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The Journey Back: 4 Things My Postpartum Weight Loss Showed Me

The Journey Back: 4 Things My Postpartum Weight Loss Showed Me

If you’re familiar with Cherokee Barbell Strength & Nutrition, or you know me personally, you know that I am a nutrition coach with many years of experience helping people achieve their goals. With all of my education and experience helping others, you would think that my postpartum journey would have been easy and fast. If you pay attention to everything you see from fitness influencers on social media, I should have been back down to my leanest weight in just a few weeks, right?

Wrong. In reality, I have just recently reached my first major fat loss goals – and my son just turned two years old. You read that right. It took me two years, and my journey isn’t over yet! Real change happens over months and years of steady work. There is no magic pill, but there are things you can do to achieve your goals. Let’s talk about a few of the most important lessons that my postpartum weight loss journey has shown me.

  1. Mindset is everything for weight loss

I’ve known this for a long time, and I’ve coached many athletes and nutrition clients through it. If you don’t have the right mindset, you’re going to struggle to lose weight and/or achieve the fitness goals you’ve set for yourself. When I started my journey back to fitness, I had a newborn son, a new business, and multiple personal challenges. My body was fatigued, and I was constantly stressed.

With everything going on in my life, and no consistency (we’ll get to that later on), I couldn’t make any progress. I was desperate to see my old body again, to feel strong and fit, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. I felt so discouraged, and I couldn’t get my mind wrapped around doing the things I knew I needed to do to start making the progress that I wanted so badly.

When this happens, it’s tempting to beat yourself up about it. It’s easy to feel ashamed and guilty for what we see as major failures. But shame and guilt are actually terrible motivators, and they end up standing in our way. When you feel ashamed of yourself, you might go run on the treadmill as long as you can, but once you’ve finished punishing yourself, you’re not likely to make a habit of daily treadmill runs. If you feel guilty for eating too much, you might cut your calories down to nearly nothing the next day, but you’re not likely to turn that restriction into healthy eating habits over the long term.

Shame may feel like the kick-start you need to get going, but it won’t keep you moving in the right direction. You are much more likely to succeed if you approach your journey with acceptance and gratitude. It’s not an easy thing to do, but a few things that helped me include:

⚫Starting a daily journaling habit
⚫Committing to meditating for just five minutes every day
⚫Making just one healthy choice at mealtimes (and then another)
⚫Setting daily intentions and reminding yourself of them when you start to feel negative thoughts creeping in

A good friend of mine (who is a USAW national coach) told me, “To get anywhere, you have to be tired of your own bulls&t.” Part of that bulls&t is the mindset that you have to punish yourself for the choices that got you where you are today. Changing your mindset is the first step to changing your body and your health.

  1. Consistency is king for effective weight loss

You’ve heard this before, but that’s just because it’s so true. Let’s say that, 90 out of 100 days, you eat appropriate portions of healthy foods. The other 10 days, you have a little extra on your plate, a glass of wine or two, and/or a rich dessert. Do you think those 10 days will ruin your journey, especially if they’re spread throughout 100 days of overall healthy eating? Of course not! Likewise, if you skip a day at the gym here and there, you aren’t going to lose all of your progress – unless you give in and stop going completely.

Over the last two years, I struggled with consistency. I tried a lot of tricks and strategies that have worked for others. I signed up for a triathlon with the idea that a new goal would motivate me and get me training. I tried changing my workout routines. I consulted other experts. None of it worked – and, strangely, all of it worked.

Every time I stepped into the gym, went for a run, or even walked my dog with my kids, I was doing something good for myself. I was moving closer to building those habits and getting back to the lifestyle I wanted. And it happened one day at a time. Did I do the triathlon? No. Did I start going back to training one day a week, then two, and then three?

Yes. It took some time, and I had some setbacks. And, yes, life absolutely got in the way many times. I had to cut workouts short for sick kids, emergencies with my employees, and so much more. But, I stuck to my intention to create the habits I needed to consistently train my body. And, as I got back into those habits, I found it easier to incorporate other habits too – like fueling my body with the right balance of carbs, proteins, and fats to support my strength while losing fat.

Here are a few things that helped me create that consistency:

⚫Setting aside time in my calendar to train
⚫Preparing meals ahead of time for busy days
⚫Making it fun by training with friends

  1. Accountability is crucial to achieving your goals

When it comes to fitness and achieving our goals, it takes a village. Yes, it’s possible to do it all on your own, but if you don’t have a support system with some form of accountability, it’s easy to make excuses and give up on yourself. Accountability can take on several forms. For some of my athletes, it’s as simple as checking off the movements in their training programs and logging their foods for our weekly or monthly check-ins. For others, it’s seeing friends at the gym. Others ask an accountability buddy to check in with them on a daily or weekly basis.

For me, accountability came with my community and my gym. My athletes and my fellow coaches would ask me things like, “Are you training today?” or, “How is training going?” Or they would offer to meet me and train together. This kind of support is easy to find when you have a community like our team at Cherokee Barbell, and I’m so grateful for the people in my life who helped me stay accountable for my workouts and my nutrition on the way back.

  1. Success creates motivation

You won’t always feel motivated, and many people will tell you that this is where discipline comes in. If you don’t feel motivated to train hard at the gym, have the discipline to go for a walk or at least drive to the gym and warm up. These are valid statements, and they do help people get through those days when they don’t feel like doing anything. But you don’t have to rely on iron willpower and self-discipline every day if you remember this: Success creates motivation.

If you do something active three days in one week, I can almost guarantee that you will feel better than you did the week before. Your sleep will improve, and you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. If you add some healthy nutrition habits to that activity, you’ll start seeing other changes – like a lower number on the scale and your clothes fitting better. Seeing those changes will motivate you to do even more to improve your health and fitness.

This positive cycle continues as you see more success. And you can keep it going by changing the way you reward yourself. Your old mindset might have been, “I’ve been so good this week. I deserve a huge meal and three beers!” Let’s change that up a bit by substituting a healthier reward. This might be something like treating yourself to some stylish new gym clothes or scheduling a weekend trip to the beach or mountains. Think of the things you love to do that align with your goals and the life you want to live. Start making a list of those aligned treats to reward yourself for your success! When you choose rewards from that list, you’ll continue to feel successful and build more motivation. And, with that feeling, you’ll have fewer days when you have to rely on your discipline.

Get started today with us!

Are you ready to start your journey? Need some motivation, consistency, and accountability? Join us at Cherokee Barbell Strength & Nutrition for our Six-Week Wellness Program. We’ll help you:

⚫Learn how to fuel your body
⚫Stay consistent with manageable, healthy choices
⚫Get motivated with small (and large) successes
⚫Stay accountable with help from a strong community

Sign up Now!

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Back to School Already? 5 Healthy Food Tips for Happy Kids

School is back in session, and you’re ready to get back into a routine with the kids. That, of course, includes packing lunches. As you know, proper nutrition directly affects your child’s academic performance. But how do you get them away from the Cocoa Puffs and cookies? The first step is cleaning out the junk food that’s loaded with sugar and making sure healthy food for kids is always readily available. Once the kitchen is free and clear, start it’s time to start implementing these 5 nutrition tips to have a successful school year!

1. Start the Day with a Breakfast of Champions!


➡️Sugary cereal with juice is not going to keep your child full and focused during their first few hours in the classroom.

➡️Sugar causes a quick burst of energy (high), followed by blood sugar levels dropping (low).

➡️Let’s take a quick example of a popular kids’ breakfast: 1 cup of Cocoa Puffs (13 grams of sugar) plus 1 cup of apple juice (30 grams of sugar) is a whopping 43 grams of sugar! That’s 11 teaspoons of sugar first thing in the morning!

A more balanced breakfast includes protein, healthy fat, and low-glycemic carbohydrates.

✅A breakfast sandwich (turkey, egg, and cheese on a wheat English muffin) is a more balanced option providing protein, carbs, and fat.

✅Smoothie (Greek yogurt, banana, nut butter, and cocoa powder) contains Protein + Carbs + healthy fat from nuts. Greek yogurt has a good balance of carbs and protein to keep you full.2. Pack a Balanced Lunch

Follow the plate method:
1/2 plate:🥦🥒🥕🍅🍆
1/4 plate: 🍓🍇🥝🍠
1/4 plate: 🥩🍗🍳

By eating a balanced lunch, you will:
✅ Have more energy in the afternoon
✅ Increasing your intake of vitamins and minerals through fruits and veggies
✅ Help stabilize your blood sugar

Save this graphic for inspiration next time you are prepping your lunch! 
3. Drink Lots of Water

Did you know it takes 3-4 apples to make only one cup of juice? But you wouldn’t eat 4 apples in one sitting so stick with one in your homemade juice. 

While juice is marketed as a healthy option for kids, it is loaded with added sugar. Try swapping out the juice for water and having a piece of fruit on the side. During the juicing process, many of the vitamins and fiber from the fruit are lost, leaving nothing more than “sugar water” behind.

4. Snacking For Success

Healthy snacks can help your child stay focused in school and prevent overeating later in the day. We recommend balancing out your snacks with a healthy source of protein/fat and carbohydrate. Most of the snack foods geared toward kids are processed, low in fiber, and high in sugar. Try finding snack options that will help your kids stay focused and full between meals!Here are a few snack options:RX Kids BarApple with peanut butterTriple Zero Oikos Greek yogurt
5. A Balanced Dinner

The Plate Method is one of the easiest and most effective methods for improving diet by eating a balanced meal of high-quality foods. Your clients can utilize this method to incorporate your favorite foods and recipes into their diet.

Resources: Healthy Steps Nutrition

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3 Reasons Student-Athletes Need Olympic Weightlifting

3 Reasons Student-Athletes Need Olympic Weightlifting

Find out why college athletes should train with us!

Student-athletes and their parents dream of college scholarships. Whether you’re an athlete, a parent, or a varsity coach, you can benefit from understanding what it takes for high school athletes to become collegiate athletes. In most cases, top athletes – the ones who achieve football scholarships or wrestling scholarships – get to that level with focused extracurricular help. Olympic weightlifting is one of the most common and effective training protocols for these athletes. Let’s discuss a few reasons why. 

Build the Strength to Meet Benchmarks

The first step in playing football at a Division 1 school, earning a wrestling scholarship, or making a collegiate basketball team is to familiarize yourself with the requirements. Let’s look at a couple of examples: football and wrestling. Below, you can see two tables with a few of the basic benchmarks (minimums) to compete in Division 1 football programs and collegiate wrestling programs, respectively.

DIVISION 1 FOOTBALL STRENGTH BENCHMARKS:

#resources – Garage Strength – Dane Miller 

LineRB / LBQBDB / WR
Snatch (x1)225 lbs225 lbs175 lbs275 lbs
Clean (x1)305 lbs300 lbs225 lbs265 lbs
Back squat (x1)405 lbs365 lbs275 lbs315 lbs
Front squat (x3)350 lbs315 lbs250 lbs300 lbs
Single-leg squat (x3)275 lbs315 lbs225 lbs275 lbs
Bench press (x1)365 lbs315 lbs225 lbs275 lbs
Incline bench press (x1)275 lbs250 lbs185 lbs225 lbs

WRESTLING STRENGTH STANDARDS 

Bench press1.6 x body weight
Pull-upsMax weight = 40% of bodyweight
Rope climbs4 x 16’ on 2” rope + 1 x 16’ on 2” rope with 25 lbs on the belt
Sled pull1 x 60’ unbroken with 550 lbs (no easy turf)
Isometric lunge3 minutes with 95 lbs on back
Single-leg squat315 lbs x5 each leg – must show control throughout the movement
Back squat440 lbs x5, 374 lbs x 5 in 7.5 seconds
Front squat1.6 x bodyweight in 7-8 seconds
Clean1.2 x bodyweight x2
Snatch1.25 x bodyweight

To safely and effectively perform these movements, young athletes need qualified coaching and technique training. They also need conditioning, and they must develop fast-twitch muscle fibers for explosive, dynamic movements. While it’s critical for athletes to practice their specific sports, practice and sport-specific training are not always enough to gain the strength and capabilities required to get to the next level. In a structured, focused weightlifting program, athletes work on strength and conditioning, as well as technique. 

A coach who is aligned with the athlete and their parents on the athlete’s goals will program training cycles with those goals in mind, with drills and exercises designed specifically to complement the work they’re doing in sport. The program will utilize progressive overload to ensure that the athlete is gaining strength, explosiveness, and speed over time. As an added bonus, the movements and strength that athletes gain in a weightlifting program are all transferrable across multiple sports. Football players who weightlift will be faster, stronger, and more resilient than those who do not. Wrestlers who weightlift will experience the same benefits, as will lacrosse players, soccer players, gymnasts, and other athletes.

Avoid Injuries that Leave Athletes Benched

When they see the benchmarks that they need to work toward, many young athletes will get laser-focused on achieving those goals. While we love to see that focus, athletes need the guidance of a knowledgeable coach to ensure that they don’t overtrain or perform movements in an unsafe manner. When student-athletes try to do too much with too little rest, and without the right technique guidance, they can easily get injured. 

If a student-athlete sustains an injury that keeps them off the field, court, or mat, they’re going to have even more difficulty achieving their goals. Olympic weightlifting helps young athletes develop the strength and stability to perform movements under heavy loads without injury. Plus, it has one of the lowest injury rates of all Olympic-contested sports.

Develop the Discipline Necessary to Excel in Sport, School, and Life

An athlete may have goals to play football for a Division 1 school, or they may have dreams of a wrestling scholarship. Or they may just want to play sports in school, enjoy time with their friends, and get some energy out. Whatever the case, following a prescribed strength training program will help them develop the discipline necessary to excel in the challenges life throws at them. Developing as an athlete includes personal growth and development. They’ll learn how to listen to their bodies, how to handle days when they don’t perform as well as they wanted, and how to come back from disappointment to achieve more in the future.

Are you a student-athlete or the parent of a young athlete with dreams of competing at the collegiate level? Let’s talk! Contact us today and find out more about how Cherokee Barbell Strength & Nutrition can help them achieve their goals.


 

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STUDENT ATHLETE STRENGTH PROGRAM

Are you ready to take your athletic performance to the next level and reach your goals? Our Student-Athlete Strength Program is designed to make that happen!

This class is a non-sport-specific strength and conditioning program designed to increase overall athletic performance for Middle and High-school students. Certified coaches lead classes that include safe and effective weightlifting techniques for young, developing athletes, as well as mobility, speed, and power work. This combination is designed to promote injury prevention, increase speed, strength, power, and endurance in each student-athlete. Students do not have to be school or club athletes to participate, just a desire to become stronger and healthier.

This is program Year-round program Monday through Thursday from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM

Our coaches are highly certified with years of experience working with athletes ranging from youth to professional. In addition, they have all played collegiate sports and understand the physical and mental demands of athletics.

How Your Inner Circle Impacts Your Well-Being and How They Can Support You?

Your inner circle is made up of the people you spend the most time with. These are the people who have the biggest impact on your life, for better or for worse.

Your inner circle impacts your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The people you spend the most time with can have a significant influence on your overall health and happiness.

From the food, you eat to the way you think and feel, your inner circle can have a major impact on your well-being.

If you’re surrounded by positive, supportive people, it can do wonders for you. On the other hand, if your inner circle is full of judgmental, negative, or toxic people, it can drag you down and impact your well-being adversely. 


3 TIPS FOR BUILDING A POSITIVE SOCIAL CIRCLE


Having a handful of supportive positive friends is much better than having a ton of negative acquaintances. Focus on the quality of the people in your life and invest time and attention into those relationships.

1. Focus on quality, not quantity. When building a positive social circle, a good place to start is by seeking out those you admire. Look for people with positive qualities, attitudes, accomplishments, or whatever you admire. Gravitating towards and spending time with these types of people will help you take on their positive traits and attitudes.

2. Seek what you admire. Research shows that healthy and supportive relationships can reduce stress and improve your overall health and sense of well-being. However, all relationships are not equally supportive or positive. If someone in your life is no longer good for you, it’s perfectly acceptable to let them go. Only you know if the relationship is worth keeping or not.

3. Know when to let go. Research shows that healthy and supportive relationships can reduce stress and improve your overall health and sense of well-being. However, all relationships are not equally supportive or positive. If someone in your life is no longer good for you, it’s perfectly acceptable to let them go. Only you know if the relationship is worth keeping or not.

Also, Here are some ideas on ways you can ask your “inner circle/team” to help you in your weight loss journey towards your short- and long-term goals.

✅Support can be Emotional: A shoulder to lean on when you’re feeling discouraged.

✅Practical: Someone to watch the kids while you exercise. Do you eat at others’ houses? What can they do to help you stay on track when eating at their house? One thing that we recommend clients do is give their parents copies of the recipes and let them know what their habit of the month is.

✅Inspiring: An exercise partner who encourages you to get out and move on those days when your favorite TV show seems like a higher priority.

BEGINNERS GUIDE TO MEAL PREPPING

We have great news for you! You don’t have to be an expert chef or spend six hours in the kitchen prepping meals for the week to set yourself up for success! 

Check out this FREE guide to help you HERE

Here are three tips to get you started:

#1 Do an inventory of what you have and what you need as far as kitchen utensils

Our favorite kitchen tools include a baking sheet, muffin tin, and a crockpot. Other things that you will need include a large skillet and a large mixing bowl. 

Once you have your utensils, it’s time to read the guide. 

#2 Create your plan by finding out what looks good to you! You can find healthy recipes at http://www.healthystepsnutrition.com

We recommend picking two protein staples, one breakfast option, veggies, fruit and 1-2 starch options. 

For example: 

  • Pulled chicken
  • Egg roll in a bowl
  • Egg muffins
  • Peppers
  • Berries

Pro Tip: Try to pick options that don’t use the same utensil so that you can multitask when prepping. For instance, I will get the pulled chicken going in the crockpot, then prep the egg muffins, and while those are cooking, make egg roll in a bowl. 

#3 Block out time for shopping and prepping! 

You don’t want food to go to waste. I know we all have the best intentions and sometimes things come up. Set yourself up for success by blocking out time to shop and prep right after! 

Enjoy your free guide!

BENEFITS OF OLYMPIC LIFTING

RESOURCE: USA WEIGHTLIFTING

1. Transform your physique: 

Performing a snatch or a clean and jerk is a full-body, fun, intense exercise working your legs, glutes, back, abs, shoulders and arms all at the same time. You burn a lot of calories during your workouts in a short amount of time. Olympic lifts are a great way to decrease body fat, build muscle, increase strength and maximize your time strength training.  

2. Get stronger, more powerful and run faster

Snatches and clean and jerks produce some of the highest power outputs in all of sport. Power, the product of strength and speed, is the key ingredient to helping people run faster and jump higher. Incorporating the Olympic lifts into workouts is the most effective way to build power and speed. 

3. Boost Work Capacity

Olympic lifts are versatile, causing a range of positive changes to your body depending on how you program them into your workouts. Olympic lifts can be used to improve strength, speed and power as well as enhance high-intensity exercise endurance, recover more quickly and handle higher amounts of training. With greater work capacity, you can do more exercise each session and reach your health and fitness goals faster. 

4. Protect Against Injury

Olympic lifts are full-body movements that target the shoulders, hips, knees and ankles and help promote flexibility and stability across joints. Controlling a load throughout the ROM of all these joints is key to preparing the body for the high forces encountered in sport and in some activities of daily living. A major predictor of future injury is having endured a prior injury, so utilizing the Olympic lifts in training and improving flexibility, strength, and stability, can greatly reduce susceptibility to injury.

5. Improve Bone Density

Especially for women, strengthening bones is critical to prevent osteoporosis and protect against bone fractures. Olympic lifts produce large forces on the legs, spine, and arms, precisely what is needed to stimulate the body to lay down new bone and improve bone density.

6. Enhance Coordination 

The Olympic lifts are full-body movements requiring precise coordination, rhythm, and timing. Improving body awareness and coordination are great for both sport performance and activities of daily life.  

7. Improve Sport Performance

The Olympic lifts require an athlete to exert a force into the ground through a quick and coordinated “triple extension” of the ankle, knee, and hip, mirroring what happens in sprinting and jumping, the core components of most sports. Other than practicing the sport itself, Olympic lifts have the next highest carryover to directly improving sport performance in sports where strength, power, and speed are essential. 

8. Get Confident

Strong is the new skinny; as you get stronger physically, it permeates your whole life. As you are able to master new skills and see what your body is capable of, your confidence in and out of the gym will blossom. Lifting weights with speed and technique as in the Olympics lifts is a rush and many people find that the process of learning and refining the Olympic lifts keeps them excited to workout. The more consistently you workout and use strength training as a tool, the more results you will see.

9. Improve Range of Motion

While some people associate lifting heavy weights with being stiff and bulky, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Olympic lifters are some of the most flexible and mobile athletes in the Olympics. 

10. Develop Dynamic Stability

In sport and in life, people are rarely in need of strength when stationary so it’s important to stress the body in the gym to reflect that. Olympic lifts provide strength and stability around major joints at a fast speed of movement, which is what enables the body to be stable in activities of daily life as well as sport. Weightlifting movements are truly functional exercises. 

The Amazing Health Benefits of Olympic Weightlifting and A SPORT FOR EVERYONE.

Olympic Weightlifting offers a path towards a complete range of fitness and strength attributes.

Quite simply, Olympic weightlifting can completely change one’s holistic levels of strength and fitness. Developing on the more basic gym lifts – such as the squat, deadlift and shoulder press – Olympic weightlifting has no equal for developing speed, flexibility and coordinated, total-body strength and muscle.

The core strength and mobility that is developed by the sport means that Olympic lifters have some of the highest vertical leaps of all athletes.

The speed of the movement requires Olympic lifters to recruit every fast-twitch muscle fibre. These type IIb fibres, which fire anaerobically, are also associated with sprinting, which is why the fastest people in the world use weightlifting to gain that extra edge.

While we can perhaps all instinctively walk into a gym and perform a deadlift, it takes a long time to master the intricate technical aspects of Olympic weightlifting.

In competitive weightlifting the two lifts are the snatch and the clean and jerk. The objective of the snatch is to lift the barbell from the ground to overhead in one continuous motion.

The clean and jerk, as its name suggests, is made up of two movements. First the barbell is lifted from the floor to shoulder-height. During the jerk the lifter raises the barbell to a stationary position above the head, finishing with straight arms and legs.

Both lifts demand coordination, flexibility and complete concentration. The technical aspects of the sport go a lot further in developing mental and motor skills than regular free-weight lifting.

Resource: IWF