You Never Regret A Workout

This morning, I woke up with a humdinger of a cold. Puffy eyes, scratchy throat, stuffy nose, the works. I looked and felt like death warmed over and ran through an entire tissue box in the span of about ten minutes. Is there anything more annoying than the start of a cold? I think not.

In the nights prior, I had scheduled a workout for that morning. It was supposed to be my longest run to date and I had been working towards this distance for about two months now. Running is definitely not my forte, but I had started to develop a “like” for it and was actually making headway on my long distance goals. I must make a note here: though I am talking about running, I am certainly not the coach to go to for running advice; please see Justin for all your track needs 🙂

Unfortunately, this cold had blocked any possibility of me feeling my hair in the breeze this morning. There was no way that I could make it five minutes on my run without stopping to blow my nose. It basically gave me every excuse to forgo any sort of exercise, adjust my alarm, and grab at least an hour more of sleep. I was achy, sickly, and just all around gross and no part of me wanted to exercise.

But as I started to readjust my eye mask I remembered an old saying that always pops into my head in these types of situations; you never regret a workout. And it’s true, isn’t it? Barring any sort of physical injury, no one ever finishes a workout and says, “What a waste of time.” Because working out isn’t a waste of time. It’s a positive step in every facet of your life. It improves your mind, body, and soul and it always starts or ends your days right. While the minutes leading up to a workout can be filled with dread, the moments after a workout always bring a sense of accomplishment and those lovely exercise endorphins that we all love and treasure.

That saying, “You never regret a workout,” prevented me from going back to bed. It helped me lace up my sneakers, blow my nose about four million times, and head to the gym. Did I do a hard work out? Not at all. I lightly jogged on the elliptical for about 30 minutes (don’t worry, I wiped it down with disinfectant afterward). While it wasn’t the most taxing workout, it was physical activity and I felt great afterward. It didn’t magically eliminate my cold but it did give me a happy feeling that stayed with me for the rest of the day and for that I’m grateful.

So just remember, in those times of doubt, those times when every part of your body is telling you to just skip the gym and stay home, I want you to focus on the accomplishment you will feel after you complete your exercise, the euphoria that comes with crossing something off your to-do list. Everyone, say it with me: YOU NEVER REGRET A WORKOUT!

Quick Fix Weight Loss Doesn’t Exist

quick fix abs

Nowadays we are obsessed with instant gratification.

We have the world wide web at our fingertips, we have drones delivering our products within hours of ordering and we freak out if texts aren’t returned within a matter minutes. There’s even a product that cools down pizza so that we don’t burn the roof of our mouths when we take an immediate bite (replacing the annoying task of waiting five minutes for the pizza to cool down).

So, it makes sense that we expect an instantaneous result from our weight loss attempts. Right?

Wrong!

Unfortunately, the human body has not and never will catch up to the technologies of 2016. It’s still stuck in olden days, when long-term health and wellness beat out “a better body in weeks.”

Our bodies are not set for today’s pace.

They move slowly but they get the job done—ya know, the job of keeping us alive. And they do not react when well told to do otherwise.

The fitness and diet industry knows that but they’re not interested in following the laws of our bodies—they’re interested in making money. So, playing on our obsession with quick fixes, they push quick fixes and timed solutions, aimed at giving us our best body in a matter of months, weeks, sometimes minutes! Recognize the following marketing schemes?

“5 minute abs!”
“30 days to bikini body!”
“Meal replacement shakes — lose weight in a week!”
“Take this pill and watch the pounds shed off!”

And so on, and so on.

It takes nine months to cook us, seven years for us to get our adult teeth and 12+ years for us to reach puberty. Why do we think that we can completely change our bodies in a week?

quick fix abs

Now, I’m not saying that it takes 12 months to lose 5 pounds. But, I do know that it is physically impossible to develop visible core musculature with a five minute workout. And deep down, you do too.

Not only are these products misguiding and incorrect, they can also be very harmful to your body. Many of these products are loaded with harmful chemicals that affect your metabolism and, frankly, are cheaply made. Most meal replacement and conventional meal plan programs advocate low daily calorie counts – and a VLCD (very low calorie diet) is perhaps the worst way to lose weight.

Not only are they unrealistic (do you really think that you can survive on 1000 calories a day for the rest of your life? Really?) but they are severely damaging to your metabolism. The lower your daily calories dip, the slower your metabolism becomes. And, since your metabolism regulates your body all chemical reactions within your body, a slow metabolism is not only damaging to your weight loss efforts, it is damaging to your body in general. Take it from someone who actually was on a VLCD, it is not a road you want to go down!

Now you’re asking “why would the fitness and diet industry to this to us?”

The answer is actually in your question—it is an industry. As in, the goal of these businesses is not to look out for your health and well being but to make money. The fitness and diet industry makes $20 billion dollars a year. $108 million Americans are on diets every year and they are typically on their fourth or fifth attempt. These businesses make money when you buy their products for the first time—they make more money when you continue to buy their products after your second, fifth, eighth failed attempt at weight loss. They are actually counting on your failure because that is where their cash flow comes from.

So, how do you actually lose weight?

Well, first of all, know that it takes time – There is no such thing as a quick fix.

Unless you want to live on meal replacement bars for the rest of your life, you need to make a lifestyle change, develop habits that will stick with you for the rest of your life.

Habits like:

  • going to gym 3 days a week,
  • taking the stairs instead of the elevator,
  • aiming for 4-6 servings of veggies and fruit a day,
  • mindfully eating your meals

If you want to feel more in control, you can be more vigilant about your weight loss by tracking your calorie count (though it should never dip below 1300) and lifting weights. All of these habits will lead to a permanent, positive change in your body.

Now, it will take time—but wouldn’t you rather have a long, successful weight loss journey than five failed attempts at a quick fix?

So, my fellow dieters, let’s leave the quick fixes at the door. Throw out your meal replacement bars and shakes and laugh in the face of magazines that promise you a beach-bod in 30 days.

Instead, try to enjoy the slow but successful road to weight loss. Because, as the old saying goes, good things come to those who wait!

Allie

Not seeing results? Step your game up!

Okay, this post may be a little bit of a rant…

I’ve been working in gyms and with clients for around 15 years now. Needless to say, I’ve seen a ton of people working out and putting in efforts to change their bodies.

Kinda…

I say kinda because I think there is a difference between working out and putting in the effort.

Let me explain.

You can see this in certain types of people:

The people who leave the gym looking just as good as when they came.

The people who constantly complain about their workout or how hard it is.

The people who stop with 10 seconds left in their circuit and start drinking water.

The people who leave their water bottle at home so they have to walk to the water fountain every couple of minutes.

The people take 15 seconds to transition between every 30 second station of a workout.

If you identify with any of these, please read on 😛

I would say that all of those people are working out. They’re at the gym, they’re doing something and they can even take a selfie to put on Instagram and prove it. haha

However, I wouldn’t say that they are putting in the effort.

They’ve got step 1 down and show up, which is important, but they’re lacking on step 2. Step 2 is putting in the effort to make it worth it.

To show up at the gym and just go through the motions isn’t going to get you results. I see too many of these people first complaining about their workout and then complain about their lack of results.

Unless you’re a body builder; if you rest for most of your workout, don’t own a water bottle or suffer your way through every workout then I have very simple advice for you:

Stay home!!

Seriously, you’ll enjoy life much more and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying life. Just don’t complain about your lack of fitness or that you have a body you don’t desire.

However, if you don’t like that advice then you might be ready for the tough love asvice:

It’s time to step your game up!

Stop complaining, suck it up, bring a water bottle and finish your workout as strong as possible. Just like you always get the last few drops put of your wine bottle, empty your own tank in every workout.

If you’re gonna do it, do it! If you show up, give it 100% and be proud of your efforts.

So if you’re not seeing the results you want, it’s time to step up your game.

If you feel you are giving it your 100% every time and you’re still not seeing results, message me because you’re in a whole different category! (this article doesn’t apply to you)

Chad

Volume Foods – Using Fruits and Vegetables to Feel Full

How To Fill Up On Fruits And Vegetables

I like to eat.

If I could eat plates of pasta or bowls of ice cream all day long I would be one happy lady.

Unfortunately, if I were to do this ALL the time even with an active lifestyle I would likely gain weight, feel fatigued and have digestive complaints.

So what does one do when they want to satisfy their frequent pasta, ice cream or pizza cravings without jeopardizing their health goals?

You start modifying your meals by making them more voluminous;
often times by adding fruits and vegetables to the dish. Finding ways to substitute volume foods into your diet is a good option to get more vitamins and minerals into your daily routine but is also great if weight loss is one of your goals.

For example; many people already swap out their spaghetti noodles with zucchini noodles or you will see recipes using grated cauliflower in place of rice. These are a few examples of volume foods!

Volume foods are usually low in calories but high in fiber meaning you can eat more of the item (compared to the original food) without ingesting a ton of calories, plus it can leave you feeling fuller. Most voluminous foods are vegetables and fruit as they are high in water and fiber. These foods make you feel more satiated as they take longer to digest. By adding these items into your meals you are eating more food at a lower caloric cost.

Volume Foods

I started to eat more voluminous foods when I was macro tracking my meals and had a low daily caloric allowance as I was training for a body building competition. Meaning, I had to stretchhhhh my food intake very thin in order to satisfy my macronutrient intake for the day in a filling and sustainable way – If I ate foods high in calories I would end up eating less because those items add up quickly when you are eating well below you maintenance levels (high in calories and fat in this case). I am no longer calorie counting but I do still try to fill up on nutritious foods in place of some items as I try to keep my goals in check.

Whether or not you calorie or macro-nutrient track or just like to stay healthy this is a great way to improve general health as many people could boost their vegetable intake, meaning more micro nutrients and fiber!

Here are a few of my favorite ways to add fruit or veggies to your dishes:

Spiralized Noodles: You can buy a spiralizer or use a cheese grater to make noodle-like zucchini ribbons to eat in place of your pasta or rice noodles. You can then sauté them a bit in oil and/or sauce or eat them raw. Alternatively, I like to spiralize carrots as well. Combining the two and making a peanut butter satay sauce is my favorite way to eat raw spiralized veggies. I often add these raw carrot spirals on top of salads. If you have a fancier spiralizer you could even make sweet potato noodles, spiralize and apple or cabbage if you have a flat blade.

Volume Foods - a great way to add vegetables

Black Bean or Edamame Noodles: Great substitutions for pasta if you want a high fiber and protein meal. Beans are full of fiber and have good amounts of protein.

Cauliflower Rice: If you grate or use a food processor on rinsed and dried cauliflower you will end up with bits of the florets that look like grains of rice! You can make a pizza with the riced cauliflower too! My current favourite way to use riced cauliflower is in my oatmeal. It is a great way to add veggies into a dish that can otherwise quickly add up in calories depending on your serving size. Try adding 1/3 cup of riced cauliflower to ½ cup of raw oats. Add milk or water, spices, maybe some chia or flax seeds and berries then heat up like normal. The riced cauliflower gets lost in the oatmeal texture, making it an easy and sneaky way to get more veggies in.

Nana Cream: Using almost frozen bananas with some milk, spices and other berries whizzed up in a blender or food processor makes this lovely icy, but smooth banana frozen treat.

cocoa nibs

Pumpkin/ Squash: All members of the squash family have a special place in my heart. Similar to the nana ice cream I used chunks of almost frozen cooked pumpkin (Kabocha is my favourite squash) mixed with some milk or water, salt, cocoa or spices and voila! A magical icy treat low in calories yet high in fiber and nutrients!

Again, if you’re looking to add more nutrients into your diet there are tons of ways to do so and I am just showing a few, but get creative and get in the kitchen and see what you can whip up yourself! If you’d like more examples from me, feel free to reach out!

Stefanie

All About Proprioceptors And How They Can Benefit Your Running

All About Proprioceptors

Our bodies are awesome!

Think about it!

We have sensory nerves throughout our body that send feedback to our brains about where we are in space.

These sensory nerves, called proprioceptors, tell our brain about the terrain we’re running on, as we’re running, and our body makes the appropriate adjustments.

If you want to learn more about proprioceptors and see how you can better implement them into your training – check out my latest 5 Minute Barrier;

Thanks for hanging out friends!

If you want to follow along on my journey follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Anchor!

-Justin

Beating The Marathon Taper: PR When It Counts

Marathon Taper Madness

The Marathon Taper — or as I like to call it Taper Madness — is a tricky concept to understand.

Complicated by symptoms of: feeling antsy, restlessness, having an overall energy surplus, being fixated on your race, day dreams about heartbreak hill, and just a general anxiety about training — ok a few of those may just be me.

It is not made any easier by the fact that not everyone will respond the same way to a traditional taper. A traditional marathon taper being cut back on the mileage starting a few weeks out from the race and then a few short and quick workouts marathon pace workouts to keep your legs fresh and race ready.

This brings me to this weeks 5 Minute Barrier; I’ll give you a few tools to beat Taper Madness and recognize if a traditional taper is right for you.

Thanks for watching and don’t forget to thumbs up that video and give me a follow on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat if you liked this info and want more!

Justin

Yoga For Runners – The Perfect 1-2 Punch

Yoga Can Do Wonders For Runners

If you know me, you would know that I am not the most flexible person in the world — like less flexible than this computer I am typing on — but that doesn’t mean I shy away from anything that involves flexibility.

This hasn’t always been the case though.

In college there was a time when instead of an easy day we opted for a team yoga session, you know active recovery, taking an actual easy day and working on flexibility.

I wasn’t having any of it, I had a strict mileage plan and if I couldn’t fit those miles in during practice… when was I going to get them in? I had a bad attitude about change, I needed those miles! It was tough but I didn’t make it any easier on myself and coupled with thoughts like;

“I’m just naturally inflexible”

“I stretch everyday, what do I need Yoga for?”

and the kicker, “How is skipping an easy run going to make me better?”

Thoughts of a stressed out collegiate runner… Continue reading “Yoga For Runners – The Perfect 1-2 Punch”

Marathon Training: Generic Plans Vs A Whole Body Approach Pt. 1

Personalized Marathon Training

As the saying goes, “Marathon training is a cruel mistress”, why else does every marathoner feel the need to tell you about their training regardless if you have asked our not?

It’s a lot of time, effort and sweat equity put into one day, months away, where you will test your mettle on the road…

Which is why you need to be cautious with which marathon training plan you choose!

You need to choose a plan that will work best for you; a plan that will fit within your time constraints but also work with your body and how you as an individual respond to training. However, sometimes it’s hard to tell which plan will work best, especially if you are unsure what to look for!

Take the plan below for instance: Continue reading “Marathon Training: Generic Plans Vs A Whole Body Approach Pt. 1”

The Health Benefits of Improving Your Sleep

improving your sleep

I like to classify sleep as one of those things we “know we need more of” but fail at actually getting more of (kind of like veggies :P)

There are many health benefits to improving your sleep and without getting too sciencey on you, here are a few quick facts regarding our bodies and their need for Zzzz’s

A lack of sleep can actually cause the body to act similar to a state of intoxication

  • Less sleep can mean more weight gain (due to a lack of time for the regulation of necessary hormones)
  • A lack of sleep can impede any muscle building attempts due to HGH (human growth hormone) not having enough time to release and regenerate
  • While you sleep your immune system restores. A lack of sleep can cause you to become more susceptible to colds and flu
  • There is such thing as sleep debt. While you may function “just fine” on four hours of sleep, your body and hormones do not. Eventually you will have to makeup that time

Now, I won’t bore you with the different kinds of sleep but know that in order to function optimally the next day (increased brain activity, creativity, improved energy etc) you need to have hit a deep sleep (or your REM stage). Continue reading “The Health Benefits of Improving Your Sleep”

How To Get The Results You Want

you need the gym to achieve results

“I just want to get ‘toned’, but not ‘bulky’”, she said.

“I just want my arms, chest, and abs to be lean, and chiseled. I don’t want to look like a bodybuilder”, he said.

These are two of the answers I receive most often when speaking to men and women about their fitness goals. I’m not really sure who educated so many people on exercise science, but it is particularly clear that there are obvious misconceptions on what happens when people lift weights. Also, there are some misconceptions on what it takes for someone to reach those goals they stated in their answers.

Unfortunately, “toned” isn’t a word found in any exercise physiology textbook. It’s also not found in any peer reviewed scientific literature. Why? Continue reading “How To Get The Results You Want”

Supplements, Detoxes, and Cleanses – stop wasting your money!

The supplement industry in the United States alone is worth roughly $37 billion. Within the industry, there are several segments – traditional exercise supplements, vitamins, minerals, meal replacements, detoxes, cleanses, and so on.

After doing a google search – I learned that roughly ½ of Americans ingest some sort of supplement regularly –  That is roughly 120 million adults. Therefor the average adult spends about $310/year on items that are more often than not, a complete waste of money. Continue reading “Supplements, Detoxes, and Cleanses – stop wasting your money!”

Accountability – how Gary Vaynerchuk got serious about his health

Accountabillity

One of my mentors: Gary Vaynerchuk recently figured out how to get serious about his health. It was all about accountability.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve talked about and written about this topic so much that I’m beating a dead horse. However, I just read another article that inspired me to hit the topic again.

I strongly believe that it’s the key to success so I’m going to continue to beat that horse till the message gets across!

The article I just read was by Gary Vaynerchuck and he posted it on Medium. I’ve been following Gary, his YouTube show, his books and all of his advice for years. He’s a very smart guy. So when he decided yesterday to write an article called “How I Finally Got Serious About My Health” I jumped on it! Continue reading “Accountability – how Gary Vaynerchuk got serious about his health”

How to Target Fat Loss

fat loss

Have you ever wanted to target fat loss from one specefic area of your body?

For women it’s often around the hips and thighs and for men it’s around the belly or love handles. If you’ve experienced a bunch of weight loss, those might be the last areas to go.

Google search “Fat Loss” and you’ll find picture of models in big pants or with a tape measure around their waist. I had to use this image because it had BOTH!!

fat loss

It’s an extremely common question I get: “How do I lose weight here?” and then they point to a certain area of their body. Or, I’ll get “What exercises can I do to help get rid of this fat” and again point to an area of their body. The unfortunate reality is that it’s not really possible to just lose fat from one area of the body. We can’t target fat loss to one location only.

Caveat: I coach with a natural, drug-free approach to health. If there is a drug or pill claiming to target fat loss, I’m not interested.

The struggle is usually because it’s the last area to lose fat. You may have had success already, but this last place just won’t go. If it’s in the abdomen, no amount of sit ups is going to make the fat go away. Yes, you’ll develop the muscle underneath, but that’s not going to results in losing fat from that area. However, once you do lose the fat, your 6 pack will be ready!

Fat loss comes from a result of many factors: diet, exercise, age, stress, sleep, gender, etc. Often what got you your initial fat loss won’t get you that last 10 pounds. If what you’ve been doing isn’t working, then it’s time to do something differently.

Targeting fat loss in one area isn’t going to happen. I’d suggest looking at what changes you can make to re-ignite your metabolic fire. Take a close look at your fitness routine and diet and see what changes you can make. If you’re not sure, or you’ve been at a plateau for a while, it’s probably time for a coach. Getting an experienced and outside perspective could be the key to finding the change you need and tipping the scale in the right direction.

Have you been successful with fat loss? How did you achieve your results?