7 Reasons Why Fall is the Best Time to Up Your Fitness Game

Okay, now I know we are only just coming to terms with people talking about Christmas and here I am talking about the New Year! But this is the time of year that we can sometimes start thinking, “Oh, there is no point starting now”, “Not with Christmas coming up”, “I will wait for the New Year”. But the reality is, this attitude is going to get in the way of your goals. You’re probably worried that starting a fitness program in the fall would spoil your holiday fun. But the opposite is actually true. I’m going to share why you shouldn’t wait until the New Year to start.

And if you’re already in a fitness program, it may be tempting to hit the pause button between Halloween and New Year’s Day. But beware! The pause button is your biggest enemy in health and fitness (What if you stopped brushing your teeth during the holidays? Yuck!). Learn more about that dangers of pause button in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjOdTGHN5Mg.  Okay, so let’s hop in.

  1. Changing Leaves

You’ve probably noticed those leaves doing their magical color-changing dance, signaling the seasonal shift. It may feel like the end but guess what? It’s not the end—it’s a season of change! After the wild ride of summer, we settle back into our daily routines, bid farewell to those lazy pool days, and say hello to season of change.

The first thing to change is that unhelpful pattern of excuses and putting off goals.   You need to get out of this habit because it is holding you back from sustainable change and progress. In the past you made promises and deals with yourself and then broke them when you motivation dipped.

This is an opportunity to earn your own trust back. If you put it off once, the goalpost will just keep moving forward. Start now and don’t worry about what is coming up, don’t worry that it isn’t the norm. In fact, you want to be as far away from the norm as possible. Because “the norm” is staying where you are. This is your chance to get off that merry-go-round.

2. Magic of Routines

Compared to the whirlwind of summer adventures, fall brings a sense of structure. Vacations are over, school and work routines kick in, making it way easier to plan and stick to a regular workout routine.  Fall routines also mean more regular mealtimes. With a little planning, you can get organized and assemble some meals that fuel your fitness goals.  If you’d like to learn more about routines, listen to how this supermom made them work for her. https://open.spotify.com/episode/5kBIFmvM12YJmTsYcFK5FQ?si=5aea23698f924ffa. Routines are just one of the advantages of starting a fitness program in the fall. Another cool opportunity arrives as we see less of our bright friend, the Sun.

3. Embrace Indoor Strength: Counter the Winter Blues

As the days grow shorter and temps start to drop, many of us experience a shift in our mood and energy levels. The decrease in sunlight can leave us feeling the urge to snuggle up and hibernate until Groundhog Day. If you feel this way, you’re not alone. Many people find themselves struggling to maintain their fitness routines during this time. (Nerd alert, I’m about to hit you with some science.)

The lack of sunlight affects our body in two major ways: production of serotonin and our circadian rhythm. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness. Lower serotonin levels are liked to depression and anxiety. Our circadian rhythm is our 24-hour cycle of wakefulness and sleep. Less sunlight can reduce the wakeful stage of the cycle and lead to to wonky sleep patterns, and lower energy levels, making us feel less motivated to get movement.

If you’ve been craving carbs as the days get shorter, this could be the reason. We often turn to comfort foods high in carbs and sugars, for a temporary boost in mood and energy. But have no fear. There’s a solution that not only counteracts this cycle but also sets the stage for a vibrant and active fall and winter. It’s indoor strength training.

If you google “Strength Training over 40” you’re going to find many articles about muscle loss, bone building, and function. These are all awesome – and urgently needed – benefits, but there’s another less-talked-about benefit: emotional health. Here’s how it happens:

1. Boost Endorphins: Exercise, including strength training, triggers the release of endorphins, our body’s natural mood enhancers. These endorphins combat stress, reduce feelings of pain, and create an overall sense of well-being. If you’ve ever started a workout feeling lethargic and gloomy and felt energized and happy afterwards, that’s what happened.

2. Increase Energy: While it might seem counterintuitive, expending energy through exercise actually boosts your overall energy levels. Indoor strength training helps improve your cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength, making everyday activities feel less taxing and leaving you with more energy to combat the winter blues.

3. Balance Serotonin Levels: As mentioned above, exercise, particularly strength training, can aid in balancing serotonin levels in the brain, promote a stable mood.

4. Improve Sleep Quality: Regular physical activity, like indoor strength training, promotes better sleep patterns. Quality sleep is crucial for managing mood and energy levels.

5. Carb Cravings and Weight Management: By incorporating indoor strength training into your routine, you may find that your cravings for carbs decrease. Exercise helps regulate blood sugar levels and boosts metabolism, making it easier to manage your weight.

So instead of sinking into a season of lethargy and chaotic eating, you could truly enjoy the season by amping up your strength training. Get pumped and ready to rock the winter!

Starting in the fall offers another unique advantage. Ugly Sweaters. Read on and find out why.

4. Less Pressure

Photo by RDNE Stock project: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-love-people-woman-6517893/

We often hide under our ugly sweaters during the holidays and start over after January 1st. But instead of retreating into this state of denial, you could be actually feeling better about yourself and making progress.  Progress without pressure. Starting in the fall can actually reduce stress – during the holidays. Who doesn’t want that?

Waiting till New Year’s can invite unnecessary stress. Skip that New Year’s rush and the pressure of big changes and sudden resolutions. During fall, there’s less pressure to make drastic changes overnight. Instead, you can take a gradual approach, reduce stress, and make it easier to stay committed to your fitness goals. Slow and steady really does win the race.

As you know, the holidays require all kinds of preparation. Including mental and physical preparation.

But how do you prepare? I thought you’d never ask…

5. Prepare for the Holidays

Starting in the fall gives you plenty of time to move toward your fitness goals before the summer swimsuit season next year. And you get to focus on the process instead of obsessing over results.

“But I’ll miss out on all that holiday food!” (No you won’t, I promise.)

Let me squash this myth right now. Starting a fitness program in the fall will not spoil your fun during the holiday season. In fact, it sets the stage for an even more enjoyable holiday season!

With Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to build those healthy habits. Starting now means you can indulge guilt-free, savoring each bite knowing you’ve laid a strong fitness foundation. You’re cultivating habits that will stick with you for life.

6. Get Your Rocks In

Photo Credit: Precision Nutrition


Prioritizing fitness in the fall is a gift to your overall well-being. As the holiday rush approaches, taking care of yourself becomes a bit of a challenge, to say the least. But starting early ensures you put first things first. Remember the analogy with the rocks, pebbles, and sand in the jar? Well, starting your fitness program in the fall helps you drop a couple rocks in the jar before the craziness hits and you get it with a avalanche of pebbles and sand.  Having your rocks in place will seriously reduce stress and boost your mood. 🌞

If you want to truly have happy holidays, rise above the frantic business and feel at peace with the way you choose to spend your time and energy. Exercise, especially with friends, can make a huge difference in your holiday enjoyment.  To learn more about why social support is key to mental health and fitness success, watch our recent podcast on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oO40dYwKSQ

7. Get a Head Start

Photo Credit: Anna Schvents

Imagine you’re running a 50-yard dash and the winner gets their mortgage paid off. (And you actually have a chance of winning because everyone else is your age and has comparable injuries.)  Now imagine that each runner gets to choose between starting 20 feet ahead of the starting line or 20-feet behind. Which would you choose? Well, duh, that’s an easy choice. 🏃‍♀️💨

Now apply this to the last 3 months of the year. Let’s face it, as the year winds down, temptations pop up at every turn! From Halloween candies to skipping workouts, it’s easy to hear the siren song of the pause button and get derailed.  But fear not! By starting a fitness program now, you’ll build a solid foundation of health and wellness to brave the holiday food storm.

A few weeks of dedicated exercising and mindful eating will equip you to navigate the holiday season without feeling out of control and piling on weight. You won’t gain as much weight during the holidays and you will feel much better entering the new year!

Even if December throws some curveballs your way, you’ll find it easier to bounce back in January. Your New Year’s resolutions will be backed by a sturdy fitness routine, making it a breeze to continue your journey towards a healthier you.

By starting a fitness program in the fall, you’ll breeze through the holidays with confidence. Indulge in those holiday treats. No guilt, just enjoyment and satisfaction in making a balanced choice.

Ready to ride the wave of change this fall? 🌊🍂 Our 4-week Fit for Fall program is just the ticket! Here’s what you get:

✅ Unlimited workouts with our signature semi-private sessions (a $600 value)

✅ 3 one-on-one sessions to refine your form and boost your comfort level (a $120 value)

✅ Personal health coach providing support beyond the gym, complete with accountability check-ins (a $200 value)

✅ Progress tracker to witness your gains grow. This package is valued at $940, but we’re offering it at a fraction of the cost!

📅 We keep our class sizes limited to ensure you receive the personalized attention you deserve. So contact us today, we have 2 spots left. Offer ends on October 31st. If you are a returning member, ask about the 10% discount. Email us at linette@progressive-athletics.com for more info and to secure your spot. Let’s make this fall a season of transformation!

Save-the-Day Egg Muffins!

You can pop these wholesome muffins into the microwave and reheat them whenever you need a fast, filling breakfast or snack.

They have protein, vegetables, and healthy fats so they cover a lot of bases for your nutrition.

  • Breakfast egg muffins are baked egg cups (or mini frittatas, if you prefer a slightly fancier name. They are loaded with any variety of fresh vegetable, meat, and/or cheesy additions you please.
  • You can enjoy them on their own or make them part of a larger breakfast spread. I love them with a high-protein blueberry pancake.
  • Egg muffins are a popular, healthy kid-friendly for babies and toddlers. Their hand-held size makes veggies more appealing.

I’ve made several versions of this egg muffin recipe over time. I like to use whatever vegetables happen to be in my refrigerator. It’s sort of a clean-out-the-frig challenge!

Today’s combination for egg muffins with broccoli, swiss cheese, mushrooms and Andouille sausage.

(Photo credit: wellplated.com)


  • Adding a few additional egg whites makes the muffins high in protein and low carb, without losing their filling, creamy texture.
  • If you want to do all egg whites, you can. Just be aware that they will be less firm and more spongy.


Egg Mixture

  • 1 cup lightly packed baby spinach or broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely diced vegetable #1
  • 1/2 cup finely diced vegetable #2
  • 1/2 cup chopped Andouille sausage
  • 3/4 cup quartered cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, about 1 cup whole tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped or shredded cheese of choice, plus additional to sprinkle on top

Egg Mixture

  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
  • Pinch ground black pepper or cayenne pepper if you like a little kick!
  • Optional toppings: avocado salsa, hot sauce, freshly chopped parsley

The Directions

  1. GENEROUSLY coat a muffin tin with nonstick spray and divide all the solid ingredients (AKA mix-ins) into 12 cups.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, egg whites, herbs, and spices.
  3. Pour egg mixture into each cup to cover the mix-ins, then sprinkle cheese over the top.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 24 to 28 minutes, until set. Let cool, then use a plastic or silicon butter knife to loosen the outside of the muffins. Serve hot or store for later. ENJOY!
muffin tin with breakfast egg muffins ready to bake

Recipe Adaptations + Dietary Swaps

  • Cheesy Egg Muffins. Making these muffins for veggie skeptics but still want a serving of healthy protein? Skip the veggies altogether, and simply use your favorite mix of cheeses, like Parmesan cheese or goat cheese.
  • Spicy Egg Muffins. If you like your eggs on the spicy side, you can also add a few dashes of hot sauce or pinch of cayenne.
  • Zippy Egg Muffins. Try adding a few teaspoons of Dijon mustard.
  • Egg Muffins with Meat. Tasty but optional. If you’d like to add meat, feel free to make this easy breakfast recipe with bacon or fold in diced cooked ham or cooked, crumbled sausage. This is a great way to use leftover meat.
  • To Make Dairy-Free Omit the cheese.
  • Egg Muffins are gluten-free!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Let the muffins cool completely, then place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can store all of the muffins together in a single larger container or portion them into individual containers to take with you on the go. Plastic wrap and even plastic baggies work well for portability too.
  • To Reheat. Unwrap the muffins if needed, and place on a microwave-safe plate. Reheat gently in the microwave on medium power until hot and warmed through to the center, about 30 seconds (from thawed) or 1 to 2 minutes (from frozen).
  • To Freeze. Let the muffins cool completely, then individually wrap them in plastic wrap. Place them in a ziptop bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator or reheat directly from frozen.


Egg muffins are perfect for breakfast meal prep! You can multiply the recipe and freeze a multitude of muffins for future breakfasts on demand.


How to Create Your Own Blue Zone

Live better now and longer later.

Picture this: you’re blowing out 100 candles – all by yourself. You’re dancing, gardening, mentoring, traveling the world, and embracing new technologies like a pro. You live in your own house, play with your grandchildren and great grandchildren, and enjoy a vibrant social life. You’re a living testament to the potential of a life well-lived and an inspiration to rising generations. Welcome to the centenarian club, where the extraordinary is your new ordinary!

The recent launch of the Netflix documentary series “Live to 100: The Secrets of Blue Zones” has reignited society’s interest in living longer – and better. This intriguing series unveils the mysteries of Blue Zones—regions across the globe where people not only live remarkably longer but also savor healthier, more vibrant lives. These regions are Sardinia in Italy, Okinawa in Japan, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Icaria in Greece, and the Seventh-day Adventists community in Loma Linda, California. These cultures are very different, but have some important things in common.

In Short

While genetics play a role in longevity, the lifestyle and diet of the folks living in these regions provide valuable insights into how we can live longer and high quality lives. I’m going to share with you some daily habits you can start doing today to help you live like a Blue-zoner right away. These will include eating, activity, and social life. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to take away your donuts and coffee and make you live on snails and kale.)

Intrigued? We certainly are!

But first, let’s address a concern you may have. What if you don’t want to live to be 100? Maybe the idea of living to 100 doesn’t sound so great to you. If the elderly people in your life have grown dependent on those around them and the last decade of their life looked more like their first year – eating pudding and wearing diapers – it makes sense that you’d rather check out before that happens.  But the truth is, there are many factors that determine how your life will look during that last decade. What you do now, can make the difference between being able to travel the world and living in a nursing home drooling on yourself. Read on to learn what you can do today to start on your journey to a vibrant “2nd-act” in life.

Here are some of the common factors found in the Blue Zones:

  • Plant-rich diet with whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits
  • Low consumption of  processed foods
  • Low alcohol consumption (the less the better)
  • Physical activity and movement integrated into daily life
  • Strong sense of community and social support
  • Purpose and meaning in life
  • Stress regulation and perception practices such as napping, prayer, or perspective

Making changes in all these areas can be daunting, so start with one or two that you feel ready to start now. Here’s how to do it

Creating Your Own Blue Zone

  1. Move Often and Naturally

We have been hearing this for years, we need to move every day. You’ve also probably heard that sitting is the new smoking. But if you live in the United States of America, it’s unavoidable. Sitting is built into our daily lives. We sit at a desk, sit in our cars, sit at home on the couch. I’m sitting here typing this blog! Our sedentary lifestyle is trying to turn us into the walking dead (minus the cool factor). With no intervention, our joints will slowly stiffen like a corpse and we will lose the ability to open jars, get off the floor, climb stairs, or stand up from a chair unassisted. I’m not talking about age 80. This can happen in our 40’s! Or even earlier. 

As we move throughout each day in a limited range of motion and never let our knees go past 90 degrees, we lose enough mobility in our knees and hips to get off the floor – or at least it’s getting harder. So we start avoiding activities on the floor because it takes so much effort to get up. Our hips get weak and sooner or later, we end up needing a knee or hip replacement. 

I know, it’s horrifying. But don’t panic. These surgeries can be avoided most of the time if we strengthen and work out our joints in their full range of motion.

And here’s a myth we need to debunk right now. Losing the ability to run, jump, climb, 


and play is not due to age. It’s inactivity.  In our modern world we need to replicate the movements our ancestors did while farming, hunting, and working. Running on the treadmill week after week is not going to get you the movement training to counteract our modern lifestyle. Below I’m going to share with you the ten essential human movements you need to relearn.

Ten Human Movements

Practice these ten foundational human movements: squat, hinge, push, pull, lunge, crawl, carry, hang, rotation (and anti-rotation), and gait (plus an honorable mention to grip strength. It’s not technically a movement, but we need it as we grow older to function.) We include all these movements every week in our workouts at Progressive Athletics. It’s a lot of movements, so a great place to start is the deep squat.

Become a Squat Master

Guess what? We were all squatting champs as toddlers. It’s an important functional movement for doing work or play on the floor, picking things up, and getting up off the floor. So we are born with the instinct to do it perfectly.

But then school happened, and we sat at desks for 8 hours a day. And by the time we were in our 20’s, many of us were forgetting how to squat. And by our 40’s, we can’t squat without making a whole production out of it. But there is hope! Time to reclaim that squat throne and become the squat legend once again!

Start by doing Box Squats. This is one of my favorite exercises because most people can do it, regardless of size, athletic ability, or injury. Stand in front of a chair or box and sit back onto the chair and stand up again. Do a set of 10, several times throughout the day at your desk or wherever you are. If you take long commutes, stop at least once an hour, get out of your car and do this at a rest stop. Don’t worry about getting funny looks. People know movement is important and you might inspire them to do the same.

After a couple weeks, find a slightly lower box or chair and squat a little deeper. Do that until it’s easier and go lower. Eventually you’ll be going all the way down to a deep Campfire Squat!

Step it Up

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator is not about burning a few extra calories. It’s about stimulating the muscles and joints in your ankles, knees, and hips. Use the stairs often as you can at the airport, office, the mall. Make the elevator the exception, like when you are pushing a cart full of paper.

Nature Walks

This one combines the gait (walking or jogging) with time outside! Ever notice how walking outside feels like a nature-induced therapy session? There’s a reason for that. Multiple studies have shown that time outside reduces stress, eases eye-strain, helps you regulate emotions, think more clearly and helps you sleep better at night. Even 5 minutes outside can benefit you. 

This may be a challenge for you if you work long hours inside. How many times have you sat at your desk to reply to a few emails and before you knew it, the sun was setting and it’s time to make dinner. It’s easy to get trapped into our manmade structures and miss out on vital time outside. 

So here’s what you need to do:

Set an alarm on your phone for a time that you are most likely able to go outside. For most people, it’s while getting ready in the morning. Stepping outside on your deck or porch for a couple minutes is a great way to start the day and help set your circadian rhythm. Another popular time is during lunch.

Squatting, taking stairs, and walking outside are just three ways to get started moving. Remember, moving naturally isn’t about doing a hundred burpees while juggling flaming torches (unless that’s your thing). It’s about finding joy in movement, embracing your body’s ability to groove. In Blue Zones, movement tends to be built into daily activities, but in our modern setting, we need to learn it on purpose and practice it. And often we need a movement specialist to help us relearn what we lost over time.  Look for a trainer or gym that values these ten movements.

  1. Smart Nutrition

Alright, let’s dive into the tasty world of smart nutrition, where you can give your body the VIP treatment it deserves without a fuss. It may seem overwhelming at first because there’s a lot of conflicting information out there, but don’t worry, a few simple principles can help you cut through the noise.

Protein Power!

As you may have heard, protein is the most important nutrient. It helps maintain muscle mass, builds strong bones, hormones, powers chemical reactions in our body, builds our immune system, and more. Every tissue in our body is built with protein.

The issue is that as we grow older, our ability to absorb protein decreases, which means we need to consume more protein in order to meet our protein needs.

Find sources of protein-dominant foods that work for you and try to get a palm (20+ grams) with each meal and snack. Every time you eat, add a protein. Some favorites are Greek yogurt, chicken breast, tofu, eggs and fish. Protein shakes and bars are fine too. Even though they are processed, it’s better than not getting the protein.

Eat More Plants

Just like momma said, eat your veggies. Imagine your plate as a canvas, and those smart carbs and colorful veggies are the vibrant paint. Smart carbs are whole plants that are carb-dominant, such as potatoes and dry beans and grains, such as quinoa, lentils. And the colorful rainbow of veggies – they’re the rockstars of this show and bring a posse of essential nutrients to the party. If you don’t like veggies, there is still hope. Experiment with different prep and cooking techniques and try them out. Sauteed brussel sprouts taste completely different than the sad boiled version.

To get started on your plant-eating journey, choose your adventure: vegetables or smart carbs. For vegetables, take it one step at a time. You don’t have to turn into a vegetarian monk tomorrow – or ever. Start by adding just one fist (½ to 1 cup) of vegetables to what you are currently eating. This amount works for most people because it’s not too much and you’re just adding it to a meal or snack. Once that gets easy, try adding colors.

If you’d rather upgrade your carbs, here’s how to do it. Swap out one of your pastas or breads for a carb that is a little less processed. Trade that white Italian bread for a whole grain. Or swap out pasta for roasted potatoes or dry beans. Do that for a few weeks or months and then upgrade again to something less processed. You will feel less cravings, more satisfied, and your nutrition game will definitely be upgraded!

So, let’s get the party started and give your taste buds something to rave about!

Healthy Fats

This is a fun one to try! You know those avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive and avocado oil? Smooth, suave, and oh-so-good for your heart. Don’t be shy; let them make your meals a star-studded event.

Butter and other oils are okay sometimes, but try swapping them for a higher quality fat several times this week. Shoot for reducing the lower-quality fats to once or twice a week. If this is a big change for you, take it one step at a time.

  1. Know Your Why

Why do you get up in the morning?

In Blue Zones, people have this amazing concept called “ikigai” – it’s like their reason to jump out of bed every morning. Most of us have a lot of repetition in our lives and it can make life feel pointless, so it’s important to find purpose IN in your routine and OUT of your routine.

Finding Meaning IN the Mundane

Today, take a quiet moment to reflect. What’s the reason you get up and do all the things in your daily routine? When what you’re doing has a bigger purpose, it can change how that routine feels. If you go to work everyday to feed a family, put a picture of your family on your desk to remind you (if your boss isn’t Ebeneezer Scrooge).

Finding Purpose by going OUTSIDE of the Routine

Now that your routine has purpose, break it!  What do you love doing, something that makes you forget time? If you’ve always wanted to learn how to salsa dance, sign up for a class. If taking class is not practical right now, there’s always the University of YouTube. Schedule a time for these things you love. It’s easy to push them aside for other people’s demands or activities that take less effort, such as TV. So use your 5 minutes of motivation to put a system in place to help you make this a priority: sign up for a class, schedule it, pay for supplies/classes, and recruit a friend. You’ll more likely to honor your commitment and follow through! You’ll be so happy you did!

There’s a place for spontaneity here. Of course, we need to fulfill our responsibilities but every once in a while surprise yourself with an afternoon at the movies or a walk around the lake. Bring someone along that you want to connect with. Which brings up the next Blue-zone quality. Connection. And I don’t mean 5G Wifi.

4. Connect and Belong

While Netflix can be a cozy blanket for your soul, real-life connections are like adding extra marshmallows to your hot cocoa. Research shows that strong social connections can boost your immune system, lower stress levels, and increase your overall happiness. A common obstacle is, of course, time.  For many people, time with friends and family won’t happen unless you set aside time for it. A friend who is a life coach taught me one of the best ways to do this: schedule your free time first.

Take 5 minutes and schedule a date with your main squeeze or schedule an activity with your children or nieces and nephews. It doesn’t need to be expensive. Play board games, cook together, go for a walk, workout together.

Break Bread with Others

Did you know that sharing a meal with others can strengthen your bonds and create lasting memories? Many studies have proven many times over the benefits for children eating dinner as a family. But it’s not just as beneficial for adults, especially as you get older. If you live alone -or even if you don’t- invite a few friends or family over to eat. If possible, schedule a regular potluck night so it’s already in your calendar. This will help you make time for it.

Mix Young and Old

Studies show that living in multigenerational communities benefits the elderly and preschoolers. It gives the seniors a sense of purpose and the younger ones benefit from the elders guidance and problem-solving skills. Being around younger people tends to keep you younger.

This may be a challenge, especially if your job requires that you live in a certain place. So you may need to get creative. Seek out opportunities to spend time with people of various ages. An easy way to do this is to join a church or community that has mixed-ages. You can also volunteer with children or youth. Coach a team or volunteer at the library to do reading time.

Club “No-Flake”

By now a few ideas have probably popped into your head. “I need to that.” But how to make it happen? It’s very common in our society to make feeble promises and not keep them – to ourselves and others. Yeah, we’ve all been there. But here’s the deal: let’s all join the “No-Flake Club.” Commit to plans and show up, unless you’re trapped under something heavy (and even then, send a message!).

Take 5 minutes and decide which Blue-zone habit you want to try. Schedule into your calendar. Speak it aloud to someone or even better, invite them.

Let’s transform our lives from solo acts to an ensemble! Reach out, plan that hangout, and let your social butterfly wings stretch wide. The world is your playground, and friends are the playmates. Remember, you’re not just socializing, you’re investing in your well-being and creating a tapestry of beautiful memories.

Incorporating even some of these habits into your own life could help you live longer and healthier. Our comprehensive Healthy Habits program includes all these habits and more. Progressive Athletics is dedicated to helping Howard County residents live happier and healthier lives. If you live near Columbia, Maryland and want help getting stronger and healthier in the context of your busy life, click here to learn more about us.

From Chaos to the Captain

How to get into the driver’s seat of your health and fitness. Hint: It’s easier than you think.

Have you ever experienced this? Your alarm goes off and you slowly peel your body out of bed. As you brush your teeth, you begin to think about your day. “After work today I’m going to my workout then stop at the store and pick up some cilantro for fish tacos.” As you stand in front of your closet, you groan at the sight of the wall of clutter. It’s taking longer to figure out what’s clean and what fits. “I’m going to clean out this closet today and get rid of all this stuff!” you lament. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone!

Click on the link to watch the video version of this blog.

The to-do list starts innocently, but as the clock ticks, it grows longer and more demanding. Soon you get a call from the school.  Soccer practice was canceled due to rain. Oh, and we need a poster for the history project due tomorrow. “Well, there’s goes my workout!” The texts and phone calls keep coming and by dinner time, you’re in the drive through of Chic-fil-A, exasperated and discouraged. What happened to my day? I never have time to take care of myself.

Image credit: Womanscare.com

Each day is a road trip. You have your destination and you embark with optimism on how you will get there. But soon you hit detours, road closures, pit stops, and sometimes you even get full-on carjacked! What started as a nice, purpose-filled day balanced between nurturing ourselves and helping others, ends up with you as a captive taxi-driver schlepping people where they want to go and you are left with an empty tank and a belly full of resentment. 

We have all experienced getting our plans sidetracked, especially in our health and fitness. So how do we get back into the driver’s seat? In this article, I’m going to share with you the four steps to getting back into the drivers seat of your health and fitness. It’s a simple daily practice, called “Make Time and Plan Ahead.”  

What does it mean to “make time and plan ahead”?

Don’t worry, this is not time-consuming, no fancy charts and no app required. Here’s four simple rules of the road: 

  1. Set an appointment.

Where and when will you have your own little planning period? 5 or 10 minutes a day makes a big difference so don’t overthink this.

What has worked for some of my clients is doing it in the morning while drinking coffee. Some do it while waiting for a child’s after-school activities. Or lunch time. Others prefer to do it after dinner – looking ahead at the next day. Bedtime is another popular time.

  1. What’s most important to you?

What do you want? If there were no other demands on your time and attention, what would you want to accomplish?  Spending a little time each day thinking about what’s important to you will help you remember that you have goals outside of work and family obligations. Even if this season of life doesn’t allow a ton of time for those things, carving out some time to plan for them will give you a sense of autonomy you’re much more likely to do them, even if it’s on a smaller scale. So don’t rule out being a salsa champion yet, my friend! For now, a few minutes of online classes will be your step forward.

  1. Break it down into simple actions.

To get from New York to LA, you need to decide which roads you want to take and who will drive and how long you’re each willing to drive each day and where to stay  along the way. 

What, specifically, are one or a few small actions that you can take today that would move you closer to your goals? For example, say you want to cook a dinner at home. This can be an overwhelming or least tedious prospect for many people. You’ll need to reverse engineer the process to make it happen. You’ll need to plan the meal. It’s best to keep it simple.  How about spaghetti, meatballs in your favorite homemade sauce, and salad?  Choose a time; 7pm.  Let the other house-dwellers know.  Great! So now what?

  1. Making a specific and deliberate plan.

How exactly do you plan to execute those plans? Here’s where the magic happens.

  • Ask yourself what challenges might you run into and make your backup plan. In case your evening doesn’t go as planned, you decide to buy premade meatballs, a jar of spaghetti sauce, and prewashed salad.
  • Check the kitchen for ingredients.
  • Make a shopping list.
  • Go shopping during lunch. Prep meatballs during afternoon Zoom meetings.
  • Set out a pot of water and the box of spaghetti next to the stove.
  • Set the table.  Simple things like setting the table and filling the pot with water ahead of time can really help Future You be more successful!!

Try giving yourself multiple scenarios:

    • What’s the minimum that you’ll accomplish (in the event that you run into detours)?  What exactly will have to happen in order for you to feel successful? (You decide that as long as it’s any meal served at home, you’re going to call it a win.)
    • What’s the best case scenario (given an ideal situation of unicorns)? (Serve an unrushed meal of homemade meatballs, salad, and spaghetti at 7pm. Yea, family time!)
  • Your day will likely land somewhere between the two scenarios.

Okay, now let’s hit play on this scenario and see what happens.

At 5pm, you get call. Jimmy sprained an ankle at the soccer game and needs an X-ray. You spend your evening at the ER and your day has pretty much been carjacked. You get home at 9pm tired and famished. But since you had a plan in place, all is not lost. 

You turn on the burner and soon you’ve got the spaghetti is boiling. Meanwhile you pull out those premade meatballs and heat them up in the microwave with a jar of spaghetti sauce (and you remembered to cover it so kudos!).  Cut open the premade salad and voila, dinner is served by 9:30pm. It’s not the relaxing meal at 7pm that you had imagined, but you claim victory because it’s a meal at home. You’re feeling like a super-hero! There is real power in planning and preparing.

Why and how to do this

In a life full of responsibilities, it’s easy for a day to get pulled into chaos.

Bosses are demanding production. Children are demanding entertainment. Partners are demanding affection.

Netflix is demanding binging. Social media is demanding swiping and tapping and scrolling. Retail is demanding buying.

You can’t stop the onslaught of demands for your attention.

The best you can do is prepare for chaos, and meet it with a plan of attack.

The best defense against unwieldy demands of the every day: set fiercely stable priorities.

Where do you want to go today? What do you want to accomplish?

You get to define what success means to you each day.

Warning: If you’re not clear on what you want, you’ll be acting on the plans that other people have for you, rather than on your own. Your day will get carjacked and you’ll be driving to places that don’t serve you and leave you running on empty.

Without planning ahead,

you’ll end up accomplishing more of what other people want for you,

and risk doing less of what you want for yourself.

Make time to stay in the driver’s seat.

Planning ahead is setting a clear plan of small, simple actions that will define your success for the day.

Ask yourself,

“How, specifically, will I get to where I want to go?

What detours and emergencies are likely to pop up?

What will I have to trade off or say no to?

The more clearly and accurately you can predict and plan your future, the less you risk being swiped for other people’s priorities, and the more controlled you’ll feel in the moment.

At the same time…

Beware of over planning. It’s often counterproductive to plan out every detail of the day minute-by-minute.

Unless you’re living in a strictly regimented monastery or you have vivid visions of the future, the day will probably not unfold along every detail.

Instead, be strategic.

Set aside some time, even if only five minutes, to plot out the big rocks of your day. Take note of the big rocks in this infographic compared to the sand. Are you allowing the sand to take priority over the rocks?

One last note about lanes. Many people and things will compete for your time and attention. Having a plan in place will help you know what deserves your time and attention. If you have something planned for yourself and a loved one makes a request, it’s okay to pause, pull to the side of the road and think. It’s okay to say no to others so you can say yes to yourself, even your kids.  This is a tough one, but think of the powerful example you set for them when you speak up for your needs. This is more likely to happen when you have a plan in place.

Photo credit: Precision Nutrition

Outline the 1-3 big-ticket items you want to accomplish today, and clearly mark out time in your calendar to accomplish those top priorities. Have at least a general plan of how you’ll ensure those minimum priorities get accomplished.

Then, when you finally get to that moment of truth when it’s time for the big rock to happen, you’ll have clarity and control for exactly how to follow-through. That will be your moment to choose your health over the whims and demands of the moment (whether they be your own or someone else’s). Getting into the driver’s seat at that moment is a matter of accurately planning ahead. The time spent now is worth it, for less chaos and more control later.

If you found this helpful, check out Progressive Athletics. We help you fit healthy habits in the context of a busy life. We think you will find it absolutely mind-blowing! Every aspect of our workouts and health coaching is designed to elevate your fitness and your life beyond the gym. Click here to experience our comprehensive fitness experience for one month. 30-day money back guarantee.   

Easy Baked Apples

When the air outside gets that first hint cool crisp feel, we feel the urge to jog through some crunchy leaves and bust out the apples and cinnamon! At Progressive Athletics, we can’t help ourselves. Our love of working out is second only to our love of food.

Apple-baked oatmeal is an easy delicious dessert. Brown sugar and cinnamon oats bake inside cored apples is the perfect way to welcome September!  Each serving bring  a couple servings carbohydrates and one serving of fats.  The best way to enjoy this early fall favorite is to sit and mindfully and enjoy it – guilt free!

Baked Apples with Oatmeal Filling

looking at a plate of four baked apples with oatmeal filling

4 medium apples

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Optional: 1/4 cup pecan pieces

1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces


Preheat oven 350 degrees

Core each apples and make a large well in the center.

Place on a rimmed baking sheet

Mix oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until well combined.

Spoon 1/4 of mixture into each apple.

Bake until apples are tender, about 30 minutes.

Heads Up: If you don’t use a rimmed cookie sheet, butter will spill into the oven.

If you live in Howard County Maryland and would like to enjoy your favorite foods while reaching your fitness goals, we do guilt-free health coaching coupled with smart pain-free workouts.  Click this link today to learn more.

What’s a Gear Up and why you need in *every* workout.

A foundation of any strong structure is a strong base. The same is true of our bodies. Bulletproof feet, ankles, calves, and knees are key preventing injuries and having an active pain-free life. That’s why we start every session with our signature “Gear Up” routine – a carefully designed series of exercises that not do more than properly prepare your body for the more intense movements that follow in the workout and beyond. Each movement is chosen to address common issues for the modern sedentary lifestyle. In this blog post, we will delve into the reasons why we prioritize “Gear Up” over traditional warm-ups and explore the different components of this dynamic routine.

But First, a Word about Our Shoes

Pointy, squishy running shoes, and large platform shoes can be detrimental to our foot health. Pointy shoes can squeeze the toes together, leading to bunions and other deformities. Squishy shoes buffer our connection with the ground and weaken arches, causing the arches to collapse. Weak arches increase the need for expensive orthotics. It’s a painful cycle of weakness and more costly assistive devices. But good news! strengthening feet through exercises and wearing “zero-drop” shoes can help reduce or eliminate dependency on such devices. Imagine a life with no more orthotics and freedom to wear sandals (ahhh!).  So, to get the most out of a Gear Up, do it in your socks or a pair of minimal shoes. Read on to learn about the Gear Up.

What’s the difference between a Gear Up and a Warm Up?

While warm-ups are essential for increasing blood flow and body temperature, they often focus solely on raising the heart rate without targeting specific muscle groups. On the other hand, the “Gear Up” routine at Progressive Athletics aims to achieve a more comprehensive approach to priming your body for exercise and bullet-proofing the body against injuries. By incorporating various exercises that target different areas, we enhance joint mobility, muscle activation, and stability – elements crucial for maximizing performance and preventing injuries. To get the most benefit, do these movements in your socks or a pair of minimal shoes. Okay, now time for the Gear Up.

What’s in a Gear Up?

Part 1. Base Build

The foundation of any strong structure is a solid base, and the same holds true for our bodies. The “Base Build” phase of our Gear Up routine focuses on strengthening toes, ankles, calves and knees. We came up with this because we witness gym members coming in with pain and injuries such as plantar fasciitis, flat feet (weak arches), bunions, stiff ankles, Achilles tears, shin splints, and of course, knee pain. Exercises like tibialis raises, calf raises, and Patrick steps address this issues because they directly strengthen the arch of the foot, mobilize the ankle, stabilize the knee, build strength in the calf muscles, providing a stable platform for the rest of the body to move and lift. It works best to do these movements with no shoes or minimal shoes.  Here’s a closer look at three of our favorite movements:

  • Tibialis raise: Lean against a wall on your heels and raise, then lower your toes for 1 minute.
  • Calf raise: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and raise your heels off the ground as high as you can and lower for 1 minutes 
  • Patrick step: Stand on one leg and step forward with the other leg. Lower your leg until your heel touches the ground in front of you. Repeat for 1 minute. 


  • It helps to get warm before doing these exercises. (we always start with a 5 minute walk)
  • Take breaks as you need or if it’s too easy, progress it to make it more intense.
  • If you have any pain, stop the exercise and consult a doctor.

This may feel a bit tedious when you’re excited to begin your workout, but don’t neglect your foundation. Now let’s move a few inches up the body to Instagram favorite part of every workout.

Part 2. Hip and Glute Activation

Hips and glutes get lots of attention in the media, but truth is, they are really important to our function. And in today’s sedentary lifestyle, many of us suffer from weak and tight hips and glutes. This can lead to imbalances and potential injuries during workouts and can lead to the need for surgery. In fact, hip replacements are on the rise! But good news, the solution is simple. Strengthen them and take them through a full range of motion as often as possible each week.  This is why we include Part 2 of our Gear Up: “Hip and Glute Activation” We like hip hurdles, squats with a hip circle, and side steps with a hip circle because they mobilize and strengthen these crucial muscle groups and joints. Improved hip and glute function enhances overall movement efficiency and reduces the risk of strain and injury.

Here’s three of our favorite hip/glute activation movements:

  1. Hip Hurdles:
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart next to a raised box.
  • Step forward over the box while keeping your back straight and core engaged.
  • Step back to the starting position.
  • Repeat this movement for 30 seconds on each leg.
  1. Squat with Hip Circle:
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place a hip circle around your thighs just above your knees.
  • Squat down, making sure to keep your back straight and core engaged.
  • As you come back up, focus on squeezing your glutes.
  • Repeat this exercise for 1 minute.
  1. Side Step with Hip Circle:
  • Stand with your feet together and a hip circle around your thighs just above your knees.
  • Take a step to the side while keeping your back straight and core engaged.
  • Bring your other foot to meet the first foot.
  • Repeat this side-stepping movement for 1 minute, alternating directions.

Do these hip and glute activation movements into your routine 2-3 times per week. If you have a trainer, ask them to include this in each of your workouts. Remember, strong hips and glutes provide essential support and stability to your body during everyday movements and exercise.  Read on to learn about a frequently forgotten element in workouts.

Part 3. Wake Up Those Hammies!

Often overlooked, the hamstring is a vital muscle for maintaining healthy knees and hips. Our “Hamstring Activation” exercises, such as standing leg curls, bowler squats, and reverse plank heel taps, specifically target this muscle group, ensuring it is ready to handle the demands of your workout. Strong hamstring will help bulletproof your knees, a pain-free back, and make walking and jogging much more enjoyable. It is common to experience cramps when first activating these muscles. If this happens, stop and shake it out then try again. With time and practice, it won’t happen as often. Keep reading to learn about the classic problem we all have (except maybe ballerinas).

Part 4. Posture

Our modern lifestyle wreaks havoc on our posture. Poor posture not only leads to discomfort and pain, it can easily lead to the need for painful surgery (cha-ching $$$). To counteract this, every Gear Up routine includes exercises that strengthen the shoulders and upper back. This resistance band series includes Underhand Pull Aparts, No Money Pull Aparts, and Behind the Neck (overhead) pull apart. We like them because they promote better posture but can be done by almost anyone and anywhere.  We recommend doing this daily throughout the day, especially if you work in a job where you are leaning forward and/or sitting.

Here’s three elemental healing movements for your shoulders and upper-back:

1️⃣ Underhand Pull Apart: This exercise focuses on enhancing shoulder blade mobility. It helps to loosen up those tight muscles and improve your upper back’s range of motion. Proper shoulder blade mobility is crucial for maintaining a healthy posture and reducing the risk of shoulder pain.

2️⃣ No Money Pull Apart: Strengthening the muscles between your shoulder blades is key to combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting and poor posture. This exercise targets those muscles, which play a vital role in keeping your shoulders aligned and your upper back stable.

3️⃣ Behind the Neck Pull Apart: The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint. This exercise helps increase the mobility of your rotator cuff, which can greatly contribute to improved posture and reduced discomfort in the shoulders and upper back.

🏠 You can incorporate these exercises into your routine by doing them 2-3 times per week at home.

Remember, good posture is not just about standing up straight; it’s about feeling your best and moving with ease throughout your daily activities. Embrace the journey to a healthier, more mobile, and pain-free life by prioritizing your posture today.  The next part of the Gear Up is popular among beach-goers.

Part 5. Core/Crawl

The “Core” refers to a complex network of muscles in the torso.  Contrary to popular belief, the core encompasses more than just the “6-pack” abs; it includes a complex network of muscles that play a significant role in stabilizing the torso and supporting the spine and hips. It is the center of your power and stability! This segment focuses on strengthening these core muscles, which are vital for functional movement, spinal health, and overall balance.

A good start is stationary planks, but it’s important to progress to movements that require you to stabilize your core while doing full body movements. Let’s explore some of the exercises:

**1. Rolling Planks:**
– Start in a side plank position, resting on your forearm with your body forming a straight line from head to heels.
– Engage your core and hold this position for 20 seconds before transitioning to a standard plank position, supporting your body with both forearms and toes.
– Again, hold for 20 seconds, and then smoothly transition to the other side plank position, maintaining proper form throughout the movement.
– Repeat this sequence for several sets, allowing yourself to adapt to the challenge and intensity over time.

**2. Bear-Dog:**
– Begin on all fours, with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your knees aligned with your hips.
– Engage your core and hover your knees just above the ground, creating a straight line from your head to your hips.
– Now, raise your hips towards the ceiling, transitioning into a downward dog yoga pose. This movement will engage your core and challenge your balance.
– Return to the initial bear crawl position and repeat the bear-dog movement for several reps, focusing on controlled and deliberate motions.

**3. Scapula Push-ups:**
– Assume a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your body forming a straight line from head to heels.
– Instead of bending your elbows to perform a traditional push-up, focus on locking your elbows and sliding your shoulder blades toward each other, letting your chest lower a bit.
– Return to the starting position and repeat the scapula push-ups for several reps, feeling the burn in your upper back and core muscles.

Although its popular to do “Max planks” beyond 2 minutes, its better to listen to your body and learn quality movement. When we “go to failure” we begin to compensate with other muscles – and not in a good way. So start with a few sets of each exercise and gradually increase the number of sets and reps as you build strength and confidence. Remember to listen to your body and take breaks when needed to prevent overexertion. Okay, read on. The last part of the Gear Up may surprise you.

Part 6. The Mighty Campfire Squat

There’s nothing like a proper deep campfire squat! It will keep you young and mobile! They look a little different for each person due to anatomy and mobility, but it’s important to do at least one per day. That is why every Gear Up ends with a 30-second Campfire Squat. Here’s a few reasons why…

  • Improves flexibility
  • Strengthens the muscles in the legs, hips, and core
  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Helps to relieve back pain
  • Promotes better posture
  • Can help to improve digestion
  • Can help to reduce stress
  • Preserves range of motion in ankles, Achilles tendons, calves, hips, groin, and knees.

A Few Parting Thoughts

As the modern lifestyle involves more time in front of technology and less movement, it becomes ever-more urgent to include movements in your workout that challenge range of motion involve more than just “warming up.”  A workout that heals and builds the body needs more than just increasing your heart rate. It needs thoughtful planning to counteract the positions we must assume to do our desk jobs.

The “Gear Up” routine is a holistic approach to prime your muscles, joints, and core, minimizing the risk of injuries and prepare you for a great pain-free workout enhance your life outside the gym. By targeting different areas and muscle groups, you will build a solid foundation for a successful and rewarding fitness journey. So, before your next workout, make sure to “Gear Up” and experience the difference firsthand. Like and follow us to unlock your true potential with Progressive Athletics!

7 Strategies to Being Healthy When Working a Desk Job

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More of a visual person? Check out our Youtube HERE.


In the modern world, many of us find ourselves anchored to a desk for the majority of our working hours. This sedentary lifestyle can lead to a variety of health issues, from obesity to musculoskeletal disorders. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle while working a desk job is not impossible. Here are seven key strategies to help you stay fit and healthy even when your job requires hours of sitting.

1. Get More Movement Throughout the Day

Our bodies were designed for movement, and staying active is essential to our health. Try to incorporate regular movement into your routine by taking short breaks every hour to stand, stretch, or walk around. These micro-breaks can enhance your focus, alleviate muscle tension, and boost your metabolism.

2. Create an Ergonomic Work Station

An ergonomic workstation can greatly reduce the risk of developing musculoskeletal problems. This includes a chair with good lumbar support, a desk at elbow height, and a monitor placed at eye level to reduce neck strain. Also, ensure that your mouse and keyboard are positioned so that your arms and wrists are in a natural and relaxed position.

3. Work on Your Upper Body Posture

Good posture isn’t just about standing tall; it’s also about how you sit. Slouching at your desk can lead to back, neck, and shoulder pain. Aim for an “open” posture with your chest forward, shoulders back, and a neutral spine. Using tools like posture correctors or lumbar rolls can remind you to maintain this position.

4. Work on Your Lower Body Mobility

Sitting for prolonged periods can tighten your hip flexors and hamstrings, leading to lower back pain. Incorporating lower body stretches into your daily routine can help maintain your mobility and counteract these issues. Stretches targeting your glutes, hamstrings, and hip flexors can be easily done even at your desk.

5. Be Mindful of How Much Snacking You Do at the Office

Snacks can be a sneaky source of extra calories. Aim to eat balanced meals that will keep you satiated, and if you must snack, choose healthier options like fruits, vegetables, or nuts. Avoid mindless eating by portioning out your snacks instead of eating directly from the package.

6. Try to Limit Your Screen Time

Prolonged screen time can cause eye strain, headaches, and sleep problems. Practice the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. This can help reset your eyes and reduce fatigue. Additionally, consider using blue light filters on your devices.

7. Set Healthy Work Boundaries and Leave Work at Work

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Avoid burnout by setting boundaries on your work hours and ensuring you have time to relax and recharge. Resist the temptation to check emails outside work hours, and engage in activities that help you decompress, like reading, meditating, or spending time with loved ones.

With these seven strategies, you can ensure that your desk job doesn’t dictate your health. Remember, small steps can lead to significant changes over time. Prioritize your health and well-being, because you are your most valuable asset.

The Myth of Negative Calorie Foods: An Exploration of Balanced Nutrition

Rather listen instead? Check out the podcast HERE.

More of a visual person? Watch the video version HERE.

Are you familiar with the concept of ‘negative calorie foods’? You might have heard that consuming foods like celery, cucumber, or lettuce can help you lose weight because your body supposedly burns more calories digesting them than they contain. It’s a tantalizing idea, but is it really true?

The term ‘negative calorie food’ has been circulating in diet culture for years, prompting many of us to load up our shopping carts with bundles of celery in hopes of shedding those extra pounds. However, this concept is based on a misunderstanding of how our bodies metabolize food.

Our bodies do expend energy during digestion in a process known as the thermic effect of food (TEF). But even for the most energy-intensive foods, this accounts for only about 10-20% of the total calories they provide. Therefore, it’s virtually impossible for a food to be truly ‘negative calorie’. A medium stalk of celery, for example, contains around 6 calories, but your body might use up to only 2 calories to digest it.

Let’s be clear: foods often labeled as ‘negative calorie’, such as vegetables and fruits, are indeed nutrient-dense and low in calories. They can absolutely be part of a healthy, balanced diet. But it’s important to remember that they alone can’t facilitate weight loss or compensate for overeating other types of foods.

Another important notion to dispel is the idea of ‘bad foods’. Labeling foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ creates a dichotomy that can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. All foods can fit into a balanced diet when consumed in moderation. It’s not about eliminating certain foods entirely, but rather about achieving a varied, balanced intake that provides all the necessary nutrients your body needs.

High-calorie foods aren’t inherently ‘bad’. Many high-calorie foods, like avocados and nuts, are packed with essential nutrients. It’s not the single piece of cake or the occasional fast-food meal that’s problematic, but rather the lack of balance or excess in our overall diet.

Our bodies need a combination of macronutrients – proteins, fats, and carbohydrates – along with a host of vitamins and minerals to function optimally. A varied diet, encompassing a range of different foods, is the best way to ensure we meet these needs.

So, as you navigate the grocery store aisles or plan your meals for the week, remember: there’s no such thing as a ‘negative calorie food’ or a ‘bad food’. Instead, focus on variety and moderation. Consuming a wide array of foods, including those so-called ‘negative calorie foods’, will provide your body with the array of nutrients it needs. And, yes, there’s room for that slice of cake too, because enjoying our food is a vital part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

Let’s celebrate food for what it truly is: not just fuel, but a source of pleasure, community, and nourishment in every sense of the word. A balanced diet is not about restriction, but about harmony and enjoyment in what we eat.

Navigating Late Night Eating for Weight Loss: Gym Workouts and Personal Trainers

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More of a visual person? Watch the Youtube HERE.

If you’re committed to achieving weight loss, you’ve likely pondered the rules surrounding eating and bedtime. The timing of your meals, especially in relation to your sleep, can indeed play a vital role in your weight loss journey. But how exactly does it all fit together?

When you’re engaging in regular workouts at gyms near you and working with a personal trainer, maintaining an optimal nutrition routine is critical. It’s not just about what you eat; it’s also about when you eat. Here’s why.

Firstly, avoid large meals close to bedtime. Your body needs ample time to digest food, and going to bed right after a big meal could lead to discomfort and problems like indigestion or acid reflux. In general, aim to finish a large meal at least 3 hours before hitting the hay. This practice aligns well with evening gym routines, giving your body enough time to metabolize nutrients and recover from your workout, aiding in overall weight loss.

Now, if you’re wondering, “But what if I’m hungry before bed?”—you’re not alone. Many of us feel the call of the kitchen late at night. Here’s where mindful snacking comes into play. If you’re hungry close to bedtime, opt for a light, healthy snack. Consider a handful of nuts, a piece of fruit, or a small cup of yogurt. These options are nutrient-dense, satisfying, and less likely to interfere with your sleep or weight loss goals.

While on the topic of pre-bedtime consumption, it’s essential to highlight the need to avoid stimulants. Foods and drinks rich in caffeine or sugar, like coffee, certain teas, chocolate, and energy drinks, can disrupt your sleep patterns significantly. In the grand scheme of weight loss, quality sleep is as crucial as your workouts at the gym and your personal trainer-guided exercises. Poor sleep can hinder your body’s recovery, negatively affect your metabolism, and increase cravings for unhealthy foods.

Hydration deserves a special mention too. Drinking enough water throughout the day aids digestion, boosts metabolism, and helps maintain overall health—contributing positively to your weight loss journey. However, try to moderate your fluid intake close to bedtime to avoid disrupting your sleep with frequent bathroom trips.

Remember, when it comes to diet and exercise, individual differences abound. You may find that you’re comfortable eating closer to bedtime without experiencing any issues, while for others, a more extended gap might be necessary. Pay attention to your body’s responses and adjust accordingly. Regular visits to local gyms, and maintaining open communication with your personal trainer about your eating habits and physical responses, will help you establish a routine that suits you best.

In conclusion, a successful weight loss journey hinges on many factors, one of which is managing your meal timing around your sleep. By aligning your eating habits with your workout routine, avoiding large meals and stimulants before bed, choosing healthy snacks when needed, and staying well-hydrated, you’re setting yourself up for a healthier lifestyle and more successful weight loss journey. Remember, balance is key, and understanding your body’s unique needs will make all the difference.

Navigating the Fitness Journey: 5 Common Mistakes Beginners Make

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Starting a fitness journey can be a thrilling endeavor. The promise of better health, a more toned body, and the overall sense of achievement are alluring rewards. However, beginners often make mistakes that can hinder progress, dampen enthusiasm, and, in some cases, lead to injuries. Here, we will delve into five common mistakes beginners make when embarking on their fitness journey: doing too much too soon, bypassing professional guidance, setting unrealistic goals, falling into the fitness influencer trap, and treating fitness as a finite game.

Mistake 1: Doing Too Much Too Soon

Excitement is a great motivator, but it’s important to remember that fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. Beginners often fall into the trap of doing too much too soon, inspired by the desire for rapid weight loss or drastic body transformation. This approach, however, often results in burnout and injury. Fitness is a gradual process that requires consistency and careful progression. Start slow, listen to your body, and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts to avoid this common pitfall.

Mistake 2: Not Getting Some Professional Guidance

Embarking on a fitness journey without professional guidance can be likened to navigating unfamiliar terrain without a map. A personal trainer provides the necessary guidance and knowledge that beginners often lack. They understand the science of exercise and can tailor workout plans to suit individual needs and capabilities. Personal trainers can also guide you through group training sessions, helping you to maximize the benefits while maintaining proper form and safety.

Mistake 3: Setting Unrealistic Goals

While ambition is commendable, setting unrealistic fitness goals can be demoralizing. Quick-fix weight loss or achieving a muscular physique within a few weeks are examples of impractical targets. Remember, fitness is a journey, and progress takes time. Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals that are realistic and achievable to keep you motivated and on track.

Mistake 4: Falling into the Fitness Influencer Trap

Social media is rife with fitness influencers showcasing their perfectly toned bodies and promoting miracle workout regimes and diet plans. While some influencers provide valuable advice, others promote routines and diets that may not be scientifically sound or suitable for beginners. It’s essential to critically evaluate any advice from fitness influencers and remember that what works for one person might not work for another.

Mistake 5: Making Fitness a “Finite” Game Instead of an “Infinite” Game

Fitness is an infinite game, a lifelong journey towards better health and wellbeing. However, many beginners treat it as a finite game, with an end goal such as weight loss or a specific body shape in mind. Once these goals are achieved, they stop exercising, causing them to lose their progress. Instead, view fitness as a lifelong commitment. It’s not about winning or losing but continuously improving and maintaining your health.

In conclusion, starting a fitness journey is a commendable decision, one that can bring countless benefits. By avoiding these common mistakes, you will set a solid foundation for a sustainable and rewarding fitness journey. Remember, it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey. Take it one step at a time, seek professional guidance, set realistic goals, be critical of the information you consume, and, most importantly, make fitness an infinite game.