Collagen Supplements: Do you really need them?

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Supplements are all the rave these days and it seems there’s a supplement for EVERYTHING. Even things you never really thought much about or even considered might have an actual health benefit.

Gone are the days where supplements are categorized under just Protein Powder and Pre-workout. 

Now there are isles upon isles of supplements, all claiming you NEED them.

Amongst the list is Collagen.

Wait…. The stuff you have in your skin?!

Don’t we just buy creams to keep that tight as we get older?

What - if any- is the benefit of consuming collagen?

First, let’s examine what collagen actually IS…. why our body needs it… and go from there ;)

What is Collagen?

This structural protein makes up the majority of our body’s connective tissue (tendons, ligaments, skin, blood vessels, and even our gut). There are many different kinds of collagen, but the most common are the first 5: 

Type 1: found in skin, bone, tendons

Type 2: forms cartilage 

Type 3: forms connective tissue

Type 4: forms the bottom layer of skin

Type 5: component of hair

Why does our body NEED Collagen?

• Improves skin elasticity and hydration

• Helps relieve joint pain by maintaining healthy cartilage

• Helps inhibit bone breakdown

• Small amount of muscle mass growth

• Helps support your blood vessels and heart health

• Strengthens hair and nails

• May help improve leaky gut syndromes and prevent intestinal permeability 

Is Collagen a good source of Protein?

It is the most abundant protein and contains 18 of the 21 amino acids needed by the body for normal metabolism. Because it’s considered an ‘incomplete’ protein, collagen isn’t ideal for building muscle mass. On the other hand, incorporating collagen into your diet has several benefits:

  • Improves skin elasticity and hydration

  • Helps relieve joint pain by maintaining healthy cartilage

  • Helps inhibit bone breakdown

  • Small amount of muscle mass growth

  • Helps support your blood vessels and heart health

  • Strengthens hair and nails

  • May help improve leaky gut syndromes and prevent intestinal permeability

How do I know if I need more collagen?

First, it’s important to address that our boys naturally produce collagen on their own. However, in order to do so, the body must be receiving Vitamin C, Zinc, Copper, and 18 amino acids. 

Ensure you are getting enough of these minerals through nutritional food such as these examples:

  • Vitamin C- citrus fruits, red and green peppers, broccoli, and tomatoes

  • Zinc and Copper- nuts, whole grains, beans, meats, and shellfish

  • Amino Acids- Bone Broth made from beef, chicken, or fish provide the best source of collagen-building amino acids.  

Should I add a collagen supplement into my daily routine?

Hydrolized Collagen Peptides are a nutritional supplement that are also a great source of nutrients for collagen production. They come in powder or capsule form and are available through most grocery or supplement retailers. 

Note: If you have an allergy or sensitivity to shellfish, be sure to check the nutrition label. Collagen is the source from shellfish.

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Do you wish you had someone to REALLY support you FULLY to reach your goals through:

  • EXERCISE (specific to your unique life!),

  • NUTRITION (specific for your unique body and goals!)

  • Accountability and mindset coaching

  • An approach that takes your long term health and lifestyle into account

  • Peer support from other like-minded women?

Through the unique sisterhood of our Sisters in Shape online client/coach community, women are changing. We know that our affordable, balanced and fully CUSTOMIZED approach to helping you crush your goals is what you've been looking for.

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Can Coffee Help Me Lose Weight?

Coffee.

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 A popular beverage that seems to have much controversy around whether or not it’s “good for you.”

I’m happy to report for all of my fellow beloved java lovers out there that …YES! Coffee is good for you.

It offers many benefits and nutrients that can in fact help support your health and fitness goals. So let’s review some of them!

In addition to studies linking coffee drinkers with a much lower risk of several serious diseases…. Coffee is also loaded with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients that can improve your health.

  • Nutrients: A single cup of coffee contains Vitamins B2 and B5, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium and Niacin.

  • Antioxidants: In addition to these nutrients, studies show that most people (who consume a standard Western diet) get more antioxidants from coffee than they do from both fruits and vegetables... combined.

  • Aids in Weight Loss: Caffeine is found in almost every fat burner supplements because of its proven ability to aid in fat burning and boost metabolism. No need to take a supplement: just enjoy a strong cup of coffee about 30 minutes prior to working out!

  • Makes You Happier: I mean, who ISN’T happy when they are enjoying their fresh cup of coffee of the day?! A 2011 Harvard study found that women who drank 4 or more cups per day had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed. Coffee really does equal happiness… who knew?!

It’s important to note that the health benefits we’re referencing are exclusive to coffee - not lattes or frappuccino’s. Although those delicious concoctions offer a creamy, richly flavored beverage… we can’t ignore the additive calories, carbs and fats within these beverages. And while there’s no harm in enjoying a “treat” of this nature every so often, enjoying one on a regular basis could be counter intuitive to your goals.

So… what are some options for those who enjoy coffee, but simply aren’t fans of drinking it black?

PLENTY!

Like cream in your coffee?

Adding almond milk, coconut milk or another lower calorie milk of your choice to your brew. These options will offer some creaminess without the added carbs.

Like your coffee sweetened?

Skip the refined sugars and consider a natural sweetening source such as honey, stevia leaf extract, or coconut sugar.

Love your flavored coffee creamers?

There are plenty of options popping on the shelves these days for natural creamers that provide delicious flavor with minimal ingredients.

NOTE: This is a place to practice “moderation”; while these options are better (cleaner) than regular coffee creamers, they still contain sugar, whole milk, etc. If you love coffee creamers, your best friend will become the tablespoon serving utensil; measure out a serving (or two!) so that you genuinely know how much you’re consuming.

The best part? These can be enjoyed hot or cold…

OR room temperature if you’re like me because… yeah… life happens. Morning routines - getting the kids off to school, getting yourself to work, chores, errands - are chaotic and easily create distraction from that beautiful cup o’ joe that we look forward to each day.  

Bottom Line:
Steamy Hot, Iced Cold, or Leftover on the counter from the morning… enjoy that cup of coffee with minimal guilt and ultimate happiness.

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Do you wish you had someone to REALLY support you FULLY to reach your goals through:

  • EXERCISE (specific to your unique life!),

  • NUTRITION (specific for your unique body and goals!)

  • Accountability and mindset coaching

  • An approach that takes your long term health and lifestyle into account

  • Peer support from other like-minded women?

Through the unique sisterhood of our Sisters in Shape online client/coach community, women are changing. We know that our affordable, balanced and fully CUSTOMIZED approach to helping you crush your goals is what you've been looking for.

get started today >

Tips for Starting (and Sticking to!) a Fitness Routine

Sunday night: I’m going to the gym at 5am tomorrow!

Monday morning: (Alarm goes off) Ugh, too tired. I’ll squeeze a workout in around lunch.

Monday afternoon: Ahh, I’m too busy, I can’t stop for a workout! I’ll go after work.

Monday evening: I’m hungry AND exhausted. The LAST thing I feel like is heading to the gym.

If any (or all) of these excuses sound familiar… rest assured, you are not alone.

We’ve all been there. From those trying to find a fitness routine, to the exercise enthusiasts. We have ALL experienced a day where we could find 1,001 LEGIT reasons why the gym can wait til tomorrow.

EXCEPT, odds are… the majority of those reasons will still be there tomorrow.

Tired, chaotic home life, busy work life, kids in tons of after-school activities are all variables that will plague our lifestyles as far as we can see.

Let’s be honest with ourselves:

There’s never a NON-chaotic time in life.

There’s never a NON-stressful period.

There’s never a time when something unpredictable/unplanned doesn’t pop up and threaten to derail our perfectly structured routine.

POINT: Creating a goal or starting a routine isn’t about waiting until life slows down and ALLOWS you time to focus on you.

You merely have to CREATE IT.  

Think of it from this perspective: Having kids. Buying a home. New career path. Or some other major life change.

Most big milestones that leave your mind wondering “How am I going to do this?” while your heart says “We’ll figure it out.”

And somehow, you DO…

The same concept applies to anything else in life that you truly want to accomplish in life… even fitness goals!

So, if you’ve reached the point in your life where you’re ready to find a routine you can stick with, our advice is to remove as many barriers that have derailed you in the past.

Here are our top 5 tips for starting (and sticking to!) a fitness routine:

  1. Determine what will work best for your schedule.
    What do your DAYS look like? Are they jam-packed with kids, work, etc? Do you work thru lunch every day? If this is the case, a mid-day workout is probably not your best bet. What are your evenings like? Is it realistic to hit up the gym on your way home from work? If not, do you feel motivated enough to head to the gym in the late evening? Are you willing to skip the late night TV and head to bed earlier to make an early morning gym session work? These are questions that don't have a right or wrong answer. Only YOU can determine which works best for your schedule.

    Now, once you’ve determined which will work best…. plug that time in your calendar just as you would any other important meeting that can’t be missed.

  2. Have your gym outfit planned or packed.
    If you’re committed to an early morning workout, lay out your outfit the night prior. Anything you can do to make getting up and out the door easier, DO!
    If you plan to shower and head straight to work, don’t forget towels, soap, your work clothes (don’t forget a bra!), and your lunch. Yes, it’s a lot of packing but if you know that going home first to change will yield a higher likelihood of talking yourself out of going…. the extra planning and preparation will pay off.
    If you’re planning for a lunchtime or after work gym sash, pack your back and have it in the car the night before.

  3. Have a plan.
    Workouts don’t need to be long to be effective. If you’re pressed for time, make your time there count! Plan in advance what you’ll do. Will you take a fitness class? Do you plan to do cardio? What machine and how long? Will you weight train? If so, what body part? Map out your exercises beforehand and keep on the note section of your phone. PS - Don't forget to build a few minutes in for stretching! If you need help creating a plan that works for your lifestyle and your goals, a SiS trainer would be happy to help!

  4. Accountability.
    Find someone to hold you accountable of your new goal. Whether it’s a workout partner, a trainer or just someone who will ask “How was your workout?!” and you don't want to disappoint by saying “I didn’t go”…. accountability goes a long way. Don’t be afraid to find someone who will encourage your new goal, celebrate your accomplishments, and check on your progress.

  5. Be realistic.
    The last thing you want to happen is burnout or an injury from doing too much too soon, and not letting your body (and mind) get ample recover. Even the most seasoned athletes need rest and recovery days. If you’re currently working out 0 days a week, don’t set a goal for 7 days a week or 2-hour workouts. Set a goal for 3 or 4 days a week, 30 minutes each time. See how that leaves you feeling and how that worked with your schedule. Remain with a consistent schedule for a few weeks before adding more days or time to your routine.

    On the flip side: if life truly does get in the way and you miss a day - or even a week - from your newly established fitness routine… grant yourself forgiveness. Do what you can with the time and resources you do have, and take pride in knowing that you’re giving your best effort.


    Now that you’ve read this … What’s YOUR plan for Monday???

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Do you wish you had someone to REALLY support you FULLY to reach your goals through:

  • EXERCISE (specific to your unique life!), 

  • NUTRITION (specific for your unique body and goals!)

  • Accountability and mindset coaching

  • An approach that takes your long term health and lifestyle into account

  • Peer support from other like-minded women?

Through the unique sisterhood of our Sisters in Shape online client/coach community, women are changing. We know that our affordable, balanced and fully CUSTOMIZED approach to helping you crush your goals is what you've been looking for.

get started today >

Sugar: 5 Surprising Places It's Hiding

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The average adult consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar per day, which is nearly half a cup.

Not only are diets high in sugar a concern for type 2 diabetes, but can also raise blood pressure, cholesterol levels, increase the risk of heart disease… and also cause weight gain.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “I don't eat a lot of sugar. I don't eat candy, ice cream, cookies.” You may even be thinking, “This doesn’t pertain to me. I don't even like sweets!” While either of these situations may very well be true and your sugar consumption may be lower than the average adult... stick with us for a moment. ;)

According to the American Heart Association, adult women should consume no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugars per day (9 teaspoons for men). But since nutrition labels are measured in grams, remember this: 4 grams of sugar is equal to about 1 teaspoon.

For example: If the nutrition label of a chocolate bar lists 20 grams of sugar, that single chocolate bar contains 4 teaspoons of added sugar.

Believe it or not, added sugars can be found foods outside of candy.

Here are 5 surprising places where sugar hides:

  1. CONDIMENTS - often referred to as “empty calories” condiments are one of the most common places to find added sugars. Furthermore, it’s a place where we aren’t as stringing with measuring, so consuming more than 1 serving is fairly common. A single tablespoon of ketchup contains 1 teaspoon of sugar. Many salad dressings contain 4-7 grams of sugar per serving. And don't let the “fat-free” labels fool you; those contain sugar too! Pasta sauces are another culprits in the sugar scene as well.

  2. YOGURT - While yogurts promote the benefits of calcium, vitamins, and nutrients, a quick glance at most yogurt labels reveal a surprising amount of added sugars. One yogurt can contain up to 4.5 teaspoons of sugar.

  3. SNACK BARS - these grab and go’s are convenient snacks for busy families trying to stay fueled between errands, after-school activities and such. But some have the sugar equivalent of a candy bar.

  4. CEREAL - we all realize now that most cereals we loved as a kid are high in sugar (that’s what made them taste so good when we were younger, right?). But it’s not just the “kid-friendly” cereals that are offenders. Many labeled “high fiber” or “bran” contain just as much sugar as our favorite kid cereals.

  5. COFFEE CREAMER - There’s no denying those creamers make our coffee even more indulgent. Almost like a dessert. Well, considering one serving (1 tbsp) is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of sugar, I guess it’s not entirely surprising. Our beloved creamers are another place where overindulgence can easily happen. (‘Cause let’s be honest… who really measures out just 1 tbsp of creamer?!)


If this list has you throwing your hands up saying, “Great. Everything has sugar. Everything is bad for me. So, what CAN I eat?”... Remain calm.

This isn’t a rule book telling you what to give up, but rather to arm you with some awareness to ensure you are equipped with the information to achieve your goals. Our goal is to not only to provide you with the knowledge and tools to be successful LONG TERM in your wellness journey but to also help you find balance in your everyday lifestyle.

If you’ve found even one thing that you can easily swap for lower-sugar options, you’re already better off than you were 5 minutes ago.

Now, aren’t you glad you kept reading? ;)

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Do you wish you had someone to REALLY support you FULLY to reach your goals through:

  • EXERCISE (specific to your unique life!), 

  • NUTRITION (specific for your unique body and goals!)

  • Accountability and mindset coaching

  • An approach that takes your long term health and lifestyle into account

  • Peer support from other like-minded women?

Through the unique sisterhood of our Sisters in Shape online client/coach community, women are changing. We know that our affordable, balanced and fully CUSTOMIZED approach to helping you crush your goals is what you've been looking for.

get started today >

What’s All the Fat About?

Although fat got a bad rap in the carb-crazy ‘90s, fat is actually very important to a healthy diet, especially for women! Fat comes in two main forms: unsaturated and saturated fat. Unsaturated fats are oils — the kind that are fluid at room temperature (such as olive and avocado oils). Saturated fats are solid at room temperature (think butter or coconut oil).