I wasn’t always a fitness enthusiast. In fact, I used to use exercise as “punishment” for eating what I deemed “bad”.
I don’t categorize food as good and bad anymore–food is fuel…but that is a topic of discussion we will save for a later time. Today, I want to share my fitness journey.
By now, you all know my struggles with body image and properly fueling my body without feeling guilt. One thing I have not elaborated on is how I started exercising in the first place.
I can remember being a young girl, maybe 8 or 9, and my mom encouraging me to walk down the road and back with her. At the time, I did not know why she wanted me to walk with her so badly. It wasn’t fun. It was a battle. Nothing good came from it (or so I thought)–so why did she keep trying?
I’d fight and beg her not to make me…and usually she would give up and go walk by herself. Now, as an adult, I know that she was trying to instill the importance of activity to me at a young age so hopefully when I am older, I will see activity as a part of my normal-everyday routine.
It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I became obsessed with my body image that I started actually exercising…my brother and I would go running together, and he would literally have to push me so I’d keep going. Was it enjoyable? No…but the post-run high was completely worth it. That is when I started noticing how exercise made my mind feel good.
It never lasted…we would run every day together for a week, then go a month or two without consciously doing anything physically active. Forcing myself to do certain exercises was not enjoyable for me.
As a freshman in high school, my mom got us a family YMCA membership so we could all work out together. She heard they were teaching Zumba Fitness classes and dragged me to one. After the first class, I said I was never going back.
I absolutely hated it. Crowds of people watching you dance, mirrors in front of you, no privacy…I was convinced it wasn’t for me.
However, my mom kept taking me and encouraging me to go with her. After attending for a few weeks, I loved it! I never wanted to miss a class. It was my “gateway” to other forms of group fitness classes like spin, weight lifting, and aerobics.
After a few years of attending Zumba Fitness classes, I was given the opportunity to start teaching my own dance fitness classes as a 16 year old and loved it. Not only did it help my fitness journey grow but my personality grew as well. It became a social outlet for me and is still to this day!
By the time I was 17 I was working out in the gym regularly and running on days I didn’t teach dance fitness. When I moved away to college, I started training for run-races and completed several during my time in Tennessee and California. At 19, I obtained my Zumba Fitness license and continued teaching group fitness classes. I even completed 2 half marathons and my first triathlon last year.
Since then, I’ve taught at several gyms and even had my own studio going for a while.
At one point last year, I got stuck in a rut with my workouts and it became so frustrating that I forgot why I loved exercising in the first place. I was running on treadmills and riding stationary bikes because I didn’t know what else to do…I was burnt out from being the gym-rat I used to be…what was I supposed to do?
I then joined a group fitness challenge group where I was taught how to build HIIT workouts using only body weight–no gym or equipment required, and I saw great results. Since then, I dedicate 1-2 workouts per week solely for HIIT workouts, and try to strength train 1-2 days per week in addition to my cardio sessions. These workouts are fun for me! For access to a FREE fitness HIIT workout demo with full workout instructions, click here.
You see, I was not always a fitness fanatic. It took me 10 years to get where I am today, and I plan on growing even more on my fitness journey in the years to come.
What inspired you on your fitness journey? It’s important to know where you started for motivation to keep growing…
Until Next Time,
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
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Make sure you check out my video tutorial of these exercises. While I typically repeat each round 3 times each and then do 30 minutes-1 hour of cardio (usually dance classes), you can most definitely do 3-5 times per round to get a complete workout.
We’ve all heard it…”eat more protein if you’re working out”…
But what does that really mean? For the average individual who starts walking for an hour after work–do they really need to bulk up the protein?
For the person who wants to lose weight the “easy” way and not exercise, does higher protein diet benefit their goal?
So many questions, so many opinions…today I am going to share some research with you and my own opinion based on evidenced-based literature.
**Disclaimer: I am going into detail of what protein is and how much our bodies need for various different activity levels…HOWEVER I do not typically promote macro/calorie counting for the average individual BECAUSE I believe in mindful eating, balance, and not obsessing over food…if you listen to your body and eat a well rounded, balanced diet, you should be eating adequate amounts of protein, carbs, and fat.**
First off, what is protein?
Well, in short, protein is made up of amino acids that build muscle, support metabolism, carry out cellular communication, heal wounds and repair cellular damage–just to name a few. Amino acids help our nails, hair, and skin look and feel healthy. So–it sounds like protein is a very important macronutrient–and it IS! We need protein.
There are 20 amino acids–9 of which are essential, meaning our bodies do not make them. This means we have to get those 9 essential amino acids from the food we eat. Foods like lean poultry, fish, beef, eggs, dairy and plant based proteins like legumes and grains. Animal and soy protein contain all 9 essential amino acids while other plant based proteins like beans, rice and corn are missing a couple amino acids. However, legumes and grains compliment one another making them a “complete” protein…so eating plant based protein is just as beneficial as animal proteins–maybe even a smidge better because they contain fiber. (you know me and fiber…build that healthy colon!)
Alright, now we know what protein is and what it does for us…so how much do we need?
That question is such a debatable one…considering fitness industries promote all kinds of supplements…”Eat protein and have big muscles”…
And sadly, some people believe that…”If I eat over 100 grams of protein a day, then I will build muscle”…
Negative. The only way to build muscle is to work out. It is that simple. You cannot expect to eat more than the recommended amounts of protein and gain muscle mass. Your body does not work that way. You HAVE to put effort in the gym (or home workouts) to build lean muscle. Protein does, however play an important role in rebuilding the muscle fibers being “torn” during your workout. You cannot have one without the other.
As far as recommendations of protein, the average adult needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram. Through my research, it amazes me how many fitness industry websites recommend 0.8 grams per pound of body weight…can you imagine?
Note: 1 kilogram is equivalent to 2.2 pounds.
I’m roughly 155 lbs…155 lbs. x 0.8 grams=124 grams protein, meaning I need to consume 124 grams of protein as a sedentary individual…(if I followed the 0.8 grams per pound of body weight recommendation).
Following the 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram recommendation, I would need 56 grams of protein (155 lbs. / 2.2 lbs. = 70.4 kg; 70.4 kg x 0.8 grams = ~56 grams protein). Do you see the difference? That is nearly half of what you’d be getting following the “per pound” calculation…It is so important to calculate our needs using our weight in kilograms versus pounds.
However, I am not sedentary. I workout 6 days of the week doing various cardio and resistance training exercises…the recommendation for active individuals is 1.2-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram…again, some parts of the fitness industry promote 1.2-1.8 grams per pound…
So, if I were to eat 1.2-1.8 grams per pound I would be consuming 186-279 grams of protein DAILY. What does that look like? Typically, 1 ounce of meat, dairy, eggs and plant based protein contain about 7 grams of protein (the figure below will give a more accurate representation of the grams of protein in high protein foods). You would ultimately have to consume 26-40 servings of protein each day. Holy cow! That is 1116 calories in protein alone…keep in mind that all food contains a combination of the macros (protein, fat, and carbs) all of which contain different calorie components.
What happens when you consume too much protein?
A dissertation research article by Jake Fenwich in the UK showed that the average non-athlete male who works out regularly consumes 2.48 grams of protein per kilogram per day…that is still above recommendations for active individuals(1.2-1.8 g/kg).  We live in a very protein-heavy nation, but if we do not utilize that extra protein by building lean muscle, then that extra protein can do a couple of things…
Store extra protein as fat
Excrete excess amino acids in urine (wasteful)
Long term= weight gain (especially if your overall calorie intake increases because you are increasing protein)
So in short, yes you need extra protein if you are vigorously working out and “tearing” your muscles (1.2-1.8 g/kg)…but for the average sedentary individual, stick to the 0.8 grams of protein/kilogram.
What about weight loss? Can’t eating more protein help you lose weight?
The idea behind this thought is that protein promotes satiety–feeling full after a meal…so you would not need to eat as much altogether because you would be “full” from the high protein diet.
Which is more satisfying:
Having 2 scrambled eggs with 1/2 cup of cooked grits for breakfast
2. Having 1/2 cup of cooked grits with a slice of toast and jelly for breakfast
I think we can all agree that we would be more satisfied for a longer period of time when eating the eggs with the grits versus toast with grits. This is because eggs are rich in protein, which will keep us full for a longer period of time. Also, the protein in the eggs will cause our blood sugars to increase gradually instead of abruptly by just consuming carbs alone.
A meta-analysis study by Ernaehrungs Umschau International titled “Protein Paradox” suggested that high protein diets do show minor beneficial results in overweight individuals short term. This would not be something you’d want to do long term–goes back to my point of excess protein leading to fat storage, amino acid waste in urine, and overall weight gain.
Really think about what category you fit into…
Are you a mostly sedentary individual who does not get a lot of movement? You still need protein…but not as much as those who are gaining muscle mass. Stick with the 0.8 grams protein/kilogram recommendation.
Are you a lightly active individual who enjoys going on walks in the evenings or participates in light aerobic activity a couple times a week? I would still stick with the 0.8 grams protein/kilogram recommendation because our bodies are meant to be slightly active and that amount of protein would be sufficient.
Are you an avid exerciser partaking in weight lifting, sports training, regular running, frequent intense biking, or any other vigorous sport/exercise/work most days of the week? You would want to follow the 1.2-1.8 grams/kilogram recommendation because your body is wearing and tearing your muscles and they need to be rebuilt…sufficient extra protein will help rebuild those muscles and make them stronger…just be sure to not exceed your needs regularly as it could lead to unwanted weight gain.
Hopefully you have a better understanding on what protein is and what is does for our body, and ultimately what happens when we exceed our daily limits. Challenge for the week (and hopefully adapted into your lifestyle): calculate your protein needs and see if your consuming the recommended allowance for your particular activity level.
Fenwick, J. (2018). An investigation into the dietary practices, beliefs and knowledge of protein in resistance training male gym goers between 18-45 years of age.. [online] Repository.cardiffmet.ac.uk. Available at: https://repository.cardiffmet.ac.uk/handle/10369/9945 [Accessed 29 Oct. 2018].
Do you set fitness goals for the week and then feel really good about yourself when you complete them? Or feel even better when you exceed your goals? I think that is pretty typical for most people, and rightfully so because it helps you feel accomplished.
On the flipside, have you ever set those weekly fitness goals and then did not meet them? How did that make you feel?
I used to really beat myself up if I didn’t make my ‘fitness goal’ for the week…I am an active individual, but for some reason my brain tells me that I am not “fit” enough if I do not complete that goal. But you know what? It does not matter…
It doesn’t matter if you meet your specific goal of the week as long as you are finding joyful movement to make your body feel good and listening to your body. What do I mean by that? You are active and are doing types of exercises you enjoy. If you make yourself run because you think it will make you more fit, then you are doing it for the wrong reason…you should do something you love so you are more likely to continue exercising in the future.
Also, you should feel good after a workout. Now, I am not saying you shouldn’t push yourself and sweat…we all need a little nudge to build strength. However, if you don’t feel happy and positive after a workout or you are in pain, you are not getting the most mental benefits out of your workout.
Below is a chart found on the American Heart Association website that outlines how much movement we should be getting at different intensities per day and week. This week, I challenge you to pick an intensity or combination of recommendations and make that your goal . Then, if you meet or exceed that goal, you know you have met the requirements for healthy cardiovascular health.
Keep in mind that these are the recommendations for good cardiovascular health. It is recommended that you work on strength training at least 2 days a week. Building muscle won’t make you bulky (unless that is your goal), but it will help with posture, metabolic rate, and activities of daily living–just to name a few benefits.
Regardless if you like running, swimming, dancing, or biking, do what you love and what you can be consistent with. For me, I LOVE running but have been struggling motivating myself to do that as of late…instead, I have been doing livestream Dance2Fit classes with Jessica Bass (interested? check out this link and try the free 7 day trial).
It is a fun way for me to get my heart rate up, burn calories, and MOVE. It also breaks up my normal workout routine, which is nice.
What type of workout will you try this week to break up your usual routine? Let me know!
Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!
Until Next Time, Happy Chewing! Katrina Detter, RD,LDN
Heart racing. Legs shaking. Muscles pumping. Sweat beading.
Those are all attributes of a race, my friends. I have completed numerous 5k’s, 8k’s and 2 half marathons…the next race on my list was a triathlon. I wanted to do one for years, but I just recently got a road bike and was able to fulfill my dream.
Initially, I had no idea where to start! I read countless blogs on tri-tips and training programs. I looked on Pinterest for a clear cut training plan, and finally I created one that worked well for me.
I chose to do a sprint triathlon for my first one consisting of a 400 yard swim, 16 mile bike ride, and 3.1 mile run. I remember thinking, “Oh, I got this! The only thing I really need to train is the biking”…boy was I wrong!
After my first bike ride of a lonely 5 miles, I realized that biking is a lot harder than I thought it would be—but it was also really fun! I made my way up to 10 miles before I realized I needed to practice the bike-run transition. I trained for about 1 ½ months before the triathlon.
On race day, my husband drove my cousin and me to the race site. We were extremely surprised when we arrived and saw tons of people with fancy triathlon bikes, tri suits, and sporting gear…and there we were…in our quick dry shorts and sports bras. I was intimidated.
Leading up to the race, I gazed over the different transition sites, as this was my biggest concern. After that, I got in the lake and started swimming to warm up. To my surprise, the water was very warm! That made it easier.
Fast forward 30 minutes, and it was time for takeoff. All the ladies 40 and under got in the lake ready for the gun shot to begin. That feeling was like nothing I’ve ever felt before…anxious, excited, and terrified all at the same time! What if I kick someone? Or worse, what if someone kicks me and knocks my teeth out!? I would not be able to complete the triathlon.
Once I began swimming, I felt confident that we would all stay safe-ish and complete…except the swim was way more difficult than I thought! I have always been a strong swimmer, but I started out too fast and before I made it to the first buoy, my heart was beating out of my chest. I had to tell myself to slow down. Swimming in a lake is completely different than a pool…for one, the water is green not clear…so you really are not sure what is around you. Second, there are multiple bodies passing you and though no one got hit, I was still very alert. Lastly, they had us swimming against the current…I definitely didn’t practice that!
Getting out of the lake and onto land was sketchy, as my legs felt like complete jello! I thought “How in the world am I gonna make it?” alas, I did…I made it to the bike, threw my shoes on and hit the road. I got this…
I don’t got this! Though I trained on hills, this course kicked my tail! There were minimal downhill areas and a lot of gradual inclines. I was disappointed when I made it to the 5 mile mark thinking it felt like 10 miles already…
I somehow managed to finish the 16 miles and begin my run. Honestly, the run was the best part! Before my race, I was sure the run would be the hardest part! It was actually my favorite, and I ran it faster than I did when I was training. Crossing that finish line was such a great feeling!
Whether we finished first or last, we finished! I know, we compare ourselves to one another…everyone wants to be the best—that is in our human nature. However, there are so many different people in the world…people with short legs, long legs, thick thighs, thin thighs, broad shoulders, narrow shoulders…the list could go on.
In Galatians 6: 4-6, the Bible reads “Don’t compare yourself with others. Just look at your own work to see if you have done anything to be proud of. You must each accept the responsibilities that are yours.”
You see, God made us the way He wants us…that does not mean that we are all perfect the way we are, no. He inspires us to challenge ourselves in life to make us not only stronger human beings, but to be stronger in Jesus. These types of experiences help us grow spiritually.
This was one of my challenging goals—seeing that I can put my mind to something and achieve it. Without God’s help, I truly would not have had the strength or the determination through my training or my triathlon.
Be happy with where you stand regardless if you come in 2nd place or finish last. You completed something you set your mind to, and the only person you are competing with is yourself.
What is something you have set your mind to and completed? I would love to hear!