What’s the Big Deal About Carbs?

What’s the Big Deal About Carbs?

Starchy carbs get so much attention when it comes to nutrition conversations because they are the biggest double-edged sword our bodies have to deal with. On one hand, all of our energy in the body comes from glucose molecules (carbs in their basic sugar form) but on the other, our bodies weren’t designed to be surrounded by so many readily available carbs.

So when our body does get an onslaught of starchy carbs (usually from refined sugars in all of our indulgence foods or simple carbs found in anything baked with flour), it handles them by releasing insulin. Insulin is responsible for a lot of important functions in the body, but by design, it is a storage hormone. So instead of signaling our body to burn fat, our bodies actually get the signal to store fat whenever we eat a lot of starchy carbs.

This is why you can expect to make the biggest dent in your weight loss if you begin to control starchy carbs with every meal.

Where are Carbs Found?

Carbs are found in a lot of different foods but in general you can view them in this distinction:

FIBROUS VS. STARCHY

Fibrous Carb Rich Foods that Help with Fat Loss:

  • Raw or lightly cooked vegetables
  • Beans and legumes
  • Some fruits (mostly berries)
sliced strawberries banana and blackberries

Starchy Carbs that Work Against Fat Loss:

  • All candies, jelly and jams
  • Sodas, fruit juices, fruit drinks
  • Pudding, custards and other sweets
  • Processed refined grains like flour or white rice
  • Bread and pasta made with any refined flour
  • Cakes, cookies and other sweet bakery products
top view of gingerbread cookies laid flat on a wooden table

What Do We Mean by “Controlling” Starchy Carbs?

First, notice that the emphasis is not on eliminating carbs but rather on controlling them. Our brains tend to be resistant to restriction, so we want to add the right foods to crowd out the foods that aren’t serving our interests.

In addition, “controlling” carbs also acknowledges that it’s not realistic to avoid all of the foods in the “Against Fat Loss” carb lists. We all like to indulge, so it’s important to learn how to enjoy those foods without affecting your waist line.

In this context you, can think of carb control as substitutional. The goal is to substitute as many of the “against fat loss” carbs with “help with fat loss” carbs.

So in order to achieve the above, you will be required to practice one (or both) of these strategies throughout your day to control carbs:

  1. Substitute the carbs not working for you with more quality carbs
  • Fill more of your plate with protein or crowd it out with more veggies (as they are technically a carb as well)
  • Shift from more processed foods to less processed foods
  • Shift from breads and white rice to Ezekiel bread and brown rice
  • Swap pastas for quinoa
  • Potatoes to sweet potatoes (or any root vegetable)

2. Eat your “Against Fat Loss” carbs after a workout

The intense workouts I design are designed to drain your muscles of as much sugar as possible. Thus, right after a workout, your body is keener on storing any incoming sugars (i.e. carbs) into your muscles instead of into fat. Thus, if you still wish to indulge in pastas, pizzas, breads, sweets etc. feel free to do so ONLY after your workouts. You can even think of it as a way of “earning your indulgence carbs.” This should not be done daily, however. But a few times per week is ok. 🙂

And don’t forget your portions!

The above portion is for women. Just double it for men!

I hope this gives you a better understanding of what carbs truly are and how they work in the body!

Have questions?  Email me at jennlabfit@gmail.com or message me at JennLabFit on Instgram or Facebook, and ask away!

Four Workouts to Stay in Shape and Injury Free on Vacation

Four Workouts to Stay in Shape and Injury Free on Vacation

This post has been compensated by Sunbeam. All opinions are mine alone.

We have all heard the phrase “no pain, no gain” in one form or another. And yes, some pain and soreness is great for the body and expected as muscles continuously break down, rebuild and grow stronger. But too much pain may be your body’s indicator that something is terribly wrong.  

As we welcome the beautiful summer months, travel and family vacations we begin to put this phrase to the test. With the stresses of packing, long, cramped travel accommodations by car or plane and moving suitcases it’s not uncommon to start your vacation with unwelcomed pain. 

To start, I always pack my Sunbeam GoHeat™ portable heating pad! Especially during long trips, pain relief goes where you go! There’s no way I’m letting that hold me back from my summer fun! Whether it’s back pain, knee pain, neck pain or shoulder pain…I’m covered.  

The flexible and portable GoHeat™ pad stays in place with a removable, adjustable strap for hands-free use and is machine washable making it the perfect addition to my vacation! Even though I bring for myself, my husband is notorious for asking to borrow it as well!

This year we are staying a bit closer to home and driving a few hours to the beach. Even though I live only a few blocks from the beach, every beach is special and I can’t wait to sit back and relax!

Go Heat USB Powered Heating Pad shown ( power source not included). The Go Heat USB Powered Heating Pad is perfect for in the car or anywhere a USB source is available. The GoHeat Cordless is great when you get to your destination as well as on-the-go. 

When it comes to reaching your fitness goals, consistency is key. And there are so many benefits to breaking a sweat that are worth setting aside some time to train while traveling, including more energy and improved mood. 

That’s why I rounded up some of our top equipment-free, minimal-space travel workouts to help you make it happen no matter where you are. Plus, squeezing in a quick workout or two during your trip can make it easier to get back in the swing of things after you’ve unpacked your suitcases. 

So whether you’re on the road for work, fun, or visiting family, here are four travel-friendly, stress-free workouts to try. 

6 Factors to Sustained Weight Loss

6 Factors to Sustained Weight Loss

If I ask about your diet, you naturally think about food, right?

But what if we include all kinds of things we consume every day? What does our “diet” look like for our emotions, our brains, or our social lives?

Consider each of these categories, what you consume, how it affects you – and where you can make some positive changes.

  • Physical. This means exercising and eating right. Simple exercise tip: Don’t neglect resistance training. And try this month to eat more whole foods and less processed.
  • Emotional. Take time every day to focus on the simple act of breathing, even if it’s just for a few minutes. And limit time spent scrolling social media – it just makes you anxious anyway!
  • Intellectual. Always be feeding your brain with a book (an actual book, not on a screen). And did you know that by sugary drinks contribute to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia? So do your brain a favor and drink water or tea, instead.
  • Social. Nurture friendships that are good for you. End those that are not. Sounds brutal, but you don’t need to consume someone’s negativity if that’s all your getting from them. 
two women sitting on white bench
  • Spiritual. Say thank you for today, every day. And say goodbye to yesterday. If we fill our souls with regret, we’re poisoning the present and the future. Let it go.
  • Environmental. Go to places and situations that make you happy, and avoid those that stress you out. “No” is a complete sentence!
lady in beach silhouette during daytime photography

Remember, you are what you eat. But you’re also what you read, believe, tell yourself, do with other people, and put into the world.

Life is a banquet. Here’s to making positive choices.

P.S. I got you covered with the “physical category!” Join my Fitness Rediscovered app for new launch pricing at only $20/month and a 7-day FREE trial.

Tighten and Tone with this Total Body Bodyweight Burner

Tighten and Tone with this Total Body Bodyweight Burner

Today’s workout possible because of Adaptogenic Stress Relief! Instead of caffeine, these capsules by Natural Wellbeing contain a powerful blend of organic adaptogen herbs and mushrooms designed to strengthen your body’s resilience to stress! It’s a subtle feeling but, I can literally feel calm and balance being restored. 

Summer is near! Ready to tighten, tone and burn that fat with this Total Body Bodyweight Burner? Here’s a bit from my soon to be released, FITNESS REDISCOVERED fitness app. Get the full workout on the app on June 1st!

One tip for today’s workout: to get the full benefit of each exercise, complete the entire movement before returning to starting point (ie. lift that leg as high as you safely can, lower yourself into the tricep push-up as close to the ground as possible). If it’s burning…it’s working! 

1 – Leg hinge extension 

2 – Tricep push up divebombers 

3 – Plank walk out with switch 

4 – Glute kickback/fire hydrant/extension 

WORKOUT DETAILS:

12 reps each (side) 

4 rounds 

Rest for 60 seconds after each complete round 

5 Fears that Could be Stopping you From Losing Weight

5 Fears that Could be Stopping you From Losing Weight

Losing weight isn’t always as simple as changing our eating habits and moving more. Without a doubt, there is a psychological component to weight loss. 

Our weight can be a part of our identity, and the thought of changing those parts of us can be scary and uncomfortable. 

Feeling these emotions and fears is quite common. The issue arises when we are not conscious that we have them. It’s easier to move past these mental roadblocks and continue making healthy lifestyle changes when we are aware of them. That way, we can put things into place that help to deal with these feelings, rather than allowing them to halt our progress. 

Why am I scared of losing weight? 

There are many personal reasons why someone might be scared to lose weight, and most of these fit under the theme of being scared of success. Although this sounds odd, it is not always the success per se that people fear, but the changes that come alongside it. 

I created a poll in my stories last week asking your thoughts on this subject and which of these fears you experienced. Fear of failure was overwhelmingly the biggest fear so we will tackle that one first.  

1) Fear of failure 

Changing your habits is not easy, and losing weight the healthy way takes commitment and time. For this reason, many people worry about losing motivation and ‘falling off the wagon’, which can be followed by feelings of guilt and resistance to making changes in the first place. On top of this, some may fear weight gain after losing weight. 

crying woman feeling tired during training in gym
Example fear: I have a holiday and some social events coming up, so there is no point starting now, I will never be able to stick to my plan. 
Example solution: There will never be a perfect time to start making changes, life will always get in the way if you let it! Start with one small change then add on slowly. 

2) Fear of losing the comfort of food 

We often use food for more than nutrients. Food can be social as well as emotional. Many people use food as a comfort when they are feeling sad, stressed, or anxious. It can be scary to think about losing this form of comfort or distraction and having to replace it with something else.  

sliced pepperoni pizza on white ceramic plate
Example fear: Not being able to comfort eat chocolate or pizza when you have had an exhausting day at work and an argument with a family member. 
Example solution: You should still continue to enjoy your favorite foods in moderation. To avoid binging though, think about other things you can put into place to comfort or distract yourself and prepare for this situation. For example, taking the dog for a walk or buying a journal to write in.

Special note: I created today’s blog post after talking to many women about their fears when it comes to losing weight and specifically those dealing with symptoms from perimenopause or menopause. Many women turn to comfort foods when they are frustrated with situations they can not control. I wanted to quickly share a new find from Functional Chocolate called the Vanilla Crème Brûlée Hot Chocolate Bar. It’s formulated specifically for women experiencing menopause and is clinically shown to reduce hot flashes, fatigue and joint aches, while promoting healthy mood balance, focus, bone density, and energy levels!

3) Fear of embarrassment 

A common fear about starting on a weight loss journey is feeling embarrassed. This embarrassment can be of anything, from saying no to cake at a birthday party, to exercising in public. 

exhausted young black female boxer resting after training
Example fear: Feeling embarrassed about joining a gym for the first time and not knowing what to do when you get there. 
Example solution: Consider an exercise class where there is clear instruction, and everyone is doing the same thing, or follow a home-based program. 

4) Fear of missing out

A big concern for many people is that making lifestyle changes means missing out on food and drinks they love or saying no to social events. 

group of people making toast
Example fear: Feeling worried about giving up social activities you love in order to join a weight loss program. 
Example solution: Consider joining a program that does not focus on restriction and depleting calories and instead takes a multi-prong approach to improve your health (e.g. nutrition, exercise, and mindset). 

5) Fear of relationships changing 

Making big changes to your lifestyle could affect relationships with those closest to you. Perhaps you are worried about friends or family not fully supporting your decisions, or your progress affecting them in some way. 

Example fear: You usually watch TV with your partner and eat sugary snacks, and you worry that declining the snacks might make them feel awkward or guilty about their choices. 
Example solution: Communicate your weight loss goals and the lifestyle changes you are trying to make to your partner. Make sure you stock up on healthy alternatives to sugary snacks so you can still enjoy this time together without straying from your plan. 

In summary: 

  • Having a fear of failure is common. We all experience it to some degree. 
  • There will never be a perfect time to start making changes, so the best way to approach things is to start small. 
  • Tackle one fear or issue at a time (e.g. joining a gym or reducing evening snacking), otherwise, it can be overwhelming. 
  • Comfort can be found in things other than food, such as walking, having a bath, or writing in a journal. 
  • Remember that weight loss is not a magic fix to other aspects of your life, for example, aiming for a promotion at work. 

5 Brands to Help You Spring into Wellness

This post is sponsored by Babbleboxx, all opinions are my own.

As a fitness trainer, wellness enthusiast and someone with just an overall desire to simply feel good, I appreciate quality products that help me reach my goals! Let me introduce you to five brands that help me reach my happy place!

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Prebiotic Shots – Ginger Turmeric

I enjoy starting my day with a dose of Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar! Typically we have the giant bottle of Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar on our kitchen counter as most of our family starts their day with this. However, these prebiotic shots are perfect to take with me on the go!

Each organic, ready-to-sip shot blends one tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with honey and anti-inflammatory spices for an instant prebiotic boost. It’s so easy to cleanse and re-balance with this ready-to-sip, wellness on the go! 

Want to save? Visit bragg.com and enter BRAGG20 at checkout to get 20% off your order! 

Go check it out: Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Prebiotic Shots

Intensive Foot Repair and Multi-Purpose Nail Repair from Kerasal 

Being very active and on my feet a good part of the day, my feet take a beating! This is actually a once in a lifetime occurrence that I’m sharing a picture of my feet! This is literally less than 24 hours apart. Amazing results!

Kerasal is a leading and rapidly growing brand in footcare. Whether you are looking for an at-home pedicure solution for dry, cracked feet or looking to tackle tough toenail problems caused by a variety of issues, Kerasal has you covered. 

Kerasal Intensive Foot Repair is an exfoliating moisturizer that hydrates + moisturizes dry feet while exfoliating away dead skin. With visible results in just 1 Day” (or overnight) I am always amazed how much of a difference it makes! It’s clinically proven to loosen hard, dry skin and it does just that! 

Kerasal Multi-Purpose Nail Repair is the #1 Doctor Recommended Brand to improve the appearance of nails damaged by a variety of conditions. Kerasal’s patented formula helps improve nail appearance by reducing discoloration and thickness, smoothing the surface, and hydrating brittle nails. 

It’s effective, clear formula penetrates the nail to restore a healthy appearance. Visible improvements can be seen after just one week! Whether it is Nail Fungus damage, Nail Psoriasis, Aging Nails, or Gel Manicure Damaged Nails , Kerasal Multi-Purpose Nail Repair can help improve the appearance! 

Want to save? Check out the Kerasal coupon page.  Learn more and purchase Kerasal on Amazon!

 All-In-One and Sensitive Skin Liquid Bandage from New Skin 

New Skin All-In-One Liquid Bandage works where bandages can’t! Normal adhesive bandages get in the way when I workout outside especially. New Skin provides all-in-one protection, including infection prevention, is 100% waterproof and helps heal cuts! It also kills 99.9% of germs and provides a flexible seal to work even in the hardest to cover places. 

New Skin Sensitive Skin Liquid Bandage is the first and only hypoallergenic liquid bandage. Traditional bandages cause irritation, discomfort and redness, especially to those with sensitive skin. Sensitive Skin increases with aging, medications or diabetes and we now have a pain-free application and removal option! 

Purchase New Skin Liquid Bandage products on Amazon or Walmart.

Sugar Face Scrubs from Tree Hut 

After many days of sweating it out, a good face scrub is on the schedule! Tree Hut’s Sugar Face Scrubs are made with 100% natural exfoliants to gently, yet effectively buff away dry skin and impurities that can lead to a dull complexion. 

They feature four different awesome smelling scents to help hydrate, brighten, purify and nourish skin: 

o Hydrating Watermelon & Cactus Water Sugar Face Scrub 

o Brightening Pineapple & Papaya Face Scrub 

o Purifying Blueberry & Turmeric Face Scrub 

o Nourishing Banana & Oat Face Scrub 

The very best part is that Tree Hut’s Sugar Face Scrub line is paraben and cruelty free, vegan. They also don’t contain formaldehyde donors and are made in the USA. 

Beef Sticks from CHOMPS 

I’m always searching for a healthy snack, especially when I’m on the go! Chomps uses the highest-quality proteins including grass-fed and finished beef and free-range turkey. I love that their products are certified paleo, Whole30 approved, keto certified, and allergy-friendly. 

Although the grass fed beef sticks are my favorite, they also come in: 

  • meat sticks 
  • beef jerky sticks 
  • sugar free meat sticks 
  • beef snack sticks 
  • grass fed beef sticks 

Chomps products contain no added sugar and are free from GMOs, gluten, soy, dairy, added nitrates or nitrites, MSG, artificial preservatives or coloring, and artificial sweeteners. Best of all THEY TASTE GREAT! 

Want to save? Use code BABBLE20 at checkout to save 20% on chomps.com 

SHOP all the Chomps Healthy Meat Snacks!

Best Mother’s Day Gifts for Fit Moms

Best Mother’s Day Gifts for Fit Moms

Looking for the best gift for your fit mom? Although, I do love receiving a bright bouquet of flowers, as a fit mom, there’s nothing like opening up a new pair of running shoes or pair of leggings! 

I’ve compiled a list of my top 5, AFFORDABLE , Mother’s Day gifts for fit moms! Help your momma feel truly loved and understood on her special day! 

Gift #1: Bombas 

If you’re thinking socks are NOT a good gift then you haven’t tried Bombas yet! They are the softest, most comfortable socks and perfect for running, walking or high impact workouts. Plus they have so many fun colors and patterns. They offer 100% money back guarantee and a 20% discount on your first order. 

Bombas

www.bombas.com 

Gift #2: Ice Shaker 

Got a protein shake loving mom? Ice Shaker’s sturdy leak proof BPA free pop top is easy to open while still being secure enough to close and shake. The best part is the 26oz double wall vacuum insulated bottle will hold ice for over 30 hours in a 75 degree room when filled with just ice, and the 36oz will hold ice for well over 40 hours! 

I fill mine with my post-workout protein shake and leave it in my car cup holder. It’s still nice and cold when I’m all done. 

www.iceshaker.com 

Gift #3: Hoka Shoes 

I’ve yet to meet anyone that doesn’t love Hoka shoes for running and/or walking. Designed with plush comfort and a responsive feel, they provide a smooth and balanced ride. They are absolutely my favorite running shoes and support my feet like no other! 

www.hokaoneone.com 

Gift #4: Protein Power Ball Subscription 

Most moms are very busy and always on the go! We often struggle with getting all our meals and snacks in, especially quality foods! You don’t want to mess with a hangry mom! My personal snacking secret is Protein Power Ball. 

Protein Power Ball

Absolutely delicious, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, soy-free and made with plant protein. Perfect on the go!

Subscribe and save or click here to save 20% now on a single order. 

www.proteinpowerball.com

Gift #4: Athleisure Wear 

There is nothing like a brand new pair of quality leggings! Trust me! It’s hard to pick a favorite brand so I’m sharing some of my top favorites. I can promise the quality, fit and design of all of these brands is on point. 

https://www.bombshellsportswear.com

https://bootyqueenapparel.com/

https://athleta.gap.com/

https://maventhread.com/

www.fabletics.com/moveinfabletics 

https://bornprimitive.com

Gift #5: Maven Thread Headbands 

Most ladies struggle with finding the perfect headband to wear during workouts. They slip off, their too tight, too loose or just not cute! I’m a huge fan of Maven Thread headbands! Their headbands come in multiple patterns, sizes and most can be adjusted. 

P.S. Check out their gym bags too as another awesome idea! 

Save 15% now if you use code JENNLABFIT. 

www.maventhread.com

Sesame Chicken Salad

Sesame Chicken Salad

I loooove salads but, I get bored quickly with the blah, basics! This Sesame Chicken Salad is quick, healthy and bursting with flavor! 

My biggest time savers are these 100% all-natural Tyson Simply Roasted chicken.

They are fully cooked and offer 20 grams of protein and 0 grams of trans fat per serving! I usually just brown mine on the skillet for a few minutes each side in a teaspoon of coconut oil.  

Here’s the recipe as a family size portion or for leftovers. I’ve always included some additional shortcut options because I know we’re all super busy: 

Salad Ingredients: 

Tyson Simply Roasted Chicken (1 bag) 

1/2 large green cabbage* 

1/2 red cabbage, thinly sliced* 

*You can also purchase a bag of pre-mixed cabbage blend 

2 cups matchstick carrots 

1 cup sliced almonds 

1 can Mandarin oranges (no sugar option) 

Dressing Ingredients: 

1/3 cup coconut aminos 

1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) 

3 tablespoons avocado oil 

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil 

1 teaspoon salt 

1/2 teaspoon pepper 

*If I’m in a pinch for time I just use balsamic or oil and vinegar. The salad is so flavorful it doesn’t require much dressing. 

Give it a try and let me know what you think! 

Burn Fat with Dumbbell HIIT

Burn Fat with Dumbbell HIIT

Today’s workout brought to you by SLEEP! Have you ever thought about the things you could conquer if you were actually well-rested? Sleep Essentials from Natural Wellbeing Health has been a total sleep game changer for me! Just one pill about 30 minutes before I go to bed and I quickly drift off to sleep, enjoy a deeper more restful sleep and wake up feeling restored.

HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise alternated with low-intensity recovery periods. Interestingly, it is perhaps the most time-efficient way to exercise.

Typically, a HIIT workout will range from 10 to 30 minutes in duration.

Despite how short the workout is, it can produce health benefits similar to twice as much moderate-intensity exercise.

View each exercise individually or get the complete workout at the bottom of the page.

1-Double tap burpee press up (modify by walking feet in instead of jumping) 

2-Squat good morning  

3-Bent over row bicep curl 

4-Squat tap press 

Complete 12 reps of each for 4 sets. 

Double tap burpee press up (modify by walking feet in instead of jumping) 
Squat good morning  
Bent over row bicep curl 
Squat tap press 
Complete workout:

Peanut Butter & Jelly Protein Smoothie Bowl

Peanut Butter & Jelly Protein Smoothie Bowl

Take your classic PB&J to a new “healthier” level with this Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie Bowl! A fun twist on the traditional favorite sandwich! Sweet, satisfying and it will keep you full for a long while! 

With just 4 healthy ingredients and only 5 minutes, you can satisfy your PB&J craving!

Let’s talk about the ingredients in the peanut butter and jelly smoothie bowl: 

A classic PB&J sandwich contains three main ingredients: bread, jelly, and peanut butter.  
  • Oats. Instead of high-glycemic bread, we use either rolled oats or quick oats. Oats are rich in fiber and generally a better option than traditional bread.  
  • Berries. In place of sugar-loaded jelly, we add a blend of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries to this smoothie. Berries are loaded with antioxidants.  
  • Peanut butter. Of course we can’t forget the best part…the peanut butter! Natural peanut butter is a better option generally as it has less trans fats.  
  • Oat or Unsweetened Almond milk. You can’t go wrong with either option. Even skim milk is okay. Just avoid the full-fat milk options.  

A Few Tips: 

  • This peanut butter and jelly smoothie bowl recipe calls for 2.5 cups frozen berries but, the types of berries you use is completely up to you! I often choose the mixed berries bag to keep it simple. 
  • Why frozen berries? For smoothies, frozen berries help create a thicker, creamier texture than fresh berries. You also don’t have to add any ice. If fresh is all you have on hand (or you’re trying to use up before it spoils) load up on the ice, adding a little at a time until the desired texture.  
  • Use as little liquid as possible. For a thick smoothie bowl, use the smallest amount of milk possible. Begin with 3/4 cup, then add additional milk as needed. Your blender may require more or less so it’s challenging to give you the exact amount to use. Remember, more liquid creates a thinner consistency while less liquid creates a thicker consistency.  
  • Add toppings. Top these peanut butter and jelly smoothie bowls with fresh berries, creamy peanut butter, and anything else you desire!  

Ingredients 

2.5 cups frozen mixed berries 

1 cup quick oats or rolled oats (I prefer Kodiak Cakes Oats as it has additional protein added) 

3 tbsp creamy natural peanut butter 

3/4 to 1.5 cups oat or unsweetened almond milk (add a little at a time as you need smallest amount possible just to get the blender moving) 

Instructions:

Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender.  

Blend ingredients until a smooth and creamy consistency forms. 

Transfer smoothie to bowls. Add fresh berries and a drizzle of peanut butter on top.