6 Less Common Signs of a Good Workout

These days, many people live and die by the numbers churned out on their heart rate monitors or fitness devices, analyzing how long their heart rate stayed in the cardio zone versus the fat-burning zone to define the quality of their exercise program. For others, the workout was a good one if they are out of breath and drenched in sweat by the end of their dedicated exercise time. Still, others rely on their body’s subtle signs the next morning—waking up with glutes so sore you cringe every time you sit down at your desk equals a job well done.

Although heart rate, sore muscles, and breathing can be two indicators of workout intensity, what about those days when you feel like you worked hard, but your heart rate didn’t go through the roof? If you’re not so sore you can’t walk up a flight of stairs, did your workout even happen?  Was it all a waste of time?
No way. First, remember that squeezing in even just a few minutes of exercise a day is reason enough to pat yourself on the back. Evaluating the value of your workout is more complex than just a few physical signs. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture of how you’re feeling in the days and weeks after your workouts, not just the minutes after one session has ended. You don’t have to exercise for two hours or feel like you’re going to pass out at the end in order to accomplish your goals. After your next workout, consider the range of other factors that come into play when deciding whether or not your workout program is helping you progress toward your overall health and fitness objectives.

Six Signs of Success

  1. Am I sleeping better? While most experts agree that a regular exercise program improves sleep patterns, the results don’t typically happen overnight. Although a good workout this afternoon won’t guarantee a good night’s rest tonight, exercise can improve the quality of sleep over time. Too much or not enough exercise can make sleep more difficult, so it’s important to be sure your workouts are making you stronger and not running you down. When you notice you’re sleeping better and feeling more rested when you wake up in the morning, that’s a positive sign you’re on the right track.
  2. Am I more focused? In the short-term, a good workout provides an energy boost and improves concentration. It can help relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety by releasing “feel good” endorphins and replenish neurotransmitters that can become depleted over time. All of these are changes begin to happen as soon as your workout is over. Longer-term, exercise can improve memory and prevent cognitive decline.
  3. Am I hungrier? Studies have shown that working out increases ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite, which often makes you hungrier. However, that doesn’t give you an excuse to raid the refrigerator to reward yourself for a job well done. Plan ahead for a healthy,post-workout snack that fits into your calorie budget or meal plan for the day. Be sure to stay adequately hydrated, too, since dehydration can often be confused for signs of hunger.
  4. Am I seeing progress? You won’t go faster every time you get on the treadmill, and you won’t lift more weight each time you strength train. Over time, though, you should notice your fitness level improves and you can do more than you could when you started. Keep in mind that as you become more fit, improvements in performance become less frequent.
  5. Am I feeling good? A good workout can leave you tired, but can also leave you with a sense of accomplishment and a boost of confidence. Psychology experts say a mood boost can happen as soon as five minutes after the workout has ended. While feeling bad about your body will have a negative impact on your self-esteem, a good workout not only improves how you look on the outside, but it makes you feel stronger and more confident on the inside.

We live in a world of “quick fixes”, where diets promise you’ll lose 10 pounds in a week, and exercise programs promise huge results with minimum effort. While it’s difficult to be patient when you don’t see immediate results from your hard work, the truth is that lasting change takes time. Just because your workout today doesn’t result in a huge drop on the scale tomorrow doesn’t mean that your effort was for nothing.

There isn’t a universal criterion for a “good workout.” Each person’s body will respond to the demands of a specific workout in different ways. There are a number of other factors involved. Take a broader look at how you’re feeling and how your body is responding over time instead of just at a specific moment.

Here’s the bottom line: Beans are not the enemy.

Beautiful beans! These little legumes really don’t get the credit they deserve. They’re affordable, packed with cruelty-free protein, rich in fiber, easy to prepare, versatile and delicious! Need I say more? Turns out, I do.

See, I’ve been hearing some nasty rumors about beans lately. Some people say they’re making us gain weight. Others claim that they’re interfering with our blood sugar. Some even say we should avoid legumes because they contain “anti-nutrients.” What?!

I know there’s a lot of information out there when it comes to what to eat for optimal health, which can be confusing. We’re constantly bombarded with messages about which foods cause disease and which prevent it, what we can (and can’t) eat if we want to lose weight and what’s safe to feed our families.

Don’t get me wrong, many of these messages about food are not only valid but also incredibly important. But when the facts are cherry-picked, how can we possibly decide what to listen to?

The truth is out there! And when it comes to the bean debate, I’m gonna help you find it.

 

  • Beans are among the cheapest sources of protein on the planet and produce the lowest level of greenhouse gases per gram of protein.
  • They may be responsible for keeping your heart healthy by preventing coronary heart disease—meaning they lower or prevent high blood pressure and help ward off strokes.
  • They’re chock full of antioxidants, which prevent inflammation, aging and may reduce the risk of cancer.
  • Because of their hard-to-find soluble fiber, eating 3-½ or more servings a week (about 1-¾ cups cooked beans or lentils total over the course of a week) will lower your type 2 diabetes risk by 35%.

However, despite all of the support from the medical community, beans have started getting a bad rap. The criticism mostly stems from the latest pseudoscience-based diet fad that tells us we should avoid foods that contain lectins. Plus, we’re hearing buzzwords like “phytates” and “anti-nutrients” used in misleading ways to criticize beans. This negativity is also riding on the coattails of the anti-carb craze. Because yes, some people are still trying to convince us to be afraid of carbs, even the healthy, complex ones from the plant kingdom.

But, beans are not the enemy. In fact, any diet that suggests you eliminate a global dietary staple with a near-perfect nutrition profile (low in saturated fat, rich in fiber, iron, copper, magnesium and antioxidants) that has nourished the planet since 6000 B.C. raises red flags for nutrition experts. So, let’s explore four of the most destructive bean critiques and what the research really says:

Myth #1: The lectins in beans are “anti-nutrients” that cause IBS, inflammation, obesity and some autoimmune diseases.

Lectins are a protein found in a third of the foods we eat, and they are especially high in beans, grains, and seeds. These guys are the latest in a string of enemies named by fad diets.

Some lectins may be harmful and may be responsible for damaging the intestinal wall leading to nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. It’s also possible that people with digestive issues such as Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome are more sensitive to the damaging potential of lectins. But, proper cooking eliminates the harmful ones almost completely (more on how to make sure you’re properly cooking your beans below).

Back in 1988, lectins started giving beans a bad name when a number of hospital workers got sick from eating a kidney bean dish that wasn’t properly cooked. Unfortunately, beans’ image took another hit in 2006 when a Japanese TV broadcast introduced a new weight loss strategy that called for sprinkling powdered, toasted white kidney beans onto staple foods. Those beans weren’t cooked properly, either (kidney beans should be boiled for at least 60 minutes after soaking and these were toasted for just 3!). As a result, over a thousand viewers suffered from intestinal problems and 100 people were hospitalized. Google it..go on..it’s true!

No conclusive research has been done in humans to support claims that properly cooked beans are responsible for causing IBS, inflammation, obesity, etc. In fact, there’s a large body of research on the health benefits of lectins! Studies indicate that they may improve gut health, prevent tumor growth, slow down cancer cell growth and prevent obesity.

Here’s another thing to keep in mind: Most healthy plant foods contain lectins. Ya know what else they contain? Fiber! Fiber is essential for a healthy metabolism and digestion, as well as a strong immune system. It also helps prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Avoiding lectins means avoiding plant foods, and avoiding plant foods means avoiding fiber. You catch my drift?

Myth #2: Beans contain phytates, which bind to minerals and slow their absorption.

It’s true that the phytates in beans may slow or reduce the absorption of certain minerals. But, beans also happen to be quite rich in those very minerals! The confusion may come from the fact that some foods (such as whole grains) are rich in phytates but not as high in minerals as legumes, meaning that it may be harder to absorb enough minerals from those foods alone. But unless your diet is very high in high-phytate grains with very little legume variety, this shouldn’t be an issue. And if you want to play it extra safe, load up on garlic and onions in your bean dishes—they’re pros at increasing mineral absorption. Score!

Here’s something else that the critics often don’t take into account: Phytates actually have a handful of positive traits. They may stop the growth of cancer cells and prevent osteoporosis. So, as long as you’re getting plenty of mineral-rich foods (which is exactly what you’ll get if you eat a variety of plant foods) in your daily routine, you may actually benefit from the phytates in beans. Go figure!

Myth #3: Beans are “high carb,” so they cause blood sugar spikes.

This criticism is misleading and simply not true. And it really makes my beans boil because I had a family member with (insulin-dependent) diabetes, who ate beans. The digestion of carbs in beans is so slow that we often see a welcome, slow and subtle rise in their blood sugar levels several hours after eating beans. Nothing even close to a “spike” occurs.

And the research backs up my at-home experience. Studies suggest that because of his low glycemic index (due to high fiber content), the digestion of carbohydrates in beans is slower, doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes and results in better long-term blood sugar control as indicated by lower hemoglobin A1C (HgbA1C) blood test results.

Some argue that the fiber in beans is the real reason that people who eat a lot of them have better blood sugar control. But one study dispelled this myth by comparing two different diets for type 2 diabetics. One diet contained 1 cup of legumes per day and the other contained no legumes but included an increased amount of insoluble fiber. The group consuming the legumes had better long-term blood sugar control than those consuming a diet high in fiber but devoid of legumes.

Myth #4: Animal protein is more high-quality than the protein in beans—and the protein in beans isn’t sufficient for building and maintaining muscle mass, especially as we age.

Animal protein is “complete,” meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids, which are building blocks for our bodies. Animal protein also has more protein per ounce than legumes. Some folks suggest that these tidbits mean that animal protein is better quality than plant protein. This argument would only hold up if it were difficult to meet our basic protein needs with plants—and that’s simply not the case.

Legumes contain eight of the nine essential amino acids needed to build protein (and soybeans actually contain all nine!). But, the ninth amino acid (methionine) is easily found in whole grains. Most adults can meet their methionine needs by eating four servings a day of whole grains (for example one bowl of oatmeal, two pieces of whole grain bread and a serving of quinoa).

Now, as for building and maintaining muscle, getting enough high-quality protein is just one piece of the puzzle. In fact, there is such a thing as too much! Research shows that eating more protein than your body really needs in a day (multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36 or your weight in kilograms by 0.8 to get your daily requirement in grams) has no benefit and can actually be harmful to kidney function and bone health.

You can build and maintain muscle mass by getting the right amount of protein, practicing regular strength and resistance training and eating complex carbohydrates. This does take more maintenance and dedication as we age (because estrogen and testosterone levels decline) but it’s far from impossible. Moreover, no validated research indicates that animal protein is an essential piece of the puzzle. Here’s the bottom line: Beans are not the enemy. 

Follow these tips for safe and happy bean consumption:

  • Soak your beans overnight before you cook them. This makes them easier to digest and starts the process of eliminating the harmful lectins we talked about.
  • Learn how long to cook your favorite beans. Kidney beans require the longest cooking time, so boil them for a full hour. Other beans only need to be boiled for 20-30 minutes (actual time depends on size—smaller beans need less time) as long as they’ve been soaked. Using a pressure cooker is also a great way to ensure beans are fully cooked in less time.
  • Ease legumes into your diet if you’re not already regularly eating them. Start with smaller varieties like lentils and black-eyed peas.
  • Consider cooking them with kombu seaweed, which contains enzymes that break down gas-causing compounds. This should make them easier to digest.
  • Consider adding probiotics and digestive enzymes to your routine to ease digestion.
  • Look for BPA-free cans or BPA-free tetra paks when you’re buying prepared beans. Also be sure to rinse them well to remove excess sodium.

Showing Up For Yourself

This phrase has been coming up over and over for me lately so I wanted to share it with you today.

It’s easy to get caught up in the struggle. Your boss needs this extra project done. Your kids need to be dropped off at their next practice. Your in-laws expect this. Your parents expect that.

The expectations and the demands never seem to end.

Pretty soon, you’re lost in the weeds and your own life starts to spiral down quickly. You’re skipping workouts, grabbing fast food because you “don’t have time” to find something healthy, don’t eat anything at all, and find that you’ve gone a week straight without 5 minutes to sit quietly and hear yourself think. You’ve placed yourself at the end of the priority list of “things to focus on” and it’s no wonder that your mental health and your physical health are starting to suffer.

None of it will matter if you don’t make yourself a priority and show up for yourself first! I’m going to write that again on a separate line just to drive the point home.

Show up for yourself first.

Wake up 30 minutes earlier to go for a walk outside and listen to the birds. Take the time to get that workout in. Block it off on your calendar. Give yourself that extra 15 minutes to make an awesome meal.

It might sound indulgent or selfish or you really might not have the time – but you have to do it. Because if you keep going without ever focusing on yourself, you’ll eventually crash. And when you do – it will be hard and it will be ugly.

Show up for yourself.

So that’s today message: give yourself permission to take care of yourself and THEN worry about the rest of the world. It will still be there when you look up from your 5-minute meditation. I promise.

To your health,

Tanya

 

LOVE WHAT YOU DO!

Hello Spring!

Hiya Gorgeous!

Ahhhh, springtime! Birds at the feeder, little green buds peeking out of the soil and the sweet smell of the earth coming back to life. This season always feels like an opportunity to start fresh. Whether it’s eating more clean meals, starting a meditation practice or getting more exercise, there’s so much possibility in the air I can practically taste it!

That’s why I want to chat with you today about something we often overlook when we tackle our wellness goals. Our gut health! We look to our guts when it comes to making big decisions, so why don’t we trust what they have to say about our health? Our guts can tell us when we’re sick, deficient, out of balance, stressed—you name it.

We’ve all heard the saying, “listen to your gut.” And while that advice often refers to our intuition, it should also speak to our digestion. Your gut guides your overall well-being. Quite literally, your gut is the epicenter of your mental and physical health. Yet it’s all too common to experience lots of digestive issues that make a huge impact on our strength and vitality. If you want better immunity, efficient digestion, improved clarity and balance, focus on rebuilding your gut health.

I know it may seem like there’s always something we could be doing better. And frankly, our quest for getting well can be downright exhausting! Sometimes our health issues can feel so big and daunting. This is especially true when it comes to serious chronic diseases. By supporting this mighty system, you’ll see chronic health issues (like fatigue, fogginess, colds, aches, and pains) diminish, and you’ll feel abundant energy return. I know it sounds too good to be true, but it really isn’t.

Today, we’re going to cover the basics of digestive health. You’ll learn what your gut does and why it’s so important to keep it healthy. Then, we’ll discuss how to care for your wonderful gut so that it continues to take care of glorious you. Let’s dive in!

What happens inside your gut?

Your gut holds trillions of bacteria that help process your food, produce nutrients and fight disease. In fact, there are ten times more bacteria in your gut than cells in your entire body! These little guys are super important and they need your help. Since what you eat, drink and think affects the environment in your gut, your daily choices play a critical role in whether those trillion plus bacteria help or hinder your well-being.

It’s all about balance when it comes to gut health. When your gut is in tip-top shape, about 80-85 percent of bacteria are good guys and 15-20 percent are bad guys. You feel great, your body is strong and nimble, you rarely get sick, your energy is consistent, you poop like a champ, life is good. The healthy bacteria are free to do their job with ease. They assist with digestion, produce disease-fighting antibodies, crowd out bad bacteria and produce certain hormones, vitamins, and nutrients.

But when the harmful bacteria stage a revolt, all hell breaks loose. They totally gum up the works and cause painful problems like inflammation and infection, which can then lead to health issues such as constipation, candida, allergies, arthritis, headaches, depression, autoimmune diseases and more.

Medications (especially antibiotics and antacids), environmental toxins and chemicals, stress and illness greatly affect the ratio of good to bad bacteria. When bacteria are wiped out indiscriminately, the good guys get mowed down, giving the bad guys a chance to increase their ranks. Hello, chronic health issues.

The food you eat also affects the ratio of good to bad bacteria. Everything you consume is processed and either absorbed into your body or eliminated via your gut. Your gut completes the amazing task of digesting your food and pulling the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals out of the food so that they can be absorbed into your bloodstream.

And your gut’s mind-blowing capabilities don’t stop there. Your gut also identifies invaders — toxins, microbes, viruses, and allergens that could harm your health — and moves them through your digestive system so that they can be excreted. Buh-bye!

The key to this system working in your favor is two-fold:

1) Lend your gut a hand by feeding your body whole, plant-based, nutrient-dense foods.

2) Consistently practice a healthy lifestyle (less stress, exercise, less exposure to environmental toxins, proper rest) that supports the good gut bacteria and keeps the harmful bacteria under control.

Your mental health affects your gut health (and vice versa).

Did you know you have two brains? Yup, you’re THAT smart. The central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) controls almost all voluntary and involuntary activities within your body. For example, a voluntary action would be slicing your veggies, while an involuntary action would be blinking, breathing or falling in love. The involuntary actions carried out by your central nervous system are constantly at work taking care of you. Nice, right? Thank you, central nervous system; you’re a peach!

Now guess where your second brain lives. Your gut! Yup, it has a mind of its very own. Your gut’s “brain” is known as the enteric nervous system. This system is home to 100 million neurons within your intestinal wall. These cute little neurons transmit important information throughout your body. They also control digestion and send status updates to the brain, letting it know how things are going in your belly.

Your two nervous systems have an intricate relationship that’s just now being explored by scientists through the field of neurogastroenterology (that’s a mouthful!). While the enteric nervous system initiates and sustains digestion on its own, signals from the brain, such as stress and anxiety, can have dramatic effects on how well it works. In addition, the brain receives chemical messages from the gut, which can affect your mood and emotions. In fact, the vast majority of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, sleep, anxiety, depression and more) is actually made in your gut, not your brain! It’s all connected and sadly, few doctors ask you about your digestive health when you tell them you’re feeling too blue to cope.

Your gut is a major component of your immune system.

Did you know that about 60-70 percent of your immune system lives in your gut? Meet your GALT, also know as gut-associated lymphoid tissue. Your GALT lies just below the mucosal lining of the gut wall. It’s very thin (only one cell thick!), and most importantly — it’s integral to your immune system. The GALT contains specialized immune structures called Peyer’s patches that are filled with immune cells, such as B cells and T cells, which are responsible for recognizing and neutralizing harmful bacteria. When pathogenic bacteria visits your gut via food or your environment, the Peyer’s patches trigger your immune response to prevent them from passing through the gut wall.

Another way your gut protects you from infection and disease is through an abundance of healthy bacteria. To keep harmful bacteria from overthrowing your gut, healthy bacteria need to thrive and cover your gut wall — the only thing standing between everything inside your gut and your bloodstream. It helps to imagine that your gut wall is a parking lot. There are a limited number of “parking spots” along with your gut wall. You want good bacteria parked in those spaces, so bad bacteria is crowded out. Keep those spaces filled by adopting the following gut health tips.

Now that you know how important your gut health is to your overall well-being, how can you take care of your spectacular gut?

1. Take a prebiotic and probiotic supplement. A daily pre/probiotic supplement will help boost the good bacteria in your gut, keeping the bad guys under control, boosting your immune system and easing digestive issues. This is especially helpful when you’re taking a medication, such as an antibiotic that has wiped out a large number of gut bacteria.

If you’ve been focusing on your gut health for a while and your symptoms persist, you may want to try additional supplements to restore balance in your belly.  I suggest taking a glutamine-based formula to repair your gut lining and digestive enzymes with meals to assist with breaking down and digesting your food.

2. Eat probiotic whole foods. You can also eat whole foods that are fermented and contain large amounts of good bacteria. Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, microalgae and coconut kefir are fantastic plant-based probiotic-rich foods. When looking for probiotic-rich foods, avoid vinegar-based and/or pasteurized varieties, since these elements kill good bacteria. Word to the wise: Get educated on fermenting at home before diving in–it can be risky if you don’t know what you’re doing!

3. Eat prebiotic whole foods. Certain foods feed and support the growth of good bacteria. By eating more whole, plant-based, fiber-filled foods, you’re fueling the bacteria that support your health. Raw onions, garlic, dandelion greens, artichokes and bananas are some of the best prebiotic foods to add to your diet.

4. Eat regularly, but not constantly (and don’t eat late at night). To give your gut a chance to clean up and clear out bacteria and waste, it needs a rest from digestion. Every two hours, the smooth muscle in your intestines move and groove to keep bacteria and waste truckin’ through your digestive tract. But this process is put on hold every time you eat. Can you see why snacking constantly slows down digestion and contributes to bacterial overgrowth? I’m not saying that you need to fast for long periods — eating regularly helps prevent constipation and bloating — but it’s best to take breaks between meals.

5. Stay hydrated. A good rule of thumb for staying hydrated is drinking half your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 130 pounds, you should drink about 65 ounces of water. That’s about eight 8-ounce glasses of water. Your gut needs water to keep bacteria and waste moving through your digestive system, which will help prevent constipation and bloating. When you’re dehydrated, these issues can throw off the balance of bacteria in your gut and lead to inflammation. Give your gut a hand and drink more H2O!

6. Lessen refined sugar and processed foods. When you consume processed, sugar-laden, refined foods, you’re giving bad bacteria an all-you-can-eat buffet, which increases the likelihood of all the aforementioned bull crap that weighs you down and dims your shine.

7. Lessen stress. Remember when we talked about the connection between your brain and your gut? When you experience chronic stress, your brain goes into fight or flight mode, causing your digestion and blood flow in the gut to slow down, the muscles that push along waste and bacteria to freeze up and the secretions for digestion to decrease. All of these stress responses equal a poorly functioning gut! Take care of your gut health by coping with stress through breathwork, yoga, meditation, therapy, time in the outdoors and the countless other stress reduction techniques available to you.

Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail…

Easter was a very special time when my son was young in our house. While we do take time to reflect on the significance of the holiday, let’s be honest, the Easter basket hunt is a pretty exciting part of the festivities! So what does Peter Cotton Tail bring to our house?

My boys do have a few Easter sweet treats that they look forward to and I do think it’s important to allow these in moderation. The more I say no to treats, the more alluring they become. Allowing them to have the opportunity to indulge and practice self-regulation is an important life skill that takes trial and error to get right. That being said, I try to focus on non-candy things to add to my kid’s baskets.  If you are looking for a little Easter Basket Inspiration, look no further!

When my son was little, all it took was a container of bubbles, a bit of sidewalk chalk and plastic eggs to keep him happy.  My son is much older now, it can be a challenge to join in the fun without relying on candy.

A few things I’ve learned over the years:

  • It can be challenging to remember that Easter is not Christmas …..So, 1 toy, 1 easter outfit and 1 chocolate bunny are what I offered.
  • The hunt is often more exciting than what is in the basket. Use the basket as an opportunity to give your kid’s the things that they already need for the upcoming season.
  • It may be an actual crime that mini eggs taste as good as they do!

Ages: 0-2

  • Keep it simple with empty plastic eggs and a basket – enough said.

Ages: 2-4

  • empty plastic eggs and a basket
  • sidewalk chalk
  • bubbles
  • crayons, markers
  • stickers
  • bug catcher
  • clothes – new sundress or shorts, sandals, sun hat or ball cap, swimming gear
  • organic snacks

Ages: 5+ 

  • sports equipment (ball & glove, bike helmet, skipping ropes, yo-yo, hacky sack) After a long winter, get them excited to spend more time outside again!
  • books
  • clothes as above
  • sunglasses
  • seeds to plant – flower or vegetable, gardening gloves & shovels
  • sand pail & shovel
  • kite

Call to Book Your Appointment Fitness & Nutrition Assessment!!!  For information regarding pricing and options, simply reply to morrelltanya1@gmail.com or text 5192125697

Wishing you a marvelous week!

Tanya Morrell

P.S. Please follow me on Facebook, and Twitter for more update, nutrition tips, and tasty recipes.

If You’re Exercising to Lose Weight, Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes

You’re getting into a routine at the gym, feeling stronger and working up a sweat, but you’re not losing weight, which is one of the main reasons you started exercising in the first place. What gives?! Here are five common mistakes people make when working out that can prevent weight loss.

You’re Only Doing Cardio

While it’s true that cardio is great for burning calories-if you only run, bike ride, or swim, there’s a missing link to maximizing your calorie burn: strength training. The more muscle you have, the higher your body’s fat-burning potential, and weight training will help you burn more fat faster. That means you can do shorter workouts and get better results.

You’re Skipping Intense Workouts

If you’ve heard of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), it’s because it works! Experts agree that it’one of the best workouts for weight loss. This works for cardio and strength training and involves following a work-to-rest ratio, a popular one being two to one. That could be 40 seconds of working at 70 to 90 percent of your max followed by 20 seconds of rest. An example of HIIT could be running, biking, jumping rope, rowing, or swimming with sprint or hill intervals included, and/or a mix of strength-training moves like burpees, squats, plyometrics exercises like jumping lunges, or push-ups.

You’re Inconsistent

A 40-minute walk once a day is great for getting blood flowing and getting fresh air, but it’s not enough if you’re trying to lose weight. The same goes for a yoga class or jog here and there — you need to be hitting the gym regularly for about 45 minutes three to four times a week in order to see results. Commit to that if you’re serious about slimming down.

Your Workouts Are Always the Same

If you’ve been working out and your weight loss has plateaued, it’s a sign that you need to mix things up. When you do the same workout three to five times a week, your muscles become accustomed to it, so you need to tweak your workouts at least every six weeks. Or even better, do something different every time you work out.

You’re Not Paying Attention to What You Eat

What you do after your workout is important, too. Exercising regularly can often make you hungrier than usual, and you think “I worked out so I can eat anything I want!” Uh, nope! If you end up eating an enormous post-workout (ice cream cone) protein smoothie, or an extra couple snacks throughout the day, your calorie intake vs. calorie burn has evened out. In order to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit, so make sure you’re not taking in the same amount of extra calories that you just burned.

Healthy Date Squares

Healthy Date Squares

Let’s be a little frank here. Chances are if you are like most people, you could probably use a tad more fibre in the old diet! Taking a quick walk through the grocery store will yield a bounty of packaged food that boasts about being a source of fibre. Here is the catch though, many of these purchased items also contain oodles of refined sugars as well as a long list of other ingredients that you may or may not be able to pronounce, let alone understand their purpose.

What if I told you there was a better way? Let me introduce you to this latest creation, healthy date squares! These date squares have all the sweet you are looking for without any refined sugars and a nice little oat crunch.

 Course Dessert, Snack
 Cuisine Dairy Free
 Prep Time 15 minutes
 Cook Time 35 minutes
 Servings
 servings
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c ground flax
  • 1/3 c spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 c melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 c raw pecans, chopped optional, sprinkle on top before baking
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until evenly mixed. Place half of the mixture into a greased 8 x 8 baking dish.
  2. Soak 2.5 cups dates with 1/2 c boiling water. I place the dates and water into my mini food processor and let it sit for about 10 minutes and then blend. Add 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp salt. Add more water if needed to get the right consistency. Spread carefully on top of first oat layer. Now add the remaining oats and pecans if you wish. Bake for 35 minutes. Enjoy!
RECIPE NOTES:

Keep date squares in a covered dish once they have completely cooled. They should last for about a week if you haven’t eaten them all first. Date squares also freeze fairly well too!

10 Signs You’re Healthy — Regardless of What the Scale Says.

When most of us think about our health, we seem to focus on our weight alone. Or oftentimes, we judge ourselves by the most demanding of critics, the one in our own mirrored reflection. However, there are numerous signs that can safely gauge your health that have nothing to do with the numbers on the scale or amount of cellulite on your hips. Here are some overlooked ways to assess the state of your health and hopefully find something you can both improve and feel better about!

You’re regular: Having healthy and regular bowel movements is pretty important not just for your digestive system but also your entire body. When you go every day, toxins are eliminated and you ultimately avoid inflammation from spreading through your body. We won’t say much about the appearance of what ends up in the toilet, but make sure it’s not bloody or loose. ‘Nuff said.

Your urine is clear: When you’re hydrating properly, your urine will be light yellow or clear, and that’s a good sign that your kidneys are functioning as they’re supposed to. Anytime you see dark urine, you need to chug a glass of water, quick.

Regular menstruation: The typical period cycle can range anywhere from 21 to 35 days, so if your period isn’t coming regularly between those times, you may need to get that looked at. Regular, monthly periods that last two to seven days are a good indication that your reproductive system is working optimally.

You can handle emotional stress: This is so easy to overlook because we’re always working under the duress of stress so we don’t notice when our reactions become automated and unmanageable. Using the help of a therapist totally counts as managing your emotional burden, by the way.

You have clear skin: Adult acne aside, if you’re having hormonal acne outbreaks or other skin-related issues, you may have some underlining health concern. Skin is our largest organ, and if it doesn’t show signs of distress, it’s a great indicator of good health.

You move your body regularly: Whether you’re running marathons or doing a 10-minute foam roller stretch every morning, as long as you make the effort to move your body in a meaningful way every day, you’re doing great! Well, sort of…I encourage more!

You eat mindfully: Eating mindfully doesn’t mean you have to be on a strict diet. It just means that you eat until you’re full and then you stop. Also, you are conscious of eating your fruits and veggies while avoiding processed foods.

You have good friends: Studies show time and time again that friends are incredibly beneficial to our health. So make time for those girls’ nights!

You rarely get sick: It’s normal to catch a virus or a cold every now and then, but if you’re constantly battling something or other, chances are your immune system is crying out for help. If you can’t remember the last time you got sick, you must be doing something right!

You sleep peacefully: If you’re not having trouble falling (or staying) asleep most nights, consider yourself lucky. Irregular sleep patterns can indicate serious issues like as sleep apnea, insomnia, or gastroesophageal reflux disorder.

Here’s What — and When — to Eat Before Working Out

When it comes to working out, it’s important to feel energized, but it’s not always as simple as grabbing a snack on your way out the door. Eating too close to exercise is a recipe for discomfort, but heading to the gym hungry isn’t ideal either.  To learn how to maximize the potential of a workout by these examples. Keep in mind that I am not suggesting you do all of these prior to working out, it is a guide based on timing:

All Day Long

It’s never a good idea to start a workout with a water deficit. Make sure to stay well hydrated before, during, and after exercise. Keep in mind that the body needs to be hydrated to process calories; even being mildly dehydrated can slow down your metabolic rate.

Two to Three Hours Before a Workout

If you’re planning a meal a couple of hours before working out, I suggest eating a meal that is a mix of carbs, protein, and fat, which falls in the 300- to 400-calorie range, which include a small serving of lean protein with veggies, hummus or a fruit and nut bar (we’re partial to Kind and Larabars) with a small serving of greek yogurt . Avoid gassy food like beans and broccoli since they may cause intestinal discomfort.

One to Two Hours Before a Workout

As you get closer to your workout, carbs should become the focus of your snack (up to 50 grams) with just a little bit of protein. I suggest yams, clean protein. If you only have one to two hours before your workout, keep your snack under 200 calories. This mixed protein-carb snack will help you feel satisfied and fueled and may also help reduce muscle soreness.

15 to 30 Minutes Before a Workout

If you only have 15 to 30 minutes before a scheduled workout, choosing a small snack that is simple to digest is key. Pick a snack that has about 25 grams of carbs like a tablespoon of raisins (not dried), a small banana, or a small serving of applesauce.

Immediately Before a Workout

If you haven’t eaten in a while, don’t skip out on food — even if you’re just about to head to the gym. Your body will need the energy to power through whatever vigorous workout you put it through. Restrict this snack to simple carbs, an eight-ounce glass of coconut water should do the trick while adding electrolytes. The key is to stick to health simple sugars that won’t cause digestive discomfort midway through your workout.

Post-Workout Snack

Within 30 minutes of finishing an intense workout, eat a snack that is a mix of carbs and protein, depending on the time of day carbs could vary. This will help reduce muscle soreness, and, since your body’s metabolic rate is higher after a workout, it will give it the fuel it needs to recover. My faves: Half a medium apple smeared with a mixture of two ounces of vanilla Greek yogurt, half a tablespoon of natural almond butter, and a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon (151 calories), or  20 baby carrots with two tablespoons hummus (140 calories).

 

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