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

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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.

Social Support For Your Fitness Goals

~3-minute read.

Rather listen instead? Check out the podcast HERE.

Getting in shape is a personal journey that requires motivation, discipline, and hard work. But for many people, having social support can be a game-changer that can help increase their chances of success. Social support, or the emotional and practical assistance that comes from people in one’s life, can provide individuals with the accountability, encouragement, and guidance needed to achieve their fitness goals. In this blog post, we’ll explore why social support is so important and provide some tips for finding it.

Studies have shown that having a supportive network can help people stick to their fitness routines and achieve their goals. For example, one study found that people who worked out with a partner lost more weight and kept it off longer than those who exercised alone. Another study showed that people who received text message reminders and encouragement from friends lost more weight than those who did not receive such support. These findings suggest that social support can play a significant role in helping people achieve their fitness goals.

Having social support can provide a number of benefits that can help individuals stick to their fitness routines. For example:

  1. Accountability: When someone has a workout partner, they are less likely to skip a workout because they know someone is counting on them to show up.

  2. Encouragement: Having friends who support and cheer us on can help us push through tough times and stay motivated.

  3. Motivation: Seeing others make progress and achieve their goals can be a source of motivation and inspiration.

  4. Guidance: Friends who have experience with fitness can provide guidance and advice on how to reach goals.

  5. Social Connection: Exercising with friends can provide a sense of social connection and can help people feel less lonely and isolated.

These benefits can be especially important for those who are just starting out on their fitness journey. For example, people who are new to exercise may feel intimidated and unsure about what to do. Having a supportive network can help provide the encouragement and guidance needed to get started and stick with it.

There are many ways to find social support for fitness. Here are a few tips to get started:

  1. Join a gym or fitness class: Joining a gym or fitness class can be a great way to meet people with similar interests and goals.

  2. Find a workout partner: Ask a friend, family member, or co-worker to join you in your fitness journey.

  3. Participate in group fitness events: Many communities offer group fitness events like charity walks or runs that can provide a sense of community and support.

  4. Connect with others online: There are many online communities and forums where people can connect with others who are working towards similar fitness goals.

In conclusion, social support is an important factor that can help people achieve their fitness goals. Having a supportive network can provide accountability, encouragement, motivation, guidance, and a sense of social connection. By finding social support, individuals can increase their chances of success and make the journey towards getting in shape a more enjoyable and rewarding experience.

References:

  1. O’Connell, M. (2017, January 19). Want to Lose Weight and Keep It Off? Find a Workout Buddy. Time. https://time.com/4637094/lose-weight-workout-buddy/

  2. Berkman, L. F., Glass, T., Brissette, I., & Seeman, T. E. (2000). From social integration to health: Durkheim in the new millennium. Social Science & Medicine, 51(6), 843-857.

BACK in Action: Strengthen Your Core and Avoid Back Pain

First things first… what is your core?

Your core is a chain comprised of countless muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments. A lot of us can become fixated on getting flat abs, and there’s nothing wrong with having that goal… but it’s important to realize that only focusing on your abs can actually be counterproductive to reaching that flat-ab goal that you have.

Instead of doing a million crunches to get your abs, the best thing you can do is work your core the way it’s designed to work, which is to create stabilization throughout your torso and lower back.

Working your core in a way that promotes stabilization of the spine will help eliminate back pain and improve your overall movement and joint health while also helping those abs look good.

Let’s break it down…

For all intents and purposes, your core is made up of four different “regions”. Your abdominals, obliques, lower back, and glutes.

Each of those four regions is comprised of a bunch of different muscles, but for simplicities sake, I’ll just refer to the regions throughout this post.

Abdominals

Photo Credit: samarpanphysioclinic.blogspot.com

  1. The abdominals are what we think of when we say abs. These are the muscles in the front of your body that make up the “six-pack”

  2. Your abdominals are responsible for stabilizing the front of your core and creating intraabdominal pressure to protect your spine.

Obliques

Photo Credit: steroidslive.com

  1. Your obliques are the portions of your core on the sides of your body below the ribs.

  2. Responsible for stabilizing the sides of your core and preventing unnecessary twisting. Also known as “anti-rotation”.

Lower Back

Photo Credit: dariadelcid.blogspot.com

  1. As the name suggests, your lower back is comprised of the muscles opposite your abdominals on your backside.

  2. They are responsible for stabilizing the back of your core and ensuring that your spine stays in line. Your lower back is connected to your glutes.

Glutes

Photo Credit: youarestrongbydesign.com

  1. This is your butt! Yes these muscles are an important aspect of your core.

  2. While your lower back is meant to stabilize your spine and lower back, the glutes are responsible for extending the hips, allowing you to bend over without putting too much strain on your lower back.

How do you work each of these regions?

As mentioned above, each region has a specific responsibility in how it impacts your bodily movement.

  1. Abdominals need to be stabilized.

    1. Do exercises like planks, bear planks, and bracing during squats.

  1. Do not do exercises that force you to bend your spine like crunches and sit-ups.

  1. Obliques need to be worked in an anti-rotational way where they are strong in resisting the twisting of the torse.

    1. Do exercises like side planks and suitcase carries that force you to resist that twist while keeping your spine in line.

    2. Do not do exercises like Russian twists that work the obliques but also grind your spine.

  2. The Lower Back needs to be stable stable stable… and did I mention stable?

    1. Do exercises like planks and farmer’s carries. They are great for stabilizing the lower back.

    2. Do not do anything that rounds your back under load as this places increased stress on your lower back and spine.

  3. The Glutes are responsible for moving the hips forward in hip extension.

    1. Do exercises like RDLs, Bridges, and Sandbell Swings. They are great for working the glutes. The key is to work the glutes while keeping everything else stable.

    2. Do not do glute exercises that overextend the hips and put your back at risk.

Wrapping it up…

You want to Incorporate a well-rounded core exercise approach to truly strengthen your core. It should include plank variations, carry variations, and deadlift variations all done while bracing your core. This will give you the best results because not only will it strengthen the abdominal region of your core, but it will also strengthen the other three regions which will help make you stronger, and fitter, and prevent injury.

If you know you need to work on strengthening your core, but you’re not sure how to… you’re in luck!

BACK in Action: Core Bracing Workshop feat. Dr. Josh Funk, DPT

On May 13th @ 10:00 am, Dr. Josh Funk of Rehab2Perform will be running a workshop here at Progressive Athletics. During the workshop, you can expect to participate in interactive exercises and demonstrations to help you practice your newfound skills. You’ll also learn about the common mistakes people make when bracing their core and how to avoid them.

To learn more and register head to our Registration Page.

 

How to end shoulder pain and get SUPER SHOULDERS!

~7-Minute Read

Rather listen instead? Check out the podcast HERE.

Let’s say one day you are given the chance to travel with the one and only Superman! Your job is to assist him with managing crowds, sitting with him during interviews, and if the need arises, help him rescue someone from a burning building.  You are so excited to be helping the Man of Steel himself!  

On the first day, he doesn’t talk to you and never asks for your help. You figure he’s not used to having help and you brush it off.

The next day, he still doesn’t talk to you and never asks for help.  He handles the interviews just fine, but the paparazzi manage to get a pic of him still wearing his Clark Kent glasses and his cover is almost blown.

On the third day, he STILL doesn’t pay much attention to you and the crowds at Time Square closed in on the two of you.  You could have called for the NYPD to help clear them out but he told you not to do anything (he didn’t want bad PR). So now you are both trapped for an hour and your feet get trampled two of your toes – not his – are broken. What the heck?!  

This doesn’t make any sense to you. Superman has the help he needs right next to him but he’s suffering needlessly and causing you harm because he won’t use the help that’s been given to him.

This analogy explains what your shoulders go through every day.  Your shoulders are designed to support you, help you to carry heavy loads, and do various tasks every day. But if you don’t use them, they will actually get hurt!

You have probably heard a million times that slumping at your desk or when standing is bad posture and bad posture is bad for your shoulders.

But worse than that, your bad posture actually damages them.  You get a weak and tight chest, and a weak upper back, followed by neck problems, and lower back problems.  Eventually, you end up with shoulder pain.  Most modern-day shoulder issues are caused by a “crowded” shoulder.  There’s a space underneath the acromion process (a bone at the outer edge of your clavicle) where tissues like tendons and sacks of fluid sit and function. If that area gets narrowed or “pinched” by chronic bad posture, you get painful conditions like impingement and rotator cuff issues.

This can all be solved with three simple exercises that you can do pretty much anywhere, any day.  Even in your work clothes. No sweat required. Read on to learn about it.

It’s not time-consuming and anyone can do it. In fact, everyone from a college football player to an 80-year-old grandma should do these three things.  And they are insanely quick and easy!

Get better posture with No Money!!

Correcting your posture is really simple. Do the “No Money” move.  Stand or sit in a chair facing forward.  Bend your elbows and hold your arms at 90 degrees with your palms facing up. Pin your elbows to your rib cage and rotate your hands outward to make the “no money” gesture.

Photo credit: menshealth.com

Then let your hand drop and notice where your shoulders are. Try ot keep them in this position as often as possible throughout the day – and during workouts. And you can use this trick to do quick posture checks throughout the day.  Easy peasy!

Pulling

We do so much forward work in our everyday activities and in our workouts.  But pulling exercises are just as important as pushing. In fact, a good ratio for workouts is 2 “pulls” for every “push.” Pulling strengthens the upper back and back of the shoulders which balances the front of the shoulder. 

Unfortunately, pulling exercises are often left out of the gym and workout programs.

When you go to the gym you see plenty of bench presses, press machines, etc. When you go to a workout class, there are plenty of push-ups, planks, and burpees. But not a ton of pulling.  

Another issue is that the most popular pulling exercise – the standing row – can be a little harder as it requires the proper form to avoid straining the lower back. Have a trainer teach you how to do it properly and check your form.  So I’m going to share a few pulling exercises that are safe for you on your own and with minimal equipment.

Doorway One-Arm Rows

You can do this at work, at home, or at the gym. All you need is a doorframe a pole or a squat rack.  Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Grab the pole or door frame with one hand. Sit back with your hips, keeping the chest up. Then pull your body back to a standing position using one arm. You’ll need to engage all the muscles in the upper back on that side.  Repeat this 10 or more times and repeat on the other side. Do 3 or more sets until you get a good burn.

Photo credit: skimble.com

TRX or “Waterski” Row

This is one of my favorite exercises because it’s beginner friendly but can challenge experienced exercisers and can be more safely done without a trainer. It also takes the lower back out of the equation and really challenges the upper back. The one rule is to keep your shoulders locked down. (Remember the No Money posture!)

Use the TRX straps at the gym or make your own straps at home or on the road using a sheet.  Tie a knot at one end and place it on the top of a door and close it.

Place your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and lean back until your arms are fully extended. Lock those shoulders down and pull while keeping your elbows close to your sides.  Then control the descent back into the original “waterski” position.

Photo credit: builtwithscience.com

Inverted Row (Table or Barbell)

This one is a bit more challenging, but you can do it anywhere that there’s a sturdy table.

Lay face up under the table with your feet under the table and your head outside, looking at the ceiling. Grab the side of the table a little wider than shoulder width and pull your chest to the underside of the table. Be sure to keep your shoulders locked down and your glutes engaged.

Photo Credit: builtwithscience.com

Hanging

Here’s the last ingredient to the secret sauce. Hanging. Research is mounting that hanging will actually heal already painful shoulders and can prevent surgery and the use of opioids. Here’s how it works:

When you hang from hands, like from a monkey bar, the shoulders are raised up into a full range of motion. The upper arm bone presses on the acromion process and opens up that space making room for the tendons and bursa sacks underneath it. This might hurt a bit at first, but it works. (And of course, consult your doctor or physical therapist before trying this.)

There are many variations of hanging, but keep it simple at first. Just go up to a bar that’s over your head and hang for as long as you can, 5 or 10 seconds. It works best if your feet can still touch the ground so you can use them to bear some of your weight until you get strong enough to do a full bodyweight hang.

Do it as much as you want each day, but at least 3 times. At first, you’ll do a “dead hang” where your shoulders are up by your ears. As you get stronger you can pull your shoulder blades down and do an “active hang”.

After several weeks your grip strength will get stronger and you’ll be able to hang longer. If you have a pinched shoulder, keep reading to find a scaled-back version of this.

Find a doorway and hang from the top, using your fingertips. Use your feet to bear some of your weight. Like I said before, start with a few seconds and go longer as you get stronger.

Photo Credit: exerciseforinjuries.com

The bonus of hanging is it’s great for your back as well! It decompresses the spine and just feels great!

So those are the three essential exercises for getting rid of shoulder pain and having Superman Shoulders!  Superman would be so proud! 

If you’re ready to bulletproof those shoulders and get rid of your pain forever, come on in for a free intro where we’ll assess you and set you on the right path!

How to stay motivated

Check out the Youtube video HERE.

Rather listen instead? Check out the podcast HERE.

Getting in shape can be a daunting task for many individuals. It requires discipline, dedication, and most importantly, motivation. Whether your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle mass, staying motivated is key to achieving your fitness goals. In this blog post, we’ll discuss a few tips on how you can stay motivated as you embark on your fitness journey.

  1. Set realistic goals

The first step to staying motivated is setting realistic goals. Rather than aiming to lose 20 pounds in a week, set a goal to lose 1-2 pounds a week. This is a more achievable and sustainable goal, and you’re more likely to stay motivated if you see progress.

  1. Find a gym near you

Finding a gym near you is crucial to staying motivated. It’s easier to commit to working out when the gym is a convenient distance from your home or office. A gym near you also means you can easily access personal training if you need it. Personal training can be a great motivator because it provides accountability and guidance. A personal trainer can help you set realistic goals and develop a workout plan tailored to your fitness level and goals.

  1. Mix up your workouts

Doing the same workout every day can quickly become boring and demotivating. Mixing up your workouts can help you stay motivated and prevent boredom. Try different exercises and routines, attend fitness classes, or even take your workout outdoors. This will not only help you stay motivated, but also challenge your body and prevent plateauing.

  1. Make it a habit

Making exercise a habit is one of the best ways to stay motivated. Consistency is key when it comes to achieving fitness goals. Try to make working out a regular part of your routine, whether it’s in the morning, after work, or during your lunch break. Once exercise becomes a habit, it’s easier to stay motivated and committed.

  1. Reward yourself

Rewarding yourself is a great way to stay motivated. Set up small rewards for achieving milestones along the way. For example, if you’ve successfully stuck to your workout plan for a month, treat yourself to a massage or a new workout outfit. Rewards help you celebrate your progress and stay motivated to continue.

In conclusion, staying motivated is crucial when it comes to achieving your fitness goals. Setting realistic goals, finding a gym near you, mixing up your workouts, making it a habit, and rewarding yourself are all great ways to stay motivated. Remember that getting in shape takes time and effort, but with dedication and motivation, you can achieve your goals.

4 Tips To Help You Get Started

Most of us have no problem once we’re at the gym, on the trail, or biting into a salad. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. But getting to that point. Doing the “healthy thing” or the “hard thing” that we know will benefit us. That can be a bit trickier.

There is a certain amount of activation energy we must muster anytime we want to break out of our normal habit patterns. It’s hard to make will power override the status quo every time we need to make a decision though. If you’re someone who finds themselves frequently running into barriers when it comes to healthy habits then this article is for you!

Here are 4 Tips to help you get started on your healthy habits!

1. Define your task.
2. Make it as easy as possible to begin.
3. Find a way to make it more fun or interesting.
4. Stop publicly sharing your goals.

1.Define your task.
Specificity is your friend when it comes to taking action. The more focused and detailed your pursuit is, the more likely you will be to get it done. Just think about the following 3 statements:

  • “I’m going to eat healthy today.”
  • “I’m going to have a salad for lunch.”
  • “I’m going to eat a vegetable and lean protein with each meal today.”

Which person do you think is going to have the most success with their healthy eating today?

Ding ding ding! If you said person number three you are absolutely correct. This person took an approach that set them up for success in their meal choices for the day. Notice that they didn’t have to do anything special to make this happen. The short amount of time it takes to plan how you will attack your healthy habit will pay tremendous dividends in the end!

2. Make it as easy as possible to begin.
As we talked about before, there is always a certain amount of activation energy required to start a new habit or task. If we can reduce the amount of activation energy it will be easier to get started.

That’s science right? Boom!

So how do we actually apply this concept? There are a ton of ways. Let’s say the habit is to go to the gym at 6am tomorrow morning. What are all the things that could make your trip to the gym happen successfully? You could:

  • Set your alarm so that you have enough time to wake up, get ready, and drive to the gym with 10-15 minutes to spare.
  • Set up your morning coffee and a simple breakfast so it’s ready to go.
  • Set a bedtime alarm reminding you to shut down the tech and get ready for bed at a desirable time.
  • Pick out your gym clothes and anything else you need to start your day off as a success.
  • RSVP/Sign up for the class.
  • Coordinate with a friend to carpool together to class. (This is a great way to stay accountable!)

The less you have to do in any given moment the easier it will be to take action. Try to eliminate as many barriers as possible that would present as an obstacle to your goal.

3. Find a way to make it more fun or interesting.
If you struggle to prepare healthy meals or don’t really like to exercise maybe you just haven’t found the approach that works for you. Trying a group fitness class, small group session, or personal training appointment might help you figure out the right environment and type of support you need to make going to the gym “not so bad” 🙂

If cooking and eating healthy is a struggle try to come up with a ritual that makes meal prep more fun. Invite a friend over, crank up some tunes, or binge-watch one of your favorite shows while you chop veggies and cook up your meals for the week!

4. Stop publicly sharing your goals.
Studies have shown that people who publicly announce their goals or intentions are actually less likely to follow through on them. When you tell someone “I’m going to lose 10 lbs” or “I’m going to hit the gym 5 days a week” it feels good at the moment. According to the study, that sense of completeness you feel will make you less effective than if you were to keep the goals to yourself.

So what should you do instead? Write down the goals you have or some of the changes you want to make. Discuss a plan of action with an experienced coach who can tell you what it takes to get there. Keep it secret. Keep it safe. Get it done.

There you have it, 4 tips to help you get started toward your wellness goals.

When you hear that alarm go off in the morning and your first instinct is to hit that snooze button remember this maxim from Marcus Aurelius, “Is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?” Remember it is human nature to seek comfort. But it is our most basic desire that we are satisfied in the process. Hold yourself to that higher standard. The delayed gratification of getting out of bed for a walk or to hit the gym will improve your life and fulfillment in the long run. The warm bed feels good in the moment, but you’ll sleep easier knowing your actions are aligned with your words.

The Top 3 Hacks For Healthy Eating

Not every “fit” person follows a diet.

Not every person who struggles with their body composition lacks self control.

Finding the right foods, ratios, and quantities to optimize the way you look and feel is an ever evolving process. Your body is in a constant state of change. Cells are dying and regenerating. The body we live in today is a result of many past choices. How we look and feel will be influenced by our food choices, age, gender, hormones, activities, sleep, and stress. There’s no one right answer.

There are however some areas we can focus on in our journey to looking and feeling great. Here are the top 3 hacks for healthy eating!

  1. Pick your fats
  2. Eat more vegetables
  3. Protein is the foundation of every meal

1. Pick your fats
Fats stick with you. Not just figuratively, they actually make up the cell wall in every cell in your body. This affects the way cells communicate with one another as well as your body’s inflammatory response. That’s why the types and the quality of fats you choose to eat is such an important factor.

Fat Types
Polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats can help provide your body with a sustainable energy source, decrease inflammation, and improve mental performance. These types of fats are found in foods such as salmon, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.

Saturated fats should be consumed sparingly. They are not all bad but high consumption of saturated fat may be linked to increased risk of heart disease.

Fat Quality
Each meal should include a healthy fat option that supports your goals. Fat quality in animal products can vary greatly depending on the conditions the animal was raised in and what they were. You are eating what the animal ate! Focus on humanely raised animal products, grass finished, and wild fish versus farm raised.

Fat amounts
Working with an experienced nutrition coach is a great way to calculate your fat needs for the day. This can vary based on your body type, genetics, and goals. Try to avoid high fat meals before or after exercise to avoid any digestive issues around training.

2. Eat more vegetables
Seems like a no-brainer but when you think about your meals over the past few days how many of those contained a full serving of veggies?

Vegetables are a great source of fiber, essential nutrients, and prebiotics to support gut health. They are also always going to be your best alternative when it comes to snacking. Most of us are not going to do any sort of damage by stuffing our faces with broccoli and carrots!

3. Protein is the foundation of every meal

Humans need protein. There’s no way around it. The amino acids that make up proteins (plant or animal) are the building blocks for our muscles. Without sufficient protein in the diet our bodies will start breaking down muscle, diverting amino acids to perform other critical functions in the body.

So how much do you need? This again will vary a ton based on your goals, body composition, and genetics. Once you have your protein goal determined for the day. Set a protein goal for each meal by dividing that total daily amount by the number of meals you generally eat. Don’t forget to factor in your post workout shake!

For example, if you are shooting to consume 150 grams of protein per day and typically eat 5 times a day you would aim for about 30 grams of protein at each meal. Once you figure out your numbers it becomes easy to know what foods support that quantity of protein.

There you have it, the top 3 hacks for healthy eating! If you’re trying to clean up your nutrition and fitness regimen let us know how we can best help!

Whenever you’re ready to get started, join our “30-Day Kickstart Your Fitness” program where you’ll build your fitness, energy, strength, and confidence.

Learn more about our 30-Day Program here!

Why you should love the Lunge

Lunges, split squats, and other unilateral leg movements are tremendous tools for building a strong, functional, and balanced body. Yet they tend to take a backseat to the more popular lower body exercises like squats and deadlifts. Let’s explore some of the benefits of lunges, common faults, and some popular variations so you never miss a lunge day again!

Woman lunging.

Lunges are a fundamental human movement pattern and take many different forms. The movement is generally defined as a split legged stance with one foot planted in front of the body and the other extended behind the body. From this position the athlete can raise or lower their body while stepping forward to the lead leg or returning to the rear leg. Lunges require leg strength, core strength, balance, and coordination. They can be performed as a bodyweight movement, under an external load, or explosively as a plyometric exercise. There are really an incredible number of ways to perform this exercise. Depending on your goals there are many ways that training lunges can be beneficial.

If you are looking to improve balance and coordination you could train lunges with a loading pattern that increased the demand for midline stability. Lunges performed with a barbell overhead or a single dumbbell or kettlebell loading one side of the body will achieve this. Due to the stabilization and core strength required to complete a lunge variation of this sort there is a huge transfer and application to sports and life. Ensure that the load demands don’t force you into a compromised position and that you have the necessary mobility to handle the movement pattern (AKA ask coach if you’re not sure)!

 

Two women exercising.

To develop greater strength and enhance muscle growth select lunge variations that allow for greater external loading. A reverse lunge is a popular option for this as it allows the weight to remain in the lead leg ensuring proper form and engagement of the posterior chain. Reverse lunges can be performed with dumbbells held at waist level or a barbell in the back rack position to go hard and heavy. A good rule of thumb is to keep the majority of the load in the front leg as you perform the movement. Select a load that allows for a controlled descent to the floor allowing the knee to kiss, not crash into, the ground.

To prevent injuries, increase range of motion, and correct imbalances the Bulgarian split squat or Bulgarian lunge is an excellent choice. This exercise is performed by working one lead leg at a time with the rear foot elevated on a platform 4-6 inches higher than the lead working leg. This movement optimizes the hinge position of the hips and is greater for activating the gluteus muscles. A popular loading pattern for this lunge is with dumbbells held in suitcase fashion. Make sure to select the appropriate box height to elevate the rear leg to prevent the spine from hyperextending at the end range of motion. Take care to stabilize the lead leg and focus on balance to reap the benefits of this killer lunge variation.

If you want to learn more about the best training movements be sure to discuss your goals with one of our coaches!