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Motivation

Filtering by Tag: fitness coaching

What's LUCK got to do with it?

Jena Chopson

Chances are you know a ‘skinny girl’ that can put down a pizza, potato chips, and soda....and not gain an ounce of weight.  And perhaps you have another friend that claims to gain weight simply by looking at a donut. 

Skinny girl says she’s ‘lucky’ to have a fast metabolism.  What’s the truth in this statement?

Simply put, metabolism is defined as how quickly you burn calories and fat, and/or how fast your body converts food to energy.  

And yes, genetics plays a role. BUT, that isn’t the only factor that contributes to your metabolic speed.  

 

Age: As we get older, our metabolism slows down.  In fact, after 40 it drops by 5% each decade.

Gender: Men typically have faster metabolisms than women.

Diet:  What you eat, don’t eat, and when you eat affects your metabolism.

Activity level: The more active you are, the faster your metabolism.

 

Here’s where the ‘luck’ kicks in: GENETICS.  As unfair as it may seem, some people are just quicker calorie burners than others.

But you don’t need to settle, here are a few ways to rev it up!

-Exercise. Combine cardio with strength training to enhance your metabolic rate.

-Eat properly, and at the right time.  Three meals a day, always eat breakfast.

-Caffeine can jolt your metabolism 5-8% in a day.

-Eat 25g of fiber per day.

-Water. Drink your recommended daily intake.  

-Protein can boost calorie burn after a meal by as much as 35%.

Remember this: just because the skinny girl can eat the pizza, chips, and soda and not gain weight does not mean she’s healthy.  Health is a way of life, not an appearance.  

Best of luck in your metabolic journey!

 

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. 

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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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Four-ingredient squash parfait.

Jena Chopson

I love easy recipes. 

I love it even more when easy recipes taste this good. 

Sweet tooth, anyone? Read on....

It tastes better than it looks...if that's even possible. 

This recipe is super easy if you have everything on hand. I had leftover butternut squash that I cooked up yesterday, so this was literally as simple as mixing stuff in a bowl then scooping it out and layering it into this glass. 

But if you don't already have cooked squash on hand that's been hanging out in the fridge overnight (I mean, why wouldn't you?), then here's the recipe for this gem. 

Don't forget to let me know if this was appealing to your taste buds by sharing this out to your friends or commenting on this post on social.

What you'll need:

1 butternut squash
Liquid stevia (or packets work, too) 
1 serving of plain greek yogurt
Cinnamon
Carmel, Maple, or Vanilla extracts (optional) 
Honey or maple syrup (optional) 

To cook the squash: 

Cut off top 1/2". Cut lengthwise in half. Scoop out seeds. Place halves face down in a baking dish with 1/4" water. Bake at 350 for 90 minutes. When done, peel off the skin or scoop out the squash. Place squash in mixing bowl. Add 1-2 TBSP of cinnamon (or to taste), a 1/2 tsp liquid stevia (or 1-2 packets as desired), and 1 tsp caramel extract (or choose your flavor here, optional). Mix with electric hand mixer so it's like a fluff or mashed potato like.  

Side note: Butternut squash tastes amazingly sweet all on its own. Adding in extra stevia might be too much. Try it first by itself with a dash of cinnamon to see if you even need the stevia. If you're like me, you probably don't. This squash is the bomb dot com, baby.

You can, of course, eat the squash right away, but if you want to make the parfait, let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. 

For the greek yogurt: 

Place 1 serving (typically 2/3 cup) in a bowl. Add water while stirring to create desired consistency (I prefer a thinner consistency, greek yogurt is a little too thick for my liking. If you like it as is, then skip this step and carry on, you greek yogurt lovin' warrior). Add 1-2 stevia packets or liquid stevia to desired taste. Add in flavor extract of choice, if desired. I mixed in a few drops of maple extract. Blend well in the bowl. 

Side note: If you are new to plain greek yogurt, you may find that you need to add in a drizzle of honey or maple syrup to make it more desirable to your taste buds. I'll give you the green light here, but just don't get carried away, mmmkay? 

Once you have your refrigerated squash and greek yogurt mixture, simply layer them on top of each other at your heart's content. Voila! Heaven in your mouth. 

Now you can tell all your friends you eat dessert for breakfast AND stay on track with your goals.

Cheers,

Jena 

 

Special shoutout to Kevin Butz who showed me the squash ways and gave me several squash recipes. You da man, Kevin! 

If you're a 21-day fix meal plan follower, this recipe counts as 1 green (measured as 2/3 cup), and 1 red. Can we cheers again to that? 


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