Free Workouts, health, nutrition, Self-Development, Weight Loss, Wellness

5 Simple Health Hacks for 2018

Resolutions are overrated. Building habits and setting smart goals are what its really all about.

Sorry if I’m killing your #newyearnewme vibes. The truth is that resolutions made this time of year are generally not accomplished by 80% of us lowly humans.

The problem with habits is that they take time and effort, and that is something us humans don’t naturally drift to. Setting a fiery resolution as of Jan 1, 2018 does not come close to guarantee that you wont’ be saying the same thing next year at this time. Health is an ongoing series of habits and decisions you make EVERY SINGLE DAY. And every day is a new adventure, so the decisions will change DAILY. The best solution is forming a solid line up of habits to help you along the decision making trail.

One of the biggest barriers clients tell me about is not having enough time to include new healthy habits into their life, or being too busy to commit to a coaching schedule, complete daily tasks to support their long term health, or to take time for themselves. A lot of this involves choosing to remove the inconvenience of health from our lives (and ironically thereby making health more convenient– making it the obvious choice).

We’ll talk more about sustainable habit practices soon. In this post I am going to outline 5 SIMPLE things you can add to your day to day routine that don’t require more then 5min.

1. Get Down (on the ground)

The simple act of spending time on the ground, and getting back up again is an amazingly simple way to get the whole body moving. Most of us spend the majority of our days in a seated position. It’s well known by now that our conventional chair based positions are absolute crap for our bodies. Evolutionarily we were designed to spend majority of our time in transit (walking, crouching, etc), or in ground based positions (deep squats, kneeling positions, cross legged or other variations of sitting on the ground.).

We have seen a slow creep of convenient ways to bring different positions back into our lives- from ball chairs to standing desks, however, the majority of us still plunk down and stay for way too long.

So here’s the deal. Take a minute, get off your duff, and get on the ground. Sit however is comfortable, kneel, or even lay down and do some rolling around. Then… get up!

That’s it.

Do that 20-50times a day for the best results. Start with what you can handle, and build from there.

If you have joint pain or other health conditions preventing you from doing this simple movement, you need to get yourself to a practitioner who knows what’s up and deal with that. Or, comment/email us with questions and we can send you some personalized advice.

Consults are always free at IM, and having someone chat with you about where you’re at and how to get you where you want to go is never a poor investment.

One of the best tests of longevity is this simple (and yes, it should be SIMPLE), act of moving your body weight from the ground level to a up right position unassisted. No matter what your age or ability, I am confident you can get there with the right tools- and that you’ll feel much healthier for this addition to your day.

2. Hydrate

Okay, seriously, let’s talk about this.

Majority of people are not drinking nearly enough water. Especially those of us who live in the sub zero temperatures on this planet.

I can tell the minute I look at someone, and work on their tissues, what their hydration is like.

Why is hydrating so important? Well why is gas and oil necessary for your car?

Water does many things for our body. Our brain function relies on proper hydration and will use majority of what we get into ourselves immediately just for baseline functioning. All our tissues all the way down to a cell level require water to be healthy. If our cells aren’t healthy, our tissues don’t function at their full levels, and we pay the toll. Joint stiffness, muscle soreness, fatigue, headaches, bloating, water retention, arthritis, sleep issues, low mood quality, you name it I can probably relate it back to your poor hydration habits.

For those of you with existing health conditions or looking to lose weight. This should be of extra importance for you!

How much do you need to drink? You should have a water bottle with you throughout your day, and be taking sips routinely. Generally, I would say 2-3L/day for a healthy adult is adequate. Bet thats a lot more then you’re currently drinking!

For those of you raising protest about more frequent trips to the bathroom, your kidneys thank you in advance. This won’t be a long term inconvenience, but like anything allow for an adjustment period. Try adding herb or fruit (lemon is popular!) infusions! Tea counts as intake as well, but coffee and other sugary drinks not so much.

Want to make this easy? Get yourself a water bottle you’ll love to carry around with you, and keep it full! Just the simple act of having it near you through your day will remind you to take sips from it.

3. The 80% Rule

Coming off of the holiday season and rolling into our new diet plans is always easy when we start… but forming the right habits now will make that February crash and burn easier to prevent.

When it comes to nutrition, there are a lot of things I could throw at you in terms of the latest trends in dieting and why they are probably bulls*** and why you should stick to whole foods and a variable diet full of the things we all know that are good for us… but instead I’m going to leave you with the simplest guideline.

Eat SLOWLY and MINDFULLY, and stop putting things in your mouth when you feel 80% full.

Get the DISTRACTIONS (aka, your phone) away from your eating area, and enjoy what you’re eating. Finding 80% full for most of us is pretty difficult at first, but having minimal distractions and eating slower will help the process. 80% full to me feels.. satisfied. Not hungry, not stuffed. Not empty, but not bloated or brimming. Pay attention to what your literal gut is telling you, and then LISTEN TO IT.

Doing this now while you’re high on resolution plans will make the habit before you hit the Valentine’s day chocolate sales¬†. Trust me.

Feel like you need a little more help building your nutrition habits? Check out our membership page or book a consult to learn more about our coaching programs. (The consult is free ūüėČ )

4. Learn How to Breathe

We posted on our instagram a few days ago about the Alligator Breathing exercise. If you missed it, find it here and the video here!

We’ve talked about breathing before. The mechanics of it are something a lot of us get wrong a lot of the time, and switching back to diaphragm breathing or alligator style breathing not only benefits the rest of our movement, but also our nervous system and therefore our entire being.

No matter where you’re at, a high performance athlete, runner, weekend warrior with aches and pains, office worker, retiree, everyday human with average health, working on getting yourself to a healthier place, or still stuck where you are, changing your breathing can literally change your life. From mood improvement, sleep enhancement, pain reliever, stress reliever, and focus enhancer- this could be your first step towards something better.

Was that cheesy? #sorrynotsorry

As an added bonus it ties into our next step…

5. Take Five

I don’t care who you are you have time to take 5minutes for yourself.

This isn’t about making sure you hit the gym everyday, or only eat the perfect meals, or even about adding a dedicated meditation practice to your day.

I want you to take 5 minutes to do whatever the heck you want to do.

Some suggestions I could make would be:

  • spending 5 minutes practicing your breathing
  • going for a stroll outside your office (even better, in the actual outdoors)
  • taking 5minutes to get up and down off the floor, or do any other combination of movements that you want to do– check our instagram for ideas here!!!
  • 5min letting your mind clear while sipping your favourite drink (OR THAT WATER YOU SHOULD BE DRINKING ANYWAY)
  • Writing out your intentions for the day, week, month and the goals that will help those intentions come to fruition.
  • 5 technology free moments to meditate on all the things your grateful for today (write these down for added benefit!)

You get the point. The minutes are yours, use them wisely and in a forward thinking way with your health goals in mind.

Those are all simple things right? How many of you will actually add them in? I’m curious!

As I mentioned above, consults with IM coaches and therapists are always free. Our drive is to help you with your drive towards health. Whatever level you are at. Click here to book your consult with us. We’ll even include some goal setting tricks to get you started!

Let’s make 2018 all it can be!

Athletic Therapy, Chronic Pain, Conditioning, nutrition, Weight Loss, Wellness

Baby Steps

Health shifts are HARD.

I often warn clients that it’s going to seem like the tiniest baby steps forward, and progress won’t always be blatantly obvious.. until it is.

I’ve had the perfect example of one of those “until it is” situations the last little bit. A long time training client decided to join me in using ProCoach, a new nutrition and habit coaching software that allows me to get at some of the whys of why progress requires daily change.

This client works hard in every workout, and admittedly needed to make some other health shifts to really get the progress in their health they were looking for.

We’d already used the power of exercise to help them lose some weight, and decrease the medications they were on due to a chronic health condition. They were now ready to add in some dedicated nutrition and lifestyle change.

It’s be 10weeks on this new program. This program requires them to think daily and reflect on their habits, choices, and diet. They started asking questions about what they were eating and how their choices every day could be affecting their progress and health. They got daily workouts and maintained their 2x/week sessions in the gym with their trainer.

They started the new program hesitant, but determined. Knowing they wanted to make change. They committed to doing the work- and that, my friends, is the hardest part of change.

Small baby steps, every day, every week. In their first 2 weeks they dropped 5lbs.

By 6 weeks they had dropped inches off their body composition and another 5lbs.

Now at 10weeks? They’ve dropped even more inches and are down a total of 16lbs. They’re feeling and looking different… better different.

This is a year long course/program for the client… I can’t wait to see what happens in the next 10 weeks!

All these growing improvements and positive changes for a workout and 5min a day of reflection, and small habitual diet and lifestyle change.

Seems like nothing- but it takes huge mental effort to make that commitment.

Daily effort. It’s not as easy as a miracle pill to manage symptoms. Even if that pill has negative side effects.

The rewards though of that daily effort to shift? Much, much greater- and- the only side effect is improved health and happiness!

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Athletic Therapy, Conditioning, Equestrian, nutrition, Self-Development, Weight Loss, Wellness

I need to lose weight

The phrase I hear almost daily as a personal trainer.

“My doctor said I needed to lose 20lbs in 3 months to get healthier”.

An actual sentence I got from one of my clients a few days ago.

Yes, dropping lbs is sometimes a necessary part of getting healthy….. but more often then not improving your health (by health I mean blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, sleep, energy levels, and mood etc) doesn’t come with a large drop in the number on the scale when we are talking about an adult of average lifestyle and health. From my experience, weight loss actually plateaus just as major progress in all those other more important things begins.

We’ve all heard the facts before… muscle weighs more then fat, it’s how you feel and look- not the number. And that’s all true.

My client went on for a few minutes justifying why he thought that the weight loss was the most important factor in his health. Saying he’d dropped a few pounds already in the last few months and was looking forward to losing about 15lbs more, while simultaneously telling me the last time he went through a training program he lost only 5lbs but dropped 3 pant sizes.

He was making my case for me, and finally I stopped him and asked “how much do you think I weigh?”.

He paused for a second, looked me up and down, and said “well I’m not sure, but definitely less then me..”. For reference, I’m a 24y/o female, 5’8″ in an athletic build. He is about my height, 60something male. He weighs in around 140lbs.

So, finally I said.. “I weigh 180lbs”. (this is 100% true). He was sure I was lying. “But you don’t look as though you have that much on you.. you’re not big at all!” And I said, “precisely why the number on the scale is not something I worry about”.

That number on the scale includes our bone mass, muscle mass, water content, and fat levels. That number on the scale is EVERYTHING in us. One can’t look at that one number and thing it determines their health, by any means.

As we change our lifestyle and our fitness levels, muscle replaces fat, our metabolism increases, and our whole system becomes more efficient. Often “losing weight” or “toning” can be achieved in small levels just by adding in 20-30min more movement during the day and drinking more water to help flush the system.

Adding one one hour workout in a day will not do a tonne for the entire system long term, but it can be a great start to kick starting that system into a higher gear. Often starting with one guided session or challenging workout a week is enough to inspire daily changes the rest of the week. I find with most of my clients doing regular weigh ins is actually counter productive, as they get fixated on that number- and when it plateaus, as it always does, they forget to be encouraged by all the other changes they’ve made to their overall health and appearance.

I’ve weighed around 180lbs for majority of my adult life, so far. That being said I’ve worn a range of sizes through that time. 180lbs has looked very different depending on what the rest of my life looks at the time. Things like stress, diet, routine, illnesses, injuries, all played their part… but in the end, the one things I’ve really noticed is that that number didn’t change much even when EVERYTHING else was drastically different. For perspective again, I stayed at 180lbs even after trekking in the Himalayas, living off eggs, and dying for 15 days on my way up to Everest Base Camp 1. If my body can stay at it’s apparent set weight in high altitude training with minimal nutrition and buring 7000++calories a day… I think it’s made it’s point. Weight is the last thing you should worry about when you’re working towards any sort of health goal. Your body will tell you when you’re making progress, but you have to be aware and open enough to observe the little things and not hyper focused on a number in between your feet every day.

Looking for lifestyle change advice? Email me or find us on instagram (integrative_movement).

See you out there!

 

 

Equestrian, nutrition, Wellness

The Pain Paradox

A client messaged me today. A training client turned therapy client who had begun training telling me a long history of his shoulder pain/injury. Initially I offered that I was also a therapist and we could do some specific work for the shoulder- but they dismissed that as they had already “tried more then 6 therapists and nothing had worked”. I left it at that and focused our training sessions to “shoulder friendly” and preventative upper body work alongside the total body workouts.

Weeks passed, and finally I got fed up with the complaining around the plateaued¬†shoulder pain. I informed them¬†we’d be doing therapy that day instead of a training session. Just to see.

And so, today I receive a message. This is a week after I treated him. Once. For shoulder tendonitis.

The message expressed shock at how his shoulder no longer hurt. Shock because they’d tried so many things already and none of them had worked. Shock that I knew what I was doing. “how do you do it?” they asked.

Pain is something we all experience at some point in our lives. Many people suffer from chronic pain (defined as pain lasting more then 3months consecutively), and in our society pain is still one of the most ignored signs our body gives us. We try everything to suppress it, even ingesting drugs that suppress our nervous system and brain into borderline comatose, negative states- for just a short period of relief. We try therapy after therapy, fix after fix, and when nothing works we ask our doctors for more pills. More short term relief. Or, we live it it. We accept the tole it takes on our lives, our personalities, and the people around us.

Then there’s the opposite- we condone those who do take pain killers and other heavy prescriptions as useless, and unmotivated to fix their own problems.. when what we’ve given them to ingest is often causing those exact symptoms of malaise.

The text message I received from this client is not an unusual message for me to receive. In my line of work, with my skillset, I am often seeing clients who have come to their last resort. Trying one last person to help them, having been passed through the healthcare system and finding nothing of use. This is not a statement I wish to be viewed as bragging. Many of those with my skillset and training have the same occurrence. Clients in disbelief because something, someone has finally given them some relief, something useful and educated them on how to solve the underlying problem.

Pain is manifested in any number of ways. Pain that lasts a long time sometimes stops feeling like pain. It becomes a part of who we are. It changes how we think, and it changes how we react. It manifests as negativity, systemic problems such as other chronic health conditions (think IBS, Chrohn’s, anxiety, depression, heart burn, high blood pressure, cancer, etc etc). Clients with chronic pain have told me that they don’t feel physical pain as much as they recognize other symptoms (grumpiness, indigestion, anxiety). As a society we’ve learned to mask pain, whether that pain is emotional or physical or both. As a society we’ve masked symptoms, and then judged people who display the side effects of those masks.

Our health care system has become reactive, not proactive. Optimistically, I see that beginning to change. With med schools now just BEGINNING to implement mandatory physical education within course work, seeing exercise as medicine. It’s starting. I’m in a business of prevention- which is an impossible sales pitch.

As a movement professional and clinical specialist- I fight daily against the human psyche. Human nature likes being lazy. Human nature loves the quick fix. The human brain also really doesn’t like having to work harder then it needs to. This wasn’t as big of an issue when our daily life was largely variable, manual work. Hunting and gathering, farming… but now.. we sit and drive and sit. Our bodies aren’t used. Most of us live in a stressed state, in the fight or flight response, chronically. Our breathing pattern has changed, we stop using proper mechanics and use a handful of the hundreds of muscles in our body for daily life. Then we wonder why we’re sick.

I hope you read this with an open mind. I hope that you don’t take this as an affront to your personal choices. ¬†I hope that reading this makes you find another resource that may help you improve your lifestyle choices in health. Health cannot be separated into parts, or specialties. Our bodies work as one unit- all systems and parts feeding into the next. The medical system is just beginning to see how much that is true. And the more health care professionals can learn to work together on that and educate patients on their own bodies, the healthier we will all become.

Pain comes and goes, all life is ebbs and flows. The trick, the paradox, is to learn how to ride those waves and not try and stop them. Pain is always a message from the body. Discomfort is always there to tell us, and to teach us. Don’t stifle it, do something about it. Learn from it. Seek out answers. As Ken Kesey says “The answer is never the answer. What’s really interested is the mystery. If you seek the mystery inseasd of the answer, you’ll always be seeking. Nobody ever finds the answer, they think they have and they stop thinking..”. What hurts is rarely the problem. What hurts is a manifestation of something else. Any practicing professional who gives you something to relieve the manifestation is forgetting the subtle complexity of the body. At the same time, we need to come up with other resources and educational services for those who have been sucked into the masking pattern. Recognise the side effects, and their detriments. Realize that someone’s negativity¬†may be manifesting from their underlying symptoms or side effects. Clinicians: don’t write off patients based on their initial impression on you. I can’t tell you the number of times a client has turned into a completely different person after you begin to see under the surface and make differences in their symptoms, take away masking agents. It’s never as it first seems.

What’re your experiences with pain? With masking? With therapy? Have you found good resources or are you still searching? Have you given up?

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Equestrian, nutrition, Wellness

Fix It Fridays: Sweet Tooth

 

My name is Kathlyn and I am a sugar addict.

I don’t think I’m alone, either. 

In today’s world of processed, readily available snacks, shakes, and grab and go meals.. it’s hard not to be. Unfortunately, as I’m sure you’ve heard, sugar isn’t so great for us.

It’s well known that increased sugar intake is linked to higher rates of obesity, metabolic disorders, fatigue, anxiety/depression symptoms, attention problems, chronic pain, cardiac conditions, thyroid conditions, and diabetes. To put together a brief list.

Yes, sugar is what our body runs on.. sugar being glucose which we derive from carbohydrates in our diet. However, there is a big differently between the useful kinds of sugars, and the processed/refined versions that are usually found in our snacky foods, coffees, and drinks.

I’m not going to lecture on why sugar is bad- instead I’m just going to give you some tips on how to stave off that sweet tooth and start getting that addiction under control.

Related to last week’s breakfast article, eating a good meal first thing will help keep the munchies away and your energy up throughout the day.

Having healthy snacks on hand (fruit, pre-cut veggies, nuts, yogurt (unsweetened), dried fruits) will make it easier to grab something nutritionally preferable then to head to that vending machine and grab a kit kat or a soda.

For all you energy drinkers out there… the above tip will do you wonders as well. Weaning yourself off high sugar content drinks does take effort, but combined with well timed nutrition packed snacks such as veggies and fruit and the next tip (hint: hydration) will do wonders for your energy levels and your overall health. Red Bull may give you wings, but it doesn’t do you much health wise.

HYDRATION HYDRATION HYDRATION! I find that adding some lemon juice, making iced tea (not Nestle, rather literally iced tea of any variety brewed over night or brewed hot and adding ice to your fav. tea, infusing water with fruit, cucumber and herbs… all make getting that daily water intake in much more flavourable.

Lastly- MOVE AROUND DARNIT. I find I get the worst snack attacks when I spend extended amounts of time immobile. My recommendation for anyone spending long hours working at a desk, driving, or sitting is to take movement breaks every 20-30minutes, and at the very least every hour. Stand up, walk about, jump up and down, do some planks, do some stretches, just move! Taking breaks like this throughout your day will not only keep your energy levels from crashing, it will also distract you, keep the blood flowing, and keep your brain off it’s sugar fix.

That’s it for this week. What’s your guilty pleasure snack… and how do you keep yourself from over doing it on the sugar?

 

 

Equestrian, nutrition, Wellness

Fix it Fridays: How do you break your fast?

Over and over again I have clients telling me how they struggle with a morning routine when it comes to their nutrition.

I know you’ve all heard the lecture on how breakfast is a must and how important it is for your daily health and long term health goals. If you haven’t, the gist of it is that eating a balanced, healthy breakfast ensures that you’ll kickstart your metabolism for the day ahead, be less apt to¬†choose sugary, starchy snacks throughout the day, have improved energy, mental capacity, and generally be less of a grump. Hanger is real.

I give this lecture to clients a lot. Most often, the response I get in return is the “but I don’t have timmeeee” statement.

You’re talking to the Queen of morning procrastination, and yet I still manage to get something into my digestive system before my first commitment of the day. It’s possible, all you need are the tools!

There are a few basic recommendations for what to include in your morning or start of the day meal. To achieve balance, we want to have a dose of protein, some fats, and perhaps some unprocessed form of carbohydrates as well. Variations off of this depend on the person, their dietary needs and desires.

Sources of protein for the breakfast time include eggs (these also have some hella good fats and other important micronutrients in them!!), meat, legumes, whey powders or other protein powders, yogurt, nuts, nut butters, etc.

Sources of fats include: eggs, yogurt (go Greek here), nuts, meats.

Sources of choice carbohydrates include: breads (choose the least processed and most whole grain you can.. the more seeds you see the better!), oats and other grains (think muesli or oatmeal).

For myself I know I do best with more protein and carbs in the morning.. my go to’s are scrambled eggs with cheese, fried eggs on toast (with jam cause I’m a jam fiend), whole-grain toast with peanut butter, or a tortilla with peanut butter, chia seeds, and jam. I also often do smoothies, which we’ll talk about in a second. As I mentioned before, I don’t like getting out of bed ¬†until I absolutely have to.. so all these go to breakfasts I just listed take about 5 min to make. 10 min Maximum.

Another thing I loooooove to do on the mornings I just don’t feel like eating much is make smoothies. Smoothies are excellent because you can make whatever flavour suits you, get your important nutrients in, and take them to go. Seriously, they rule!

Here’s a starter smoothie recipe for you, since it’s strawberry season ūüôā

  • 1-2 cup ice
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries (or frozen)
  • 1 banana
  • 1-3tbs of peanut butter
  • 1 scoop protein powder (vanilla is best with this mix)
  • 3/4c-1cup greek yogurt (unflavoured/no sugar added)
  • 1-3 cups liquid (water, milk, nut milk, coconut milk)

For those of you out there reading this thinking “but I don’t get hungry in the mornings..”, I hear ya. Finding something light, or packing yourself healthy snacks to have on hand are two good options for these people. One of my personal favourites is watermelon and a big glass of lemon water for those mornings when my system is just not wanting anything much first thing. Hydration is another very important consideration for the mornings, and fruit like watermelon is packed full of water and good things to boost energy in the mornings. Lemon water helps staunch sugar cravings, and is great for our gut. Along with this, having various fruits, veggies, and nuts packed to munch on through the day will help prevent ongoing sugar cravings, or not so great snacking, while keeping energy levels even.

Let me know in the comments what your favorite way to break your morning fast is!