Why Making the Switch to Water is So Important

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Im sure you have heard this over and over. “Drink more Water!” but do you know why its so important?
Well, Im about to explain to you and give you my secret to how you can switch from soft drinks to water.
Water shuttles nutrients throughout our body and helps rid it of toxins along with flush fat, toxins and promotes healthy skin. There are too many benefits to drinking water that I could go on and on so ill keep it quick. Basically it plays a role in every chemical reaction within our cells.

The liver, for example, is nearly 95% comprised of water. I can’t emphasize how important your liver is to your body. The liver breaks down toxins and removes them from the body. It stores fat soluble vitamins. And most importantly it has a huge role in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. Your liver is responsible for breaking down fatty acids and transporting them to the blood to be metabolized.

What does water have to do with the liver? With the liver being so important for fat oxidation, it is imperative that we are keeping it running at 100% efficiency. When you don’t drink enough water, your kidneys, which are also responsible for removing toxins and waste material, cannot fully function. As a result, your liver has to pick up the slack. If your liver has to work twice as hard to remove toxins, fat metabolism is not going to be able to function 100% efficiently and so your body ends up storing things it shouldn’t in places you definitely don’t want it too and that means you will not have that tight & toned figure your after.

Sometimes being hydrated is the difference between getting those last two reps in. It may not seem like much of a difference, but that better workout could be just what those thighs need to get rid of that dimple…if you know what I mean;)
So make sure you are drinking enough water to support your fat loss goals. Aim for 1 gallon of water a day. If it makes it easier, fill up a 1 gallon jug of water, and make sure it’s gone by the end of the day. This might seem like a lot, but that is only 8 – 16 ounces glasses.

If you drink a glass at each of your five meals, you only will have 3 to go and at least for me, I can get those in at my workout. Hardest part is just getting the habit of drinking it to begin with. You may not be thirsty at first, but as your body starts to let the water go that it’s been holding onto, you’ll notice that you’re thirsty more often.
your body will crave it and you will see appetite will decrease.

This is what I do during food prep day and is my secret to staying tight…I add slices of lemon, limes, & oranges to my gallon of water and store it in the refrigerator. I grab this in the mornings on the way out. It saves money because you won’t be stopping off to buy drinks full of sugar and chemicals and by drinking the water you will burn more fat all day.

Hope this helps you on your way to living a more healthy lifestyle;)

Sunday Prep-Day

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 I don’t care who you are, or how long you’ve been cooking and how much you love it, at the end of the day we all would love to put our feet up and have food delivered to our doorstep or swing through the drive-thru.  You can always take that option, but who wants processed garbage full of artificial ingredients. The secret to getting “THE BODY” can only be done by prepping your meals ahead and keeping portions small and nutritious. You will find that it’s not only rewarding physically but quick on time if you follow these steps.

Sunday night has become my prep night for the week.  If I spend a couple hours Sunday night getting ready for the week, it’s pretty much a given that I will eat clean, healthy meals the rest of the week and with no hassle.  
There are a few things I do to make the rest of the week easier when I’m putting away the groceries.  This takes some time to do, but it’ll save you so much time throughout the week!  If you clean and slice everything when you first get home you don’t have to constantly clean the cutting board, knives, and colander, and the fresh fruits and vegetables are easier to snack since they are ready to eat!

▪ Slice and chop anything that needs to be, and place them all in separate bowls so they are easy to grab
▪ I like to cut celery into about 4″ sticks and place it in some water so it stays crisp
▪ Breaking down garlic will save to lots of time throughout the week. I love garlic in everything and it’s easier to use when the cloves are separated and cleaned.

 Here are some ideas for you to prep ahead and store in refrigerator:

1. Cook your pasta, quinoa, sweet potatoes and rice ahead and place it in a covered container in the refrigerator.
2. Grill chicken and veggies place them in a covered container to use throughout the week.
3. Protein Pancakes are always a staple for me and they take just minutes to make.  I will make a double batch Sunday night to use for breakfast.  Then if any are leftover after a few days, I will freeze them.
4. Oatmeal is great to make a few days ahead.  I usually make enough for 4-5 days .

5. Cook Meats such as; chicken, beef and turkey, scale portions out in containers and refrigerate for the week ahead.

Once these foods are stored in easy-to-grab containers already portion out for you, then all your need to do is grab-and-go. This makes working, training, family and everything else more efficient during the week.

Hope this helps you on your way to living a fit & sexy life!

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Let’s Get Sugar Smart

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Today Americans eat more sugar than ever before, with dire consequences. In all its forms, added sugar is the culprit behind obesity, diabetes, and many other modern maladies. The sweet stuff is hiding in places you wouldn’t expect. And fueling the food carvings that wreak havoc on your waistline. How do you conquer cravings and get on a path to better health?

Here are some of the tips that helped me shed the extra fat and get those curves I’m known for;

* Don’t sip sugar. The human body didn’t evolve to register liquid calories the same way it does solid food. Beverages are a big source of sugar and hidden chemicals. Try fresh fruits and citrus to spice up water instead.

*Think au natural. “curb cravings with fruit.” Fruits contain sugar, but their main ingredient , fiber, slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, blunting the dangerous high-low cycle.

* Sweets for sweets. Yes, working out helps burn calories, but it may also protect against the harmful effects of sugar, according to researchers…fructose combined with others sugars can improve exercise performance by helping boost energy.

* Sap your cravings. if your going to have sweeteners, you might as well choose ones that offer health perks such as agave and honey.

*Take baby steps. As you evaluate your diet, scale back slowly. Use less and less each day in your normal foods such as coffee. Try your coffee black one day out of the week and then slowly go to two days a week. I was once a milk-and-sugar-kinda-gal until now. Very soon, one sip of a mochaccino may be surprisingly too sweet. Your taste buds adjust over time.

Try this recipe below as a healthy alternative to your cravings. You will be surprised just how good living fit & sexy can taste!

Chocolate Coconut Protein Cake

For Cake:
4 or 1/2 cup egg whites
19 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
4 oz sweet potato
3/4 cup water
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup oats (blend in a blender till flour consistency)
1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
2 scoops (60 g) protein powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder

For Coconut Chocolate Frosting: Optional
4 tbsp Extra Virgin coconut oil (you can find this in vitamin isle most grocery)
5 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened
1/3 cup agave nectar

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
2. In a food processor

or blender, beat egg whites for 30 seconds. Add black beans, almond milk, sweet potato, water, shredded coconut and vanilla extract and process until smooth.
3. In a separate bowl mix together oat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and protein powder

. Slowly add to the bean mixture until combined. You should end up with a pancake like batter.
4. Line 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper

and pour in the batter. Bake for 40 minutes or until the inserted toothpick comes out clean.
5. In the meanwhile, in a small pot on low heat melt coconut oil. Add cocoa powder, agave nectar and almond milk. Whisk until combined. Let the frosting simmer for a couple minutes until it starts to bubble and thicken. Remove from heat and let it cool for 10 minutes on a countertop or in a fridge.
6. Pour the frosting on top of the cake, dust with stevia or sliced almonds and cut into 18 squares.
7. Store in an airtight container in a cool and dry place for up to 3 days, in a fridge for up to 5 days and in a freezer for up to a month.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 18 pieces
Amount Per Serving = 1 piece:
Calories: 161
Total Fat: 5.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.6 mg
Sodium: 176.0 mg
Total Carbs: 12 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.5 g
Protein: 10 g

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Protein Bars Are they Good or Bad? 

Protein Bar recipe

The problem with many protein bars is that they are nothing more than a well-packaged candy bar.

Real food is always the best option but sometimes you might feel for something sweet, or you might need a meal on the run.
So, how do you pick a bar that is good for you?

Reading food labels is very important and sometimes the key to knowing which bar to pick. Processed food greatly affected the way people feel, along with creating a society that is over-fed and under-nourished.

Take a look at the ingredients that are in most processed protein bars:

INGREDIENTS: Protein Blend (Whey Protein Hydrolysate, Whey Protein Isolate), Coating (Maltitol, Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, Whey Protein Concentrate, Cocoa Powder (processed with alkali), Calcium Carbonate, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavors, Sucralose), Hydrolyzed Collagen, Glycerin, Cocoa Powder, Water, Milk Protein Isolate, Milk Chocolate Drops (Sugar, Whole Milk Powder, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Milk Fat, Soy Lecithin, Natural Vanilla Flavor), Maltitol Syrup, Soy Protein Isolate, Peanut Flour, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Flavor, Vitamin and Mineral Blend (Ascorbic Acid, d-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, Niacinamide, Tricalcium Phosphate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Gluconate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Palmitate,Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Cyanocobalamin),
Sucralose, Almond Butter, Soy Lecithin.

The amount of man-made chemicals, saturated fat, high glycemic carbohydrates, and sugar alcohols make many of these bars junk foods, which in turn make you crave more sugar and carbs then before you started. Opt for healthier snacks like almonds, fresh fruit, turkey breast, homemade protein bars, etc… Or if you need something on-the-go do a protein shake that is lower in sugar. Plan ahead, prep your meals and you can make easy, nutritious, and convenient meals that will help you stay on track with your fitness goals!

Check out this recipe for homemade protein bars. The nutritional value tops all processed bars in stores and this is what I make for myself!

(Stop by The Body Shop Inc. @ Facebook http://www.facebook.com/TheBodyShopInc?ref=br_tf
to find the best tasting Protein Powder)

Gia’s Protein Bars

2 cups of oats
3 eggs
2 scoops of protein powder
1/2 cup of ground natural almonds in food processor
1/2 cup of unsweetened natural almond milk
2 tbsp of natural peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients together and spread on a nonstick baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until firm. Cool and cut into 6 servings. Store in refrigerator till you’re ready enjoy! Yum!

Protein Bar recipe

Keys To Gain Muscle Mass

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Gaining muscle mass is not as easy as you may think, and it takes patience and devotion to achieve the goals that you have set forth.
I get asked daily what I do to stay in shape so Ive decided to write about it since there isn’t really any secret.

Here are my top 5 that has helped me go from skinny to curvy in as little as a year, and contrary to what most believe, girls and guys don’t train that different so follow these steps and get sexy:)

1. Set a realistic time frame. I have trained a lot and I see this all the time. People want instant results which set you up for failure. Muscle takes time and training is only part of it, so be patient and give your self a realistic time frame. 

2. Eat often and make sure you eat good quality protein, veggies and carbs. Food is not your enemy when it comes to muscle building, and you are going to eat plenty of it. First thing to realize with weight training is that your muscles are tearing the tissue, and food/protein is what helps them repair and recover, which then becomes the process of muscular growth. Supplements help get you there faster so stop by my Bodybuilder/friend Randy McManus on Facebook and also Facebook page,’The Body Shop Inc’. I also recommend Scitec Nutrition as well!

3. Train heavy don’t be afraid to lift. My very first rep I feel it! by the 5-6 one Im needing someone to spot me. I don’t worry about sets & reps as much as I rely on feeling each and every rep. Form too must be right.

4. Change your routine. I never do the same thing twice. Don’t get me wrong I train each body part weekly but I challenge those body parts so they never know what to expect. 

5. This does not mean to completely take out cardio from your routine, but rather to keep it to a minimum when you are trying to gain muscle mass. The simple reason why is because when you run, hormones in your body begin to eat away and break down your muscle tissue. This is known as a catabolic state, which is the complete opposite of what you are trying to accomplish when it comes to muscle gains.

Happy training! 
xo GiaIMG_2993

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A Model’s Secret Weapon!

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Is there really such a thing as a secret weapon to getting the perfect body? Well, the answer is yes and no. Let me explain…
There’s no magic bullet around working hard, having lots of discipline and following basic steps to good health, BUT here is my secret and a staple in pretty much all my dishes that help me stay lean year round and which you can substitute for flour…SWEET POTATO & YAMS! I use them in most of my recipes such as pancakes, tortillas, breads, cakes and even pies, but one of my favorites is down below…KEEP READING!

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