Post Workout Nutrition

In case you missed it,  4 Points Health and Wellness had a pretty exciting Open House event this past weekend to give the community a chance to try out some classes and meet myself and all of our other fantastic practitioners. If you managed to stop by, a huge thank you to you, but if you didn’t make it, or you missed my presentation, then you’re in luck, because I’m going to give you the coles notes version, right now!

Saturday I got to speak about post workout nutrition, and what your body needs  in order to refuel and recover after your sweat sesh.

When you exercise, you deplete your body’s glycogen stores (stored energy from glucose), and these stores need to be replenished. In addition to this, you also cause muscle tissue damage (protein catabolism) which needs to be repaired.

In order to replenish glycogen stores, your body needs carbohydrates, while protein is needed to repair and build muscle tissue.  It is recommended that you consume protein and carbs in a ratio of 1:4 after you exercise. A good rule of thumb is to consume between 15 – 20 grams of protein,  and to consume about 1 gram of carbohydrates per 1 kg of body weight (or about 0.5 grams per pound of body weight).

This may sound like a lot of carbs, but contrary to popular belief, carbs are not the enemy. They are your body’s (and you brain!!!) preferred fuel source, and you need them in order to perform optimally. You also need them in combination with protein to contribute to muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth).

It’s best to try to have your post workout meal as soon as possible after you exercise to get your body the nutrients it needs to start repairing ASAP. Also, when you exercise, you create an environment in your body that is capable of storing glucose, and synthesizing muscle tissue more effectively than any other time, so take advantage of it, get that fuel, and those building blocks in right away, or at least within 1 – 2 hours of the end of your workout.

Some tips for choosing post workout foods:

  • choose some carbs that are higher on the glycemic index (this recommendation may not apply if you are diabetic of have blood sugar issues) like bananas, pineapples, or dried fruit
  • choose complete proteins to get a full spectrum of amino acids
    • generally sources of complete proteins are animal based like meat, eggs, and dairy, however you can get complete proteins from vegan sources like beans, chickpeas, etc, if you combine them with a whole grain like brown rice, oats, or quinoa
  • get your nutrients from whole food sources whenever possible
  • if you’re not able to have a whole food meal post workout and you’re choosing a protein shake or recovery beverage, try to choose high quality products with ingredients you understand, and minimal artificial sweeteners

As an added bonus, I’ve  also added two recipes that I shared on Saturday as examples of my favourite post workout foods.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana mashed
  • 1 tbs cocoa powder
  • 2 tbs natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbs chia seeds
  • 3 tbs scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp natural raw honey
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats

Directions

  1. Mash banana in a medium bowl and add in cocoa powder, peanut butter, chia seeds, protein powder, vanilla, honey, cinnamon, and sea salt.
  2. Continue to mash with fork until all ingredients are fully combined. (May seem dry at first but keep mashing!)
  3. Stir in oats using a rubber spatula to combine edges of the bowl.
  4. Using a small spoon form into 12 – 15 balls and place on a plate lined with wax paper.
  5. Refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 3 days covered with plastic wrap.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Adapted from The Lemon Bowl: Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls

Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 small banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh pineapple and/or mango
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of coconut or almond milk

Directions

  1. Blend to desired consistency and enjoy!
  2. May also add greens, chia or flax seeds, hemp hearts, etc. as desired

Adapted from Evolution Nutrition: Anti-inflammatory Smoothie

 

 

References:

Andrews, R.  (n.d.), All About Post-Workout Nutrition, Retrieved from: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/about-post-workout-nutrition

Bean, A. (2013), The Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition. London: Bloomsbury

 

Navigating the Grocery Store

So you’ve committed to eating healthier!? That’s great news, and making that decision is a tremendous first step toward a healthier life. But now that you’ve made the choice, where do you start?

When you’re trying to change your diet and eat healthy, sometimes the grocery store can be a bit overwhelming. Your previous grocery trips probably felt routine and normal, with few surprises, but in the first few shopping trips after making the choice to change, you may suddenly notice how many choices you have.

Personally, I love grocery shopping, and the sight of my fridge filled with colourful veggies, and healthy foods fills me with so much joy and gratitude. Although I’ve always known that a full fridge is something I am very fortunate to have had, I didn’t always love the grocery store, and finding my way definitely took some time and practice.

If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed when you step into the supermarket, take a look at my tips for navigating the grocery store below:

  • First and foremost, don’t go shopping hungry. You’ve probably heard this one over and over, but it’s true. Shopping on an empty stomach can lead you over shop, you may end up leaving the store with way more food than you need, which leads to waste, and it can also lead you to make poorer choices in terms of the types of food you purchase
  • Secondly, shop the perimeter. The outer perimeter of the grocery store is where you will primarily find the fresh foods. All stores have a slightly different layout, but for the most part you’ll find that the fresh produce, dairy (and dairy substitutes) , eggs, and meat/poultry/fish are all found along the outside edges of the store. Often you will also find the bakery on the perimeter as well, in which case, you should approach with your specific items in mind.
  • Which leads me to my next point, come prepared, make a list! Grocery shopping without a plan in mind can also lead to buying excess or unnecessary items. In a perfect world you’ll have a plan set for the meals you’ll be making this week, and you can buy your groceries accordingly, however, you and I both know that things don’t usually work out that way. Make a set list of your staple items, and then for each trip you can add special items for certain meals you hope to make. Having a plan is the best way to ensure that you don’t go buck wild through the isles.
  • Now that you have your list, and you’ve made your way around the outer edge of the store, stocking up on fruits, veggies, meats (if that’s your thing) and eggs, it’s time to head into the isles for some more specific items. Before you go browsing the isles, STOP, check your list, then look up and check the sign above the isle. You don’t need to go down there if that sign doesn’t match up with any items on your list. If you’re prone to impulse purchasing, or you tend to gravitate toward snack foods, this tip is for you.
  • Speaking of isles, just because something is in the health food isle, or labelled as organic, or low fat or sugar free, doesn’t mean it’s healthy! Of course there are lots of great items in there, like coconut oil, or chia seeds, but even though those cookies are gluten free and organic, they aren’t any better for you than any other cookies. (For some tips on when and why it’s good to choose organic products, check out http://www.davidsuzuki.org/)
  • My last, but not least, tip for navigating the grocery store, is to try as much as possible to stick to whole foods. This means that ideally, the foods you purchase and eat most often, should not come from a bag or a box. Fresh fruit and veggies, (canned or frozen is OK, but check the label for additives) lean proteins, whole grains, etc.
    • To help make the most of this, its helpful to learn to understand food labels. Don’t be afraid to spend some time reading labels in the store, you deserve to know what you’re eating! A good rule of thumb is to look for products with a small ingredient list, and words that you understand. When looking at products like breads, or rice, avoiding white, is also recommended, as the process of refining those grains removes much of the vitamin content.

If you have questions about these tips, or any other nutrition  related questions, please don’t hesitate to comment or send me a message!

Happy shopping!

FREE NUTRITION ADVICE!!

Now that I have your attention….

It’s true, I’m offering free nutrition advice, so here are the details!!

Starting this Saturday, Feb 18, 2017, I’ll be hosting drop-in nutrition help sessions on Saturdays from 1 PM to 4 PM at my new home base, 4 Points Health and Wellness. No strings attached, no commitment required, just drop by anytime between 1 and 4pm and come with your questions.

I’ll be offering helpful tips and info about things you can do right now, to improve your diet and your health. I will also do my best to answer any and all questions you bring me.

Comment below with your health and nutrition questions and I’ll be sure to include them on Saturday!

4 Points Health and Wellness is located at 12406 112 Ave, Edmonton

You can also learn more about 4 Points and the services offered there at http://www.4pointshealth.com/

Keep Improving your Posture with these Exercises!

In my last post, I talked about my favourite stretches for improved posture. Although stretching is a useful tool for reducing pain and tightness in muscles from the long hours sitting at your desk, it is only half the battle. Because sitting leads to muscular imbalances, tight muscles are only one part of the problem. The other aspect that needs your attention, is strengthening. Your chest, neck and hips get tight from sitting, while their opposing muscles groups suffer the opposite problem, and become under active. The most affected muscles are the core stabilizers, glutes, and rhomboids.

Here are a few of my favourite exercises to help strengthen these under active muscles

Core: Dead Bug 

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Begin by lying flat on your back, then bring your knees up to a 90 degree angle and your arms straight in front of you. Using the opposite arm and leg, extend them outward as straight as you can while focusing on pulling your belly button to your spine and trying to keep your lower back flat on the floor. With control, bring your arm and leg back to the starting position, and then switch sides. Perform 2-3 sets of 12 reps per side with about 30 seconds rest between each set.

Glutes: Glute bridge

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Begin lying on your back. Bend your knees and plant your feet as close as possible to your bum. From here, think about squeezing your glutes in order to lift your hips up. Remember to keep your core engaged so that you don’t feel an arch in your lower back. Lower all the way back down to the ground, then repeat. Perform 2- 3 sets of 12 reps with 30 seconds rest between each set. If you wish to increase the difficulty, this exercise can be performed 1 leg at a time,

Rhomboids: Bent over row

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Take one dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other. Hinge forward at your hips bringing your chest toward the ground without arching or rounding your back, and ensure that your knees are not locked out (if you’re new at this exercise, try watching yourself in the mirror to ensure that you keep your back flat).  Steadily pull the weights toward your body keeping your arms close to your sides. Think about squeezing your shoulder blades together and your shoulders down away from your ears. Pause and slowly return your arms to the starting position. Perform 2 – 3 sets of 12 reps with 30 seconds rest between each set.

Perform these exercises regularly, in combination with the stretches in my last post, and you’re well on your way to better posture, and reduced pain!

Stretch to Improve your Posture!

Lets face it, you spend most of your day sitting. You drive to work where you sit at your desk all day long, only to drive home, and sit at the dinner table, or on the couch. No judgment here, my couch is comfy too, but did you know that all that sitting is a big factor in bad posture, and subsequently back and neck pain?

Sitting all day, especially if you’re slumped forward reaching for your keyboard or steering wheel, leads to a handful of muscular imbalances. Specifically, tight muscles in your chest, neck, and hips. An important step to improving posture is stretching out these tight muscles. So without further ado, here are my favourite stretches for improved posture.

 

Doorway pectoralis stretch: 

2016-12-14-01-31-15-2Place your palms and forearms in either side of a door frame. Gently step forward just enough that you feel a stretch across your chest. You want to feel mild discomfort, but not pain, so if it hurts, ease off! Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds.

 

 

 

 

Upper trapezius stretch: 

Put2016-12-14-01-30-40 one arm behind your back. Place your other hand gently on the side of you head and pull to one side as if to bring your ear to your shoulder. Make sure that your chin and nose are still pointed straight ahead. Again, hold for 30 seconds, and remember that you are only aiming to feel mild discomfort. Repeat on the other side

 

 

 

Levator scapulae stretch: 

2016-12-14-01-30-47Similar to the previous stretch, place one hand behind your back. Your other hand will then reach for the back of your head, and gently pull downward and to the side as if you were trying to look into your armpit. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side

 

 

 

 

Hip flexor stretch: 

Place 2016-12-14-01-30-09-2one knee on the floor, and bring your other foot out in front of you in a lunge position. Once you feel stable, think about tilting your pelvis as if to tuck your bum under your spine. Then gently push your hips forward, keeping your chest tall. If this feels okay, you may also raise your arm on the same side as the hip being stretched. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

 

 

 

You can perform these stretches daily to help improve posture and reduce pain. Combine these stretches with a strengthening routine and you’re well on your way!

Pro-tip: To further reduce the negative effects of sitting, take stretch breaks during your work day. Just two minutes up and out of your seat every hour can make a difference!

Post a comment if you have any questions!

Improve your diet, meal by meal!

So you’ve made the decision to improve your diet and eat better, but you’re not really sure where to begin? First, I say kudos, and second, I want you to know that you’re not alone. Trying to change your diet can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure what to change.

Often, when we decide we want to eat better, we go all in, and try to change every aspect of our diet and live off of what we imagine the “perfect” diet looks like. Here’s the thing… the “perfect diet” doesn’t exist! For one thing, each and every person has different needs and preferences, and secondly a complete overhaul of your diet, generally doesn’t promote sustainability.

If you read my post about New Year’s Resolutions, you’ll know that I am a believer in taking baby steps, and allowing yourself some room for “imperfections”. When it comes to the diet, I believe that the best way to create sustainable, and long term improvements, is to focus on changing one aspect at a time. You can start by taking a look at your current diet, and choosing one meal a day that you can improve. For instance, breakfast is a common issue. People in our society tend to skip breakfast or just have coffee, or grab something quick, convenient, and less than nutritious. So focus on improving your breakfast habits, and commit to eating a nutritious breakfast every day for a week. Once you’ve got that down, try changing another habit.

 

If you need a little breakfast inspiration, here is one of my favourite breakfast recipes, and it only takes a few minutes!

 

Overnight oats!

overnight-oat-pic

  • ½ cup steel cut or rolled oats
  • 1 tbs pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tbs dark chocolate chips (just for fun!)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • Dash of maple syrup to taste
  • ½ cup almond (or other) milk

 

Mix together in a mason jar or small container and leave in the fridge overnight.

Grab from the fridge in the morning and eat!

For even more goodness, you may also wish to add some fresh berries in the morning.

 

Enjoy!

 

January Promotion!

It’s January and resolutions are in the air!
 
In the spirit of the season, for the month of January, I am offering 1 free personal training for every 5 sessions purchased! ($70 value!)
In addition, I am also offering a referral bonus. If you refer a friend who commits to Personal Training and/or Nutrition services, you will get 15% off of your next purchase. (That’s $75 off of 1 month of fitness and nutrition training OR $90 off of 10 personal training sessions!)
 
I want to help you make your health and fitness more than just a resolution this year!
 
Minimum commitment required for referral bonus. Options include:
  • 10 personal training OR nutrition counselling sessions
  • 1 month of fitness and nutrition training
  • 1 Introductory meal plan 

 

Click here for information on Personal Training and here for more information about Nutrition Services!

A Happier New Year!

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Here we are on the edge of 2016, about to jump into the new year. With the holidays just behind us, I know that the last few weeks of my life have had a lot of excess. Rich foods, wine, and plenty of holiday cheer. Although I have enjoyed every sip, and every bite of my holidays, I also can’t help but feel a little self conscious going into the new year.

I know for me, this “holiday guilt” is usually a big contributing factor when it comes to making new year’s resolutions. However, this year, I’m making a choice not to make resolutions based on my insecurities, but instead, I’m making goals for 2017 that will build me up, and bring me joy.

I want to encourage everyone to look at the new year as an opportunity. A time to nurture body, mind, and spirit, and to learn what makes you feel good, both physically and emotionally. 

That being said, here are my tips for creating some NEW new year’s resolutions:

  1. Make goals based on intrinsic motivation
    • Intrinsic motivation basically means that you are motivated by an internal reward system; achieving the goal you’ve set will make you feel happy and fulfilled, or bring you personal pride. As opposed to something like money, or recognition from others.
  2. Take baby steps
    • I know it’s tempting to take a look at the calendar and say that this year you’re going to make a complete overhaul of your life. Maybe you want to change careers, or maybe you’re thinking of running your first marathon. If these big goals will bring you joy, then by all means, I believe in you! But try breaking them down into their smaller components, take baby steps, all of which will eventually contribute to the greater goal. If you want to run a marathon, start with a 5k, work your way up, and take pride in each small goal that you accomplish along the way to that full marathon.
  3. Set SMART Goals
    • SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based. Setting SMART goals helps you to build a realistic plan of action, and gets you to think carefully about your goal before diving in head first.
    • Click here for some more info on SMART goals. Although this info is referring to fitness goals, SMART goal setting can be applied to any goal!
  4. If fitness, nutrition, or weight loss, are on your mind for 2017, consider ditching or minimizing the “numbers” approach
    • It may seem counter to the SMART goals approach, but it doesn’t have to be. Health and fitness is about way more than the number on the scale, or the number of calories you eat. You can set SMART goals like “by the end of January, I will be exercising for 60 minutes, twice per week” or “I will consume at least 5 servings of vegetables a day”. There are plenty of measurable goals you can set to improve your health that don’t involve stepping on the scale.  
    • Set goals for healthy lifestyle behaviours, and enjoy the rewards that come. Rewards like feeling more energetic, sleeping better, and feeling better in your own skin!
  5. Last but not least, don’t punish yourself if you slip up!
    • You are human, no one expects you to be perfect all the time. Set goals, do your best, but know that you are allowed to make choices that take you a little bit off track. An extra piece of cake isn’t going to set back your entire weight loss. You have to allow yourself room to be human, to make mistakes, but more importantly, you have to allow, and encourage yourself to keep moving forward afterward.

 

If you have questions about goal setting, or anything else, please comment or send me a message!

If you’re looking for some extra guidance moving forward with your health and fitness goals in the new year, check out my Fitness and Nutrition services!

 

Happy New Year from Work of A.R.T. Fitness!!!

 

Workout from home!

The days are short, the weather is chilly and the holidays are almost here! You’ve probably got a whole lot on the go right now, and if you’re anything like me, bracing the cold to get out of the house and off to the gym feels like a pretty big task. However, just because going to the gym has lost it’s appeal, doesn’t mean that you can’t get a great workout. Here is a super simple, full body workout that you can do right at home, all you need is a chair!

 

Warm-up: (2 – 3 rounds)

  • 12 – 15 Plank with step outs or Plank Jacks

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  • 12 – 15 Body weight squats 

Circuit 1: (3 – 4 rounds)

  • 12 Single leg sit downs per leg

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  • 15 Alternating Chair Toe Tap per leg (quickly)

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  • 12 Incline or Decline Push-ups

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  • 12 Russian Twists per side

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Circuit 2: (3 – 4 rounds)

  • 15 Decline Glute Bridges

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  • 12 Burpees

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  • 15 Prone Superman Lat Rows

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  • 12 V-Ups

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Make sure to finish up with a 5 – 10 minute cool down which could include some light jogging or walking, (or hey, you’re in the privacy of your own home, have a mini dance party) and a full body stretch.
Happy sweating!

 

Note: Each of these exercises can be modified for different fitness levels! Post a comment, or send me a message if you have any questions or want to learn more!

Keep Warm this Winter with Bulletproof Turmeric Ginger Tea!


20161215_124037It’s that time of year! The air is cold and dry, stress is high in preparations for the holidays and the end of the year, and our immune system’s are getting tired!

When you look outside, and check the weather, cuddling up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate and a blanket seems like a pretty good idea.

This year, however, I’ve been substituting my usual cup of cocoa for something with a little extra oomph, to help support my immune system through this difficult time. Bulletproof Turmeric and Ginger Tea!

This delicious hot drink, is simple, and fully of wholesome ingredients that support health.

Here’s what you’ll need!

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • Splash of almond milk (or other milk if preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon of raw honey

I also like to add a dash of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla, just because!

On the stove, bring water and coconut oil to a boil.

Reduce heat to simmer and add turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and vanilla.

Let simmer for 10 mins.

Remove from heat, add milk and stir thoroughly

Strain liquid through a mesh colander or cheesecloth.

Stir in honey, and enjoy!

In addition to being delicious, here are some of the health benefits of this tasty drink!

  • Coconut oil is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral, which means it aids your immune system. In addition, it contains medium chain fatty acids which support memory and brain health!
  • Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant properties which help support the immune system and promote tissue repair.
  • Ginger helps settle the stomach and reduce nausea, and is also anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce muscle and joint pain.
  • Raw honey contains natural enzymes which promote digestion, as well as a variety of minerals that contribute to overall health.