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Motivation

Filtering by Tag: inspiration

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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Red hot news!

Jena Chopson

Valentine's day is full of red hearts, red roses, red candies, and red faces.. why stop there?

Eat by color!   Here are a few Valentine's Day approved reasons to increase the red in your diet... 

BEETS

Boost your stamina!  If you want to make it through your next workout, or high-intensity excursion in the bedroom, eat some beets!  People who eat beets prior to physical activity are able to continue 15 percent longer!

STRAWBERRIES

Good circulation is crucial for physical activity in men and women, and great news (!) strawberries are the answer! They are rich in antioxidants that benefit your heart and arteries! (And bonus, they're full of vitamin C, which, in combination with antioxidants, has been linked to higher sperm counts in men.)

WATERMELON

Watermelon is high in Lycopene, which rivals Viagra in its ability to relax blood vessels and improve circulation. This provides a natural enhancement for revving up your sex drive.

RED PEPPERS

The hotter they are the better! Red peppers increase your metabolism and stimulate endorphins.  This gets the blood flowing to all of the essential areas:)

Not so interested in the romantic benefits of RED?  Here are reasons to throw some other 'reds' into the mix!

  • Red Bell Peppers contain high amounts of Vitamin C, providing nearly 300% of your daily intake.
  • Cherries can have a better result for treating pain and inflammation than Aspirin.
  • Cranberries help rid the urinary tract of E. Coli bacteria.
  • Pomegranates are packed with potassium and Vitamin C and are said to help reduce your risk for breast and prostate cancer.
  • Tomatoes are packed with vital nutrients and may be powerful in protecting you from a wide variety of cancers.

Eating well, in any color, is important to your overall health and well-being.  Although red is in the air today, remember to incorporate a wide variety of the color wheel into your diet for ultimate health!

Some RED recipes for you to try:

--> Healthy. Red. Velvet. Cupcakes. Let that sink in for a minute: Healthy Red Velvet Cupcakes

--> Finish off a romantic dinner (or breakfast in bed!) with chocolate-dipped strawberries that will melt your valentine’s heart:  Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

-->Get the health benefits of beets AND carrots in this delicious side dish: Honey-Roasted Carrots and Beets

-->Pinterest perfect fruit pizza right here: Watermelon Fruit Pizza

-->Tomato soup and grilled cheese? Yes please: Healthy Tomato Soup

-->Shake up your snack game, or make any sandwich more interesting, with a super-flavorful twist on hummus: White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Enjoy!! 

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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Why New Year's Resolutions Don't Work

Jena Chopson

Do your resolutions look a little bit like "Blah blah blah....and Girl Scout Cookies?" You're not alone. Read on to find out why most resolutions don't work and what the surprising solution is. 

Read More
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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 I have learned in the first 2 weeks of Core De Force

Jena Chopson

1.) You need buddies to go on the journey with you.

I don’t care what you say. You can’t go through a lifestyle change alone, no matter what it is. You need at the very least a cheerleader or a friend who supports you 110% along your journey. Brownie points if that friend just happens to be in the trenches with you, walking right along side you. There’s power in linking arms with someone when you’re heading into battle!

Doing this program alongside some good friends has been a HUGE plus for me. It would be 100X more difficult without them.


2.) Accountability is everything.

See #1. A buddy system helps create accountability.  But aside from having others go on the journey with you, you need to shout on the rooftops what your goals are. You need to let everyone know. A silent journey helps no one, especially YOU! If you don’t tell anyone where you’re going, how will they know when you get off course? It’ll be easy to shy away from your goals if you’re the only one who knows about them.

The fact that we’ve had a group of others going on this journey with us, watching us, expecting us to show up, expecting us to check in with our measurements and milestones, creates SO much more accountability. This really is the secret sauce to sticking with something. You want motivation, inspiration, and dedication? Just grab yourself some accountability.

3.) It’s always tough in the beginning when you try something new.

You can’t expect a flawless journey when you decide to make a change. Change is always met with some resistance. It’s hard, especially in the beginning. You’re making a course disruption. We are creatures of habit by nature…..we like our routines and our habits. So when we decide to change it up…is it really any surprise that it’s just plain HARD?!

Week one of Core De Force tested me in every way possible. I knew it was going to be challenging, but I don’t think I was quite prepared for the kind of commitment I was making. But because I had #1 and #2 locked in, I stuck with it. Which lead me to #4…..

4.) …..but if you stick with it, you break through the wall.

Once I had week 1 under my belt, something exciting started to happen: I began to feel AMAZING. With a newfound sense of confidence and badassery, I felt like I could take on the world. I always tell my challengers that starting is the hardest part. And that couldn’t be a truer statement. We build up all these walls and excuses as to why we can’t do something, so we often never try. But if we can be bold enough to push past those fears and just START,  that’s when the magic happens. Piece by piece you begin to chip away at all those walls you build up until there’s nothing left standing but you.

5.)  You are SO much stronger than you think you are.

You know what? We tell ourselves a lot of bullshit stories about ourselves. It’s true. You have them, I have them, we ALL have them.

“I’ve never been strong enough to do ____.”

“I’ve never been able to do _____.”

“I’m just not cut out for _____.”

“I’m not as good as _____ so there’s no way I could _____.”

“I just don’t have that kind of motivation.”

“I’ll never be disciplined enough to do _____.”

We could be here for days. But you get the point, right?

But do you want to know the truth? Like the real truth and nothing but the truth? All of those stories you tell yourself about why you can’t do something are complete BS. All of them.

You are eleventy billion (that’s a lot ;) ) times stronger than you think you are. You are capable of doing so much more than you give yourself credit for. And if you just took that and BELIEVED in it……then whoa. You’d be unstoppable.

I had a lot of BS stories about myself before I started this program, too.  Some of them sounded ridiculous. But a lot of them even sounded noble. I had to be willing to recognize that the only person stopping me from achieving the results I wanted to achieve was ME. I had to believe I was stronger than I thought I was. And you know what? That belief turned out to be the REAL truth, after all.

Never doubt what you are capable of! We all have more potential inside of us to live up to.  

 

Fight for it. 

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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The person in your corner

Jena Chopson

Yesterday after a long 13ish hour shift at work, I sat down and had a great phone conversation with a dear friend of mine.

We started talking about my decision to do the Huff 50K and she asked about how many miles that was. "About 32ish," I said. Without hesitation and with what sounded like the utmost confidence in the world, she replied, "You can totally do that." And then she went on to justify why.

I hope each and every one of you has someone like that in your life who can always be in your corner with unwavering faith. This woman has always believed in me and given me confidence when I have had doubts.

Behind every successful person, I firmly believe there's an entourage of amazing people who love, support, and believe in them unconditionally. Do me a favor: Next time you talk to one of those people, thank them. We are so much better & can accomplish so much more because of them.

Who is that person for you?


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