The key to a great workout is warming up your body properly. Thorough warm ups get your body and mind ready for the workout and helps prevent injuries. Good warm ups don't need to be anything fancy, light movements that get your body warm and heart rate up is already a great start. If you know certain areas give you more trouble, specific dynamic stretching or using some aids is a smart next step. For example, walking lunges, arm circles, using light kettlebells or dumbbells, or using bands to help with range of motion or providing light resistances to simple body weight movements. Equally as important, but often forgotten, is cooling down! A proper cool down, even just 5 minutes of work, can significantly help reduce the amount of soreness that hits you when you get to work or get home. Simple cool downs can involve active recovery like a few easy minutes on the bike, or mobility work to help relax your muscles. Even a few minutes of mindful breathing with light stretching can do wonders to get your body ready for the next part of your day. Here's what our coaches have to say in creating the ultimate workout sandwich.
Coach Jayme: General warm up! Anything that gets you warm! Grab a bike or rower and get moving for about 5 minutes. Do some burpees or bear crawl and then some air squats to loosen up. Then get into some specific stretching areas for movements you’ll see that day! (Bands, lacrosse balls, kettlebells, dumbbells are a good place to start). Try to avoid static stretches; save those for your cool down!
Simply put: warm up = get yourself warm
Coach Kurtis: Warm up: bike, row, use some KB/DB's for pressing etc. Cool down: bike and stretch! Couch, pigeon, use the bands to help you get deeper into stretches, etc. All great ways!
Coach Sam: Pick one or two problem areas (for me ankle and groin) do a little bit of soft tissue work on those areas. This could be with the lacrosse ball, voodoo band, or rolling stick. Then spend some time getting your heart rate up on the bike. Then find a stretch or two that mimics the movements from the day's workout.
Coach Evelyn: Look at your workout ahead to determine how you need to prep your body. Get the body warmed up to a light sweat - try a light run outside. Follow that up by flossing the joints and working through some warm up movements that will be repeated during the workout. When you’re done the workout, grab a foam roller or lacrosse ball and work those tight muscles. End with some good stretching.
Coach Steve: My favourite warm up always involves voodoo floss. Wrap up a joint nice and tight, then, move through some range of motion. For example, I’ll wrap my hip and then do 15-20 air squats.
Coach Mickey: After spending 5-10 minutes on the bike or rower I like to do some dynamic movements like arm swings and leg swings to get started. From there I look at if anything feels extra tight or sore and will work on that area for a few minutes.
For many of us, it's not that we don't want to make better food choices, it's that we get ourselves stuck in situations where we're forced to pick the quickest and easiest option. And too often, those options aren't the most nutritious or satiating.
Meal prep doesn't need to be an entire's day ordeal. Meal prep is all about intention and setting yourself up for smooth sailing. For many of us, meal prep sounds a bit daunting and can leave you feeling more frustrated and restricted than you intended to begin with. But with the winning combination of ideas for you, it can make your work week eating habits more manageable. Take things slowly, make a plan, and don't be too hard on yourself. It's going to take some time to find the right balance for you, and that will make it all the more sustainable.
Here's what the coaches have to share this week.
Coach Steve: The second you get home from doing the groceries, start meal prepping. Mine is real easy, I just chop veggies and cook proteins for the week. During the week, when I’d like a meal I just construct something from those items that have been prepped.
Coach Sam: For 90% of you prepping your meals on Sunday is probably the best bet. But for those of you who like to keep your weekends just that, try doing your meal prep on Monday night. This will allow you to still eat well for 80% of the week. While still keeping your weekends free!
Coach Mickey: I’m a huge advocate of packing more food than you think you will need. The worst feeling is getting through your lunch kit and realizing you don’t have enough food. I love to pack extra chopped veggies and guacamole, nuts or trail mix, and some hard boiled eggs. Lunches don’t have to be complicated, but they should be delicious.
Coach Jayme: Plan ahead! Even if you're only preparing for "tomorrow's" meals, you'll feel a lot better going to sleep and waking up the next morning. When you're too busy rushing to get out the door with a million other little things, just knowing that the food you need to keep you going is already packed! I always like to pack some protein powder too when my days are long, it fills me up and I know it's good for me!
Coach Jeff: Best advice I could give is buy food that you know you love to eat , the last thing I want is to be starving and have a meal I’m not looking forward to eating. It’s all good to cook healthy food but it’s not good if it goes to waste!
Coach Kurtis: Have fun with it and definitely buy/eat the foods that you like! Also don't be afraid of a "cheat" meal here and there, just be smart with it
Coach Evelyn: Sometimes blocking off a chunk of time to meal prep is just not convenient with our day-to-day schedules. When time is an issue, meal prep does not have to be a burden. When I know I have a hefty schedule ahead of me, I throw some meat in the crock pot one day (chicken, roast, pork loin) and portion it out when it's ready and the next day I may chop my vegetables and roast them "en masse" in the oven with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Oven baked sweet potatoes are also super easy to prep. Presto, a week's meals ready to go. A little tip: 3lbs of raw meat equals 2lbs of cooked meat which amounts to roughly 8 portions and therefore 8 meals.
Coach Sara: One of the biggest complaints I hear about eating clean is that it can be bland and tasteless. Alongside what Jeff said.. If you don’t like what you’ve made, you won’t eat it. If this is you, look into different types of spices and herbs. This can make a huge difference for a restless palate. Curry, smoked paprika, ginger, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, basil, mint, dill, keep things far from getting boring. Mix it up... no pun intended. Ha
Coach Mark: Donuts get stale within 24-48 hours. Consider making time to buy fresh ones as part of your daily routine #winthemorning (Kidding.)
I don't have much to add here: For me it's finding a few things that you like and get good at making them and making them quickly (refine the flavours and technique through trial and error). Don't think you need to have a million recipes. Just a few good one's will suffice.
Meals on the go... If you have failed to plan and need to eat out, it's worth spending the money on yourself to get 'real food' if it's an option. Your gut with thank you afterwards.
Taking time off from the gym is a natural part of every person's life, but how do you get back on track after being away? Here are some great tips from our Coaches on getting motivated and back into a routine after time away.
Coach Jayme: Sometimes falling out of a healthy routine is tough to dive right back into the way you maybe left it. It can feel deflating looking back on "what used to be" before you fell off track. This is okay! You'll get back on track if you start off by setting small goals to work your way back into your old routine! Set maybe 1 or 2 achievable goals you know you can manage (ex: attending 3 classes a week and making sure you're not having refined sugars in your diet). Once you've nailed the smaller goals, then start adding the "extra" (ex: maybe adding a 4th or 5th session into your week's workouts, staying late after class to work on weaknesses or refining even further a healthier diet that you used to be on). I find it most helpful to getting back on track when I make plans with friends! See what class a friend is taking and sign-up for the same one and tell them your goals to help keep you accountable and to regain the motivation you need to getting yourself back on track.
Coach Sam: My advice, make yourself the small, simple, achievable goal of just getting back to the gym once. That's it! Don't worry about the daunting process of "getting back into shape". Make it here once, great you've achieved your goal, now just rinse and repeat. The mind handles small goals better. Just make the goal to get back into the gym once, we can go from there.
Coach Steve: Lately, I’ve kinda been notorious for taking unwanted extended breaks. Keep it simple, come to class, recover, repeat. You’re not any less fit, you’re just not used to the discomfort that comes with exercise. Reach out to the people who you used to train with, they’ll keep you accountable. Last, just try to enjoy your self.
Coach Jeff: Taking time off to enjoy yourself is something everyone should do. As soon as you're back, get back to the routine, don’t worry about waiting for Monday or feeling like you need to get back to your regular work and eating schedule, just showing up will make you feel great and no need to worry about losing fitness... a few classes to catch up and you’ll be right back to where you left off!