Category Archives: Fat Loss

Weekend Breakfast Experiments

Are you getting bored eating the same breakfast everyday?

Some mornings, the thought of eating the same thing makes me cringe. I’m just not in the mood and need a change.

Last weekend was experimental kitchen at our place. There were moments of brilliance, and other creations you’d rather not know about.

Today, I’ll share a perfect weekend breakfast to break the boredom of eating for fat loss. Below is a great recipe that is not only low carb and high protein, but quick and healthy.

Simply amazing deliciousness.

Poached eggs over kale 

Ingredients: (serves 2)

– 4 organic eggs
– 1 tsp light vinegar
– 4 cups water
– 1 cup thinly sliced spring onions
– 1 cloves garlic, chopped finely
– 4 cups finely chopped kale
– 5 tbs chicken broth
– 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
– sea salt
– black pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Bring water and vinegar to a boil  in a large enough pan to fit eggs.

2. In a separate 10-12 in frying pan heat 3 tsp broth. Sauté the onions in broth over medium heat for about 3 minutes.

3. Add garlic and continue to saute, stirring constantly for another minute.

4. Add the kale, 2 tbs broth, and lemon juice, and simmer with the lid on for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done season with salt and pepper.

5. In the boiling water poach the eggs for about 5 minutes, or just until the white is set and the yolk has filmed over.

6. Remove from vinegar water with a slotted spoon and place on top of greens.

Vegetables at breakfast is not so common in the Western world. I too used to be a “cereal and milk” for breakfast kind of girl, so the thought of eating vegetables – let alone kale – was absolutely freakish. Eating protein and greens in the morning will keep your blood sugars stable and give you an energy boost for the rest of the day.

Don’t knock it till you try it lovely people.

Have an awesome weekend.

Kate :)

4 Single-Leg Moves for Fat Loss

I often get asked “Kate, what are the best exercises I can do to lose fat on my stomach?”

It’s all about doing big movements that involve biggest muscle groups – not your stomach.

I’m talking about your legs. We previously discussed squats and lunges, so today in the Make It Count series, we’re focussing on the single leg moves that will improve your mobility, stability and strength to maximize your burning fat capacity. Your glutes, hamstring, quads and calves as well as your core are in for a treat.

The best part? These moves don’t require big machines or gym memberships – phew!

Stop and think for a moment – when was the last time you took the stairs instead of the elevator?

This is one simple way to incorporate fitness into your busy lifestyle. Take the stairs. Interval training at it’s finest. An awesome way to get your heart racing.

The lack of infrastructure in the New York subways means there are plenty of old, dirty stairs to race up. Perfect for me, but others don’t share my excitement.

It’s not pretty. I see people almost dying on the way up, dragging their sorry overweight butts up the stairs and blocking everyone else (insert New Yorker street rage here).

Incorporating bodyweight step-ups and single leg Romanian deadlifts in your workout is a great place to start.

With time and practice you will see a remarkable improvement in your ability to move – and the more efficient your movement, the more calories you can burn when you train. So why do we avoid single leg movements? They all require:

– Balance

– Co-ordination

Bad excuse. It’s an essential movement for daily life and independence, which means it’s essential for your workouts.

WHICH EXERCISE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

This is a test for you right now. Single Leg Balance Test. Think this looks easy? Try it.

Find a cone or anything that is about 12 inches high. Stand about 36 inches in front of it. First, balancing on your nondominant leg (usually the left), reach forward and touch it with your dominant hand (usually the right) while extending your dominant leg behind you for balance. Without touching the ground with your dominant foot, return to starting position and repeat as many times as you can without losing your balance. Repeat on the opposite leg.

Kate Vidulich Single Leg Balance Test

How did you go? Awesome job if you managed 10. You can start at Stage Three. It’s tricky to get this move right. I’ll admit I only made it to 8 on my right leg today. It’s Monday so cut me some slack. ;)

If you struggled or lost balance, start at Stage One.

STAGE ONE

Step-Up: This move is totally undervalued in workout programs. Great place to start for balance and stability, plus it’s an excellent compound move to train your legs. The muscles targeted in your legs will depend on the height of the step. This is an easy reference guide:

Higher step = glutes and hamstrings

Lower step = quads and calves

The Movement Prep: You need to find a bench or a step. Start with a low step (about 12 inches) if you have knee or balance issues and work your way up from there. Before you add resistance, we want the movement to be perfect. Once you’ve got it down, hold dumbbells by your side. Put your left foot flat on the step, and the right foot on the floor.

NYC personal trainer step up fat loss

NYC personal trainer step up fat loss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Execution: Push down through the heel of your left foot and lift yourself up so your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your chest and torso upright during the movement. Hold this position for 3 seconds, keeping all the weight on your left leg. Lower your right foot to the floor and repeat.

STAGE TWO

Offset Step-Up: An awesome progression to challenge your core and stability. The limitation of holding dumbbells by your side in the previous exercise is your gripping muscles give out before your legs do. No such problem here.

The Movement Prep: Set yourself up in the same position as the previous step up. Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell at shoulder height on the side of your working leg (ie the leg that remains on the step.)

NYC personal trainer offset step up fat loss

NYC personal trainer offset step up fat loss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Execution: Same as the step up. Remember to keep your chest up and core tight. If you’re feeling strong and stable, add an overhead press to the movement.

STAGE THREE

DB Single-leg Romanian Deadlift: This is a seriously awesome move. It’s really important to get the form right. Take your time, work in a “usable” range of motion meaning it’s OK if you can’t get the full range to begin with.

Is it cheating to hold onto something to support yourself? Yes, it definitely is. You are also defeating the whole purpose of the exercise. If you struggle to pass the balance test at the start, go back a level and work on perfecting the previous move.

The Movement Prep: Hold a pair of light dumbbells by your side and stand with feet hip-width apart. (I’m using a Sandbag in the picture below).

NYC personal trainer single leg deadlift fat loss

NYC personal trainer single leg deadlift fat loss

 

 

 

 

 

 

Execution: Hinge at your hip and bend your torso towards the floor as you extend one leg behind you. Keep your neck packed in neutral position. Lower the weights until they are just past the knee of your working leg. Your arms should be hanging straight down from your shoulders.

Your neck, torso and extended leg should form a straight line. If you have great range of motion and balance, that straight line will be parallel to the floor. The key to perfect form is to keep your body in a straight line.

Return to the starting position, and keep all your weight on the working leg. Try to “pull” yourself back through the heel and squeeze your glutes without tipping over. Be cool lovely people.

STAGE FOUR & BEYOND

TRX Single Leg Squat: Thank god for the TRX or we’d all have difficulty progressing to the single leg squat. The TRX gives you support, and helps to increase your range and build strength.

The Movement Prep: Attach the TRX to a fixed overhead support or chin up bar. Facing the anchor point, lightly hold the handles and stand with feet together. If it’s your first time doing this exercise, keep tension in the straps but try not to white-knuckle grip it.

NYC personal trainer TRX single leg squat fat loss

NYC personal trainer TRX single leg squat fat loss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Execution: Lift one foot off the floor and extend your leg out in front of you. Push your hips back, as if you were to sit on a chair. Hold the bottom position for a moment and then return to the start. Do all the repetitions for one leg before you repeat with the other.

Even though climbing stairs is a must, for some reason people feel they don’t need to include step ups or single leg exercises in a workout program. Trust me, it will make a huge difference to your stability and training performance.

Are you wasting your time when you train? Check out my Top 6 Fat Loss Workout Mistakes here and get the maximal results for your efforts.

My final piece of advice: balance, stability and strength is not magic. Training your legs with effective single-leg moves will get fat loss results.

Have an awesome week!

Kate :)

One Small Change For Fat Loss

This one small change resulted in my client dropping 8 pounds last month. I am so proud! Did I mention he is 70 years old? And his strategy didn’t involve treadmill workouts, Lemon Detox or the Cookie Diet.

Portion Control Cookies
Only Eat One..

What did he consistently do?

Eat Less.

It’s all about portion sizes people. Sounds simple, right? If so, then why do so many people struggle to eat less and lose fat? And, instead think it is a brilliant idea to do “cardio confessional” for hours a week on the treadmill.

Thoughtless munching. Enormous serving sizes. Food additives.

This is why we struggle to eat less. Ever heard of high fructose corn syrup? I’m sure you have tasted it, perhaps without even realizing. This nasty sweetner is legalized crack. You’ll find this on the ingredients list of most American processed foods, even ketchup. The taste is such it makes you want more, and the withdrawal sweet cravings are tortuous.

Can one small change really make that much of a difference? Like I said, my client simply ate less. He didn’t do anything alarming or drastic – and it really worked for him.

Listen, I’m not promoting starvation diets or encouraging you to adopt a 700 calories/day menu. That’s plain reckless. Being crazy hungry and depriving your body of the fuel it needs to function optimally is flat out dangerous.

Extreme Dieting is Dangerous

Eating for fat loss is all about strategy. Forget willpower. We only have a limited amount and when emotions or hormones get in the way, strategic intervention is the only way forward.

The goal is to stop eating at 80% full.

This one small change will get you results.

So how can you make this work for you?

Strategies To Cut Your Portion Sizes

Slow it down: I’ve made this mistake a few times. Did you know it’s possible to consume a ton of calories before you realize you’re completely stuffed? It doesn’t matter if the food is healthy or not, speed eating is a terrible habit.

First, don’t let yourself get so hungry so want to eat a horse. This is a classic mistake and a set up for disaster. Next, there are slow it down strategies:

(i) Chew each mouthful at least 10 times

(ii) Put your knife and fork down between every mouthful

(iii) Wait until you have finished every mouthful before you put more food on your fork

- Check who you are eating with: This one is for the ladies. My awesome Aussie friend, Lynsey McGee enlightened me to this trick. As a female, when you go to dinner with men, make sure you leave at least a third on your plate. Restaurants and bars don’t serve different portion sizes for different genders, so don’t feel compelled to finish your plate. Trust me, they will finish it for you.

- Sharing is caring: When you go out to restaurants, share with your fellow diners. Spilt the entrees instead of ordering too much food that you end up eating simply because it’s there. Not only will you eat less, but you’ll save money.

- Know your weakness: Figure out the foods that tip you over the edge and you eat uncontrollably. Oh boy, for me it’s the sweet stuff. There is no chance I can control the portion size of this one, so I keep it out of sight – out of mind.

- Track what you eat: Are you truly being honest with yourself and how much you are eating? You are only cheating yourself. Just for one day, write down everything you eat. Chances are there may be a few treats you have forgotten about – which make all the difference when trying to lose fat.

- Use a smaller plate: this one will only work if you put less on the smaller plate. I’ve seen people who stack up the food  on the small plate, and end up defeating the purpose.

- Stay away from the buffet: Sounds like a no brainer, but the buffet will get you every time. The array food, lights and excitement is big trouble for portion control. There is no limit! Remember, you don’t have to taste everything.

My top trick for surviving the dinner buffet: only have one plate and go for vegetables and grilled meats. And breakfast buffet tips: go for the omelette the chef whips up for you. Eggs whites and vegetables are perfect. I know it looks delish, but be strong – say no to that breakfast cake trying to jump on your plate.

- Save it for later: Make it a habit to save part of your meal for later – as long as it’s healthy! Your food isn’t going anywhere and chances are, you won’t feel like eating it later anyway.

- Enjoy your food: Your meals are what fuel your body to optimize energy levels, function and recovery. Concentrate on what you are eating, turn off the TV and enjoy your meal time.

YOUR CHALLENGE

I gave you plenty of great strategies for cutting your portion sizes down. Choose one that you feel confident will work for you and try it at your next meal. The goal is to stop eating at 80% full for the next 14 days and feel the difference.

Most importantly, take it easy and have an awesome day!

Kate :)

How To NOT Lose Fat

Last Sunday morning, I watched the NYC triathlon in Central Park. It was a great day for it and a lovely morning to be out cheering for my buddies.

NYC Triathlon 2012
Protecting the sign with her life.

I get a little edgy sitting on the sidelines. But in this particular case – I have far more issues with the idea of swimming 1500m down the Hudson river without any form of protection.

What I found most interesting, while watching the run leg, was the vast array of folks battling to finish. I couldn’t help but check out the body composition of all the athletes passing by.

Clearly, doing triathlon is not a way to lose fat.

Let’s just say, while watching I didn’t see too many with six pack abs or even a flat stomach. The majority of the competitors we saw were overweight. These people coming into the finish looked worse for wear. It was concerning because it was hot, humid and the sun was blasting down on the course.

So how can it be possible to be overweight after triathlon training for more than twelve weeks?

Oh, it’s no surprise lovely people. The number one enemy of fat loss – long, slow cardio strikes again.

I overheard a group of girls discussing how they were disappointed with the small amount of fat they lost during the training process. And one girl – eek – she even gained weight.

My first thought was – you did this triathlon to try to lose fat?? Haven’t you girls been reading my super amazing blog on exercise and fat loss?

This is an example of long, slow cardio and it is NOT an effective way to lose body fat. Do not waste your time.

NYC Triathlon 2012
Cheering in the sun

Triathlon is comprised of swimming, cycling and running which makes it physically and metabolically demanding. It deserves respect. Not a smart training goal for someone out of shape. I’m not bagging on people for having a goal to complete an endurance event, but I feel too many people have a goal to compete in endurance sports with the underlying intention to lose fat.

There are certain endurance events and exercise classes that I feel you must be in good physical shape before you begin training to complete safely. Triathlon definitely fits into this category.

So I pose this question: how safe is it to be out of shape and start training for triathlon?

Well, you are more than likely to get injured.

The prevalence of preventable overuse injuries is rapidly increasing with the popularity of triathlon. The high stats reflect injury rates for elite athletes, so doesn’t that send a clear warning to amateurs?

That’s not the only concern. The safety of this particular race was questioned last year after two athletes died during the swim section and this is not the first time there has been fatalities. While accidents like this are freak, I still think the risk involved is high. Experienced or not, swimming is high risk. Plus, factor in the heat and humidity of New York City on a summer morning and you have potential for disaster.

It is definitely possible to be overweight and fit to compete in triathlon. If you have a solid foundation of training and your goal is to complete an endurance event – go for it. But don’t expect fat loss.

Back to the lovely girls who attempted to lose fat doing triathlon. I have a better idea. And it will get you results.

Here is my advice on how to lose fat and compete in triathlon:

(i) First: Train specifically to lose fat by doing resistance training and metabolic intervals. Not only will this be WAY more time effective for fat loss, but you will build a foundation of strength and be less likely to suffer an overuse injury when you commence the training program.

(ii) Dial in your nutrition: Competing in endurance events does not mean you can not go to town at the rice/pasta/bagel bar and get away with it. These types of carbs are only good for immediate recovery (like 15 minutes post 60+ minutes workouts), when your metabolism is pumping. But there has to be a limit. Carb loading is NOT for the amateur athlete. Stay away from processed energy bars/gels/drinks. These are loaded with fructose and other nasties that are not even real.

(iii) Alcohol: Booze and lose. Keep your intake minimal. The main issue is dehydration. If you get dehydrated, you’re at increased risk for musculoskeletal injuries like muscle pulls, muscle strains and cramps. Trust me, it happens. Your performance is decreased and ability to metabolize fat is shut down. Add in the heat and humidity of Summer and it’s a ticking time bomb. Game over.

Instead of thinking “lose fat doing a triathlon” consider “fat loss first and then tackle a triathlon.” Your body will have a higher capacity for the volume of training, intensity of conditioning, and reduce your risk of overuse injury.

The utmost importance must always be placed on safety. Effectively losing fat should not be dangerous.

Stay safe. Train smart.

Kate :)

 

 

The Top 7 Fat Burning Foods!

Hello lovely people,

It’s getting down to crunch time as the ‘unofficial’ start of summer is this weekend. Now is the time to maximize your fat burn – and every little bit helps, right? Is there one particular food that will help you lose fat? Yes – more than one. And I’m not talking about the Cookie Diet.

Today is all about fat loss foods. My approach to losing fat doesn’t involve starvation, boring chicken breast and broccoli or taking a bunch of pills. Instead, I’d rather think of it as an opportunity to try new healthy foods, explore variety and even whip up and create a new recipe or two.

A friend recently asked me, “What are the best fat loss foods, that you should really try to eat every single day?” Awesome question. Let’s go.

The Top 7 Fat Burning Foods

My Fave Greek Yogurt

Top Fat Burning Food #7: Greek Yogurt. Not every yogurt is made the same. Go for 0% saturated fats with less than 10g of carbs. Warning: it’s not sweet. But this is so good for you! It has a rich source of protein, calcium and vitamin D, helping you preserve and build muscle mass, while still low in sugar. Add berries, chia seeds and a few almonds for sweetness and a healthy crunch.

 

Top Fat Burning Food #6: Eggs/Egg Whites. The breakfast for champions (like you)! Eggs are loaded with protein, vitamin B12 and fat metabolizing awesomeness. Don’t be afraid to eat the yolks. For years we’ve been told eggs are high in cholesterol and we should avoid them. This is old news! A recent study has shown adding eggs at breakfast can help to keep you full for longer, and reduce the number of calories you consume for the rest of the day. The participants who ate two eggs lost 65% more weight than the bagel eaters – even though the calories consumed were equal (1). Eggs first thing in the morning can be tough sometimes, so try to mix in lean turkey bacon, tomato, asparagus or any other leafy vegetable.

Top Fat Burning Food #5: Berries. These little gems are packed with antioxidants and fiber, a key ingredient to fat loss. The health benefits are endless but I suggest eating them raw – add them to your yogurt, shake, or simply plain as a snack. Pick up the organic ones if you can find them. Unfortunately, baked berries in pies, cakes or muffins don’t have the same effect.

Top Fat Burning Food #4: Flaxseed. Bring on the omega-3’s. Loaded with fiber, an ounce of these seeds will provide 32% of you RDI.  Make sure you get flaxseed oil or ground flax seeds, as the goodness is within. Again, a simple way to add these to your day is on your yogurt or shake – not muffins. Stay away from the roasted version, I know they are delish but it’s not the same!

Fat Loss Food Kale
Biggest Bunch of Kale Ever!

Top Fat Burning Food #3: Kale. A super leafy green that’s a must in your fridge. To start out, disguise it raw in your shakes, with protein powder and berries. It’s actually really delish (and super healthy raw). Or when you cook it, add spices, lemon juice and pepper. Not only is it full of fiber and Vitamin K, there are so many amazing health benefits of kale. Make it a daily vegetable.

Top Fat Burning Food #2: Red Hot Chili Peppers. Capsaicin, is the super ingredient that gives chili peppers their fiery blast. This can also fire up your fat-burning furnace! Just add a tablespoon of chopped chilis to your salads, grilled meats or vegetables for a delish burst of flavor. If chilis are not your thing or your mouth can’t handle it, start with a small amount and gradually build up your resistance. Or better still, have a little greek yogurt on hand to kill the after burn.

Top Fat Burning Food #1: Green Tea. Could it be the miracle drink? That’s debatable. Green tea is packed with cancer fighting properties and heart protecting nutrients to make it an essential daily beverage. It’s full of catechins, the nutrients linked to increased metabolism and a smaller waistline. But how much green tea do you need to drink each day to see a fat loss effect? A lot. Make sure you’re close to the bathroom. The research suggests consuming 4 cups of fresh green tea daily, combined with moderate exercise, may enhance exercise-induced abdominal fat loss (2).  Coffee still has priority for me in the morning but green tea is definitely my go-to drink in the afternoon.

BONUS Honorary Mention: Wild Salmon. Best food ever. It is a great source of essential fatty acids and encourages the body’s production of leptin. Leptin is a vital hormone that works to suppress your appetite and burn fat. Make sure you’re eating salmon at least 3-4 times a week.

As you can see, there is nothing processed on this list. I think it is really important to eat whole, fresh foods that provide an array of macronutrients, vitamins and minerals to keep your body functioning at optimal output. Plus, foods high in protein and fiber will stop the hunger attacks and keep your paws out of the fridge. Feeling amazing is just as important as looking amazing.

YOUR CHALLENGE: For the next 14 days, I have an exciting challenge for you.

It’s called ADD to LOSE. Very simple. Each day, add one of the following foods to your meals. Load up your fridge and let’s make it happen.

How many of these foods do you consume daily already? 3 or 4? Or are you a superstar who hits all 7? Let me know in the comments box below.

I just finished a delish shake loaded with flax seeds, greek yogurt, kale and berries – I’m 4 up in one hit. Have an awesome day!

Kate :)

REFERENCES:

1. Vander Wal, J.S., Marth, J.M., Khosla, P., Catherine Jen, K-L., Dhurandhar, N.V. (2005). Short-Term Effect of Eggs on Satiety in Overweight and Obese Subjects. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 24(6):510-515.

2. Maki, K.C., Reeves, M.S., Farmer, M., Matsuo, N., Katsuragi, Y., Komikado, M., Tokimitsu, I., Wilder, D., Jones., F., Blumberg, J.B., Cartwright, Y. (2009). Green Tea Catechin Consumption Enhances Exercise-Induced Abdominal Fat Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults. The Journal of Nutrition. 139(2):264-270.