Training

3 Ways to Get Energized for Your Morning Workout

We all lead busy lives and may understand the importance and benefits of exercise, but sometimes just getting our feet out the door feels like the biggest challenge of all, especially if it’s early in the morning. Here are my top 3 tips and strategies to wake up and thrive on your way to your morning workout.

1. Morning Music

Music is a huge motivator for me. The night before my workout I change my morning ringtone to one of my favorite songs of the moment. I choose something upbeat, that makes me feel good. This way, when it goes off in the morning, I can’t feel cranky or angry, instead, I feel excited to wake up and hear my favorite song and sometimes I may even dance my way out of bed. Once I make my way out of bed and take a few deep belly breaths and have a good stretch, I walk into my living room and open up my laptop…not to look at e-mails or work (yet), but to play some music. I created a playlist on iTunes for my workouts, with all my favorite pump up songs—ones that motivate me, push me, and encourage me. These are often songs that bring back memories of special times or people in my life.  While listening to my music, I then begin my morning routine.

2. Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer

While listening to my early morning jams, I head into the kitchen and begin my pre-workout routine. Luckily my gym is a 10-15 minute car ride from where I live, so while I get ready I mix up my healthy morning elixir. These days I love Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer. I don’t have a huge appetite in the morning so drinking my calories works well for me. I add in a tablespoon of MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil to my drink for extra energy and healthy functional fats. I love adding a big ice cube to my elixir and sipping on it while I decide which funky leggings and baseball hat to put on.

3. Positive Mindset

Throughout my morning routine, I always think about the why behind it all. What makes me wake up and do this every morning? What drives me? Isn’t it much easier to just lie in bed and sip on a cup of coffee? My motivation is maintaining my health, managing my diabetes and wanting to inspire others to be healthy. I believe in practicing what you preach, and for me, working in the health field allows me to connect and inspire others to be the best versions of themselves. Personally, I feel that I cannot help others if I haven’t helped myself first, so I make it a priority to maintain optimal health year-round. I encourage you to start thinking the same way: what or who inspires you? Is it family? Friends? Your own desire to feel amazing and look great too? Our mindset plays a big role in making decisions every day, if you can train your mind to think positively, you will feel more motivated to take care of yourself and make health your number one priority.

Originally posted on Myvega.com

Fueling Your Strength Training Workout

Not only is what you eat important, but when you eat it is crucial—especially as an athlete. Eating the correct foods at the appropriate time before, during and after a workout will not only properly nourish and fuel you—you may also see gains in your performance. Fueling for strength training is slightly different than fueling for cardio-based workouts. Here are a few tips to follow in order to get the most out of your workout.

1 to 2 Hours Pre-Workout

To keep you from feeling hungry before a workout, without stomach discomfort, choose a mini-meal or snack that combines healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and protein.  Depending on your personal goals and needs, the amount of food required is unique to you. An example of such meal could be an amaranth porridge sprinkled with almond milk, nuts and seeds.

30 Minutes Pre-Workout

Your focus should be on simple carbohydrates right before your workout. Select foods that provide quick energy and are easily digested. Fruit is a perfect example of this, as a light, easily digestible and quick on-the-go option to consume while on the way to the gym. For easy pre-workout fuel try filling a date with coconut oil for a delicious and efficient pre-workout snack! Or for an energy boost on the go, try Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer.

During Your Workout

During your strength-training routine, the essential components to focus on are quick energy and electrolytes. If you are training less than an hour, you can stick to electrolytes as your focus. If your workouts are longer than 45 minutes to an hour, you may want to consume easily digestible carbohydrates. Most athletes find it easier to drink than to eat during a workout, so seek out carbohydrates in a gel or drink format. You can blend up fruit and dates to make a gel, or make a fresh fruit juice for a steady burst of energy. Vega Sport Endurance Gel was created for this purpose.

No matter the length of your workout, electrolytes are essential. As you sweat you lose minerals sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride with water. When choosing an electrolyte replacement look for one without artificial colors, flavors or fillers, such as Electrolyte Hydrator.

Immediately Post-Workout

One of the biggest mistakes I see in action at the gym is people rushing to have their post-workout protein drink, thinking that it is the one-and-only essential macronutrient needed in order to build muscle. This is simply a myth.

Post-workout, your focus is to replenish lost glycogen stores in order for protein synthesis to occur. Simply put, you must consume simple carbohydrates first, then protein later, in order for muscle building and strengthening to occur.  Consuming a post-workout carbohydrate based drink is highly recommended due to the ease of digestibility and assimilation—less work on your body! To replenish your muscle glycogen fastest, consume a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. Recovery Accelerator takes the guessing out of your post-workout meal, in a delicious drink that provides recovery support.

1 to 3 Hours Post-Workout 

A high protein meal is needed several hours post-workout—not directly after—as many assume. Some plant-based protein sources include clean plant-based protein power, such as quinoa, beans, lentils nuts and seeds. If you are having a post-workout meal, include dark leafy greens for added vitamin and antioxidant support. Fueling your body on a clean, plant-based diet is the key to forming strong muscles and supporting long-term health. Follow these essential tips while working out, to see and feel the difference in your workout—and in achieving results!

Originally posted on: www.myvega.com

Breakthrough Health and Fitness Plateaus

Have you been eating healthy and working out hard, yet find yourself stuck at a certain number on the scale or fitness level and cannot understand why? You may have hit a plateau. Here are a few effective things you can do to get out of it and reach that health and fitness goal you’re striving for!

Calories Count!

Don’t get me wrong, I am the last person to count calories, but they do come into handy when trying to break a plateau or lose the last 5 to 10 pounds. Even when eating a healthy, whole, plant-based diet, you need to burn more calories than you consume to lose weight. Pay attention to the types of calories you are eating. Fats can be a calorie culprit. 138 calories for a tablespoon of oil can easily add up. While it’s not healthy to cut out all fats (fat is essential for brain development, healthy skin and reducing inflammation), keep your eye on exactly how much you are consuming on a daily basis. Try consuming more plant-based fats, like nuts, seeds and avocados, which are more filling than other oils, and focus on eating mindfully.

 

Exercise: 

You’re at the gym, day in and day out. Working harder than ever—yet you still can’t seem to lose weight. While there can be many factors at play, there are two main points to consider. First, are you taking breaks? If you’re over-training and not giving yourself active rests, your body may be producing too much cortisol (stress hormone) which will stop weight loss and strength gains in their tracks. Take breaks and switch up your routine. Try switching up your workout by trying new machines and repetitions, or attempt to do a functional workout like squats, push-ups and plank using your own body weight. If you need inspiration, find a good personal trainer to help you get more creative.

Sleep: 

Getting enough rest and time to recover is essential when losing weight and breaking plateaus. Not getting quality sleep may lead to an increase of the stress hormone cortisol, which can contribute to weight gain.

  1. Get into a healthy sleep routine. Using an eye mask or earplugs may come in handy if you live in a noisy area. 7 to 8 hours is an ideal range of sleep, depending on your own body chemistry.
  2. Hitting the sheets 10:30 p.m. or earlier, if possible, will allow your body to reach its natural delta-phase, which is deep, quality rest. You will feel more energetic and uplifted the following day—I promise!

Overall, it’s evident that breaking a plateau and reaching your goals takes planning and effort. Identifying which area of your routine may need a little more focus and planning is crucial. The combination of sleep, proper food intake and mixing up your exercise routine will allow you to bust through your plateau, reach your goal and thrive! Share your experiences below (before and after using these tips) and identify which element you found helped you best!

Originally posted on: www.myvega.com


References

  1. Kondracki NL. (2012). The Link Between Sleep and Weight Gain — Research Shows Poor Sleep Quality Raises Obesity and Chronic Disease RiskToday’s Dietitian 14 (6); 48.Accessed 8/20/13 fromhttp://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/060112p48.shtml
  2. National Sleep Foundation (2013). How much sleep do adults need? Accessed 8/20/13 fromhttp://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/white-papers/how-much-sleep-do-adults-need

The Benefits of Outdoor Workouts

Are you ready to be the best version of you? Whether you’re a fitness guru, or a fresh face to world of health and movement, this column is your new home (gym). You can expect articles, photos and videos on sports nutrition, optimal weight and energy! As a certified nutritional practitioner and personal trainer who has worked with professional athletes, Olympians and celebrities, I’m ready to share my unique approach to health and fitness to help you thrive.

Summer is definitely my favorite time of year. A mixture of warmth and sunlight makes me want to spend every moment I can outdoors. Being able do outdoor workouts during the warmer months in Toronto definitely has its advantages, other than getting a nice glow!

Recently I took my regular cycling routine and turned it into a weekend endurance ride where I spend anywhere from 1 to 4 hours cycling. This has become very therapeutic for me in many ways, both riding in a group and riding alone.

Here are my top reasons to train outside, and a quick workout routine you can do anywhere!

outdoor workout

1. Fresh air

I truly believe and have experienced myself, that training outdoors and taking in fresh oxygen allows my body to train more efficiently. I find a huge difference in my energy levels when I work out outside (especially surrounded by trees) versus training in an air conditioned or heated gym. You can take advantage of fresh air and training outside by playing going to a park, lake or ocean and walk, jog, Frisbee or volleyball. The options are limitless! Be creative and find a friend, family member or partner and discover a type of movement you enjoy outdoors!

2. Group workouts

One thing I have recently seen pop-up in many communities is outdoor group workouts. I find that meeting a group to train is extremely motivating and empowering. You know what they say, “you are who you surround yourself with”. If that’s the case, surround yourself with active and healthy people to inspire you to be even better. 

There are endless opportunities to get outside and sweat for all levels. Look for group workouts in your city: outdoor yoga, park bootcamps, baseball, soccer, volleyball and more. Check out your local newspaper, gyms, yoga studios and social amateur athletic clubs.

outdoor workouts

3. Opportunity to DIY

If you’re not into group workouts, or would rather just gather a group of your close friends for a sweat session, use my go-to quick, efficient full-body routine you can do anywhere.

Perform each exercise for 10 to 12 reps all the way through, and repeat 3 to 4 times.

Warm up: Jumping Jacks or jogging (5 minutes)

  1. Squats: Squat down at a 90 degree angle, like you’re sitting in a chair. Make sure your knees do not go over your toes.
  2. Push-ups: Keep your core tight and have your chest graze the floor.
  3. Triceps dips: Using a bench or chair dip down with straight legs, to 90 degree bend in your elbow and push yourself back up to straight arms.
  4. Lunges: (10 per leg) Place your hands on your hips and lunge one leg forward to 90 degrees while your back leg and knee graze the ground.
  5. Burpees: Jump up with your arms reaching for the sky. Transition to hands on the ground, legs and feet back to a plank position. Optional push-up. Tuck legs back in towards elbows and jump back up to the sky!
  6. Plank and side planks: Hold as long as possible.
  7. Ab bicycle: Lying on your back with your hands behind your head, reach your opposite elbow to knee and then switch, for a total of 10-12 reps per side.

Don’t forget to stretch!

It’s time to get out and enjoy the weather, meet new people and switch up your training. I practice what I preach, and have seen positive results from training outdoors and hope to inspire you to do the same.

What’s your favorite activity to do outdoors?

Written by: Jessica Morris

Originally published on: www.myvega.com

Winter Workout Strategies

Don’t give your workouts the cold shoulder during the winter months. While snow, ice and freezing cold temperatures may leave you feeling like you don’t want to get out of bed or off the couch, look at this season as an opportunity to change-up your workout routine, whether you decide to try a new class at the gym, try out a winter sport or even try working out at home! Don’t catch the winter blues, cheer up and take notes on how to stay fit during the winter months!

1. Try a new class

If you’re a loyal (or not) gym member, it’s time to step out of your routine workout plan, and dive into a new and exciting class. I love recommending friends and clients try a class that is offered at their gym because it challenges their bodies (and muscles) in different ways than their regular routine. Whether it’s a body pump class, zumba, or a spin class, make an effort to step out of your comfort zone. You might even make a few new friends along the way!

2. Warm up with hot yoga

If you just can’t seem to warm up during the cold winter months, hot yoga is a great way to strengthen and lengthen your muscles, not to mention warm up the body! If you haven’t tried hot yoga before, try a few slow flow classes beforehand, to prepare your body for when you do decide to take a hot power yoga or Bikram class. Be sure to hydrate and replenish electrolytes peri and post yoga. I personally drink and recommend Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator in my water during sweaty gym or yoga sessions to keep me hydrated and happy!

3. Outdoor playtime

Skiing (downhill AND cross-country), snowboarding, skating and snow-shoeing are all popular winter sports for those of us who live in climates that are cold enough for snow. Not only are these sports fun, but they are fantastic workouts, especially for your legs and core muscles! If you haven’t had the opportunity to engage in any of these winter activities, I highly recommend you do. If not, try something as simple as sledding, tobogganing or even shovelling snow—your parents, roommate, or significant other will thank me later! Just be sure to dress warm, in sweat-wicking layers to stay safe, while not freezing OR overheating.

4. Get creative with at-home workouts

Cold blizzard days that confine you to your home shouldn’t be thought of as days off from working out. Learn to look at your home or apartment as a gym in its own right. I like to use my stairwell to climb stairs, or my kitchen table chairs to do triceps dips on. Check out my top at-home workout moves include squats, push-ups, lunges and planks that you can do inside your own home! If you want to add weights to your at-home workout, try using soup cans, water bottles or water jugs! You can also roll out your yoga mat and watch a DVD or YouTube video for some inspiration!

Avoid having the winter season discourage you from working out; instead, use the four seasons to your advantage. Consistently changing your workouts is not only fun, but it allows you to use your body in different ways, challenging different muscles and maybe even discovering a passion for a sport of activity that you didn’t realize you were talented at or enjoyed so much! Try to get a friend or family member to join you while you work out, because two fit bodies are better than one!

Stay warm!

Written by: Jessica Morris

Originally published: www.myvega.com