S & W Z Fitness

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Welcome to the group! I’m super excited to share some tips and motivation and great info with y’all. Here’s a little challenge for you to work on this week: Track your water intake. If you normally get less than 50oz a day, then make your daily water goal 50oz. If you get between 50 and 75 bump it up to 75. AND if you usually do between 75 and 100 let’s go for that 100! 100 is my daily goal. I make it past 75 daily and at least half the week I make it to 100 and I’ve only been doing that for a few weeks and already feel the difference.

Fun fact: a healthy diet is one high in fat, low in carbohydrates and with moderate protein!

If you have been watching and reading the information I have shared on fat as it relates to your nutrition, you are probably wondering "Priscilla, what is a good fat and what is bad?" Here's a comprehensive list for you. This site is invaluable. This list is super helpful. It's important to note that this isn't just about what to cook with, it's ingredients too! Read labels! I know its extra work but as I am learning, once you find products that have the right ingredients and which ones don't, you'll know what to buy next time. Make notes if you have to in your phone. It will get easier as you get into practice. <3 Keep an eye here in the group too because as I find products I trust I'll share them. (Scroll through and see he pics I've already posted to find good suggestions in meat, butter and cheese!

Fun Fact: Eliminating processed foods & excess carbs from your diet makes you crave and enjoy them LESS. I promise.

Some important things you should know about “diet” and “sugar free”:

While Aspartame, Sucralose and other artificial sweeteners have been ok’d for use in foods, beverages and for cooking, the truth is they are not really the best choice.

Fun fact: Beef farmers who feed leftover meat cuts and grains to their cattle add artificial sweeteners to the feed. Why? Because it increases their appetite so they will eat more and grow larger.

Surveys and tests have proven these products do not in any way help people lose weight. That cow fact could be a clue to why.

Also studies of sucralose have shown that in some people it actually increases their blood sugar and insulin levels which is not helpful if you use it because you are diabetic or trying to lose weight either.

Furthermore, although it was approved for use in cooking and baking studies have found that artificial sweeteners actually break down and form toxic substances when heated.

If you aren’t ticked off about this yet here’s one more problem. Sucralose has also been shown to kill off good gut bacteria. Your gut biome affects your total health so this should actually be a huge concern.

So what’s a poor girl or guy with a sweet tooth supposed to do?? Opt for real sugar, honey, unrefined stevia and other natural sweeteners when you do partake of sweets BUT keep sweets to a minimum and drink WATER. If you are saying “But Priscilla, I don’t like water!” It’s probably because you aren’t in the habit of drinking it. Get yourself a water bottle or a cup that really entertains you and fill that puppy up all day!
If you want to keep getting what you’re getting then keep doing what you’re doing. Otherwise...

Example: My son likes to play video games and sometimes he’ll get stuck because the action he is taking won’t give him the expected result. What i have to keep reminding him is that he needs to try it a different way. And if he tries it all kinds of ways and it doesn’t work (most of the time it does eventually but it takes lots of practice and patience) then he needs to start over and make sure he pays attention from the beginning because likely he as missed an important step or theres a glitch in the game.

If you have come at a problem with your health and fitness all different ways and still have not overcome it then thats when you need a personal coach or a dietician to help guide you. You also need to keep a tight food diary and count macros and do all the process from the beginning. A glitch in your game could mean an underlying medical condition you aren’t aware of and you could probably benefit from some bloodwork. Once you have that information it could help you make adjustments to your routine. And don’t forget that even though diet is the bigger piece of the puzzle, exercise is still important as is healthy sleep, hydration which sometimes gets forgotten as a key element of nutrition and meditation or other stress reducing activity.

Want to get fit?  Then you have to fit it in!

A healthy body requires both Fitness and Nutrition and can greatly improve by supplementation. However, nutrition alone counts for about 80% of your efforts! I know that might be disappointing for some, especially if you feel like nutrition is a difficult part of your life to discipline.

Fitness is difficult too, if you have developed a “exercise is hard and unpleasant” mindset. The absolute best thing you can do for your fitness is to find an activity you actually enjoy that gets you moving and gets your heart rate up for at least 30minutes at least 3 times a week, preferably more. Something exerts you physically but you’re having enough fun that you don’t care and that allows you to wear your sweat like a big stinky badge of honor.

Enter, Zumba. I know, some of you love it, some of you don’t. Some of you haven’t tried it yet. But as this is my favorite form of exercise, I need to share a bit about it. When I started attending Zumba classes almost 8 years ago it was love at first jiggle. I love to dance. I love music, especially really bouncy, sassy music. Taking Zumba classes quickly proved to be exactly what I needed to get me moving AND help me reduce my stress, fight off depression, give me more energy, boost my self-esteem, and help me lose weight. Zumba is just plain awesome for me. That said, there is more to the world of fitness than Zumba. There are other dance fitness options and other cardio classes and activities that really are the right one for the right people. Maybe you like to bike. A spin class might be your thing. Maybe you run. Maybe you like to bounce up and down – there’s actually a class where you bounce on a mini trampoline to booty music I AM NOT MAKING IT UP. Maybe you like boxing or kick boxing. Both great cardio. Maybe you just like to walk or hike (to jazz that up I would say try adding walks that change your elevation and intensity by speeding up or traveling up an incline). Swimming, aqua-aerobics, both great. And now there is HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training which incorporates a variety of exercises in one class. There’s even Strong by Zumba now which is more like working out to the beat of cool music without dancing. I will warn you that is a high intensity style class. Another one I think is way cool is Pound. Legit beating on the floor with drumsticks while you move around. It’s very bad-ass. Pardon my French.

The idea is to find what you like. If budget is an issue then do what you can at home, just know there are many benefits to group fitness. At home you can jump on YouTube and find various Fitness videos, including Zumba. Some time I will share the formula for getting a good 60 minute workout using YouTube. There are also easy at home options for strength training. Keep reading!

Strength training is not just for the sporty folks. Do you need it? Not 100% maybe but there are so many benefits that I think you’ll agree it’s a good idea.
1. Building muscle helps support your skeletal structure which reduces pain. Engaging you
r core in particular is so valuable for fighting back pain and “normal” posture issues that develop with age!
2. Building muscle helps you burn calories! Yes, cardio type exercise burns calories but having a good muscular structure helps you burn them more efficiently.
3. Having good tone in your muscles helps prevent osteoporosis and arthritis!
4. It improves balance!
5. It helps lower your blood sugar!
6. It actually can reduce stress and help you sleep better!

One important thing to remember is that form is key. It really helps to watch an instructor who knows what they’re doing and learn proper form. Beachbody has many good strength training courses. Another great place to find strength training information and guidance is from Rebecca Louise. I love her! She has an adorable accent too. She has tons of great strength training videos!

What is strength training? Well, generally it involves weights of some kind, resistance bands, or using your own body weight as resistance. This could mean you fill some water bottles with sand or pick up some inexpensive hand weights from Wal-mart. They have resistance bands as well. Or it could just mean trying out Pilates. Push-ups are one of the best forms of free full body exercise there is, but I can tell you, they’re hard. It puts lots of pressure on your wrists, feet and pretty much all your joints so if you’re new to them, you’ll want to modify. That means maybe using your knees instead of coming up on the toes. Pilates incorporates variations that are serious core strengthening work. I do one 30 minute Pilates work-out a week.

What do I do? Well, as my students know, I teach 5 hours of adult Zumba a week and over an hour of Zumba Kids. I also have my Soul Glow class that is 30 minutes a week dancing with weights. THAT IS A LOT! Unfortunately doing that much cardio can actually mess with your metabolism so I don’t recommend 5 classes. BUT 3 is great and that’s why I offer 3 for my regular classes. I do a 30 minute Beachbody Upper Body routine and another that is lower body. Pilates is Fridays. SUNDAY IS ACTIVE REST! Very important. Active rest is a part of your fitness routine.

Let me know if you have any questions about this!

Fitness tip: Don’t forget to include an Active Rest Day into your week. This is part of your fitness regimen! Seriously y’all, get some cardio, get some strength training and definitely get a day the heck off! And when you are sick modify or take an extra day off. Just make sure you get back on that horse.

Do you know what Ashwagandha is?

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen herb with multiple useful medicinal properties.

1. It's a natural anti-inflammatory! If you have been aware of disease research, inflammation is at the root of many, many illnesses.

2. It's a natural remedy for stress and anxiety! I think we all could use that! The way it helps with stress, by the way, is by decreasing cortisol levels. High cortisol leads to hormonal imbalances, muscle weakness, cognitive decline and premature aging. Hmmmmm

3. It helps fight cancer! It has already been proven to activate women's natural abilities to thwart breast cancer cells and it increases white cells in people being treated with chemo!

4. It naturally strengthens the heart, reduces high blood pressure and reduces cholesterol - triglycerides, not the good kind!

5. Fights T2 Diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels and improving liver enzymes!

6. Improves thyroid function!

7: For the ladies - With prolonged use studies show it can help with PCOS, Amenorreah, and some types of infertility. It also has also been used to treat menopausal symptoms and improve hormone secretion. !!!!

8. For the dudes - It helps reverse some types of infertility and increases testosterone levels.

9. Aids new bone growth, increases natural calcium levels and fights arthritis.

10. Gut health/digestive tract health....Trying to think of a not gross way to phrase it... It helps increase the protective enzymes and mucous linings of the digestive tract. Apparently it can be really useful if you have problems... back there. You google it. I just can't finish this one.

11. Increase muscle mass. As we age we lose muscle even when we exercise regularly. It helps reverse this and also helps with fat burning at the same time.

So where do you get it? How much do you take? That's tricky because herbs and extracts aren't well regulated. If you're going to purchase an Ashwagandha product it's best to find one promoted by a holistic medicine expert. BUT! Guess what has Ashwagandha in it already? Shakeology of course! And I knew it was good for me but Lord have mercy! WOW!

Reading books by Jason Fung and Gary Taubes. I’ve read Nina Teicholz. It just keeps reinforcing why “low fat” or “low cal” does not work. If you’ve had a doctor either imply that you’re lying or give you the impression they believe you are lying then you know they’ve been deceived by Big Food and Big Pharma. My own said out loud as she typed notes into my file “Patient ‘claims’ to eat a low salt diet”. 😣


                                                                                  Plan your work, then work your plan!  
*When you know you want to change something - anything, it could be your nail color or your life - you can’t just go film flam into action without planning how you’ll facilitate that change.
*Motion only comes from action. If you haven’t seen it yet go watch the video in this group about where to start and then make a plan for what you’ll do this week to get the ball rolling.
*And here’s a hint: drink your water! If all you can manage this week is drinking 75 oz of water every day, do that and come back next week ready to add another action!

Some days just suck. Feeding your emotions won’t help. Posting for a friend. Ok it’s me. 🤦🏼‍♀️

I can tell you how to eat and how to work
out but you have to tell yourself to do it!

Fitness Tips!

One of my favorite work out gurus is Rebecca Louise! She is so CUTE! I love listening to her accent and she has a cute dog who pops up from time to time. Here's where you can find her. https://rebecca-louise.com/blogs/fitness

Of course right now my at home fitness is done with Beachbody on Demand since I have a subscription. The workout I did when I started was 21 Day Fix which I loved but it's good to mix things up. Currently I'm using ChaLean Extreme which is very different from what I did previously. It's still weights and push-ups but Chalene Johnson 's style is doing less reps with more weight/resistance. Its actually longer a workout but it goes by quickly even though we move super slowly to increase the intensity. I can't really explain that but...IT WORKS! The cool thing about BOD is that I had switched to LIIFT4 and hated it - just not my style at all and it didn't matter. I could still just switch to something else.

Of course I know many of you attend my Zumba classes and you get your cardio there, and I strongly urge you to attend live classes for cardio or HIIT or Pilates or whatever somewhere if you can afford to because that sort of community environment really will fuel your enthusiasm and your commitment. BUT! If you can't afford a live class, can't find a free class, or just can't get one that fits your schedule there are tons of videos on YouTube. I believe my YouTube channel has it set so you can view who I follow and those are my favorite Zumba instructors on YouTube. If you are doing pilates, yoga, HIIT, or any type of weight lifting and don't have experience or training I really feel you should look at videos on form and modifications and choose to work out using videos from a professional instructor. BE SAFE!

And just in case you don't have weights but need resistance - Find things around the house that you can easily grip without dropping. Fill water bottles with gravel or something heavier. Just make sure that it isn't awkward to hold or lift. Milk jugs are a bad idea because the handle is on one side and at one end. I know it seems like it's similar to a kettle bell but it's not centered and you'll get injured. If you can't find anything and can afford a few bucks go check out Target, Walmart or Academy Sporting Goods. If a weight set is out of your range, try some resistance bands. If you don't have anything yet and want to get started right away -OR IF YOU HAVE JOINT ISSUES, just use that good old imagination to engage those muscles. You'd be surprised how well that works. If you don't have any injuries or problems with your joints try some nice simple push-ups and leg lifts. Again for any of this I still want you to go to YouTube and find a video on form. Injuries happen when our form is bad.

You cannot heal in the same environment that made you sick. 

There is a reason worrying is NOT on our to-do list but guess what? Adequate sleep, water, exercise, nutrition.... those all need to be on there. Take some deep breaths (Sniff the flower and blow out the birthday candle, as I tell my Zumba Kids Class) and remind yourself that the most important stuff on your list is taking care of yourself. Yes, maybe you have others to care for and maybe you have work or deadlines or a disgusting house (I do) BUT moping and worrying won’t help you check anything off the list and taking care of your basic needs will help you be less distracted and distressed by all you need to do. You can do this! (I say to myself...😜). 
Small steps, built upon one another raise you to success. Check out the Unit 1 that I added to the Group. Part one of Unit 1 is how to get started all written down. What small steps have you taken already and what do you plan to add next?
The length of time it takes to transform your health is proportional to how long it took to get where you are now and how long you will maintain your health. Don’t look at the scale. Don’t do measurements or pictures for comparison more than once or twice a month. How do you FEEL? That should be your primary gauge for how you’re doing. And here is a moment of raw honesty for you: my coach started a new challenge group I wasn’t able to partake in so now I’m coaching myself. That’s tricky having ME as my own accountability partner. I’m tempted to skip working out. I’m slipping. So be ready to see me posting stuff about what I’m doing because guess who my new accountability partners are going to be!?!


Wisdom from Melissa McAllister (My coach's coach!)

Grocery Trip Findings
  • Low carb tortillas?  Siete brand is best quality at high price, Udi's is cheaper but has some not so great ingredients!
  • Tessemae's dressing is a great deal for a high quality salad dressing - in the organic refrigerator section!
  • Sir Kensington's condiments have great ingredients.  Taste test - the honey mustard is more mustard.  Still good quality.
  • For a time and labor saving option get pre-chopped veggies in the veggie section or freezer section.
Maya Angelou said "When you know better, do better". It isn't always easy to do what we know is better or right, even if it is for ourselves and our family. BUT - if you never know better how will you even begin to do better? Who do you know who could be benefiting from the information here in this group and the community we're building here? I want this group to be a safe place for people to come learn and share their struggles and offer mutual motivation and accountability. Let's all think of at least 2 more people who could be part of this tribe and share the group with them. Make sure to tell them why you are here and why you feel they would benefit from being here too!
😁 No pressure!! LOL But seriously, this makes me think of the ending of When Harry Met Sally where Harry says "I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." For me it’s been “When you realize you have the tools and information to change your health for the rest of your life, you want to change it as soon as possible!” Can I get an AMEN!?!
Don’t let anyone tell you form isn’t as important as working out.
  • Today I saw an Instagram post from a girl I follow who is working on her health and fitness. She is early in her journey and still has a long way to go but is working hard. Today her post was a gym pic.
  • She was doing push ups with a tricep lift alternating sides and balancing on her weights with her butt high in the air and toes on the ground. She stated “I know my form is terrible so you don’t have to tell me.”
  • Someone commented “Form isn’t important. It’s great that you’re working out”
  • 🤦🏼‍♀️
  • Y’all. Bad form causes injuries. It is super important.
  • What should she have done differently? Modify modify modify. If you can’t do the proper form, you modify the move. In her case she should be doing her pushups with her knees on the floor. It may mean not being able to lift the weight as high but she would be much better off. She could increase her weight size to a couple pound heavier to get more tricep work done.
  • If you’re lifting weights and your form is bad and you can’t seem to correct it, you need to use a lighter weight. Lighter weights don’t have to mean it’s not enough work. If you move slowly and engage the muscles you can get a killer workout and not injure yourself!
  • Let me know if you need advice on how to correct your form or modify an exercise!

Fit tip: crunches and sit-ups can be not only uncomfortable but can also be hard on your back and neck if the muscle that supports the back and neck are weak! Ever wonder why your neck and back hurt after doing just a little ab work on the floor? This is why! All the gym rats doing sit-ups like it’s effortless and painless can do so because they already have strong muscular support. So what can you do if you’re a beginner?? Standing core work like we do at Zumba (knee raises, pulling the hips and shoulders forward, knee to elbow, hip rolls) or using a yoga or stability ball can take loads of pressure off your back and give nice even support!

8 “things” I would love for you to 🛑 eating! Find yourself some alternatives!

~Table salt
~Vegetable oil
~Soy products
~Processed meat
~Microwaved popcorn
~Non-organic or unwashed fruits/vegs ~Artificial sweeteners

~Sea Salt
~Coconut or Olive Oil
~Avoid Soy (But Fermented Is Better)
~Yes, bacon is categorized as processed so you have to be VERY careful with your selection and even then not make it an everyday staple.
~Air Popped Or Cast Iron Your Popcorn
~Organic Or Wash Produce Well
~Quit Trying To Make Everything Taste “Sweet!” Enjoy The Taste Of The Food As Is!
~Grass-fed Butter

That’s all❤️

Melissa McAllister

Better bread?  Try Dave's Killer Bread in the bread aisle! 

If you don’t like or can’t get Ezekiel Bread this one is a close second. I wish they used olive oil instead of Canola but at least it is expeller pressed which is healthier. My 8 year old likes it!!! This is a major win for me y’all!!

What causes high blood pressure (hypertension)?
Fructose or salt?

 Well, sadly we have no simple answer. Like all ailments and diseases, it is a cocktail of things that are contributing to the problem. Heredity is definitely an issue but heredity can be outmatched by a careful diet, fitness and tracking. Our body chemistry and other health issues can also affect our BP as well as our cholesterol and our hormones and in this case whether it is salt or fructose that are aggravating your BP depends somewhat on those factors. However some of the research that has been done has shown that in many people an elevated amount of fructose will cause the kidneys to reabsorb salt. Read that again..... yep. It’s often both. The easiest way to watch out for your BP? Watch out for the sugar (particularly fructose or disaccharides). 👍🏻

Brain Food! 
(Click this for an interesting article from CBS.com)
  Food for thought! Literally!! (Now y’all will be wondering what is the difference between the Mediterranean diet and the style of eating I promote- the answer is not much really. The Mediterranean diet may be a bit more limiting in the area of fats and red meat but that’s the biggest difference.)

Post about Eggs by Lauren Fitzgerald, MD:

🥚EGGS🥚 Let's talk about why so many of us ate egg white omelettes for years... FEAR OF CHOLESTEROL. My hope is that after reading this #fitzfoodfactfriday post you no longer deprive yourself of the yummy yolk or any other food high in cholesterol!

In January of this year the MESA study looked at the incidence & progression of Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) in people eating a low carb diet. It looked at 5614 men & women with NO baseline❤️ disease. The outcome showed that overall outcome of both animal based and plant based scores were NOT associated with ⬆️ incidence, prevalence or progression of CAC. It also showed the source of protein didn't matter and was not associated with higher CAC scores.

The amount of money that is made off of the belief that high cholesterol will lead to ❤️ disease is in the trillions. Big Pharma does not want you to know that many of their biggest money makers (like statin drugs for high LDL) are not necessary! If we could get the masses to start and understand that treating something like a high LDL will DO NOTHING to get to the root cause of CVD, imagine how much money you, the patient, would save!

The numbers I personally care about are my triglycerides, my HDL to LDL ratio & the amount of large fluffy to small dense LDL particles I have (large/fluffy are good, small/dense are bad...and currently only two labs measure this, the NMR by LabCorp and the Cardio IQ by Quest).

If you really want to prevent ❤️ disease, you want to prevent developing a metabolic disorder. Stop with the nonsense of only eating egg whites and EAT THE YOLK! Start looking at where you are metabolically and work with your functional medicine doctor to help reverse underlying issues like insulin resistance! That is where your efforts should go...not throwing out the yolk!

Click here for a fascinating
Red Table Talk from the Smith Family!

Great Article!  Food as Medicine for the Brain!