The UGLY TRUTH ABOUT THE FITNESS Industry

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The UGLY TRUTH ABOUT THE FITNESS Industry

At Perform for Life, one of our biggest and most important values is education. We believe education is essential because we want to be the best at what we do and because education is the key to changing an industry which can be so focused on business and sales. And this is the unfortunate truth - survival in the personal training industry is typically based off of a trainer’s ability to sign clients and get renewals, and not on the trainer’s ability and drive to care for clients, achieve results, and improve his or her own skill set. This does not mean to say that signing clients and getting renewals is not important, because it is, and a business can’t survive without these elements and clients can’t be reached and served if businesses and trainers can’t make a living. But the problem lies in the fact that the industry as a whole focuses on money and profit while that focus should be placed on community, service, and of course, education.

When the focus is on money and profit, and not on education or improving one’s ability to safely and efficiently get results for clients, trainers will shift their focus on to money and profit. And when this shift occurs, the industry suffers because it’s full of practitioners that are good at business, and not necessarily good at what really matters - caring for clients, achieving results, and keeping clients safe in movement. It’s really true. How often do you hear about someone getting hurt while working out with a trainer? Or about someone’s trainer not really caring? Or about someone’s trainer just caring about getting a renewal and their paycheck? How often have any of these things happened to you?

I think that, at this point in time, the personal training industry simply isn't getting the recognition that it deserves. And trainers shouldn’t be blamed, because the industry has become a setting that makes it nearly impossible to focus on education and becoming the best trainer that one can be. So what recognition does the personal training industry truly deserve?

I believe that personal trainers should be viewed as the most essential resource for physical and psychological health. Because if you think about it, how often do you see your doctor or another health practitioner? Maybe when you're already hurt or in severe condition. How often do you see your psychiatrist? Maybe once a month or even less. And how often do people typically see their personal trainers?  1-3 times a week, if not more. So the point I'm trying to make is that a personal trainer sees you more than any other health professional, and yet there's this stigma that trainers will get you hurt and not care and try to just make a sale.

So at Perform for Life, we're trying our best to do our part to change that. We understand how big a part of our clients’ lives we just might be and we understand that we can make a real, positive difference. Especially in this country where health and wellness has become secondary to the rush and priorities of our everyday lives, we understand that it's our duty to make sure that the personal training industry can live up to its potential and change health for everyone, for the better.


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Self-Reflection: The Process of Understanding How to Turn Negativity Into Positivity

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Self-Reflection: The Process of Understanding How to Turn Negativity Into Positivity

I can’t believe it’s 2017. New Year’s resolution? “Lose weight”. “Get in shape”. “Eat healthier”. We’ve heard it all. I actually just posted on Instagram the other day about my own self-reflection - on my growth as a human being. I’ve noticed that after almost 9 years of an unhealthy relationship with my body, my thoughts, and food, one thing remains the same. I still have my body. We are only given one body, so we must appreciate all that it can do. We need to celebrate the fact that our bodies can breathe, walk, run, dance, laugh, etc.

True beauty isn’t defined skin deep. When we FEEL good, we carry a sense of CONFIDENCE and SELF-ACCEPTANCE. When others can see this portrayal, we hope they can do the same. A mentor once told me that beauty is a state of mind, NOT a state of your body. What can help us feel good about ourselves is surrounding ourselves with positive people. You don’t need a negative Nancy on your shoulders whispering to you daily that you aren’t good enough. Because you are. It took me a very long time, and to be honest, I still struggle at times - to see that I am good enough. I don’t need to compare myself to others because they aren’t me and I’m not them.

I am constantly trying to improve myself so that I can keep growing as a person. Now when it gets tough, and I find myself being too hard on myself, I need to take a step back and try to be less critical. When I was competing in collegiate track and field, I had my parents tell me to look a certain way while my coaches told me something else. I was doing things for others and not myself. What good is that if I am trying to improve MYSELF? After college, I hired a nutrition coach to help me with my mental progress more than my physical progress. He reminded me that my constant goal of “to be lean and strong” was really subjective. If you compare a moderately active person with a physique competitor, sure enough, the competitor will most likely look way leaner.

It is definitely more challenging to be more objective when it comes to yourself, but the only way to keep developing and overcoming the negativity is to look at how far you’ve come. When I look back at some old photos, I feel a sense of anxiousness because “wow, I want to look like that again”. BUT would I really want to? The answer is NO, because back in those days, I was at my leanest, but I was miserable. I avoided social situations that included food - with friends or family - or would show up and just end up drinking water and chewing gum, going to bed hungry. I spent so much time obsessing about which restaurant to go to (if friends or family asked) because I HAD to make sure there was something on the menu I could eat. I found myself spending hours trying to find ONE place to eat at. Saying this makes me feel embarrassed because food should be nourishing us, and we should enjoy it. It shouldn’t make us obsessive or miserable. In addition, every time I saw a mirror, I would spend some times observing how I looked. EVEN if I saw a few different mirrors 5-10min apart. Like, my body isn’t going to change in 5-10min!! Putting myself back in those shoes makes me uncomfortable, because I remember the misery I put myself in. And I NEVER want to feel like that again. I want to feel happy and appreciative of my body and what it can do for me.

Instead of sulking in the past, first, recognize the present thoughts and feelings you are experiencing, then decide a plan of action on how you will move forward.

Let's start with 3 simple ways to help you do this.

1. Write down one thing you like about your body today

2. Write down one thing you are grateful for today

3. Smile. Change starts with the mind.

Happy Thoughts!

-C


Learn more about Coach Cheri here --> http://www.performforlifesf.com/cheri

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Are Protein Shakes Necessary Right After I Workout?

Nutrient Timing Surrounding Exercise

You may have heard that it’s best to have a protein shake as soon as possible following a workout. Many fitness articles, diet blogs, magazines, etc. recommend this strategy, claiming that it “speeds up” recovery, and maximizes “gains”. It is often suggested that the sooner you get it in, the better, in order to take advantage of that precious ‘metabolic window’. Back in my college days, I used to make my post-workout shake with hydrolyzed whey and milk prior to my workout so that I could start consuming it literally within a minute of the end of my workout. For some of us, this may sound familiar. 

While having nutrients in your body after exercise is important for facilitating recovery and maintaining a healthy figure, that post-workout protein shake is not the most important thing when it comes to nutrition to support your workouts or better health.

In fact, unless you’re an elite level athlete, or a highly-active individual who needs as much energy as you can fit into your day, you can most likely meet your nutrition needs and still lose fat or gain muscle by focusing on the basics of good nutrition:

1. Consume wholesome, nutrient dense foods

2. Portion your macronutrients (Carbohydrates, Fats, Proteins) according to your body’s unique make-up

3. Have the appropriate amount of nutrients in your body around times of high energy expenditure. This includes before, during, and after exercise, not just after. 

 

While your body will utilize the nutrients from a post-workout shake for recovery, it’s important to consider that your body is constantly rebuilding and restoring tissues. Recovery doesn't just happen within the 1 hour after your workout, or even overnight. Therefore, it is more important to ensure that you already have some nutrients ready to go by the time you exercise, finish exercising, and continue your life thereafter. 

Additionally, your body has a limit to how much protein, fats, and carbs it can metabolize for energy or building muscle. This is because digestion and metabolism takes time! There is always a minimum time-delay between when nutrients are consumed, digested and broken down into usable compounds, and then physically utilized for burning energy or tissue repair. Your body can only absorb about 60g of carbs per hour, and if you've consumed some protein as well, then that rate is even lower. The approximate rate of absorption for whey protein is about 8-10g per hour. And whey is supposed to be absorbed the fastest out of all proteins! So if you’re one of those people pounding down a large weight-gainer shake 30 minutes after your gym session, only a small portion of it is actually being used within that metabolic window. Whatever isn't utilized will be converted into fats and carbs, or removed from the body via your urine. 

A more effective approach is to eat a regular, nutritionally solid, meal 1-2 hours prior to your workout, and the same 1-2 hours following your workout. That way, by the time your body needs nutrients, your meal will have already been broken down into usable energy and muscle building compounds (also, note that since you’re eating “real food”, you’re getting very high quality nutrients!). And as your body requires nutrients in the hours thereafter, you will have those ready to go as well.

If your goal is to enter a figure competition, where cutting fat into a lower-than-normal range is your goal (yes, bodybuilders and fitness models have a bodyweight percentage that is NOT optimal for a regular healthy individual), then including an easily digestible protein shake or BCAA’s (branched-chain-amino acids) during your workout may be something to consider. Or if you’re a high level athlete, who is exercising for long bouts over 2 hours or multiple times a day, then you may also consider a shake or BCAA’s intra-exercise.

 

However, for the vast majority of us, our needs will be plenty met by following a good overall nutrition foundation. Just make sure to stay hydrated during exercise. Again:

  1. Consume wholesome, nutrient dense foods

  2. Portion your macronutrients (Carbohydrates, Fats, Proteins) according to your body’s unique make-up

  3. Have the appropriate amount of nutrients in your body around times of high energy expenditure. This includes before, during, and after exercise, not just after. 

 

By: Coach Randall


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Want to run faster? Use your Arms!

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Many think that when running, your legs perform the majority of the work and the arms make little to no contribution. However, not utilizing the arms can cause a substantial increase in energy expenditure. Runners, sprinters, and even jumpers (those with major hops) can all improve performance by using a proper arm swing. The forward and backward sway of the arms is natural, so why not let them sway! 

The stride dynamics of walking are a prime example of the way our arms are utilized. The swing of the arms during walking and running helps to create balance between the upper and lower extremities and can be vital when sprinting or jumping. The human body must be stable when running, sprinting, jumping etc.…and proper arm swing dynamics limits the degree of torso rotation, thus making locomotion more energy efficient. When running, excessive torso rotation means more energy and more effort used to run. 

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During the arm swing, your arms and shoulders should be relaxed, with little to no tension placed throughout the arms – doing so allows for a consistent and continuous rhythm. Running is an art form in which small details and adjustments in body movements are in sync and flow together, like Usain Bolt during his iconic 100m race.  

Arm swing dynamics can have a considerable effect on gait smoothness, which will reduce the workload on the legs by creating a state of dynamic balance. Though some of these mechanical changes may seem small, they will allow you to be a more successful runner overall, be it for distance or speed. 

 

 

Want to be efficient? Just swing those arms.

The Do’s and Don’ts in running

Guidelines:

  1. Swing the opposing arm and leg in sync while running.
  2. Pump the arms forward and backward in line with the direction of movement. The arms should not swing across the body and the elbows should point backwards, not outwards.
  3. Swing the arms from the shoulders, not the elbows. Keep the elbows bent and focus on driving them backward.
  4. Hold the elbows at about a 90-degree angle. Allow the elbow angle to fluctuate slightly during the arm swing, but don't stray too far from 90 degrees (70 to 120 degrees is a good range.)
  5. Have the hands pass the body at about hip height. Avoid holding the arms so high that they pass above the waist or so low that they pass below the hips.
  6. Swing the arms powerfully through a full range of motion. Distance runners' hands should move from their hip or a bit further back to their chest. When sprinting or running uphill, the hands should move from the back pocket, or a bit further back to the chin.
  7. Keep the shoulders and hands relaxed. The shoulders should be down, not tight, and the hands should be relaxed but stable, not clenched in a fist, hyper-extended, or flopping around.

Guidlines from New York Road Runners

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What to do differently this New Year

New Year, new you? Right? Every year we set goals for ourselves. Some may be goals from previous years that were not accomplished and others may be completely new and foreign. Here are some unconventional goals to set for yourself this new year:

-Put your mental health first

One thing that many of us fail to do is take care of our mental health. Our physical health is often prioritized but what we fail to  think about is how important our mental health is to leading a physically fit lifestyle. Studies have shown that mental health will lead to better productivity to foster physical health, combat stress, and overall happiness. Try meditating first thing in the morning to start your day balanced and grateful!

-Eat a big breakfast

Sometimes, sleep may seem more important than eating a large, healthy breakfast. This year, make a commitment to yourself to eat breakfast everyday! Eating breakfast is essential to healthy living and sets the tone for your entire day. Studies have shown that eating breakfast is important to maintaining a healthy body weight/diet. Remember, the period of time between dinner and breakfast is the longest your body goes without food and nutrients.

-Meal prep

Although meal prep may seem tedious and boring, it is a great way to make sure you stay on top of your diet routine. There are many ways to spice up your meals… check out these awesome freeze ahead crock pot meals that you can prepare, label, and throw in before you leave for work:

http://tiphero.com/29-freezable-crock-pot-recipes/

-Don’t determine your success by the scale

You have been working hard for months and decide to step on the scale. You see no improvement. It is important to note that you should never determine your success through the number on the scale! Instead, always measure success through inches! Muscle weighs more than fat and it can be discouraging to see that all your hard work “didn’t pay off” when you don’t see the number you were hoping for on the scale.

This New Year, make a commitment to yourself and make this YOUR year!


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Why You Should Get an Assessment Today

Ok, we are all back from our vacations and we are now caught up with life, work (at least we should be), and have all our new years goals in mind. Of course for most us one major goal is to improve our physical fitness, so where do we start? We go hard for two weeks and make fitness a priority for a short while only to get hurt, get bored, and/or lose motivation, right? WRONG! 

A few years ago I felt stuck in my career and I had all these ideas as to what I wanted to do but I did not know where to start. So, a friend of mine recommended a business coach. I decided to give it a shot by doing an assessment. The consultation and assessment helped me answer several questions about myself that allowed me to narrow down my focus so that I could begin taking the necessary steps toward creating my vision, which is Perform for Life. 

Assessment Process

1. Take 5-10 minutes to complete our confidential NEW CLIENT QUESTIONNAIRE (Intake sheet). 

2. Expect a phone call/e-mail within 24 hours to schedule your assessment.  

3. Expect a 60-90 time frame which consists of a consultation (15-20 mins of going over Intake sheet) followed by a movement assessment to evaluate your POSTURE, STRENGTH, MOBILITY, BODY AWARENESS, ETC. 

4. GET STARTED WITH YOUR RESULTS BASED FITNESS JOURNEY!

 6 reasons why you should get a professional fitness assessment

Help you identify musculoskeletal imbalances

We all have imbalances and adding strength exercises or doing repetitive cardio movements to dysfunction just makes them worse. It is important to identify them in order to regain mobility or stability in certain joints and muscles so that we can have a better foundation. Better musculoskeletal balance will help prevent injury and allow us to reach our goals faster. 

Get to know the facility to see if it’s the right fit for you

Your first impression of a facility can tell you a lot. How clean is it? How well do you connect with the professional(s)? Are they knowledgeable? Are they friendly? Before you commit to working out or training at a professional facility you should probably have some of these questions answered and the assessment process will also answer these questions for you. 

To help answer fitness and nutrition related questions

Should I work out in the morning or at night? Should I do cardio or resistance training? What should I be eating? The list of questions may vary and several of these questions can be answered by your fitness professional(s) who will help guide you in the right direction. 

To help you identify what your primary fitness goals should be

We all have too many goals in mind and we want to reach all of them in a short period of time. However, it is not realistic to achieve results in several areas or even just a few—having way too many focus points may cause stress and desperation when little to no results are seen. For example it’s not ideal to gain muscle mass and lose fat at the same time—you have to pick one and it is usually better to gain muscle mass first before losing fat. 

To get a customized program design before starting your training program

If you decide to work with a fitness professional, the assessment is critical in order to design a program with planned progressions and targets that are specifically designed to get the result(s) you are looking for. This consists of a detailed outline of all your workout days including the exercises, volume, (sets and reps) and intensity (difficulty based on other parameters). Basically speaking: the ultimate blueprint to your goals. 

To help you identify your strengths, areas to improve, likes, and dislikes

It is important for you and the professional to identify your strengths so that you can spend more time on your weaknesses. For example, if you have good shoulder range of motion, you may not want to spend too much time doing shoulder mobility exercises. The assessment process will identify areas that you need to spend more time focusing on. Another example would be if you want to get a truly stronger lower body you need to do heavy resistance training in the lower region which requires core stability as a prerequisite. During your assessment if you find that your core is unstable it is important to focus on core stability first before starting true lower body strength training. It is also important to communicate with your fitness professional what you enjoy and what you don’t enjoy in order to find a balance between the two.

* Make sure your professional has a professional certification through the NSCA, NASM, ACSM

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Be Fit for You and Your Baby

When you’re expecting, being fit isn’t and shouldn’t be something that you give up! In fact, it’s important to exercise and keep yourself moving. Experts say pregnant women who keep themselves in shape have less chronic back pain, more energy, better body-image, and an easier time giving birth and getting back to their pre-pregnant body. Being fit doesn’t mean just being fit for yourself, it means being healthy for your baby. Here are 5 easy workouts that are safe to do in every trimester:

1. Elbow side Plank

Planks are a perfect exercise for pregnant women because it is an exercise that strengthens your abdominals, lower back, and shoulders. Best of all, no equipment required! Start by getting laying on your side and put weight onto the same side forearms. Your elbow should be directly beneath your shoulder  and you should hold for 30-60 seconds.

2. Single-Arm row

Single-Arm row is a low impact, strengthening exercise which is ideal during pregnancy. To perform this exercise, a dumbbell, cable or resistance band is required. For a dumbbell row start with your left hand and left knee on the bench, making sure your wrist and knee are aligned under your shoulder and hip with a neutral spine. Row your arm past your ribcage so that your elbow is pointing to the ceiling. Lower the weight slowly and repeat for 10+ reps and for 2-3 sets on each side.


3. Walk!

Walking is an exercise that many people neglect. Walking is low impact and can easily be done anywhere, anytime! Studies prove that walking is a great stress-relief, lowers blood pressure, and is optimal for weight loss. Little changes can be made to walk more. Try walking to work or if that doesn’t fit into your schedule, get up and walk around the office or even better outside for five minutes every hour.

 

4. Single-Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Just like the Single-Arm row, a dumbbell is required for the Single-Arm Dumbbell Shoulder press. If you have an existing or previous injury to your shoulders it is best to stay away from this exercise until cleared from a health practitioner.  This is another low impact, strength building exercise that you’re able to do at any trimester of pregnancy. Stand shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Make sure your shoulder blade is positioned down and towards the opposite shoulder before press the dumbbell over your head. This will ensure you stabilize your shoulder are target the proper muscles. Do 10 reps 3x for both sides. Stand next to a wall to prevent leaning.


5. Frog Squats

Squatting is another great exercise for pregnant women because it opens the pelvic outlet. Squatting also helps prevent back pain, tone your legs, and can help tone your glutes. To squat, stand shoulder width apart with your feet externally rotated so that you feel a stretch in your inner thighs. Slowly bend your knees, with your back straight, and with your heels remaining on the floor and sit your butt straight back and down towards the floor. Make sure your knees never go over your toes! Slowly stand back up, and repeat for 10-20 reps and for 2-3 sets.

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Small Group Classes vs Big Group Classes

Why bigger isn’t always better!

When it comes to group fitness, the smaller the better! Essentially, a smaller group dynamic allows for more coaching and personalized attention while maintaining the fun, energetic atmosphere of a group. In a class of 25-30 people, it is difficult to get proper coaching from a fitness professional with a large group. Here are a few reasons why joining small fitness classes beats a big class any day!

1. Motivation/personal relationships

Sometimes it is difficult to find the motivation you need to get up and work out. It’s been a long day at work, you don’t have time… whatever it is, the possibilities and excuses are endless. When you work out with a small group, you get the motivation you need from others! You build relationships with your workout partners and coach and find yourselves working together to motivate and help each other get through that difficult last set that would have seemed impossible by yourself. Before you know it, what began as your small fitness class turns into something much deeper… friendship!

2. Results

Small groups, which are typically 10 or less participants, allow for better results. In a large group setting, trainers might generally shout out reminders. “Shoulders back!” “Chest out!” But what does this actually mean? A trainer in a small group is able to go by, modify, and correct your form. This way, you know for sure that you are properly working the targeted muscles. Also, you are less prone to injury which will keep you in the gym longer to get the results you are looking for.

3. Cost

Another added benefit of small groups is the cost. Although one-on-one training is more  beneficial. It can be difficult to manage cost for long period of time. Small group classes are a great alternative because they are affordable and you get the attention you want without having to pay full price for a 1:1 coaching session.

Small group classes are FUN and a great way to build relationships. See why small group sessions are better than big classes? We thought so! Click HERE for more information about P4L Functional Training Sessions.

 

 

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Turn Your Resolution into a Lifestyle

           Many people make new year’s resolutions to change their life during the new year in some way or another. These changes can be big or small, significant or rather insignificant. However, it is all too often that these resolutions, especially ones concerning exercise or health, are put on the backburner as one continues a busy work schedule and life in general. Though it may seem out of reach, it is possible to stick to a new year’s resolution, become healthier, and to make these changes a permanent part of your every day life.

            More often than not, a person’s job can and will take priority over their health and fitness goals. Making a new year’s resolution in this day and age is synonymous with failing to keep it. Perhaps the most common excuse for giving up on fitness-related resolutions is people’s alleged lack of time, claiming that their 9 to 5’s take up any reasonable time that they might be able to go to the gym. Lucky for you, Perform for Life is accommodated to exactly this – we are open from 6am to 10am and 5pm to 9pm on weekdays, with our earliest group class beginning at 6:10am. This allows our clients to get a sweat on before they go into work, which can make your day at work all the better, considering the fact that studies have shown exercise to improve mood, concentration, and productivity levels. Along with this, our schedule also allows for the option of coming in after a long day’s work if waking up early isn’t exactly your cup of tea. Not only this, but our location is ideal for those that work in the financial district of San Francisco – at 1825 Market, we are a straight shot into FiDi. We even have a shower, meaning that you could bring your work attire, get a workout in, shower, and be into work all before 9am.

            Another way to improve the likelihood of sticking to your fitness resolution is by getting a fitness coach. In doing so, you can lay out specific goals and have a professional construct a plan to achieve them, while also having someone to keep you motivated and accountable (to them and to yourself). Not only this, but at Perform for Life, our motto is ‘exercise, socialize, revitalize’, meaning that we aim to create a positive and supportive social environment that allows not only your coach, but also the friends that you make here who are on a similar fitness journey, to keep you on track. Having specific goals also increases the likelihood of adhering to them – it is much more feasible to work towards a goal of ‘losing 15 pounds of fat, specifically around my waist and hips while increasing stamina and energy levels’ as opposed to simply ‘getting in shape’. Remember, the key to achieving goals and goal setting in general is to have S.M.A.R.T. goals – goals that are smart, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and timely.

            Don’t be one of the many that lets themselves down and fails to keep their new year’s resolutions. Everyone has the potential achieve their goals, but not everyone has the motivation and drive to do so. Becoming a part of the P4L family is setting yourself up for success, so why not try?

 

            

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5 Tips to Stay on Track During the Holidays

The holiday season is a time for family and festive sweaters, but it can also be synonymous with weight gain as health and fitness fall to the wayside. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way – follow these tips to stay on track during the holidays:

 

1. No gym, no problem

Traveling is a common occurrence during the holiday season, and with that, being away from your local gym.  While this may impede on your usual workout routine, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up on exercise altogether. Go for a run, or form a circuit workout using bodyweight exercises. Considering the fact that bodyweight exercises require no equipment and can be done nearly everywhere, they’re ideal for instances in which you don’t have access to a gym. Make your circuit routine with two to four exercises – these can include push-ups, pull-ups, tricep dips (on a chair or ledge), squats, lunges, leg raises, and planks, to name a few. Don’t be afraid to throw in some burpees or inchworms as a full-body exercise. Cycle through your circuit as many times as you please, or change it up halfway through. If you’re trying to maximize the efficiency of your workout, a higher intensity (little to no breaks) will lead to a longer period of increased fat metabolism post-exercise. Follow the link HERE for more bodyweight exercise ideas. 

 

2. Portions, portions, portions

Along with travelling, family, and shopping, the holidays are a time for good food and better drinks. Delicious food may lend itself to large portion sizes, but it’s important to try and control the amount you consume during your family dinner. Remember that the stomach is roughly the size of a clenched fist, and portion sizes should follow this logic: serve yourself an appropriate portion at first – you can always serve yourself more after, but a large initial portion will encourage overeating. To quell the desire to gorge yourself, drinking 8-12oz of water before a meal is a good way to satiate your appetite, and eating slowly is a reliable way to prevent overeating. By doing so, you allow the brain to respond to signals released by your stomach in response to digestion and satiation. The brain can take up to 15-20 minutes to respond to these signals, so eating slowly will allow your body to realize it’s satisfied before you overeat. (Read more HERE If you do happen to find yourself with a small mountain of food on your plate, remember that it is okay if you don’t clear your plate. As far as drinks go, try to keep to a maximum of one to two drinks per hour – you’ll save on calories and a potential hangover. 

 

3. Not all holiday foods are created equal

Holiday food isn’t exactly known for being healthy, but are all of these delicious casseroles and side dishes created equally? No. As can be seen HERE, some foods are more calorically dense and rich in fat than others. As can be seen in in the article, stuffing, the dark meat of your favorite roasted bird, and mashed potatoes are some of the main culprits behind your holiday weight gain. That isn’t to say to avoid them completely, but to just consume them in moderation. Another note, make sure to get some greens and plant-based foods on your plate, as they are rich in nutrients as well as fiber to help your body digest your holiday meal. 

 

4. Fear not the vegetarian

Many people look forward to the turkey on thanksgiving or prime rib on Christmas, but animal protein is more often that not very calorically dense. Plant-based protein, such as legumes, beans, quinoa, and tofu are healthy alternatives and are very malleable, allowing them to take many forms to be used in a variety of recipes. Not only this, but plant-based foods are high in fiber and other nutrients to aid in digestion and improve overall well being. Click HERE for some plant-based recipe ideas. 

 

5. Relax!

The holidays are seen by many as the happiest time of the year, but it can also be an relatively stressful one. With shopping for loved ones and dealing with family, it can be hard to slow down and enjoy a moment of tranquility. High stress levels increase the likelihood of overeating, and high levels of the stress hormone known as cortisol can reduce protein synthesis in the muscles, leading to a degradation of the musculature. Bring yourself into the present moment to achieve some calm, and a sure-fire way to do so is by focusing on your breathing. Count to four as you breathe in through your nose, pause for one, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Intentional, slow, and deep breathing is one of the most efficient and effective ways to calm the mind and body, so feel free to try this when your mind is running rampant. 

 

To check out our older blog posts on health, nutrition, and lifestyle  CLICK HERE

 

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