It's that time of year again to bundle up with extra layers of scarves … but hopefully no extra layers of skin!
Holiday parties, office treats, cold weather, family visits, and peppermint hot chocolate are all reasons why it is so important to up the workout ante this time of year and keep your game face ON.
Here are my top tips for keeping your Santa belly far far away:
1. Relax: my number one tip for any weight-loss client is to R-E-L-A-X. Whenever I was paranoid about my weight – during my rowing years – I could never lose weight. The second the scale stopped being the centre of my universe is when I started to lose weight and found peace with my body. Stop beating yourself up over a couple pounds gained, that single crouton you had in your salad isn't going to sabotage your weight loss goals. What will ruin them is freaking out over that crouton and making yourself feel better by eating the entire loaf of bread with butter! Chill out, it's the holidays they are supposed to be fun after all!
2. Liquid breakfast: in effort to counter the cheese and cracker tray I try to stay super healthy during the week. This time of year I stick with a green drink or my favourite chocolate avocado drink every morning. This starts my day right and I don't have to feel bad about having a few extra crackers on the weekends.
3. Extra run: I try to add just one more run in a week during the winter. I'll go to the treadmills downstairs in my building and run for 30 minutes while watching Ellen or listening to music. It's easy and helps offset about 500 calories of extra food and beverage, which goes a long way. Join me! Next time you complete a run on your treadmill show me with #bodsquad on instagram!
4. Water + wine: I haven't been hung-over in years and I credit it all to water. Alternating between water and alcohol helps SO much. If you're drinking make sure you have at least one glass of water between every two drinks. You will drink less and feel way better the next morning. If I am feeling a little gross the next morning I force myself to go outside and run. I hate it for the first eight minutes but after I feel a million times better.
5. Pick your favourites: at parties it is important to remember that nobody is holding a gun to your head forcing you to eat that sixth pig in a blanket. Remember we are feeding ourselves so don't feel pressure to stuff your face at every opportunity. Save yourself for the great stuff – the truffle cheese is my achilles heel but I'll pass on the cheddar cubes. Make sure you're really splurging on the exceptional and passing on the plain.
I have some fresh meat at Bod Squad this month … nothing better!!
And in the beginning most newbies come with wide eyes and hearts pumping with excitement! So cute. They've heard the workouts are fun and hard, but they really aren't totally sure what they are in for. The number one question I get from them is how should I pace myself through a workout?
Believe me it is never my goal to make someone sick after a workout. Every time it happens I do feel a little guilty, but then I get over that quickly! I personally have never thrown up after exercise, I would probably pass out before that happened but that's just how my body responds to intense pain. In Bod Squad's three year history I have lost count at how many times I've made people lose their lunches. Man, sorry guys! But I do love a hard worker.
Here's my take on the whole pace game: as a trainer I'd way rather you try and push yourself a little too hard once or twice than be someone who coasts through every workout and just sets cruise control below their potential. It is easy to default to easy in a workout. If you go so hard on round one that you can't do round two day one I'm happier than if you do 100 rounds at less than your best.
When I was rowing in high school one of our guest coaches was Olympian champion rower Marnie McBean. She talked with our team before a race one day and said something that has stuck with me ever since. She said that on a scale of 1 – 10, ten being death and one being life the highest number you will reach just with sport alone is about a four. Her point was clear to me – you're not going to kill yourself during a workout so you might as well dig deep and go.
At Bod squad it is amazing to be able to watch the progress of first timers to the now veterans in the group. What used to be the entire workout is now just the warm-up for many of them! I know working as a team they push themselves that much more at each and every workout and it is really starting to show. Pretty soon some of them are going to be training me!
So the next time you're in the gym try taking it up just one notch; bump your run speed up .5 mph, lift 5 lbs more than you normally would and see what happens. I'm convinced that we are all a little stronger than we give ourselves credit for. And there is no better feeling than surprising yourself and crushing goals. Go get em tigers!
:: Cutest couple in matching stripes! Liana and Alan ::
When I first met Alan and Liana last summer they pulled up to Bod Squad not knowing anybody or what they were really signing up for! The very first workout Alan managed to finish the warm-up before he had to sit under a tree for the remainder of the class. Liana was unable to walk for the rest of the week!
Now they are consistently blowing me away with their progress. Alan jumped up a 5 ft box last week and Liana has mastered full push-ups. They try hard every class and are so supportive of each other and everyone around them. Love this little team! It has been an honour watching them grow and I love the energy they bring to the class. Thanks for being so great guys!! I'm sure your entire class will agree this award is well deserved!!
But seriously, I get this is a question a lot and I think it's an important one to ask for sure. In my opinion, on average 80% of people working out in a gym at a given time just aren't pushing themselves hard enough. In fact, about 50% of those people would be better off taking a nap or going for a walk to the coffee shop!
I tell my clients that at least once, ideally twice a week they should workout to really push themselves and feel a burn for the next 48 hours or so. That's the ideal but there are other types of pain for sure. Here's how I like to break it down.
Back on the horse: You haven't worked out in awhile and you're just getting back into it. Obviously expect to be sore here … and look forward to it! It's fun, trust me!
Target pain: You were focusing on a certain body part and you can still feel the burn in that place the next day
Job well done pain: You're gassed from a great workout and have a little pain or shaking arms … totally normal and should disappear within 45 minutes
Old injury pain: The second you feel something resurface again it's time to take it down a notch and maybe go for more physio, chiro or a massage. Don't push an injury, that will only lead to more problems down the road.
Biomechanical error: You really should never feel your joints after a workout. The only place where the burn belongs is deep in your muscles. If you felt your joints definitely tell your trainer about that the next day – we want to know!
Acute stabbing pain: You bend one way and it sends a shooting pain down your back. Bad. Bad. Bad. See someone about that and make sure you're a-ok. If this happens you're likely slightly off with your form. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Watch wobbly knees in particular very carefully.
Over-training pain: I don't even like to mention this because honestly this applies to 1% of my clients … most people never even get close to over training! But when you're finding it particularly tough to recover from a workout and you're exhausted day after day try to take your training down a notch. Six days a week is plenty! Add in some yoga, take a Pilates class, try something new!
Novemeber has historically been the worst month for fitness commitments. It's getting colder, darker and clothes are getting bulkier. Essentially the perfect storm for erasing all of your summer progress!
:: @iza_goulart has some serious Pilates skills … no wonder she's a Victorias Secret Model + @iamnaomicampbell casually does a wheel on her yaught ::
The key to these next four months of winter is to set yourself up for sucess and commit to your routine. Supermodels never take a day off, and it shows! Fitness doesn't have to take up your entire day, actually you're better off not working out for more than an hour… keep it consistent (30-45 minutes everyday) and you will see the best results!
Here are the top five things that I do to stick with it through the winter:
1. Sign-up for a class: having an exact time and place to workout keeps me accountable and motivated. It also helps inspire class ideas. Some of my favourites (besides Bod Squad!!!) are Fuel Training Club, Track Fitness Circuit Classes and Ultimate Athletics.
2. Run inside. I am the weirdo that actually loves treadmill running. We have a treadmill in our building and I try to run for 20 – 40 minutes on it 4-5 times per week. Just put some tunes on or listen to all the crazy Rob Ford news chanels lately and I'm good to go!
3. New Outfits. Ok this one might sound shallow but it actually works! One of the key motivators to exercise is feeling good about your body. Especially if you're going to stick with an outdoor program layering will be a key success factor to your enjoyment!
4. Workout when it's light out. I like working out in the mornings even more in the winter time because by 6:50 am the sun is up and it's not so depressing. Last night I went for a run outside at 5:30 pm and it was pitch black. Kind of scary and probably not the safest.
5. Try something new. I've recently been trying to add in a lot more streching into my routine. It has been refreshing to set new goals and change up my regular routine.
And a note on diet: the food you eat will determine 90% of the winter layer you add on. That's the brutal reality but truth. Keep muching on your greens and up your water intake big time. By March break your body will thank you!