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Spring Clean Yourself!

Jena Chopson

Hello Spring!  Hello gorgeous weather, blooming flowers, 🌺 longer days and nights, campfires and… bathing suit season!! 😳

We all have our routines when it comes to Spring cleaning - which is defined, btw, as ‘A thorough cleaning of a house or room, undertaken in Spring.’ 

Does your body also need a cleaning? Imagine the way the window feels after the Winter grime is washed away it has an amazing clear view of the outside again…if windows had feelings (which they do!).  THAT is how you will feel if you make an effort to do some internal Spring cleaning of your own. 

Here are some foods to start with:

Apples.  They help eliminate toxic build up and cleanse the intestines.

Avocados. They detoxify the liver of synthetic chemicals.

Beets. They purify the liver.

Blueberries. They block toxins to the brain.

Cabbage. It cleanses the digestive track.

Cranberries. They cleanse the urinary tract.

Garlic. It helps cleanse the intestines of harmful parasites.

Grapefruit. It cleans the blood.

Lemon. It helps cleanse the intestines.

Seaweed. It cleanses the body of heavy metals.

(And there’s so many more!)

Here’s your Spring challenge from me - Do a quick google search for a list of natural food detoxifiers and add ONE to every single day in May!  You CAN and WILL feel better by focusing on foods that are working inside your body to get the crap out! 

 

Cheers to Spring, and feeling GREAT!

Jena 


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I started my workout program and I've GAINED weight! Help!

Jena Chopson

Has this ever happened to you before? 

Odds are if you have ever embarked upon a new, relatively more intense workout program, this has happened to you. 

What does it mean? Does it mean the workout program doesn't work? Does it mean you're doing something wrong? 

I see this happen sometimes with my clients during the first week or two of their program. 

The good news is, it's actually quite common, and here's why: 

1.) Inflammation

Exercise-induced inflammation is extremely common, especially with higher intensity programs like Insanity, P90X, or the 21 Day Fix Extreme. 

When many people begin these program, they see a temporary increase in the scale. Notice I didn't exactly say weight gain. With the help of celebrity personal trainer Chalene Johnson, let me help explain: 

"When someone starts a new exercise program, they often experience muscle soreness. The more intense and “unfamiliar” the program, the more intense the muscle soreness. This soreness is most prevalent 24 to 48 hours after each workout. In the first few weeks of a new program, soreness is the body trying to “protect and defend” the effected or targeted tissue. Exercise physiologists refer to this as delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS.

This type of soreness is thought to be caused by tissue breakdown or microscopic tears in muscle tissue. When this happens, the body protects the tissue. The muscle becomes inflamed and slightly swollen due to fluid retention. This temporary retention of fluid can result in a 3- to 4-pound weight gain within a few weeks of a new program. Keep in mind that muscle soreness is not necessarily a reflection of how hard you worked. In fact, some people feel no signs of muscle soreness, yet will experience the muscle protection mechanisms of water retention and slight swelling.

Most people are motivated enough to put up with this temporary muscle soreness. Yet, many, especially those who really need immediate weight loss to keep them motivated, become discouraged and quit!"

Who mostly becomes discouraged by this? Yep, you guessed it--us WOMEN. They key here is knowledge of the science, as explained above. Expect that this will happen, but don't let it discourage you. Know that this is just a temporary gain on the scale, it's normal, and to keep going! 

2.) Dial in your expectations 

I see this one ALL the time. I've even seen this to some extremes. When women don't drop 21 pounds in 21 days, they resort to crazy (and unhealthy) cleanses, fasts, and other unhealthy ways to drop said pounds FAST. After all, if it's not happening fast, it must not be working, right? 

WRONG. For some reason, even though it took us months, and even YEARS to land us in the body we're currently in, we think we can reverse that in a matter of days. 

It simply isn't true. Losing weight, gaining muscle, and becoming healthy is a process. It takes time + consistency to reach those goals. Patience and diligence is key. Trust the process and keep going! 

3.) Muscle is more dense than fat. 

You ever hear the phrase, "Muscle weighs more than fat?" Well, of course, we know that phrase verbatim isn't exactly true. A pound of muscle is the same as a pound of fat. A pound IS a pound, after all! 

But I believe what people are TRYING to get across, is that muscle is more dense than fat. Simply meaning that it's more concentrated. Therefore, it's going to take more muscle mass (and thus more pounds of it) to equal the same amount of mass as 1 pound of fat. 

Confused? Let's look at this image to help us out. 

Clearly, as you can see, these both weigh the same, but the fat takes up more SPACE. 

This illustration is exactly why us health & fitness coaches recommend taking MEASUREMENTS just as often as you are weighing yourself, because, frankly, the scale can be a liar. You can be packing on more muscle and becoming LEANER whilst not seeing any movement on the scale. 

Before photos and measurements will help you to be able to see this picture more clearly. I highly recommend it! 

4.) You're eating too many calories 

I put this one last because if you are truly following your workouts and your meal plan as you should be and the scale isn't moving, it is very likely due to the bullet points above. 

BUT, I've also seen many instances where my clients aren't being truly honest or aware of what they're eating. 

If you aren't tracking your nutrition intake, you should be (at least in the beginning). You need to get an idea of what you're taking in nutritionally on a typical day. Oftentimes, this surprises people. 

At the end of the day, weight loss is all about calories in and calories out. If you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight. Please note that this doesn't mean you will be healthy. I've been a shining example in my past on how eating less and burning off excessive calories doesn't exactly equate to health. 

Getting the RIGHT calories in, along with a healthy relationship with exercise is really the sweet spot (no pun intended). If you eat healthy, nutrient-dense foods and exercise consistently, you will likely gain muscle mass and lose fat. 

----------------

No matter where you're at on your fitness journey, just know that I'm here to help! If you are struggling and need help getting all of this right, I'm only a simple message away. 

To your health, 

xoxo

Jena


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Vegan Cookie Dough

Jena Chopson

Promise you won't get mad at me? 

I kinda just threw this one together. You know when it's approximately 2 in the afternoon and you're craving something not-so-great for you? I happened to be scrolling my facebook newsfeed and BAM. There it was. Cookie dough. 

It was all over. I had to have it. So I started scouring recipes online and I ended up blending several different recipes together to create my own little concoction. 

I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is, I know all the ingredients I used. The bad news is, the AMOUNT that I used isn't going to be exact...so be willing to work with me a little bit here ;) But hey, this creates a bit of adventure with your cookie dough, right? 

FYI--This crazy thing I'm calling a "recipe" below serves about 1. So bump it up if you are feeding more than one mouth :) 

Ingredients: 

1/2 can of garbanzo beans
1/4 cup Oat Flour (or old fashioned oats) 
2-3 Tbsp Peanut butter or nut butter of your choosing
1/3 Banana
1 packet Stevia
Vanilla Extract
Cashew Milk (I had unsweetened vanilla on hand)
Honey and/or maple syrup
Chocolate chips 

The random method I used: 

1.) I placed the can of garbanzo beans in a colander and rinsed them thoroughly in the sink
2.) Next, I placed about half the can of garbanzo beans in my Ninja Blender.
3.) I then added approximately 4 tablespoons (or about 1/4 cup) of oat flour and blended it thoroughly in the blender. 
4.) I then added at least 2Tbsp of peanut butter---you can add more or less to your taste, then I added 1 packet of stevia, a few drops of vanilla extract, about 2-3 Tbsp of cashew milk, a drizzle of honey to taste, and about 1/3 of a banana because I wanted creamy consistency. 
5.) I then blended that very well for a smooth consistency. Blend to your liking--but if I'm eating "cookie dough," I want it fluffy and smooth! 
6.) I then topped with chocolate chips. To keep this vegan, you can use Enjoy Life vegan chocolate chips, which are delicious. 

Don't get too caught up in the amounts. Just start throwing ingredients in a blender until it looks right to you. I've made probably a dozen variations of this recipe in the past (you can add or subtract so many different ingredients to make this equally delicious), and they almost always turn out amazing! This does give you a very subtle banana flavor, so if that isn't your jam you can always leave that out and add more cashew milk or sub something plain like a few Tbsp of plain greek yogurt for that smoother consistency.

I'm clearly not claiming to be a chef anytime soon, but I can say that this was delicious and it totally fulfilled my craving for cookie dough--at a much healthier "cost."

 

Let me know what you thought about it in the comments! Enjoy.

XoXo,

Jena  


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How to be the light

Jena Chopson

Is it just me or does social media seem a bit dark these days? Between political hate, people constantly judging others, and some using social media as an outlet to make themselves feel better……one of the coolest creations of the 21st century is sometimes seemingly becoming one of the worst. 

So I figured I’d take a few minutes to talk about how to be the “light” you want to see in your newsfeed.  And trust me….I know you already KNOW these things.  I believe we are all inherently good people. But if the law of attraction is true (and I believe it is) we can easily begin to tumble down the slippery slope of social media negativity—sometimes, without even realizing it. 

Be the light rule #1: Make someone’s day. 

This may seem super cliche….even cheesy. But every day I log on, I aim to make at LEAST one person’s day (I typically shoot for around 5). Whether it’s commenting on someone’s post that they look beautiful or sending them a private message telling them how much you love how they show up in the world….aim to share the love. Think of it like a pay it forward initiative. Bonus: This one has a “bounce-back” effect. It’ll totally make your day, too. 

Be the light rule #2: Keep Scrolling. 

See a post that makes your blood boil? Keep scrolling

Here’s the thing. Our first, most animalistic instinct when we see something we don't believe in (and are repulsed by) is to fight back. Resist the urge. You aren’t going to change that person’s mind. People on social media have already formed their own morals, ethics, religions, and opinions. All that will happen by commenting on that post and responding in a knee-jerk fashion is someone will inevitably get hurt. 

“But I want to create debate. Challenge their thought. Create change.” That’s totally cool. And I get it. But STOP first. Write out a response. Then sit on it for 24 hours. If you still want to make that same reply tomorrow…then post it. Odds are, the response you choose to make 24 hours later will be vastly different than that initial response. Probably much kinder, too ;) 

Be the light rule #3: Talk about at least one JOY per day. 

So many people use social media to vent or talk about what’s going wrong in their day. 

But what’s going right in your life right now? What are you most grateful for? What made you smile that day? 

Start making a point to share at least one thing that filled you with joy that day and you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who do the same. 

Be the light rule #4: Remove the triggers. 

Why do you still have those people in your newsfeed that you know ALWAYS trigger you in some negative way? Hide them. Unfollow them. Remove the triggers. 

Even if the account you’re following ISN’T negative. What? Hang with me here. Let’s say it’s an IG account for a popular bikini brand that regularly showcases models in bikinis. Nothing negative about that, right? But perhaps this triggers insecurity or feelings of low self-worth in you. WHY are you following that account? Delete. Buh-bye. 

Sometimes it really isn’t them. It’s you. Or vice versa. Either way…if it’s throwing shade onto your life—REMOVE it! 

Be the light rule #5: Make time to be blissfully “unplugged.”

Even people like me who love social media and use social media for business need to make “unplugged” time a priority. 

It’s 2017, and most of us are undeniably addicted to our phones. There are some crazy stats out there that say something like most people check their phone several times per minute. I begrudgingly admit that there are some days I am probably one of those statistics. 

To keep ourselves centered and focused, and making sure we are being PRESENT in the moment (and present to what’s most important to us), I think it’s crucial that we set “unplugged” time without cell phones at least a few hours each day. 

 

Just like anything, this takes practice, time, & consistency. You won’t see a change in your social media overnight but I guarantee if you put some of these into practice, you might find that your social media is a happier place to be. 

XoXo,

Jena 


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Get Outside This Winter! You Burn Calories Shivering ;)

Jena Chopson

Welcome to the midst of WINTER!  Some love it, some hate it - some get the blues, and some get stoked about shreddin’ the gnar! Here’s the scoop - wanting to change the weather is like wanting your avocado to laugh after you tell it a joke. It's not gonna happen. (But who doesn’t love Avocados, right?! #BestFoodEver)

Embrace the cold (NOW!), or you’ll be missing out on some incredible health benefits.

For example:

Did you know that you can burn 100 calories in 15 minutes of shivering?  And not only do you burn calories via your muscles, an additional hormone is released that allows fat stores to burn calories also. (double bonus!)

Ok--so I'm not recommending that you stand outside naked in 20-degree weather and shiver to burn calories ;) But did you know.....

Downhill skiing/snowboarding can burn over 200 calories per 30 minutes. And believe it or not, cross country skiing gets you 100 MORE calories burned per half hour than downhill skiing! 

Not a skier/snowboarder?  Go sledding!  On a mid-size hill you can burn the same amount of calories sledding as downhill skiing!

Even moderate ice skating can burn over 100 calories in 30 minutes.

Ok ok.. so it’s not always EASY… Need some more motivation?

(YES!) Your body works harder to warm itself in the cold temps - thus, more calories burned than in other seasons.

(YES!) Your heart works harder too, which means you’ll be better conditioned when Spring arrives.

(YES!) The days are shorter, and darker - which means you need to take in the daylight when it’s available - getting outside reduces stress and will dramatically improve your mood.

(YES!) It’s called ‘fresh air’ for a reason - taking it in reduces your chance of catching the nasty bugs!

(YES!) You’ll sleep better!

(YES!) It builds your ‘balance’ muscles that snow and ice can trigger, as opposed to exercising outside normal conditions.

Bottom line - you’re not doing yourself any favors by becoming a Winter hermit. Positivity will take you a long way.  Simply saying ‘I love Winter’ can change your outlook.  If needed, you can start with this: “I don’t mind Winter.”

Thanks for reading! 

 

~Jena

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” - Fred Devito

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” - Albert Camus

 

FOR THE LOCALS:


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5 things that happen when you quit telling yourself the BS stories about why you can’t follow that nutrition guide

Jena Chopson

So I recently wrote a blog about excuses and meal prepping. You can read more about that here

But lately, I’ve been hearing excuses after excuses as to why people can’t follow the meal plan. And like I said in the previous post, I completely get it. I’ve done it too—-so many times. 

But what I really want you guys to see is that they are ALL just EXCUSES. I know they sound super noble in your head, and some of them may even be genuinely noble. But they’re still an excuse at the end of the day. You can polish a turd to make it shiny, but it’s still going to be a turd. 

When I was selected to be a part of the Core de Force test group, I made the DECISION that I was going to check my excuses—-ALL of them—- at the door and finally do this shit the way I was supposed to. 

Some amazing things happened when I did that. And you should know about them, because they can happen to you, too if you’re willing to do what you THINK you cannot do (aka, ditch all the excuses): 

 

1.) I spiced up my food life

“But Jena,” you say, “Nothing is spicier than bellying up to the bar and ordering me a big, juicy cheeseburger and fries!” Are you sure about that? I mean, really? Here’s the thing: I love me a good burger just as much as the next person. I can throw back a burger with fries and an IPA like no other. And while it often feels super tasty and satisfying going down, it is almost always met with regret and self-loathing later. 

You can still have your burgers now and then. Even your pizza, too. But what this has really opened me up to is trying so many NEW foods. I have explored foods that I don’t typically eat and I have been more than pleasantly surprised at how much I really love the flavors and how amazing they make me FEEL. 

Gone is that bloated, gross feeling you get after pigging out. Instead, you eat delicious foods and you feel equally amazing afterward

Trying new foods has been hands down my favorite part of this. I make it a challenge to find as many new, healthy recipes I can find using foods I don’t typically eat. I’m often surprised at the amazing stuff I’ve been missing out on. 

Give it a try. There are SO many incredible foods out there. You truly don’t know what you’re missing out on….and your body doesn’t either. Its response to finally getting the nutrition it craves will shock you in the form of more energy, better sleep, and overall higher function.

 

2.) I realized it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. 

I still remember the day I got my 21 day fix package in the mail. I was SO excited. I ripped open the packaging, pulled out those colorful containers, set them on the counter….and then cried. 

“Bbbbuuut, they are SO small!” I exclaimed to myself, in a moment of self-pity. RIDICULOUS! But we all do it, right? The problem was, I hadn’t even given the process a try. I was self sabotaging myself before anything had even begun. All I had done at that point is essentially blow those little containers up with my death defying evil stare and then cry about another “failed attempt” at getting my nutritional shit together. 

It wasn’t until I actually gave the process a try and plated the food out when I realized….holy crap. This isn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be, and there is a LOT of really good food here! 

Duh, Jena. Trust the process. Stop freaking out about it before you even give yourself an actual shot at being successful. Quit the BS dialogue happening in your head about all your previous failures you’ve had, and about all the food you CAN’T have, and start focusing on how you’re going to make THIS a freaking success…and focus on the foods you GET to eat. 

 

3.) I got results

This should be a no-brainer, but like I said in my last blog post, you’d be surprised at the number of my clients who are shocked that they didn’t get the results they had hoped for after completing a couple weeks of a program. When asked how the nutrition plan is going, I often get the response, “What nutrition plan?” Or…”Well, aside from my couple cheat days a week, it’s going great!” *Facepalm* 

I won’t essentially re-post my prior blog, but get real with yo-self. Results are probably at the very least 70-80% what you are fueling your body with. Period. End of story. If you can’t commit to fueling your body the way it NEEDS to be fueled, then don’t be shocked when you don’t end up with the results you’d hoped for. It’s like your body needing Premium fuel to function but you continually putting in Regular fuel because you didn’t want to spend the extra 20 cents per gallon….and then wondering why there are always engine problems. Hmmm…..

 

4.) I feel freaking amazing. 

I made mention of this above, but seriously….when you fuel your body right, it rewards you tenfold. I have felt so damn GOOD in the past 3-4 weeks, it is truly hard to describe. 

 

5.) I gained CONFIDENCE

I say this all the time, but when you check your excuses at the door and just go get it done, you exude badassery. 

Now that I have officially meal prepped for 7 night shifts in a row (you read that right), and stuck with a nutrition guide I “thought I could never stick with,” I have a renewed sense of confidence. I also feel like I can relate to everyone who has struggled with nutrition in the past (as I have had my fair share of struggles.....you can read a smidge more about that here!). 

But above all, I just feel confident. I know that I CAN do this, despite the obstacles. It just takes a little willingness, some preparation, and above all, the DESIRE to put my health first. 

 

You can do this, too. If you’re struggling and you need help, I’d love to mentor you through the process. As someone who has struggled tremendously in the past, it feels absolutely incredible to have broken through so many obstacles and come out on the other side. 

I can’t wait until you experience these things, as well. 

Til next time,

 

Jena


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Luck.

Jena Chopson

Last night I had someone tell me that I was lucky.

"What do you mean?" I said.

"Well, you're beautiful, you're thin, you have a great job. You're lucky."

Lucky, eh? Here's my take on that:
 

To some extent, she was right. I am lucky that I was born in America, the greatest country on this planet. I am lucky that I was given two incredible parents who raised me in a loving family. And yes, I'm lucky I didn't come out of the womb looking like cyclops. 

But I can assure you that luck had nothing to do with where I have ended up today. 
 

I made the choice to spend 7 years in higher education, busting my ass to be a nurse practitioner. I made the choice to start a business 4 years ago and I have worked consistently at it so that it could create a designed life for us. 
 

Every day I make the decision to eat healthier and exercise so that my body feels vivacious enough to do anything and everything I want to do. 
 

Do you notice a trend here? Choices. Decisions. While most of us walk around thinking life happens TO us, the reality is quite the opposite. This life is the product of the decisions WE MAKE. 
 

We can change our reality at any given moment. It just takes the desire to change and actually act on those decisions. 
 

When you see someone who is successful, I can assure you it isn't luck that got them there. 
 

Behind every success story was someone who dared to do what the majority of others won't do. It's a story of someone who decided they weren't going to settle for ordinary, and so they put a vision into action and made a change....oftentimes making tons of hidden sacrifices along the way. 
 

Luck? I don't know much about that. But I do know a lot about hard work and sweat equity. And I'll choose that path over easy any day of the week.


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When you don't see eye to eye....

Jena Chopson

I get a lot of questions about what to do when you have an "unsupportive spouse" when it comes to your health & fitness journey, or when it comes to your new business. 

Although Doug is doing a workout program with me now, it most definitely has not always been this way. Allow me to show you a picture of what our workout partnership has looked like for 99% of the time we have been together: 

Doug sitting in our front yard propped up with a Miller Lite while I race my 5K. 

Doug sitting in our front yard propped up with a Miller Lite while I race my 5K. 

This is a topic I get really passionate about. Allow me to share a little bit of my story....

I've always been into health and fitness my entire life. Don't make fun of me--I literally have memories of running around the playground at recess as a young child with the GOAL to work up a sweat. Not exactly what most little girls aim to achieve at recess, right? 

Even though I haven't always been healthy (you can read more about that here), being athletic, active, and conscientious about my health has always been a huge passion of mine.  So of course as opposites tend to attract, I wind up marrying a man who basically has zero interest in all of the aforementioned topics. ZERO. 

Let's be honest. I married him this way. I knew the man I was marrying going into this whole thing. Still, I would be lying if I said it didn't sting a little bit every time I headed out for a run, or downstairs to do my workout, alone

This great divide became all the more apparent when I started a business as a health and fitness coach. I'm not going to say he was unsupportive, because to me that means he was basically doing everything in his power to make sure I didn't succeed. He was more, shall I say, standoffish. "Do whatever you want babe, but I think it's all ridiculous." That was a better way to describe it. And even though that's better than being completely unsupportive, it still sucked.  This was a HUGE deal to me and a HUGE passion of mine, and something I was really excited about....and he just wasn't excited.  

So what did I do? You might think I came up with some elaborate plan to bring him over to the "dark side," right? Well, you'd be wrong. You see, you can't change other people. Even when that person happens to be your spouse. The only thing you can do is better yourself and aim to become a better person, spouse, individual, whatever and continue to set the example along the way. 

I had no idea if Doug would ever develop an interest in his own health and fitness, but I always knew that he would have to come to terms with that on his own. If you're in the health & fitness space, you know as well as I do that we cannot force anyone to want to change, they have to want it for themselves first. 

I asked Doug about a week ago, "What was it that finally made you commit to your health?" And he basically responded with, "I was tired of being the fat kid. And I knew it would only bring us closer. So I went all in." That's the Doug version of saying what we hear all too often from people who finally hit their breaking point and are ready to make a change: Enough is enough. Something has to change. 

The key point here is this: If I had given up on him, on myself, on the journey....then he might never have come to these terms. If you feel like you have an "unsupportive" spouse, if you feel like your significant other will never make his or her health a priority, if you feel like you are alone--Don't. Give. Up. 

Stay consistent. Stick with it. Continue to work on and develop yourself. Pray for him or her, for your relationships. And who knows? You may one day be taking sweaty selfies with your spouse after crushing a workout---together. 

Post workout sweaty selfie...aka everything to me <3 

Post workout sweaty selfie...aka everything to me <3 

Relate to this story at all and want to chat more? Feel free to reach out to me, I'd love to talk. 

Xoxo, 

Jena 


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