body (including mine) needs water.  I think this is especially true considering I plan on dancing for my talent, which tends to lead to me sweating out at least a gallon.

2.  Do you intend to start replacing meals with baby food?
No.  I have seen people do this, and I think you could do it safely if you were really careful.  However, intaking a 90 calorie can of pureed banana (containing just 1g of protein with 19g of sugar) seems like a waste of those calories to me.  I would much rather drink a protein shake or eat a piece of chicken.  Low calories, less carbs, less sugar, plus I’m full and feel like I have energy to stay active.  Also note that I got my calorie information off of My Fitness Pal, so it seems clear that plenty of people do use this method.  To each their own.

3.  So you cut out carbs, right?
No.  Carbohydrates are an essential fuel source for any high energy routine, and in case you didn’t know, I like high energy workouts.  Our body enters ketosis (burning fat as fuel) once we run out of carbohydrates.  The problem with fat as an energy source is the amount of time it takes to break it down.  I’ve tried lowering my carbohydrate intake, and it leaves me feeling sluggish and beat down.  I tend to eat high protein and low carbohydrates naturally, but I could never cut carbs out entirely.  Carbohydrates are not the enemy.

There are healthy ways to lose weight.  To some extent, I rank decreasing carb intake among them, but it’s all about balance.  No food is “evil” or a “miracle”.  It’s about balancing intake and exertion in a way that keeps you energized but doesn’t leave a ton of leftovers.

What is my diet plan for Miss South Carolina?  I can honestly say I haven’t changed my eating habits much.  I eat around every 3 hours (not only is this good for your metabolism, it’s also the only way I’m not hungry) but try to intake small portions each time.  I eat a lot of high protein foods (which goes back to decreased carbohydrates) like eggs and chicken or even protein bars.  I also try to incorporate a protein shake as a snack or sometimes even as a meal each day.  I don’t let my body get hungry, though.  The minute I get too hungry, I’m going to go running to the nearest Clemson bar for a quesadilla and french fries.

Figure out a way to incorporate healthy eating into your daily life.  Don’t jump on the latest diet trend.  I can promise its results won’t have a lasting impact on your life, and your body probably won’t feel its best.  Keep a watchful eye on eating suggestions that involve cutting water.  Although losing water weight makes the number of the scale go down, it does not decrease your fat percentage or actually make you healthier.  Find foods you love that also love your body, and exercise portion control.  I hate the American clean plate mentality, and I promise it won’t kill you to have leftovers for tomorrow.

Create a sustainable diet plan for yourself.  Incorporate foods you enjoy; eating shouldn’t become a painful chore.  Remember to limit your portion size.  Accompany your healthy eating with an active lifestyle.  Try things like biking or even walking in a local park.  30 minutes a day will change your life.  Plus, if you have a sustainable healthy life, you will be completely prepared to walk on a stage in a swimsuit and heels if the occasion ever arises.  You won’t even have to make drastic changes to get ready!

Happy eating!  #APerfectFit