Five Free Fitness Health Hacks

Everyone wants you to buy buy buy. There is always the latest and greatest “silver bullet” magic health product, whether it’s a pill, potion, patch or other product. Yet, the underlying fundamentals of health and fitness have not changed, and you can reap the benefits from these approaches without mortgaging your first child to do so.

Also, it’s trendy to restrict, eliminate, avoid or otherwise take things away in the name of health and fitness – think of every “cleanse” or “detox” you’ve ever heard of. And yet studies show this approach simply does not work in the long run. When we’re told “don’t push that red button” what do we want to do? Push the darn red button. So this week’s Instagram video series and Facebook posts are all about things to do MORE of!

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Five Fun Ways To Move Outdoors

Happy Spring!  Today marks the first full day of Spring, following the Spring Equinox yesterday.  It’s hard to believe that while I have long known about the equinoxes (is that the correct plural form?), I didn’t actually know that they meant equal hours of day and night until this year.  It’s a good thing I’m open to lifelong learning (and willing to admit and PUBLISH the fact that there is something – many things, in fact – that I don’t know)!

At any rate, the weather is also decidedly Spring-like.  We went from the depths of winter’s deep freeze to absurdly warm weather over the course of a single weekend (the “Spring forward” time change weekend, at that.  I’m sorry, but can we please just stop with this nonsense of changing the clocks?  I’ll sign a petition!  Does anyone else have a hard time with the time changes?).  The snow is melting at an astonishing rate and people are emerging from their hibernation in full force.  The sidewalks are full of walkers, runners, joggers, bicycles, scooters, etc.  Kids are splashing in puddles and dogs are gleefully racing around the park.

The changing of the seasons often stirs a desire for change in our routines.  We do Spring cleaning, we might change the decor in our homes, or even the foods that we eat.  The fashion-forward among us (not me!) even make wardrobe changes and/or hair colour changes for the season.  So it’s the perfect time to make a change to our workout and/or exercise regime as well!

Lastweek’s Instagram video series and Facebook posts were all fun ways to get your body moving outside – it’s so much fun, it won’t feel like exercise.  You don’t need to slog it out in the gym to get lean – here’s your chance to get some fresh air, sunshine AND fat loss!

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Five Facts About Overtraining

For some of us, this feels like the winter that will never end (hello to my fellow Canadians and some of my American readers).  But is there a risk that your low energy levels actually have more to do with an overzealous workout routine?  Maybe you’ve been super diligent and consistent with your exercise in 2019…but maybe a little TOO much so?  Too much of a good thing is still too much.

Did you know that over-training can actually be derailing your fat loss efforts? You can actually be working *too* hard and diminishing your results because of it.  You want to be sure that you’re working smarter, and not necessarily harder!

This week’s Instagram video series and Facebook posts are all about over-training – signs and symptoms, why it matters and how to stop doing it so your body can get leaner, fitter and stronger.

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How-To: Make Time for Exercise, and Make It A Priority

We’re all busy people, aren’t we?  We’ve got jobs to go to, kids to take care of, meals to make and eat, workouts to do, and somehow, we’re squeezing in sleep and quality time with our spouses and ourselves.  Wait – what’s that?  You’re NOT getting workouts in?

I get it. You’re a busy professional working mother (like me). It’s amazing that you keep your tiny human(s) alive and fed and clothed and you meet your deadlines each day. Who’s got time for exercise?

I’ve shared about ways to sneak more activity into your day.  I’ve come up with suggestions to juggle parenthood and fitness.  I’ve even told you what to do when you finally find yourself in the gym!

If you’re still struggling to actually MAKE the time to exercise, this post is for you.   I’ll share my top tips to not only squeeze it in, but also make it a non-negotiable priority in your schedule.

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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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Have Child(ren) – Will Exercise!

The title of this week’s post could also be “Five Ways to Sneak in Exercise When You Have Kid(s)” (it was a toss-up – let me know which one you think should have won!).

If you’ve got one child or three, you probably find yourself with less time (or at least less time flexibility) to exercise than you did in your pre-kid life (also known as “BC” – “before child(ren)” – welcome to “AD: after dependent(s)).  Going to the gym at 5am used to actually be a totally normal occurrence in my life (weird, I know).  Now sleep is more precious than gold (on the other hand, I know some parents who have embraced early-morning workouts in parenthood, since they’re up with the kids anyway!).  Or maybe scheduling didn’t matter so much – you could leave the house on a whim, totally unsupervised (you AND the house).  Now it’s major-league level logistics to coordinate who is doing what, where, when and with whom.

I’m here to offer up some strategies to get you (or keep you) moving.  Fitting into your pre-kids wardrobe is a great money-saver (and ego-booster), because time and money both seem to disappear more quickly when there are little people in the household (and no, I don’t mean Leprechauns!).  You can review this week’s Instagram video series (or get 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).  Or you can settle in right here with me for a read:

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Five Sneaky Ways to Get More Activity in Your Day

Last week’s post on five family-friendly, delicious and nutritious recipes was a hit with my busy professional readers.  I decided to follow it up with the fitness portion of the health and wellness equation, since energy balance is all about both calories in (from food) and calories out (from our bodies’ processes and activities each day).

Are you ready for today’s science lesson?  The amount of energy we use each day is called our Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).  It’s not just about the numbers on the calorie counters at the gym or on your personal tracking device (both of which are notoriously inaccurate, by the way).  Nope, the bulk of calories we “burn” in a day aren’t in our Zumba class, but rather the normal daily biological functions that keep us alive and moving.  Things like breathing, digesting our food and thinking.  Even sleeping!  The amount of energy it takes to keep our bodies functioning each day is called our basal metabolic rate (BMR) or resting metabolic rate (RMR).  The fact that it takes energy to break down our food for use in our bodies is captured in the thermic effect of eating (TEE).  And of course we know that we use energy when we hit the gym or do another kind of workout or class – that’s physical activity (PA).  But then we have all of the movement we undertake each day that’s not part of our formal exercise routine.  We get out of bed, we brush our teeth, we walk from Point A to Point B, and back to Point A because we forgot why we went to Point B in the first place (or wait, is that just me?).  Yup, all this movement adds up!  It’s the non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).  So TDEE = BMR + TEE + PA + NEAT.  Neat, right?  NEAT, indeed!

This post is all about ways to increase your NEAT and get more activity into your already busy day.  Read on!

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How-To: Break Free From Binge Eating

This week’s series is all about binge eating.  I’m not just talking about eating a few slices of pizza.  I’m talking about eating in a zombie-like state, well beyond physical hunger, to the point of physical discomfort accompanied by a complete sense of loss of control.  This is a serious mental and physical health concern and is something I personally struggled with for over a decade, starting in my early twenties.

It turns out that I am not alone and if you currently struggle or have also struggled with binge eating disorder or episodes of binge eating, then you are not alone, either.  This issue is likely way more common than fitness professionals like to admit.  Binge eating disorder is actually considered the most common form of eating disorder, affecting both women and men, more than anorexia and bulimia combined.

The good news is that there are resources out there for treating and successfully moving away from binge eating. I’m excited that I can take my experience and the resources that helped me and in turn share them with you, if you or someone you love is struggling.

I’m going to be covering the wonderful work of Dr. Melissa McCreery this week.  Her BEAST acronym is a great tool for breaking free from binge eating, compulsive overeating and emotional eating.  This tool helps to identify, plan for and hopefully deal with overlooked triggers for overeating so that we can reduce or eliminate binge eating episodes.  I’ve taken each letter of the acronym and filmed a one-minute video on Instagram  (the videos are also on my page on Facebook).

We got this.  Together, we’re going to break free from binge eating.

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