Learn all about the emotional triggers that cause us to overeat and the best strategies for self-control right here!Read More
Your workout nutrition can be classified into three categories: Pre-workout (what you eat before a workout), Intra-workout (what you eat during) and Post-workout (what you eat 2-3 hours after) nutrition. On the health and fitness world, there is a lot of talk about what you should have as a pre & post-workout meal.
Evidence-based research suggests that the quantities and degree of adherence to a specific nutritional program will depend on your level and intensity of exercise. Ask yourself how intense will your session be? How long will it take? A 3-hour session will require more nutrients than a 45minute session. How frequently do you train? Do you train 3,4,5 or 6 times per week? What are your goals? Change in body composition, weight loss, increase body mass or be healthier overall. What is your body type? Are you long and lean and can tolerate carbs easily but find it hard to build muscle; do you have a high tendency to store body fat and a low carbohydrate tolerance or are you muscular and athletic? How well do you tolerate carbs?
All of these questions will determine how many carbohydrates you should eat.
In addition, when you train or exercise you are going over the process of muscle breakdown. This breakdown of muscle uses your glucose storage in your blood and later, if needed, from your muscles, as energy. How you feel during a training session will depend on your glucose levels: low blood sugar means you fatigue faster and will feel “low” on energy. Constant blood sugar will translate into feeling mentally “sharp” and “tough” and with enough energy. After your workout, your body begins the process of repairing the damaged muscle. So, an important goal when training is to avoid a drop in blood sugar.
Also, stress and adrenaline will deplete your sugar stores, and the stored glucose in your muscles ( glycogen stores) will deplete too. Our body can use the stored fuel if the tank is empty, but eventually, it will need to be filled up again.
So, ideally, we replenish our glycogen storage with carbohydrates after and during a session. Not every session will require you to restock while you train because it will depend on the intensity and length. Usually having enough water is sufficient. If your training session is longer than 1,5 hours and your goal is to lose weight, it’s recommended that you take some BCAA’s (BCAAs stand for branched chain amino acids) with your water. Thus, definitely focus on restoring your carbs after a workout.
Maintaining a healthy diet is, obviously, important for your weight but it will definitely affect your performance before, during and after a training session and thus it’ll affect how your whole day develops. When your food choices are wise then you will feel energised, keen to confront anything life throws at you (absolutely crushing a tough workout). The number of carbs and protein play a key role in your performance and results.
Going back to the initial question: when is the best time to eat carbohydrate? The body handles carbs better when you’ve exercised. A post workout meal high in carbohydrates is ideal.
A rule to follow is this: A MEAL MUST INCLUDE CARBS ONLY IF YOU DESERVE THEM. If you’ve trained, you deserve your carbs. If you’ve trained even harder, then you deserve even more. However, if you haven’t exercise then you should have a low carb meal.
If you are training for regular health, keep a healthy balanced diet and consistent nutrition by including carbohydrates in MOST meals (follow the “must include carbs only if I deserve them” protocol) and protein and veggies in every meal.
On your regular day-to-day meals, go for higher-fibre, slow digesting carbohydrates: Starchy tubers, whole grains, fruit, high fibre version of pasta, bread… Some great ideas for post-workout meals are the ones that include carbs and protein. A good shake, some eggs with veggies, oatmeal are good sources of carbs with a good dose of protein. Remember, a post-workout meal should include, at least, 26% carbs or higher, protein, fibre and healthy fats.
Generally, if you’re looking to lose weight you have to implement another rule: avoid carbohydrates before going to bed. This will be the worst time to have them. As your body is a very smart machine, it will not throw away a source of energy. It will definitely store them. If all your glucose storage is full, then it will store it as fat.
TIPS to make a delicious Post workout meal:
Add protein powder to your morning oatmeal
Keep a good mix of veggies and fruits at hand
Toss away any refined carbs you have at home and replace them with a high fibre, whole wheat version. If you are gluten intolerant, look for a good source of gluten free option
Turnip and sweet potatoes are great post workouts choice. Toss them in with some turkey sausages for a great breakfast alternative
Fancy a shake? Make sure you add some peanut or almond butter, protein powder or cottage cheese, oats, flaxseed frozen berries, and veggies to turn it into a SUPER shake
Chickpeas are also a great carb alternative to have at hand for a post workout meal, cook them ahead of time and have them in a curry or as little pancakes.
If you find this all sounds overwhelming, it’s always a good idea to reach out to a certified nutrition coach or personal trainer who can help guide you to reach your goals more effectively. The future of fitness and nutrition is through online coaching. More and more people have less time to go to a gym or workout and need their time to be more efficient but still need someone to help them. At the end of the day, responsibility, discipline and consistency are what will get you results and a good coach will hold you accountable for all no matter if in person or through video.
Here are a few tips on how to choose the right program and keep the momentum going:
Imagine this: It's January, you're coming back from a wonderful ski trip in Switzerland or Japan, maybe you're coming back from home where you saw the family, or you're coming back from a wonderful trip through Southeast Asia...The fact is: you are back.
School resumes. There is a ton of laundry to be done. Vacations are over. You had the most wonderful time, completely immersed in over-eating, enjoying wonderful wine and cooking and baking with the kids. You feel happy and content with your life, but you also know that you ate too much. You may have picked up a few kilograms or feel your stomach is a little more "squishy". Ugh! You decide to go for a run but then get caught up with something at home. Run is postponed until the next day. Finally; 2 days later, you go out for that run and realise, it's way harder than it was two weeks ago... That's it. You have to do something. It's January and you're going to do a cleanse program, detox or diet. Anything to get back on track... does this sound familiar?
In reality, you don't really need to do any program if you simply enjoy the holidays without the overeating part. Detaching celebrations from too much consumption. Or, if you ate too much, ideally the next day you reset and start eating clean and begin an exercise routine - immediately. However the truth is that you keep finding an excuse to start the following week, and then the other and then without you realising it, it's February!
So, these January programs or challenges help to force yourself to begin making a wellness change; and sometimes you may discover that you can implement a healthy habit in the long run. It's important that you know that short term fixes, that promise miraculous weight losses, are not sustainable in the long run. When you decide to go for a program, make sure that you carefully read the rules and understand what it involves.
Here are FIVE simple tips to choose the right program, follow through and keep the momentum going:
1. Lifestyle Change:
The program should help you improve your nutrition or exercise habits hence improving your lifestyle. It should be more about a journey of self-discovery. While some rules are important, a good program will help you eventually tune into your bodily wisdom in the long term. Once you finish, keep applying those new habits and practice them daily.
Pay attention to how it is structured and the support you will receive: you need to understand if the program flows with who you are. Are you the kind of person who loves to follow a strict program, or you prefer to be able to know the concepts and learn to apply them? Going in alone is never easy nor necessary. A good program will provide support from a knowledgeable coach and possibly from other people who are doing it as well. Having a tribe to share their experiences makes the journey much easier. And that support will stay with you on the long run as well.
2. Eat real food:
TOP TIPS: Processed foods should be avoided as much as possible and REFINED sugars are bad for us. BUT, not all sugars are the enemy. I want to reinforce the word REFINED because everything we eat has sugar and our bodies survive thanks to glucose. It's what gives us energy and keeps us alive. However, there's a big difference from the sugars you find in veggies, potatoes, quinoa or fruits (plus the extra nutrients and micronutrients these all bring with them), than the ones in a chocolate bar or regular white sugar (which generally have no nutritional value).
Everyone is different and, although nothing is written in stone, we all know that focusing on your macros is important: protein, carbohydrates, fats.
Another important fact is the amount or portion sizes of your macros. This plays a key roll on your weight journey. Whether you want to lose fat, increase muscle mass or improve energy or performance; the quantity of each macro will vary your results. Once you finish your program, try to stick to a healthy macro intake and don't forget the importance if micronutrients as well - both will help to improve your physique and, more importantly, maintain a healthy body inside and out.
3. Get in tune with your body:
A program should help you sync with your body. Think of the program as an experiment, once you finish with it, keep experimenting. Add food groups. Remove them. See how your body responds. Track it for a week and then reassess. Our responses to certain foods change with time. Frequently, something that we didn't use to like, tastes better now or often when we take away a certain food group, we discover we have more energy and can think clearly...
Experiment. Think of the long run, practice habits that you can maintain over time, this way your weight will remain the way you want to and you will enjoy life to the fullest.
4. Take baby steps:
Jumping back on the wagon is already a big step towards change, so keep on working towards your goals one baby step at a time. Once you finish your program, it's important to have a plan, a support group, and very defined goals so that you don't waste time and your results improve with time and can last permanently.
5. Educate yourself:
Don't believe every trend you see on social media just because it's endorsed by a celebrity or because of the number of 'likes' it has. Research and educate yourself.
One of the best ways is to find a Coach that can help you with your exercise and nutrition front. Coaches are generally people who have been learning and educating for a long time. They are there because they genuinely want to help you and see you succeed. They will listen, support and guide you. You can always and should always have a good vibe when you are talking to a coach. Ask him/her for credentials, certifications and diplomas. Look at what others have to say about them. Once you start working together, trust them - they probably know a lot more than they let themselves show. A good coach will always be humble, will care for you, and will help you establish realistic, smart goals that will be achievable through a good plan.
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Hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, brain fog: Menopause can make you wonder if your body is totally cuckoo. But what many women don’t realize is that they do have some control over these symptoms. Here’s what’s going on, plus six lifestyle strategies to feel your best during menopause
Some symptoms you may or may not experience are:
Due to lower estrogen levels you will not be able to hold your urine for long periods of time. You may have to pee more often, get more bladder infections, and have trouble controlling your bladder as pelvic muscles weaken due to aging.
What can help:
Exercises from a pelvic physiotherapist to rehabilitate and prevent stress incontinence (when physical stress — such as coughing, sneezing, or laughing — causes an involuntary loss of urine)
A vaginal pessary (a removable device that you insert into the vagina that supports pelvic organs) recommended by your doctor, especially if you have uterine prolapse.
Staying hydrated, peeing after sex, and supplementing a simple, safe carbohydrate known as D-mannose dramatically reduces bladder infections
Changing hormones can lead to a lowering lean mass and your body fat increasing.
What can help:
regular and consistent exercises
And if you’re willing, hormone replacement therapy.
Hormones can affect thinking, reasoning, perception, and memory. Many women notice “brain fog” or trouble remembering things with declining hormones.
What can help:
Regular exercise (as exercise boosts brain function due to the effects of increased blood flow as well as elevated brain chemicals such as BDNF, which is involved in learning and memory)
Getting enough sleep, if possible
Breasts and nipples may become more lumpy and tender. You’re also now at a higher risk for breast cancer.
What can help:
Limiting alcohol consumption
Limiting or discontinuing use of medications that contribute to breast tenderness, like hormone replacement therapy, hormonal birth control, and some types of antidepressants
Digestion and bowel function
We tend to make less of our digestive enzymes and stomach acid as we age. Our smooth muscle tissue and intestinal absorption isn’t as peppy as it used to be.
This means you may notice changes in appetite, digestion, and bowel function. Heartburn, gas, and constipation might become your dinner companions more and more.
You may notice new food intolerances and sensitivities. Red wine?! Avocado? Really??
What can help:
Good bowel habits
“Female hormones” typically lower our risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and so on… at least, until they run out. Then, our risk of these chronic diseases becomes greater.
What can help:
Hormone replacement therapy, depending on the type of hormones prescribed, what age you start, and other risk factors (HRT also may increase risk for other diseases)
Dizziness / vertigo
Dizziness can occur with changes in how your brain regulates blood pressure (see temperature regulation below).
Women may also notice cyclical benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), a sensation of spinning or dizziness occurring when their head is in particular positions, or when lying down or turning over. While we don’t completely know why this happens, researchers think that declining estrogen weakens the protein matrix that makes up our vestibular (balance) system in our inner ear.
Dizziness can also be related to migraines.
What can help:
Staying hydrated, as changes in hydration and sodium levels can affect dizziness and vertigo
Discontinuing medications that contribute to dizziness and vertigo, such as sedatives
Two simple exercises: the Epley maneuver, or the half-somersault maneuver designed by Dr. Carol Foster, who created it to treat her own vertigo
Hair may grow more in some places (like on the face), and less in others (scalp, lower legs, armpits, pubic region).
What the heck, biology?
What can help:
Hormone replacement therapy (for hair loss)
Unwanted hair is one challenge our society has solved pretty well. To the wax mobile!
Obviously, menstrual cycles change. They may become more or less frequent, heavier or lighter, more or less painful. Sometimes, they may be astonishingly heavy, like “Hahaha, Super Plus tampon, I will take you DOWN” heavy.
While you can’t do much to affect menstrual frequency or duration, nor the eventual end of menstruation, you can often improve related symptoms, like cramps.
What can help:
Migraines / headaches
Migraines can be stunningly painful or completely painless. For example, with “aura migraines” or ocular migraines, you might see the characteristic sparkling or flashing visuals of a regular migraine without pain. These are typically harmless and resolve in about 20-30 minutes. Other times, a migraine can make you want to submit yourself to a guillotine.
Hormonal fluctuations during perimenopause and menopause can exacerbate headaches and migraines, although these seem to settle after menopause.
What can help:
Keeping a “trigger diary”, which may help you notice that certain things (such as what you eat or your stress levels) make a migraine more likely
Hormone replacement therapy or hormonal birth control (for those in perimenopause) may also affect headaches / migraines
Mood and mental health
Mental health covers a wide range of feelings, experiences, and domains, but in general, you might notice:
More depression, “blahs”, emotional flatness, trouble “getting motivated”
A sense of overwhelm or “it’s all too much”
Feeling more irritable or less able to deal with small hassles
Feeling more anxious, worried, fearful, or risk-averse
Feeling distracted and/or preoccupied, having racing thoughts
Crying or other emotional outbursts that happen more often, more unexpectedly, and/or more intensely
More mood swings, and/or stronger swings
More intense emotions, positive or negative
Everyone around you has suddenly turned into a jerk
These mood changes can be attributed to not just variation in hormone levels, but also all the other biopsychosocial shifts that happen during menopause.
For instance, you may have good reasons for those mood swings. Maybe it is all too much, and this is a signal to make some important changes in your life choices, relationships, workload, etc.
What can help:
Counseling and/or coaching
A good social support network
In consultation with your doctor, medication like antidepressants
Pain and inflammation
Progesterone and estrogen are linked to pain and inflammation.
As sex hormones decline, you may notice changes in muscle pain, arthritis, other types of joint pain, pelvic pain, or flare-ups of other chronic pain concerns.
What can help:
Limiting alcohol consumption
Prioritizing sleep and recovery
Non-pharmaceutical pain treatments, such as acupuncture, that work by “distracting” nociceptors (pain nerves)
Relaxation and mindfulness training, which has been shown to help with how we experience pain
As estrogen and progesterone decline, the vaginal and urethral epithelium (lining) thins and becomes less elastic. Additionally, lubrication decreases, so the vagina will be drier.
This means that penetration can cause burning, itching, and a feeling like sandpaper on a sunburn.
Libido fluctuates. You may feel more liberated and sexy at midlife — many women say they’re having the greatest sex of their life, because they’re so much more confident, experienced, and assertive.
Or, you may feel like you don’t want anyone touching you, and would give up sex for sleep or chocolate 100 percent of the time.
What can help:
Doctor-prescribed estrogen creams or lubricants that you can apply to the vaginal area in order to reduce chafing, dryness, and tissue thinning
For a non-hormonal option, one study showed that a vaginal gel containing hyaluronic acid (a natural compound involved in tissue repair and moisture regulation) was nearly as effective as estrogen cream at reducing symptoms of vaginal dryness
Although vaginal tissue atrophies as a result of declining estrogen, the clitoris shows no such signs of stepping down from its position of pleasure glory. Just sayin’.
You may notice your skin getting drier or oilier as hormones shift. Perhaps you’re even getting some teenage-style acne.
Protein synthesis slows, so you’ll start to wrinkle, heal slower, and have less collagen. You’ll also likely lose fat from your face, and things will start to sag (because, gravity). You may notice changes in skin pigment.
What can help:
Prioritizing recovery and sleep
Staying hydrated; not smoking; moderating sun and pollution exposure
Your dentist might start making tsk-tsk noises about gum disease, receding gums, dry mouth, and so on.
What can help:
A good oral health routine (Make your dentist happy!)
Hot flashes are one of the most puzzling and annoying experiences of menopause.
About 85 percent of North American women report having hot flashes during perimenopause and menopause, and 10-15 percent of them say these temperature changes are so severe that they interfere with daily life.
On average, hot flashes persist for 3-5 years.
Most women describe a hot flash as a feeling of extreme warmth, usually in their upper body and face and lasting a few minutes. Night sweats, as the name implies, are hot flashes that happen at night — you wake up flushed and sweaty, often enough to soak through clothes or bed sheets.
Hot flashes and night sweats seem to be triggered by a sudden dips in estrogen levels, rather than declining estrogen overall.
Body temperature can also be affected by changes in the brain’s vasomotor center, which regulates your blood vessels, making them tighter (vasoconstriction) or more open (vasodilation). However, we still don’t know exactly how the change in estrogen levels affects the vasomotor center.
What can help:
Paced breathing exercises. Try it: Breathe in from the belly while slowly counting to 5. Then, release the breath while slowly counting to 5. Practice this every day for 10-15 minutes. When a hot flash hits, start paced breathing and continue it for 5 minutes. Bonus: Paced breathing may also help lower blood pressure, decrease anxiety, and promote relaxation.
Practice these lifestyle strategies to gain control and feel better:
Exercise regularly (do something you enjoy, Exercise (moving at moderate intensity 2-4 times per week for 30-60 minutes per session) seems to help with menopausal symptoms like cramps associated with changing menstrual cycles and inflammation, though it varies from woman to woman.
Women who have lower fitness levels going into exercise sessions may be less likely to see a benefit, which has made interpreting the impact of exercise more difficult.)
Focus on quality nutrition (limiting alcohol, sodas and adding more vegetable, protein, healthy fats and complex carbs. Good nutrition can ease or even alleviate much of the discomfort of midlife physical changes, plus it’ll help you maintain a healthy body composition.)
Manage stress, Unmanaged stress can have a negative impact on your sex life, brain function, pain and inflammation, and overall disease risk — not to mention your overall quality of life.
Improve quality of sleep by creating sleeping rituals, Sleep is also a key part of recovery. If you have difficulty sleeping, here are some things to try:
See what you can do to reduce hot flashes, which can disrupt sleep.
Practice good sleep hygiene.
See a therapist who specializes in sleep. Cognitive behavioral therapy or hypnosis designed specifically for insomnia can be effective.
Try exercise like yoga, weight training, or brisk walks, which can improve chronic insomnia in perimenopausal women.
5. Staying hydrated, Limiting alcohol consumption may help reduce inflammation, as well as your risk of breast cancer and other diseases.
6. Practice self-compassion, especially when it comes to your body. At midlife, you will put on more body fat. As ovarian production of estradiol (a type of estrogen) shuts down, our body relies on our adipose (fat) tissue (along with a few other types of tissue) to produce similar hormones.
We actually need that extra bump in our rump to keep us healthy as we age.
And it turns out, there’s a “sweet spot” for our body composition.
While having enough body fat will maintain hormonal health, too much body fat increases our risk of estrogen-dependent cancers (e.g. ovarian and breast cancer) as well as other metabolic diseases.
So, it’s important for your health to be conscious of your body composition, but it’s also key to make peace with your body as it is now. Be open to stepping into new versions of yourself and new ways of relating.
Reference: Precision Nutrition, Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon, Dr. Helen Kollias, Jennifer Broxterman, MSc, RD, and Pamela Ruhland
During vacation and holidays we can include our family in some fun activities that will sure burn calories and bring everyone together… How about a nice winter hike?Read More
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Sabrina Ridaura on feeling confident, strong, healthy and happy
You have always been interested in keeping fit but when and why did you decide to turn your passion into a business?
I’ve moved a lot in my life. My husband’s work, our family, and just life has taken us all over the world. Change being a given, every new place bringing with it new friends and new schools and new homes. But one thing that has been a constant in my life (aside from my wonderful kids and amazing husband) has been training. I grew up being active. Biking, running, going to the gym, I was always moving. Always aware of what to eat, interested in the whys and the why nots, devouring this information. It was natural. It was me. But it wasn’t until we moved to a small town in the UK that I discovered that maybe this passion I had could actually be turned into a living. Sometimes we don’t think of our passions that way, or we think we could never make a living out of it, and that was me. But in that small town, everything changed. We had just moved and I discovered a small spinning studio. The people were nice, the classes were fun, and it was close to home. It would be a perfect place for me to spend some of my free time. But after a few weeks of going, one of the trainers approached me to train to get certify and become a spinning instructor. At first I balked at this, but soon, I warmed up to the idea. Why not? So I did. And it was the best decision I ever made. The satisfaction I felt of sharing everything that I loved with other people, of showing people a better way to healthy, of helping them achieve their goals. I couldn’t get enough. Needless to say, I have never turned back.
This is a very important topic for yo-yo dieters who are permanently on a diet and seem to gain weight very fast…
sprint workouts are important because they help improve your form and efficiency.Read More
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This delicious recipe will have you eating without thinking: that’s a low carb dish…ground chicken and zucchini. Yum!! We absolutely loved this recipe… it’s very easy to make too. Try it out and tell us what you think!
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Does a youth misspent lounging and lazing condemn middle-aged folks to a future of bad heart health?
Maybe not, a new, small study has found.
People in their 50s and early 60s can regain the heart health of someone decades younger through a regular and reasonable aerobic exercise program, no matter how long they've been inactive.