5 Tips for Staying on Track with Your Fitness Goals

Committing to a fitness regime is always easier said than done. Between work, social life, and the odd unforeseen circumstance that may arise now and again, there just never seems to be enough time in a day to fit in a great workout too. Unfortunately, when it comes to your personal fitness goals – whether they are weight loss or health related, giving a half-hearted effort just won’t do. The only way to see, feel, and maintain any tangible results from your workouts is to be consistent. If consistency just isn’t your forte, here are five tips to help you stay on top of your exercise plans.

1) Eliminate the source of any excuse before it disrupts your exercise plans.

Are you too rushed in the morning to properly pack your gym bag? If so, organize it the night before. Do you think that extra cup of coffee will prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep? If you know it will, then don’t drink it. While it’s easy to rationalize skipping a workout in the heat of the moment, it’s a lot harder to make any excuses if there’s absolutely no reason to be making one fom the beginning!

2) Integrate exercise into your everyday life, and don’t treat it as an isolated task.

There’s no reason why your daily workout needs to be treated any differently than your work, the act of eating, or even sleeping. The moment you start viewing exercise as an integral part of your day, is the moment you’ll actually start to miss it if a workout is skipped. 

3) Spice up your exercise routine.

Don’t feel the need to confine your workouts to one type or place! In fact, there’s no faster way to get bored with your fitness regime than to always stick to the same activities. Incorporate a variety of physical activities into your exercise plan – a TRX class on Monday and Wednesdays, hit the gym on Tuesday and Thursdays, yoga on Fridays, and an outdoor hike on Saturdays, and suddenly, you’ll find that your routine no longer seems…well, routine.

4) Enlist the help of friends and partners to keep you accountable.

It’s a lot harder to back out of your fitness plans when another party is involved. Not only will you be letting yourself down, you also risk letting down your partner. This is exactly why signing up for classes, or hitting the gym with a friend is the best way to ensure that both of you actually follow through with the pre-scheduled workout!

5) At the end of the day, treat the idea of “staying fit and active” as a lifestyle choice.

The moment you decide to make leading a healthy and active life a priority, you’re in it for the long haul. Staying on top of your personal fitness isn’t just a short term commitment – it’s absolutely a lifestyle. Although you may still observe results from sporadic periods of consistent exercise, reaping any major health benefits require a lifelong dedication. 

 

Written by AZ

5 Sporting Events to Check Out This Spring

With March fast approaching, bringing with it the promise of spring, fairly soon, marathon season will be upon us. If you’re planning to run (or walk) for a great cause this year, or are simply looking to push your own limits, then there’s no time like the present to start your training. After all, what better motivator is there for getting back into shape, than prepping for an event that potentially hits close to home? Jot down the following dates, and get ready to start running!

  Image courtesy of Nathan Rupert

Image courtesy of Nathan Rupert

1) St. Patrick’s Day 5K (Run) – Mar 14

Proceeds from the St. Patrick’s Day 5K will be going towards the Canadian Diabetes Foundation, in support of their continued medical research, summer camps, educational, and advocacy programs.

 

2) Vancouver Sun Run – Apr 19

This is Canada’s largest 10 km run, which has been hugely successful since its inception in 1985. Proceeds from the run go towards supporting a variety of charitable causes, with some of 2015’s key charities being the BC Children’s Hospital, the BC SPCA, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, just to name a few.

 

3) BMO Vancouver Marathon – May 3

This marathon attracts numerous athletes every year, and is especially popular for its RUN4HOPE program. The program allows participants to choose the charity they wish to fundraise for/donate to, from an extensive list of charities ranging in scope from local to national.

 

4) Capital One’s Race for Kids – Jun 6

This event involves a lot more than just running! Featuring various team-oriented challenges, the Race for Kids is bound to have you feeling like a big kid again. Proceeds from the run go towards supporting the Boys and Girls Club of South Coast BC.

 

5) Walk to Fight Arthritis – Jun 7

Proceeds from the Walk to Fight Arthritis will go towards supporting the Arthritis Society’s research, educational, and personal assistance efforts.

5 Superfoods for Spring

With the weather looking up and temperatures slowly on the rise, spring is definitely in the air. Kick off the season of rebirth and new life by making a commitment to incorporating more of the following superfoods into your diet, and be well on your way to looking and feeling your absolute best.

1) Spring (Green) Garlic

  Image courtesy of Tiny Banquet Committee 

Image courtesy of Tiny Banquet Committee 

Not only is spring (green) garlic a sign of warmer days to come, it is also chock-full of allicin, a compound that helps boost the body’s immune system (albeit, is also responsible for the pungent smell). This vegetable is also a natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent, which works to fend off infections.

2) Legumes

  Image courtesy of Didi

Image courtesy of Didi

Legumes are packed full of fiber, which the body will need to expend energy breaking down, making it an ideal food to assist in your weight loss goals for spring. Since legumes are a great source of protein, they are a perfect alternative for meat products.

3) Artichokes

  Image courtesy of Matthew Robinson

Image courtesy of Matthew Robinson

Artichokes are rich in magnesium, which helps to regulate blood pressure, and also plays a role in keeping your muscle functions in peak condition. Don’t be fooled by this spiky vegetable’s daunting looksit’s packed with the most antioxidants per serving, beating out the likes of spinach!

4) Asparagus

  Image courtesy of John

Image courtesy of John

Spring is the best time of year to get your hands on fresh and delicious asparagus. This superfood is rich in vitamin K, which helps keep your bones strong, warding off osteoporosis in the process, and is also a source of immune system boosting vitamin A. Aside from being packed full of vitamins, asparagus also contains folate, which plays a part in synthesizing mood regulating neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. 

5) Radishes

  Image courtesy of Liz West

Image courtesy of Liz West

While many people opt to eat only the bulb, radish leaves are actually the most nutritious part of the vegetable, and contain tons of vitamin C, calcium, and protein. In fact, this superfood is more than just your average salad helperit contains nearly a third of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C!

 

Written by Anna Z

#WellnessWednesday: Push Past Your Limits

Whenever we're faced with a challenge in life, whether it's of the physical, emotional, or intellectual variety, it's easy to convince ourselves that we'll never be able to excel in the task at hand. For example, the very idea of trying TRX could potentially be incredibly daunting for the first-timer.  

While we're caught up in our own fear of failure, it's easy to forget that our bodies are amazingly adaptable, and are more than capable enough to take on any challenge thrown its way. In fact, the only obstacle that we need to eliminate is self doubt. 

After all, the body achieves what the mind believes, so don't be afraid to push past your limits.

4 Benefits of Weight (Resistance) Training

When it comes to creating a perfectly balanced fitness regime, weight (or resistance) training is just as important as cardiovascular exercise. While aerobic workouts will help build up your endurance and stamina, weight training also comes with a variety of health benefits too.

1) Strong muscles contribute towards injury prevention.

Strengthening your muscles can help improve your flexibility, as well as increase the body’s ability to withstand stress on a regular basis. After all, you never know when you’ll need to lift a heavy load or two, so keeping to a consistent weight training regime will have you prepared for any situation!

 

2) Weight training can help prevent the natural loss of muscle mass as you age.

As we grow older, our body’s muscle mass will naturally begin to deteriorate. With this deterioration comes the loss of strength and an increased risk of injury. Staying on top of your weight training will help prevent against the aforementioned effects, and keep you feeling healthy and strong for many years to come.

 

3) Weight training will reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

  Image courtesy of Lindsay Davidson

Image courtesy of Lindsay Davidson

One of the major benefits of weight and resistance training is the building up of bone density, which plays an essential role in preventing the onset of osteoporosis as we age.


4) Extra muscle means extra calories burned.

Although the myth that for every pound of muscle gained, an extra 50 calories will be burned is still in essence a myth, that doesn’t change the fact that you will be able to burn more calories during your exercises with a higher muscle mass.

#WellnessWednesday: Mind Over Matter

We've all heard the saying "mind over matter" before, but what exactly does that mean in True Conditioning terms? As firm believers that the body is capable of accomplishing anything, if only you set your mind to it first, we'd like to echo the age old sentiment in our own words: "the body achieves what the mind believes."

quote6

5 Ways to Get a Better Night’s Rest

There’s nothing worse than feeling lethargic at school, the office, or even during your downtime. More often than not, your productivity will take a hit as a result of how tired you feel, and it all goes back to having had a poor quality sleep. No matter how much caffeine you load up on, getting a good night’s rest is still the best way to keep you energized throughout the day.

So how exactly do you go about improving your sleep quality? Here are 5 tips to get you started:

1) Stick to a consistent sleep & wake schedule.

  Image courtesy of Simon Shek

Image courtesy of Simon Shek

Setting a bedtime and sticking to it is the best way to regulate your sleepmaking sure you wake up feeling refreshed and energized, rather than groggy and sluggish. Establishing a routine is essential in stabilizing your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, meaning you’ll be able to wake up in the morning, even without an alarm. Being consistent here is the key, so avoid the temptation to disrupt your schedule during the weekends!

 

2) Turn off your backlit devices 15 minutes before you go to sleep.

  Image courtesy of Daniel Horacio Agostini

Image courtesy of Daniel Horacio Agostini

This includes your TV, computer, and tablet. Even if you’ve turned off all the other lights in the room, the additional glow will inhibit your melatonin production (the sleep hormone), and keep your brain stimulated, all of which will prevent you from falling asleep.

 

3) Make sure your room is completely dark.

  Image courtesy of Curtis Perry

Image courtesy of Curtis Perry

Going back to the idea of turning off any backlit devices when going to bed, try and make sure your room is completely dark too. Turn off lamps, hallway lights, and draw your window blinds if necessary. The darkness will help boost your melatonin production, enabling you to fall asleep without disruptions.

 

4) Nap in the afternoon and limit your nap to a maximum of 30 minutes.

  Image courtesy of Chiot's Run

Image courtesy of Chiot's Run

If you must nap, do so in the early afternoon, and avoid napping past 4 PM. Limit your naps to 30 minutes apiece, or even adopt the 15 minute powernap habit! If you’re feeling drowsy after dinner, resist the urge to hit the bed or couch, and instead, get up and move around to avoid falling asleep prematurely.

 

5) Avoid heavy evening meals, and have at least a 2 hour gap in between eating and sleeping.

  Image courtesy of Ginny

Image courtesy of Ginny

Try and eat dinner earlier in the evening to give your body ample time to digest everything. This is especially important if you’re planning to indulge in any fatty or rich foods, which will require more energy break down. It’s more difficult to fall asleep when your body is still hard at work! 

 

Written by Anna Zhao

#WellnessWednesday: It's All About Progress

Why are we all so fixated on perfection? Doesn't the very definition of "perfection" imply that it cannot be achieved? Sure, there's always an area where we could improve, but programming our minds to look for flaws, just so we can beat ourselves down about them is anything but productive. Instead of striving for constant perfection, let "progress" be the driving force behind your actions.

progress

So what if you're not at your goal weight today? Rather than list out all the negatives of the situation, develop a plan of attack to get you closer to where you want to be, one day at a time. After all, progress isn't about being "perfect" in the moment; it's about consistently moving forward and being better than you were yesterday (mind, body, and all).

5 Tips for Portion Control

A healthy diet and smart eating habits are just as important as exercise when it comes to getting into shape and hitting personal weight loss goals. Unfortunately, we’re all prone to overeating without even noticing it. With that said, it’s still possible to kick the bad habits to the curb, and here are 5 tips to help you do so.

1)  Use Smaller Plates

  Image courtesy of Elliot Gilfix

Image courtesy of Elliot Gilfix

Ditch your oversized dishes and opt for smaller plates. Science has proven that our brain perceives the same amount of food served up on a larger plate as less than it would be perceived when served on a smaller one. While it may only be an optical illusion, that doesn’t change the fact that when our plates look more full, we’ll feel like we just had a more satisfying meal.

 

2) Eat Slower and Chew Your Food Thoroughly

  Image courtesy of kylesteed

Image courtesy of kylesteed

Not only does chewing your food trigger and help the digestive process along, it will also prevent you from hastily consuming too much. It takes time for the body to register that it’s full, so try and spend at least 20 minutes eating each meal.


3) When Snacking, Don’t Do It Out of the Bag

  Image courtesy of Robyn Lee

Image courtesy of Robyn Lee

It’s easy to overeat when you can’t visualize how much you’ve consumed. That’s exactly why it’s so easy to go from eating one chip to ten to twenty, and before you know it, half the bag is gone! Try and portion out your food, and avoid eating from the bag. If you can’t be bothered doing it yourself, there are always single-serving offerings out there!


4) Don’t Eat In Front of the TV or Computer

  Image courtesy of Al Ibrahim

Image courtesy of Al Ibrahim

When eating in front of the TV or computer, you’re all the more likely to overeat, as your brain is distracted by what’s taking place onscreen. Make it a personal challenge to eat every meal, seated at a table and away from all your distracting gadgets – you can always get back to them after you’re finished!


5) The Half-Quarter-Quarter Rule

  Image courtesy of danny O

Image courtesy of danny O

When preparing your meals, a good rule of thumb is to load up half your plate with fruits and veggies, a quarter with a lean protein (chick breast and fish are all prime choices), and the remaining quarter with a starch, preferably a complex one like quinoa or brown rice. 


Written by Anna Zhao