DIARY OF A FEMALE FOOTBALL ATHLETE

WOW!!! I’m not sure where to start…

I’m so proud of my team right now for coming out and showing Omaha Heat what we are made of! We just played our first season opener game for the Atlanta Steam and tore that field up! We killed the game with a final score of 77-0 against Omaha!!! That score was definetly a reflection of all the hard work and preparation we put in leading up to that moment. 
SMXLL
For me, the week leading up to the game was crucial. I knew this was time to lay off heavy lifts and just focus of being crisp and FAST. I worked on running back drills and some speed work on the track. Before the game the goal is get in quality reps in order for your body to feel fresh and ready to perform on the field. The day before the game I always get in a light warm up to increase blood flow and get in some stretching. 
Let me take you through game day...
On game day we arrive at the stadium fresh and ready to play. Once hair and makeup is done we had an opportunity to sit together as a team and have a motivational speaker address our team. His words really spoke to me. He spoke about how far women have come just by pushing limits and making a difference in the world. Our team is about making a change. Proving that not just men can play football, women can too. He spoke about this being our time to shine and show the world what we are made of. I honestly felt inspired by his message and was ready to ball out that day. Following that we went into a team warm up and light run though just going over plays for the game. Just being in that moment and seeing the confidence in my teammates I knew this was going to be a great day for football. 
SMLXL
After that we had a chance to just relax and focus for the game coming up. I have some pre game rituals. I make sure I have a game play playlist ready to go and when I put in my headphones I block out the rest of the world and just focus. At this point nothing can distract me. I then walk out to the field and have a seat in the stands. I envision myself running through our plays and I see my team and I being successful. I have been doing visualization training such as this in the off season during my injuring phase. I believe this helped me get back on track helping me see the light at the end of the tunnel. Positive thoughts turn into positive actions. 
After this I go back in the locker room and get my gear ready for warm ups. At 7PM both teams get a chance to get out on the field for a final warm up in front of the crowd. I love this part! We get to start seeing the crowd get excited about the game. After warm ups its pads on and its GAME TIME. At 8PM we head back out on the field for war. As I hold my hand on my heart and hear the American anthem I look up at the flag and just take in the moment realizing the opportunity I have today to do something great. Now my nerves are high and I’m ready for the game.
SMLXL
After the game we get to walk upstairs as a team at our home field and sign autographs for fans! This part of the day makes me feel truly blessed. I got to meet a little girl who was inspired by us and wanted to play football when she got older. THIS IS WHY I PLAY! One of goals is to inspire women and girls everywhere to push their limits, not be afraid to lift weights, and be inspired to play any sport a man can. Being STRONG IS BEAUTIFUL.
I want to thank my team for inspiring me to be the best athlete I know how to be. This was key in helping me reach the nZone 3 times!!! Gearing up for our next game July 9th in ATL. Thanks for everyone's support that came out and hope to see you at our next game!
Check out my Game Day Playlist! Is there a song I'm missing from the list? Let me know your game day pump up songs so I'm ready for July 9th!!!
SMXLL
 
Read more →

8 HEALTHY FAST FOOD CHOICES

I will admit, I don't always cook my meals. Sometimes I grab food on the go. I was recently asked 'What are some healthy choices to eat when you're on the road?'. And so I was inspired to find out what you can eat quick and on the go that is still healthy for you. 
1. McDonalds Egg White Delight (no salted butter)
Calories 230
Protein 17g
Fat 5g (8g with salted butter)
Carbs 29g
Fiber 1g
Sugar 3g
Sodium 720mg

2. McDonalds Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich
(without the artisan roll, the total calories drop to 140)
Calories 360
Protein 33g
Fat 6g (drops to 4g without the vinaigrette sauce)
Carbs 43g
Fiber 3g
Sugars 10g
Sodium 960mg

 

3. Burger King TenderGrill Chicken Sandwich (without mayo)
Calories 350
Protein 26g
Fat 9g (21g with mayo)
Carbs 40g
Fiber 2g
Sugars 6g
Sodium 610mg

4. Burger King Garden Grilled Chicken Salad with Tendergrill (no dressing)
Calories 320
Protein 36g
Fat 14g (Ken’s Ranch dressing adds 28g fat to this)
Carbs 16g
Fiber 2g
Sugars 4g
Sodium 650mg

 

5. Taco Bell Chicken Soft Taco (no additions) With Black Beans Side
Taco
Calories 160
Protein 12g
Fat 5g (one of the lowest fat choices)
Carbs 16g
Fiber 2g
Sugar 1g
Sodium 480mg

 

Black beans
Calories 80
Protein 4g
Fat 1.5g
Carbs 12g
Fiber 5g (one of the highest fiber foods)
Sugar less than 1g
Sodium 200mg

 

6. Subway 6″ Rotisserie Style Chicken Sandwich (Fresh Fit)
Calories 350
Protein 29 (one of the highest protein content)
Fat 6g
Carbs 44g
Fiber 5g
Sugar 7g
Sodium 540mg (lowest sodium content)

 

7. Subway Oven Roasted Chicken Salad (without dressing)
(I would add extra chicken to this :))
Calories 140
Protein 19g (this is without the extra chicken)
Fat 3g
Carbs 10g
Fiber 4g
Sugar 4g
Sodium 280mg

 

8. Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Wrap
Calories 270
Protein 20g
Fat 10g
Carbs 24g
Sugar 3g
Sodium 730mg
Now get out there and make some good diet choices! 
Read more →

5 CORE MUSCLE GROUPS YOU'RE NOT WORKING TO GET THE ABS YOU WANT!

The truth is sit ups and planks just aren’t enough to get Abs defined in the way you want! Before we go any further, you first have to be confident that your nutrition is on point to lose stomach fat. Without that, forget these Abs workouts! 

Why Sit-Ups DONT WORK!

It’s not that sit-ups are bad for your training, BUT they are just so inefficient! I want people to learn that there are many more diverse ways of working out the layers that make up our core. Getting Abs is about working all of the muscle groups that are responsible for keeping the trunk of your body upright. We need that definition along the side of the 6-pack, the curves that make you look sexy and womanly in your bikini, and the upper and side Abs to be defined as well!

 I am going to walk you through the perfect Abs workout by incorporating ALL the core muscle groups! We will look at the obliques, the deep Abs, the hip flexors, the upper lateral muscle groups along the ribs, and the lower back muscle 

Obliques

I am talking about the internal and external obliques. These muscles are layered on top of each other, crisscrossing from the lower ribs to the hip bone. They are what we see on the side of the Abs, creating that womanly curves!

These are undoubtedly very important muscles to workout for your core! Because of the way that they cross over, you have to perform movements in a diagonal fashion to work them.

 

Exercises for the internal and external obliques:

  • Wood chopper with a weight
  • Wood chopper with a cable pull-down
  • Turkish Get-up with kettlebell or dumbbell
  • Side bends with a weight

Deep Transverse Abs

These muscles are our stabiliziers. Balance work, standing on the bosu, or on one leg, doing pistols (one-leg squats). We are talking about the deepest layer of core muscle groups. These fibers are attached all the way around the entire core, finishing at the spine and anterior part of the ribs. You can imagine why they are so important to maintain. They are also unique in their orientation. Most core fibers are oriented top to bottom. The transverse Abs perform the unique job of stabilizing the core from side to side.

 Exercises to improve the transverse Abs:

  • Plank with extensions: either alternating or holds
  • Hollow-body hold or hollow-body rocks
  • Single-leg squats
  • Front Squats
  • Farmers carry
  • Overhead squat

Upper Lateral Group

These muscles are the ones attached up at the ribs. They give your upper core a stronger look. When your serratus anterior and teres minor are tight and toned, your bikini top or sports bra isn’t digging into your fat creating bra bulges! These muscles are worked when performing exercises that move the arms forward and down while engaging your core.

Exercises to improve the Upper Lateral Abs:

  • Standing straight-arm lat pull-downs
  • Decline sit ups with a ball or weight overhead
  • Russian Twists
  • Pull ups with palms facing forward

Lower Back and Hips

When you look at a well-defined body from the back, you see the muscle definition surrounding the spine. This is a very desired look and comes from careful and deliberate work on lower back muscles. These are also very important in preventing injury in so many other exercises. The Quadratus lumborum and multifidus muscles give that great definition and work more superficially than the transverse Abs I mentioned earlier.

 Strengthen and define these important muscles with:

  • Superman holds, or repetitions

  • Hyperextensions on a machine 

  • Hyperextensions with a slight twist at the end

Hip Flexors

These are the lower parts of your Abs, between and below the hip bones. They attach the hips to the legs, so getting contoured here has that fantastic cut look along the line of your waist.

The iliacus and psoas muscle can be trained with:

  • Hanging Leg raises/ Toes to Bar
  • V-ups
  • Lying leg raises
  • Mountain climbers

Incorporating New Core Workouts

How can you add all these great exercises to your program? You have a few options. You may choose to add a few each workout day at the beginning or end of your current program. You can also choose one or two from each category and add an entire core workout day. Beware that adding 6 brand new core exercises into your program, if you are not already doing so, will result in some serious soreness!

Each exercise should be performed in 3 sets of 12 to 20 repetitions. The load should feel somewhat challenging in the first week, but don’t forget that the first couple of weeks of introducing a new exercise should be all about technique. Make sure you are performing each exercise carefully, targeting the correct core muscle groups, safely.

Once you are comfortable in the routine, add a little extra load to the woodchoppers, pull-downs, and even the hyperextensions. If you can easily perform 20 or so of any exercise, it is too easy! Introduce a new exercise, or add weight to it to increase the level of difficulty. Remember that we only improve if we force the body to learn to adapt.

Want to learn how to get started with your own fitness plan? Check out my Training Programs Section!

 

 
Read more →

3 HEALTHY WAYS TO EAT SWEET POTATOES

I LOVE me some sweet potatoes! But how can you add them to your everyday meals you ask? Let me show you how!
1. Sweet Potato Fries
SMXLL
INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, rinsed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 1⁄2teaspoon  cumin
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 1⁄4teaspoon  cayenne

INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cut the potatoes into 1/4″ thin strips, or to your desired thickness and length. Mix all other ingredients together in a large bowl and toss with the potatoes until they are evenly coated.
  3. Transfer the potatoes to a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Spread the potatoes in a single layer. Try not to overcrowd or have multiple layers of fries — you want them to be roasted, not steamed.
  4. Place in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes, turning the fries once or twice during that time to cook evenly. May take more or less time, depending on the size and thickness you cut the fries.
  5. Remove once the edges slightly begin to brown and fries begin to crisp. Sprinkle course salt on top when they are hot out of the oven.
2. Sweet Potato Soup
SMXLL
 
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped 
  • 1/2 clove minced Garlic
  • 1 cup Low-sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 medium Sweet Potato, peeled and diced 
  • 4 large Carrots, peeled and sliced 
  • 1 Red Pepper, peeled and sliced 
  • 1 tbsp. chopped Ginger
  • 1/4 cup low fat Greek Yogurt
  • Cilantro (optional) 

INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Next, add the onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until onion is tender. 
  2. Add the chicken broth and two cups of water. Bring to a boil. 
  3. Add in the sweet potatoes, carrots, red pepper, and ginger. Reduce heat. Cook for 15 minutes. 
  4. Remove from heat and cool in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetable pieces and puree them in the blender until thick. 
  5. Pour back into the soup and then return to the heat, cooking for 15-20 minutes or until thickened. 
  6. Once almost finished, add yogurt and stir. Serve immediately, topping with cilantro if desired.
3. Sweet Potato Pancakes
SMXLL
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 cup pre-mashed Sweet Potatoes (boil to cook, drain, and then mash)
  • 2 Whole Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Flour
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Stevia or Brown Sugar (depending on nutritional needs)
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 2 tbsp Sugar-free Maple Syrup

INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Combine the sweet potato with the eggs until fully mixed. Next, stir in the coconut flour, cinnamon, cloves, and stevia/brown sugar. 
  2. Once combined, heat a griddle to medium heat and melt the coconut oil on top. 
  3. Pour batter onto the griddle to make two large pancakes. Cook for 3-4 minutes on one side until edges are bubbling, and then flip and cook for 2-3 minutes more. 
  4. Serve topped with sugar-free maple syrup.
Read more →

TIPS TO STAY HEALTHY IN THE WORKPLACE

If you work in an office, you spend most of your day in front of a computer, slumped in a chair and hunched over a keyboard. Odds are, you’re doing this right now as you read this. But the human body isn’t designed to remain stationary for very long, let alone for 8-to-10 hours a day. The result of all that sitting is poor posture, a slowed metabolism, and a bad back.
While frequent stretching breaks are helpful to stave off the effects, your body needs exercise, hydration and proper nutrition throughout the day. I have a couple tricks and tips to help you stay health in the workplace!
Tip 1: Take A Brake for Squats
Why Do This?
When the glutes and hamstring muscles are weak, the back takes a lot of the slack. Squats will strengthen them, which will take some of the pressure off your lower back. Start with a single rep and perfect your form before moving on to more.
How to Do It:
  1.  With your feet shoulder-width apart, bend at your knees and hips to get into a squat; your back should be straight but tilted forward.
  2.  Make sure your butt is sitting back behind you and that your knees don’t too far forward in front of your feet.
  3.  Squat, going slow as you’re able (ideally past 90 degrees)
Pause at the bottom for 2 seconds, then push into your heels. You should feel your glutes contracting as you push up.
Tip 2: Keep Health Snacks at Your Desk
Why Do This?
When that afternoon hunger pains rolls around and you don’t have a health snack in front of you you’re most likely going to hit the closest vending machine. Packing healthy snacks for each day gives you more freedom to worry about your job and less about what is going into your body.
My top healthy snack ideas are:
  • Sliced Up Melon with Cottage Cheese
  • Sliced Up Carrots and Hummus
  • Fruit Bowl of Strawberries and blueberries
  • Apples and Peanut Butter
  • Rice Cakes and Almond Butter
  • Almonds, Pistachios, Trail Mix
Tip 3: Drink Tons of Water
Why Do This?
Make sure you're sipping on water throughout the day, as even just mild dehydration can cause moodiness, fatigue, and problems focusing. For water intake, you ideally should divide your weight in two, and drink that many ounces of water over the course of a day. A professional tip for extra hydration would be to grab some coconut water. It is rich in electrolytes and has no added sugar compared to a Gatorade.
 Tip 4: Ditch The Sugar
Why Do This?
It's tempting to reach for a sugary treat as you fall into the afternoon slump, but they actually can make you feel much worse. Sugary snacks and drinks are not the way to go. Leave those out of your diet, your desk and out of your sight. Instead, fill up on complex carbohydrates like oat meal or whole grain toast. It is found that eating carbohydrate-rich foods can help improve your alertness in addition to keeping you full throughout the day. That way you’re not craving additional empty sugar calories.
Tip 5: Collaborate with Your Coworkers
Why Do This?
It’s easier to pick up healthy habits if you aren’t doing them alone. Ask your coworker to go for a walk at lunch, you can alternate days to bring healthy snacks, challenge them to see who can do the most squats in 60 seconds. Make it so you are being held accountable for your healthy actions. If you know someone is depending on you to be a strong example for them, you are more likely to continue with that habit.
I hope that my tips were helpful! If you need additional help with a personal trainer or you need a nutrition plan made I’ve got you covered!

 

Read more →