The Top Workout Recovery Methods

The Top Workout Recovery Methods

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So you have been consistently working out and making progress, congratulations! But just remember, muscles don’t grow in the gym; they grow after. Specifically, after you have broken down your muscles and your body enters the recovery process.

Recovery must occur before progress can be made, plain and simple. Recovery helps you stay injury free, consistent, and efficient in your workouts. So what are some ways to help you recover from your workout? Why is workout recovery important?

1. Get Quality Sleep

One of the best things you can do for yourself when it comes to workout recovery is sleep. Not getting enough sleep has any negative effects on your body. It can alter your mood, increase perception of fatigue, and negatively affect the physiological mechanisms responsible for adaptation from the stresses of training.

Sleep is a major part of your body’s recovery process. After all, he purpose of sleep is to induce a state of recovery in the body. When you don’t get enough sleep, you are a lot more likely to have an inefficient workout or even skip working out all together. So try to develop a regular sleeping routine where you go to bed at a similar time each night of the week.

2. Get a Massage

Massages are great for muscle recovery and overall relaxation. Getting massages frequently helps to alleviate tense muscles and reduce pain.

Additionally, massages help make the biological process of muscle recovery more efficient which is why it’s such a great technique. Massages not only help you feel a lot better, but they also help speed up the muscle recovery process.

3. Stay Hydrated

I cannot stress enough how important hydration is, especially when it comes to fitness. Dehydration can reduce performance potential, but also delay the recovery process. Exercise and an increased metabolic rate both increase the body’s need for water and electrolytes.

drinking water helps fill up the cells and prevent them from falling victim to protein synthesis. Hydration is also important for facilitating digestion, so that the body can receive all of the nutrients that are needed for proper recovery. So don’t overlook the power of hydration!

4. Rolling Your Muscles

Rolling your muscles is a great way to release tension in your body by removing knots in areas like the legs, arms, and sides. You can do this at home with a specialized foam roller, a medicine ball, or other similar devices that are meant to move easily along the muscles. There are different kinds of techniques employed for muscle rolling depending on the areas and specific muscles that need to be rolled, so experiment a little and see which method works best for you.

Rolling your muscles helps reduce pain and increase flexibility because you break up tightness and knots that cause stiffness and pain. It helps restore range of motion and eliminate the tightness and pain that often comes with inflammation as a result of intense competitions or training sessions, which is why it’s such a good recovery technique.

The Workout Recovery Takeaway

All in all, the recovery process is extremely important when it comes to fitness. Restorative exercises like yoga or tai chi also help aid the recovery process, so try implementing those into your routine. Remember to stay hydrated, get enough sleep, and roll your muscles to help aid muscle recovery.

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How Meditation Can Help You With Health And Fitness Goals

How Meditation Can Help You With Health And Fitness Goals

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Meditation has been referred to as “fitness for the mind.” So what happens when fitness for the body is paired with fitness for the mind?

The feeling you get after a blissful meditation session is truly one-of-a-kind. It's as if someone's undone the imaginary zipper on your chest, allowing all of your stress, anxiety, and negative emotions to leave your body and make way for feelings of peace and balance. Maybe you even feel this way about working out: like the stresses of your day are melting away and rolling down your body in cascades of hard-earned sweat.

Meditation and working out share a seriously strong connection, whether you realize it or not. In fact, meditation can benefit your workout in a variety of ways, and if you're consistently doing both, you're setting yourself up for success both mentally and physically.

How Meditation Can Help With Your Fitness Program

  • Meditation prepares your mind and your body for exercise. More than anything, meditation focuses your attention and energy. It also allows you to stay motivated for exercise and inspires you to be as effective as possible with each workout.

  • Meditation can be a preparation for the brain post-workout or a way to be present for an upcoming workout. Whether you take a few moments to gather your thoughts with a couple of deep, conscious breaths to focus on being present for the upcoming workout. Or you’ve come off physically taxing your body, taking a moment to acknowledge that work is important.

  • Mediation can help guide your workout. Since meditation makes you more attuned to your internal state, you are better able to hear what your body needs both in and out of the gym. When you are more aware of what your body is saying to you, you’re better able to work with it as opposed to against it. This helps improve the quality of your workouts and prevent injury.

  • Meditation is versatile. You can do it while sitting, standing, lying down, or walking. Sitting is often dubbed the best position to meditate. It keeps the body and minds attentive versus the relaxation that occurs when you lay down. Pausing for a brief moment, putting your hand over your heart and taking 2-5 deep, conscious breaths will reset and rejuvenate you.

  • Be consistent to reap the benefits. Just like working out, meditating requires practice and persistence in order to get the best results. You can think of it as taking your brain to the gym; the more you do it, the more the muscles will develop and the easier it will be to fit into your routine.

Health Benefits Of Meditation

  1. Makes you happier.  Meditation causes the pituitary gland in our brain to secrete endorphins that help elevate mood and have a positive effect on the whole body. It also alters brain activity to enhance the area associated with positive emotional experiences.

  2. Reduces stress. Endorphins also act as a means of reducing stress levels in the brain; so by meditating you can stop worrying about the little things in life and concentrate on the exploration of yourself and the promotion of positive feelings.

  3. Helps you focus. Meditating allows you to learn how to discipline yourself and this will reflect in your everyday lifestyle. When you address tasks, your mind will focus more naturally and you will experience an increased efficiency.

  4. Improves sleep. Scientific studies have shown that those who meditate enhance their slow wave sleep pattern, which can help fight insomnia. Furthermore, focussing the mind on mental and physical processes will aid relaxation and consequently, sleep.

  5. Lowers blood pressure. Research has also shown that meditation can reduce blood pressure, both in the short term and later in life. By decreasing psychological stress and increasing coping ability, blood pressure decreases, helping you pursue a healthier life.

  6. Relieves Pain. Long-term practice of meditation can lead to physical changes in the brain that help alter the perception of pain. Those who meditate will experience lower pain sensitivity. Mindfulness, a result of meditation, can also help those who suffer chronic pain come to terms.

The Takeaway

Meditation can have a profound impact on your overall mental health, particularly when paired with exercise. With meditation, you'll discover that when you get distracted during a workout, you can bring your focus back to what you're doing much more easily. You might even find that your workouts are more efficient and effective, as your improved focus allows you to do more in less time.

All of the benefits of meditation listed combine to help you become a healthier person. Reducing blood pressure, anxiety and depression help you to handle pain and illness better and as an individual, you can expect to become calmer and more centered, which will help you process decisions that lead to a healthy, long and fulfilled life.

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9 Fitness Tips To Keep Yourself Motivated

9 Fitness Tips To Keep Yourself Motivated

9 Fitness Tips To Keep Yourself Motivated

It can be a really fine line that divides motivational success or failure when it comes to exercise. Having the initial desire to get into shape is one thing, but keeping it going can be quite another.

It takes serious motivation to lace up our sneakers and hit the pavement or book that class!

9 Motivational Fitness Tips

  1. Set goals for your fitness training and be specific. The more specific you are in terms of your goals, the easier it will be to fulfill them. Make sure you are completely realistic with your goals but at the same time make them hard enough to be a good challenge. Remember an unrealistic goal will kill motivation but conversely, a goal that is too easily achieved can also lead to boredom.

  2. Keep track of your progress.  Keeping a training schedule, logbook or diary or blog of your gym visits, running times, swimming pool visits etc, will keep you focused on the task in hand and allow you to accurately monitor your progress. It’s a great way of reminding yourself how far you’ve come when times get tough or inspiring yourself to go even further. Place it where you can see it daily.

  3. Establish a why. Anything worth having life will require some work and some sacrifice. Therefore, the work has to be worth it. Think of all the ways your life will improve and remind yourself of everything you want for yourself. There is no reason too profound and no reason too superficial as long as it matters to you.

  4. Recruit support. Join a running group, yoga class, or fitness community of some sort that is supportive and helps you stay motivated. You're not in this alone. Invite friends or co-workers to join you when you exercise. Work out with your partner or other loved ones.

  5. Keep fitness fun. Don’t rely on exercises you hate because that will only make you hate working out. Choose activities and resistance equipment that feel good to you—riding a bike, Pilates, yoga, hand weights, the elliptical machine. Working out should never be easy, but it needs to be an enjoyable challenge.

  6. Don't let one mistake ruin your progress. You’re not going to be perfect all the time. You’ll miss a workout at some point or eat something that isn’t the healthiest. Just get back on the wagon. It’s that simple. You get a flat tire, you fix it and move on. You don’t jump out of the car, flog yourself, and then slash your other three tires.

  7. Keep activity in your daily routines. You can also slip in physical activity throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk up and down sidelines while watching the kids play sports. Take a walk during a break at work. Pedal a stationary bike or do strength training exercises while you watch TV at night.

  8. Be flexible and realistic. If you're too busy to work out or simply don't feel up to it, take a day or two off. Be gentle with yourself if you need a break. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can.

  9. Give yourself rewards! After each exercise session, take a few minutes to savor the good feelings that exercise gives you. This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise. External rewards can help too. When you reach a longer range goal, treat yourself to a new pair of walking shoes, new workout clothes or new tunes to enjoy while you exercise.

The Fitness Motivation Takeaway

It can be a really fine line that divides motivational success or failure when it comes to exercise. There are a million reasons why we experience frequent fitness fails and a million more excuses we tell ourselves for not working out altogether. Remember, physical activity is for life. Review these tips whenever you feel your motivation slipping!

Contact us if you are looking to get in shape, lose weight, or are fiercely striving for maximum athletic or competitive fitness. Claim your free session here!

 

Six Common Fitness Myths

 6 Common Fitness Myths

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Whether you want to tone up, slim down, or boost your mood, you've likely taken a stab at tweaking your fitness routine. Unfortunately, there's a lot of fitness advice out there that won't help you meet your goals and could actually do more harm than good.

There’s no shortage of information sources in the world today. This is both a blessing and a curse. This is particularly true when it comes to health, nutrition, and fitness advice.

6 Fitness Myths

  1. Strength training makes you bulky.  Building huge muscle requires testosterone coupled with a serious weight-training regimen (not to mention a protein-filled diet), so you aren't going to sculpt a bodybuilder physique unless you really want to.

  2. A higher number on the scale, the fatter you are. It depends where those pounds are coming from: fat or muscle. The difference is the density. A pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat. That’s why it’s possible to become leaner and healthier while at the same time gaining weight.

  3. If you're not sweating then your not working hard enough. Sweating is not necessarily an indicator of exertion, sweating is your body’s way of cooling itself. It's possible to burn a significant number of calories without breaking a sweat. Try taking a walk or doing some light weight training with a personal trainer.

  4. If you feel okay while working out then your not overdoing it. One of the biggest mistakes people tend to make when starting or returning to an exercise program is doing too much too soon. The reason we do that is that we feel OK while we are working out. You don't really feel the overdoing it part until a day or two later. No matter how good you feel when you return to an activity after an absence, you should never try to duplicate how much or how hard you worked in the past. Even if you don't feel it at the moment, you'll feel it in time, and it could take you back out of the game again.

  5. Using machines are the safest way to exercise. Although it may seem as if an exercise machine automatically puts your body in the right position and helps you do all the movements correctly, that's only true if the machine is properly adjusted for your weight and height. Unless you have a coach or a trainer or someone figure out what is the right setting for you, you can make just as many mistakes in form and function, and have just as high a risk of injury, on a machine as if you work out with free weights or do any other type of non machine workout.

  6. No pain, no gain. Of all the fitness rumors ever to have surfaced, the "no pain-no gain" holds the most potential for harm. While you should expect to have some degree of soreness a day or two after working out, that's very different from feeling pain while you are working out. A fitness activity should not hurt while you are doing it, and if it does, then either you are doing it wrong, or you already have an injury.

The Takeaway

The invigorated interest in our health has also opened the floodgates for information, particularly around diet and fitness, that isn’t always the most reliable. There is so much information floating around about exercise, that it’s sometimes hard to discern fact from myth.

Fitness myths have always and will likely continue to plague the industry and confuse even the most committed fitness fans. For every two fitness truths, there's a lie, and sometimes it’s hard to determine which is which. It's best to consult with your gym instructor, coach, exercise physiologist or physiotherapist for instruction on how to exercise safely.

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Squeezing Fitness Into A Busy Schedule

Squeezing Fitness Into A Busy Schedule

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Squeezing in fitness doesn’t necessarily mean beating yourself up at a gym. It’s about shifting your mindset to living a more active lifestyle. Busy as we may be, we have less trouble finding time for television, social networking or even dull household tasks.  Below are some ways to squeeze in some time for fitness!

Top Reasons To Not Exercise

  1. You Don't Have Time.  Physically inactive people have just as much free time as those who exercise, so you can chuck this excuse.

  2. You Can't Commit. When you look at exercise in the long term (i.e., that you have to exercise on a daily basis forever), it can be overwhelming. However, you don't have to change your life overnight.

  3. Exercise HURTS!  You don't have to hurt yourself to reap the benefits of exercise.

  4. Hard To Stay Motivated. If you're tired or stressed, it's hard to keep going with your workouts. However, waiting to feel motivated to exercise can actually backfire. Motivation is something you have to work at every day.

  5. You Don't Know How To Exercise. This is a popular excuse, but it won't fly what with the wealth of information available at your fingertips.

  6. You Hate To Exercise. Enjoying exercise may seem impossible, but it can be done. Almost any exercise may feel hard at first but, with some practice and consistency, your body gets stronger and you may even start to like it.

Strategies To Make Time For Fitness

  • Create A "Move More" State Of Mind. Carving out a specific hour of a day for a workout is great but first, start each day with the mindset to move more. By reminding your body to get more movement throughout the day, you will be more likely to do it.

  • Decide What You Like. Choose a form of exercise that fits your lifestyle, personality, and taste. Not sure what you love to do? Don’t be afraid to experiment with different forms of exercise until you find what works best for you.

  • Commit To Regular Activity. You don’t have to become a fitness buff to benefit from exercise and movement. Start by committing to getting activity regularly. Schedule exercise like any other appointment on your calendar and treat it as a commitment rather than something you squeeze in if you have time. Even if you can only allow 15 minutes at a time, schedule it.

  • Delegate! Reassess household chores: Can the kids do laundry? Can your spouse cook dinner? What professional tasks can you hand off so you can get out for a walk at lunch or stop by the gym on the way home? Don’t think you’re the only one who can do all of the things you’re currently doing. Look, too, for things that could be done less often, or that might not need to get done at all.

  • Focus On Health And Strength. Many people can get easily discouraged and give up when there’s too much emphasis on weight loss. Rather than an exclusive focus on weight loss, focus on the joys of exercise and movement instead. Take pride in your body getting stronger or your new ability to able to exercise longer, even if it’s just in baby steps.

  • Put Yourself First. Stressful situations can take your focus away from properly caring for yourself. If you neglect yourself for the sake of external problems, you will be creating more problems than you are solving. Make sure you consider what you need and do something, however small, for yourself each day.

  • Exercise With A Group. Accountability works. Make it an outing with friends and family. When you join up with others to exercise, not only do you get the immediate benefits of exercise, you also get time spent with friends—a double deposit into your well-being.

  • Limit Screen Time. Screen time is a surefire way to waste time that you could be spending in more active ways. Consider trading just 30 minutes of that low-value television time for exercise.

  • Be Motivated By Monetary Investment. Putting some money on the line may provide you with the motivation you need to show up. Sign up for a yoga workshop, book some sessions with a personal trainer, or plunk down some cash for a race or other athletic event you’ll have to train for.

  • Work It Into Your Everyday Life.  Get creative with your exercise routine. Maximize what you are already doing daily. Park farther away and walk.  Do the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.  Play tag with your kids. Move around as much as possible while cleaning the house.

  • Bring The Whole Family. If family obligations prevent you from fitting in regularly scheduled workouts, rope your gang into other types of group activities. Schedule family hikes, soccer games, after-dinner walks, bike rides or family trips to the gym.

  • Rise and Shine. For most people, the day only gets more demanding as it goes on. Exercising first thing in the morning will ensure you fit it in.

The Takeaway

We all know by now that maintaining an active lifestyle should be one of our top priorities in life. Only by taking care of ourselves do we stand a chance of being the kind of person we strive to be on the job, at home with our loved ones, and in our communities. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Sometimes a new thought or a new idea is all you need to make a lasting change. You can wake up one day and decide to make your entire life change. Staying active and fitting in fitness will not only help you stay healthy and strong, but it can be a great mini-retreat to both rejuvenate and energize you for the day’s adventures.

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Common Mistakes In Gym Workouts

Common Mistakes In Gym Workouts

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We've all been there and seen it.  People doing heaven knows what on a piece of fitness equipment. While they're embarrassing and sometimes downright cringe-worthy, what's even more dangerous than all-out blunders are the subtle gym mistakes that put people at risk of injury or impede their goals.

Mistakes Commonly Made In Workouts

  1. Not Warming-up - This is a very essential step before starting a work out in the gym. The proper warm-up prepares your body for the upcoming workout and your blood flow to your muscles get increased which in turn helps you to lift more. 

  2. Expecting  Results Overnight- Yes everyone wants results to come fast but they don’t come overnight. With each day of hard work, you are actually getting closer and closer to your dream body.

  3. Ego LiftingThis is a very common mistake people make in the gym and they didn’t even realize. Building muscles do not come by just lifting heavy weights but doing the exercise correctly too. Always follow a progressive path in building muscles.  This takes time and patience.

  4. Incorrect Technique - This targets the wrong muscles and reinforces poor movement patterns. If you aren't quite sure how to do an exercise, ask someone who knows. Don't be afraid to approach a trainer—you might spare yourself an injury.

  5. Lack Of Proper Rest - Rest is also very important in building your muscles. When exercising, muscle fibers get broken and with rest, they heal and become more strong than before.

  6. Diet The area which most people ignore, they will do proper exercise in the gym but don't follow the proper diet, letting their hard work go in vain. Diet plays an important role in muscle building and one must prepare a diet which is according to the type of training being performed.

  7. Repetition Of The Same Workout - When new to training, three sets of 10-12 reps will yield results. Eventually,  you'll need to either add more weight or additional sets and reps to continue progressing.

  8. Too Much Too Soon - The excitement of starting a new workout program can lead to overdoing it, such as immediately exercising every day or lifting too much weight without working up to it gradually.

  9. Not Seeking Professional Evaluation - In addition to getting medical clearance and a complete physical before starting an exercise program, it’s a good idea to also find a certified and experienced trainer to determine what you should and should not be doing.

Tips For Safe Workouts

  1. Be aware of your body. Think about how the particular exercise is making you feel. If something doesn’t feel right, stop immediately and seek advice.

  2. Warm up and cool down. Try slow stretches and go through the motions of your sport or activity before starting. Cool down with slow stretching.

  3. Pace yourself. Have at least one recovery day each week to rest. If you are experiencing pain, rest until the pain has gone.

  4. Mix it up. Try other sports and exercises to reduce the risk of overtraining.

  5. Stay hydrated. You can lose around one and a half liters of fluid for every hour of exercise; so drink water before, during and after a session.

  6. Do it right. Try to get the technique right from the beginning, to ensure you are using your muscles correctly.

  7. Check your gear. Make sure your shoes and equipment fit properly and are right for the activity. Look after your equipment and check it regularly for safety.

The Takeaway

Exercising regularly has wide-ranging benefits. It's easy to fall prey to mistakes in the gym. Be aware of common mistakes to remain healthy and injury-free. Exercising safely is about using common sense, understanding of basic techniques and listening to your body. If it’s safe and painless, you’re more likely to stick to it!

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Importance Of Staying Fit In College

Importance Of Staying Fit In College

Importance of staying fit in college

College students have a lot going against them when it comes to staying healthy. There’s the stress of coursework and packed schedules. And there’s that new-found independence, which can take some unhealthy forms.

Between going to class, studying for exams, making big decisions and maintaining relationships, college students can quickly abandon critical things such as physical health and fitness.

Challenges Of Staying Fit On Campus

  • The biggest challenge for students is trying to make their health a priority in the midst of a busy academic and social schedule.

  • Competing priorities tend to create a big challenge for college students when it comes to staying fit. Students tell us that between classes, studying, socializing and extra-curricular commitments they are overbooked.

  • Being bound to campus dining services by meal plans or convenience, students encounter all kinds of obstacles to balanced eating. Poor variety of fruits and veggies, the high cost of fresh food in comparison to processed snacks make it even more difficult to make good choices.

Tips For Staying Fit On Campus

1. Stock your mini-fridge like a boss. If you have access to a fridge in your dorm room or a communal one on your floor, keep it stocked with staples like hummus and carrots, low-fat cheese, vegetable sticks, and whole-grain wraps.

2. Keep sugary and processed food out of your dorm room. That way, you won't be inclined to clear your candy stores when you get super stressed.

3. Set a fitness goal and stick to it.  A lot of students think that they don't have time to exercise, but in fact, they don't have time not to exercise considering its potent effects on the brain.

4. Walk everywhere. Yeah, there's shuttle service between your dorm and your farthest class, but a 20-minute walk to campus and 20-minute walk home is 40 minutes of exercise.

5. Wear your workout clothes to class. This way, you can go straight to the gym after class without packing a bag.

6. Get a fitness tracker you love. Paying for books and bedspreads and the college itself is enough to leave you strapped for cash. But people who pay attention to how much they walk often end up competing against themselves and going all out to reach their daily goals.

7. Plan your class schedule around your ideal workout routine. If you prefer to work out in the morning, opt for classes that start late enough for you to work out on your way to class.

8. Have a workout buddy. There are many benefits to working out with others. Having a workout buddy or small group that plans to meet at the gym on certain days will help you to stay on track. If you have the accountability as well as someone banking on you being at the gym, you are far more likely to actually get there and get the work done. Find someone with similar workout goals and interests and start planning to go together.

9. Watching Your Diet. Try to pack your lunch choosing healthy foods to eliminate the fast food stops and be certain to carry around a water bottle to drink as much water as you can throughout the day for proper hydration.

The Takeaway

Building a healthy relationship with exercise for personal wellness is important for every individual, especially college students. In a dynamic world filled with stress, newfound independence, and negative media-induced body image ideals, it is important for students to build healthy habits now to jumpstart a lifetime of wellness.

Getting good grades, focusing in class and balancing a busy schedule may be easier if you maintain a healthy lifestyle. By making small changes in your diet and activity level, you can reap big benefits for your overall health.

For more information on fitness or to claim a free session, contact us!

Food Suggestions For Before And After The Gym

Food Suggestions For Before And After The Gym

Ready to sweat? Not so fast! Here, the best foods to eat before and after a workout, so you can fuel up the right way. Munch on these for your best sweat session yet. While some gym-goers prefer not to eat before a workout and simply opt to consume pre-workout supplements, many individuals feel that a pre-workout meal is necessary to jumpstart their grueling training sessions.

Before: Whole Wheat Toast with Sliced Banana and Cinnamon

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When it comes to gearing up for a workout, carbs are your gym BFF. The key is to have a mixed bag of complex and simple ones so that the release of energy during your workout is slow and steady throughout your routine. Whole-wheat toast with fruit gives you both types of carbs with the bonus of being super easy to digest. Complex carbs will keep your motor humming, while the fruit adds an extra kick of energy. For those training for a race, bananas are perfect in raising potassium levels, which drop when you sweat a lot. For an added bonus, add a dash of cinnamon. The spice has been linked to stabilizing blood sugar and improving brain function.

After: Grilled Chicken and Mixed Vegetables

Your body is in recovery mode, so you need a nutrient dense dish. The lean protein and carbohydrates in chicken will fill you up without feeling overly bloated. Add some veggies in olive oil to keep your ticker in tip-top shape.

Before: Greek Yogurt and Trail Mix

Getting ready for a long run? Eat some yogurt first. It's easy on your stomach and when paired with trail mix can give you the little rev your body needs. Just make sure to choose a mix that is mostly nut and dried fruit based with as little fillers as possible. (Yes, sadly we're talking about those little chocolates!) The healthy sugars from dried fruit provide that quick energy boost while seeds and nuts will keep insulin levels from dropping mid-workout. Just remember, a little bit goes a long way. Seeds and nuts are high in fat, which means they take longer to digest. Too many and you could start feeling sluggish and slow as you sweat.

After: Veggie Omelet with Avocado

You already know eggs are a great source of protein and help aid in muscle recovery and growth. Switch it up from the usual scramble and make a veggie-packed omelet. Garnish with a few slices of avocado for fiber and monosaturated fats (the good kind!). Similar to olive oil, avocados can help your body better absorb fat-soluble nutrients that your veggies have like vitamins A, D, E and K. These vitamins are stocked with antioxidants, the best boost for your body, inside and out.

Before: Smoothies

Need a snack on-the-go on your way to the gym? Stick with a smoothie. Not only are they time-friendly, building your own blend has a bunch of exercise benefits. For a foolproof formula, use your favorite sliced fruit, a cup of Greek yogurt and some granola for a thicker consistency. If you're picking one up, check the label to make sure it's made from whey or milk-based proteins. And no need to go overboard — 10 to 20 grams of protein before exercising is plenty.

After: Salmon with Sweet Potato

Aside from the usual protein perks, salmon has bioactive peptides, small protein molecules that play a role in inflammation reduction, helping to regulate insulin levels and give you joint support. Sweet potatoes pack in those complex carbs as well as help to restore glycogen levels, which get depleted after a workout.

Before: Oatmeal with Fresh Fruit

Oatmeal is the workout buddy you never have to nag to exercise. It sticks with you throughout your workout by gradually releasing sugar into your bloodstream. Adding fruit to your bowl will help increase the fluid content of your pre-workout snack, keeping you hydrated.

After: Whole Wheat Tuna Fish, Hummus and Spinach Sandwich

If you're a lunchtime exerciser, this is the sandwich for you. Tuna is low in calories but high in protein and carbs. Hummus is a better-for-you spread over mayo or mustard, while also being high in fiber. And last but certainly not least, spinach is a produce powerhouse, handling everything from curbing your appetite to boosting your complexion and lowering blood pressure and inflammation.

The Takeaway:

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Clearly, research supports the notion that diet is as important to your mass-gaining goals as the training itself. While the workout provides the stimulus, how, what, and when you feed your body is crucial to your overall progress. You can maximize your gains by paying particular attention to what you consume, especially right before and immediately after your training.

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Tips For Maintaining A Healthy Weight

Tips For Maintaining A Healthy Weight

 

Whether you are already at your target weight or making efforts to be at your target weight, maintaining that weight will at some point be a factor.  Let's talk about some ways to maintain that current or future success!

The following tips are some of the common characteristics among people who have successfully lost weight and maintained that loss over time.

Watching What You Eat

  • Keep a healthy and realistic eating plan.
  • Be consistent.
  • Plan ahead for special occasions, holidays and vacations. Vacations, holidays, and stressful life situations happen, and no one eats according to plan all the time. That's OK. The trick is to get back on course as soon as possible. Make it a learning experience, not a failure.
  • Stay hydrated! Drinking water regularly may promote fullness and increase your metabolism, both important factors in weight maintenance.

Be Active

  • Exercise is highly beneficial for keeping the pounds off once they’re gone!  Exercise works great in coordination with continuing diet plans.
  • At the minimum, general recommendations include performing aerobic exercise at least three times a week for at least 20 minutes per session.
  • The available evidence indicates that exercise is an important component of weight loss and perhaps the best predictor of weight maintenance.

Stay Focused

  • Monitor your diet and activity. Keeping a food and physical activity journal can help you track your progress and spot trends. Self-monitoring involves tracking where you are now and charting your short- and long-term progress. In addition to writing down specific behaviors, who was with you, where you were, and what kind of mood you were in when you ate off plan or skipped a workout can help you identify the triggers that send you off plan.
  • Be Aware Of Your Tendencies. For example, you might notice that your weight creeps up during periods when you have to travel, work overtime, or when stressed or emotional. Recognizing this tendency can be a signal to try something different.  Pack your own healthy food for the plane and making time to use your hotel's exercise facility when you are traveling. Avoid emotional triggers and be prepared with healthy flavorful options when the cravings arrive.
  • Monitor your weight. Check your weight regularly. When managing your weight loss, it's a good idea to keep track of your weight so you can plan accordingly and adjust your diet and exercise plan as necessary. If you have gained a few pounds, get back on track quickly. In other words, you need to know how to take action promptly if you see those numbers starting to climb,  that can means trimming back on portion sizes or skipping dessert more often.
  • Get support from family, friends, and others. People who have successfully lost weight and kept it off often rely on support from others to help them stay on course and get through any difficult times. Sometimes having a friend or partner who is also losing weight or maintaining a weight loss can help you stay motivated.

Maintaining Healthy Weight Management Takeaway

It is likely that you will encounter a setback or two after losing weight. You can overcome setbacks by planning ahead and getting back on track right away. Maintaining weight loss can be easier when you are consistent with your new healthy habits, rather than going back to your old lifestyle. Through your journey, you will realize that controlling your weight involves much more than what you eat. Exercise, mental health, monitoring, and support also play a role.

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