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Weekly Article

September 21, 2017

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Keeping cravings in check

Food cravings.... they pop up out of nowhere.... and can easily derail a good day's eating plan. Usually these food cravings are for sugary or high fat foods and can very easily derail a good day's eating. Today, let's talk about a few strategies we can utilize to help us keep them in check.

Eat regularly and eat the right foods
Having a meal or snack every 3-4 hours can really help to keep cravings in check. There are many reasons for this. The big one is that it prevents you from getting too hungry. When we let ourselves get too hungry, blood sugar plummets and we can the signal "NEED FOOD NOW!" For instance, plan to have a snack around 3 PM so that you don't arrive home from work starving and searching the cupboards for a snack. You'll also want to ensure you are eating the right foods and in the right combinations.

Check in emotionally
Often cravings show up when we are stressed, lonely, sad, or tired. If you are feeling one of these emotions, check in and see if there is an alternative way to deal. Can you go for a walk? Talk with a friend? Write in a journal? Do some yoga? Eating a food that will make you feel bad won't solve the root problem. It will only help to numb things temporarily.

Find a healthier alternative
If you're really craving a specific treat, more likely than not there is going to be a better alternative for it. For instance, if you are cravings pasta try out spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles. Tacos? Try lettuce wraps. Got a sweet tooth? Check out Buff Bakery's latest blog post here.

Decide if it's worth it
If you are really wanting to have a specific treat, decide if it's really worth it and if so, plan it into your day. You can definitely still indulge and enjoy treats occasionally. It shouldn't be an every day thing nor should it be in excess amounts. If you're wanting ice cream, pick the small cone and then ensure the rest of your day is clean and filled with proteins and veggies. Don't get the extra large ice cream and then go for pizza, followed by 6 beers, ect.

Using these tips when a cravings strikes can really help to keep your diet in check and not ruin your good eating habits. Your food should leave you feeling satisfied, full of energy, mental clarity and emotional well-being. When a cravings pops up, determine the root cause, find a healthier alternative or decide if it's really worth it!
September 14, 2017

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Let's talk about stress

Stress is a big word. Today's lifestyle is set up for a high stress life. We all have many responsibilities like work, family, house maintenance, trying to fit in some social time, getting in your workouts, ect. Today, we're going to discuss a few strategies you can utilize to help you deal more effectively with stress.

Workout...but don't overdo it
Getting in a solid workout is an amazing way to de-stress and rejuvenate the body. A solid sweat session can help to clear your mind and relieve frustrations. A feel good session should last between 40-60 minutes, combine some strength training and metabolic conditioning and leave you feeling MORE energized than when you started. Watch for overdoing exercise however which can elevate stress hormone levels. If you are working out for multiple hours a day, feel more tired than when you started or very sore then it's a good idea to scale back or add in some extra rest days. 

Stay well hydrated and well fueled
We've heard it a million times. "I was too busy to eat" or "I forgot to drink water". When your life is extra busy and stress is high, these are the times when prioritizing good, quality nutrition and hydration is even more important. Aim to get in at least half your body weight in ounces of filtered water every single day. Meal prep is key when life is busy. It doesn't have to be complicated or special. Keep it simple by grilling up some veggies and protein with a quality fat. 

Shut down your electronics
Being accessible to the world 24/7 is a major stressor. Today, you can receive a troublesome e-mail about work at any hour, have your entire life on social media or be constantly entertained. Our brains need some down time too. A good suggestion is to power down all electronics for at least 30 minutes prior to sleep. Instead of browsing the internet, read a book, do some light stretching or just hang out and talk with a family member. Let your mind detach from cyber space every single day. 

These are some quick tips to help mediate stress levels. Stay active but recover well, hydrate and nourish your body and un-plug every single day. Small things like this can have a huge impact on your stress levels and hence, your entire outlook on life!
June 15, 2017

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Smart Snacking

Snacking is one of those things that can easily throw off our diets, especially when we are extremely hungry. Mindlessly eating out of a bag can accumulate a huge amount of food intake without even realizing. Today, we are going to look at some strategies for smart snacking and how you can make your snacks actually work FOR you.

Include some protein
A great idea when it comes to snacking is to ensure that you are including some protein. Having a balanced snack that is high in protein will leave you feeling full and satisfied. Easy snack ideas are a fruit with some nuts or nut butter. Carrots & celery with hummus and cheese. Greek yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit.

Portion it out
Portion sizes can easily get way out of whack when we are mindlessly eating out of a large bag. It’s a really great idea to portion out your snacks ahead of time so that you can avoid over-doing it. Have some mini pre-portioned zip lock bags ready to go so that when you are hungry you can just grab one and know exactly how much you are consuming.

Plan for them
Plan a few snacks in your day if you know you are going to be hungry before meal time. Having a planned, well balanced snack can help you avoid over eating later in the day. Have you ever had the experience of coming home from work starving and scavenging the cupboards for anything. Having a pre planned, well balanced snack ready to go can help you to avoid those situations which would likely cause over eating.

These are some quick tips to keep your snacking smart. Include a balance of all the macro nutrients, portion it out ahead of time and plan for them! If you follow these quick tips, your snacking will be smart and you’ll continue to make amazing health and fitness gains. For more help with your nutrition check out our nutrition program here or for high protein snack ideas check out Buff Bakery here.

June 01, 2017

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Summer Fitness

We’re a few short weeks away from the beloved season of summer. It’s usually a time when things are more relaxed with your fitness and nutrition. There are many easy ways to keep things in check over the summer months. This week, we are diving into strategies for summer.

Use the BBQ for meal prep
The sun is shinning and it’s the time to be outside! Take advantage of the warmer weather and do your meal prepping outside. It’s so simple to grill your lean protein and veggies. Chicken breast, pork tenderloin, sirloin steak and salmon are all fantastic on the BBQ. Pair it with some foil packed grilled vegetables and you have your meals prepped for the entire week. All the while, catching a few rays!

Get creative when away from home
Summer can often involve more travel or time spent at camp. There are many different things you can do away from home to keep fitness up, especially when the weather is warmer. Take advantage of body weight movements when you are low on equipment. Do an AMRAP of air squats, push-ups, sit-ups and a sprint. You can also do a “for time” workout such as run a mile for time 3x and try to best your time each round. Bike, Swim, Walk, Run, Rollerblade, whatever! Do anything outdoors to increase your activity while the sun is out.

If you want to drink…
Alcohol consumption is usually higher in the summer months. If you want to have a drink, fit it into your daily nutrition program. It might mean not having starchier carbs at dinner or skipping desert. You’ll also want to set a limit to your drinks. Having way too many will create an over consumption that will make it really hard to make up for. Setting a limit to 1 or 2 can easily be adjusted in your daily nutrition. If you want to take your drinks further, add a non-caloric drink to it in order to make it last longer.

These are some quick tips to keep fitness and nutrition in check over the summer months. Staying on top of things during the summer makes fall much nicer! Putting on weight over the summer or loosing your fitness gains never feels great. Stay in your workout routine, add in the few tips we have here and you’ll be at best come September.

May 11, 2017

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Keeping Your Energy Up All Day

The mid day slump.  We’ve all experienced it.  It’s about 2 PM in the afternoon and it hits!  The fatigue sets in and we feel so tired!  This week, let’s look at what we can do to prevent the mid day slump and keep our energy levels high!
Eat a balanced lunch
The mid day slump can arise from a variety of things but one of the biggest culprits is consuming an out of balanced lunch meal.  Most often, with a lot of carbohydrates.  Having a lunch time meal with a high dose of carbohydrates will send your blood sugar soaring, followed by a quick crash and a bad case of the yawns.  One great way to prevent this from happening is to include some lean protein at lunch and healthy fats.  This can look like a variety of things.  A big salad with chicken or steak.  A veggie stir-fry with a small portion of rice or even an open faced sandwich.  The key is to ensure that you are pairing your carbs with a solid dose of protein to keep blood sugar levels at bay.
Get some movement
This is especially true for those of you who sit at a desk all day. Going for a lunch time workout is a great way to get your blood circulating and oxygen pumping.  Another benefit to moving at lunch is to open up your hips and chest.  Spending hours seated at a desk and hunched over a keyboard can create imbalances in your body.  Getting some movement in will help to correct those imbalances.  If you can’t get to the gym then sneak in a quick walk on your coffee breaks!  Even better, do both!
Avoid going caffeine crazy
If you’re feeling tired it can be tempting to want to pour yourself a cup of coffee to perk up.  However, having coffee later in the day can lead to disrupted and restless sleep.  This only feeds the cycle of feeling more tired from a less than optimal sleep.  Instead, opt for a glass of water and ensure that you are getting in half your body weight in ounces of filtered water every single day!
These are some quick tips to help you beat the mid day slump and keep your energy levels high all day long.  They are super simple and can easily be applied.  Tackle them today to keep you feeling your very best!
February 02, 2017

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Micros in Your Macros

This week we are talking micro nutrients. There has been lots of discussion over the past few weeks about macro nutrients which are the big three: carbs, proteins and fats. While getting these in the proper balance is super important, how you fill those macros makes a huge difference! Let’s check out a few these week!

Vitamins
Vitamins help with energy production, building immunity and vision just to name a few! Having lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet ensures that you are taking in a host of vitamins every day. Look for super colourful fruits and veggies to add lots. Your orange fruits and veggies like sweet potatoes, carrots, squash and cantaloupe provide lots of beta carotene. Foods like bell peppers, oranges, broccoli and berries give you a big dose of Vitamin C. Just ensuring you get multiple servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day will keep your vitamin intake high. Supplementing with a high quality multi-vitamin can also help to fill in any gaps.

Minerals
Minerals help you body to grow, recover, repair, ensure proper nerve function and build strong bones. Different foods will supply you with an abundance of minerals. Bananas, spinach and avocados are an excellent source of potassium. You’ll get calcium not only from dairy sources like milk, cheese and yogurt but broccoli and kale too! Magnesium is supplied by nuts, beans and leafy dark greens.

Why micros?
Filling your macros with micro nutrient rich food will not only help you to feel your best and build health but it also keeps us feeling full and energized! Think about how 15 jelly beans (28 grams of carbs) would make you feel vs. an extra large apple (also 28 grams of carbs). You’d be more satisfied, get some antioxidants, and increase your fibre. Feeling good is SO important!

Taking the time to fill your day with lots of micros within your macros will help you to not only achieve body composition goals but also build health, feel great and fight disease. This week, we also made over a well loved recipe to make it more micro nutrient dense. Enjoy this one below!

Sweet Potato “Nachos”
600 grams of sweet potato sliced very thin
90 grams olive oil
Salt & Pepper
90 grams of shredded cheese
Toppings as desired (chicken, veggies, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, the more veggies the better!!)

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, toss sweet potato slices with olive oil, salt and pepper until well coated. Spread them on a large pan lined with tin foil. Bake approx. 10 minutes each side or until just crispy. Top with cheese and any additional toppings you desire and bake another 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Enjoy :)

November 22, 2016

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THE 80/20 RULE

It’s very easy to get caught up in goal setting, turning over a new leaf and jumping head first into a new diet, workout program or any new habit for that matter. Typically, we try to go from 0 to 100 percent and expect complete perfectionism from ourselves. This usually lasts a few weeks, days or even hours before we are frustrated, give in just a bit and then figure we have blown it so give up completely. This week we are going to look at the 80/20 rule and how it applies to multiple aspects of health and wellness.


Exercise
Here’s a big one. Many set out to create lofty goals for themselves. For instance, someone isn’t active at all and decides they want to start coming to the gym 7 days a week and pushing very hard. That may last for about 7 days but eventually, you’ll get burnt out. There needs to be balance in your week between workouts and recovery. 5 days of intense exercise is great. In between that, you’ll want to have a complete recovery day and perhaps one active recovery day where you might for a light hike, run, walk or do some yoga. Equally important to your exercise program is your recovery program. That’s when you’re muscles will be repairing and positive changes to your body chemistry are happening.


Diet
This area seems to be the one we expect the most of ourselves from. We want perfection. In fact, this is the very thing that sets us up for failure. Expecting to never again indulge in a dessert, piece of bread or glass of wine is not realistic. We need to be able to enjoy life. Food can be very social and cultural and it’s important to still honour those aspects. While we do want to eat for health, energy and vitality, there is nothing wrong with having a planned treat in moderation. The key is to have these indulgences every so often so we don’t feel deprived. For instance, this Christmas plan to have something you love. Maybe it’s eggnog or a gingerbread cookie. You’ll find it much easier to not fall off the deep end (and eat 2 dozen in one sitting) if you know you are “allowing” yourself to have a few.


Sometimes the key to just be gentle with ourselves and realize that we are not designed to be perfect. Having unrealistic expectations will ultimately backfire and leave you feeling frustrated and discouraged with yourself. Plan to have a rest day in your training so that you are energized and ready to it it hard the following day. Plan to indulge in your favourite treat once a week so that you can spend the rest of your time enjoying clean, healthy foods. 20 percent of down time and treats in your diet will not derail your progress and in fact, might even accelerate it. It’s both good for the mind and the body!