It is almost unbelievable to me that September has arrived - I guess that means it is time to get back to real life!
In addition, on August 28th, the Editor listed one of my past fitness basic videos, in which I demonstrated the "scissor kicks" as a Pick of the Day.
In honour of September, a month in which people tend to return to their regular routines and re-commit to their wellness goals, this month's feature article is a list of my top five tips to help you stay on your "fitness horse"!
Also in this issue, a healthy and tasty recipe contributed by nutritionist Tara Postnikoff and an article from personal trainer Lee Davy on how to avoid the "freshman 15". Thanks Tara and Lee!
If you don't already follow me on Facebook and Twitter, start now! I am posting daily "Kathleenisms". Here is one of my personal favorites: "Move away from understanding eating well and exercising as things that are constraining you. Instead, understand being able to move as something that is enjoyable, something you get to do. Embrace the joy in exercise!"
I am proud to announce that my 'ask the trainer' column from August 22nd, in which I answered the question "Is Crossfit a good workout?", was the third most viewed article in the Life section that day!
Also noteworthy, the four most recent videos in the eleven part Pilates video series I filmed for The Globe and Mail have been posted. The sixth video in the series, the 'saw' was the 3rd most viewed video the day it was posted.
Lastly, I want to take this opportunity to highlight a two part blog series I wrote for the Huffington post that I am particularly proud of.
Five Tips for Fitness Success
Don't keep your goals a secret. Tell your friends and family what you want to accomplish. Stating the goal out loud, so that other people know about your plans, can help keep you on track.
Write your goals down. Writing your goals down will help you be more accountable to yourself. Revisit this process every few months to asses your progress. If you have not been successful, brainstorm why. Then form new goals based on the new-found knowledge. Learn from past mistakes.
Keep track of your workouts. Schedule them into your weekly calendar, track your workouts in excel or post an exercise calendar on your fridge and put stickers or stars on the days you workout as a visual reminder of how many times you have exercised.
Reward Yourself. Once you get to your predetermined goal, give yourself a non-food-related “prize.” I am not talking about a big expensive gift. Have a long bubble bath, take yourself to the movies, get a pedicure, buy a new workout outfit, or sign up for a new fun ‘fitness adventure’ like a dance class.
Get an exercise buddy. Working out with a friend will make the activity more enjoyable, and will help keep you accountable. If you don’t like working out with someone, get an ‘accountability buddy’. Connect with that person and discuss your goals, workouts, strategies etc.
Recipe of the Month
Coconut Chickpea Soup: A delicious & healthy soup
By Tara Postnikoff, HEAL Nutrition
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 yam, chopped
1 beet, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 can lite coconut milk
1 tbsp cumin & ground coriander
1 can kidney beans, organic
1 can chickpeas, organic
3 cups kale, de-stemmed
Warm coconut oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
Add spices for 1-2 minutes.
Add onions and let simmer for a couple minutes.
Add peeled and chopped yam, carrots, beets
Add cans of beans, rinsed
Add 1 can coconut milk, bring to a boil and reduce.
Let simmer for 5-20 minutes.
Article of the Month
Avoid the Freshman 15 - by Lee Davy
Much is said about the freshman year of college/university and gaining an excess amount of weight.
We get it. It’s tough. You are going through a lot of changes. You’re in a new environment, with new faces and new challenges. Most of you are probably out on your own for the first time, and are faced with new decisions freedoms that perhaps you weren’t allowed before.
With these new freedoms comes excitement, which leads many to get caught up in it all, and end up gaining more weight then you ever thought you could before.
As such, we at Dynamic Conditioning Centre (DCC) have come up with our top 10 tips to help you avoid the dreaded “Freshman 15”.
1. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
You were always told growing up that the most important meal of the day was breakfast. Perhaps though WHAT you were initially told to eat may in fact not have been good for you.
Set off your focus and drive neurotransmitters for the day. Eating protein and fats will do just that, while consuming orange juice, oatmeal, cereal, toast and other forms of (basically) sugar will make you feel like a walking zombie, longing once again for the comfort of your own bed.
Eat foods that will wake you up and help energize you for the day. We suggest eating high quality protein and good fats. Choices in school cafeterias aren’t all they are cracked up to be and don’t always offer healthy alternatives.
If you’re short on time, opt for drinking a high quality protein shake along with eating a handful of nuts. Good sources of protein include cashews, walnuts, almonds, peacans and brazil nuts.
On the days your school cafeteria doesn’t serve any eggs or meat for breakfast, avoid at all costs reaching for any candy bar, chocolate or chips in a vending machine as a quick alternative. Opt for eating some nuts and or an avocado.
2. Get Enough Sleep
If you aren’t sleeping well, everything else will suffer. Your energy will be poor, your focus will be off and your grades will suffer.
Very simply, if you’re body isn’t recharged and recovered, it won’t work well. Physical recovery typically begins from 10pm and ends around 2am, so if you don’t go to bed until after midnight each day, you’re cutting down the recovery your body needs by half. Add that up over time, and it’s like trying to do the triple jump event with one leg – it’s just not going to work.
Instead, try getting up earlier if you have things to do, and in return get to bed by 10pm most evenings. A rule of thumb is to get at least five (5) hours of sleep each night, but usually six (6) to eight (8) hours is best for most people.
Things you can do to help push the sleep button include:
relaxation or meditation before bed
a brain dump - write down all of your random thoughts before you go to bed; and
a grateful log.
These are a couple of easy tricks for you to try to get some sleep. We also suggest trying topical magnesium and high quality ingestibles such as Ubermag or Zen Mag offered by Charles Poliquin. Visit www.charlespoliquin.com for more information.
3. Train and Train Hard
Train, period. If you don’t train, you’re going to gain - weight that is. It’s virtually impossible for you to eat cafeteria foods, do no exercise, drink alcohol, stress and not gain fat.
A solid training program continued throughout the year, complete with various training phases will go a long way in keeping you in tip top shape and reduce your body’s desire to “pack on the pounds.” Schedule your workouts in the morning.
We recommend resistance training, sprinting, swimming or if you’re a fan of Crossfit, all of the above. The more variety you can give your workouts the better. Train heavy, train with lots of reps, row, swim, sprint - all within the same session if you like - the point is to train and train hard. Don’t be afraid to push yourself. You might actually enjoy it.
4. Avoid Binge Drinking
Alcohol is one of the most damaging and toxic things we can do to ourselves. Alcohol destroys testosterone.
One night of binge drinking can:
Lower testosterone production for up to 5 days
Increase estrogen in the body
Create acidity and cause inflammation (stress) in the body
If this wasn’t enough, you typically feel terrible the next day.
If you are going to drink, keep it to once a week. Try drinking straight vodka and water or alternating an alcoholic drink with a glass of water. You won’t drink as much and won’t feel as bad in the morning.
Allocate one night each week, or on special occasion to let loose. Binge drinking isn’t great, but if you’re going to do it, keep the excessive empty calories from alcohol to a minimum.
5. Have a “Cheat” Meal Once a Week
What happens after a night at the bar? Yup, you guessed it, time to order pizza, cheesy bread and wings! Awesome right?! Um, no, this is a sure fire way to add on extra unwanted weight.
You’ve already destroyed your body’s ability to metabolize insulin with all of the alcohol you drank, and now you want to perpetuate the issue with adding refined bread (gluten), dairy and greasy, deep fried...junk.
Plus, you will probably wake up, feeling sluggish, sitting on the couch watching movies for the day and eating...more garbage.
If you are going to have a cheat meal, do so on a night where nothing else is going on or get it all over within a single night of drinking and eating junk. Make choices that will suit your needs. We at DCC suggest to opt for a healthy diet and lifestyle routine that will sustain you long-term.
Get back on track the next day. To cheat on your diet once a week is not the end of the world, in fact I recommend it, but if you do so on a regular basis, you’ll be packing on the beef - and not in a good way. Remember, by incorporating healthy habits and by eating great, you look great and feel great too.
6. Avoid Buying a School Meal Plan
Typically the food in a cafeteria is not the healthiest choice available.
Do as much of your own grocery shopping as possible. Buy a little bar fridge to keep in your room.
We suggest buying a variety of berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and black berries. Try eating different kinds of nuts (as mentioned above) or nut butter. Eat as many fresh vegetables as you can. These foods will go a long way in keeping you healthy throughout the year.
Start incorporating simple healthy habits by preparing your own foods.
7. Substitute Your Meal With a Protein Shakes
A good protein shake can save you in more ways than one.
Buy a high quality protein powder such as Precision, Progressive or Poliquin to name a few. Having a good protein shake on hand will help in times when you are just too busy to eat. If you don’t have time to eat quality food for breakfast, or you need a post workout drink, opt for a protein shake.
If you’re craving a chocolate or sugary snack before bed, drink a protein shake. Avoid at all costs, protein bars as they are filled with sugar. With a good protein powder, you’ll get proper nutrients without the excess sugar and poor calories.
8. Practice Yin and Yang principles
Everything in the universe is balanced - Yin and Yang. Yin is the calming, night, female, while Yang is energizing, day and male. Try and live according to this balance - especially in your first year of school.
This method can go a long way in getting you up and ready for the day. Things like a proper breakfast, looking at motivational videos and exercising in the morning will wake you up and drive your energy for the day. Meditating, stretching and grateful affirmations will calm you and get you relaxed and ready for a quality sleep.
Remember to live in harmony with these elements. It will help you flow easily, improve you sleep, focus, energy and more.
9. Reduce Your Stress
Reduce your stress with meditation or positive visualization/affirmations. Many people think that if they make time for meditation, something else needs to be cut out. That it’s actually one more thing they don’t have time for.
The opposite is actually true. Meditation calms and de-clutters the mind. Good meditation and deep breathing will relax you, make more room for the things you want in your life and ultimately allow you to let go of the things you don’t want.
Another great thing for reducing stress is to listen to classical music. It has been proven that it puts you in the Alpha brain wave state, which is essential for learning.
10. Write Down Your Thoughts to Clear Your Mind
A mind dump is another great method. Writing all of your thoughts out before bed is another great way to reduce the ongoing, never-ending round about that goes on in your mind. Get a pad of paper and pen and just write. It doesn’t even have to make sense, just get all of those never ending thoughts out of your mind - if only for the evening to sleep - so you can be at peace for a happy slumber.
Once your mind is at peace you can actually move forward with all of the points outlined above.
This list will help keep you lean, energetic and productive while you sail through your first year of school without those dreaded extra pounds that normally come in the form of the dreaded “Freshman 15”.
Remember, when it comes to your diet and lifestyle make simple, healthy choices.
Lee Davy is a Wellness & Lifestyle Coach, Multi Certified Personal Trainer, Strength Coach & Poliquin certified coach, fitness author and speaker, Co-founder and CEO of Dynamic Conditioning Centres in Toronto. He is the founder of Healthy 1 Productions, RAMP Training Systems, Inventor of the children's fitness game Recess and the Camps that go with it.
Lee brings a multi-faceted view to happy, healthy living with his 4 Pillars approach, which include; Physical, Emotional, Intellectual and Spiritual well being. You will become healthy, happy and whole.
"If you work on the 4 Pillars, there is nothing you can't achieve. Your life will be happy, abundant and joyful. Your body fit, lean and vibrant. Live the 4 Pillars and become what you were meant to be"