The Top 13 Things I Learned in 2013
By Kate Horney
Hey BeyondFit Moms!
As I take a moment (a very brief moment, with a toddler screaming and pulling on my leg) and reflect on 2013 , and as I say goodbye to the year, I think of this past year with joy and happiness….
First, I continued to adjust to being a busy mom. We celebrated Jackson’s 1st birthday in September, and much of 2013 was spent with diapers, spit up and chasing a crawling, and then toddling, little boy. Every diaper I changed, every meal I made, every sleepless night…My prayer was: “Thank you that I get to!”
It was amazing to watch Jackson grow and change this year.
In addition to the joy that came along with being a mom, I got to experience more excitement in 2013 as I reached a long time goal by competing in my first (and then 2nd) bikini competition. And as a bonus, I prepared for both shows with Patrick by my side.
We had so much fun doing this as a couple, and not only did we step on stage in the best shape of our lives (yes, even 8 months after having Jackson), but I can truly say that we enjoyed the journey leading up to the show AND that we had a blast on stage.
The icing on the cake was when I placed 2nd in the open bikini class! 🙂 Yay!
On the business side, I worked hard this year to give you the best content possible. I launched Project Momsanity as well as the BeyondFit Life member’s portal and watched hundreds of women completely reshape their bodies.
My goals this year were to help you make better choices in what you eat by providing you with quick, easy and delicious recipes, and to provide important insights regarding food and nutrition in order to help you with your fitness goals.
And of course… the signature BeyondFit workouts!
Our local Bikini Boot Camp has continued to grow and it has been a true pleasure to work with some of the best women in all of Eastern Carolina.
As we look forward to 2014 I want you to know that I’m here to motivate you to push yourself harder, and to always be the best version of yourself. I’ll be by your side on your journey so you’re never alone. We’ll set up goals and reach them together.
I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions…
But I do believe it is a good time to set the record straight with yourself, take a moment to reflect on your life, determine where you want to go and write down small, attainable goals towards your bigger goals.
As you work to reach your goals this year, I want to leave you with…
The top 13 (Health & Fitness related) things I learned in 2013:
- Diets are over-rated. In 2013 I didn’t diet and I didn’t let food control me. I ate according to my goals and I used food in a very strategic way. Do I enjoy my food? Absolutely! But I view food as the fuel that it is and I have learned- through years of studying my own body and it’s reactions to foods- what works and what does not work. Through trial and error I have learned how to structure my meals in a way that is optimal for fat burning. I know what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat so that I can get the results I want.
- Short workouts work better. (It’s called efficient exercise.) When creating my competition prep workouts I ask myself “is this something I could do for the rest of my life?” If the answer is no, it simply won’t work for me. The fitness industry’s norm of excessive cardio workouts and hours at the gym are not only counterproductive metabolically, but they are also unsustainable! I don’t have time, nor do I want to spend hours on my workout. A few long leisurely walks with my family plus short, intense workouts using weights, sprints and plyometrics fit much better into my lifestyle- both now and long term.
- Deprivation doesn’t work. Thinking of food in terms of items that you can and cannot have is disastrous. Not only are you are setting yourself up for an all out binge, but you’re also wasting a ton of mental stress by focusing on something that truly doesn’t matter. It’s FOOD! I don’t know about you, but as a busy wife, mom, friend, and coach, I have much more important things to think about than some stupid brownie I am telling myself I “can’t” have. To keep from depriving myself I not only altered my mindset, but I also use buffer foods (hey almond butter and cocoa powder!) and strategically consume “off plan” meals to stay satisfied. In addition to enjoying occasional treats, here’s my perspective and a great mindset shift that you can adopt as well: I CAN have anything I want, at anytime. But I am simply CHOSING not to. It’s my choice.
- You don’t need a gym! You can get fit at home! “Getting slim without the gym” has been my new favorite motto. As you know, there are some days when getting out of the house to exercise is simply not an option. The good news is that you can still get fit in the comfort of your home. Don’t despair if you feel like you don’t have time to get to the gym. Remember, our goal is to do SOMETHING. And you can get a fabulous fat burning workout in the comfort of your own home. Hold your baby and do squats and stationary lunges (no weights needed!) for your lower body, then lift your baby overhead (get ready for some giggles) to strengthen your arms and shoulders, or lay on your back and do “baby chest presses.” And during those precious 30-minute nap times, grab some dumbbells and get in some rest based training hybrid workouts pushing hard until you can’t and then resting until you can.
- A baby is a REASON. I see having a baby as a REASON to make health and fitness a priority, not an excuse as to why you can’t. (Yes, I was the only bikini competitor back stage with pumped breast milk on ice in my 6 pack fitness cooler! Mommas do what they’ve gotta do). Don’t use your kids as an excuse!
- Make fit friends! In 2013 I have truly seen the power of accountability! Both in my own life and in the lives of the women I coach. Having social support, whether through friends, or family (or awesome women in an online community!) is key to reaching your long-term goals. We are social creatures by nature, and we feel good when we have someone who listens and can relate to what we’re going through. At Bikini Boot Camp, our group training allows us not just to get a great workout, but to develop and foster friendships- many of which reach beyond the walls of the gym. If you don’t have a local group, connect with moms in a similar situation as you online (like BeyondFit Life)…. and if you need a friend, I’ll keep you accountable! 🙂 The key is to establish a built-in support system and to make sure you have someone to help you on your journey.
- Just do something! This goes back to #4. What do you do when you are so busy you barely have time to scarf down a meal, let alone get a workout in? Since having Jackson, “just do something” has become my motto. Really, it comes down to either doing something or nothing… it’s your choice. It’s ok if you can’t commit to a full workout today. In fact, with a new baby, some days finding just 30 minutes in a row might be impossible. That’s ok! I suggest breaking up the time into 10-minute increments- then work your way up to 20 or 30-minute sessions as you can. The key is to do SOMETHING!
- Treat yourself in moderation. Yes, that’s right- you can eat dessert or have a piece of bread. I’m all about living a healthy, happy and BALANCED life. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself and your family to a yummy dessert or a less than healthy option every once in awhile. (hello, chips and salsa!) It’s when you begin to indulge on a regular basis that it becomes less of a treat and more of an expectation or habit… and THAT is the issue.
- Make rest a priority. It’s impossible to go, go, go, go-and never take time to rest. 2013 was especially draining for me with all I had going on in my business and at home, so I found it especially important to take time to rest- not only with consistent, restful sleep, but also with strategic rests and down time throughout the day. As a busy new mom, this is something I struggled with this year (and will probably struggle with again next year, and the year after that). But I know that sleep plays an important role in fat loss. Sleep is prime fat-burning time and serves to regulate many metabolic hormones. Sleep is part of every sustainable plan. And in addition to sleep, it’s also important to schedule down time. (again, something I struggle with!) More workouts are not always better. Killing yourself in the gym day in and day out without any rest days may feel productive, but you’re really doing more harm than good. Efficient, effective exercise is the name of the game. Taking rest days is key to keeping you physically, mentally and emotionally prepared- not just for competition, but for life!
- Carb cycling WORKS! I used carb cycling to lose some of the stubborn baby weight after Jackson was born (check out Beyond Baby for my specific plan) and decided to give it a try again in 2-13 to get stage ready as well… and it works! Carb cycling takes the macronutrients (the proteins, fats and carbs) of your meals and manipulates them to reduce body fat to very low levels while still keeping preserving your muscle and keeping your metabolic potential high. Eating starchy carbs earlier in the day will increase fat burning at night while you sleep. Eating a large carbohydrate meal close to bed will blunt growth hormone release during sleep and thus blunt the potential to burn fat. A lot goes into this but essentially, strategic cycling of low/high carb days is maximizing our muscle breakdown and fat storage.
- Be more (insulin) sensitive. As moms, sensitivity is something that comes easily to us (hello, mom tears)… unless it’s insulin sensitivity. In that case, it’s something we need to work towards. Insulin sensitivity is a desirable state because it prevents your body from storing excess fat. Insulin is an anabolic storage hormone that is produced by the pancreas and serves to regulate carbohydrate and fat storage in the body. When insulin levels are high, extra calories are stored as fat. In addition, insulin inhibits the release of glucagon, thus stopping the use of fat as an energy source. The best way to improve insulin sensitivity is through leisurely walks, high intensity strength training and the manipulation of carbohydrates in your diet (think carbs in the morning or immediately PWO).
- Stroller sprints FTW! Seriously, Jackson and I have had so much fun with Saturday morning stroller sprints this year! Sometimes, we even make it a family affair and Patrick joins us. HGH is a fat burning hormone that is produced in the pituitary gland, and as the name suggests, is a hormone that stimulates muscle tissue growth. And SPRINTS are shown to significantly increase HGH! This is important because there is no better fat burner than our muscles! HGH has the benefit of stimulating your body to burn fat (rather than store it), so the effect on fat loss is doubled. HGH is stimulated when your body engages in intense, short term exercise like sprinting and lifting weights.
- Fitness must be a secondary goal. There is certainly nothing wrong with making it a goal to be in the best shape of your life in 2014, but at the same point, I would encourage you to do so in a balanced way. No matter how important we think the quest for a “perfect” (although we know there really is no such thing) body may be right now, none of us will take our bodies with us to eternity. We will all age and ultimately pass away one day. When that time comes, and we are surrounded by our family, I highly doubt our dying words will be, “I wish I had have spent more time at the gym, and more time weighing my food and perfecting my body.” It’s a great goal-but it must be secondary. I do think health & fitness should be a priority, but it is not (and should not be) the end all be all. What is the cost/benefit ratio of your commitment? Are you pursing your goal at the sacrifice of your family? Of your health? Of your sanity? Fitness should promote health, should make you happy and should NOT consume your life.
And with that said….
Who is ready for 2014? What are you doing to set yourself up for a happy and successful 2014?
I wish you a wonderful year to come, with good health, love and lots of happiness.