20 Ways to Fit Exercise Into Your Vacation

 

When I first started my career as a Flight Attendant it seemed like keeping up my regular fitness routine was going to be impossible. As an avid travel junkie who’s job keeps them on the road and in the air for half the month maintaining an active lifestyle outside of the airplane cabin did not seem possible.

One day, as I was sitting in my jump seat taxing out for takeoff with the cold damp streets of Toronto disappearing behind the wings of the plane, I realized I just couldn't keep making up excuses. Something had to change. 

 Now that my job required me to both sit and stand in tight crowds for long periods of time during any and every city’s cold season, sticking to my health and fitness goals was going to be vital to my long term wellness. I had to find a way to continue to make my healthy lifestyle a top priority no matter where I was in the world.

We are all creatures of habit so when we are out of our routines generally our goals and plans just go straight out the window! But you don't have to lose the momentum with your workouts and just because you have an incurable case of wanderlust. 
To ensure that fitness is a significant part of a nomadic lifestyle you have to link Pleasure to movement. If exercising and working out is a giant pain for you then you need to look at what kind of exercising you are participating in. 

The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days a week to prevent heart disease, stoke and to improve the quality of your cardiovascular system. The following list is a compilation of travel-friendly activities that will burn off the careless calories that come with any family vacation or business trip. These fun physical activities will not only allow you to get your workouts and exercise in but will also allow you to discover the area in which you are visiting. No one likes feeling left out while on vacation so these exercises will be a sure hit for everyone!


 1.   Biking


 2.   Roller Skating


 3.   Rollerblading


 4.  Yoga (Go Zen out and meet some locals)


 5.   Dancing (Hit a local dance studio, bar or nightclub)


 6.   Hiking


7. Walking


 8.  SWIMMING


 9.  SEX! (MY FAVORITE!!!) 


10. Rock Climbing

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 11.  PILATES
 

12. HORSEBACK RIDING
 

13. SKATEBOARDING (GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR INNER CHILD? ;)

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14. Surfing


15. Golf


16. Jogging/Running

17. USE THE STAIRS INSTEAD OF THE LIFT AT YOUR HOTEL


18. SKIING


19. SNOWBOARDING

 

20. Playing ball with the kids at a local park


   Finding out what traditional sport or perhaps dance that the locals enjoy is a great way to learn something new and is also a great way to link pleasure to movement.

    No matter how big or small your workouts may be, the key is to keep moving and to praise yourself for keeping up the great work!


Kerrie Mitchell - Women's Empowerment + Health Coach

Kerrie Mitchell is a Women’s Empowerment and Health Coach and has been inspiring women since moving to Toronto, Canada from Melbourne Australia in 2012. After coaching many women over the years on their health and fitness goals, Kerrie’s end goal is to work with women who are ready to feel energized, alive and connected with their mind, body and soul and those who want to start living a truly fulfilled life that they deserve. Working as a Flight Attendant and specializing in women’s Health Coaching, Kerrie has found the balance between staying fit and healthy while on the road and maintaining a lifestyle that still reaches her own personal health goals. After completing her personal training certification and Health Coach certification with the Become a Health Coach Institute, Kerrie works one-on-one with her clients so they receive a personalized and memorable experience. Kerrie Loves to travel, meet new amazing people, eat awesome food, swing a Kettlebell and dance to really awesome 90’s RnB.

Her true love is a good conversation over a perfect cup of coffee!

http://kerrieemitchell.com/

 

 

 

 

 

6 Yoga Poses to Combat Pre-Flight Anxiety

 

I don't know about you, but I am not the biggest fan of flying. As irrational as it may be, I always find myself becoming extremely anxious when I board a plane. However, since being the president of Virago Fitness has made traveling inevitable, I decided to do an experiment. 

We all know that yoga is a great tool for combatting stress and anxiety, so I decided to try it out before jumping on the plane last week. I have to say, it helped tremendously. Naturally, because of my success with it, I had to share it with all of you!

The next time you find yourself anxious before a flight, try these six simple anxiety relieving poses:


Childs Pose

Childs pose helps release upper back, shoulder and neck strain. Also, by conscious steady breathing it can help calm the nervous system.

Extended Puppy Pose

While lengthening your spine, this pose helps relieve tension in your back and calms your mind.

Legs Up The Wall Pose

Legs up the wall pose relieves pressure in your hips, the lower back and also calms you by increasing focus on balancing.

Tree Pose

Believe it or not, the tree pose increases personal confidence. By taking a tall and empowered stance and practicing physical balance, you will also feel more balanced mentally and emotionally.

Seated Spinal Twist

The seated spinal twist not only combats anxiety, but it is also healthy for you. "When coming out of a twist, large amounts of stored tension is released. This relaxes your body delivering fresh blood and nutrients to your muscles and organs" (http://www.lexiyoga.com/poses/seated-twist).

Lotus

Ending with the best of them all, Rod Stryker writes in Yoga Journal, "While energizing the body, Padmasana [Lotus] can also be a profoundly calming and stabilizing pose. Lotus helps to maintain proper posture and spinal alignment, which facilitate the deep breathing necessary to obtain a meditative state" (http://www.yogajournal.com/article/advanced/full-bloom/). 

Did you know that the San Diego Airport has a Yoga and Reflection Room? Did you know that so do 8 other major airports across the US? Check them out here: https://www.seatmaestro.com/airport-meditation-rooms-9-spots-for-zen-on-the-go/

 

3 Secrets that will Extend New Year's Resolution Success

 

It has been a month since the calendar switched to 2017, and right about now is the time when many people who made those wonderful New Year’s Resolutions start to fall off from what they had wanted and intended to do this upcoming year. There are a number of reasons why this occurs, but there are also a number of things you can do to stay on track. Here are a few tips to ensure this year’s resolution sticks beyond the first month or two of 2017.

Tip #1: Don’t put too much on your plate

I see this all the time. One year ends and another begins and all of sudden this is the only time of year people feel they can think about what they want to change or how they would like to grow. This emphasis on the New Year being synonymous with big change can cause many people to put too much on their plate at one time. It is important to have goals and a desire to change things, and the New Year is a good time to reflect, but growth is a process.

While you may want to change a few things over the next year, start one at a time. If your goal is to get to the gym four times a week and eat healthier this year, first try to get to the gym 4 times a week for a month or two. Let it become a habit before you add something else. Once you feel getting to the gym is more of a habit than a chore, start making changes to your nutrition.

Tip #2: Don’t bite off more than you can chew

Much in line with the first tip, be realistic about how much change you can implement but don’t forget that your goals should be as realistic as your expectations. If you try to change too much too quickly you will fail. If your objective is to go to the gym five times a week for an hour after you have been avoiding your gym for the last decade, there is a good chance your commitment to this resolution with end before your 30-day trial does.

Instead, begin your journey to change with the intention of progressing in stages. If your gym attendance goal is first set at three times a week in January, then four times a week in February, then five times a week by March you are much more likely to maintain the five times a week for a longer period of time, then just jumping right into it.

When I have my clients start to meditate for the first time, I don’t have them start off with 20 minutes. They would never do it. I have them start with five minutes sessions with the target of practicing five times a week. With time, when they make that a habit, we start to increase the time.

Tip #3: Make your resolutions habits

When you start something new it requires a good deal of willpower. When you are first trying to go to the gym it takes effort, and if that effort and self-discipline is not changed into a habit within the first month or two, then you will stop. We only have so much resolve.

Think of the habits you have - both good and bad - and how easy it is to do them when you're on autopilot. Now think go trying to do something that is not a habit. It takes a whole lot more effort. One of the reasons I start my clients off with five minutes of meditation is that I want them to create a habit around finding the time to sit and meditate. Once they do, increasing their focused time is easy.


KATE ALLGOOD - SPORTS PERFORMANCE PSYCHOLOGIST

Kate Allgood, founder of Quantum Performance, is a sports psychology coach and the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Get Into the Zone: The Essential Guide to High Performance Through Mental Training. She has a BS in psychology from Brock University and a dual masters in general and sport psychology, with a concentration in family psychology, from Capella University. Allgood has been excelling at hockey since she was 6-years-old, was pegged as a potential candidate for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and was even recognized as one of the best female athletes in Canada where she was born. Kateʼs approach as a sports psychology coach comes from a combination of her experience as an elite athlete and different techniques that utilize her certifications in Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT), TAIS Testing, and sports hypnosis. Allgoodʼs passion is helping athletesenhance their mental skills and focus to achieve peak performances. Clients have included professional, semi-professional, high school, collegiate athletes, fitness enthusiasts, as well as Navy Seals.

 

The Benefits of Yoga and Meditation for Veterans Struggling with PTSD

By Rachael Mynatt

Photo from YogaJournal

Photo from YogaJournal

I sat on my mat, looking at the blank faces of pain, of instability, of anxiety, of fear. The intimidation I felt sitting as a civilian instructor, attempting to relate and calm the physically and mentally broken veterans and soldiers of the Army, was immeasurable.

How could I relate?

I introduced myself, instructed them into Child’s Pose, and the class began. As I guided the class, I watched one man, then two, sit down in exhaustion and frustration. I felt an overwhelming sense of failure. But- I continued instructing. The men and women alternated taking breaks, wiping tears, and rocking back and forth.  

I cut the practice short, closed my eyes, and began guiding the soldiers into meditation. Just minutes in, I was interrupted - snoring. I was in disbelief. One of the men suffering an ongoing struggle with insomnia had fallen asleep. I guided this man into a deep sleep, each class, for the next year.

I moved to Vicenza, Italy in 2013 to reunite with my husband who was stationed at Caserma Ederle Army base. I had no previous experience working with the military upon arrival. Soon after working at the Army Wellness Center, I was selected to take over the Medical Yoga and Meditation program. The participants included soldiers and civilians referred by Behavioral Health and the Medical Command in hopes of gaining mental and physical strength and relief. Prior to teaching, I was informed by Behavioral Health the class would be difficult to instruct. My participants suffered from PTSD, insomnia, anxiety disorders, and physical injuries. Many had very limited movement, some extremely unsociable.

According to the National Center for PTSD, “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault” (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2016). Symptoms may include: flashbacks; avoiding reminders of events; trouble sleeping; anxiety; feelings of hopelessness, shame or despair; depression; drinking or drug problems; etc.

 

PTSD affects 2.2% of the population and 20% of veterans. At least 22 American Veterans take their lives every day (PTSD Foundation of America).

 

Although there are multiple recommended medications and means of treating PTSD- the root of the problem is a loss of mindfulness; a loss of the ability to self-regulate and control the mind- a specific struggle the practice of yoga is meant to teach.

Yoga is an ancient meditation and religious practice dating back to the third century BCE. In Western society today, yoga has adapted into a popular practice for health enthusiasts and has become one of the top ten complimentary alternative medicine programs in the United States (The Trauma Center, 2007). Each yoga practice is based on the philosophy that mind, body, and spirit are each connected.

I witnessed, first-hand, the power yoga has on the traumatically affected military men and women. Yoga and meditation allowed them a private, safe, space to practice regulating their breath; slowing their thoughts down. Meditation allowed them to block out distractions, flashbacks, and focus on finding calmness. These men and women developed a space on their mat in which they focused on finding their inner peace; their true self.

 

Of the 20% of veterans suffering from PTSD- less than 40% reach seek help (PTSD Foundation of America).

 

If you know of anyone, specifically veterans and/or soldiers, suffering from PTSD- reach out and inform. Self-regulation is an ongoing practice and devotion- help those who served us. 


Rachael Mynatt

Rachael earned her BS in Health and Exercise Science from Colorado State University. She has a variety of experience in preventative health settings as well as rehabilitation clinics. She has worked as an Educator and Marketing Coordinator in Wellness Centers as well as assisting Physical Therapists with treatment programs and rehabilitation. Rachael is a yoga instructor of two extremes: Sculpt Yoga and Medical Yoga and Meditation. She is a firm believer in exercise as medicine. 

In 2013, Rachael moved to Vicenza, Italy to be reunited with her husband stationed overseas.  Rachael began working in the Army Wellness Center performing health assessments, exercise testing, marketing campaigns, and was selected to instruct Medical Yoga and Meditation to physically and mentally broken soldiers and referrals of Behavioral Health. While instructing, she emphasized mind-body awareness and the utilization of low-intensity movement and postures. Medical Yoga and Meditation is meant to improve strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, and coordination, as well as develop mind-body integration and self-regulation skills.

"I believe mindset and self-regulation are powerful tools. There is nothing more fulfilling than the sound of a soldier suffering from insomnia and PTSD snoring throughout guided meditation. Instructing our broken military men and women has inspired me and motivated me to create an impact. It is our duty to create positive change."

9 Healthy Snacks to Pack For Your Next Trip

Kerrie Mitchell is a busy Flight Attendant and Women’s Health coach, which means she is always on the go. We all know that eating healthy while traveling can be quite challenging. Minimal access to a variety of food options and refrigerators between hotels means that knowing what types of snacks are good for us is key. If you are able to pack them ahead of time, that's even better! 

Here are 9 travel approved healthy snacks to keep your eye out for on the road, in the air, or to pack before you leave the house. 

First, what is important about healthy snacking? 

Healthy snacks are important for those in-between meal moments because they:

  • Sustain your energy from meal to meal
  • Stabilize your blood sugar
  • Keep your mood steady and focus sharp  

9 Healthy Snacks

1. NUTS

An excellent source of high protein:

Look for raw or dry roasted and stay away from nuts with additives like vegetable oil and salt, as these can turn rancid if they sit in a bag in a store. 

2. Fruit

Packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants:

Look for organic fruit like bananas packed with potassium, and oranges loaded with Vitamin C.

3. Yogurt

High in protein and good source of healthy fats:

Look for full-fat, organic yogurt or ones that do not contain artificial flavors or sweeteners like corn syrup. 

4. Hard Boiled Eggs

High source of protein and will keep your blood sugars level:

Boil them the night before and throw a couple in your bag. 

5. Energy Bars

A much healthier and nutritious alternative to chocolate bars:

Avoid brands with soy protein isolate and look for brands that contain over 10 grams of whey protein, hemp protein or pea protein. (Make sure they are not loaded with sugar or sugar alternatives).

6. Dark Chocolate

High in natural caffeine that can give you that energy boost you need: 

Look for brands that list cocoa as the first ingredient not sugar. 

7. Trail Mix

Packed with a combo of proteins and sugars to increase your energy:

Look for a mix that doesn’t contain added vegetable oil and salt or buy a variety of nuts, seeds, raisins and cranberries at the health store to mix yourself. 

8. Raw Veggies

Loaded with vitamins and minerals:

Choose organic veggies where possible and cut the morning of to maintain their maximum nutrients instead of buying pre-cut slices in a bag. 

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9. Seeds

Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are high in sources of vegetable protein: 

Look for raw seeds wherever possible. You can find them in the bulk food section. 


What do I do now?

If you want to make sure that you’re eating healthy all the time, before traveling, I recommend that you schedule in your diary some time to plan and prepare what you are going to take with you or buy while away from home. 

Eating well starts by deciding that you are worth it and making a commitment to put in the extra effort. Decide, commit and succeed! Ever heard that old saying, "You are what you eat"? You better believe it! 

We cannot overwhelm ourselves by thinking we have to change everything about who we are! Start small, bite size chunks and lean into the healthiest action steps you can take to becoming a healthier version of who you want to be! In my next article, I will show you what meals are ideal for you to eat while on the road to optimize your energy levels, stamina and moods.

Healthy travels!


Kerrie Mitchell - Women's Empowerment + Health Coach

Kerrie Mitchell is a Women’s Empowerment and Health Coach and has been inspiring women since moving to Toronto, Canada from Melbourne Australia in 2012.

After coaching many women over the years on their health and fitness goals, Kerrie’s end goal is to work with women who are ready to feel energized, alive and connected with their mind, body and soul and those who want to start living a truly fulfilled life that they deserve.

Working as a Flight Attendant and specializing in women’s Health Coaching, Kerrie has found the balance between staying fit and healthy while on the road and maintaining a lifestyle that still reaches her own personal health goals.

After completing her personal training certification and Health Coach certification with the Become a Health Coach Institute, Kerrie works one-on-one with her clients so they receive a personalized and memorable experience.

Kerrie Loves to travel, meet new amazing people, eat awesome food, swing a Kettlebell and dance to really awesome 90’s RnB.

Her true love is a good conversation over a perfect cup of coffee!

Want To Get Fit & Healthy This Year? Stop Setting Yourself Up For Failure

New Year-New You?  Let's get real.

Don't set yourself up for failure. Whether you are going carb free, gluten free, dairy free or wanting to be the best you can be, you can't do it cold turkey. If you cut out all sugar, carbs, wheat, dairy or do 200 sit ups on January 2nd, on January 3rd and 4th you will want to die. Ok, that might be a little dramatic, but drastically changing your eating habits will give you flu like symptoms because your body is detoxing, just like going off of a drug. Let's face it... sugar is a drug and most of America is addicted! You will think, "This isn't working. I feel worse". 

That is why when creating healthy habits this year, everything needs to be done in moderation.  No shakes, diet pills or gimmicks. Eat real whole foods, drink clean water, engage in moderate exercise and take small doses of supplements. Becoming a healthier you is life style change, not a 30 day plan. It is a lifetime plan. 

For best results slowly cut out all processed food, carbs, etc. If you eat three pieces of bread a day start eating two for a couple days. Then reduce your bread intake to one piece and then start slowly cutting out other forms of sugar. If you are drinking soda, slowly cut down. When you decide to start taking supplements, slowly introduce them to your body. 

I started taking a different form of magnesium a couple of weeks ago. It said to take four a day.  So I started taking one a day, then after a week starting taking two a day. I'm still not taking four yet, but as with anything do it slowly and in moderation. Even good things need to slowly be introduced to your system. So instead of joining a gym tomorrow, how about a walk or a run. 

Remember, this is a lifestyle change not a diet. You can do it! Just do it wisely.

For more sustainable health tips, visit www.littlemountainfarmco.org. IG: @littlemountainfarmco


KRISTIE RESTIVO - LITTLE MOUNTAIN FARM CO

Born and raised in Orange County, CA, her and her husband are unlikely farmers working toward sustainability, organic and low carbon footprint living. A free spirited entrepreneur with gypsy like qualities being married to a retired Gunnery Sergeant who is always on a "mission" makes for a very interesting life.   

"We have a strong passion for supporting our military, as we all should. That is why we give a portion of our proceeds to helping transitional/homeless veterans in our community."

Dr Emily Poccia's Nature Cure Series : Tip #2 - Drink CLEAN Water

Dr Emily Poccia, ND, explains in this 5 Part VirBLOGo Series how a little conciousness in your everyday life can have intense health benefits by incorporating these Nature Cures into your daily Routines.

Nature cure is about getting back to the basics. It encompasses elements of life that make us thrive and heal. Many illnesses and diseases today are derived from our lifestyles and can be prevented with some attention to these basic yet essential human needs. Here's #2.

Drink Clean Water (and enough of it!) 

We are made up of 75% water so essentially we are just big bags of H2O! It is critical that we drink enough clean water everyday. Ideally you should be drinking ½ your body weight in oz of water per day and more if you are detoxing, exercising, or live in a dry or hot place.

Make sure you are drinking clean water! Most tap water is not clean enough for drinking. It is processed and purified using chloride, which has been linked to some serious health issues. Distilled water and reverse osmosis water are depleted of all minerals, and deionized water has not been purified of bacteria and pathogens. You also want to be weary of bottled water as toxic chemicals from the plastic can leech into the water.

So what type of water should you drink?

Ideally you should choose from natural spring water, mineral water or alkaline water. These are all clean waters sources that include minerals which are needed for the body to function- in particular your heart, muscles and adrenal glands. 

You may also opt for a water filter in your home. Look for ones that have Absolute 1 micron filtration or Ozonation. I like Life Ionizers for alkaline filters.

You can find them at http://www.lifeionizers.com/

Having An Off Day? Here's How to Bounce Back

We all have those days when we didn’t push ourselves in the gym the way we wanted, or the workout just didn’t feel good. As humans this is natural. The challenge often is how to deal with a workout or performance that wasn’t as great as it could have been. While working with clients this subject gets brought up quite often. The sensations we feel or our perception of ourselves and our bodies rarely matches the reality of what is really going on, both good and bad. This can often easily make us get down on ourselves when our workouts or performance didn’t feel the way we wanted them to. It doesn’t always equal a poor performance. Sometimes for various reasons, a lot of the time emotional or hormonal in nature, how we actually do and what we feel are very different.

A great example of this is giving 100%. In our minds we have this idea of what giving 100% should feel like. However, the reality is that our 100% from one day to another is very different, as well as within a workout. The effort we have to give at the beginning of a workout is different then the end. Giving 100% is not about a specific feeling, it is about giving everything you can and have to give in that moment. Each moment of our lives we will have different amounts of energy to give, but if you are always giving 100% you will continue to make progress.

I know every time I go to the gym it will look a little different, and sometimes I drop the amount of weight I am using because I am more tired. I often change the exercise to slower movement to get the same workout for my body but with lower weights, simply because I don’t have the energy for heavy weights that day. Sometimes I give myself shorter rest periods; other times longer rest periods between exercises depending on how I am feeling that day. The biggest thing is listening to our bodies and making adjustments that will help us get a lot out of the time we spend working out. Both men and women have monthly hormonal cycles that greatly impact mood, energy and the amount of food needed to make certain gains during our workouts. So listening to our bodies is a must.

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Now we will still all have those days when perhaps our minds are somewhere else, or we didn’t get a good night sleep and our workout is just not what we wanted. In those cases it is all about taking a moment to evaluate what contributed to it, and figuring out what to do better moving forward. For me I know when I feel rushed to do a workout even if it is great workout, I don’t feel like it was. So the majority of the time I find the time to workout where I won’t feel rushed. I also know when my body feels at its best at the gym and try as often as I can to get to the gym during that time. First thing in the morning doesn’t work for me, as I need food in my system before working out. Now sometimes I have to do it bright and early, so I make something the night before to eat on the way to the gym. 

Having consistently good workouts is all about understanding yourself, your body, and listening to it. It is important not to beat yourself up for a poor performance, that will only make things worse. Remember that even if you have a poor performance you still progressed more than if you didn’t show up at all. 


KATE ALLGOOD - SPORTS PERFORMANCE PSYCHOLOGIST

Kate Allgood, founder of Quantum Performance, is a sports psychology coach and the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Get Into the Zone: The Essential Guide to High Performance Through Mental Training. She has a BS in psychology from Brock University and a dual masters in general and sport psychology, with a concentration in family psychology, from Capella University. Allgood has been excelling at hockey since she was 6-years-old, was pegged as a potential candidate for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and was even recognized as one of the best female athletes in Canada where she was born. Kateʼs approach as a sports psychology coach comes from a combination of her experience as an elite athlete and different techniques that utilize her certifications in Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT), TAIS Testing, and sports hypnosis. Allgoodʼs passion is helping athletesenhance their mental skills and focus to achieve peak performances. Clients have included professional, semi-professional, high school, collegiate athletes, fitness enthusiasts, as well as Navy Seals.

Coach V's 10 Tips to Making Fitness A Part of Your Life For Good

It’s that time of year again- the hectic holiday season is behind us, a new year is here, and the resolutions have been made!  For many of us, setting an intention to be healthier and workout more often are highest on our 2017 to-do list; you have a plan, now how do you follow through?  If making exercise a regular habit ranks highest on this year’s list of resolutions, here are my best 10 tips for how to put action behind your words and put strategies in place to make 2017 the year that you make fitness a part of your life for good!

1. Remember the "Why"

Keep in mind that exercise is not a punishment for your body, it is a celebration of your strength and capabilities! 

2. Consistency is Key

You do not have to have the “perfect” workout every day- fitness, just like anything else, is all about momentum and consistency.  Doing a little something every day will lead to big results over time.

3. Find Your Fit

In order to remain consistent, fitness must be something you enjoy (more or less…).  Ok so every workout won’t feel great all the time, but if you find a class or type of exercise you prefer more than others you are more likely to want to head to the gym, or yoga studio, or spin class, to get your workout in for the day.

4. Everybody is Different, and Every Body is Different

There is no “right” workout for everyone- the cardio kickboxing class that your co-worker swears by may not be your thing, and may not get you the same results.  Every body responds differently to various modes of exercise, so do not get discouraged if you don’t see results after trying one form of training.

5. Switch It Up

Working out can, at times, feel monotonous and boring.  Mix up your fitness routine with a variety of classes and training methods to keep the workouts fun. This will give you more to look forward to in your training sessions.

6. Try New Things

Because every body is unique (see #4), your body may not respond in exactly the same way to, say, that spin class that got your BFF in great shape.  Explore every variety of fitness that appeals to you and keep mixing it up. Variety is the spice of life and it may be the key to your fitness success.

7. Different Goals, Different Standards

Now, this may be a tough one for some: if making fitness a part of your life is truly a priority, you are going to have to shift your standards.  Let me explain: if you have a 7am spin class, you have different goals than, say, your co-workers who are headed out for a late night happy hour sesh.  Do not be afraid to be different, and do not be afraid to say “no” to social activities which no longer serve you and your goals.

8. Mindset Matters

In order to be sustainable, fitness cannot be that thing you do to get ready for your annual girl’s trip to Cancun.  In order to be healthier, happier, and more fit for the long run you must shift your mindset regarding fitness. View fitness as an everyday habit, not as a quick fix. See 365 ways to put this idea into action.

9. Think Long-term

As I mentioned in #8 there is no magic pill for getting fit- do not get discouraged if you don’t see results in the first week (because you won’t).  Instead, think about your long-term fitness goals: do you want to live a longer and more active life?  Do you want to be able to go on that hiking trip with your new crush without getting winded after the first mile?  Do you want more energy to be able to play with your children longer?  Think about what fitness truly means for you. Hint: it’s not just about looking good naked (although that is a nice side-effect!).

10. Strategize

A consistent fitness regimen does not happen by accident.  The old adage “if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail” rings true for a successful fitness plan.  If you are planning on hitting the gym first thing in the morning, set out your workout outfit, socks and shoes directly at the foot of your bed so that it’s all ready for you when your alarm goes off.  Catching an after-work gym sesh?  Pack your gym bag the night before, so you can just grab-and-go on your way to work in the morning.

Look, there are thousands of get-fit-quick schemes and countless fitness fads bombarding us, especially at this time of year.  Cut through the confusion by remembering why YOU want to get and stay healthy and fit; bottom line, fitness has to be something that you do for yourself, and no one else!  So go try a new workout class, find what works for you and stick to it- let’s do this, 2017!


For more fitness and healthy lifestyle tips, follow Coach V on Instagram @coach_v_sd, find her on Facebook or email her at vera@coachvsd.com for information on personalized fitness plans!

365 Days of Healthy Living

Derived from the famous Socrates quote: "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new", Virago's #buildthenew campaign is about just that. New Year's Resolutions are sometimes unsuccessful for many people because they are too focused on fighting the old. Also, they expect the change to happen overnight. Don't forget my friends, that although symbolic of a new beginning, New Years day is just another day. Nothing is going to change or happen overnight. Thus, we must focus all of our energy on building the new. Living a healthy lifestyle takes dedication, but it can be achieved. Here are 365 ways that you can live a healthy life one day at a time. 

CHALLENGE: Do everything on this list, and when you do tag @ViragoFitness on Instagram and use the hashtags #BUILDTHENEW & #VIRAGOFITNESS

  1. Make a smoothie
  2. Sign up for a free exercise class
  3. Start a gratitude journal
  4. Listen to your favorite album
  5. Stargaze
  6. Take your favorite dessert and adjust the recipe to make it healthy
  7. Try yoga
  8. Write a letter to someone that inspires you
  9. Go to your local farmers market
  10. Print your favorite photos and hang them
  11. Start taking a multivitamin
  12. Take a bath
  13. Surprise someone you love with a gift
  14. Read your favorite inspirational book
  15. Eat a salad
  16. Try kickboxing
  17. Draw a picture
  18. Go on a walk around your block
  19. Go meatless for a day
  20. Watch a TED talk
  21. Give yourself a spa treatment
  22. Drink hot tea before you go to bed
  23. Wake up early and run
  24. Meditate
  25. Get a fancy dinner at a restaurant
  26. Watch your favorite movie
  27. Create a new recipe
  28. Write a positive review online
  29. Put on clean sheets
  30. Go to Trader Joe’s and buy something you’ve never tried before
  31. Learn a few sentences of a new language
  32. Meet a friend for a drink
  33. Go to a Zumba class
  34. Give a server a big tip
  35. Camp in your backyard
  36. Write down all of the things you like about yourself
  37. Make a budget
  38. Eat an avocado
  39. Go to an art gallery
  40. Invest in some good running shoes
  41. Follow an inspiring Instagram account
  42. Forgive someone
  43. Write a letter to your future self
  44. Have sex
  45. Give a stranger a compliment
  46. Sign up for a 5k
  47. Make your own hummus
  48. Buy a houseplant
  49. Try a spin class
  50. Wear your favorite outfit
  51. Watch the clouds
  52. Pay for someone else's coffee
  53. Turn your phone off for the day
  54. Infuse your water with fruit
  55. Go on a hike
  56. Plan a staycation
  57. Treat yourself to something tasty
  58. Look at old photo albums
  59. See a chiropractor
  60. Make homemade oatmeal
  61. Go outside and take photos of things that inspire you
  62. Give a homeless person a sandwich
  63. Take a nap outside
  64. Make chia seed pudding
  65. Listen to oldies
  66. Tell someone you love them
  67. Drink half of your body weight in oz of water
  68. Go indoor rock climbing
  69. Surprise someone at their work
  70. Buy flowers
  71. Get some fresh air
  72. Read your favorite book again
  73. Take a cooking class
  74. Buy some workout clothes
  75. Apply a face mask
  76. Visit your local flea market
  77. Get a massage
  78. Get yourself something special
  79. Subscribe to a health / fitness magazine
  80. Organize your pantry
  81. Do a detox
  82. Juice your fruits and veggies
  83. Go to the beach
  84. Sit in the sun for 15 minutes
  85. Get rid of something you don’t use
  86. Make a space in your home that is just for you to relax in
  87. Tell yourself you are beautiful
  88. Learn Karate
  89. Listen to a podcast that interests you
  90. Volunteer for a cause you care about
  91. Burn sage in your home
  92. Don’t check social media for a day
  93. Start a blog
  94. Stretch
  95. Go for a bike ride
  96. Write thank you cards
  97. Don’t worry
  98. Plant a garden
  99. Buy a fountain
  100. Go to a concert
  101. Sign up for a 10k
  102. Make an Acai bowl
  103. Learn how to skateboard
  104. Clean your house
  105. Look into hiring a meal prep service
  106. Make a playlist for working out
  107. Do yoga outdoors
  108. Go swimming
  109. Make a healthy recipe book
  110. Buy a new album
  111. Go to the library
  112. Take a dance class
  113. Go for a long walk
  114. Plan your meals for the week
  115. Watch a stand-up comedy show
  116. Learn how to build a fire
  117. Jot down positive affirmations and tape them to your mirror
  118. Collect shells on a beach
  119. Get inspired on Pinterest for an hour
  120. Host a party
  121. Go kayaking
  122. Exfoliate your face
  123. Go camping
  124. Learn to surf
  125. Hug someone
  126. Get a haircut
  127. Make an inspiration board
  128. Go roller skating
  129. Try hypnotherapy
  130. Get a facial
  131. Jump Rope
  132. Watch the sunrise
  133. Color a coloring book
  134. Plan a vacation
  135. Practice positive thinking
  136. Write a letter to your future self
  137. Window shop
  138. Go to Barnes N Noble
  139. Stretch before bedtime
  140. Meet a neighbor
  141. Ride a scooter
  142. Make your favorite drink at home and invite friends over to share
  143. Dance in your living room
  144. Do something you have been putting off
  145. Take deep breaths
  146. Drink green tea
  147. Practice good posture
  148. Play frisbee
  149. Buy a stand up desk
  150. Meal prep
  151. Set goals for the week
  152. Use essential oils
  153. Buy organic
  154. Kiss someone
  155. Join a fitness subscription box service
  156. Declutter your workspace
  157. Hike to a waterfall
  158. Cook a new cuisine
  159. Fix something that has been broken
  160. Watch your favorite sports game live
  161. Floss
  162. Go paddle boarding
  163. Get a full night sleep
  164. Eat more leafy greens
  165. Grill dinner on the BBQ
  166. Make your own butter
  167. Get friend’s recommendations for their favorite healthy restaurant
  168. Join a gym
  169. Sign up for a free week of Blue Apron
  170. Take Omega-3
  171. Drink herbal tea
  172. Step away from your desk at least every hour
  173. Prepare healthy snacks for the week
  174. Create a morning ritual you will look forward to every day
  175. Take the stairs
  176. Buy energy bars
  177. Recycle
  178. Don’t complain
  179. Do something you love
  180. Organize your email inbox
  181. Learn to say “no”
  182. Call your friends to see if they are doing okay and need to talk
  183. Write down your biggest dreams
  184. Try hot yoga
  185. Go grocery shopping for healthy food
  186. Light candles all over your home
  187. Relax in a sauna
  188. Diffuse essential oils
  189. Download a meditation app
  190. Replace store bought butter with olive oil or coconut oil
  191. Incorporate turmeric into your diet
  192. End your day with 10 minutes of reflection and self evaluation
  193. Drink a glass of red wine
  194. Learn how to knit
  195. Whiten your teeth
  196. Sign up for a 15k
  197. Try acupuncture
  198. Buy an inspirational tee or tank top
  199. Follow a health blog
  200. Drop a eucalyptus bar in your shower
  201. Try oil pulling
  202. Do something that scares you
  203. Make raw banana “ice cream”
  204. Try a vegetable that you hated as a kid
  205. Learn to make sushi
  206. Bring a candle to your desk at work and light it
  207. Try to get someone to join you in your workout
  208. Make a healthy recipe you find on Pinterest
  209. Try taking Melatonin before bed for a relaxing sleep
  210. Go on a boat ride
  211. Ask for a raise
  212. Go to brunch
  213. Check the fluids in your car
  214. Go to an inspirational talk
  215. Run somewhere you have not run before
  216. Go fishing
  217. Download a running app to track your progress
  218. Start a food diary
  219. Cut out added sugar
  220. Start a new workout program
  221. Go junk food free
  222. Aim for 10,000 steps
  223. Eat celery with peanut butter
  224. Thank a service member
  225. Build something
  226. Watch a youtube tutorial
  227. Make a savings plan
  228. Buy a BPA free water bottle
  229. Visit an oxygen bar
  230. Start a squat challenge
  231. Take a Mermaid fitness class - Trust me!
  232. Make sure your skin care routine is healthy and right for you
  233. Paint a picture
  234. Go on an adventure
  235. Incorporate ginger into your diet
  236. Go see a movie
  237. Buy massage blocks
  238. Bake your own kale chips
  239. Get to work early
  240. Try geocaching
  241. Give someone a massage
  242. Look at an old photo album
  243. Call a friend or family member
  244. Make your backyard a sanctuary
  245. Buy new workout pants
  246. Remember a low point in your life and figure out what you learned from it
  247. Look up the benefits of lemon water
  248. Play a board game with your family
  249. Learn about a different culture
  250. Sign up for a half-marathon
  251. Visit a spiritual shrine
  252. Reach out to someone that is having a hard time
  253. Donate blood
  254. Cook Salmon
  255. Start a new tradition
  256. Do yoga before bed
  257. Lift weights
  258. Visit a juice bar
  259. Try Pilates
  260. Make hibiscus tea
  261. Do a pushup challenge and tag #22kill
  262. Buy some local raw honey
  263. Learn how to make sushi
  264. Rent a convertible and drive it around your town
  265. Visit a farm
  266. Buy a stress ball
  267. Inspire others to get fit
  268. Clear your mind
  269. Be social
  270. Take a power nap
  271. Check your blood pressure
  272. Send someone a postcard
  273. Rearrange your room
  274. Get a breast/prostate exam
  275. Plant a tree
  276. Take a mud bath
  277. Go to the river
  278. Tell someone you are proud of them
  279. Get down to 1 cup of coffee a day
  280. Accept your flaws
  281. Buy a sleep mask
  282. See a therapist
  283. Listen to your gut
  284. Create your own personal success mantra
  285. Try aromatherapy
  286. Climb a tree
  287. Try Zero-waste for a whole day
  288. Look up the many benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
  289. Be more assertive
  290. Buy a zen garden box
  291. Try Aerial yoga
  292. Buy a shower pill for after workouts
  293. Make your own apple sauce
  294. Drink chamomile tea before bed
  295. Splash cold water on your face
  296. Look up local businesses and find out how you can support one
  297. Eat protein
  298. Look up progressive muscle relaxation
  299. Buy a houseplant that detoxifies the air in your home
  300. String some lights up in your home
  301. Try the 4-7-8 breathing exercise
  302. Work out a part of your body that you don’t typically work out
  303. Sleep in
  304. Meditate at a park
  305. Give yourself a foot massage
  306. Start a crunch challenge
  307. Try a headstand
  308. Watch the discovery channel
  309. Sign up for a marathon
  310. Buy a rain barrel
  311. Go on a trip and ask the locals what they do for fun
  312. Pop open a bottle of Champagne and celebrate yourself
  313. Climb to the top of a mountain and soak in the view
  314. Donate to a cause that speaks to you
  315. Go for a run through nature
  316. Paint a wall in your house your favorite color
  317. Take a survey about yourself (Myspace Style)
  318. Buy someone a gift that you don’t know that well
  319. Go for a barefoot run on the beach
  320. Purge negative people from your life
  321. Stay at an AirBnB
  322. Get a hot stone massage
  323. Stop eating when you feel full
  324. Go to a theme park
  325. Familiarize yourself with the dirty dozen and clean fifteen
  326. Dance in the rain
  327. Eat at a salad bar
  328. Stop smoking if you do, if not, encourage someone who does
  329. Go vegan for the day
  330. Pull weeds in your yard
  331. Send a text to a random friend and tell them to have a great day
  332. Bring baked goods to your neighbors (healthy of course)
  333. Get some cardio
  334. Look up ways to cook healthy for the holidays
  335. Buy reusable bags for the market
  336. Make a list of all of your accomplishments this year so far
  337. Make a list of the things you’d still like to accomplish
  338. Set goals to achieve them before the new year
  339. Take a gondola ride
  340. Go hunting
  341. Sign up for a turkey trot
  342. Sing
  343. Look up places to volunteer around the holidays
  344. Buy a new hat
  345. Make a list of everything you are thankful for
  346. Remember why you started
  347. Massage your scalp
  348. Be proud of yourself for how far you’ve come
  349. Indulge in some dark chocolate
  350. Try infrared yoga
  351. Buy a workout jacket
  352. Put cucumbers on your eyes
  353. Take a different road home
  354. Check your tires
  355. Smile at everyone you pass today
  356. Start a collection
  357. Sign up for a triathlon
  358. Go to a bootcamp class
  359. Rake leaves
  360. Clean your baseboards
  361. Drive around and look at Christmas lights
  362. Read a book in a genre you don’t normally read
  363. Learn a new word
  364. Take a self defense class
  365. Enjoy it

A Simple Guide to Practicing Mindfulness Meditation

“Most people assume that meditation is about stopping thoughts, getting rid of emotions, somehow controlling the mind.  But actually, it’s about stepping back, seeing the thought clearly, witnessing it coming and going.” – Andy Puddicombe

It is true: Meditation is not the practice of clearing your mind of all thoughts. Who can do that anyway?!  The first time I sat down to meditate my mind jumped from one thought (what am I going to make for dinner tonight?) to another (is the 2 minutes almost up?) to another (F*!? I suck at this!). A wandering mind is normal and meditation is called a practice because you can always get better at it and it will never be perfect. 

With that being said, studies show that it is 100% worth a try. In an article published by the Psychosomatic Medicine journal, the author's finding suggest that "a short program in mindfulness meditation produces demonstrable positive effects on brain and immune function" (Davidson, R.J, 2003). That's not all meditation does folks, the benefits for your mind and body are endless. See more here

Want to give it a try?

  1. Find a quiet place that is away from distractions and noise. 
  2. Sit with your back, neck, and head in a straight line. 
  3. Focus on your breath or try focusing on just one thought or word. 

A few techniques that work best for me personally (read Type A personality): sit with your back up against a wall or chair for support, set the timer for 2 minutes a day to start - then gradually work your way up to 5 and then 10 minutes (a timer will keep you from constantly checking the clock), and either count your inhales and exhales (1…2…3…4…) slowing down your breath, or think the word “inhale” as you inhale and “exhale” as you exhale. 

Need a bit more of a nudge to get started? There are apps you can download to guide you through it. My personal favorite is Buddhify, and another great one is Headspace. There are also corporate wellness companies, like Goomi, who offer guided meditation at your office. 

It is medically proven that meditation can benefit both your mind and body. So grab a mat, pillow, patch of grass, beach towel, ANYTHING, sit down and get started!  

Be Well, 
Mika

For more yoga & meditation tips, visit www.GoomiGroup.com


MIKA LEAH - OWNER OF GOOMI GROUP

My life changed on my 33rd birthday when I found myself breathless with chest pains on an easy hike in Temescal Canyon. The cardiologist’s tests revealed that something was VERY wrong, and told me I needed surgery right away. And not “right away” as in “take these pills for a couple weeks and check back with us,” but rather “you aren’t leaving this hospital until we’ve opened you up and fixed this.” Even though I already led an active lifestyle and maintained a healthy diet, my heart had a major blockage to the main artery. The doctors told me that birthday hike had saved my life.

Three procedures, five stents, and five years later, I’m still here and I understand that life needs to be lived with love and joy throughout, not just “when you can fit it in.” You can enjoy what you do every day, and you can make a difference in the world. This is why I founded Goomi - to give people the opportunity to live a healthy, balanced life. From experience in the fast-paced world of advertising and sales, I have gained insight into the need for employees to balance work and life, which benefits companies and employees alike. By bringing yoga and meditation to you at your office, we make it a part of your day instead of something you do “when the day is over.”

How Learning To Say "No" Can Boost Performance - by Kate Allgood

We have all been there. When we would rather not do something, but we feel the need to please the person asking, and before we know it the words, "I am happy to help" are coming out of our mouths. However, the truth is that sometimes we really don’t have time to do it or could spend our time doing more productive things. 

This is not to say we don’t ever say yes and always say no, but too often people are putting too much on their plate and it is taking away from their own goals, dreams, business or aspirations all because they want to please others or are worried about what others might think if they do say no. 

One of the reasons being able to say no is so important is because it greatly impacts our confidence, trust and belief. Saying no is about boundaries. It is about knowing your boundaries, keeping to them and respecting yourself to stand by yourself even when you feel uncomfortable doing so. This is very empowering, and greatly aids in developing our self trust, which in turn impacts our confidence and belief in ourself. 

The funny thing is that when you stick to your boundaries, other people begin to respect you as well, and understand your boundaries and are not as bothered by you saying no as you think they might be. You might be thinking how boundaries and saying no is important for performance. Well, performance and the ability to be successful, in any arena, requires a great depth of focus, time, energy, and a bit of selfishness. If you are giving your energy and time to others that are distracting you from what you need to do, you are sabotaging yourself and your success. 

It is important to give to ourselves, so that we may later be able to give to others, but first you must do what you need to do, and with time figure out a way to be able to say yes every once in a while. 

I know all too well the uncomfortable feeling that comes along with saying no. It is not pleasant and can sometimes scare me into saying yes, although I know it will add too much to my plate or I won't be able to give what I would like. However, the bottom line is that we can’t create more energy or time. Sometimes that means saying no to give myself down time; time to recuperate and relax. 

When I was going through my double Masters program there were a number of times I had to say no to going out with friends on a Saturday night because I knew it would be a late night and would impact my Sunday, which is a day I needed for school and doing my work. I remained focused and once I was done with school I was able to say yes and have some fun with my friends. 

Figure out what you want, what you need to get it and how much you can handle on your plate at one time. Then go out and create a schedule that works. If that means saying "no" to things that are not on your schedule, then do it. Your dreams and goals are worth it and your friends will understand.  

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Kate Allgood - Sports Performance Psychologist

Kate Allgood, founder of Quantum Performance, is a sports psychology coach and the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Get Into the Zone: The Essential Guide to High Performance Through Mental Training. She has a BS in psychology from Brock University and a dual masters in general and sport psychology, with a concentration in family psychology, from Capella University. Allgood has been excelling at hockey since she was 6-years-old, was pegged as a potential candidate for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and was even recognized as one of the best female athletes in Canada where she was born. Kateʼs approach as a sports psychology coach comes from a combination of her experience as an elite athlete and different techniques that utilize her certifications in Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT), TAIS Testing, and sports hypnosis. Allgoodʼs passion is helping athletesenhance their mental skills and focus to achieve peak performances. Clients have included professional, semi-professional, high school, collegiate athletes, fitness enthusiasts, as well as Navy Seals.

The Ultimate Gift Guide for the Fit Girl in Your Life

Happy December everyone! We've put together a few of our favorite products from great companies that we believe in and can stand behind. Check out what we recommend for the Fit Girl on your Christmas List this year!

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1. Mind Body Soul Fitness Tank by Yours Truly!

Our tri-blend constructed fitness tank is perfect for any workout. Available in 10 different colors, and several other designs, there is something for every type of girl! At only $22, you may want to grab a couple. Browse our tank tops here.

2. Boho Mandala Beach Towel by Sand Cloud

We love Sand Cloud! These are the best beach towels around, and they can easily double as a yoga mat or yoga towel! Not only are they adorable, but Sand Cloud gives 10% of all proceeds to protect and preserve marine life. Give the gift that gives back! Shop here.

3. Tea Of A Kind

Tea Of A Kind is our new favorite obsession. This tea is like no other you've tried before. The tea formula is stored in the patented cap and when it is twisted, it is released into the purified water in the container. This makes the tea easy to take with you no matter where your busy schedule leads you. They come in five amazing flavors and are perfect after any workout. Perfectly refreshing, each flavor is offers different health benefits. Recovery Flavor includes Vitamin C, Guarana, Caffeine and Vitamin B12 for an afternoon pick me up. Click here to see what stores in your area carry Tea Of A Kind.

4. Shower Pill

Shower Pill takes convenience to a whole new level. Just had an intense workout and have no time for a shower? No problem! This wipe is all you need! Folded neatly in a small pouch, these can go in your gym bag, your purse, a carry on or even with you camping. You'll never be smelly again. Order them here.

5. RistRoller

The RistRoller is a mini foam roller that is specifically for your wrists, forearms and feet. What more could a hard core fitness guru ask for!? The RistRoller is a must, and can be conveniently stored in your purse and can be used discreetly at your desk. Shop RistRoller here.

6. Packable Duffle by Herschel Supply Co

We are in love with Herschel Supply Co's Packable Duffle. The features of this bag are endless. It conveniently collapses into an internal pocket that makes storing it effortless, it has a tear resistant ripstop, it comes in over ten different color combinations, it's only $29.99 and the best part - it is made in America! Shop Herschel here.

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5 Benefits of Hiring a Meal Prep Company

It's Monday morning and you just got to work. Did you eat breakfast? Did you pack a lunch? Did you get your workout in before work? Do you know what you're eating for dinner? Did you have time to prep dinner so you're not spending your entire evening cooking when you should be relaxing? If you answered "no" to any of these questions, it may be time for you to hire a Meal Prep Service. 

The founder of Meal Prep Sundays started this company because he found himself answering no to all of these questions as well. He did not have the time to meal prep, workout, and work. Most importantly, he didn't know how to cook. This can be a huge problem for someone trying to get healthy and fit. 

Here are 5 reasons why hiring a meal prep service may be just what you need.

1. It saves you time.

This is a no brainer. A meal prep company prepares your meals for you, prepackages them and delivers them right to your door. Look at all of the time you just saved by not planning your meals, going to the store, cooking at home, cleaning up the dishes, and packaging left overs.

2. It's less expensive than you think.

Meal Prep Sundays wanted to offer quality food options to their customers that didn't break the bank. When you add up the cumulative costs of shopping for fresh whole food ingredients and the time to prepare them, Meal Prep Sundays actually saves you money (about $60 per week). Check out their price options here

3. Portion Control & Creative Pairings

Another benefit of meal prep is that you won't over eat. Each meal comes perfectly portioned in its own separate container that is easily reheat-able in the microwave or oven. The meals are prepared by professional chefs, and the creative pairings they offer provides variety and insight into healthier choices you may not have known about. Check out their meals here.

4. It is healthier for you.

Meal Prep is all around healthier. Each meal is only 500 calories. There is no sugar, no preservatives or added flavoring. They use nothing but fresh, quality ingredients that are purchased locally. Their meals are high in fiber, each contain over 30g of protein, and are packed with healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Oh, not to mention - they are DELICIOUS! 

5. Designed personally to meet your health goals

Each meal plan from Meal Prep Sundays is completely customizable. The plans are designed by the world's best trainers and industry experts, and are based off of your age, gender, body weight, fitness goals and activity level. 

What are you waiting for?

If you're ready to save money, save time, eat healthy and reach your health and wellness goals - get started today.

Not in the San Diego area? Google Meal Prep Services near you to find a list of the closest companies. They are popping up all over the Unites States because more and more people are realizing how convenient they are! 

Eating Your Vitamins vs. Taking Supplements

We have all grown up being told to take our vitamins. However, recent studies have shown that taking vitamin supplements may not be very good for our health in the long run. Here is the skinny:

Many people think that taking vitamins means that they are getting all of the nutrients they need. This is not true. "Supplements aren't intended to be a food substitute because they can't replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods" (Mayo Clinic, 2016). Nutritional needs should be met primarily through our diet, and if in the case our bodies can't absorb the nutrients, or we require more than what is found in foods, then supplements can be taken.

Benefits of Whole Foods - 

  • Whole foods are complex providing you with a variety of the micronutrients your body needs.
  • Whole foods provide dietary fiber that you won't find in supplements.
  • Whole foods contain protective substances like phytochemical that protect against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Benefits of Supplements - 

  • Pregnant women need more vitamins and minerals than they can receive by eating vitamin rich whole foods.
  • Women and men over the age of 50 should take supplements, as their bodies are no longer able to completely absurd nutrients from certain foods. Therefore, they need to get it from other sources as well. 

Risks of Supplements - 

Recent studies have shown that the use of some vitamin supplements like calcium, vitamin A and beta-carotene increase the risk of "kidney stones, strokes and even a great risk of dying over periods of time" (Consumer Lab, 2016). 


Below we have put together a list of vitamins and minerals, which includes their benefits and what foods naturally contain them.


Calcium

  • Fortifies your teeth + bones
  • Naturally found in yogurt, dark leafy greens + fruit
  • One serving / day of any 3


Vitamin E

  • Protects cells from harmful molecules
  • Naturally found in sunflower seeds + almonds
  • 2-3 servings / week

Iron

  • Forms hemoglobin in red blood cells
  • Naturally found in red meat, lentils + beans
  • One serving / week of any 3

Folate

  • Aids in new tissue formation in the body + helps to prevent birth defects if pregnant
  • Naturally found in dark leafy green vegetables, fruits, nuts + dairy
  • One serving / week

Vitamin A

  • Helps with vision
  • Naturally found in sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, winter squash, lettuce, dried apricots fish, liver
  • 2-3 times / week

Vitamin K

  • Clots your blood
  • Naturally found in green leafy vegetables
  • One serving / week

Vitamin B6

  • Helps with metabolism + fights infection
  • Naturally found in beans, fish or chicken
  • One serving / day of any of 3

Vitamin B12

  • Improves nervous system function + red blood cell formation
  • Naturally found in fish, chicken and red meat
  • One serving / day of any 3

 

For an extensive list of other healthy foods you should be eating, check out our FREE
OH! (Optimum Health) Wellness Plan

Dr Emily Poccia's Nature Cure Series : Tip #1 - BreathE Clean Air; The Air You're Breathing Might Not BE As Clean As You Think

Dr Emily Poccia, ND, explains in this 5 Part VirBLOGo Series how a little conciousness in your everyday life can have intense health benefits By incorporating these Nature Cures into your daily Routines.

Nature cure is about getting back to the basics! It encompasses elements of life that make us thrive and heal. Many illness and diseases today are derived from our lifestyles and can be prevented with some attention to these basic yet essential human needs. So here is the first one!

Emily Poccia Nature Cure Blog Series

BREATHE CLEAN AIR

I know this sounds like a duh moment but you’d be surprised just how dirty our air can really be. In fact, according to the Environmental Performance Index, a study ran by Yale researchers, “in the US alone air pollution accounts for 200,000 premature deaths per year. That’s 6 times the number of people killed in car accidents.”

There are 4 major pollutants that the study monitored including Ozone, Particulate Matter, Persistent Organic Pollutants, and Mercury. These may sound foreign but these pollutants are coming from everyday factors like factories, car emissions, airplane fuel, pesticides, solvents, household products and even pharmaceuticals! Think about it. Do you live in or close to a city or places where there may be a heavy amount of pollution?

Find out how dirty your air is and ways we can help keep the air clean by using sites like CARMA.org, and the Environmental Performance Index’s interactive site. 

Every cell is dependant on oxygen for cellular respiration- Our lungs may receive the air first but our brain is affected the most by poor air quality leading to all sorts of health issues including confusion, and cognitive decline. Our immune systems use oxygen in order to produce hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria and our muscles use oxygen as a way of transporting iron to maintain energy.

Take some time away from the hustle and bustle and venture into the mountains or more rural areas so you can let your lungs breathe in clean, crisp air. You may also want to consider a filter for your house to help clean the air like a hempa filter. Remember to take full deep breaths of clean air to boost your brain function and health.

READ MORE FROM DR. EMILY AT WWW.HIGHFIVETOHEALTH.ORG

RESOURCES:http://epi.yale.edu/reports/2016-report


Dr. Emily Poccia

Dr. Emily Poccia offers a Family Medicine practice at RestorMedicine in San Diego with a primary focus in the treatment and management of chronic Lyme disease. She graduated from Southwest Collage of Naturopathic Medicine in 2014 and moved to San Diego soon after. Originally from Connecticut she is no stranger to Lyme Disease and felt a need to support this population through their health journey. She was trained by Lyme literate doctor and author of, “The Beginner’s Guide to Lyme”, and “Lyme Brain”, Dr. Nicola Ducharme. 

Dr. Emily is highly committed to using Naturopathic principles that are centered around supporting the body’s innate ability to heal itself and treating the whole person. She does this by using diagnostic testing to find the root cause of illness then supports the body’s healing process using natural therapies like botanical medicine, nutrition, gemstone energy medicine, nutritional supplementation, homeopathy and nutritional IV’s. Her goal, whether you have a chronic illness or any health concern, is to support all dimensions of your health- physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and energetic. Dr. Emily believes strongly in doctor as teacher, a principle that allows her to empower her patients and their families so they can take an active role in their health and live healthier lives.

You can find out more about Dr. Emily, the practice, and schedule appointments at RestorMedicine.com. She also hosts lectures on different health topics, and be sure to check out her personal blog called High Five to Health.

Follow her on Instagram / @highfivetohealth and visit her blog / www.highfivetohealth.org

The Most Efficient Way to Burn Fat and Build Strength

The Most Efficient Way to Burn Fat and Build Strength

by Dave Thomas Owner, Performance360, a Pacific Beach Gym

Ultimately, what you’ll read today is my answer to the question of what is the best way to burn fat and increase strength? It’s basically a brain dump of my past five years running our gyms and what formula I believe to be the most productive for efficiently building strength, stamina and burning fat. I believe that strength training and interval-based training are the most effective forms of exercise. I believe that traditional steady state cardio offers the lowest efficiency and the least amount of benefit. I believe Pop Tarts are indisputably better than Toaster Strudel. While body changes will always boil down to diet, what’s even more important than what diet protocol you pick is your ability to stick with it (assuming it’s not bat shit crazy). Let’s first jump into your exercise routine.

Exercise: Diversify Yo’ Bonds

Let me just clearly state that I think there are many great forms of exercise. Lots of protocols out there work for different people. There are also fat CrossFitters, ripped yogis, strong runners and lots of other people that bust the stereotype, and of the nearly 600 members at our gym we certainly represent all makes and models.

Burn Fat Build Muscle We all carry physiological and metabolic differences, we all train for different reasons and a movement that may feel great for you could feel like a bag of ass for me. I’ve never been part of the “show me the science or bust” crowd. I have read just as many comically awful, manipulated studies as I have legitimate ones, so a publication in a journal is not the be all, end all for me. I want to test, and I want to observe. I can also tell you that for every study out there that supports an opinion, there’s an opposing one that discredits it. I don’t mind studies and will cite one or two here today to make me look smarter and support my argument, but I am very aware and you should be too, that there’s also research on the other side of what you’ll read. Ultimately, I believe if you pay close attention to a large enough population of people over time, you’ll be provided with more than enough answers on what is effective training protocol. Okay… Here are training elements I believe you should incorporate to burn fat and build strength.

Strength Training

People define strength training differently but for me it’s pretty cut and dry.
  • It is a compound lift (multi-joint).
  • It is 1 – 5 reps.
  • It exceeds 70% of your maximum output.
These movements include and are not limited to squats, deadlifts, rows, cleans, jerks, snatches, presses, and loaded carries. strength training 92109   Now, as a hashtag fitfam we’re well advanced from where we were ten, even five years ago. Men wear capris. Women strength train. Actresses deadlift. I don’t know what the fuck is going on, but these things are cool now and it’s not the uphill battle it once was with convincing the general public to get under something heavy. However, a lot of folks remain confused as to why they should do it. First, it’s important you embrace that you will add some muscle when strength training. You won’t add twenty pounds of it (that’s literally not naturally possible for most human beings), but a few pounds spread across your body in a few months? Yeah. Why is this good? Metabolically, adding muscle is very advantageous because the amount of muscle we have on our body is directly proportionate to how many calories we are able to burn. Muscle is a very metabolically active tissue, so the more we have of it the more calories we burn. Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of calories your body burns at rest, daily. With more muscle comes an increased BMR and greater caloric expenditure while we’re sitting around doing nothing. Playing Arnold Schwarzenegger in Mobile Strike, posting about Making a Murderer on Facebook. Just kickin’ back burnin’ cals. Now, there is no such thing as trading fat for muscle. One does not turn into the other. But over time, a focus on building your strength will have a favorable effect on both your ability to build muscle and burn fat. A 135 pound woman comprised of 25% body fat will have a slower metabolism than a 135 pound woman with 18% body fat. Strength training helps accomplish this kind of recomposition. The aesthetic aspect of muscle growth that comes with a strength training protocol is much more proportionate than targeted hypertrophy training. Because the squat is a multi-joint, total body movement it will build muscle across your entire body, whereas something isolated like a hamstring curl will target just the hamstring. There is no comparison to the metabolic and physiological effect that a loaded back squat has in comparison to holding a warrior pose, going for a run or even a light weight goblet squat. Too many hear “strength training” and they think that means prematurely putting 200 pounds on the bar your first week and blowing out your back. Nah. It simply means taking your body to a straining stimulus of 70% or higher across total body, compound movements. You really don’t even need to care about your strength to receive the physiological benefit of training it. It’s very safe, very beneficial and very smart of you to do if you want to have less fat and a more active metabolism. Not to mention becoming a stronger and more capable human. (Ladies, for the female’s perspective on this topic please see Neghar Fonooni’s article, here.)

Interval-Based Training

Many of us have tried to re-brand circuit training and pass this off as a unique system different than everyone else, but we’re all doing the exact same shit at the end of the day. 10 – 20 minutes of fast paced weight training with fluctuating periods of rest. Within this realm, there does exist a few different types of intensity levels. Interval Training San Diego Most commonly, we have High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Interval Weight Training (IWT). The best way that I can describe the different between IWT and HIIT is that IWT would be a fifth of Old Granddad and HIIT would would be a six pack of Coors Light. Both get you drunk. One will just get you more drunk and leave you feeling a little worse. HIIT typically can consist of randomized movements of relatively equal rep count and rest throughout the workout. IWT typically consists of a major power-based movement of a higher rep count to challenge, not fry, with enough left in the tank to immediately follow that with a held rate of output (short distance run or row). They are typically shorter. There is of course just Boring Ass Circuit Training, as well. Movements performed in succession at a non break-neck pace for up to half an hour, maybe even forty minutes. Boring, and one of my favorite forms of effective training. This is also a great way to get hypertrophy training accomplished. Early IWT advocate Dr. Pat O’Shea in 1969:

“During strenuous exercise, the rate of metabolism rises, going to about 15 times the resting metabolic rate (RMR) and even higher during intense interval work. For example, running 5 mi/hr the oxygen uptake required is 28 ml 02/min/kg of body weight with 3.7 cal/hr./lb burned, while a short burst of intense interval work may require 100 ml 02/min/kg with 13.8 cal/hr/lb burned. By maintaining the high level of training over a 5 or 6 week period one would expect a significant increase in the ratio of lean body mass to fat.

Intense interval work utilizes a greater percent of the body’s muscles, both slow and fast twitch. Also, performing high intensity work places added energy demands on the respiratory system, cardiovascular system and nervous system. Thus more fat and glycogen are burned to support the expanding energy demands of the body during – and after – intense exercise. In other words, the cost of short intense interval exercise is very high in terms of energy demands in comparison to low intensity aerobic exercise.

What’s more, while at rest trained active muscles burn more fat night and day, contributing to further fat loss.”

The difference between the three don’t really matter. They are all highly effective in their own way. (Performance360 readers, we do all three.) Just don’t go murdering yourself. Over pacing and over conditioning every single workout can cause metabolic disruption and potentially make you catabolic. The promotion of plastering oneself to the mat every workout is an ugly face of fitness that needs to go stand in the corner and face the wall. It’s important to remember that your exertion level should mirror your pace, typically meaning that the shorter the duration, the higher the output and vice versa. If something is ten minutes, yeah, go HAM on that mother fucker. If something is 30 minutes, dial it back to a very moderate pace. So, why do they work? HIIT 92109 Enter the Controversial EPOC The main benefit is in the Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) effect, our body’s ability to burn calories long after exercise has ended. Explained simply, EPOC is the rate at which our body consumes oxygen after we’ve exercised in an attempt to get us back to a normal state. Reproduction of adenosine triphosphate burned in the workout, returning our body to its resting temperature, protein reparation to muscles to name a few. This is a calorie burning activity for our body, so in theory, the more prolonged the EPOC state the more calories we are burning. Some consider EPOC to be proven science, others just a hypothesis without much merit. I am not a scientist. I don’t ultimately know for certain whether it’s the post oxygen consumption, merely the total calories burned during the workout, the metabolic effect of training the total body or Jack’s magic fucking beans and frankly, I don’t really care. I just know that it is extremely beneficial when it comes to efficiently burning fat, increasing strength and building stamina in a short amount of time. (Here is a rather decent synopsis of the last few decades of EPOC research.) The Limitations of Traditional Cardio There are two main reasons why traditional cardio is limited when it comes to body recomposition. First reason, it provides little to no post oxygen effect. When we’re done running, we’ve burned all of the calories we are going to burn. The thermic effect is acute to just the duration of the workout and does not carry over to effect our basal metabolic rate in any meaningful way (unless you’re sprinting). But I’ve lost weight with running, Dave. No doubt. It can certainly work to shed a little bit of weight, especially for untrained folks at the onset of a program (much like Johnny finding porn for the first time, where any stimulus is good stimulus.) If you burn 300 calories on a run and that puts you into caloric deficit for the day, chances are it can cause you to lose some weight, just not much. And you will plateau rapidly. Second reason, the weight may occur in a way that will not favor your body composition since it provides no meaningful work on our muscle tissue, and in fact can potentially burn it. When in an aerobic state such as running, our body has the option to pull fuel from glycogen, fat…and muscle if underfed or performed for too long. A lot of times people think they’ve lost fat running, but when it comes to getting analysis performed it’s often muscle tissue.

An anecdote and case study on this is gym member and fiance to my business partner, Ashley. Ashley is a beast. She weighs 120 pounds and can deadlift 300# and squat 215# while also running a half mile in under 2:50.

Recently, Ashely began incorporating weekly long runs into her routine in preparation for a half marathon (which I predict she will demolish due to her foundation of strength).

Since she began this long distance cardio approach, she has greatly improved her cardiovascular conditioning specific to her goal, however she has not lost one ounce of body fat and has in fact decreased 0.75% of her muscle mass.

Now, body recomposition is not Ashley’s goal with running and she’s done a great job of feeding herself on cardio days to ensure she maintains her physique and strength. Just something to consider, since a lot of people don’t pay as close of attention to the details as she does. Further, I do not believe the risk of developing long term running injuries like stress fractures, shin splints, plantar fasciitis and IT band syndrome to be worth the squeeze of consistent pavement poudning. Running is good for getting better at running. Go for a run if it pleases you, but not with the expectation it’s going to do much for your body. If you must run consistently, do your best to keep it in an anaerobic state and perform sprint intervals. Go all out for thirty seconds then walk for ninety seconds. Do this for up to a couple of miles.

Diet: Follow Something…Anything

A part of my soul has died over the years when it comes to nutrition. It’s dead. It’s gone, and it’s never coming back. Talking about it is like talking about religion. Only three hundred time worse. People lose their damn minds over winning debates and I just found remaining quiet on the topic was more productive than engaging passionate psychopaths jacked up on yams. Here’s what I know. I saw great results on a Paleo Diet for two years. I saw great results on Intermittent Fasting for three months. I have seen great results on a macro-based, low fat approach for seven months. Nutrition Consulting 92109 Well wouldn’t ya gosh darn know it! Three strategies, all of ’em worked. I am not going to endorse any one of them today, you’ll need to find something that is most applicable to your goals but I can tell you that all three work for recomposing the body and burning fat and all had their drawbacks, as well. Here are some general thoughts. Paleo Diet My digestion functions most optimally on a Paleo diet. I have acid reflux disease and a family history of esophageal cancer, so I take this very seriously. I got to 9% body fat on a Paleo diet and got to what I consider to be reasonably strong. On the flip side, over three years I got puffy and ultimately, fatter (up to 14% body fat). I was undershooting my performance and I believe a long term caloric deprivation damaged my metabolism. I was getting “full” on fats and proteins, but that satiety was a mirage and wasn’t ultimately providing me enough calories to sustain activity. This is simply my personal experience. The Paleo Diet is great for overall health and if performance is a secondary goal. I’d also want to provide the caveat that you find a way to ensure you consume enough calories for long term metabolic health, something that I failed to do. Intermittent Fasting I did this for a few months and really liked it from a body composition perspective, but my performance went to dog shit. Waiting until 2 pm to eat was easy on some days, a nightmare on others. It was not sustainable long term for me and I care too much about how much I can squat to stick with this. Macro Based Dieting I am currently eating this way and I have to be honest. I love it. The results happen much slower, but they are significant and have a more permanent feel to them. I’m able to consume a lot of carbohydrates and still lean out, and I just feel “better”. I started at 14% body fat and a damaged metabolism and am now back down to 10%. The downside is my digestion is not very good as I’m constantly hissing and releasing burps. I also miss my high egg, bacon, butter, coconut oil and red meat content. The Bottom Line The bottom line with any diet, the science, data, studies, results…they all arrive at the same technique. Manipulation of fuel intake (carbs or fat) in order to produce favorable change in body composition. Paleo restricts carbs. Macro based dieting restricts fat. Intermittent Fasting restricts your food window. It’s not magic. It’s just fuel deprivation to match your training with the outcome of burning fat. Pick one that works for you and for Crissakes, just stick with it. That is the aspect of diet that is of the utmost importance. If you’re educated enough on food choices to not need to follow a plan, then even better. This concludes my formula and what I recommend for my members. Find something that works for you and adhere.

Dave Thomas is owner of Performance360 in San Diego, CA.

References: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17101527 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17101527 https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/epoc.html