How-to: Get Your Back Back After Baby

Hey new moms (and not-so-new moms)!  How is January treating YOU?  Are you considering joining the crowd of “resolutionists” and getting back to fitness after newborn bliss?  That’s awesome!  Strange as it might sound to a brain addled by sleep-deprivation, getting some regular physical activity into (or back into) your routine can actually improve your energy levels and enhance your sleep quality – two very important considerations when you have a tiny human to take care of!

This week I’m going to explore my top five tips for taking on fitness safely and effectively, so that you can look forward to your new #mombod and being #momstrong.  I’ll make it a quick read, too, because I know you’ve got a lot on the go these days.

To make it even faster to take in this material, you could also watch this week’s Instagram series or read the Facebook posts on my post-partum approach.

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Five Essential Elements of Efficient and Effective Program Design

Okay ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…we’re at the mid-way point of January (what?  Already?!).  How are the workouts coming along?  Last week I talked about key exercises to include in your resistance training routine, to increase your muscular strength and endurance.  I’ve also spoken about all of the various other components of fitness, of which muscular capacity is just one component.  I’ve even told you how to make exercises easier or harder, with exercise regressions and progressions.  What could possibly be left for me to talk about?

It’s time to put it all together with efficient and effective program design!  I’ll talk about the five key components of workouts, so you’ll know exactly what to do inside the gym and out, when, why and how (and maybe we can have a silly week to poke some fun at what NOT to do at the gym – incriminating photos and memes abound.  Please tag me on social media – @thegoldengrahamgirl – in any you’ve got to share!).As per usual, I’ve summarized this post in this week’s Instagram series and Facebook posts and I look forward to your questions and comments.

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How-to Get Your Gym On: Key Tips for Fitness Programs

Here we are, first week of January.  Happy New Year!  How were your holidays?  Totally amazing, right?  You’re well-rested and well-fed and ready to CRUSH your goals for 2019!

How many of you have been to the gym this week?  How many times?  Or do you avoid it because it’s crazy town?  The wait for the squat rack is a lineup longer than a Black Friday sale at Best Buy?  I feel you.

Or maybe you’ve been steering clear of the gym because you’re not exactly sure what you’re supposed to do while you’re there.  Run endlessly on a loop without actually getting anywhere, like a hamster?  Grunt explosively in between taking selfies in the gym mirrors while you practice your posing and search for the best lighting to create muscle definition?

Never fear!  Everyone you see strolling nonchalantly around in spandex (in public!) had a first day in the gym.  The staff at the gym are there to provide guidance and direction (and if they don’t, it might be time to find a new gym!).  Seasoned gym-goers are usually more than happy to help and impart their vast (ahem) wisdom and knowledge.  Just don’t interrupt in the middle of a set to ask questions or for a spot.

To help you ensure that you make the most of your time in the gym, I’ve created this week’s Instagram series and Facebook posts on the foundational exercises that a well-rounded strength training program should include.  Now, ALL of these exercises do not need to be included on each and every day, but they should be distributed fairly evenly across your total workouts for the week.

Are you ready to get your sweat on?  Grab those headbands and legwarmers and let’s get ready to read!

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Back on Track with Back to Basics: Nutrition Priorities

So, in between bites of cookies and swigs of eggnog, you might already be thinking ahead to January (or perhaps even thinking about strategies to get you through the holidays with your belt holes intact).  If you skip breakfast, does that mean you can go all out at the buffet?  If you have apple cider vinegar every morning, does it neutralize the calories in the apple pie?  What about your great-great-aunt’s schnitzel?  It has PROTEIN, right?  Protein is good! (?)

With the amount and complexity of nutrition information (often confusing and conflicting, too) swirling around on the internet these days, it’s easy to get overloaded and overwhelmed – so much so that you figure you might as well stick to the sticky buns, since it’s hopeless anyway.  I’m here to equip you with some sanity for the season.  I’m leveraging the great work done by Eric Helms of 3-D Muscle Journey to help you get clear on the most important nutrition fundamentals, IN ORDER.  You can see videos 1-5 on Facebook or my weekly Instagram video series.  Read on to dispel fiction from fact when it comes to the fundamentals of eating for your fitness.

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How-To: Halt Holiday Food Pushers in Their Tracks

Shhh…what’s the sound?  It’s the unmistakable “pop” of a Tupperware lid being cracked open in the office break room.  Then there’s the rustling of waxed paper and the crinkling of foil wrappers.  Next, the smell hits you.  Something sweet and buttery is wafting through the air.  A few notes of rich cocoa are mixed in as well, and wait, is that ground cloves?  You brace yourself with a forced smile.  You know who it is.  You know EXACTLY who it is.  Every year, like clockwork, they descend, with hints of flour in their hair and cheeks gleaming.  You’re not sure if it’s a twinkle in their eyes, or if it’s better described as a steely glint.  They are THE HOLIDAY FOOD PUSHERS.

They come without ribbons; they come without tags.  They come bearing packages, boxes and bags…and Tupperware containers full of fat- and sugar-laden, highly processed holiday sweets.  They seem to be bent on a mission to sabotage your health and fitness goals for the entire month of December.  What’s a busy professional to do?  You barely had time for the gym the rest of the year, so let’s face it, this month isn’t looking so good.  Keeping tabs on your eating choices was your one hope of still wearing pants for the last week of the month.

Never fear!  I shared my top tactical tips for halting holiday food pushers in their floury tracks on Facebook and my weekly Instagram video series. I’ll summarize it here for the literary types!

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Five Smart Strategies for Holiday Eating Events

Who else is full swing with “seasonal” celebrations? (Apparently they’re not called Christmas parties any more, even if that IS the reason for the celebration – and I’m hip to the fact that there is more than just Christmas to celebrate this time of year, with Hanukkah, Diwali, and even Festivus get-togethers under way.)  Anyhoo, no matter how you slice it or what you call it, there is at least one thing in common with these events, and it’s not the sub-par decor or even the questionable wardrobe choices that at least one attendee inevitably makes.

I’m talking about the FOOD (and the BOOZE)!  Food, food, glorious food!  All those “special” recipes get pulled out of the recipe box this year (do people still use recipe cards?  Do people still have recipe boxes?  Listen, young readers, Google it).  And again, what they all have in common seems to be a lot of refined, processed carbohydrates, extra FAT and extra calories.  Are you feeling freaked out about all that food and all those drinks?  Or maybe you just gleefully anticipate your “cheat MONTH” and figure you’ll deal with the fall-out in January.

Well, if you don’t want to completely abandon your health and fitness goals (or your non-elasticized waistbands), this week I’m sharing my top five strategies to eating (and drinking) at these events to stay sane, fit, healthy and happy in the holiday season, without the hangovers and food comas.  You can catch the Instagram video series, or find me on Facebook, too!

Ready?  It’s time to get tactical!

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Five Sneaky Ways to Get More Vegetables in Your Day

All right, it’s time for a show of hands.  How many of you have heard that eating more vegetables is part of a healthful diet?  Hmmm…okay, yup, just hold them up a minute or so longer while I count…ok.  You can put your hands down now.  Next, how many of you have heard that you shouldn’t eat vegetables?  <Crickets>.

Yup, it seems that your grandmother was right.  Even conflicting fad diets seem to embrace vegetables as a commonality.

So now that your shoulders and arms are all warmed up from that first round of hand-raising, let’s get ready for round two: how many of you are eating the recommended 5-10 servings per day of fruits and vegetables.  Oh, okay.  I hear you.  You *would* be, if only your kids (or yourself) liked vegetables more.  If only vegetables tasted more delicious.  If only they were convenient and accessible.

Well, then.  In case you missed this week’s Instagram video series (or scrolled past the videos in your Facebook newsfeed – be sure to choose “Follow” and “See First” to ensure you’re getting all of my latest and greatest FREE health & fitness content), here are my top five tips for busy professional working women to get their kids (and themselves) to eat more vegetables.

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How-To: Improve Your Nutrition (Without Changing Your Food Choices)

Hello and welcome to Monday!  As we kick off the week, I invite you to start where you are.  I mean, honestly where else CAN you start?  If you want to pursue a vegan, raw, macrobiotic, alkaline diet but you’ve currently got a three-a-day Twinkies & Diet Coke habit, then let’s honour THAT.  Quite frankly, you HAVE to start where you are, because well, it’s where you are.  I’m excited for the science of dual-locality, but until we get there, let’s ditch the thought of doing a complete dietary overhaul every Monday morning, only to find ourselves barely hanging on come Thursday (or Wednesday.  Or even Monday night).

I’m a big advocate for going after “low-hanging fruit” – and not just in literal orchard-picking.  In any endeavour, these are the “easy wins,” the “no brainers” – if there was something EASY you could do to move the dial just a little bit in your favour, wouldn’t you turn that dial?  If you’re trying to make a million dollars today, would you turn down someone who offered you $5?  Nonsense!  Maybe that’s exactly how you’re going to get to $1  million!  Two hundred thousand people are going to give you $5.  Who are you to turn them down?

So, in that same spirit, I’ve come up with five easy ways to improve your nutrition without even touching on your food or portion choices.  As per usual, I’ve made really EASY, digestible (pun totally intended) videos on my Instagram (and also put those same videos on Facebook to make it EXTRA easy for you).  Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy, as my seven-year-old would say (another saying that’s made its way into my household with no clue as to its origin.  Cute, but not mine.  The saying, I mean.  Not the kid.  He’s cute and TOTALLY mine).

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Hallmarks of a Good Nutrition Coaching Program

As you may or may not know, I’ve decided to further invest in my education.  On top of my certification as a CanFitPro Personal Training Specialist, I felt led to deepen my knowledge, understanding and teaching of nutrition.  How many times have you heard, “Abs are made in the kitchen,” or, “Results are 80% nutrition”?  To that end, I am pursuing my Level 1 Certification from Precision Nutrition.   So far, everything I’m learning really resonates with me in terms of what I have experienced to be true about my own journey with nutrition.  From a coaching perspective, I shared on my Instagram video series (and my videos on Facebook), five hallmarks of a good nutrition coaching program.

Regardless of the type of food (vegan, vegetarian, non-GMO, organic, processed, paleo, etc.) or approach (intermittent fasting, mini meals, etc.), the COACHING to support good nutrition should exhibit the five characteristics that follow.

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Five Reasons for Rest

Welcome to this week’s discussion on the importance of REST!
(As always, there is an Instagram video series on this topic, or see my videos on Facebook).

If you’re anything like me, you can feel a pressure to just do more.  Taking a day off seems like “laziness” or at the least, taking a step back away from and not towards our goals.  “Rest is for the wicked,” you may have heard.  It’s time to let that go.

Just as in other parts of nature, like the tides or the seasons, our bodies are meant to wax and wane in their efforts.  Even elite-level athletes have an off-season for a reason (and it’s not just to play golf).  I personally just took a “de-load” week (as in “take a load off!”) to rest, recover and rejuvenate from training. For a full week I took a break from lifting weights, running and any other intense workouts. I kept my body moving with gentle yoga, walking and swimming. Now I’m feeling rested and energized for the week ahead.

Guess what? I didn’t gain weight, my muscles didn’t fall off and my clothes still fit. And I’m happier for it.

Rest is not only the rest between sets of exercise, or rest days between intense workout days, this is also the rest you get each night as you sleep.  Let’s talk about WHY rest is so vital for our success – I’ll share five reasons.

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