Author Archives: Laura Turold

Move more, feel better

The more we move, the better we feel – moving not only contributes to better physical health, but also a healthy mind and soul.  As we’ve heard in recent news, sitting is the new smoking – 86% of full time American workers surveyed spend their day sitting and when they do get up, 56% use getting food as the excuse to do so.  Finding and capitalizing on ‘active’ opportunities is key to bucking this trend but often we convince ourselves that if we don’t have at least X minutes, it’s not worth doing.  When it comes to activity this is not the case – 10 body weight squats every hour, a brisk walk around the office a couple of times, taking the stairs . . .it all adds up and makes for a good start.  Take note of how you feel and how much easier it is to focus once you start moving more frequently and do so consistently.  

Most people find that as they begin to engage in activity, they are more motivated to find time to be active. The next hurdles they encounter are 1) what to do? And 2) staying consistent.  In terms of what to do, FITs movement recommendations, included below can help as a guide to scheduling an active week with optimal exercise stimulus to aid you in achieving your goals:

Phase 1: Get Moving

6-7 days a week of low level activity

Walking, taking the stairs at work, playing with kids, gardening, youtube yoga session, etc.

Frequency: every day

Duration: 10-60 minutes

Intensity: Low

Phase 2: Keep moving, Add exercise

2-3 days a week of strength and/or power training

Ground based, multi-joint and large muscle group centric exercises which focus of full range of motion and connective tissue hypertrophy prior to adding load

Frequency: 2-3x

Duration: 20-60 minutes

Intensity: Moderate to high

Phase 3: Keep moving and exercising, Add intensity

2-3 days a week of metabolic training (intervals)

Frequency: 2-3x

Duration: 5-20 minutes

Intensity: Moderate to high

I have listed these in phases that build upon each other but if you are keen, they can also be introduced all at the same time.  If you are already doing phase 2 but not phase 1 or 3, try adding one or both and see how much better you feel for doing so.

Once you have committed to your movement plan, schedule it into your day rather than just expecting it to happen because you wanted it to happen.  Set a timer at your desk that goes off every 50 minutes, block 20 minutes out on your schedule for a walk, set your alarm 30 minutes earlier to fit in a youtube yoga session . . .simply put, if it is not on your calendar, it is not going to happen.  

Bear in mind, forming a habit is a daily task. In order to keep yourself motivated when days get tough, here are a few things to think about:

•Ask yourself: “How will I feel if I do this?” “How will I feel if I don’t do this?”

•Think of the long term.. Think about how your life will be different or how differently you will feel a year from now

•Consider who is looking up to you as an example or role model and ask yourself if you are living the role you would most like them to model

•Not every day is going to be a great day but knowing you have taken one step more towards your goal, you have automatically WON that day

Life is busy and too often taking care of ourselves becomes one more task on an ever growing list.  It is easy to forget how much better we feel and how much easier life is when we refill our proverbial tank.  Start small – 10 minutes today is 10 mins more than you gave yourself yesterday.  Build on your successes.  Keep at it.  When you are ready for more, look to the movement guidelines to figure out what you might be ready to add.  Before you know it, you will have ‘quit’ the sedentary lifestyle just as a smoker quits smoking and you will feel the difference.

Resources:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonselk/2013/04/15/habit-formation-the-21-day-myth/#4ac3eed56fedhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3527832/

Click to access SurveyIndexReport.pdf

Travel Tips Part 1

Hello fellow travelers! Traveling around the world, across the country or to a nearby city on business can be a long and hard journey for most of us. With this blog series you will learn how to travel wiser and healthier. For part 1 of Travel Tips you will learn some basic tips to follow when traveling.

You can minimize the impact of this time away from home on your health with these travel tips:

• Bring your own snacks/food for the hotel and plane. Plane food can become expensive and be loaded with sodium. Protein bars, trail mix and Emergen-C are a few essentials when traveling. Try eating a whole balanced meal including lean protein, whole grains and vegetables before take off to minimize eating during travel.

• Boost circulation in your legs by getting up and walking down the aisles every hour. Try performing a few lunges or squats for extra circulation.

• Drink a lot of water! Avoid soda, caffeine and alcohol as these can dehydrate you.

• 2-3 days prior to flight, adjust your sleep schedule by an hour or so to best suit where you are traveling.

• Schedule your flight in the evening if possible so you can head to the hotel and get some good quality shut eye.

While on a layover, it is best to do some exercises/stretching to keep your blood flowing and your body happy. Movements such as body weight squats, hamstring/quadricep stretches, lunges and push ups. When you are traveling internationally, it becomes more important to minimize your length of sitting. If you have time, walk through a few shops, freshen up in the bathroom or stimulate your brain by playing some Sudoku (standing up of course). Stay tuned for the series of Travel Tips and learn how to biohack your hotel room, eat smart while traveling, and maintain fitness. Comment below with your best travel tips!

How the trainers eat VOL 7

img_6362

 

Hi there. Back at it again on how we eat. Nutrition varies from person to person even though we all, all us trainers that is, have similar goals in mind – boost performance, optimize health. Here are the collective responses to what we normally eat, where we shop, and how we prepare our food.

 

Day-to-day food intake

 

Breakfast: eggs, protein smoothie, bananas, avocados, veggies, protein bars, nut and seed granola

 

Snacks: almond butter, peanut butter, boiled eggs, water, nuts, fruit, jerky, protein bars, raw veggies (crudite), strawberries, olives

 

Lunch: leftovers, eggs, avocados, sauteed/roasted veggies, turkey, chicken, smoked salmon, canned fish, salad

 

Dinner: Salads, sweet potatoes, vegetables, chicken, fish, spaghetti squash with meat sauce, steak and baked potato with grass fed butter

 

See a trend here? Quality protein, carbohydrates and fat at every meal. 😉

 

In addition to local groceries and farmers markets, for convenience and often to save money, we love to shop for these amazing foods and pantry staples at:

 

Thrive Market

Good Eggs

Butcher Box

Real Good Fish

Instacart

Eating with the Seasons

 

What you can find in our carts are:

Spinach, kale, salad greens, chicken, eggs, sweet potatoes, fruit, quality animal proteins, a lot of fresh produce and coffee.

 

Food prepping is what some call the key to success in eating right. Some of us prep all of our meals ahead of time. For those who prep for the week says it takes about 1-3 hours. Cooking meat, veggies, and carbohydrates ahead of time makes it easier to pack healthy meals for the week so you are not scrambling when you are hungry. This can be done by using the same protein but for different types of meals. Example: Chicken. You can use chicken as your main part of your meal, or you can chop it up for a salad or put it in your favorite soup. Also, you can double the protein you make and freeze the rest so that it will be already prepared towards the end of the week. Having variety in meals will prevent you from getting bored with what you eat. Explore with different sides and proteins.  

 

Dining out:  Dining out is a whole other ball of wax that we will discuss in a future post, but in the meantime, here are some tips for you to consider when planning to eat out:

 

•First, when possible, select restaurants that facilitate eating the way you intend.

 

•Plan your meal based on what will make you feel the best

 

•In terms of indulgences- be intentional ie. ‘I’m going to have a piece of bread because it is fresh, warm and smells delicious AND I’m going to savor and enjoy every bite without a trace of guilt because I don’t have this very often.’  Same with dessert.  To that end, try to overcome any feelings of scarcity (I have to eat every bite because who knows when I will have this again) by replacing with mindfulness and thorough enjoyment until it’s no longer offering the same satisfaction – very often this will occur long before the serving has been completed.  Remember the occasional indulgence is fine and should be enjoyed, it’s overindulgence in terms of quantity and/or frequency that gets us off track.

 

Have other tips or strategies that have helped you be successful?  Please share in the comments below!
If you found these practical tips helpful and would like to discuss your personal nutrition goals or challenges in more detail, FiT offers 1 on 1 nutrition consultations.  Contact the front desk for more information.

Trainer Interview with Hien Ho

IMG_6199This week we will interview Hien Ho (soon to be Gordon!). Hien achieved her B.S. in Nutritional Science and has a double Masters Degree in Health care Administration and Business. She is an avid runner and one of our awesome CrossFit coaches. Learn more about Hien’s day to day below!

 

LT: Health is…

HH: Balance in my opinion. There is no one word to define Health as there are many different components of health.

 

LT: How long have you worked at F.I.T?

HH: Since the beginning of 2015

 

LT: What is your favorite workout style/movement?

HH: I don’t have a particular favorite workout style. I like to keep my workouts constantly changing. I enjoy CrossFit style workouts, basic strength movements, and running (sprints and distance).

 

LT: What is your favorite meal to cook?

HH: I never get around to making Vietnamese food but definitely my favorite to make. Simple fresh ingredients with spice! 🙂

 

LT: What do you do with your down time?

HH: I am a big napper, during the week I nap between my shifts. On the weekends, hanging out with friends and family, relaxing by the pool with a good book/magazine, and trying new restaurants and foods.

 

LT: What is your motivation to be the best you can be?

HH: Simply live each day as it is your last. If you were to die, would you be able to say you did everything you wanted to do and be the best person to yourself and others.

 

LT: What are you fitness accomplishments?

HH: I have completed multiple marathons, half marathons, 10ks, and 5ks. I have so many bibs and metals that I don’t know what to do with them. In the last few years, I have competed in about a dozen or so CrossFit competitions as well. I also did a weight loss challenge back in 2008 where I lost 35lbs in 18 weeks. It was a good jumpstart for me to become a healthier version of myself, which lead me into the fitness industry and where I am today.

 

LT: How do you prepare for the week?

HH: Mentally I need to be rested and rejuvenated to be able to prepare myself for the week. I try to prep the majority of my meals for the week and make sure I get quality time with my friends, family, and my fiancé. 🙂

 

LT: What does your normal day of food intake look like?

HH: It varies from day to day. It also depends if I prep during the week. If I get to sleep in, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. It will consist of something egg-related, veggies, and of course Bacon!

 

LT: What is your favorite workout gear?

HH: I don’t have a favorite workout gear. Despite my many pairs of shoes, I try to live very minimally and simple.

 

LT: What is your daily routine?

HH: My wake up times/workout times vary from my work schedule. When I get home from work, I like eating at the dinner table and relaxing. I am an early sleeper so my down time before bed usually consist of 45 mins of eating/relaxing/bedtime routine.

 

LT: What do you do on the weekends?

HH: I like being outside — on the weekends, I try get things done that I couldn’t finish during the week. Lately, my weekends consist of wedding planning and traveling!

Help your mobility by doing this one thing daily.

 

Sitting has become one of the things we do most in the day. Wake up, sit for breakfast, drive in the car to work to then sit in your office for hours upon end, to then go to lunch, dinner then lay down for sleep. Excessive sitting is linked to negative metabolic and cardiovascular effects. It can also weaken and tighten muscles in our lower region.

 

Let’s begin with some anatomy. Our hip region is the prime mover for power and locomotion. Sitting places our hip flexors in a shortened/tightened position while our hip extensors are being lengthened or weakened. If we stay immobile, and do nothing to counter the negative effects, physical health and ability can be detrimentally impacted.  A simple squat self assessment can be used to evaluate the effects of prolonged sitting – if you are unable to squat with a full range of motion with good form or unable to do so without discomfort then implementing some of these stretches and exercises can help. 

 

how-to-do-squats-chris-salvatore

 

 

Stretches for tight hip flexors: couch stretch, long lunge

Glute strength: glute bridges, squats

Thoracic spine: balance pushing and pulling movements (bench, push ups, rows etc.)

 

Standing workstations:

Many companies are starting to shift to standing work desks. This can be a great way to break up all of the sitting in your day. If you cannot have a standing work station, try to position your computer monitor facing slightly higher than eye level helping keep head tilted up and body in a good position. When we sit at a computer our shoulders tend to slump, resulting in protracted scapulae and unstable shoulder joints and tight pecs in addition to the lower body issues that arise.

 

Tips:

Use the 55:5 rule. For every 55 minutes on the hour, take 5 minute to get up, walk around the office, maybe do some squats, stretches, check in on your water intake.  A timer on your watch or phone can serve as a great reminder tool for you to get up and get moving.  There are also apps like TimeOut that can be useful in ensuring you take a break!  During your 5 minute break walk around the office, go up a flight of stairs, march in place  – just do something other than sit.

 

Build at least 30 minutes of moderate activity a day (re: brisk walk) – this can be broken up into 5 minute bouts throughout the day – ie. employing the 55:5 rule 6 times throughout the day.  Keep in mind, this is not an exercise recommendation as that is something entirely different; this is a suggestion for staving off the negative effects of prolonged sitting.
In terms of position, try to sit tall with your bum behind you. Rolling your shoulder up and back then down with a relaxed upright torso.  Keeping your posture in check will also help reduce tension in the neck and shoulders that is commonly felt after a day at the office.

Recovery is Key to Improving Fitness and Health: the secret to performing at your highest level

3,2,1..GO! You start your workout feeling good but suddenly realize that you haven’t recovered from your workout 3 days ago..legs still feel really sore from the squats, starting to feel sluggish and that kettlebell weight you used last week with ease is feeling like 1,000 pounds..fatigue has set in. Fatigue is caused by a lack of balance between exposure to stress and recovery.  When planning your workouts, strategizing your recovery efforts or just generally thinking about your daily habits, here are some things to consider:

 

Stress:
When it comes to your hormones, stress is stress – your hormones do not differentiate between good stress (exercise) and not-so-good stress (mental).  Depending on the duration and intensity of your workout, the body releases variable amounts of these stress hormones, like cortisol, as well as feel good hormones.  Endorphins, the feel good hormones, help offset the negative effects the hormones released as a result of your autonomic nervous system being simulated, enhance your mood and put a spring in your step.  Chronically working out at too high of an intensity, for too long of a duration or both leads to diminishing returns in performance, as well as overall health and wellbeing unless recovery is effectively managed.

 

Nutrition:
Calories are the fuel to your body and one of the most important factors in recovery. If you provide your body with proper fuel, you will be better able to build muscle and recover from workouts. When your body doesn’t have enough fuel, your body may become more susceptible to fat retention and muscle loss. With inadequate nutrition, your body will simply run out of the ‘gas’ it needs to fuel both your workouts and your recovery.  

 

Sleep:
Sleep plays a vital role in almost everything we do. Our brains process and learn, our muscles recover and our hormones reset. Habitually getting less than the optimal 7-10 hours of sleep and/or not getting quality sleep disrupt the body’s natural restorative processes thereby contributing to a lack of recovery.

 

Alcohol:
While you alcohol is enjoyed by many because it tastes good, feels good, and seems to combat emotional and mental stress, if you are having issues with fatigue or recovery, alcohol may be partially to blame. Alcohol impairs sleep quality which, in turn, impairs recovery of your muscles and disrupts all the restorative process that quality sleep stimulates. Alcohol can also stall the absorption of nutrients, is very dehydrating and if consumed post workout, can reduce the rate of protein synthesis by 40%.

 

Knowing the impact of stress, nutrition, sleep, and alcohol have on recovery can help you avoid cycles of overtraining or under recovering as well as provide some variables to play around with when you are looking to enhance your performance.  Do keep in mind:

 

•  The impact of external stress is determined by how intense the stress is for you in your current condition meaning the less prepared (recovered or conditioned) the body is for the workout, the more significant the stress will be.  

•  People recover at different rates.  Two individuals performing the same workout will recover at different rates with recovery being determined by a variety of factors.

•  You cannot expect to improve your fitness level and maintain good health without addressing factors that influence your recovery.

 

Managing your recovery effectively enables a phenomenon called supercompensation which is where the greatest performance gains can be made.

supercompensation

 

All this to say, through curiosity and experimentation, you may unlock untapped potential.  Here are some ideas to consider trying to optimize recovery:

 

1. Track your sleep – beddit, sense, Oura Ring . . . there are many options out there.  These are 3 that we have tried with our favorite being the oura ring for the additional data that it provides but all 3 offer quantitative and qualitative feedback that you can act upon.

2Measure and track – Basic Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is the change in time between successive heartbeats (also called inter-beat intervals, R-R intervals, N-N intervals, etc.). Unlike Heart Rate (HR) that averages the number of heartbeats per minute, HRV looks much closer at the small fluctuations of the heart that occur in response to internal and external events.  HRV is a direct link to your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) and can therefore be used to gain insights into your nervous system, stress and recovery activity.  Elite HRV (iOS, Android) using a bluetooth heart rate strap or  Oura Ring  are super user friendly tools enabling you to easily and efficiently measure HRV.  Keep in mind that you are looking to gauge trends rather than attending to one measurement at a time so you need to track consistently for a period of time – a month is a good place to start.

3Increase magnesium intake through soaks, spray. supplements or nutritionally.

4. Incorporate a contrast shower (hot/cold) or a cold bath into your weekly routine.

 

YOU are the best test subject for yourself. Always be trying different mini experiments on yourself to see what works best for you. Everyone will be different in how they react to certain experiments. Become the expert of your own body.  What are some things you have tried in the past that improved your recovery?  What are you going to experiment with to see how much your performance benefits?