A Tasty Smoothie That Actually Keeps You Full

photo: some rights reserved by Miriam

By far the greatest complaint I hear (and said before in the past myself) is that smoothies don’t keep people full or satisfied for long.

“An hour after my smoothie I’m already hungry!” was one reader’s comment.

That’s because most people don’t make their smoothies with satiating ingredients. Heck, a lot of “smoothies” I see people drink include nothing but fruit juice, ice, and some pieces of fruit. If your smoothies sound remotely like that, it’s no wonder you’re ravenous shortly after drinking it.

But my smoothies keep me full for hours, and they’re incredibly tasty and have a lot of versatility.

And those are two things I don’t compromise with my food (especially the first meal of the day): it must taste great and keep me satisfied for hours.

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4 Reasons Women Should Train for Strength

trainforstrengthI’m grateful that encouraging women to strength train is no longer a new trend or uncommon suggestion; it’s a well established activity that more women than ever are already doing.

But just because it’s not a ground-breaking recommendation to encourage women to lift weights, it still bears repeating that there are numerous benefits to focusing specifically on getting stronger.

The reason is simple – many women still strength train (or work out in general) for the sole purpose of losing fat, burning calories, and trying to transform their physical appearance. And I think there’s a better way: focus on getting stronger, and nothing else.

Before we get to the four reasons women should train for strength, it’s important to note that there are myriad ways to get stronger. Getting stronger doesn’t mean you must focus on nothing but the powerlifts (squats, deadlifts, and bench press) and increasing your one rep maximum. You can use any tool or combination thereof such as free weights, kettlebells, odd objects, or even just your bodyweight. You can also use any rep range or combinations such as heavy singles, sets of five, or even sets of 10 to 20 reps.

Bottom line: there are a lot of different ways to get stronger. The important thing is that you do better when possible and beat your previous workouts. Strength comes in many different forms, so use whatever tools are available to you and embrace all the different rep ranges, if you’d like.

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How to Stick to Your Diet

how to stick to your diet
photo: some rights reserved by zsoolt

You know this scenario all too well: you’re determined to stick to your diet and you start off incredibly well. But when you’re at your favorite restaurant you start eying your preferred not-so-healthy and doesn’t-fit-your-diet item on the menu. There are typically three possible outcomes.

Outcome one: you resist the temptation of your favorite meal and order the more “sensible” option.

Outcome two: you resist the temptation of your favorite meal and order the more “sensible” option, but when you get home you rummage through the cabinets and pantry looking for something to satisfy the craving you had at the restaurant that just wasn’t delivered from your “healthy meal choice”. You snack on several random things but just can’t find what you’re looking for and keep on snacking.

Outcome three: You order your favorite meal and the whole time you eat it you feel guilty and think, “Great, I blew it! I didn’t stick to my diet again.” You end up not enjoying your favorite meal, feel guilty, and vow to “get back on track tomorrow”. In the meantime, you order dessert because you figure you already messed up, so why not keep on going.

Do those three outcomes sound familiar? (There’s a fourth, and preferred, possible outcome, but we’ll get to that in a moment). Most people look at that situation and wonder, “How do I stick to my diet?”

But we’re looking at things all wrong.

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Damage Control – What to do When You Over Indulge

when you over indulge
photo: some rights reserved by Robert Fairchild

We’ve all been there – that time when we ate too much and ended up uncomfortably full or we consumed more sweets than we intended at a party. A reader emailed me a few weeks ago about a similar scenario:

“Nia, I over indulged over the weekend and ate way too much junk food. I had some ice cream and then found myself constantly popping my kid’s left over Easter candy in my mouth all weekend. Can you give me a tough workout to burn all of this off? I want to undo the damage!”

It happens. Sometimes we eat too much or go bonkers on a tub of ice cream (or Easter candy!) and immediately after we start thinking about how we can “undo the damage” from our chow-fest. Sure, I could give the woman who sent me that email a “tough workout” that will have her sweating, huffing and puffing, and burning a ton of calories … but that’s not what I did.

Taking on a “damage control” approach after over indulging is not the way to go, and before we get into what you should do, here are four problems from the typical “damage control” mentality:

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NEW Bodyweight Exercise and Workout Tutorial

bodyweight tutorialThere are several bodyweight articles here on Lift Like a Girl that include:

  • Exercise demonstrations
  • Sample workouts
  • Training techniques

… and much more.

And now you can find them all in one awesome, convenient place: the Bodyweight Exercise and Workout Tutorial.

Whether you want some new exercises to add to your current regimen or you want some sample workouts or advanced training techniques to try, you can find them all there.

Click here to check out the Bodyweight Exercise and Workout Tutorial.

6 Techniques to Add Variety to Bodyweight Exercises

different bodyweight techniques

Bodyweight exercises should be included in everyone’s strength training program to some degree. Heck, some people train with bodyweight workouts exclusively out of necessity or personal preference. So how can you change them up so you don’t bored doing the same thing every time and can keep getting stronger and achieving body-transformation results?

For the past year most of my workouts have consisted of bodyweight exercises and several months ago they started to get a little stale so I added some variety by using different techniques to make the same old exercises somewhat “new” again, and more challenging.

Below you’re going to see six ways to add variety to bodyweight exercises. These training techniques will present new challenges and shake out the cobwebs if you’re tired of doing the exercises the same way for weeks or months straight.

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7 of the Best Bodyweight Exercises (and Easier to More Difficult Variations) You Should be Doing

7 Best Bodyweight ExercisesDo you include the exercises in this article in your workouts?

If you don’t, you most certainly should.

Some people incorrectly assume that you can’t lose fat, build muscle, or get stronger with bodyweight workouts. They think, since you can’t “progressively overload” bodyweight exercises (i.e. add more weight as you can with dumbbell and barbell exercises) that you can’t make progress long-term.

Now, if you only perform traditional push-ups and bodyweight squats with your bodyweight workouts long-term without any progression, that’s absolutely correct.

However, if you use an appropriate variation for an exercise and progress to more challenging/advanced variations, then you’re improving your performance and THAT is what matters most, no matter what workout tools you use.

Another reason these bodyweight exercises are so awesome is because you can do them absolutely anywhere: at home, at a local playground, when you’re traveling … anywhere. And for those who are trying to save money and don’t want to pay for a gym membership, bodyweight workouts allow you to keep training and getting results.

Below you’re going to be presented with seven of my favorite bodyweight exercises and their variations. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or a seasoned strength trainee, you’ll be able to scale the exercises listed below to your current strength level, and see how to progress as you get stronger.

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How to Perform Assisted Handstand Push-ups

assisted handstand push-upHandstand push-ups are a great bodyweight exercise not only for your shoulders, but for building upper body pressing strength.

Most people can’t kick into a handstand and bust out a flawless handstand push-up from day one. This exercise usually requires slow and steady progression, but once you can do one, it’s definitely a great accomplishment.

You’ve seen handstand push-up progressions on Lift Like a Girl before, but today you’re going to learn a unique way to perform assisted handstand push-ups.

Before you watch the demonstration video I will note that you should not attempt this exercise unless you can hold a handstand (feet resting again a wall or other object is fine) for at least one minute. You need to be comfortable being in the handstand position and have the strength to hold your bodyweight for one minute or more, otherwise you may attempt this exercise and smash your face on the ground. Don’t do that.

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Motivational Stuff is Stupid

photo: some rights reserved by opensourceway

“Nia, why are you constantly telling women to ‘be the strongest, most awesome version of themselves’ and write motivation type-stuff? Why don’t you just post more workouts and training-specific things? After all, your website is called Lift Like a Girl.”

There was a time I strongly disliked self-help and motivational “You can do it!” type stuff. I didn’t like to read it and certainly never expected to write about it. But many articles on Lift Like a Girl can be classified as “motivational.” Even though some people think motivational stuff is stupid (and I did too, once upon a time) I’m perfectly fine with that, but I’ll keep writing it anyway.

One reason is because I know too many women who feel like they’re fighting a battle they’ll never win. Too many women feel obligated to look a certain way, to reach an “ideal” bodyweight, attain (and forever maintain) a low body fat percentage, or other standards that value them exclusively on their physical appearance. Day after day they hate their bodies and are constantly looking to the next diet or “miracle” that will help them lose weight and reach society’s standards.

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3 Ingredient Crock Pot Shredded Chicken (Cheap, Fast to Prepare, and TASTY)

crock pot shredded chickenFirst, allow me to acknowledge my terrible photography skills. They’re just horrible, I know.

But that doesn’t matter because this crock pot (or slow cooker, if you prefer) shredded chicken recipe is AMAZING, and that totally makes up for the crap-tastic pictures.

There are a few reasons why this recipe is so dang good and why you need to make it. (The sooner, the better).

1. It’s very versatile and can have numerous variations
2. It’s cheap
3. It takes only a couple of minutes (tops) to put together
4. Did I mention it’s DELICIOUS?
5. It uses my favorite kitchen tool – the crock pot (get 4 more great recipes here)

Now that you know WHY you should make it, let’s get to the recipe.

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