Get Summer Ready!
The amazingness of sunny days is coming! I’ll be tightening up my abs and thighs by doing my new DVD “Slim Sexy Strong” and you can join me! In the coming weeks I’ll post a new Fitness Challenge FREE on my Holly Perkins Fitness page on Facebook:
You’ll want to grab a copy of “Slim Sexy Strong” before it sells out. You can get yours here:
Join me and let’s make this Summer the best ever! Are you ready to get Slim Sexy and Strong!?
6 Things That Promote Weight Gain
Hi guys! In response to a recent comment on my Facebook page (Holly Perkins Fitness) from my friend Rachel Langley, I wanted to share my thoughts on certain foods that are particularly fattening.
Please remember that to a large degree, eating more calories than you expend will cause weight gain. BUT! I do not believe that a calorie is a calorie. Some calories, and foods, promote weight gain more than others. For example, research has shown that protein tends to promote body leanness, while pure carbs promote fat gain.
After almost 20 years working daily with clients, I’ve developed my own list of foods and eating habits that tend to promote weight gain more easily than others. Please understand loud and clear that I am NOT commenting on the healthfulness (is that a word?) of these foods and habits below. I am saying only that the list below is my top 6 that promote weight gain. If you’re trying to gain weight, jump in and follow the list below! Here is my list in order of influence:
1. Late night eating and heavy dinners. While some experts say this isn’t so, I disagree. The reason is because your body is supposed to be in “detox mode” at night, not “digesting a big dinner mode”. Your body’s organs need to recover for 8-12 hours at night.
2. Alcohol. Sorry.
3. Cold cereal. I’m sorry! I love it too! I was raised on Cracklin Oat Bran and Fruity Pebbles and I still dream about them today! Nearly all cereals are refined carbohydrates and sugar. This is a deadly combo that leads to weight gain. While it’s less processed, I include granola here as well but for a different reason. Granola is extremely high in calories and it’s very easy to eat more than you need. Next time you eat granola, measure it, read your label and take a look at how many carbs and calories you’re eating.
4. Skipping breakfast. The key to burning fat and staying energized all day is stabilization of your blood sugar. Any time your blood sugar dips too low, your body will begin storing fat. By skipping breakfast your blood sugar drops as you get up and go about your day. Your body then sends a signal that it should store calories the next time you eat.
5. Poor quality sleep. Deep sleep causes fantastic hormone shifts that promote health, well-being and proper blood glucose regulation. In particular, deep sleep balances your normally high levels of the hormone cortisol. While cortisol is necessary to get our energy up, too much of it spells trouble!
6. Sugar. Oh sugar. You little stinker you. Humans are predisposed to enjoy sweet on the palate and we love our sugar. Don’t fool yourself by asking me “But a little bit of sugar is ok, right?” Yes, it’s totally fine - I eat sugar too. BUT! I promise that your health, energy, food cravings and weight loss will all be better the less sugar you eat!
And there you have it folks. If you’re trying to lose weight take these 6 items for a spin and let me know what you discover!
The Only Diet That Works
If you follow me on Facebook (Holly Perkins Fitness), you’ll know that we just completed the Summer Shape Up followed by the September Shape Up. As part of this little program I sponsored I included a Diet Plan for anyone who purchased my Fitness 360 DVD. After being in the fitness industry for almost 20 years, I’ve collected a list of habits that successful dieters follow. When it comes to weight management or weight loss, it doesn’t really matter what foods you are eating assuming you are eating a healthy diet and eating fewer calories than your body needs at it’s current weight. What matters are these habits. Therefore, the Diet Plan that I created for these programs focused on the habits rather than specific foods to eat.
It was clear that many folks were confused by this approach to dieting. Some folks expected me to tell them exactly what to eat each day and were surprised when I didn’t. Instead, I taught them 30 habits that successful dieters follow.
I get asked all the time “What should I eat to lose weight”? and people want me to give them a diet that spells out the foods and quantities to eat. If you ask me for a weight loss diet and I tell you to eat egg whites, oatmeal and halibut and you don’t eat these foods, what good is the diet that I created? If you don’t like these foods, or don’t eat them due to preference or allergy, then the diet I suggested is a complete failure for us both.
The truth is, it does not matter what foods you are eating. What matters is that you enjoy the food that you are eating and follow some rules. Most people couldn’t eat what I eat everyday because it is low fat, bland and boring. And I basically eat the same thing everyday because it makes my body run best. I live on plain egg whites, oatmeal, turkey burgers, spinach, sweet potatoes and kale! It works for me because I genuinely love every meal I eat. I absolutely adore sweet potatoes at lunch and look forward to my vegetables at dinner. I’ve stayed with this particular diet for a year now and still get very excited when it comes to sweet potato time. When it comes time for me to drop a few pounds, all I have to do it increase my cardio and in 10 days I will lost some body fat.
If you hate the foods that someone told you to eat to lose weight, you will have a very hard time losing weight or sticking with the diet. It is so important to find a meal plan that you can live with, enjoy and suits your lifestyle. There are no secrets to weight loss. If you eat less than you currently do, choose healthy foods, and exercise, you will lose weight. But, it’s absolutley critical that you find the foods that really make you happy :)
Intimidated in the Weight Room
If you’ve been following me you’ll know that I have been chronicling the ratio of men to ladies in the weight lifting area of the gym where I workout. Because I like my “me” time in the form of a workout, I always belong to a gym where I do not train clients. While I love my clients dearly, I like a little bit of anonymity when I’m in my fitness zone and prefer to work hard and not chit chat too much. I belong to the most awesome gym ever and love my daily- sometimes twice daily - visits. Easton gym in Hollywood has been around since 1938 and can boast that Jack Lallane was a member. I digress….
I believe that in order to truly build a strong, resilient and beautiful body, your #1 concern in the gym should be technique. It is imperative to have perfect form so that you are taxing the muscles as they are designed to be used. If you can do this successfully, your body will develop in the most beautiful way as we are meant to be. Therefore, you can assume that I have immaculate technique when performing strength training exercises.
I’m a cheerleader for women’s fitness and I can’t wait to see the day when a trip to the weight section means equal number of ladies to men. Unfortunately, right now I am still seeing a male-dominated weight room. It breaks my heart to know that many women find this fact intimidating. For some reason, most women believe that the guys know what they are doing in the gym, and by comparison, this would make almost anyone feel intimiated.
Today I had an amazing revelation. I looked around the gym, and at that particular moment, I was the only woman with the guys in the weight area. And more unsettling to me, was that my technique was far better than any guy in that gym. I smiled at my own accomplishment because it has taken me almost 20 years to say this. But then, my smile turned upside down, and to a frown, because I realized this:
Ladies: Even the guys have no idea what they are doing in the gym! We are NO different from them. And beyond that, most men are raised on sports teams and activities that expose them to strength training allowing them many many years of practice. And yet, many men still struggle to learn good technique! I am absolutely NOT dissing the guys here, complaining, or over-feminizing my blog. In truth, knowing proper lifting form is hard for anyone! I say this simply to help you ladies feel empowered in the gym. Learning proper lifting technique requires a bit of education and exploration. And if many men still struggle, no wonder the ladies struggle!
Next time you look at the weight area in your gym and consider your own strength training program, remember that it is simply a new skill that requires some learning. You have the ability to master these skills and know what you are doing! Don’t tell yourself that you are intimidated “by the guys” because that’s not exactly accurate. You’re intimidated because it’s something unfamiliar and you’re not sure of what to do. Let’s give those guys a break, join them, and turn the gym into a place of equality.
I will not stop until l see a 1:1 ratio of men to ladies in the gym. I hope you’ll join me.
Today’s tour of Whole Foods
I stopped into Whole Foods today to pick up a few of my favorite things that I ran out of. While this isn’t a full shopping trip, these are some of my go-to items every trip to the store.
I don’t use much milk of any kind, but when I do it’s almond milk. Almond milk is amazing because it has HALF the calories of regular skim milk! An 8oz serving is only 40 calories with no added sugar! I mix the chocolate kind (45 calories) with Amazing Grass for a superfood boost everyday. I look forward to my “chocolate milk” concotion every afternoon.
I LOVE mustard and always keep about 6 different kinds in my refrigerator. I also love Sierra Nevada beer - which I rarely drink!- and was so excited to find this mustard. It is SO yum on turkey burgers.
For the most part, I skip “sweet” altogether. Finally after many years I’ve conquered my sugar cravings and find sweet potatoes satisfying when I want something sweet. At times I do love to add this to my oatmeal. It’s made from maltitol- which is a natural sugar alcohol - and doesn’t have any bad artificial sweeteners. I tastes just like real maple syrup. Well, healthy maple syrup anyway :) I use 1 tbsp in my oatmeal and it’s about 15 calories!
“Don’t stop. Keep moving. Keep your eyes on the ground. Don’t look!”
Yippee! The BEST protein bar ever! I grab one of these when I’m in a pinch and need protein. The Chocolate Coconut is ridiculous. So excited to see Promax at WF!
Sea vegetables (kelp) are so good for you because they have great minerals. Iodine is naturally occuring in kelp and is great for your thyroid. I love these “chips” and grab them when I want something salty or savory. They’re toasted with olive oil and sea salt.
Rainbow Light is one of my favorite supplement companies. I love their Energizer One multi and this Calcium / Magnesium combo. I’ve found that my body does really well when I take a higher dose of magnesium compared to calcium. I take this at dinner and it helps relax the muscles and ease me into sleepy time. Also helps recovery from strength workouts.
And that’s it for today! What are your go-to foods at the grocery store? Would love to hear from you. Visit my Holly Perkins Fitness page on Facebook for daily interaction!
I am endlessly curious about the various strategies that women use for weight loss and fitness success. Weight loss is elusive, and I think it’s so important to hear how other women are finding success. I’d like to start sharing more stories from the folks in my “community” in the hopes that their stories will speak to you. Here’s Amy’s story:
“A few years ago I realized that I had to make some major changes in my life. I was 206 pounds and felt awful. I never exercised and ate whatever I wanted, when ever I wanted. I was tired every day and couldn’t stand looking in the mirror. So, in May 2009 I changed my diet and worked out 5-6 days a week. Just by changing my diet and working out a few times a week I lost 29 pounds in 4 months and felt better than I had in years. In September of 2009 I started getting really bad back aches. Some days I couldn’t get out of bed. I stopped working out and my healthy eating stopped as well. After a while my back was better but I couldn’t get myself back into a healthy lifestyle. I gained back 15 pounds.
About a month ago I realized it was time to start taking care of my self again. I am eating super healthy again. No white flour, sugar, junk food, fast food or processed foods. I log my food and exersice through a website daily. Logging my food makes me accountable for everything I eat. I work out every day I can, if I miss a day here and there I don’t beat my self up, i just work a little harder the next day. I have lost 10 pounds in 3 1/2 weeks and lost 3” off my waist. The main thing I focus on is my diet, without being strict with what I eat I CAN NOT lose weight. Its really hard sometimes when my family is eating pizza or cupcakes at a birthday party but I focus on how hard I’ve been working and it puts things into perspective for me. I have an 8 year old daughter and I want to be a good example for her. I want her to see her mommy working really hard to make her body healthy and give her the tools to live a healthy life as well.”
Women’s Strength Training: Afraid to Bulk Up?
For the past year I have been working my TAIL OFF to add some muscle mass to my body. I am a typical “hard gainer” and basically have to follow a bodybuilders program in order to put any muscle on my structure. Lately I’m finding that the heavier I lift, the smaller I become. My arms and thighs have never been so compact and pure muscle, thus making them smaller in size. My body weight has basically stayed the same, but my body is actually smaller - and that’s the real goal after all! My dear friend Lara Rosenbaum wrote an amazing article for Women’s Health magazine on the “6 Pillars of Ultimate Fitness” where she got to interview Allyson Felix and Natalie Coughlin. I saw this quote and it really spoke to me and the notion of women “bulking up” from strength training. Ultimately, I DO believe that women can bulk up. But I usually only see this when she is not following a sound cardio and diet program. Therefore, I really do believe ladies, that if you lift with excellent technique, move some heavy weights, do 35+ minutes of moderate cardio 5-6 days per week and follow a sound diet plan, you will create an amazing, athletic body that look incredible….but not bulky.
From Women’s Health:
“Pushing into that uncharted and uncomfortable zone is a tall order for most women. Even eight-time world-champion sprinter Allyson Felix, 26: When her high school track coach demanded heavy weight lifting, she panicked. “I didn’t want to look like a body builder,” she says. She hesitantly complied and worked up to a 700-pound leg press, a feat that didn’t affect the runner’s lithe, slender 5’6” frame. Knowing that her feminine body type wasn’t capable of turning Hulk-ish was liberating, and she’s never held back since. Adopt her all-in approach to achieve your own personal bests.”
Read more at Women’s Health: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/olympic-fitness#ixzz25iBouWh3
Holly’s 10 Ways to Improve Your Diet
These are my tried and true tactics that I use with my clients to help them optimize their diet and fitness goals. I’ve spent almost 20 years refining these, so I hope they help you. Share your thoughts!
Exercise TV and “20 Minute Sweat” fans: Here’s the scoop:
I am absolutely heartbroken at the closing of Exercise TV. If you haven’t already figured it out, Exercise TV closed it’s doors recently. More painful is to know that it closed not because of failure, but because a larger corporation bought out and deemed the network too small to invest time into.
After 4 years of working with Exercise TV and creating almost 100 exercise videos, I am beside myself to learn that I have no rights to any of my videos. This is the way it goes, and ultimately it’s all cool. Right now, the powers that be are deciding if the entire Ex TV catalog of videos will be sold off to a new company. In which case, you will be able to find all of my exercise videos again. Until that gets decided I have no ability to get my hands on 20 Minute Sweat, Celebrity Shred or any of my short form content.
Once the dust has settled I will be aggressively trying to buy back the rights to my videos so that I can offer them to my loyal exercising followers. Until then this is what I have to offer you:
I have some copies left of Fitness 360 which is my most recent workout system. I LOVE this workout system and created it with New Balance. It is 3 workouts: a 20 minute full body (similar to 20 Minute Sweat); a 10 minute yoga type workout; a 10 minute full body strength workout. In addition, this DVD system is unique because I also created a 30 day workout schedule to follow when using the DVD. AND, for the low, low price of $11.99 you ALSO get my Nutrition Plan FOR FREE. (I’m trying to sound like one of the info-mercials on late night television…is it working?) I created this Nutrition Plan from the depths of my soul with almost 20 years experience going into the system. I hope my 20 Minute Sweat fans will try out Fitness 360. I know you’ll love it. If you are interested in buying Fitness 360, please email me at:
When a door closes, a window opens.
Because of this experience with Ex TV, I have decided to produce my own BRAND NEW exercise video! In April I will be creating, producing and filming a FABULOUS - seriously, it’s going to be amazing - new workout system DVD. I will be using 20 Minute Sweat as inspiration so that you will get the 2.0 version. I hope to have this DVD available just in time for Summer beach season! I think it might just be my best idea yet.
Please stay posted, don’t abandon me just yet. I will keep you posted on the details of my newest exercise video!
Please, share your comments with me. I read every single post you add, and take a good deal of my inspiration from you. Share your fitness wishes and questions with me.
Get Skinny In 5
In addition to being the New Balance Fitness Ambassador, I am a personal trainer most days of the week. While my clients come in all shapes and sizes, and have varied fitness goals, there is one request that I hear regularly: “I need to get in shape fast for a big event this weekend!” I get asked this so often that I’ve developed my special recipe for success. After almost 20 years in the fitness industry and many hours working with celebrities, models, and athletes, I’ve developed 5 steps to get you slim in 5 days. Keep in mind that these 5 steps will make you slimmer and lean quickly, but the results aren’t completely fat loss. A 1-3 pound water loss with these steps is expected. If you lose more weight than that, you can know for sure it’s real fat loss. And remember, this is specifically a short term program to help you drop a few pounds quickly. It is not my recipe for optimal, long term healthy living!
1. Dramatically reduce your intake of grain-based foods such as wheat, bread, pastas, crackers, rice, tortilla, cold cereal and yes, even healthy grains like quinoa. The fewer you eat in these 5 days the slimmer you’ll be by the weekend. Ideally, you will eat none! Focus instead on eating plenty of vegetables.