The Effects Of Alcohol On Fitness 

  

Don’t kill the messenger… Plus, I’d probably kill you first. 
I’m 98% sure you’re going to read this and say “F–k you Zeus”, 99% sure you’re going to want to kill me when you see me, and 100% sure I don’t care. I want to start off by saying, I don’t have anything against drinking but I believe in “sweat equity”; you put in enough work to allow yourself the ability to indulge once and awhile.with that being said, let’s break down the effects that the consistent “happy hours” can have on your body, workout, and even Give tips on how to go around it and still be successful ( see I’m not that bad, I’m giving you the cheat codes at the end) 

  
Iight, BOOM…
 Let’s start from the beginning, and get to understand how alcohol can affects the body…

 

The thing about Alcohol is that it’s very energy-dense (providing 7 calories per gram) and nutrient-poor, and accordingly has been labeled as providing ‘empty calories’. Therefore, consuming alcohol, especially when combined with sugary mixer drinks, will take up a lot of your daily energy intake (in other words, it’s very easy to pack on a lot of calories with alcohol) its accumulation in the blood can suppress the oxidation-release of other dietary energy sources (fat, carbohydrate and to a lesser extent protein) and this will basically result in an increased amount of stored fat. 

So now the question is, how can drinking alcohol affect a next day workout? 
Well, Studies have discovered drinking alcohol The day before working out can inhibit the circulation of glucose, which the body uses for energy. Sippin’ on gin and juice can cause the pancreas to secrete its digestive enzymes inside itself rather than sending them to the intestine to digest nutrients properly. This can inflame the pancreas and halt transportation of key nutrients that will play apart in your workout 
  
It’s no surprise that working out while dehydrated isn’t ideal and might be suicidal the way I train and one thing about alcohol is that it can lead to dehydration. This can prolong muscle building or recovery process due to decreased blood flow in the muscles. Hitting the bottle at cool events like Patron Fest may also decrease levels of human growth hormone (HGH), which helps the body build muscle- this is depressing. 
* hears someone scream “ make Irv stop!!!”*
Okay, okay, okay! 
There’s no way around the fact that alcohol slows muscle growth and can cause you to gain weight. With That said, there are options to cheat these effects…
First, supplement your post drinking nights with N-acetyl cysteine (NAC).It’s an amino acid that serves as one of the body’s strongest free-radical fighters. Taking 500–600 milligrams of NAC daily can help replenish antioxidants while clearing out toxic metabolites that are generated by the liver’s breakdown of alcohol.
Another supplement to try is leucine. Alcohol blocks muscle building at the genetic level by inhibiting the action of leucine, the most anabolic of the branched-chain amino acids. Taking a dose the day after drinking can help override this inhibition.
Finally, try to time your drinking. alcohol decreases protein synthesis by 15% to 20% after 24 hours, but not sooner. Which means the day after you got drunk is the worst day, but right after your workout… Not so much
It may sound crazy, but having a few drinks on Friday night after training is better than having them on Saturday night. * hears Pandora’s box opening * 

Epiphany on a Sectional Plate

  

Saturday I ran my second half marathon, (I ran the first one just 2 weeks prior). It was hard  but mainly because I ran on a sprained foot, (don’t ever do that, it’s dumb) and partly because I didn’t eat enough food.

  
What my race taught me was maybe I have to change the way I look at food. Maybe food shouldn’t just been seen as this treat. Maybe I need to start looking at food as fuel and think of my body as a machine. And when you think about it your body is a machine and the food is fuel to keep it moving. When you give a machine only what it needs it runs more efficiently and with more power.

But that concept is a little hard for me because what you need may not always taste good. At least thats what people tell me. I like what tastes good and that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for me. But that doesn’t mean what’s good for you can’t taste good either.

In talking with some friends yesterday, I noticed that I ate better when I was eating off my sectional plate. And by better I mean waaaaay less take out. Now don’t judge me I was eating off a sectional plate because I didn’t want my food to touch not for portion control. But now because I don’t I feel like I’m losing that sense of portion control. I think I over eat now and that’s probably what most people consider their regular meal.

  
So for tonight’s dinner…

  • 3 barbecue pieces of chicken (2 wings and a leg)
  • 2 medium roasted potatoes
  • 6 asparagus stalks

Everything was grilled. I like grilling it’s easy and quick. All of those things are good for me and will fuel my body so that it can function at its highest peak. Just remember that each meal is a new opportunity to start over.

 

Redemption

  
Everyday that you wake up is a new opportunity to start over, and that includes eating cleaner. Don’t wait until Monday (unless of course it’s Sunday when you’re reading this) or New Years. That’s too long. Hit that reset button tomorrow or now even. I say all that to say, I’ve hit the reset button quite a few times during this journey to healthier eating.

And until you get to a point where it becomes second nature, or the new norm, you can hit the reset at any time. In fact even when you have made healthy eating a habit, you can still hit the reset button! There’s always room for improvement.

I’ve been meal prepping/ planning off and on for the past 6 weeks as well as limiting my take out. The good news is despite the roller coaster of life I’ve been on for most of this challenge, it’s working. I do see the changes in the way my clothes fit, and more importantly how I feel.

  
I often say don’t beat yourself up and I mean it. All that self loathing just deters you, giving you less and less motivation to want to do better.

With all that said one meal at a time you can see the change .

 

 

 

QLFs Top 20 Fruits Ranked By Sugar Intake #9-5

So, I want to start by thanking you guys for keeping the hate mail to a minimum today. It was a lot better then Monday. I also want to say this: In no way am I suggesting that you shouldn’t  eat fruits but what I am saying is, eat, enjoy, and work the sugar off. If your sitting on the Couch all day watching House Of Cards, then you might need this list more than most. With that being said, let’s get into #9-#5.
9) Honeydew Melon, 13.8g

Ain’t this bout a B****, I really didn’t see that coming. But A cup of honeydew is low in calories and is primarily made up of H20, making it a great food to keep you full, which can help you lose weight over time, but it also brings more immediate slimming results to the table thanks to its natural diuretic effect.

  

8) Pears, 13.7g of sugar 

Pears only contain about 100 calories each, this fruit is a good source of vitamin C and contains 6 grams of fiber per  fruit (24% of your daily value). They also help keep hunger at bay thanks to “pectin”, a soluble fiber that attracts water and turns to gel, in-turn slows down digestion.
  

7) Apple, 13g of sugar 

An Apple Is a great snack for people with diabetes and insulin resistance because they’re high in fiber to slow sugar spiking.

  

6) peach 12.9g of sugar 

I only thought this fruit was cool because 112 and girls around the world said so but this “stone fruit” contains phenolic compounds that modulate different expressions of genes to ward off obesity, high cholesterol, inflammation, and diabetes…you’re welcome peach, you are no longer a sidekick to cream, and punchline jokes. 

  
5) Nectarines 11.3g of sugar 

The the less cool cousin of a peach, nectarines just barely edged out its look-a-like for lower sugar content and higher fiber. Like peaches, nectarines are also high in beta-carotene and vitamins A and C. But nectarines can help your  pH balance, assisting with protein synthesis and helping with the digestion of carbohydrates. ( they might be cooler than the peach on second thought )

  

This list is getting crazy!! Stay tuned for the next and last installment to the sugar ranking. 

QLFs Top 20 Fruits Ranked By Sugar Intake #14-10

Okay…. See, I told you guys to take a seat before you got into that list. Trust me, I cried all over my iPhone as I wrote it. I actually think It has water damage now. But, the show must go on. Let’s jump right into 14-10 sighhhhhh… I know, I know…
14) Grapefruit, 15g of sugar 

  
This is very tricky , because According to a study in the journal Metabolism, eating half a grapefruit before meals helped reduce belly fat and lower cholesterol levels. So it’s benefits might outweigh its high sugar content. 
13) Apricot, 15.3g of sugar 

  
Packed with vitamin A, helps your skin glow, and potassium which can help  keep your metabolism running high, and is crucial for the digestion of nutrients such as carbohydrates and fat, as well as the absorption of energy from these nutrients.

Pro Tip: lay off the dried version of these ( more sugar ) 
12) Grapes, 15g of sugar 

  
Grapes contain this thing called resveratrol content, because it’s a plant compound that has been linked to improving heart health, burning fat, and boosting weight loss. 

11) Blueberries, 14.7g of sugar – my favorite 

  
According to studies blueberry intake  has been shown to improve blood fat balances, including reduction in total cholesterol, raising of HDL cholesterol, and lowering of triglycerides and taste amazing.
10) Oranges, 14g of sugar 

  
I learned this a while ago,vitamin C before a workout can reduce muscle soreness and prevent the formation of free radicals. A single orange supplies 116 percent of your DV for vitamin C. Try eating about half at a time. 
This is like a great horror movie, the suspense of who will be number one on this list is great. Tune in next time as we go over 9-5!!

My Confession…It Works

  

Confessions… I’m seeing some more noticeable changes. 
My clothes, specifically my blouses/ tops are looser. My pants are much more comfortable in the waistband. And I’m starting to see more definition in my core. Yes my core, it’s actually there under the cookies, cakes, donuts and other bullshit. 

And with that being said I have a confession…
When I first set out to do this challenge I didn’t really take it as serious as I probably should have. Granted I was writing this post for those of us on the chubbier side of the fitness spectrum. 

I knew this would be a challenge for someone who loves food more than themselves and has literally stopped talking to people over food. 
Yes I have a problem. But the deeper I delved into this, I’ve learned that the kitchen is about 30% of the equation, while emotional/ mental and spiritual health make up the other 50% and exercise is 20%. How you feel can play a huge role in the things you consume. I’m living proof of that. I mean shit I celebrate Taco Tuesdau religiously like it’s an actually holiday, it’s on my calendar for goodness sakes. 

Like I said I have issues. But here we are 2 months later and I’ve loss about 3 1/2 inches from my waist. I never wondered if I could lose the weight, it was about keeping it off. 

And while I just killed this half marathon on Sunday, I have another one in 2 weeks and I think about how much I could do with less fat around my core. 
Visceral fat, (that blubber we have in the midsection smothering our very necessary to function organs) is a motherfucker to lose. But how bad do you want it gone? The fat at the bottom of your abdomen is some of the hardest fat to lose and can lead to FUPA if it continues to go untreated. (If you don’t know what FUPA is look it up…). 
Anyways, I’ve always been an advocate for not depriving yourself of deliciousness in favor of being cranky and “slim”. Not I. And you don’t have to calorie count. It’s just about common sense. So as I embark on the last month of this journey, this week will be the last time I give updates on my waist size until the end. Notice I haven’t given any updates on my weight and for good reason. 
Am I finally taking this challenge seriously? 

I’d say I have been for the past 3 weeks or so. 

It’s a little hard sometimes bc I do need to eat more calories during my training season, which is now for me and into November. 

  
What am I doing differently from here on?

Cutting back on sugar. That’s basically my drug of choice. I’m down to 3 days a week. When I started this challenge it was 6 days a week. Don’t judge some of you drink 6 sodas in a day. 
It’s been said it takes 30 days to establish a habit. But what you have to remember is this isn’t a habit this is a lifestyle change. It’s like getting off drugs. 
  
Nia Raquelle is Brooklyn native, currently having a secret love affair with desserts while in a long term relationship with long distance running. 

Follow her antics on IG, EatWithNia, SnapChat, GarminConnect – EatWithNia

And you can challenge her to a run on the Nike+ app – NiaRaquelle. She might beat you though. 

Snacks Save Lives 

Irresponsible snacking is the diet killer. And when I say diet I don’t mean that temporary “get slim quick” starve yourself for 3 months diet. I mean diet as in this is what you eat daily-may it be good or terrible. 

Anyways, having a treat or something bad occasionally is fine, making it a daily ritual, not so much. When considering your snacks keep in mind. A snickers bar is not a good snack, nor is potato chips or any other sugar laden “food”.

So here are some nutritious, tasty but low cal snack options that I’ve been using over the last couple weeks of this challenge. 
  

Peanuts and all their nut cousins (I try to get low sodium options) – I like pistachios and peanuts 
Fruit – I like apples, plums, kiwis, grapes, and berries
Raw veggies – broccoli, peppers, carrots 
Shrimp cocktail – I can get fancy. 
Popcorn (2 cups) – for Netflix and chill nights. 
Pretzel
Salsa & chips!
Guacamole
Humus 
Yogurt- I ideally try to keep it Greek yogurt. 
1 packet of instant oatmeal, yes, I know old fashion oatmeal is better, but God is still working on me. 

  

If you want to put things into high gear, portion out your snacks for the week, so you don’t over eat. Keeping yourself full also will prevent you from over eating. And don’t eat till the point you feel stuffed. Snacks between meals will provide you with the necessary nutrients so you don’t over eat. 
  

I figure I’m eating 1200 calories for the day,( everybody’s intake is different ) use them wisely. Don’t waste them on things like greasy chips and candy. 
  
Nia Raquelle is Brooklyn native, currently having a secret love affair with desserts while in a long term relationship with long distance running. 

Follow her antics on IG, EatWithNia, SnapChat, GarminConnect – EatWithNia
And you can challenge her to a run on the Nike+ app – NiaRaquelle. She might beat you though. 

Is Stress Weighing You Down?

  

Usually when people think of stress related weight, they think weight loss. But stress can also make you fat. And I don’t mean 5 or 10 pounds fat I mean like 25+ pounds fat. 
I know this because I’ve lived it. I’ve spent the last few weeks focusing on emotional and mental health because it can and does significantly impact your physical well being. 
In 2009, I weighed 188 pounds and I didn’t even know it. Now if you recall I’m 5’2 so think about how much weight that is on my frame. I had no clue I weighed that much. My eating habits weren’t that different than my current ones, small and balanced portions. But I did eat more sugar back then in comparison to now. And it wasn’t until my then boyfriend blatantly called me fat one day did I realize that I packed on the pounds. Unlike most people, I was at advantage. Usually when I gain weight it’s evenly distributed throughout my body, so I didn’t really notice the weight. I went to the doctor shortly after and sure enough 188 pounds sat there mocking me on the scale. My doctor was scared for my healthy bc she said my test results showed that I was otherwise healthy and she didn’t understand how I got so big, so quickly. 
So now I became self conscious of my weight and trying everything to lose it, even those weight loss pills, (by the way they don’t work). 

Nothing worked. Six weeks after my doctor’s visit I break up with my boyfriend and two weeks later people start telling me I look like I’ve lost weight. I get on the scale it reads 142. I immediately contact the doctor. During our visit she tells me she believes the weight gain is stress related. 

  
And after two weeks I lost 17 more pounds. Which is absurd! Who would’ve thought such s thing was possible. 
Why does this happen?

According to WebMD, stress releases both the adrenaline and cortisol hormones. Adrenaline gives you the energy meanwhile cortisol helps you to replenish. So basically, elevated cortisol levels will leave you feeling famished causing you to eat more. Furthermore, chronic stress, (and this is particularly common with women), can cause one to store visceral fat. 

See below….

  

  
So what can you do?

Well as I’ve told you over the past few weeks shit happens. Life happens. It’s about how you handle it. Monitor your stress and energy levels. Channel that energy into something that will makes you less stressed. 
Now I’m not saying all your fat comes from  stress related issues or any of it. For that matter  But there’s a possibility that some of it can build from here, just be mindful. 

  
  

Nia Raquelle is Brooklyn native, currently having a secret love affair with desserts while in a long term relationship with long distance running. 
Follow her antics on IG, EatWithNia, SnapChat, GarminConnect – EatWithNia

And you can challenge her to a run on the Nike+ app – NiaRaquelle. She might beat you though. 

LIFT THE FORK: The Leftovers (Bonus Footage) w/ Kris Kasanova

  

The Feedback and love for episode one has been great!! And because you guys have been great supporters we want to leave you with some “food for the soul, you do the dishes” moment with Kris Kasanova at Natural Blend in Brooklyn! We got to touch on some deep topics about hip hop and being healthy. Enjoy. 

  

Energy… I don’t have any

So I’ve been going through some shit, some real stressful shit. Unfortunately, I just didn’t have the mental dedication to stick to my exercise regimen. Sometimes, it only takes one thing to throw a wrench in your day or mood and you’re just completely out of it. That’s what happened to me. I was emotionally drained from this week’s on-going drama. Needless to say I only worked out on Monday.

And you know what? This is normal. This will happen. So don’t panic, it is normal for real life to get in the way and take over. Don’t beat yourself because you weren’t able to make it to the gym or you ate terribly. It happens and again it’s normal. You have to take care of you and those real life issues in order for you to get those abs and stay on that healthy eating track. Stress can make you fat. I’m speaking from experience, (I’ll address this next week). This goes back to my post, last week of Eating Your Feelings.

How did I stay focused? Well, I ate good. If you’re not going to work out you definitely need to keep your eating in check. First off on days you’re not exercising or you don’t exercise period, you need to keep your caloric intake to a minimum. Now as I told you guys before I don’t calorie count, but you do know for the most part when you shouldn’t be eating something.  So here’s what my meals look like on a non-exercise and exercise days, on top of the 3-5 cups of herbal tea and 1-2 liters of water daily.

Non- Exercise Day:

  • Breakfast – oatmeal and croissant and green tea
  • Snack – fruit
  • Lunch – 1 protein, 2 or more vegetables (generally a chicken wrap or left overs – see my Instagram for left over descriptions)
  • Dinner – 1 protein, 2 or more vegetables and 1 starch

Exercise Day

  • Breakfast – oatmeal and croissant or egg and bagel sandwich with green tea
  • Snack – fruit
  • Lunch – 1 protein, 2 or more vegetables (or tacos)
  • Pre-workout snack – Clif bar or bagel (depending on what I’m about to do, if I’m running it could be either and if it’s cross training it’s a Clif bar)
  • Dinner – 1 protein,  2 or more vegetables and 1 starch
  • Dinner 2 – carbohydrates or fried rice (this is only eaten late on Friday nights so that I don’t wake up starving early on Saturday mornings for my long runs, which require that I have some extra gas in the tank)

As we already know you can’t just exercise away your fat, you have to also change your eating habits. So if you’re not going to exercise, keeping up with those healthier eating habits its a great start to getting those abs.