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July 8, 2014

Are You Addicted to Coffee? (+ 4 Ways to Create More Balance In Your Life)

During the years of 2003 to 2008, I taught 15-20 group fitness classes a week, and personal trained up to 12 clients at day. I was doing what I call, “The Fitness Hustle” and I loved every minute of it. EXCEPT … how it messed with my energy.

Anyone doing The Fitness Hustle knows that life as a full-time fitness pro includes both early mornings AND late nights. Because that’s when fitness happens, right? Before work and after. And personally for me, my drive for helping others paired with my passion for all things fitness led me to the craziest of lifestyles. I was drinking three venti americanos (aka 20 oz! in Starbucks language) every single day in order to keep gas in my tank. It was partly the need for caffeine to propel myself through my classes, but it was also very much habitual–drinking through those dead times during the middle of the day, and even to keep myself from eating crap. Coffee was king.

Now. Is this “bad?”

I don’t know that it is. And it’s certainly an issue unique to each individual. BUT. It was also not the healthiest way to continue to live. Coffee can give us a false sense of energy, and like anything that isn’t innate and natural, eventually my own body started down-regulating, so that the effects weren’t the same. Over time, I didn’t feel the same jolt of caffeine and even my intensity suffered in my classes. The catecholamine response I got off caffeine waned.

So finally in 2008, I started cutting back on both my classes and my coffee and started making changes to my schedule so that I had more time and less stress–both physical and mental. I’ve written on this time in my life a lot on the blog.

I think this is an issue that many of us women deal with–supplementing with something to help with energy or make ourselves feel better. Whether it’s caffeine or wine or sugar or whatever. We feel the pull to HELP OURSELVES along somehow. Because au naturel is not working. And this is, sadly, very common.

So when JillFit Ambassador Rae Anne Mullins, to me with an awesome guest post about quitting the “coffee habit loop” and offering suggestions for how to balance energy (and life!) more effectively, I knew that the JillFit gals would resonate :)

A feeling of “balance” or “less stress” is something you guys ask for often. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received from women saying they are stressed by everything from food obsession to family matters to work stuff and back again to body image and calorie counting. WE ARE STRESSED. And then we’re stressed because we’re stressed, ha! I love being a woman :) Lol.

ANYWHO. I wanted to share with you today a great post Rae Anne penned about her own experience in the fitness world (and with coffee :)) and how she successfully started balancing all of her obligations as a mom, wife, businessowner, fitness instructor and someone who wants to stay fit & lean.

I hope you guys love her insights as much as I do! Enjoy! Ox, Jill

Every morning my alarm clock goes off at 4:45am. I immediately get out of bed, throw on clothes (that I lay out the night before), feed the cat, fill up my water bottle and sneak out of the house to go teach a class or two.

After I teach my classes and meet with personal training clients, I head home for MY FAVORITE part of the day. As soon as I walk in the front door the AROMA hits me!


Coffee is such a treat! Black, with cream, without cream, with sweetener, without sweetener – I LOVE IT ALL!

Why do I like coffee so much?

First of all, I love enjoying coffee time with my husband. I must give kudos to my man because he has my morning coffee ready every day for me when I get home. While we drink coffee at the kitchen table we discuss our day ahead and enjoy the quiet moment before the kids get up.

Secondly, I am admittedly addicted to the BUZZ that I get about 3 minutes into my cup.

It’s really amazing to me how MOTIVATED and INVINCIBLE I feel after just a single cup of java. My husband laughs at me because I’m always jotting down lists of what needs to be accomplished and I’m always throwing out big ideas of what we “should” do. These coffee moments always give me new ideas and if I don’t write them down – they disappear as quickly as they appear.

Do you too relish that “after coffee feeling”?

Well, I have to tell you that although I truly adore that amazing feeling, there are days that I don’t get to come home at the right time or that the kids have somewhere to go early and I don’t get to have that morning cup of coffee.

Do I panic? Do I suffer the rest of the day? NO! In fact, since I’ve changed my ways of eating and exercising, I don’t really miss the coffee so much because I almost always have that same energy without it.

Yep, I mean it. I PREFER the days I get to sit down with my hubby and enjoy the taste and that extra BUZZ the coffee gives me, but my body can truly do with or without it. It’s the HABIT or ROUTINE that I enjoy the most.

As a group fitness instructor and personal trainer I am on the go a lot! At one point in my career I was teaching between four and five classes a day or up to 30 classes a week! That is a lot of wear and tear on a body. As you can imagine I was hungry all the time, cranky, tired, wired, craving sweets and coffee 24/7 and started to get more and more injuries.

Although exercising and movement is a major part of my job, I just knew I had to change something because there was no way I could maintain this lifestyle. Not only was my belly fat not going away, but I was never satisfied after eating and had chronic fatigue.

I was drinking coffee several times a day hoping it would give me that boost of energy that I needed AND I would drink it to stop my sweet cravings. Now that I treat my body better, I no longer NEED coffee, I simply WANT coffee when the time is appropriate.

Not only do fitness instructors run into this problem but so do many people who are busy and trying to always workout harder and longer. Not only do these people try to workout at max capacity but they are also trying to reduce how much they are eating to see better physique changes. What can end up happening is their body may decide to store everything because it’s being OVER-TRAINED and UNDER-FED. This leads to fatigue, fat storage and overall unhappiness.

Does this sound familiar to you? OR maybe you’re like the next person…

There are also people who are so mentally worn out by their jobs, family stress, financial stress, etc… that they have no time or desire to exercise and have given up on their nutrition. These people seek out coffee all day long just to keep them afloat.

OVER-EXERCISING and UNDER-EATING as well as UNDER-EXERCISING and OVER-EATING are both unproductive when seeking a lifestyle of burning fat, building muscle and feeling satisfied on a day-to-day basis.

No matter which end of the spectrum you are on there is a better way and that is called BALANCE.

BALANCE IS THE IDEAL PLACE TO BE and no matter where you are now, you can always find ways to create more balance in your life. Balance your work/home schedule, your workout schedule, your eating schedule, your sleep schedule, etc…

Sure balance probably won’t get you to bikini model shape but your overall wellness and mental outlook on life will be much better! Personally I have come to accept my body for what it is; I’m strong, I’m very healthy and I have more confidence than any other time in my life. You see, I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum. I’ve been 65 pounds overweight and I’ve been super fit and thinner. Now, I am at a happy place even with a little extra belly fat! My body works hard for me so I treat it with respect and YOU SHOULD TOO!

4 Tips on creating BALANCE in your life:

1) Plan ahead and schedule your day.

Visualize what you want it to be like and don’t let yourself be taken off course. It’s a great idea to block time out for those things most important to you; Work, Meals, Workout, Family Time and Sleep.

2. Eat a fiber and protein-rich breakfast to fuel your morning and prevent cravings later in the day.

Protein and fiber both uniquely make us feel fuller for longer and help stabilize blood sugar. Cravings are often a result of excessive cortisol, which can happen when we eat a diet higher in sugar and low in fiber. Stabilizing blood sugar helps keep cravings at bay.

3. Go for a walk.

Going for a leisurely walk daily can help you reduce cortisol (stress hormones) and make you feel better all over!  Take your family with you to enjoy time together and multi-task.  This is good for you and your family.

4. Get to bed early enough so that you can get 8 hours of sleep.

Yes, you can do this!  Stop watching TV or get off the computer after your dinner.  Use the evening as a time to read a book, visit with family and wind down from your busy day.

After several years of working closely with my in-person clients and teaching them methods of creating balance in their daily lives along with efficient and effective workouts and meal plans that actually work, I decided to take my program online to reach so many more who are struggling and need the support and accountability. So.

I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a cup of coffee once you make this lifestyle shift :) I’m saying you will no longer NEED the coffee to wake you up or the wine to wind you down. You will be able to enjoy a simple cup of coffee for fun or for the taste of it!

XO, Rae Anne

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