3 Reasons it’s Better to Work out in a Group

3 Reasons it’s Better to Work out in a Group

 

Small group training has becoming much more popular than training alone (or taking large classes at a chain gym where you don’t know anyone) and it’s not by accident: small group training has incredible benefits on your fitness levels but also on your mental health. Here’s why you should consider small group training if you haven’t already.

 

Stay Motivated

This might seem obvious, but most of us are, at least, a little competitive by nature. When others around us push us to better ourselves it will keep us motivated to do it. This healthy bit of competition isn’t necessarily about being better than the others in the group, but rather if you are really struggling and you feel like you can’t continue your friends will show you that you can. They will pick you up and help you move along when you’re ready to quit. This is known as a “keep up” mentality – you see someone else in the group pushing harder than you are, and suddenly you want to keep up with them.

 

Be Accountable

Small group training almost always requires a commitment from you. Lots of people, potentially, sign up for these classes so if you’re going to sign up and don’t show up you’re taking the spot of someone else who might really want to be there. If you say you’re going to be at a class, you must be accountable to them and explain why it is that you didn’t show up last time. If you just go to the gym to do your own thing you don’t have to answer to anyone as to why you skipped out, but in class settings you absolutely must be accountable if you don’t show up. Working out this way will make sure you show up when you say you’re going to, and since showing up is more than half the battle usually once you’re there the workout will rock!

 

Get Social

It’s human nature to want to be in groups, be with people and be social so why not use fitness as an excuse to also extend your social life? Think about it: what will bring you closer together than mutual pain and suffering at the hands of a crazy bootcamp class? Those friendships are born out of suffering and you’ll always have that connection with your new friends. Who else will know exactly what you’re going through when it’s hard to get out of bed the next morning? Who else will be able to talk to you about your life and push you through those last few reps at the same time? Group classes help to forge friendships and you already have something in common with all of them: the desire to get fit and meet new people.

Overall health is not just about fitness – but fitness is key 

Overall health is not just about fitness – but fitness is key 

 

When talking about becoming healthier and feeling better most people automatically assume that you’re just going to start working out, but that isn’t the only thing you need to think about when looking at a healthier lifestyle. There are a few other factors to living a well-balanced, healthy life and it isn’t just about hitting the gym. Here’s the other key factors to maintaining balance in your life, without feeling like you’ll completely lose who you are.

 

Sleep

This cannot, cannot be stressed enough. Sleep is likely the biggest thing you’re missing out on. Most adults need about 7-8 hours per night; now there are a select few who can actually function on less than that and not be affected, but most of us can’t. Getting a good, restful sleep every night is crucial for living a balanced life, and for ensuring you are completely present in every aspect of your life. Skipping out on sleep in favour of catching up on TV shows will catch up with you, whether you like it or not. Get some rest!

 

Nutrition

Well, obviously. But in all seriousness that foods you choose can also have an affect on your ability to concentrate and your motivation. When you feel better, you start to want to feel better all the time. This means that you’ll want to consistently eat better when you realize how good it feels. Make sure you get the nutrition your body needs, and not just the latest fad diet. It will be a consistent effort to choose the right foods in the beginning, but once you know how your body reacts to certain foods it will motivate you to continue to eat that way.

 

Mental Vacations

Most people will talk about how they go on vacation just to get away from it all – every day life, the stress, the responsibilities, the never ending To Do lists – all of it. What this means is they need a mental vacation, and some time to just do nothing while they can recharge. This doesn’t have to be sitting on a beach or backpacking through Europe – it can really be just a week away from everything you don’t want to do. Taking the time to mentally prepare for upcoming work, projects or family events is crucial to your overall health and should be considered important time with yourself. Take the time – you won’t regret it.

 

Physical Fitness

Incorporating physical fitness routine into your schedule is great for all parts of your health – not just the physical. While it will show the most benefit to you physically it can also have fantastic benefits to your mental health. Working out regularly can help you to focus on tasks on work and can also help you have restful sleep at night, and a good night’s sleep is very important to overall health too. When you have physical fitness as a priority in your life, everything else just seems to line up – ever wonder why? In order to excel in your chosen area of working out you need to ensure you are sleeping an appropriate amount, eating the foods that align with your body’s needs and you are mentally prepared for the workout to come. Fitness needs all of those things in order for it to work: if you are eating foods that aren’t nutritionally sound your performance will suffer. If you aren’t sleeping enough, you won’t want to work out. By ensuring all the other aspects of your health align then your workout will fall right into place and your overall health will be maintained.

5 Reasons to Take Care of Yourself (without feeling guilty)

5 Reasons to Take Care of Yourself (without feeling guilty)

 

Sometimes carving time out of your schedule for yourself is a really difficult thing to do – you feel like everything else you have to do in a day is a priority over getting yourself to the gym, reading before bed or even ten minutes of mediation to clear your mind. It’s not exactly easy – especially for those with full time careers and other obligations – to make sure you take the time you need to stay focused, on track and true to yourself. Here are five reasons you need to take time for yourself, and why you should never feel guilty for doing it.

 

Cope with Stress and Rejuvenate

Taking some much needed me-time actually allows you to better cope with the stresses your life brings you, whether it’s from children, your career, or any other form. Time is precious and it’s crucial you show up to everything as the best you possible. If you aren’t getting the time you need to appropriately deal with stress then you won’t be the best version of you.

 

Curb Emotional and Mindless Eating

When you aren’t able to take the time you need to take care of yourself – however you spend that time – the amount of emotional or stress eating will skyrocket. Many women feel they deserve a treat or a way to give themselves something special, but because they don’t have the extra time they believe that food is the way to achieve this need. Over-eating is a classic sign of not enough me-time.

 

Ensure Others Respect your Time

The way you treat yourself opens the door for how you allow others to treat you. When we don’t treat ourselves as a priority, it means you’re going to allow others to not make you a priority either. If necessary, actually block of time in your calendar for yourself to ensure you get time every single day for yourself. When you don’t move your calendar for anyone on the drop of a hat anymore people will learn to value your time and ensure they respect the schedule you set up for yourself.

 

Increase your Effectiveness

Sufficient rest time, which is personal me-time too, will actually make you a much more effective person. Rest is crucial both for focus and relaxation – even when it seems like you have too much to do, take some time to recharge yourself. If you are absolutely exhausted all the time you’ll be less mentally ready for the tasks at hand and will likely do everything in your life to a lesser standard than you normally would.

 

Create a Regular Fitness Schedule

Fitness – even if you don’t go to the gym – is still incredibly important to maintain a balanced life. With that in mind you need to carve out the time to get fitness into your life, and make it a priority for yourself. When you actually put it into your schedule, it’s like a meeting with yourself so you know you have to go. Don’t be afraid to put regular workouts into your schedule – if it’s in front of your eyes you’re less likely to forget about it or ignore it.

 

The Best Way to Get Back into Fitness After Having a Baby

The Best Way to Get Back into Fitness After Having a Baby

 

Having a baby is tough – both physically and emotionally. If you had a regular workout routine before baby came along you might find yourself pinched for time now. If you didn’t frequent the gym before having your little one, you might find yourself in a position now where you’d like to lose that extra baby weight you just can’t seem to get rid of. Here’s some of the best ways to get your pre-baby body, and routine, back if you’re struggling to make it happen.

 

Make Some Friends

This might sound weird, and you’re thinking “I already have friends, thanks” but make friends who are also new moms. You’ll likely go through the same struggles and issues, so you can vent to them but what’s more is you can form meeting groups and do activities like going for long walks where you can bring baby along. This means you’re getting out, getting active and maintaining a social life.

 

Find the Right Workout

New moms aren’t likely cleared for working out until about 6 or 8 weeks postpartum, potentially longer if you delivered via cesarean. Even if you have been cleared to work out that doesn’t mean that every option out there will be right for you. Be realistic about what you can do and your limitations. Find something you enjoy doing, form a workout group or find a gym that encourages new moms to join. If you don’t enjoy doing it, you won’t do it – so find what you enjoy.

 

Be Mindful of Food

This seems like common sense but it’s much easier to be mindful of food when you don’t have a little one to be worried about. Check what your diet looks like – and be honest about it! Figure out where you can adjust and ensure you’re eating proper, nutritional food. You’re taking such great care of your new addition, make sure you take care of you too!

 

Get Enough Sleep

As a new mom you’re probably thinking this is crazy, but try. Getting enough sleep is crucial for a well-balanced life. It’s not selfish to try to get some sleep in – the dishes can wait, laundry can wait, take a nap, go to bed early. Do what you can to make sure you’re getting enough sleep.

 

Make a Routine

Be realistic about this – figure out what works best for your schedule and your partner’s, if possible. Find days and times where it’s in the calendar that you’re working out and it’s your time to reset. Let your partner know you need them on that day to be home so you can have some you time. Stick to your days and you’ll be back into it in no time.

 

No matter how you get back into fitness after having your baby it’s important that you do. Fitness is essential for a balanced life and can really help you to reset your mind. It’s also time for you to spend by yourself – or with a group – and get some much needed you-time. Being able to reset and relax is important as a new mom, so take the time to focus on you sometimes and that way you can be the best possible mom when you get home.

 

How to drink more water

The best ways to drink more water

 

Do you drink enough water? Do you even know how much water is enough? First, take your body weight and divide by two, then that is the amount of ounces you need to be drinking every day.

 

  1. Drink out of a mug – Just try it! There is something very satisfying about drinking out of a mug
  2. Set higher goals – If you need to drink 8 glasses and you set your goal for 8 but only get in 6, then you’re behind. But if you set the goal to 10 glasses and only get 8 then you are right on track
  3. Warm it up – drink it warm and add some lemon and/or cinnamon.
  4. Big bottle – using a really big water bottle will help you drink more to keep emptying the bottle
  5. Use a bottle that has measurements – this will keep you on track because you can do the simple math to get you to your goals.
  6. Keep water where you are – keeping it in your sight or around you then you will be inclined to drink more water. Even on your night table beside the bed!
  7. Use an app – there are plenty of apps that you can download to keep track of your water intake
  8. Add hair elastics to your water bottle – using the hair elastics will keep track of the amount of times you refill your bottle
  9. Time stamp your day – by certain times in the day you have to have drank a certain amount of water.
  10. Drink after every bathroom break – You will be sure to drink lots of water this way
  11. Add flavour to your water – add some frozen fruit or a splash of lemon juice to give it some flavour
  12. Dilute sugary drinks with water and ice – This way you’re still getting the taste you want but you’re increasing your water too
  13. Choose sparkling water over pop – just choose water!

 

Water is so so important so whatever you need to do, just make sure you are drinking your water!!

How to get motivated!!

How to get motivated for 2017

Alright, New Year, New Me! That is all we are hearing right now. Let’s face it, getting out and working out probably isn’t high on the priority list even if you want it to be. So how can you change that?

  1. Find a friend or someone to be your accountability partner. Use this person as much as you can, tell each other when you are going to work out and check in and make sure they worked out. Or check in to see what they are eating.
  2. Plan your workout schedule ahead of time. Make it as important as a work meeting.
  3. Get competitive! Put a challenge out there. I know you’ve got some Facebook friends that would love to be in a challenge.
  4. Write down your goals and look at that list ALL THE TIME! Leave the list where you will see it all the time – the car, the fridge, the bathroom mirror. It’s not about shaming yourself but
  5. Follow a specific program. This can be a program designed by a trainer, like me, or by going to classes.
  6. Wear a fitness tracker. You can even challenge other people with them as well.
  7. Be specific with your goals!
  8. Book a workout with a trainer.
  9. Use your alarm clock. Get your workout done first thing in the morning before you can come up with a million excuses why you shouldn’t.
  10. Consider this your “me time”. This is all about you anyways!
  11. Listen to motivating music! Something that will make you want to move.
  12. Change your workout to your mood. Figure out what gets you through what and stick with that.
  13. Plan your workouts around your favourite shows. You won’t miss your shows so as soon as they are done, hit the gym!
  14. Most importantly, make it fun! Go somewhere that makes you want to go, somewhere you feel great and welcomed.

Recipe: Energy Balls

Okay, this has to be one of my most favourite recipes. Probably because it is super easy, we always have all the ingredients and there is no baking or any fuss involved. Just simply mix and roll into a ball. Oh and this is toddler approved! Beats the chocolate timbits any day!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes.
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter.
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed.
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or vegan chocolate chips)
  • 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar.
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Just mix the ingredients together in a bowl, toss in the fridge for about half an hour and then take it out and roll into little balls. BAM!! That is all folks!

Top 3 tips to stay on track to your goals for 2017

Here they are, my top 3 tips to staying on track to your goals for 2017

  1. CLEAN OUT THOSE CUPBOARDS!! Go now! Right now! Get rid of all that crap that is taunting you in your cupboards. Anything that you know you will want to eat in a weak moment. You don’t need that stuff anyways.
  2. MEAL PREP!! Now, this is complicated to some people.  But it doesn’t have to be. Use your crockpot, it’ll take away so much work. Another easy trick is to cook one or two extra portions every time you make a meal then you can freeze it for another day.
  3. DRINK YOUR WATER!! Try drinking it out of a mug. I don’t know why it works but it’s more satisfying to drink out of a mug. Go try it!!

 

Guest Blogger: Nutrition Bites

It is true that it takes up to 30 minutes sometimes for an adult, to feel full after eating.  We have stomach sensors as well as all those brain signals that try sending messages for us to interpret and decide on how to handle each situation – including when to eat and stop eating. This depends on what it is (food, drink, mixed), how much they ate, how quickly they ate it as well as age and personal differences like size of stomach, emotions, pain tolerance and let’s be honest – mindfulness.

Mindfulness.  That buzz word goes around quite often now and it seems like, based on conversations I have had with others plus my experience in it, most do not understand it.  Being mindful is just noticing what is happening.  No judgement.  No emotion.  Just paying attention to cues (from your body in this topic) and then deciding with intent.  It’s no hippy answer or yoga lifestyle you have to have.  It’s just slowing down to pay attention to anything and everything (if you can) at any given time.  In this crazy busy world, it requires practice.  That being said, you need to start small and require constant reminders just like an alarm on your phone or scheduling a meeting.

It seems silly to do these things for eating.  It is supposed to be human nature to just eat.  How did it become so difficult to do what is supposed to be natural?  We live in a Western world where things are constantly done by other people: house builders, plumbers, farmers, dentists, etc.  But this extends to our food and eating behaviours.  For example: growing up in a mixed-ethnic home, I saw fruit farming as well as having my Italian barber-dad who came from Europe when he was 13 years old.  People talk about how Europe has it right with their Mediterranean diet and lifestyle.  What are we missing here that I see still to this day – we don’t even crack our own nuts!

Ready to eat almonds in a bag.
Ready to eat almonds in a bag.

I’m not kidding.  Yes, we have even found someone to crack our own walnuts, pecans, almonds etc.  I grew up with a nutcracker (it is not a ballet at Christmas time people!) and a bowl of varied nuts, but yes, at Christmas many times.  We sat around chatting, and having to “forage” and “process” our own food with friends and family at the table.  Experts say, nuts and seeds pack a great protein and healthy fat nutrition punch (part of the Mediterranean diet), yet we need to limit our servings sizes.  Well, I can tell you how the true Europeans do it: they have to spend time to get their food, and in the meantime, chat with their kids and neighbours – what we now call “building community and social support”.  It’s very difficult to over-consume nuts when you have to constantly be cracking them open to get the goodness (yet high in calories and fat) inside.  (They are healthy but in small quantities.)

I think we should go Back to the Basics (you will constantly hear that from me), and figure out why we eat so much but are so unhealthy and truly “empty” at times in a world that hands us everything on a silver platter, or in a grab-bag to go at a store a 2 minute drive away.

Here are my tips that might help you along – choose one or all of them to try.  It might lighten the load in more ways than one.

Tips to Eat More … Mindfully

  1. Cook foods from scratch. It helps you decide what you want, plan in advance and once you realize what goes into your food – you will actively choose healthier options.  It’s hard to do that with a frozen pizza or instant microwave dinner that doesn’t give you the option of hold the olives, or add the broccoli you do actually love.  And appreciating the end result will allow you to savour it more and longer.
  2. Eat spicy foods – This goes to the principal of classic “waiting to eat” tips ex: put your fork down in between bites, or chewing 25 times each piece of food – but this is definitely something that will remind you to be mindful as the hotter the food, the more likely you are to drink tons of water (added bonus of hydrating and filling your tummy and helping digestion). So kick up the heat, and savour the flavour.  (Ex: cayenne, chili, fajita and Cajun blends, even curry or ginger can work! But hot sauces can do the trick too.)IMG_1574

  3. Size matters! Eat on smaller plates – use lunch or small dessert plates – you can’t eat as much if you have nowhere to put it… but then move on to idea #4.

    IMG_1573
    Three different sized plates and two different sizes of spoons and forks. Size matters: choose smaller to eat slower and mindfully.
  4. Go back for seconds! Take half of what you think you want, or if following step #3 – you have to choose to serve yourself more. And better yet, keep seconds on the stove so you have to get up and decide on more food.  Or food safety – package up leftovers and straight to the fridge, so then you have to wait to reheat food to have another serving.
  5. Talk without your mouth full – practice your table etiquette (great for new graduates or families with children) and slow the process so you can listen to your fullness meter. As well, talking helps encourage positive relationships and will actually decrease emotional eating for those more susceptible to eating when lonely or upset.
  6.   Eat your veggies first – the heavy fibre will send quicker signals to your brain to stop eating. They are filled with vitamins and minerals but less calories by weight than say cookies.
  7.  
     And of course, crack your own nuts! Take time to process them yourself.  You will eat less, and appreciate the work that goes into them more.  And to have another serving of a food that you have to cut or chop, or crack, means that you will have to think before you want to do the work for another, however many calories and grams of fat, even good ones.

As a conclusion (geeze that sounds like a grade 3 “hamburger” paragraph – it should be a sandwich maybe instead for healthy marketing purposes), I do not say in this crazy time to not buy a fruit tray already cut up for you.  It’s still healthy, absolutely.  And you might reach for chips instead if you don’t have something healthy and readily available and in your face when you open the fridge.  Definitely buy the fruit and veggie trays if that is the case.  And if you have ready to eat “junk” in the house combined with minimal impulse control, this might not work either if that is your default.

Yet, if you want to get away from the costly pre-prepared and processed foods that help us to eat mindlessly (and way more than we usually need!), try some of the tips above to really choose what you feed your body (and soul).  Now, let’s get nuts and get crackin’!

 

Let’s get nuts and get crackin’: Tips to eat more mindfully but less in “weight”

Mom and Baby/Tot TRX

I get asked all the time about this class. It has to be my favourite! We’re educating and inspiring more than just the moms working out, also the babies and kids watching their moms. It’s a major bonding experience.

 

Mom and Baby TRX

This is not your regular fitness class, it’s so much more. It’s about getting out of the house WITH your little ones. It’s about getting out with other moms in the same position as you. It’s about bonding with your little ones. And of course it’s about getting a great workout and shedding some unwanted weight, inches and body fat.

 

Mom and Baby TRX

TRX will help increase your energy, put you in a better mood and improve your sleep. Not to mention your little ones sleep great after too!

This class is also great for our pregnant mamas!

Mom and Baby TRX

Have older kids? More than one kid? Bring them all! This is your workout, you make the rules. What would it mean to you to have your children grow up watching you live a healthy lifestyle? What would it mean to you to continuously inspire your children to live a healthy lifestyle. Show them how by taking care of yourself.