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Create your own nutrition challenge

Nutrition challenges are all the rage! Some people give up some of their favourite foods for a week or month because of a trendy challenge, but few people seem to initiate such challenges/events on their own.

Why not start your own? Your challenge, your rules! Are you gleefully gluten, a chocolate craver, a sugar advocate, or a ‘carb’nivour? Do you detest greens, fruits and whole grains? Are you able to give up or reduce your favourite unhealthy choices for 30 days? Can you commit to eating healthy for one month?

Nutrition challenges can be a great source of motivation, a valuable eye-opener and may even help you develop healthier habits post-challenge.

Food for thought

Optimal health and fitness isn’t about just being active or just eating healthy. In order to excel in your  goals, it’s important that you commit your time and energy to both active living AND healthy eating. The two go hand-in-hand; a poor quality diet will likely result in a less active lifestyle. Consider how you feel after a well balanced meal compared to a greasy cheeseburger.

Always start slowly. If you push too hard too soon with your fitness goals then you are at a greater risk of injury. Additionally, if you jump right into a diet without considering your lifestyle or nutritional needs you are not likely going to stick with it long enough to see results.

Consult with actual experts. For some people, their goal is so alien to them that they don’t know how to begin, what they can or cannot do, etc. In the case of fitness, people often think that weight loss means only doing cardio (or focus only on calorie reduction), or that they can skip the cool-down and stretch component of their workout. If you are new to training, it is important to consult an expert to ensure you begin a program that is both safe and effective.

Hold yourself accountable. Achieving any goal depends greatly on your ability to commit yourself and hold yourself accountable. One great way to ensure you stay on track is by keeping a fitness and nutrition journal.

Improving cardio without running

For many people the term ‘cardio’ tends to elicit the thought of someone running; however, there are many ways in which you can improve your cardiovascular fitness that doesn’t involve running. For instance, kickboxing is an incredible activity that helps boost your cardio; additionally, you may want to consider rowing, skipping, cycling, circuit training and – everyone’s favourite – burpees! 

It’s important to have a well trained cardiovascular system as it can ensure that your active tissue meets its metabolic demand, and can help clear metabolic waste at a faster pace to allow you to perform and recover better during, and after, your strength training workouts.

What motviates you?

For many people, finding motivation can be a challenge. It all begins with a decision to make a change and it’s up to us to decide how we want to tackle it. If your goal is to eat healthier each day or to exercise more frequently, for instance, find what triggers that motivation to reach your goal. Maybe it’s to be a role model for your kids? Maybe it’s a recommendation from your doctor? Or maybe it’s to look and feel great for your next vacation or an upcoming event. Choosing to make a change in your lifestyle can sometimes be difficult to wrap your head around and it may result in failure from lack of commitment.

Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who have similar healthy lifestyle choices is a great way to stay motivated. At times, we may forget why we’re making the change and may lose track of our goals, but having someone around to challenge you and maintain your commitment can provide continuing motivation.

At Body & Soul, we strive to make every one of your visits challenging, exciting, and fun. But most importantly, we want you to feel motivated each time you walk into our studio.

Eccentric training

Eccentric training takes place when a muscle is under tension while it is lengthening. For instance, the eccentric phase of a bicep curl is when you are lowering the weight (in a controlled manner).

The greatest benefit of eccentric exercise training is the ability to produce the greatest magnitude of force with the least amount of effort. Since we are able to produce much greater force eccentrically, we can stress our muscles much more to stimulate muscle growth, and increase strength gains much more efficiently than concentric exercises (i.e. the lifting phase of a bicep curl).

Eccentric training is great for rehabilitation as strengthening the muscle eccentrically will help prevent injury. When done properly, eccentric exercise is great for older adults as it generates a lot of force with minimal energy. This can help with bone density and muscle mass.

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