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Posts Tagged ‘Health’

November 11, 2014

Guest Post :: A Lady Goes West :: Top 5 Health and Fitness Mistakes

Good morning and surprise… Scott and I are in Chicago!

We got in yesterday just in time to catch the Pistons/Bulls game and had a great time at the United Center. We are taking the day to soak in the sights of the city and spend time with friends. I asked a blogging (and real life) friend from Orlando to fill in while we’re away and think you are going to enjoy reading her tips on health and fitness. Take it away, Ashley!

Guest Post: Ashley from A Lady Goes West 

Stop me if you’ve heard this story before…

A born-and-raised Florida girl meets a boy in Orlando, they date for a few years enjoying their huge social circle and community, and they get married. Then, about two years ago, the boy gets a new job with an NBA team across the country, and the girl goes with him, leaving behind her friends and family and all that she’s ever known.

Am I talking about Heather? No. I’m talking about me. That’s right. Heather and I share a very similar path. We’re both living “abroad” in a sense, Heather in Michigan and me in California. And we’re both part of this big ol’ blogging world, sharing our lives online.

Ashley A Lady Goes West

Here’s a shot of me posing on the streets of San Francisco in my shades.

I’m so grateful that Heather asked me to guest post for her while she and Scott are on a little getaway, because I love getting introduced to new readers, and just like Heather, I like to keep it real.

I write A Lady Goes West, which is a healthy-living blog I started shortly after moving to San Francisco. Because I’m a group fitness instructor and personal trainer, I write a lot about my weekly workouts, everyday fitness tips, pointers for instructors, the foods that I eat, healthy recipes, living in the Bay Area of San Francisco and whatever else is interesting me at the moment — basically it’s like my own magazine column.

Ashley A Lady Goes West and Dave

Here’s a shot of me and the boy who brought me to California, Dave, after I put him through a training session.

Both Heather and I like to lead pretty healthy lifestyles and document that with our readers. During my time working in the fitness industry, I’ve not only learned some of the best ways to stay healthy, but I’ve also seen some common ways that people may end up derailing their health and fitness goals. That’s why I thought it might be interesting to share with you all a few of the things you don’t want to do.

So here we go…

The Top Five Health and Fitness Mistakes People Make 

five health and fitness mistakes people make

1. Being a slave to cardio.

I can’t tell you how many girls I see on a regular basis, come into the gym in a cute outfit, bounce on the elliptical with a magazine, and hit the showers after they’ve done their requisite 30 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, any bit of movement is great, and it’s awesome that you have the motivation to go to the gym for a workout, but you’ve also got to try using some weights, resistance bands or even the yellow-and-black TRX contraption to build strength. Lifting things is good for you, and no you won’t bulk up. Muscle helps you look lean, and it also helps you burn more calories throughout the day.

2. Not eating breakfast.

There have been a few studies lately claiming it’s totally okay to skip breakfast. But I disagree. In working with clients in the gym, those who have something in their stomach before a morning workout perform much better than those who don’t. And in the working world, I’ve seen people who are much more focused and energized once they’ve eaten their first meal of the day, than they were when running on fumes. You need food. So eat a good breakfast to start your day off right.

3. Getting too comfortable in a routine.

If you can do you workout routine without breaking a sweat because you’re so familiar with it, that’s a problem. Our bodies love variety. And when you have to work in new ways or try hard at new things, you’ll reap the benefits. Don’t be scared to try a new group fitness class, do a new workout at home via a streaming service online or invite a friend to go for a bike ride, if you usually just walk. Changing things up is nothing but a benefit to you. And you may even discover something that you didn’t even know you’d like.

4. Relying on take-out food.

I live in the city of San Francisco, where there is truly a restaurant on every corner, under every building and on every block. In bigger cities like mine, I see people relying on take-out food for most of their meals. In fact, I’ve had clients who eat all of their meals out and have no food in their fridge. While there are plenty of healthy options available in San Francisco, I know that’s not the case everywhere. In fact, you can’t be totally sure how your food is cooked, unless you make it yourself. Yes, it’s totally fine to go out to lunch here-and-there, enjoy some take-out when you need it and dine out on the weekends. But don’t be scared to buy a few things and make a couple of meals at home, or pack some healthy snacks to have on-hand during your work-day.

5. Not drinking enough water.

I’d like to think that most of our problems can be solved by drinking more water. You don’t know how many clients I’ve had swear that they drink plenty of water. By plenty, they mean they finish one small bottle throughout the day. That’s not enough, folks. Chug your water! Tea counts, coconut water and sparkling water counts as well. If you have trouble drinking water because it’s boring, try adding in some cucumber for a little flavor. If you drink more water, your muscles will be more hydrated, your limbs more flexible, your mind clearer, your skin fresher and your body will perform more optimally. Just do it.

So there you go!

And of course, nobody’s perfect, and we’re all always trying to be a little bit healthier. But I hope my insights shed some light for you. Now, get out there and have a great and healthy day! Oh, and drink some more water already, will you?

>> Stay in touch with me! 

If you enjoyed hearing from me, I’d love to stay in touch. You can follow me and A Lady Goes West on Bloglovin’InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

Take care!

Questions of the Day

What’s your favorite way to break a sweat? Do you have any tricks for drinking water? Has anybody else out there moved across the country?

I’d love to hear your experience!

September 30, 2014

10 Health Benefits of Drinking Coffee

If you have been following the blog for more than a day, then you have probably picked up on the fact that I have a slight love affair with coffee.

In honor of yesterday being National Coffee Day, I thought it would be fun to gather a list of coffee facts as well as the health benefits of keeping it a part of your every day beverage intake.

For starters, one or two cups of coffee per day can increase your metabolic burn. Well, maybe not if you choose a venti mocha frappuccino topped in whipped cream and drizzled in chocolate syrup, but you know what I mean. In general, regular coffee (stripped of all the nonsense) has been proven to actually help you burn fat. Really.

That said, I feel a little bit better about enjoying an afternoon cup of joe every once in a while. In fact, I might just be sipping on a warm cup of freshly brewed coffee at home as I type. And by might, I mean definitely. It was much needed today.

Want to hear more coffee fun facts?

Here are the highlights I found searching the Interwebs.

surprising health benefits of drinking coffee

(Sources are credited within each bullet point.)

• Coffee can help keep you happy.

“Researchers from Harvard University found that women who consumed two to three cups of caffeinated joe per day had a 15 percent lower risk of depression than non-coffee drinkers, while those who drank four-plus cups daily had a 20 percent lower risk. In general, women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with depression.”

coffee makes you smile

“The study should not prompt non-coffee drinkers to take up the habit. It could, however, offer current coffee drinkers some reassurance.”

>> Coffee Cuts Depression Risk In Women, New Study ShowsHuffington Post

• It keeps you regular.

“Coffee may help you ‘go’ for a few reasons. Drinking warm liquids gets things moving, and just the fact that it’s a liquid helps as well, since staying hydrated is one way to prevent constipation. And coffee itself is a powerful stimulant that encourages muscle contractions in the digestive tract.”

>> Health Benefits of CoffeeFitSugar.

• Coffee may cut your risk of death.

“Between 1995 and 2008, male participants drinking even just one daily cup reduced their risk of death by 6%.”

“Drinking either two to three cups or six or more cups reduced the risk by 10% during the timeframe of the study. The greatest reduction of death risk was 12% in the group drinking four to five cups.”

“Know your limit: five cups.”

>> 6 Surprising Health Benefits of CoffeeMen’s Fitness.

• It helps protect your brain.

“Coffee drinkers are more likely to resist development of dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life according to a 2009 study.”

>> 9 Amazing Benefits of CoffeeHuffington Post.

black coffee

• Caffeine may lower the risk of Parkinson’s.

“Coffee drinkers have up to a 60% lower risk of getting Parkinson’s disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder.”

>> Top 13 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of CoffeeAuthority Nutrition.

• Coffee may lower the risk of liver cancer.

“Italian researchers found that coffee consumption lowers the risk of liver cancer by about 40%. In addition, some of the results suggest that if you drink three cups a day, the risks are reduced by more than 50%.”

>> What Are the Health Benefits of Coffee? Health News Today.

• It can be used as a therapeutic.

“Over the years, coffee has played a therapeutic role in patients with COPD, asthma, and in the prevention of certain neurodegenerative diseases.”

health benefits of coffee

“Coffee acts as a bronchodilator, which means it helps to open up your airways, and it has been shown to help premature infants with compromised lung function. Its role in aiding in the prevention of certain neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s is due to its ability to increase activity of neurons in our brain resulting in longer life of these cells.”

>> Think You’re a Coffee Snob? 10 Facts You Didn’t KnowSelf.

• Coffee contains antioxidants.

“Coffee beans are actually the seeds inside a bright red berry, sometimes called a coffee cherry. Like all plant foods, both the berries and the seeds are rich in antioxidants. In fact, according to recent research, coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet.”

>> 6 Healthy Reasons to Keep Drinking CoffeeHealth.

• It gives your memory a kick.

“The caffeine in a cup or two of java doesn’t just perk you up in the moment—it enhances your memory up to 24 hours after you drink it. This provides an assist when it comes to forming new memories, reports a Nature study.”

>> 11 Coffee Stats You Never KnewShape.

• Coffee is the new chocolate milk.

“Certain beverages have star reps as pre- and post-workout drinks, like flavored fitness water, regular H2O, and even chocolate milk. Now add a cup of coffee to the list.”

morning coffee after dentist

“A new study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that contrary to what nutritionists have long thought, coffee does not dehydrate you.”

>> Is Coffee the Next Big Sports Drink? Women’s Health.


Well what do you know… turns out that my coffee habit might not be one I really have to kick one of these days after all. Woo hoo!

You might also like:

15 Things Worth Knowing About Coffee

10 Coffee Facts from the Amazing Fact Generator

• How To Make Coffee: Learn From Professionals to Make the Perfect Cup

Questions of the Afternoon

• Are you an every day coffee drinker?

• If so, how often do you enjoy a cup (or three)?

Have a great rest of your night!

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Although I am a certified personal trainer, the workouts I post are what work best for me and might not be the right type of exercises for you.

I am not a registered dietician and do NOT post everything I eat. All content I post on this blog stems from my personal experience and knowledge, and I recommend consulting a doctor or health professional before making changes to your diet or fitness routine.

Also, please understand that affiliate links may pop up on the blog from time to time. I acknowledge when they appear and always genuinely appreciate your support! ♥

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