49: Suzanne Digre of WorkoutNirvana.com

From being skinny, uncoordinated and self-conscious in her youth to a strong health & fitness professional sharing her passion with clients and the world, Suzanne Digre loves what she does and it shows!

Suzanne shares her insights on clean eating, why strength training is important, and how to set yourself up for success!

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”

Suzanne’s insights about weight loss

Eating food “close to the source” helps ensure you are getting the healthiest meal possible.

Try to eliminate things that are pre-packaged and full of artificial ingredients that cause issues like bloating, indigestion, and are more likely to cause weight gain.

If you must buy pre-packaged meals, read labels and aim for the fewest number of ingredients on a label.

Avoid too much of these:

  • Sodium
  • Preservatives
  • Fat
  • Calories
  • Sugar

Transitioning into a healthier eating lifestyle

Take things one change at a time. For example, take lunch to work one day a week instead of eating out.

Case in point: Suzanne was once addicted to sodas, and started phasing it out by replacing it with tea.

Suzanne’s pet peeves about contemporary health advice

Energy bars and energy drinks! Chock full of sugar, processed ingredients, and there are so many better choices to fuel your body with.

Balance is also important. Suzanne believes in the 80/20 rule: it’s okay to indulge 20% of the time if you are being disciplined and eating clean the other 80%.

Insights on Exercise and Resistance Training

Activity is a good and necessary part of a well-rounded weight loss plan, but it doesn’t have to consist of endless cardio to be effective.

While the most effective way to lose weight is calorie restriction, if you are not exercising – and specifically, doing strength training – you may also be losing valuable lean mass (AKA muscle) that is metabolically active and makes you healthier in many ways.

“With more muscle on your body… you’re going to be healthier. You’re going to be stronger. Your metabolism is going to be healthier, and your bones are going to be healthier. There are just too many benefits of strength training to ignore.

Suzanne’s advice for your weight-loss journey

  • If you are physically unable to participate in resistance training at this point, walking is a great starting point. The benefits will be immediate: you’ll be more energized and you’ll sleep better.
  • Once you are in the habit of daily movement, you can add in body-weight exercises like squats, push ups, and much more (based on your fitness level).
  • From there, you can move into light dumbbells.
  • Focus on gaining lean muscle mass more than simply losing overall weight.

“But I’m female! Won’t lifting weights make me bulk up?”

Suzanne is crystal clear on this topic: women simply cannot bulk up to the level of men without “extra” elements to their training programs – such as steroids – because they lack the natural testosterone to be capable of doing so.

In fact, focusing on full-body movements like dead lifts, squats, and lunges can help you become more athletic in both function and appearance.

“It will add shape to your body.”

Suzanne shares how some clients haven’t lost weight but are in two jean-sizes smaller! Their body composition has changed in a favorable way.

These movements also create neuro-muscular control that helps injury-proof you, they improve your balance and coordination, and they burn more calories.

Suzanne is 5’2″, has lifted weights four times a week for years, and weighs 112 pounds.

Suzanne Digre Photo

Ways to set yourself up for success

  • Visualize a success point in the future and work toward it. Have a vision of how you would like to look or feel.
  • If preparing for a future event (ie. reunion, wedding, etc.), be warned: this type of motivation runs out, so it’s important to prepare and focus on long-term motivation instead.
  • Have a support system! Family, friends, and even online communities of people cheering you on is important.
  • Work towards something you want to do, maybe a sport, activity, or ambition.
  • Start at the level appropriate for you. If you’re a beginner, start like a beginner so you don’t burn yourself out.

Things to expect when starting a weight loss program

Weight loss is habit change, so start with small, specific goals.

For example, replace an energy bar with a handful of almonds and half an apple.

Another example: If trying to eat out less frequently, prepare your food ahead of time so you don’t make desperate fast-food decisions later. The more you do ahead of time, the better!

Resources discussed in this podcast

  • The Eat-Clean Diet by Tosca Reno [ Amazon / iTunes ]
  • Oxygen magazine for women who want to strength train
  • The New Rules of Lifting For Women by Lou Schuler [ Amazon / iTunes ]

On Suzanne’s workout playlist

Suzanne blogs at WorkoutNirvana.com and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and YouTube. Suzanne is also available for online coaching.

Suzanne Digre Photo

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