Whether you’re just getting started on your fitness journey or a dedicated gym rat, these tips will help you make each workout more effective, efficient and add challenging elements into your routine.
Fueling Your Body
Properly fueling your body is important for your performance in the gym. Avoid eating a large meal before working out and don’t go to the gym on an empty stomach. If you’re low on energy before a workout, eat a small, easily digestible whole-food snack for energy, such as an apple.
Strength training burns calories and breaks down your muscles. Eating within an hour after working out will help you burn more calories and repair the muscles you just worked out. A moderate portion of protein and healthy carbs will replenish your body’s glycogen.
Don’t forget to drink water before, during, and after your workout. Staying hydrated is critical to successful fueling and getting the most out of each workout.
Plan Every Workout
Having a plan helps you avoid wasting valuable time and keeps your heart rate up because you won’t be standing around, wondering what to do next. If you don’t have a workout memorized, write exercises on index cards or make notes in your phone.
Before you begin working out, determine what you’d like to achieve. Maybe it’s to get a good sweat in after a busy day or you’re working toward a specific goal. Whatever it is, go in with clear intensions.
Maximize your Time
Long rest periods can lead to boredom and a lower heart rate. Give yourself 30-60 seconds between exercises so you have enough time to catch your breath without sacrificing your elevated heart rate. If the space or equipment that you planned to use is occupied, do some quick cardio moves such as high-knees or quick feet while you wait. This keeps your heart rate up and ensures you’re maximizing your time.
Make It Short and Sweet
Most of us don’t have time to spend two hours at the gym. Luckily, we can get great results in a short amount of time by doing high-intensity intervals. They also burn fat faster than working out at a slower pace. Try doing supersets. They combine the benefit of cardio with your strength-training routine. Supersets are two types of moves, either working the same or opposite muscle groups. Do each set for your normal amount of reps and rest for a minute between each superset.
Stretching not only relieves sore muscles, but it also increases flexibility, which helps prevent injuries. When you’re stuck at a desk all day, it can be tough to find time to stretch. Luckily, there are some easier stretches you can do daily at your desk.
Straighten your legs, fold forward at the hips and reach your fingertips toward the ground. This is a great stretch for your hamstrings. The goal is to be able to touch the ground. If you’re not very flexible, reach your fingertips as close to the ground as possible. As you keep doing this stretch, your fingertips will get closer and closer to the ground.
Stand with your feet together, raise your left hand overhead and keep your right hand at your side. Make sure your hips are square and don’t tilt forward or backward as you bend to the left and slide your right hand as far as you can down your thigh. Ideally, your fingertips will reach the outside of your knee. Hold for 15-30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. This stretches muscles along each side of your body.
Place one hand under your elbow and make sure the arm you are holding is straight. Then stretch your straightened arm across your chest but don’t rotate your body. Keep your body square and you’ll feel this stretch in the back of your shoulder. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat to the other arm.
Hands Over Head
Sitting in a desk chair, clasp your hands together and raise them above your head. Stretch your hands upward toward the ceiling and raise them as high as they will go. Make sure to keep your body square and hold for 15-30 seconds. This is a good stretch for your back.
Assisted Chest Stretch
Stand close to a window frame or corner of a wall. Hold the edge of either with one hand at shoulder height and rotate away. Keep feet hip width apart and engage your core. This will open up the front of your chest, which stretches pectorals, shoulders, and upper back. If you feel your pectorals are very tight, this could be due to sitting in a hunched position so focus on keeping your shoulders pushed down and back throughout the day. This will help with better posture. Repeat on the other side.
4 cups cooked wild rice (or wild rice blend)
1 cup cooked and shredded turkey
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 ½ cups cooked butternut squash
¾ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup sliced almonds (optional)
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until combined.
- Pour casserole mixture into a large baking dish and cook uncovered for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
With the holidays upon us, it can be hard to eat healthy and stay on track with your health and fitness goals. We’ve got some great tips to help you avoid the food coma, and still enjoy a delicious meal and time with loved ones!
- Skip the turkey skin: As soon as you put some turkey on your plate, cut off the skin. Although it tastes good, the skin is high in fat - and not the good kind.
- Eat a hearty breakfast: Avoid fasting to “save your appetite” as this can lead to overeating. Be sure to eat a good breakfast, hearty lunch, and a few snacks throughout the day. If you show up to your Thanksgiving meal starving, your body will have a hard time digesting all the food.
- Fill your plate with veggies: Aim to fill two-thirds of your plate with a variety of vegetables. This will help you from consuming too much mashed potatoes and gravy or other less healthy options.
- Drink plenty of water: Often, our mind will interpret thirst as hunger so it is important to stay hydrated before and after your meal! Water will help keep your stomach feeling full and prevent overeating, as well as save you the calories from soft drinks or alcohol.
- Limit your sweets: We’re not suggesting to leave the pumpkin and apple pies untouched, but try to limit yourself to just one serving so that you don’t overeat!
- Leave the table: Once everyone is finished, try to have the group move to another room to chat. Sitting around the table for hours can tempt you to continue snacking without even realizing it!
- Sneak in some exercise: Take a morning or post-meal walk, or put together a fun game of backyard football. If you’re up to it, many towns put on turkey trots the morning of Thanksgiving, ranging from one-mile to 10k’s. Getting in a good workout can help you avoid any feelings of guilt after indulging in a hearty meal!
- Get back on track: Even if you do overindulge a bit, don’t let it take away from your goals! Schedule a workout with some friends for the next morning, and start the day after with a nutritional breakfast!
- Be a conversationalist: Sit by someone you haven’t seen in a while so you can converse and break up your meal. Instead of focusing on your next helping, you’ll be focused on good conversation and the holiday feelings!
- Enjoy: At the end of the day, Thanksgiving is meant to be enjoyed with loved ones. Don’t stress too much, and enjoy good food with good company! After all, it only comes around once a year!
- 1 acorn squash, halved and cut into thin strips
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 4-6 cups mixed greens
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons full fat coconut milk
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- In a small bowl, mix together the butter and honey. Place hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse quickly three times. Pour hazelnuts into melted honey butter bowl and mix until combined.
- Place acorn squash on a baking sheet and coat evenly with honey butter and hazelnuts. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until squash is fork tender.
- While squash is baking, whisk all of the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Divide mixed greens between plates and top with honey-roasted acorn squash, hazelnuts and balsamic dressing.
Keeping healthy snacks close by at the office is important to keep your energy and blood sugar stable through long afternoons. Plus, they will help you avoid unhealthy choices in the breakroom when hunger hits. Aim for snacks that are under 200 calories and contain plenty of protein and fiber to keep you fueled until your next meal. We’ve put together healthy snacks that you can keep within arm’s reach- no refrigeration required!
1. Dark Chocolate
Aim for chocolate that is at least 72% dark. Dark chocolate has a variety of health benefits, including boosting your mood and lowering blood pressure. To avoid having too much, limit yourself to just a square when a craving hits.
2. Almond/Nut Butter
Almond butter is packed with protein and can even be found in individual packets, such as Justin’s nut butter. Combine with an apple or mini rice cake for a great and filling snack!
3. Turkey Jerky
Turkey jerky is loaded with protein and is very filling. Our favorite is Krave Basil Citrus. It’s all natural, and gluten-free!
Almonds make for a great snack to keep at your desk. They are high in fiber, crunch, and protein to leave you feeling satisfied. Pistachios also make for a great snack and can result in a lower portion size because of the energy it takes to eat them!
5. Dried Fruit
Look for products where the only ingredient is fruit to avoid extra sugar. Dried fruit makes for an excellent snack, especially when you’re on the move. Dried apricots, raisins, and cherries are some of our favorites!
6. Instant Oatmeal
A plain packet of oats makes for a filling snack, coming in at only 100 calories! Add in some fruit or nuts for a flavor-filled treat!
You can get healthy bagged popcorn at the grocery store; avoid super sweet caramel and kettle corns. Popcorn makes a good snack because it’s a whole grain and also provides your body with fiber.
8. Trail Mix
Keep this in single serve packets to avoid over-indulging. For the healthiest option, try a homemade trail mix!
9. Fresh Fruit
Apples, oranges, kiwis, bananas, or pears all make for a great option that can be kept out on your desk.
10. Tuna Pouches
Tuna is filled with protein and healthy omega 3’s. Try to find water-packed tuna with 300 mg of sodium or less. Spread on some whole wheat crackers for a healthy and tasty snack!