The Why

I am huge believer of the benefits of coaching.

Coaches are life markers, life savers, they help us buy guiding us through the hard times in our lifes.

I have a personal trainer, a personal development coach, I had a coach to find a job in the US. Hell, if I had more money, I would have a business coach, a nutritionist, etc… I make these investments on myself because if I don’t nobody will do it for me. And if I don’t believe in me well who will?

There is no shame in needing help. We don’t hold the truth, we are not wise enough to handle everything by ourselves.

From my various experiences it’s a very interesting and learning experience to have a coach.

Think about it, that person helping you is so passionate about a topic, that they turned it into a job. It’s always good to have an outside perspective on your situation and somebody to be accountable to.

Recently I have been reading different articles and worked on with my personal development coach (her website is here) about the WHY.

It’s an interesting time of the year to speak about it. We are all making new resolutions and goals for the year.

And I think one of the many reasons we don’t follow through is because our Why is not stronger or precise enough.

It’s extremely important because it applies to all the areas of our life.

Why do you want this job?

Why do you want to build this project on your free time?

Why do you want a house?

Why do you run?

Why do you want this relationship?

Why do you want to move abroad?

Why do you want to have a family?

Why does this matter to you?

These are the few questions I had on my mind the past couples of years and got me where I am today. It took me months or years to work on them. Some of them have been changing a lot. Some are still a work in progress. But because my Why was and is strong, true to myself and my values, I have been able to pursue and achieve my goals.

If your Why is not strong enough and doesn’t match your values and your core, you won’t be able to lose your extra pounds, start your company, make that trip, take the risk of having this relationship. You won’t be able to make the things that really make you happy and give your life a meaning. You will just keep moving forward very sad and frustrated.

Errors, trials and failures are part of the process. It will happen over and over again until you adapt yourself. But you won’t stand your obstacles and get to where you want, if you don’t have your why and your finale vision.

When you add up all your whys, you have a good vision of what a life of meaning is for you so it’s easier (not easy, easier) to work towards it.

Yes, it’s hard to define your why (that’s where the coach is good for you) and it’s something that can change over the time. Don’t forget to work on it, dream of it and make it grow with you.

The why is what helps you get up in the morning, stay awake late at night, makes you stay home to work for yourself, choose that food, change this relationship, start meditating…

The why is what allows you to keep going when you have a hard time, the dream, the biggest picture. The why is that feeling that you have in your gut that makes you get up when you are down.

With that being said, what is your why?

The meditation challenge

The first I heard the term meditation it was years ago, when I was still studying at the unversity. I was talking with friends that were trying yoga classes and saying that the meditation at the end wasn’t relaxing at all. They made a very funny description of it, not appealing at all, and I kept on living my life without getting interested in this topic for a long time.
But after my Master’s degree when I had to go home and get treatment for anorexia, the word started to pop again.
Therapy is good, drugs are good for a while. But there is a time in my life I wanted to be on my own, drug free and without a therapy session every month. I started reading articles about the benefits of yoga and meditation to calm the spirit and heal traumas.

Yoga is a phylosohy, a all way of living. Most of the time I used the postures to stretch my body and some of the breathing exercises to calm me down.

Last year due to a lot of personal stress I tried meditation to calm my nerves. And what’s ironical is that it didn’t felt calming at all at the beginning. It was my fault because I completely misunderstood the right way to do it. I was trying to not think anything at all. But it’s impossible, you can’t have your mind thoughts-free. Never.
But the point of meditation is not trying to control your thoughts, how they come and go. Is just to focus on your breath. Your breathe in, breath out, if there is a thought coming you just “observ” it, let it go, focus again your breath and you keep going as long as you need.

It became a very important ritual in my daily life. I started to do it at night before going to bed to calm me and sleep better. And now I am also doing it in the morning to prepare me for the day. When I have the chance, I also take a couple of minutes at lunch to take a break from all what is going on on my life.

It helps me take out the stress that I accumulate in my mind and my body, helps me breath better, relax all the muscles of my body and put things in perspective.

We get so caught up in our daily problems that we forget our purpose in life, how to be happy with ourselves every day and make our loved one happy. Meditation helps me a better person because it gaves me a bubble where I can relax, focus on my peace and self confidence. I feel so much better after that, I can’t be a bitch to others because I feel in a good place.

For those of you that want to give it a try, I would recommend you to do what I did: go on Youtube and look for videos. There are thousand of videos, short and long, to help you medidate and work on your anxiety, attract abundance, love and good energy in your life. When you start to practive, you feel the benefits quickly and it’s addictive in a good way.
Let me know if you tried and how you liked it !

Dear bread

As any French person, back home I was a big bread consumer. Mostly because we have really good bakeries with good quality bread that stays crunchy or soft. And let’s not talk about the pastries we have or I am going to get nostalgic.
It’s been an interesting marketing campaign against bread and the evil: gluten !!

I will make another article about gluten but for now I just want to talk about how to choose a good bread, one sort that will help you get a lot of nutrients: cereal bread.

For starter, I just want to say that you don’t need to banish bread for your diet if you want to loose weight. It’s just about moderation. Also, the type of bread you choose is important.

The only way to loose weight is to control your energetic intake by spending more calories than the ones you are absorbing (especially with sports).
Cereals bread has a healthier impact in your health than usual white bread. But off course, i you eat an entire baguette every day, you will gain weight. A food can be healthy but it doesn’t mean that you can eat it without moderation.

First basic thing to do: not eat your bread during a meal with anoter carb like rice or pasta. It’s one carb or the other but not both.

If you choose your cereals bread to share with your meal you can enjoy its benefits because it’s rich in fibers (helping digestion and fight cravings), starch (provides energy), Vitamins E and B (antioxydants vertues), potassium, magnesium, phosphore and iron.

So there is no real reason to banish it from your diet, just keep the quantity reasonnable.

In terms of timeline, it’s better to have for breakfast and/or lunch but avoir having it at night for dinner. For brakfeast you can have it with a little bit of butter and jam. For lunch you can choose to eat it with a salad, or even as a snack during the day.

As it is with good things in this world, don’t overindulge.
Bon appétit !

The rice question

I always have been a huge pasta eater, I think it’s the ingredient I have been eating the most when I was a child and then a teenager. With my sport practice I have tried a lot of new recipes where I replaced pasta by rice and decided to dig up some informations about rice and actually understand the benefits.

Apparently there are more than 40 000 different sorts of rice.. we aren’t going to talk about all of them today !

Generally in our society we consume 3 kinds of rice :

– Brown rice : it doesn’t have anymore its outside enveloppe but still has the sprout and bran. There are the most important parts because it’s where the minerals are. The bran makes it harder to conserve so it has to be eaten quickly.

– White rice: it doesn’t have the sprout and bran so you can keep it longer in the kitchen but it has way less minerals on it.

– “Steamed” rice: it’s cooked with the bran and then, cut and dried with an industrial process . It gets the minerals and vitamins inside the rice seed. His natural nutritional properties are higher than the white rice but lower than the brown.

The healthiest one is the brown rice. A rice that isn’t going through a process of refining conserve all its B Vitamins, fibers, magnesium, phosphore and potassium. 60 % of them are lost for the white rice !

But the white rice has less phytic acid: its a molecule that prevent the assimiliation of some of the rice nutrients. So would be it the same result to eat bronwn or white rice ?

In terms of calories, there are pretty similar :

– 200g of white rice = 270 calories

– 200g of brown rice = 312 calories

Where the brown rice “wins” again, is that it also has a lower glycemic index : 50; What does it means ? That it will help you better regulate your hunger and sleepiness after a meal, or limit a weight intake influenced by insulin secretions.

Finally it also has a lot of fibers and … we really need more of these babies these days !

Personnally, I eat it with almost all vegetables, fish, turkey, chicken, in salad cold or hot, with spices or not. There are so many ways to cook it I don’t where to start !

So know you have a better idea of what you can look for next time you are in your supermarket !

Women should lift weights

I am sure I am like a vaste majority of women: not that long ago I didn’t wanted to lift heavy weights at all. I was afraid to look like an ugly muscular dude and thought that to be strong and toned I had to do a lot of cardio. During four years I went to the swimming pool for an hour 3 to 4 times a week, then I have been running 8 to 10 kilometers a day for more than two years.

One day I had a great conversation with one of the trainers of my gym that convinced me to train with weights. It took me a couple of days to make up my mind. And then I thought, why not, I don’t get the results I want with the method I am using. So I better change something and I I don’t like the results I will just stop it.

I have learned some interesting facts with time that helped me keep my motivation and finally get me where I am today.

First of all, a woman body isn’t capable of naturally build big muscles like men can. Why? Because female bodies don’t have the testosterone levels necessary to increase quickly and strongly an important muscles mass. Small recall: testosterone is the basic male hormone, it’s a natural anabolic steroid.

So you have not really a biological excuse to refuse lifting: it will give you more tonus and strength. Don’t be afraid you will look like a bodybuilder only if you take steroids drugs, which doesn’t happens for most of us. If like me, you spend time on social medias and see a lot of fitness girls and boys with really sharped muscles, don’t be naïve: the majority of them take supplements, otherwise they wouldn’t have this figure.

If you really want to look like them, you can seek for professional help and ask your trainer which kind of proteins supplements you can take. Personally the only supplements I take are BCAAs and vegetal protein powders, it’s enough for my practice.

I won’t either talk about steroids (and most of the people who take them never do) because we step into a bigger medical issues: steroids have long term serious problems for your health.

How to proceed now ? You can plan several cardio sessions during your week but don’t focus on that! Cardio training is a very efficient way to maintain your body endurance but it’s not a way to sharp your muscles . Keep in mind that if you want to burn a hamburger, you will have to run 3 times a week 3 times, hard and fast. That’s not a lot!

Don’t skip it but to have more results, associate it with some strenght workouts for your all body (please don’t go just to train your butt).

It exists several ways to try it. You can use only your body weight or machines and weights. A lot of your muscles will be in action and work hard if you do properly the movements. The repetition of the movement will produce the secretion of adrenaline and noradrenaline. These hormones are super important: they stick to the receptors at the surface of the fat cells and they trigger the liberation of the fat.

Some of these cells are more difficult to move from others: the receptors block the liberation of the fat. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is concrete on women on the hips, the bottom and the thighs (for men, it’s more on the abdominal zone).

Lift weights will have a direct impact on your body: it will produce testosterone and growth hormones (they help the protein assimilation and so the muscle growth).

If you regularly lift weights and you do it seriously, your body will be consuming more fat so it’s the ideal moment to do your cardio training session. It will increase the efficiency of the exercises done before. In the medium term, your body will produce hormones and your muscle mass will grow (it’s at that time that you will put on 1 or 2 kilos).

Think about what you really want because if you do your cardio training before you lift, your muscles won’t grow.

What’s the good new? Because of lifting your will increase your basal metabolism rate: you will consume calories even when you won’t be exercising. When it rest, a kilo of muscles consumes about 80 calories a day.

I was very enthusiastic at the beginning but it took me a while to accept and like the results. Why? Because I have always been really thin and when I started it, my muscles grew and I put on weight (your muscles weight more than your fat). I wanted to be more tonic and strong but during weeks I was confused about putting on weight. It took me a while to accept it.

Now that I am doing it regularly, I just love the physical and mental results. I am stronger, I have more resistance, I have learned a lot about my trainings, I am proud of myself and I feel more feminine. I love my muscles and wouldn’t go back !

Of course, it’s a matter of taste but if you never tried it, I encourage you to do so.

If you do it regularly and are helped by a professional, you will feel and see the results after a few weeks and you will see, it’s addictive.

Mistakes to avoid after a workout

You just finished your workout ? Great, I am proud that you went through with it ! But did you know that to be healthy there are certain things to do before and especially AFTER ?

Things that you should avoid doing ?

Yeaaaah I know, it’s not enough to exercize to be healthy, that would be too easy. If you want to optimize your trainings and keep a healthy mindset in the long term, you have to adapt your strategy .

So here are various elements you should really be careful about after your session :

  • Drink water ! Most of us we don’t drink enough of it during the day and the lack of hydratation can be really dangerous when you train. Our body composition is in majority composed by water, when you exercize you sweat so you lose more water. You have to keep drinking after your workout even if you don’t feel really thirsty.

 

  • Eat unhealthy food : I don’t know how many times I have heard people leaving the gym saying « let’s go have sushis or burger ; I trained so hard, I deserve this ». Okey I understand you want to reward yourself it’s human. But let’s make it clear here, only professional athletes can eat whatever they want because they spend HOURS EVERY DAY training as hard as they can. That is not our case ; if you systematically eat unhealthy foods, your workouts are going to be completely useless and you will give up, disappointed by the absence of results. You can indulge once in a while but if you really want results, after your workout stick to fibers, good proteins and a bit of carbs to fill up your energy stocks and build your muscles.

 

  • Skipping the streching : this part is as much as important as your warm up. You reduce the risk of injury and allow your muscles to get recover faster. If you are bothered by the longer time of your session I suggest that you reduce the number of series or rest time. Because it’s crucial to include at least 10 minutes of warm up and 5 minutes (or more) of streching when you are done.

 

  • Leaving the place like a mess : I am so annoyed by the people that leave weights everywhere at the gym and don’t pick it up. In particular guys that leave heavy weights everywhere that I can’t move. I have bruises on my legs all the time because I step on it. It’s like people don’t care if it’s not at their home. Anyway, it doesn’t matter if you train at the gym or at home, leave the place nice and clean, respect the trainers and the others members.

 

  • Be a potato couch for the rest of the day : okey, you trained, you can be proud of yourself. But it’s not a reason to be inactive until tomorrow. Keep moving as much as you can. Our body is made to be moving all day, not sitting at your desk or in you car. Move as much as you can during the rest of the day. It will keep your metabolism running.

 

  • Not sharing your journey ! This one can sound stupid but believe me, when you start taking pictures and videos, publishing and sharing with people, you become more accountable. It provokes good reactions around you and keeps you motivated. You don’t have to take the same selfies endlessly but don’t be shy and show your work !

Lack of sleep

Have you heard the necessity to sleep at least 8 hours per night (well for some of us we are all differents). But have you also felt that it was an impossible goal to rich if you have a day full ahead of you ?

We are supposed to sleep enough to be funcionable human beings but we are also supposed to work, take time for our family, friends, pay the bills, clean the house, grocery shopping, do sport, yoga , meditation…

I don’t know about you but if I want to do all of this in one day, it’s going to be more around 6 hours of sleep.

Every one is different, but personnaly I need around 7 hours of sleep to have energy and don’t be acting like a bitch all day.

If you don’t know if you are missing sleep, here are some clues :

  • You are all over the place : you forget where you put your keys, if you sent this email and you aren’ t able to focus on what you are doing.
  • You feel like you need to drink more coffee. Even if you think this will be right, au contraire, consume too much caffeine can make you feel even more sleepy. It goes the same for coffee, tea or energized sodas like Redbull.
  • You have more cravings, especially for sugar and fat foods (we would know if we wanted suddenly to snack broccolis). When you don’t sleep enough, your body produce more ghreline, the hunger hormone so you are more hungry. On the long term run, this can cost you to really gain weight.
  • You can get sick easier because your body doesn’t have enough energy to produce antibodies and fight bacterias.
  • You are grumpy (this is so me). Generally this is the Number 1 we recognize that we are tired, we have so much less patience for everything.
  • Your libido is going low, low, low… and that’s terrible ! We all want sex and good, so change your routine a little bit to have time to go to bed earlier and have fun with your partner. May I also add that you sleep better after an orgasm ? Just saying…

I don’t think any of these points makes you want to experience it, certainly not several or all of them. The only way to protect yourself is to get yourself organized as much as you can.

Good night !

Running with the heat

I know what I speak of !

I used to run a lot when I lived in Spain, I tought it was the hardest thing to do… before I moved to Miami !

Now I can say running in Miami is the hardest kind of running I ever had to do. Especially during the summer, the heat and the humidity are brutal. Just to walk 12 minutes to my supermarket gets me super sweaty.

I tried several hours to run aside the beach, what works better for me it’s really early in the morning or really late at night. The temperature doesn’t really go down but at least the sun is beating less !

Usually I go really early in the morning and I hold on for maximum 25 minutes.

It’s the best I can do with this heat and I am proud of it !

First you have to know why it’s « technically » harder to run when it’s more than 30° outside : you are basically asking your body to do an « extra » work than usual and it’s a pressure on the cardio-vascular system. The more it is hot outside the more you body temperature is going to rise : you pulse is going to over the top and you are going to break a big sweat.

Here are some tips to make it easier for you :

  1. The first days you are trying this, go slowly and don’t try to run 5 kilometers or during an hour straight ! Go step by step and increase the intensity a little every day.
  2. Watch your heart pulse. It’s naturally higher when it’s hot and you are not working out. So once again, the first times you are running, keep an eye on it and if you feel your pulse is going way too fast, slow down and walk.
  3. As I mentionned it, run early in the morning or later at night. It’s a little bit like when you want to get tanned : not between 10 am and 4 pm. It’s the worst time to do it, it’s too hot, you are going to damage more your skin, your eyes, your cardio-vascular system… and not enjoy the run at all.
  4. Adapt your run : if you are used to run on a certain road, try to find one with more shadow and wind, close to a river or the sea. Don’tgo for a big hill with nothing around. You will get less bored ! And if the heat is really too strong, you can go to your gym and run some HIIT on the treadmill.
  5. Pick the right equipment : I know we all want to look sexy when we work out now. But maybe this lycra tight crop top is not the best option to run outside. Pick up larger coton clothes with clear colors so it doesn’t attract the sun. Pick a hat and good sunglasses.
  6. Talking previously about tanning : I am going to talk like my mom but put your sunscreen before you leave home ! I saw there are a lot of creams for runners now, they will protect you even if you sweat !
  7. When you run and it’s hot, the body sweat to try to reduce its temperature so you lose a lot of good minerals like magnesium and iron. To prevent this loss DRINK WATER, before and during your run ; slowly with small slawlows. Don’t forget to drink also the rest of the day ; hydration is something we miss a lot. Diversify your intake with tea or fruits juices.
  8. Even if you are not running you should always watch your hydratation and the balance of your nutrients. When you work out, don’t forget your snacks : bananas, apricots or oats snacks.
  9. You really wanted to try, you have been running for a couple of minutes, your head hurt, you feel dizzy and your mouth is dry ? Stop it and leave it fo another day. There is no need to hurt yourself. Give yourself a rest and if you really want to work out, go to a local gym with air conditioning or to swim !
  10. Latest and obvious point : if running with the heat is really not your thing then grab a bike or go a class ! Don’t get stuck in something that is not working for you. You have to enjoy it otherwise you will give up. There are many options to exercise alone or with people !

Feel free to share any other tips or experiences!

Women abdominal fat

One of my first goals when I started exercising was to have sculpted abs. For months I tried different kind of abs exercises and changing my food habits. But still, I am not happy with the results I have.

I am following a lot of fitness girls in Facebook or Pinterest with impressive abs. So I have been doing some research to find out why I can’t get the same results.

First, we have to clear some false ideas we have about our abdominal fat: it’s not only about or weight and calories. You can have a normal body mass index, eat properly and exercise regularly and still have abdominal fat.

It is a particular sensitive zone on women: the more we stress the more we will keep our abdominal fat. All our organs situated on this zone are related to stress so it’s important to learn how to relax to have a flat belly.

When you are stressed or nervous (and not only physically but also mentally) your body produces cortisone: it increases the level of sugar in your blood and provides to our brain a sufficient amount of energy to face stress. But if you have too much cortisone in your body, the glands producing it will be exhausted and you can face several health problems: your body will be more resistant to insulin (you can have diabetes problems), high blood pressure, depression and abdominal portliness.

Don’t think that exercise more and eat less is a good idea: a lot of cardio and a high caloric diet are particularly stressful.

You have to try to relax both your mind and your body. Physical stress has an impact on your mind. But your mental health is already suffering a lot of pressure: physical pressure to be healthy and beautiful, professional pressure to succeed in our careers, social difficulties, lack of goof sleep, extreme diets and over workouts, etc…

For women, it’s particularly difficult to lose the abdominal fat because we cqn suffer easily from water retention. This process is worst with unhealthy habits like eating too much salt or sugar. Also, we produce naturally more oestrogens than testosterone and it slow down the muscle growth (that’s why for men it’s easier to do fitness and bodybuilding in general).

To balance your testosterone and oestrogen levels (and reduce your cortisone level) you have to rest and relax several times in the week. What is great about it? You have plenty of choices to do so! You can read, listen to music, go to walk with your friends or spend time with your family, meditate, do yoga, get a massage or just simply take a nap. The important is to do something you like and relax you.

It is recommended to don’t do restrictive diets. It’s not efficient on the long run, you are just going to starve yourself for nothing, gain back your fat later and be disappointed. Eat properly, reasonable portions and train sufficiently. Something really effective is to walk slowly an hour per day to relax: your cortisone level will slow down naturally.

Of course you have to eat “clean” as much as you can: avoid foods rich in fat and sugar (principally industrial foods, they content a lot of additional substances, especially sugars). Eat more foods with flavonoids because they reduce the global activity of cortisone in your body: go for blueberries, red currants, peachs, nectarines and black chocolate (that’s a good new for us ladies).

Now let’s talk about all these girls we see in social medias. We can hate them or love them, the fact is that we are never indifferent to their bodies. We can quickly feel envy and jealousy when we can’t get the same. Personally when I passed these two steps I got pissed of because these girls don’t explain how they do, or they don’t say everything. Usually they just say “I eat healthy, drink a lot of water and here I will tell you my workout routine”. But that’s just a part of reality.

So I have been investigating on the web and also showing these pictures to different trainers and sport coachs that I use to work and train with. And here are some interesting facts you have to know:

  • The most important (I think): these girls don’t always have these results naturally. Not all of them but some o them use chemical drugs like steroids and have intenses workouts. They don’t have our daily normal lifes, their body is their source of revenue, their business. A lot can use chemical products but also get surgery. Or just maintain this physique for a couple of years and then just drop it because it’s a lot of sacrifices. 
  • The trainers also told me that to have great abs you have to let them rest and don’t work on them every day. Let one or two days of rest between your abs sessions. For example train on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

I hope after reading this article you will feel less guilty about your abs and motivated to work on them differently.

Food cravings

We all have it in common in our lifes, no matter where we are from and the way we eat.

Food cravings appear because we don’t eat enough OR we don’t eat properly.

Yes, if you eat poorly nutrient foods, your body won’t have any fuel to function properly. That’s why it’s never a good idea to banish carbs from your plate. You can reduce them to lose fat and vary the way your cook your foods. But never banish them.

We have plenty of healthy options to cook for both our salty or sugary tastes.

Also, food cravings come a lot of times from stress. We feel pressure over something and start to snack compulsively. Usually we turn to sugary or salty products like chips, cereal bars, chocolate… They provoke a quick sugar high that will give us a boost but will go down so quickly too that we will feel really tired after. And wishing having another one to feel better. Vicious circle.

Of course you eat healthy 🙂 your have good portions 🙂 but you are human and have the right to snack. We just have to be careful because not to link too much our snacking to our emotional state. It’s dangerous because nowadays we have a lot of reasons to be stressed/sad/angry… and so abuse our snack ratio.

Here are some informations I think are interesting to understand how to manage our food cravings:

Food tqb

Now, it’s time to eat ! Bon appétit !!