3 tips on how to get rid of stubborn belly fat.

Having gone through 3 pregnancies and gaining a significant amount of weight with each, I’m no stranger to the woes of an increased waist line that takes some time and focus to get rid of. I’m in pretty good shape at this point but still have the excess skin that comes with gaining massive weight and then losing it. I’d need surgery to get rid of it all together. I sometimes look in the mirror and find myself pulling my stomach fat up to remind myself what me belly used to look like, but I also realize that it’s a reminder that I gave birth to three beautiful children that mean the world to me.

Alright.. enough cheesy stuff, here are my tips for reducing belly fat as much as possible.

  1. Run. Cardio is the best way to reduce excess fat and jogging is one of the most effective ways of doing this.  Running about 12 miles a week, which breaks down to only about 2 miles a day, has been proven to really amp up your metabolism and reduce body fat. If you’re not comfortable running any other exercise that gets your heart rate up is also effective, you just need to do more of it. I love walking and it’s such a great low impact workout, but you need to make time to do more of it if you really want to cut weight.
  2. Amp up the protein. I’m not a fan of diets that cut out carbs completely, they are essential for so many key bodily and mental functions, but I do think cutting back on carbs while mixing in more healthy protein in your diet is a good thing. Protein, carbs and fat are all essential components of your diet but you need to have the right ratio. According to Prevention Magazine, a break down of 30% protein, 30% carbs and 30% fat, has been proven to significantly reduce body fat. Examples of healthy protein are white meat chicken and turkey, Salmon, lentils, almonds, organic whey protein…
  3. Strength training. Combining cardio and strength training is the best way to get that sleek, toned physique you crave. Strength training is not just great for target toning but also building muscle, boosting your metabolism and burning fat throughout the day. Here are some of my favorite abdominal exercises to really help tone that waistline: Bicycle crunches, planks, high knees ( I like this partially because your don’t have to lie down, but make sure your core is tight to get the full benefit), leg raises, side crunches and windmills (also a standing exercise).

If you have any questions please email me: hilary@ugobabyfitness.com 

xo,

Hilary

Mediterranean Diet

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Easy to prepare Chicken and Dill recipe is sure to be a hit with the family.

Everything I’ve read over the years about a healthy diet always leads back to one place, the Mediterranean style of eating. And, quite frankly, it’s not that hard to take part in this healthy way of life. Basically it includes everything I preach about eating on a regular basis to slim down and stay healthy and fit.

“Mediterranean-type diets highlight whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats from fish, nuts, and healthy oils.” – Harvard Medical School

Another fun fact I learned from HealthBeat, Harvard’s on-line medical journal, is that it has been proven to decrease risk of heart disease as well as dementia and Alzheimer’sdisease.

Here’s a recipe I served up tonight from EatingWell.com. Quick, easy, low cal and perfect if you’re trying to follow a Mediterranean style of eating. Chicken breast is a great form of lean protein and lemon is chock full of anti-oxidants. I served this with broccoli but any side of greens is a great addition to round out your meal with nutrient dense foods that will make you stay fuller longer.

Lemon and Dill Chicken

  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, or canola oil, divided
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, divided
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1½ teaspoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear until well browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate and tent with foil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add the remaining 1½ teaspoons oil to the pan. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk broth, flour, 1 tablespoon dill and lemon juice in a measuring cup and add to pan. Cook, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan; reduce heat to low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a warmed platter. Season sauce with salt and pepper and spoon over the chicken. Garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill.

Quick tips for weight loss.

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what is most important to people about getting in shape. What I mean by this is, what areas do you find hardest about getting in shape and therefore need the most support?

Motivation to workout is always tough for everyone no matter what your fitness level. But I’m pretty sure the hardest part for most people, myself included, is the dietary portion of getting, and staying, in good shape. Diet is a very complex subject and to get the best results dietary recommendations will vary from person to person. What works for me may not for you. That being said, here are a few simple tips on how to curb your appetite and lose  some L-Bs:

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of water. Drinking water before meals helps your stomach feel a little more full before you start to eat so you won’t eat as much.
  2. Stock up on snacks that not only help you feel fuller longer but provide much needed nutrients that make you feel good. Here are my recommendations:  -Nuts high in “healthy fat” like almonds and walnuts.  -Baby carrots, broccoli, bananas and apples provide filling fiber and other important vitamins. Bananas and apples are my favorite on the go snack. – Yogurt, I’ve been eating almond yogurt lately as it is lower in calories and unhealthy fats that are found in regular yogurt however regular yogurt can also be a healthy choice. Always look at the labels to be sure you aren’t buying yogurt full of sugar, unnatural flavors and saturated fats. I like Silk almond yogurt and Fage Greek yogurt. With Fage you can spoon in as much or as little of the sugary fruit they provide, so it’s easier to cut out some of the calories.
  3. Recognize your weaknesses and make a strategy for how to cope with them. For example: If you’re a late night eater try to find healthy, low-calorie options to help you cope with those cravings. If, like me, sugar is your vice, again find healthy substitutions to appease that sweet tooth. Another simple but helpful tip is to  try and find something else to do other than eat. When you start to have those unhealthy cravings occupy your mind with a book, a phone call to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while or best possible scenario, workout!

I hope this helps you in some way. Do you have any simple weight loss tips you can share with us?

xo,

Hilary

3 Tips for staying fit this weekend

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Think of the weekend as an opportunity to amp up your fitness game.

People often use the weekend as an excuse to cheat on their diet and not exercise. That’s fine as long as you are not trying to bring your physical, mental and emotional state to a higher level. However, if you are (and if you’re reading this you probably are) I have some suggestions for you.

  1. Change your mind about the weekend. What do I mean by this? Think of the weekend as an opportunity to practice health and wellness instead of a chance to binge, sleep and watch Netflix. It’s ok to indulge a little, but if you change your general mindset and get in the habit of thinking of the weekend as having more time to focus on participating in healthy activities like hikes, running, getting to a yoga class or spending a little time making a shopping list for the week containing more whole foods and less processed ones; it will help you stay on track and not gain or regain those unwanted pounds.
  2. Do something good for someone else. This is a great way to show gratitude and to get your mind off of those unhealthy foods you may be craving. Make a plan to volunteer a little of your time or give back in some other way; this will fill your soul with love and gratefulness rather than filling your belly with fried food and sugar.
  3. Plan ahead. You know weekends are hard so make a plan to keep on track. Schedule a workout class and make sure you have healthy food options in your house to curb cravings.

What healthy activity are you doing this weekend?

Xo,

Hilary

What are your fitness goals?

We’re already a few weeks into spring so summer is getting near. I’m a strong advocate for being healthy and fit year round but also realize that’s not so easy for many people, myself included! With summer in our midst, the pressure is on to lose those extra pounds and stop eating the hardy and fattening foods we tend to crave in the colder months. So let’s get started!

Find your fitbliss

I would love to hear from you and help you achieve your “fit bliss”. Please let me know a few things so I can better serve you.  First, what are your current fitness goals? Second, what steps are you taking to achieve those goals? And finally, what would you like to see from this web site to help you achieve those goals? Writing it down and telling other people is a good start to holding yourself accountable for these goals and giving you more motivation to pursue and achieve your perfect fit.

I’ll tell you what my goals are, cut way down on processed sugar, get to the gym at least 4 times a week and most of all, better help YOU achieve your fitness goals. There’s not much more satisfying then when I hear from people who are inspired, motivated and most of all, SEEING RESULTS from the material I’m posting and advice I’m providing.

First step, when I get my workout in I will post it on Instagram with hashtag “fitbliss” and ask you to do the same so we can hold each other accountable.

 

Taking your workout to the next level.

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Intermittent high intensity exercise , like sprints, are the perfect way to challenge yourself and create lean muscle mass. 

Yesterday I posted the HIIT for this week (you can view it here) and talked a little about the benefits of interval training and how to take your workout to the next level. In today’s post I wanted to touch a little more on that subject.

Steady state cardio is awesome and irreplaceable. Getting in 20 to 30 minutes of walking, running, ellipticizing (is that even a word?), biking etc… four or five times a week is essential to getting and keeping fit and healthy. But, if you want to amp up your workout, take it to the next level and really see a change in how you look and feel you need to include some interval training in your workouts.

What is intereval training?

Interval training is a type of training that involves a series of low- to high-intensity exercise workouts interspersed with rest or relief periods. – Wikipedia

For example, if you’re preferred form of cardio is jogging, you can get some intereval training in by including some sprints in your normal jog. This means sprinting for a short bit, say 20 to 50 seconds, then taking it back down to a light jog or walk for a brief rest of 10 to 30 seconds and repeating this format for 10, 20, 30 minutes… or however long you can do it comfortably while still pushing yourself. It’s very intense exercise so even just 10 minutes will give you great benefits.

Although you can do interval training within steady state cardio exercise, I highly recommend including some exercises that will challenge all the muscles in your body and create “muscle confusion”. This will amp up your workout even more so your body is really kicked into high gear. This is the type of interval training I post on my YouTube channel, cleverly named U Go Baby Fitness, every Monday. These include exercises like burpees (I know you love those), high knees, jump squats, skaters, and even some floor work like planks and mountain climbers. It really can be almost any exercise that you perform at your max intenisty for 20 seconds with a 10 second break in between for a total of 10 minutes. This is called Tabata intervals and have been proven to give the maximum benefit as far as interval training goes. Just performing 10 minutes of tabata style HIIT twice a week will help boost your metabolism and create lean muscle mass.

I’ll leave you with this, CrossFit is one of the most popular workouts right now and I’m sure you know people who do it and look amazing. Well, CrossFit is glorified interval training. Follow me and I’ll get you there for free.

Any questions? What’s your favorite exercise to do in intervals?

XO,

Hil

Importance of Weight Training

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Yesterday I posted a short video of some moves that my bootcamp instructor was so kind to share with me. It contains some exercises that are boxing and barre method inspired. You can view it here.

In the video you see she is holding weights. I wanted to talk a little about how weights can really amp up your workout and some of the many benefits of weight training in general.

First, When you add weight to your workout your body has to work harder and it creates the following response:

The natural result is an increased oxygen intake through your lungs, a faster metabolism and increased blood circulation which allows the muscles to work under the new, increased load. The fat cells will respond accordingly by accelerating the energy conversion processes, which include depleting fat accumulations to fuel the working muscles. – ShapeFit.com

Second, muscle burns fat all day long, even when you are resting. Creating more muscle by weight training, either by using your body as resistance or using weights, is   amp up your metabolism throughout the day even when you are sleeping.

Third, women who weight train two to three times a week have been shown to lose weight faster and keep it off. Even just short 10 minute workouts involving resistance can have this benefit, you don’t need to go crazy! Start by walking with small weights and once you get comfortable work up to a more intense routine with bigger weights.

Forth, it has been shown that women and men who weight train are less likely to get heart disease.

Fifth, weight training for women is particularly important because it increases bone density and is a great defense against osteoporosis.

Finally, it helps fight depression. A Harvard study shows that women who weight train gain confidence and feel more capable; which is a big factor in preventing and fighting off depression.

There are many other benefits but I will stop there for today. Can you tell us what you like about weight training (outside of toning)?

Thanks for reading!

XO,

Hil