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
Follow me on social media!
Live Better with Kat Detter (Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube)
Have you made one of your goals to be more active this year but are having a hard time figuring out where to begin?
Today I am going to share with you a few ideas on how to get into the fitness world. Luckily, there are so many diverse options for people of all ages. The beauty of exercise is that if you don’t like one form of exercise (example: running), then you can choose a different type of exercise that you may love (example: dancing). Consistency is key! Find something you love and stick to it.
Ideas on Jump-starting Your Fitness Routine
Join a Gym
This may seem too simplistic, but it is oftentimes an easy way to spark the fitness journey. Gyms have tons of equipment for both cardio and strength training as well as areas for stretching and body weight exercises. Most gyms also have personal trainers available for an additional fee that can create a workout plan specifically for you.
2. Group Fitness Classes
With a gym membership, there are usually a variety of group fitness classes available: Zumba, Dance Fitness, Spin, Yoga, Pilates, Silver Sneakers, HIIT, Weight lifting…the options are endless. These types of classes are a great gateway to fitness–I am speaking from personal experience. When I was 14, I joined a Zumba class and HATED it…after going a few times, I decided it was a fun way to exercise–and now I’ve been instructing for the past 7.5 years. Now I enjoy various forms of exercise outside of group fitness classes.
3. At Home Workouts
Let’s say you aren’t into the gym scene–I get it…monthly membership fees plus an initial sign up free can get costly…you can get great workouts in the beauty of your own home! Using either body weight or dumbbell free weights, you can still stay active. Stay tuned for various videos (next month) showing my favorite at home workout exercises to help tone muscles as well as strengthen that heart.
4. Pinterest Workouts
This is my FAVORITE tool for finding new workout routines. Tons of people pin their fitness websites and there are so many types of workouts to choose from: body weight, dumbbells, kettle bells, at home, at the gym–I have a notebook full of Pinterest workouts to help me when I don’t know what to do for my workout.
5. Livestream Classes
This is another exercise form you can utilize in the privacy of your own home. This works for some people–I am a Dance2Fit livestream member paying only $20 a month for unlimited Dance2Fit classes with Jessica James. They are so much fun, full of energy, and a total body workout. This isn’t like any other type of dance class–it combines HIIT techniques with toning and cardio to hip hop music. It’s an easy way for me to sweat and burn calories whenever I want to! No traveling needed.
6. Online Fitness Challenges
These are so much fun! I did one last fall called Fall Fit with Sarah and Jessica, and it was a 6 week program with 4 workouts per week ranging from 30 minutes to 1 hour with suggested cardio and abs. There were 2 versions: at home and gym workout–I bought the at home workout that was 100% no equipment needed using only body weight. It was affordable, doable for all fitness levels, and it helped me get stronger. There are so many online fitness challenges that are promoted, and it is another great tool to utilize in jump starting your fitness routines.
7. Workout Partner
This is one of the best ways to work out because you have an accountability partner-someone to encourage you to workout when you don’t feel like it…someone to go through the whole process with you…someone who feels the same struggles physically that you may be experiencing. It also helps fight the boredom when you go walking/running or weight lifting, and can make group fitness classes more fun when you’ve got a buddy with you.
8. Staying Active in General
We are human, life gets in the way and we may not make it to the gym or have the time to do an at home workout…or your power may go out and you don’t have TV/internet to complete your online fitness challenge (speaking from experience!)…that is okay! My biggest advice is to stay active all week long. It doesn’t have to be an organized workout plan every.single.day. It can be as simple as going for a walk with your dog, a light bike ride with your spouse, or even chasing your kids in the front yard. The main idea is that you move your body a little bit every day–not just for your workout “gainz” but also for your mental health and overall well-being.
Now, it’s your turn to decide what you wanna try first! Try one of these suggestions and see how it goes for you. Every body is different, and we all like different things. I LOVE dancing, so naturally dance fitness style classes are my jam. Pick something and stick with it most days of the week–and every now and then pick something different to spice up your workout routine to not get stuck in a rut.
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].
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!