Tag Archive | nutrition

Why It’s Important to Celebrate You.

In my line of work – as a fitness professional and holistic lifestyle + nutrition coach, the New Year brings about a time of business excitement and growth. People have “made it through” the holiday season and are ready to commit [or re-commit] to a healthy lifestyle rooted within daily movement and eating “better”. Although, I enjoy the renewed excitement around health, most of the propaganda and language that surround the beginning of a new year just rubs me the wrong way.

Little SecretWhere Regan and I differ from a great majority of fitness and health businesses is that we believe that any action you take towards health should serve your life in a functional, positive way. I’m going to let you in on a little something the fitness and health industry don’t want you to know — working out doesn’t really help you lose weight. It definitely helps create energy and can certainly aide in your efforts to build muscle definition, but the constant state of “killing yourself” at the gym and punishing yourself for food eaten will never, ever help you lose weight. And dieting certainly won’t help you keep weight off in the long haul either. The only way to create lasting health is to find movement you enjoy that supports your body to make you feel better and to eat from a place of self-love vs. self-loathing. And that’s where most New Year’s diet + exercise programs fail you. They draw you in with the language that “you’re not good enough” as you are right now – capitalizing on the fact that you believe you’ll be happier when you’re slimmer with a different body than you have right now. And I have a problem with that.

Why? Because if we’re constantly seeking to change ourselves from a place of belief that we’re not beautiful and enough as we are right now, then we will never be able to create lasting health and happiness. It’s this belief that the diet + exercise industries are banking on in order to continue to generate revenue – you believing that you need them to help you create health because you can’t do it on your own and you’re not enough as you are right now. At Macks Mo, Regan and I are on a mission to change that. And it’s what this year’s annual group challenge is all about. Celebrating you as you are right now, nourishing your body from the inside out with self-love and empowering you to become the master of your own health. No one knows what feels and works best in your body better than you – and trying to force dietary changes or exercise modalities that don’t feel good will never last. So in creating this Challenge, it was our goal to give you to the tools to love + listen. To celebrate you – as you are and also empower you to wherever you want to go, but in a supportive and lasting way. The 2015 Macks Mo Celebration Challenge equips you with the knowledge + support to take full responsibility for your own health + happiness, instead of having to rely on or even pay attention to the latest diet or exercise trend.

You are a GiftWhen we sat down to create this year’s challenge, our main goal was to show our clients that the pursuit of their own health didn’t need to come in extreme ways. And in fact, engaging in extreme measures is often counter-productive to long-lasting changes. We wanted to demonstrate that in order to truly create a life you love – where you’re fit to handle anything life throws at you [physically, emotionally + mentally] – that you have to stop waiting on the weight and instead start celebrating all you can do right now and who you are right now. You are a gift and you are enough — regardless of how you look, what job you hold, what habits you’d like to kick or what changes you’d like to create [physical or otherwise]. And this Challenge is our way of throwing you a New Year’s party to celebrate that.

Unique to Macks Mo programming, the 2015 Celebration Challenge contains lifestyle + health coaching videos that center around deepening your connection to your body’s intuition, empowering you to become an expert in your own health while shedding excess [physical + emotional] weight along the way. We’ll teach you to live more fully by tuning into the bio-individual signs + signals your body sends, which helps create your own unique blueprint of what vibrant health looks like.

As always, our Challenges consist of online nutrition + workout components. Regan and I do this because we understand that sometimes we all need a little help to begin our journey and add ease to the process of stepping into better health + creating lasting, positive habits. The nutrition program is rooted in delicious, seasonal recipes that create glowing energy and support your body’s needs. The programming is vegetarian-friendly and primarily gluten- + dairy free [with modifications to make it completely so if needed] with weekly grocery lists and guided prep work to maximize your time. For our workout programming, Regan wanted to guide you in the process of finding what movement feels best in your body. As such, he created 8 brand new workouts [complete with beginner’s modifications] of varying exercise modalities – there’s yoga, strength training, high-intensity power circuits, full-body endurance training and even a safe Crossfit-style workout – each workout complete with exercise video tutorials + written guidelines. There’s also specific challenges at the end of each workout that give you a baseline to measure progress and get you out of your comfort zone, into the heart-pumping space of feeling alive in the strength + possibilities your body has right now.

This Challenge is for YOU if:

  • You’re tired of trying {fad} diet after diet with no lasting results. Sick of the yo-yo diet cycle, you’re fed up with feeling out of control in your food choices + emotions.
  • Negative emotions – like worry, guilt, shame, stress and fear are an integral part of your daily life, along with negative self-talk. You beat yourself up for how you look, how you eat + decisions you make, then punish yourself with extreme exercise or restrictive measures.
  • You think you’re healthy, but you don’t feel vibrant and struggle to find the energy to get through the day. You know you’re irritable and moody, unmotivated and lack mental focus but can’t seem to get “out of the funk”.
  • You feel like you eat well and know you workout hard, but still aren’t seeing the results you want. You’re frustrated and constantly beating yourself up for not being able to “get it right”.
  • You “know what to do” to be healthy, but struggle with finding the motivation to consistently follow through.
  • You’re confused and overwhelmed by all the exercise + diet information out there and need help deciphering the information to create a plan of what physically works for you.
  • You want to upgrade or spice up your food choices, learn to eat seasonally and experience the difference of eating in line with food energetics that support your body.
  • You sleep “well”, but still wake up fatigued, needing pick-me-ups like coffee and sweets to get you through.
  • You want to increase your productivity + mental clarity.
  • You’re tired of feeling heavy and bloated or suffering from other physical issues like indigestion, gas, headaches + overall body fatigue.
  • You’re always thinking about food – categorizing it as “good” or “bad” and are constantly worried about the repercussions of your food decisions.
  • You feel like a teenager again, but not in a good way – suffering from acne or other skin related issues.
  • Cravings rule your life – you have a “sweet tooth that’s out of control” or images of carbs that dance in your head. You need coffee in the AM to get you moving and PM to keep you going.
  • You want to make health an integral part of your life, but not have it “rule” your life and suck up all your time.
  • You feel like “something is missing” from your life, but can’t figure it out. You want to add meaning and purpose to your life.
  • You struggle with balancing the “fun” in your life – eating out, hanging out and eating healthy don’t fit together.
  • You “do good” during the week, but struggle to maintain balance on the weekends – thus feel like you’re starting over every Monday.

If you are any or all of these things, this Challenge was created for you. Created not so that you can experience “health” as you know it now, but to instead create a dynamic balance in your life that shifts and changes as you do, unique to your individualized needs. You see, at Macks Mo, know how important it is to make you fit for life and all it throws at you. We understand our circumstances change and we go through various stages of growth + stressors. And you need a health plan that’s meant to weather all the seasons of your life — allowing you to have vibrant energy amidst both the easer and more challenging times.

Celebrate Who You Are and Where You're GoingCreating this vibrant energy involves a whole health approach that encompasses your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. It focuses on changing your inner landscape so that the external changes you make [like eating healthy + working out] actually stick and make a difference. We want you to be inspired and full of energy all the live long days – because if you’re always tired, feeling like crap or frustrated with where you’re “at”, then life is no fun. That’s why we think it’s time to approach the New Year from a different perspective — time to celebrate where you’re at and where you desire to go, not to loathe the process of creating it with extreme measures that don’t even last through January. So if you’re ready to finally let that go – let go of the control you’re trying to exercise on your life to “be” healthy and instead learn the steps to actually LIVE it, then I would love to have you join us for the 2015 Celebration Challenge.

To sign up for the Challenge and learn more about the various levels at which you can enter [based on your needs], CLICK HERE! The Challenge begins Wednesday, January 7th when you’ll begin receiving your material and officially kicks off Monday, Jan 12th, running 5 weeks to Saturday, Feb. 14th.


Did you like this post? Join our email list to receive inspirational posts like this one and stay up-to-date on new recipes, workouts and get the inside track + specials on Macks Mo upcoming programs [CLICK HERE]As always, I’d love to hear from you – post any questions, comments or feedback below and be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for continued inspiration and ways to create vibrant health!

A Little Help

I clearly remember ringing in the start of 2014, recounting with Regan how fast 2013 went and looking ahead on the upcoming year with excitement. Then I blinked and now it’s November. The holidays are just around the corner and my calendar is starting to get super busy. Sound familiar?

A Little Help #2It’s times like these especially that I am grateful for the healthy living practices I’ve been putting into place all year-long. The meal-planning that translates into wallet-saving grocery shopping; the consistency + variety of movement that makes my body feel good; the meditation, visualization + morning wake-up and evening wind-down routines, along with the constant practice of slowing down and tuning in to my intuition. Although each small pieces themselves, they all add up to more energy, less stress, higher productivity, more time for things & people I love and quite frankly, a happier + healthier Whitney.

But what’s been even more eye-opening for me in 2014 has been the realization of how much I was taking the impact of these small practices for granted and how much of a difference they really DO make. I’m going to tell you a little secret — I didn’t expect to get pregnant…so quick. When Regan and I decided we were “ready”, I think we both figured it’d take some little time and that we’d be able to adjust to the “idea” before it actually happened. God apparently had a different plan and in what seemed like literal moments later, I had a positive pregnancy stick in my hand.

A Little Help Blog PostI’m not going to lie. The first trimester rocked my world — that is, the world in where I have “control” over my body, my energy levels, my creative spark and my ability to “do” things. I suddenly had none of those things and only my intuition and habits to fall back on. And can I say, THANK. GOD. I’ll touch more on all this in a different blog post, but when I was finally able to come up for air from this new phase, I was able to see so clearly how fundamentally important it is to have healthy habits in place. Practices we do on a daily basis to improve our well-being because want to feel good in our own skin. Because what we do on a daily basis MATTERS because it sews the seeds for our future well-being + happiness.

In truth, there’s really nothing in life we can control. We have to learn to roll with the punches, navigate the busy and know that regardless of the season, work deadline or number of events on our calendar — we have a plan + practices in place that allow us to feel good, look good and thrive on a daily basis.

And that, my friends, is why I created Holiday Helpers, a free 2-week series designed to help you do just that – feel awesome in your own skin on a daily basis. To give you the tools needed to create a plan that helps build habits to help you navigate the looming busy-ness of the fast-approaching holidays. Because you deserve, no you owe it to yourself to thrive. And it’s my passion to bring that to you — before the holidays start.

We’ve never done anything like this before…and you’re not going to want to miss it. By the way, did I mention, it’s free?!

Sign-ups are happening right now – over at our website [click here for details + to get on board] and the fun begins this Saturday, November 8th — giving you 2+ weeks to get your feet underneath you and that vibrant health brewing before the holidays hit. The series includes 5 recipes, 2 workouts [complete with exercise video tutorials] and 14 days of tips + tools you can fall back on to have a thriving holiday season and beyond.

On top of your series packet + daily emails, you’ll be getting tons of bonuses, because we love to spoil our clients. Join the movement for vibrant health + thriving life NOW! Visit http://www.macksmo.com/holidayhelpers.

PS: There’s more…of course. 🙂 For this series, I am partnering with some of the people who bring ME the most inspiration all the year-round – for my body, my mind and my soul, including: 
Sarah Kaler of Soul Powered
Claire Gould of Friendspire Fitness
Emily Newman of Move Your Booty
Sarah Adler of Simply Real Health
Molly Scott of Fuel Fitness
Kari Gran of Kari Gran Skincare

What It Means to Have Health Freedom

This past Saturday, Regan and I launched the Freedom Prescription (Rx) Challenge – and are so excited to share our newest edition of Macks Mo Nutrition + Workout Programming, along with Lifestyle Coaching Techniques with you.

The Freedom Rx Pic.jpgIn the January 2014 Momentum Challenge, as a group, we lost 318 lbs., 212 inches & had a 48% average improvement on fitness tests in just 4 weeks [check out their stories + our experience here]. Inspired by this and due to popular demand, we created the Freedom Rx Challenge for the season where you want to feel & look your best in a body you’re proud to bare.

Now before you write off the idea of taking it on [because you have no time to “fit it in”], let me tell you we created this Challenge precisely to meet you there – in the midst of your busy social calendar, with Memorial Day + 4th of July, the end of school and fun in the sun.We created it for all the moments you’ll be traveling and the times spent at weddings and summer BBQ’s with drink in hand – this Challenge was designed to help you achieve vibrant health, in a way you’ve never experienced, without having to compromise any other important areas [or events] in your life.

This Challenge is for YOU if:

  • You think you’re healthy, but you don’t feel vibrant and struggle to find the energy to get through the day. You’re know you’re irritable and moody, unmotivated and lack mental focus but can’t seem to get “out of the funk”.
  • You feel like you eat well and know you workout hard, but still aren’t seeing the results you want. You’re frustrated and constantly beating yourself up for not being able to “get it right”.
  • You want to upgrade or spice up your food choices and/or find a balanced exercise routine that WORKS.
  • You sleep “well”, but still wake up fatigued, needing pick-me-ups like coffee and sweets to get you through.
  • You’re sick of yo-yo dieting and feeling out of control with your food choices + emotions.
  • You’re tired of feeling heavy and bloated or suffering from other physical issues like indigestion, gas, headaches + overall body fatigue.
  • You’re always thinking about food – categorizing it as “good” or “bad” and are constantly worried about the repercussions of your food decisions.
  • You feel like a teenager again, but not in a good way – suffering from acne or other skin related issues.
  • Cravings rule your life – you have a “sweet tooth that’s out of control” or images of carbs that dance in your head. You need coffee in the AM to get you moving and PM to keep you going.
  • You want to make health an integral part of your life, but not have it “rule” your life and suck up all your time.
  • You feel like “something is missing” from your life, but can’t figure it out. You want to add meaning and purpose to your life.
  • You struggle with balancing the “fun” in your life – eating out, hanging out and eating healthy don’t fit together.

If you are any or all of these things, this Challenge was created for you. Created not so that you can experience “health” but instead VIBRANT health. You see, at Macks Mo, we don’t believe that the absence of disease or an “illness” = health. We don’t even think that exercising hard or eating real, whole foods fully constitutes health or makes you “healthy”.

We believe vibrant health stems from an inner energy that doesn’t stop. It involves a whole health approach that encompasses your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. It focuses on changing your inner landscape so that the external changes you make [like eating healthy + working out] actually stick and make a difference. We want you to be inspired and full of energy all the live long days – because if you’re always tired, feeling like crap or frustrated with where you’re “at”, then life is no fun. And who wants to live a life that’s no fun? Even if you fill your life with “fun things”, living in a body that’s weighing you down – physically, energetically and emotionally, will always limit the amount of true happiness you can experience. So if you’re ready to finally let that go – let go of the control you’re trying to exercise on your life to “be” healthy and instead learn the steps to actually LIVE it, then I would love to have you join us for the Freedom Rx Challenge.

Check out this promo video to learn more here, then check out these extra details below:

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT BY MERELY PARTICIPATING IN THE CHALLENGE (Level #1):

  • Coaching videos + handouts with exercises and information to set you free of health barriers holding you captive and bring you towards vibrant health from the inside-out.
  • The tools to create a richer, more meaningful life lived in the freedom of boundless energy and rooted in radical self-acceptance & love.
  • Macks Mo Skin Care 101 – a guide to transitioning your beauty products from toxic to ones that support glowing skin and healthy hair.
  • Food Rules – the “skinny” on need-to-know food information to empower your decisions behind knowledge that makes sense and is applicable into your busy life.
  • Learn how to live a life that supports goals for your body + life without the need to compromise, but instead teaching how to get MORE out of your life while shedding excess physical + emotional weight.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM THE ONLINE NUTRITIONAL PROGRAMMING (Level #2A):

  • 6 weeks of nutritional programming – including over 40 new, seasonal new recipes from Macks Mo and featuring recipes from local Seattle chef Aubrey Jenkins of drumbeets.com – we’re talking breakfast, lunch, brunch, party + BBQ favorites, dinner, snacks, drinks and sweet treats.
  • 6 weeks of grocery lists + prep to set you up for success every week.
  • Gain confidence in the kitchen and freedom from low energy, wasted food and stubborn weight – all while eating delicious, real food combinations that make you feel amazing!
  • Macks Mo Pantry Basics – a guide to having the food you need on hand at all times so you can whip up a healthy meal in record time without needing to run to the grocery store.
  • Making Meals Work – a guide to repurposing leftovers; cooking once, but reaping the benefits of that effort to recreate two to three different meals beyond that; meaning less time over the stove for you.
  • The Macks Mo Plate – a guide to understanding how the things we bring to the table [food + more] affect the way we assimilate that food into our bodies. Leads you through the process of intuitive eating and understanding portions.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM THE ONLINE WORKOUT PROGRAMMING (Level #2B):

  • 9 New Macks Mo workouts that can be done anywhere – your home, at the gym, in a park, at a track or in your hotel room that take 30 minutes or less and require just your body weight or dumbbells.
  • The workouts vary in intensity and are designed to meet you where you’re at, regardless of fitness level. Each full-body workout was created to build balanced muscle definition, a stronger core, while challenging & increasing your strength and cardiovascular endurance.
  • Online video tutorials for every workout so that you understand form + posture on exercises and know which muscles you’re targeting. This allows you to maximize your time + effort into efficient movement that WORK every time.
  • Written guidelines to understand the workout formats + journal to track your results and progress.
  • Videos and articles to support you in learning how to maximize your metabolic turn while teaching you the Macks Mo Method of getting the most out of your workouts.
  • Increase your body awareness, improve your posture, gain confidence and experience the freedom of moving your body in a balanced way that leaves you feeling taller, more tuned in and energized.

The Challenge has 4 Levels to Enter:
   – #1: Level 1 includes challenge entry [which makes you or your group eligible for prizes] and also the “what you can expect” material for just joining the Challenge. A $500 value for just $40.
– #2A: Level 1 + Online Nutritional Programming. An $700 value for just $125.
– #2B: Level 1 + Online Workout Programming. A $650 value for just $125.
– #3: Level 1 + both Online Nutrition + Workout Programming. An $800 value for just $220.

Group ShotHOWEVER…we know it’s more fun to work in groups or with a partner – not to mention the added accountability + support that comes with working towards to same goal, so for this challenge we are excited to offer PARTNER + GROUP DISCOUNTS. Get together with your significant other or make a group of 3+ people and receive 30% off whichever level you choose. And group members can participate at different levels – some could just enter at Level #1, while others choose #2 or #3. It doesn’t matter what level you choose or where you’re at – everyone in your group gets 30% off their total purchase.

At checkout, enter “getmosupport” to receive the Group Discount or “sexyrexy” for the Couples Discount [please note that couples need to purchase an additional Level #1 on top of whatever level they choose to participate in].

Like always, we determine Challenge Winners based on measurements [inches lost], weight loss and the percentage improvement made on fitness tests [for couples and groups, we combine your team’s improvements for a total percentage]. We will be offering over $750 worth of prizes to:

  • The #1 and #2 individual finishers
  • The Top Couple
  • The Top Group

We hope that you’ll join us and make the decision to finally free yourself from the things holding you back from experiencing vibrant health. It’s our passion to share this message with you – and we look forward to sharing in your journey!

Visit macksmo.com and join by clicking “Sign Up”, then selecting your Level of Choice. If you’re participating in a group or as a couple, make sure to send us a note to let you know whose on your team! Please email with questions. Challenge begins Monday, May 19th as a “prep week”. If you’re participating in Levels #2A, #2B or #3, you’ll receive the materials to get you started on Saturday, 5/17. Everyone participating will receive your “Freedom Rx” packet on Monday 5/19. Challenge ends on Wednesday, July 3rd.

The Weight Loss Secret No One is Telling You

There is something I have to tell you. And it’s what no one else in the weight loss, fitness or health industry is telling you. Why? Because it would mean the eminent death of the “big business” that is health today. shape magHave you ever stood in line at the grocery store and read all the headlines for various health, fitness and weight loss magazines:
– “Lose Stubborn Belly Fat Once and For All!
–  “Love Your Lower Body – Lift & Tone Your Way to Shapely Legs”
– “The 5 Day Diet – The New Foods Plan to Help You Lose Weight FAST”
– “Slim for Life – 7 Secrets for Lasting Weight Loss”

Or gone to your local bookstore and been bombarded with the countless number of diet books that all claim to be the be-all, end-all “scientifically-proven, only way to lose weight and keep it off”? Sound familiar? I have to say, I pity the writer who has to constantly come up with these “hot new stories” every month or write the newest diet fad, must be exhausting. But let’s be real – if these mags, books or other media sources didn’t make these catchy claims, would you buy it? Why did you decide to read this blog I am writing? Because of the title? In truth, every media headline and corresponding article like those written above, every marketing claim made on packaged food, every “guaranteed” solution to your fast weight loss is a farce. And in most cases, a flat out lie.

For all my clients [past, present & future], friends, family and everyone I know – I want you to able to make the best, most well-informed choices for your health, so in order to do so, I want to provide you with the knowledge. And you can only have knowledge if you have the whole truth – the big picture. More Important Than FoodMoving your body and what we eat is definitely important. The food we eat literally becomes our body – our blood, our cells, our tissues, our organs, our skin, our hair and even our thoughts. In essence, your body is a compilation of everything you’ve taken in – all the food you’ve eaten up to this point in time.

But here’s the truth – even more important to health + happiness are the things that feed us on an emotional, psychological and spiritual level. Believe it or not, all the organic, non-GMO broccoli, kale and spinach won’t make a world of difference if you don’t address what’s going on in your heart and your life. kale The reasons why diets, weight loss plans and our best intentions to make workouts part of our daily life don’t stick is because they all fail to address the elephant in the room – the “WHY” behind what we do.

Anyone in the world who has [including myself] struggled or currently struggles with weight loss all have perfectly good and justifiable reasons for eating the way we do. And it’s not “the what” [FOOD] we’re eating that matters SO much [although it’s of course an important piece of the puzzle], but what’s making us eat the way we do that counts. And those “what’s and why’s” are all wrapped up in our individual lifestyle choices + habits, along with our emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being.Essentially – every diet, fitness or weight loss plan out there doesn’t address YOU. You in all your uniqueness, beautiful imperfections and meet you where you’re at in your life right now. food-fill-you

So the fact is, you can upgrade your food all you want, but it doesn’t feed your soul and it doesn’t make you happy. Don’t get me wrong – as a Board Certified Health Coach and ACE + AFFA certified fitness professional, I firmly believe and advocate that eating true, clean food [grown from the ground or humanely-raised on green grass in pastures] will definitely upgrade your life – increase your energy, help you lose weight and create a positive ripple effect into other areas of your being. But what stops those changes from “sticking” and what holds you back from achieving all the happiness possible for your life goes farther than fork to mouth.

There are many “food associated” factors that lead to weight gain – such as inadequate nutrition, chronic dieting, poor digestion and really, just consuming too much processed, chemicalized, toxic junk. But changing those doesn’t eliminate the stress, change your limiting beliefs, alleviate your emotional suffering. It doesn’t fill in for the lack of a fulfilling career, substitute for a spiritual practice, change lifestyle habits, create meaningful connection & relationships in your life OR help you find a form of movement you enjoy that works for your body. Upgrading your food choices can be revolutionary, but what makes those food upgrades life-altering is by actually addressing all the “lifestyle concerns” first. uprading your food

Every BODY is different – we have different physical needs [fitness and food-wise]. We carry around different emotional “stories” that sabotage our progress and limit our potential for happiness; and we certainly all have different demands placed on our lives + time by various people and situations. And there is only one person who can truly know what works best for you – and that is YOURSELF! To me, that’s exciting. To some, it’s overwhelming [okay, it’s overwhelming to me sometimes too] – because it means that instead of the quick-fix, you have to do a little digging. You have to be a detective and you have to decipher through all the headlines and “personal stories of success” to figure out whether or not the healthy habit, fitness plan or way of eating serves you.

It ultimately means that you have to slow down and get to know you. It takes time, effort and sometimes, tough self-reflection and choices – which some people aren’t ready for…yet or maybe ever. But IT IS the weight loss secret that no one is telling you. My school – the Institute for Integrative Nutrition calls these essential lifestyle pieces your “primary food” – they are fundamentally the real food that will transform your life. Being fulfilled in your primary food means having [or at least actively working towards]:
– meaningful relationships
– a rewarding career
– a spiritual practice
– engaging in [almost] daily physical movement you enjoy

…and it’s where the magic happens – where your ability to lose weight is super-charged by your focus on figuring out what really makes you happy and being willing to address and let go of the real “life weight” that’s been holding you down.   It my passion and life’s mission to support clients in finding this for themselves. And it’s my desire in wanting to help you too.

So I am writing this article to share the truth with you and perhaps shed some light on why your efforts to lose weight or find a maintainable healthy lifestyle haven’t been successful in the past. I encourage you to stop “waiting on the weight” to find your happiness and begin living your life. Instead, shift your focus to addressing your primary food and weight loss will become a non-issue…it just happens. Sometimes it happens right away – depending on where you or any of our the clients are at in his/her life and sometimes it happens months down the road. But like I said earlier – I want you to know the truth, to have the knowledge and the tools to make the best, most well-informed choices for your health. And that’s what our 2014 Momentum Challenge and all our programs are about was about and why we create them – and truly what ALL mine and Regan’s work is about – about you getting to know YOU and what works FOR you; while having our support and guidance in the process. And we’re learning right alongside you. I can tell you that I learn more from my clients every day than I ever could’ve imagined. We are in the journey together. So whether it’s via social media, coaching, in classes + training or through one of our programs, I hope this blog can move you away from “media-driven solutions” and towards a road of life-transforming self-reflection as you dig deeper into your own primary food.

— If you liked this blog, share the love! And connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. If you have questions about programs or offerings, feel free to email me at whitney@macksmo.com or check out our website www.macksmo.com to sign up today! — 

WARM COCONUT CHICKEN + BEET & BRUSSELS SPROUT SAUTE

Image

I am so excited about our 2014 Macks Mo Momentum Challenge that I just had to give you a “taste”! 🙂 Part of our “saute” series in the nutritional programming, this is one of my favorite go-to “flash” meals (it only takes a flash to make!), featuring seasonal vegetables and some seriously good flavor. Enjoy!

WARM COCONUT CHICKEN + BEET & BRUSSELS SPROUT SAUTE
IN THE MORNING: SET CHICKEN OUT TO THAW
INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 organic, free-range chicken breasts (local if possible), cut into strips
  • 8 small purple beets, scrubbed with brush, ends chopped off & cut into ¼’s (make sure these are cut small)
  • 1 lbs. Brussels sprouts, ends chopped off, then cut in ½
  • 2 Tbls. coconut oil
  • ¼ cup dried, unsweetened coconut
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 handfuls of organic spinach

DIRECTIONS:
#1:  Cut the chicken breasts into strips and add to a large sauté pan with the coconut oil and coconut, cooking on medium heat.
#2:  Prepare, wash and chop beets + Brussels sprouts.
#3:  In a large sautoir pan:

  • Add vegetables + ½ cup water and cover. Steam for 12 minutes (while chicken is still cooking). Check “doneness” with fork – want beets to be soft in middle.
  • Once timer is up, drain water from vegetable pan and add in the chicken mix, plus ½ cup sunflower seeds + 2 handfuls of spinach. Cook together for 2 more minutes, then serve! Season with sea salt + pepper to taste.

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Stew

Butternut Squash SoupCOCONUT CURRY BUTTERNUT SQUASH STEW
My favorite thing about fall is the return of weekly soups to my crockpot. If you don’t have a crockpot, my advice would be to get one – as soon as possible. I purchased my first crockpot in college at Target for $7; and it’s still running. Last Christmas I upgraded to a bigger one with a timer, but the point is – any crockpot works and you’ll love the food it makes! This stew, in particular, is a favorite of mine and clients who’ve done our 28 Day Nutrition Program.

Loaded with nutrient-dense foods and spices that aid in reducing inflammation in the body, this stew helps to give the immune systems a boost for the change in season (and increase in colds!). Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 medium butternut squash
6 cups coconut water (regular water is also fine or a combo of both; can add more water if needed/desired)
1 organic vegetable bouillon cube
1 cup adzuki beans, dried
½ cup quinoa, dried
Half (15 oz.) can Organic Coconut Milk
1 Tbls. each of: curry and turmeric
2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. each of black pepper, sea salt and cayenne pepper (can do more/less cayenne based on desired level of spiciness)
1/3 cup organic peanut (or other nut) butter
Leaves from 3 stems kale, washed & stems discarded
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin horizontally & seeds removed

Directions:
(1). Remove the shell from the butternut squash and slice into cubes [check out this video tutorial: http://ow.ly/pxQEs for guidance!].
(2). Place water, coconut milk, spices and bouillon cube in the bottom of the crockpot and whisk to mix.
(3). Add squash, beans, quinoa and peanut butter.
(4). Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7-8.
(5). Ten minutes before you’re ready to eat, add kale and bell pepper. Let cool before eating!

*If desired, you can also add organic sausage or free-range organic chicken breast (in step #3). We used kale and a bell pepper in this version, but feel free to use any other vegetables and leafy greens you have on hand! Some examples are chard, spinach, zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli and even mushrooms!

How Do You Get “Those” 6-Pack Abs?

6-Pack Abs are perhaps the ultimate buzz word in the fitness world. The most sought after physical trait, the holy grail of fitness. And everyone wants to know the secret on how to get them. To solidify this argument, just check out the buzz over the 2013 Calvin Klein Super Bowl commercial. ABC News ran an entire piece called “Abs-olutely Fabulous! The Best Abs in the World?” Tuesday all dedicated to the advertisement. And it’s this segment that got me thinking – or rather, got the attention of my client Anne, which sparked this discussion. And from such, comes the inspiration for this blog post.

Calvin Klein

So, back to finding the answer you’re waiting for — how do you get those 6-pack abs? First, I’ll let you in on one little secret…(drum roll and spoiler alert, please). It’s not what you think and it’s ten times better…

You already have them! 

Really. We all do. Anatomically, the rectus abdominis muscle’s Imageshape IS a “6-pack” (reference the picture to the right). All the muscles you see defined on Mr. Terry above are all visible on our anatomical figure as well. Problem is — most of us just have too much extra padding over top to let the muscle show it’s true form.  😉 Not the answer you were looking for? Don’t worry – just keep reading.

If you’ve trained with Regan and I before, you’ve heard us talk about engaging the core through every movement – be it a squat, lunge, plank, crunch, sprint, bent over row, push up; literally EVERY movement. When we first start working with people, most don’t fully get what this means – both in terms of muscle activation and the limitless potential of muscular strength & development.

In the post-Super Bowl media frenzy that Matthew Terry’s ab-tastic commercial caused, everyone wanted to know his secret. His answer? Plank. You might be thinking, “What?! But there is no movement in plank. There’s no way that’s how he got all that definition!”

And so in comes our second secret to a creating a strong and defined core — the most important function of the core during movement or exercises is not to move at all. In an article written for our Macks Mo Get Mo(re) Challenge, Regan explains:

“When we exercise, we typically move at our JOINTS, including the: hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow and wrists joints. These movements allow our body to travel through space. In all exercise aside from rotation, keeping the spine completely still while our arms or legs move should be a primary focus. As an anti-mover, a stable core allows you to transfer energy and power between your upper and lower extremities safely and efficiently. In this respect, all power, quickness and even strength starts and ends with a strong core.” By stabilizing the spine against movement, the core is creating resistance for your extremities to move against and vise-versa. When a force is applied to the core (through movement of other body parts), it grows stronger – and accordingly more defined, through this resistance.

Coming full circle and back to #1 washboard abs & #2 plank, let’s experiment in your body. First take a look at the picture of your core’s anatomy (above) so you have a visual of what the muscles look like. Now, try these two exercises to train maximal core activation through compression and an isometric (non-moving, but active) contraction:

  • Supine Compression: Lay flat on your back, feet on the ground under your knees. As you visualize the different layers of your core with eyes closed, press your sacrum (bony triangle at the base of your spine, inside your hips) and bottom of your rib cage into the ground, leaving the natural pocket of air underneath your spine. Take a deep breath and relax your shoulders into the floor. As you exhale, first kegel the pelvic floor up, then compress (pull in + down) through your abdominal wall – drawing the belly button towards the ground. Think of your core like a shoe’s laces and pull the two sides of the core IN like you’re lacing up the bottom to top of your shoe. Take 10 deep breaths and with every exhale, try to contract the core tighter 360 degrees around the spine. Imprint this feeling of compression into your mind.
  • ImageMoving on to plank, once you’re set, make sure the shoulders are over wrists and feet in line with hips. Create length in the body by reaching both the crown of the head and legs away from the belly button. As you do this, take a deep breath. On the exhale, press your foundation points (hands & feet) into the ground then lift “up” through the abdominal wall + postural muscles of the upper back, again compressing the core towards the spine and drawing the two sides together and in. Soften the shoulders down the back away from the ears and imagine being suspended in space just by your core – as if your arms and legs weren’t there. Hold for a count of one-one-thousand to 30. Every breath focus on getting lighter on your hands/feet and tighter through the core. Try to emulate the SAME contraction you had when you were lying on your back.

Okay, now it’s go time. How your core felt in both the supine compression exercise and plank is how your core should be engaged 100% of the time – during every exercise and throughout your day. Try it – right now. See if you can do a squat or a lunge and focus on engaging and moving from the core first. Can you feel a difference? If you do this, it means your core is working ALL the time. And this will take your fitness and body to the next level, while intensifying every workout.  When you layer on movement – like a lunge, etc. to the already intense “plank” contraction of the core, you get…BINGO! The developing strength, definition and power of your abdominals. You don’t need to do 1000 crunches per day.

Instead:

  1. Learn to stabilize through the core, practice the two exercises above until you’ve mastered the contraction without changing your posture or bringing tension to anywhere else in the body.
  2. Practice breathing while holding the core in these isometric contractions. Always exhale on the “effort” – the push or pull of an exercise.
  3. Start every exercise movement or daily activity by engaging the core: front, side and back. Move with intention. Power and initiate all movement from the core and then transfer that energy out through your extremities.

And last (you may have guessed this was coming) – you must master your nutritional habits. Like I said earlier, we all anatomically have a 6-pack. It’s the layer of fat over top that’s hiding our most coveted asset. My one rule: eat 100% real food. Food you can make in your own kitchen, not a science lab. No matter how hard or how long you exercise or what your movement of choice is, your body composition will not budge if your eating isn’t on track. 90% (or more) of how you look isn’t done in the gym, it’s that “fork to mouth” exercise that is the game-changer. I’m not talking about a diet, I’m talking about a lifestyle of eating delicious, good-for-you food that nourishes you from the inside-out.

And THAT, my friends is the winning formula –>

Take your plank with you every day in every way you can + eat 100% real food

= YOUR MACKS MO SIX-PACK ABS FORMULA.

Image

And no, that’s not the Calvin Klein model – that’s my Regan. Un-enhanced by any photo program or color (just saying – check out the difference between the advertisement picture and the video where Matthew Terry shows his abs on camera – slightly different I’d say). These are just the results of using the said Macks Mo Formula.  🙂  And you can find yours too! If you need help, we can get you there. Shoot any questions our way: whitney@macksmo.com or post below.

– Put Mo(re) In, Get Mo(re) Out. In your workouts, through your nutrition and into your life. –