Expert Advice: Fitness Should be Part of Your PCOS Treatment Plan

Mark Perloe MD
Mark Perloe MD

I met Reproductive Endocrinologist and highly regarded Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome expert Dr. Mark Perloe when he presented at the PCOS Challenge symposium. Before he took to the stage, the woman seated to my right turned to me and said, “My fertility doctor is speaking next. He’s really great. I had my last baby over ten years ago, but I still see him because he really gets PCOS.”

I was immediately impressed. In all my time as a PCOS patient and advocate, I had never heard a fellow Cyster rave about her medical care. As Dr. Perloe gave his presentation on creating a treatment plan for PCOS, it became clear he is a compassionate, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable advocate for women living with PCOS.

On Sunday Dr. Perloe and I had a great conversation about PCOS and weight loss, and I am eager to share what I learned with you.

Why women with PCOS have trouble with their weight

The insulin resistance that is characteristic of PCOS promotes weight gain. It is still unclear exactly how PCOS and insulin resistance are linked. Recent research suggests that our genetics play a role. Insulin is the hormone your body uses to deliver energy (in the form of glucose) to your cells. When you are insulin resistant, normal amounts of insulin are inadequate to produce a normal response from your cells. As a result, the excess glucose that remains in the blood stream is sent to the liver. The liver converts the excess glucose into fat and stores it throughout the body. Thus, women with PCOS tend to gain weight easily.

The relationship between insulin resistance and weight gain is not easy to understand! Dr. Perloe has made a great explainer-video on the subject. Click here to get some of Dr. Perloe’s best video tutorials sent to your inbox.

It can be easy to feel frustrated; like the cards are stacked against you when it comes to losing weight. But Dr. Perloe is very optimistic when it comes to weight management and PCOS. He’s a man with a plan!

The three point plan for PCOS weight loss: a low GI diet, insulin sensitizers, exercise.

Dr. Perloe won’t tell you that losing weight with PCOS is easy. For that matter, neither will I. He believes that managing your weight and health when you have PCOS takes a life-long commitment, but there is a clear and research-based approach to ensure that you look and feel you best.

A Low GI Diet

GI, or the Glycemic Index, is designed to measure how quickly a type of carbohydrate is digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. A low GI score indicates the food is digested and absorbed more slowly. Examples of low GI foods include beans, unprocessed whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables and, of course, food that do not contain carbohydrates like animal proteins and oils.

The goal of a low GI is to get the majority of your calories from low-GI food so that you have a steady rise in the level of glucose in the blood, which in turn leads to a small and gentle rise in insulin.

Insulin Sensitizers

Insulin sensitizers, like metformin and inositol supplements, plus a low GI diet can correct PCOS-related insulin resistance. Dr. Perloe has seen great results with both the supplement Ovasitol and generic metformin. However, you and your physician should work together to find the right dosages of metformin or inositol for you.

Exercise

Dr. Perloe wants you to hit the weight room ladies. Why? The majority of the glucose you ingest from food will be used by and stored in your skeletal muscle. Progressive strength training increases the size of skeletal muscle and enhances that muscles’ ability to manage glucose. Medical research has demonstrated that the adaptations created by progressive resistance training will increase insulin sensitivity and your metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn at rest).

Don’t be a cardio queen

Dr. Perloe cautions women against doing long bouts of cardio exercise. The traditional thinking that “the more calories you burn, the better” will not serve PCOS women well. Over time, large amounts of cardio can reduce your muscle mass thus slowing down your metabolism. Shorter, high-intensity cardio does a much better job of improving your cardiovascular health and insulin resistance.

Dr. Perloe tells his patients to do just two 20-minute, high-intensity cardio sessions a week and to strength train two or three times a week on nonconsecutive days. When you strength train, select exercises and resistance levels that challenge you and train each major muscle group once a week.

Will lifting heavy weights increase your androgen levels?

I get asked this a lot, so I decided to put this question to Dr. Perloe.

The answer: No, quite the opposite. We know that insulin resistance and obesity exacerbate hyperandrogenism in women with PCOS. Strength training is a proven method of managing insulin resistance and obesity. Improved insulin sensitivity and weight reduction will ultimately improve hyperandrogenism.

Should you work out if you are trying to conceive?

Absolutely. The majority of women who follow Dr. Perloe’s three-point plan can conceive without any further fertility treatments. How cool is that? In fact, women who are physically active give birth to healthier babies. Check out the post I wrote for With Great Expectations (an excellent blog for anyone TTC) to learn more about how exercise can prepare you for motherhood.  

However, once you are pregnant, you should reevaluate your exercise program and consult your OB-GYN. Dr. Perloe says expectant mothers should reduce their exercise intensity so that they can pass the talk test: you should be able to hold a conversation while exercising.

If there is one thing I took from my Sunday afternoon chat with Dr. Perloe, it’s that PCOS is not a lost cause. We have smart and compassionate advocates like Dr. Perloe and information on our side. It is our job to use the tools available to our advantage!

Would you like to hear more from Dr. Perloe? Click here to get some of Dr. Peloe’s best video tutorials sent to your inbox.

If you live in the Atlanta, Georgia area and are looking for a wonderful fertility specialist, you can get in touch with Dr. Perloe by visiting IVF.com.

Your Post-Thanksgiving Recovery Plan

Have you ever noticed that the morning after an indulgent meal like Thanksgiving your body and mind are absolutely consumed by cravings?

Me too! It can drive a women nuts! You have every intention of “being good” and getting back on your diet the next day, but your body is just screaming give me more!

And on top of the cravings, we have to resist the time-honored tradition of grazing off of Thanksgiving leftovers the over the rest of the weekend. This “tradition” of extending your Thanksgiving feast by two or three days can turn one indulgent meal into a 2-5 pounds of rapid weight gain yikes!

To me, a healthy Thanksgiving is all about ending the feast once you leave the table! I would like to propose a sensible alternative that will allow you to revisit the delicious flavors of Thanksgiving and return to a nutrient-dense PCOS-friendly diet.

The plan below is made up of nutritious recipes that have a hint of holiday flavor without the added sugars, unhealthy fats and refined carbs that make our traditional feast detrimental to our health.

Your Ultimate Healthy Thanksgiving Recovery Plan

 

Meditate 

Start your day off with meditation. I know what you’re thinking: “how will meditating keep me from pigging out?”

Here’s the deal: after the excitement of a holiday celebration, it can be difficult to transition back to your normal routine and clean eating. Prepare yourself mentally for this challenging day by doing a brief meditation. A few minutes of quiet reflection will keep you more mindful and in control of the rest of the day.

You can try my favorite meditation app for free at headspace.com, or you can use this free mindfulness meditation series from DoYogaWithMe.com. Oh and BTW I love DoYogaWithMe.com’s online yoga classes too!

 

Photo By Lauren Geertsen
Photo By Lauren Geertsen

Breakfast

My grandma would let us eat leftover pie for breakfast the morning after Turkey day- yeah she was AWESOME! But today the adult me is going to skip the pie and whip up a batch of Grain-Free Pumpkin Pancakes.

I found this Recipe on the WellnessMama.com it was created by Lauren Geertsen of Empowered Sustenance.

 

Break a Sweat

Now that you’ve enjoyed a nutritious breakfast it is time to workout! You do not need to be a superhero today, just get moving! The natural high of physical activity will help keep you feeling balanced.

Do you have house guest and can’t get away to the gym? No problem! Click here to get my 10-Minute Quickie Workout sent to your inbox now!


 

Lunch

I know your first instinct will be to build yourself a monster-sized turkey sandwich. Let’s avoid the processed carbs by skipping the bread. Instead, whip up this Turkey and Baby Kale Salad With Avocado Sage Dressing from Green Lite Bites.

Since you already have cooked turkey on hand, you can skip the step of cooking turkey cutlets and have lunch on the table in no time!  

 

Avoid a late afternoon snack attack.

Many women struggle with a late afternoon cravings. Try to boost your endorphins (the feel good hormones) without snacking. Cuddle up and watch old movies with you sweetheart, go for a walk at a local park or play backyard football with the fam. Keep yourself busy and out of the kitchen!  

 

Dinner

Last night you chowed down on many inflammatory foods like sugary pies and cranberries floating in corn syrup. Soothe you body’s inflammatory response by having Omega-3 rich salmon for dinner. Researchers have discovered omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, and might ease the symptoms of disorders influenced by inflammation (like PCOS.)  

This Pan-Seared Salmon with Cranberry Walnut Relish from Paleo Grubs would pair nicely with a baked yam and steamed green beans.  

 

Get to bed!

Congratulations! You’re at the finish line. The last step of this no-nonsense recovery plan is to get a good nights sleep. Plan on being in bed at least 8 1/2 hours before you have to wake up. Sleep deprivation can compromise your wellbeing and your ability to stick to a healthy routine. Don’t undo all your hard work by skipping over this final step!  

Ready to bounce back from your turkey coma like a champ? Click here to get my 10-Minute Quickie Workout sent to your inbox now!  

A PCOS Exercise Plan for Beginners: Start Strength Training Today!

Click here to get my strength training bonus sent to your inbox now!

My bonus includes an instructional video, cool down stretches and a pre & post workout nutrition guide. Plus, links to my best articles about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Strength Training.

 

PCOS Exercise Plan for Beginners

  1. Do this workout 3 times a week on nonconsecutive days for 4 to 6 weeks.
  2. To warm up walk at a brisk pace for 5 minutes.
  3. The exercises are separated into two groups. Do the two exercises in group A before moving on to group B.
  4. Rest as needed in between sets.
  5. The last rep of a set should be tough! If you finish a set and could’ve done more, increase your reps, increase your resistance or select a more difficult version of the movement.
  6. End the workout with a 5-20 minute cool down walk.
  7. This program is designed to get you started quickly. Ideally, you should be ready for a more difficult workout in about 6 weeks.

beginners workout

Forearm Wall Slides

PCOS exerciseforearm wallslide

  1. Start by facing a wall with your forearms in contact with the wall, shoulder width apart.
  2. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and keep wrists inline with the elbows.
  3. Keep your forearms in contact with the wall as you slide your arms up and out. Don’t shrug the shoulders!
  4. Slide the arms back to the starting position and repeat.

Pallof Press

Pallof Press

  1. Affix the band to an immovable object at chest level.
  2. Stand inline with the band so that your body is parallel to the anchor point.
  3. Hold the band with both hands and center it on your chest. Do not allow the band to rotate your upper body.
  4. Exhale, push the band straight out in front of you, brace your core and glutes to resist the urge to rotate.
  5. Hold it in front for 3 seconds, then return the band to your chest.

Squat

Squat

  1. Stand with your feet beneath your shoulders.
  2. Inhale and lower your body like you’re sitting down in a chair.
  3. Keep the back neutral, chest up and core engaged. Push your feet into the ground like you’re trying to split apart the floor beneath you. This will help engage your glutes.
  4. Lower your body until your thighs are at least parallel to the ground.
  5. Keep your torso stiff as you exhale and press your body back up to standing.

Note: If you find this move difficult you can start with a chair squat, the instructions are in my video bonus!

Elevated Push Up

elevated pushup

  1. Place your hands on a wall or another sturdy surface like a table. They should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  2. Engage your core to stiffen the torso and step back so that your weight is on the toes and hands.
  3. Keep your feet together and your glutes should be firm.
  4. Inhale and lower your chest toward the wall. Keep the glutes and core strong, tuck the elbows close to your sides as you descend.
  5. Exhale, press back up to the starting position.

Note: If you find this move difficult you can start with a wall push up, the instructions are in my video bonus!

Pull Through

Pull through Pull through

  1. Loop a resistance band around a sturdy object near the floor. Stand while straddling the band with feet hip-width apart and face away from the anchor point.
  2. Keep your back straight, core engaged and your shoulders down.
  3. Inhale as you hinge at the hip and press your rear behind you, slightly bend the knees, feeling a stretch in the hamstrings. Do not round your spine.
  4. Exhale as you squeeze the glutes and press the hips forward to stand back up, pulling the band through your legs.
  5. Imagine that you’re pulling from your hips rather than your arms or lower back.

Note: If you find this move difficult you can start with a hip bridge, the instructions are in my video bonus!

Band Resisted Row

Row Exercise

  1. Find a fixed object where you can wrap the exercise band. Grab an end of the band in each hand and step back to where the band is under tension.
  2. Stand with your feet apart, shoulder width.
  3. Exhale, keep your elbows close to your sides as you pull the band towards you.
  4. Contract and flex your back muscles at the peak position. Inhale as you slowly return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the recommended number of reps.

Are you ready to start strength training? 

Click here to get my strength training bonus sent to your inbox now!

My bonus includes an instructional video, cool down stretches and a pre & post workout nutrition guide. Plus, links to my best articles about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Strength Training.

16 Tips for Losing Weight with PCOS That Won’t Cost You a Cent!

I have received dozens of emails from women interested in losing weight with PCOS, but they can’t afford a gym membership, yoga classes or a personal trainer.

Having all of those luxuries would certainly be helpful- I use some of them myself! But the truth is you do not need them.

And you should not wait until you can afford them to start putting your health first.

Women who lose weight with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) do three very important things:

  • Exercise
  • Eat a nutrient-dense diet
  • Reduce their stress

You might be thinking to yourself: “Sounds great, but how do I do all that without hiring a nutritionist, a yoga teacher and a personal assistant?”

Today, I am going to give you 16 actionable tips for losing weight with PCOS that won’t cost you a cent. And I’m going to give you downloadable bonus material that you can use to put these 16 awesome tips into action.

The Bonus includes:

  • A handy checklist for all of the tips in this post.
  • Links to six of my favorite healthy recipes
  • And a list of online resources to help you get started

         Click here to get the bonus sent to your in box now!

1. Eat without distraction.

Eating while in front of a television, tapping away on a laptop, or driving is not just a choking hazard! People who eat distracted eat more. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reviewed 24 different research studies and found that eating while distracted increased overall food intake in most individuals.

losing weight with PCOSEliminate distracted eating from your life by setting time aside in your schedule to eat. Go ahead and add lunch to your work calendar so that meetings and other responsibilities don’t invade your meal time.

Make it a personal rule to eat at a table and not your desk or the couch where you’ll be tempted to stare at a screen while you eat.

Leave your smartphone in another room during mealtime and, of course, eating at a drive thru is out of the question.

If your day is truly busy, just set aside 10 minutes to drink a healthy super shake. 10 minutes of undistracted eating is better than an hour of distracted overeating!

I’ve seen clients end their battle with overeating just by changing this single habit!

2. Stop scheduling rest days into your workout program.

Wait… Doesn’t your body need time to recover from intense exercise?

Yes, it does, but you do not need a rest day.

You need a recovery workout – a workout where you take the intensity way down and focus on things like joint mobility and deep breathing.

rest daysWhat you don’t need is 2-3 days a week that are devoid of any actual movement! Most of us sit all day at work and then sit in traffic just to come home and sit on our couch. The last thing your body needs is less movement!

On days when you don’t have a cardio or strength session planned, you should still set that block of time aside for health-enhancing activities!

On my recovery days, I like to do my usual warm-up followed by a leisurely stroll and then take a few minutes to stretch and foam roll tight muscles. Sometimes I even do some deep breathing exercises.

3. Squat.

The squat is a staple of most exercise programs for good reason. Squats simultaneously work the biggest muscle groups in your body (quads, glutes, back, and core) and are essential to everyday functioning. You use the squatting motion to sit, stand up, and pick things up. You can’t avoid squatting so you might as well get good at it!

How To Squat:Squat

  1. Stand with your feet beneath your shoulders.
  2.  Inhale and lower your body like you’re sitting down in a chair.
  3. Keep the back neutral, chest up and core engaged.
  4. Lower your body until your thighs are at least parallel to the ground.
  5. Keep your torso stiff as you exhale and press your body back up to standing.

You can do squats with or without added weight making them a great exercise to do at home!

4. Sprinkle on the spice.

Spices are a great way to boost you’re level of satisfaction from a meal. Human behavior researchers have found that when people have a stronger sensory experience while eating they tend to feel more satisfied and eat less.

Behavioral scientist Jennifer Lee, Ph.D. explains that “Our brains and bodies use a combination of signals to indicate ‘fullness’: sensory signals (taste, smell), gastric signals (full bellies), and nutrient signals (our bodies tell our brains, whether we are lacking in certain vitamins and minerals, etc.).

Plus, many spices deliver some serious health benefits. For example, a study conducted by the US Agricultural Research Service found that type II diabetics who consumed just 1 gram of cinnamon per day experienced a 20% decrease in blood sugar.

Ways to spice up your diet:

  • Make several homemade spice blends so that you have them on hand for creative moments in the kitchen. I love to sprinkle this Moroccan spice blend on my quinoa and chick peas and this taco spice blend can be added to bland beans or a baked sweet potato for an added kick.
  •  Sprinkle cinnamon in your coffee or tea each morning.
  • Go through you spice cabinet and make sure you have a fresh supply. Ground spices do go bad after a while. As a general rule, whole spices will stay fresh for about 4 years, ground spices for about 3 to 4 years and dried leafy herbs for 1 to 3 years.

5. Sneak more walking into your day.

There are several medical studies which have found that spending too much of your day in a seated position can be hazardous to your health.

In fact, a study conducted by the American Cancer Society found that people who sat for more than 6 hours per day increased their risk of death over the next 15 years by 40 percent compared to those who sat for less than 3 hours per day.

Translation: move or you’re killing yourself! treadmill

Adding more bouts of movement into your day will safeguard your health and make losing weight with PCOS a bit easier.

Some people at your office may take cigarette breaks or quick trips to Starbucks. Why not try taking a quick walking break?

The next time you have the urge to get out of your office and grab a mocha, skip the sugary drink and opt for a quick stroll around the block. The fresh air will energize you and the extra steps will further your fitness goals.

If you’re a parent, try walking around the field while waiting for your little leaguer’s practice to finish up. Why sit and wait if you can walk and wait?

6. Make push-ups part of your program.

When it comes to upper body exercises, you can’t beat the push-up. They do a fantastic job of strengthening your upper body while also working your core, glute and leg muscles. Push-ups burn calories and build strength!

Many women think they can’t do push-ups. They are wrong 99% of the time. Push-ups are an intermediate level exercise. If you can’t do them right away, start practicing good form by doing push-ups with your hands on a sturdy bench or the wall.

How To Do Push-ups:pushup

  1. Get into a good push-up position: place your hands on the ground slightly wider than shoulders width apart, engage your core to stiffen your torso, keep your feet together and your glutes should be firm.
  2. Inhale, and lower your chest toward the ground. Keep your glutes and core strong, tuck your elbows close to your sides as you descend.
  3.  Exhale, press back up to the starting position.
  4.  Do as many as you can from your toes. If necessary, you can reduce the difficulty by placing your hands on a bench or the wall.

 7. Eat fewer processed carbohydrates.

Every PCOS diet I’ve come across recommends that you get the majority of your carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables and beans. Unfortunately, the average person tends to get most of their carbohydrates from processed grain products like cereal, pasta, sandwich breads, and sugar.

Getting most of your carbohydrates from these highly refined products leads you to a state of being overfed and undernourished. You’re getting more than enough calories from breads and cookies, but you’re not getting nearly enough vitamins and minerals.Processed Carbohydrates

How to eat less processed carbohydrates:

  • Use lettuce leaves in place of tortillas and wraps.
  • Ditch pasta and use spaghetti squash or julienne sliced zucchini instead noodles.
  • You can replace white rice with this recipe for cauliflower rice.
  • Instead of a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast, try fresh fruit and plain greek yogurt with a little honey. This will also boost your protein intake!

 8. Include high-intensity interval training in your cardio program.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a method of cardio exercise that is great for women with PCOS. HIIT workouts can increase your insulin sensitivity, help you build muscle, and improve your body’s ability to burn fat.

A HIIT workout involves alternating low intensity intervals of exercise with intervals of high-intensity exercise.  For example, a HIIT workout might include alternating bouts of sprinting with brisk walking.

One or two 20-minute sessions of HIIT each week should be enough to boost your weight loss efforts.

Here are links to two of my favorite HIIT workout plans:

A Running Program for People Who Don’t Like to Run

At Home Cardio Circuit

9. Cook nutritious desserts.

chocolate peanut butterYou can lose weight and eat your cake too! The trouble with most traditional desserts is that they are high in calories and low in nutrients.

However, there are plenty of innovative food bloggers who are creating totally nutritious and tasty dessert recipes. Two of my favorite places to find healthy desserts are chocolatecoveredkatie.com and purelytwins.com.

A word or warning: many nutritious dessert recipes are still high in calories, so you need to use portion control.

10. Practice the art of mindful eating.

Mindful Eating is a practice that Buddhist monks have been adhering to for hundreds of years. The concept is simple: bring attention and focus to eating.

Mindful eating has been shown to help chronic overeaters reduce stress and caloric intake. Both of which are helpful in losing weight.

Mindful eaters take special care to notice their hunger cues before, during and after a meal. They also savor the sensory experience of eating by reflecting on the taste, appearance, texture, and smell of their food.

Four simple ways to start eating mindfully:

  1. Eat from a plate or bowl, not a bag. By placing food out on a plate, you get a visual cue as to how much you are eating.
  2. Put your utensils down in between bites. If you have food in your mouth, your hands should be empty. Take a moment to taste, chew and swallow each bite before taking the next.
  3. Try to identify each ingredient in a dish. As you eat focus on flavor and take note of what spices and ingredients are present in each bite.
  4. Throughout your meal contemplate how your food got to your plate. Think about how you cooked it, where you bought it, and the farmer who grew the ingredients.

 11. Be aware of liquid calories.

High-calorie beverages tend to be less satiating than a solid food meal of the same amount of calories. In fact, people who drink high-calorie beverages tend to consume more calories in general. shakes-200x300

If you want to lose weight, my suggestion is that you drink water, tea, coffee and the occasional glass of red wine. Here are a few beverages you should keep to a minimum when trying to slim down:

  • Commercially prepared smoothies and protein shakes
  • Specialty coffee drinks
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Fruit juice
  • Soda.

 12. Get eight hours of sleep each night.

Not getting enough sleep at night is a serious health risk and it can hinder your weight loss efforts.

  • Sleep deprivation can affect the hormones that control your hunger levels.
  • An American Academy of Sleep Medicine research study found that sleeping less at night may increase the expression of genetic risks for obesity.
  • Many medical studies have found that sleep deprivation reduces fat cells’ ability to respond properly to the hormone insulin.

How to get a good night’s sleep:

  • Schedule enough time for you to sleep a full eight hours. This means you need to have the lights off eight and a half to nine hours before you’re supposed to get up.
  • Keep your bedroom dark and at a cool temperature.
  •  Reserve your bedroom for sleeping. Keep the television and computer in other rooms.
  • Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

13. Eat more veggies!

You really can’t eat too many veggies! Vegetables are amazing for so many reasons. But, to put it simply, you need to eat more veggies because they have tons of micronutrients and fibers, but are very low in calories.

They are the ideal food for weight loss!

How to eat more veggies:carrots

  • Learn to cook veggies. Like any food, veggies taste best when you put a little effort into cooking them. You would not expect raw chicken to taste wonderful. The same holds true for asparagus and carrots.
  •  Get creative with your salads. Mix salad greens with roasted veggies, fruit, avocados, nuts or seeds.
  • Buy produce when it is in-season. Produce will be at it’s best when you buy it at the right time of year. You can look online to get a list of what’s in-season and when for your area.
  • Try to eat different color veggies every day. Differently colored veggies contain different nutrients.

14. Work out first thing in the morning.

When you make your workout the first thing on your to-do list, it gets done.

The number one reason women give me for not working out is their busy schedules. And it’s a perfectly valid reason!

Unfortunately, if you keep putting other things before your health, your body and your quality of life will pay for it. The easiest way to nip this problem in the bud is to work out first thing in the morning. Snooze_button

A morning workout may not seem very appealing to those of you that are addicted to the snooze button, but I have a few ways you can make your morning sweat session a cherished ritual.

Do not check your email when you wake up. Unless you’re a world leader, everybody else’s problems can wait until you’ve worked out.

Work out at home. Working out at home eliminates commuting time and the need to shower in a locker room – yuck!

Make a great workout playlist, pick music that energizes you.

Put the most important part of your workout at the beginning. For example, if your priority is chest and legs, do your squats and push-ups right after your warm-up. This way if you have to cut the workout short, you’ve still accomplished something!

Be grateful. Having the time, resources, and physical capability to work out is a privilege! Be grateful for that strong, beating heart and your comfy yoga pants!

15. Learn to cook. Even if it’s just six dishes.

In my opinion, cooking is a terrific hobby – especially for women with PCOS. Knowing how to cook will free you from being dependent on restaurants and manufactured food products.

After taking cooking lessons, I found that I prefer my cooking to most cafe’s and restaurants. More importantly, by cooking my meals I always have control over the quality of my food.

Do you think cooking is a chore? Not to worry. You just need to find about five or six healthy recipes you can master. Most people eat the same stuff every week and are perfectly happy to do so.

I recommend you learn the following:

  • two poultry dishes you like
  • one fish or seafood dish
  • how to roast veggies
  • at least one healthy dessert
  • one tasty bean or quinoa dish.

Note: I include links to my six go-to healthy recipes in the downloadable bonus. Click here to get the bonus sent to your in box now!

16. Stop looking for quick fixes.

pcosIf you have PCOS, losing weight is about more than just being thin. Managing your weight will help you protect yourself from PCOS-related complications like infertility and diabetes.

Lasting, health-preserving weight loss requires you to adopt a lifestyle that makes your health a priority. It is not always an easy thing to do, but the benefits outweigh the costs!

Focus on making small meaningful changes to your lifestyle and eventually the numbers on the scale will reflect the healthy choices you’re making! Are you ready to take some action? Start right now by downloading this helpful checklist!

Click this image to get the checklist!

The Ultimate At Home Workout for Hikers

I designed this ‘at home’ workout to help you become a better hiker. During the fall months, the weather cools off and in some places the trees start to change colors. Fall is the perfect time to start hiking.

I love hiking because it’s a form of exercise that gets you outdoors and can often be a social event. It’s good for the body, mind and soul! Scientific studies have suggested that outdoor exercise can benefit your mental health along with your physical health. In fact some medical practitioners have started using outdoor exercise as part of the treatment program for patients suffering from psychological illnesses like depression.

A couple weeks ago my friend Brittany flew in from LA to pay us a visit. I was so excited to see her and share beautiful Costa Rica with my friend. We planned an ambitious day trip to the Poas Volcano National Park and the La Paz Waterfall.

Poas Volcano
We’re standing in front of an active volcano!

Our excursion involved two different treks, one to get a view of the volcano and the other a climb to the top of the La Paz waterfall which involved traversing several winding flights of stairs.

La Paz Waterfall
It was cold!

After a very active and exciting day with my friend I slept very well. But, the next morning I woke up to a set of very sore legs. I was shocked! I work out my legs regularly, why are they sore from a days worth of hiking?

Even if you’ve been working out regularly, your exercise program might not adequately prepare you for the rigors of hiking. Take me for example, I workout everyday, but my body didn’t recover quickly from our hiking trip. The exercise science term used to explain this little mystery is called the specificity principle.

The Specificity Principle simply states that to become better at a particular exercise or skill, you must perform that exercise or skill.

My muscle soreness was the result of the body performing a skill it’s not used to performing, climbing up steep hills and stairs all afternoon. My regular workouts had been designed to help keep me lean, strong, energized and healthy, but not to make me a great hiker.

After my adventure with Brittany I decided to create a workout that would specifically improve hiking skills. My mom was coming in for a visit in a few weeks and I didn’t want a reoccurrence of my post-hike leg soreness.

There aren’t any hiking trails near my casa so I selected a combination of exercises that would mimic the skills needed for hiking. This workout is designed to increase your muscular endurance while allowing you to practice the skills of climbing hills, stepping up inclines, and balancing – and you can do it at home!

At home workout for hikers

  • As always, start with a good warm-up.
  • Do each of these exercises at a quick pace, in good form, for the prescribed number of reps, then move on to the next exercise.
  • Since the primary goal of this workout is to increase your endurance, keep your rest breaks to a minimum.
  • Do this entire circuit of exercises 4-5 times.
  • Increase your reps as you become more advanced.

Walking Lunges

Walking Lunge

 

  1. Step out with your lead leg, bend your knees and lower your hips. Keep your torso erect with your shoulders directly above the hips. Don’t let your lead knee extend past your toes.
  2. Inhale and keep the spine neutral as you rise up.
  3. Step forward with the back leg and lower back into a 2nd lunge.
  4. As you preform additional reps you will travel across the floor.
  5. Beginners start with 20-rep sets (10 each leg). Advanced go for 30-rep sets (15 each leg).

Sprints

 

The Inchworm

At home workout

  1. Reach or squat down so that your hands are on the ground.
  2. With a strong core “walk” your hands out in front of you and extend your body until in a plank position.
  3. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart and your torso stiff with braced abs. Do not stick your rear up in the air or let your hips sag toward the ground, the glutes should be firm. Hold for 2 counts.
  4. Walk your feet up to meet your hands. Focus on engaging your core during the exercise.
  5. Beginners start with 10-rep sets. Advanced go for 15-rep sets.

Skater Jump

skater jump

  1. Cross your left leg behind your right and lower into a half-squat, your right arm out to the side, left arm across your body.
  2. Leap to the left while switching your legs and arms.
  3. Return to position one by leaping toward your right.
  4. Beginners start with 20-rep sets (10 each leg). Advanced go for 30-rep sets (15 each leg).

Rest

For 60-90 seconds walk it off! You can march in place, pace, or just walk but take a few seconds for active rest before you start with the walking lunges again.

 

I added this workout into my routine twice a week. When my mom and I did the same hiking trip together last Friday, I woke up on Saturday with no leg soreness. Success! Thank you specificity principle!

Poas Costa Rica

Do you have a favorite fall activity you want to get in shape for? Tell me about it! Leave a comment!