Get Fitter Faster

Tips & Tricks

HITTING A PLATEAU AND GETTING BACK ON TRACK

Here are some possible reasons for weight loss plateaus and how to get back on track.

After losing weight successfully for a month or two, people tend to get lax on their efforts and hit a weight-loss plateau because they no longer pay the same attention to the amount of food they are consuming and are inaccurately estimating their portion sizes. 

In reality, they are most likely eating more than they think they are, causing their weight loss to stall.

Tracking apps help you to measure your food intake to ensure you are not underestimating your portion sizes, and also continue to keep a food journal. 

If you are new, a food journal is very insightful and can help you identify times when you might be mindlessly snacking, which is also a contributing factor to hitting a plateau. You don't need to track calories forever, but it's a good way to identify issues.

There is a possibility that you may not be eating enough.  If you've been eating super low-cal, you probably lost weight initially, but that isn't sustainable. You have to eat more to feed your metabolism.


Severe calorie restriction signals the body to conserve energy, not burn it. It's your body's way of protecting you because it doesn't know you're dieting. It just thinks you've run out of food and doesn't know when you'll eat again. To combat this, lose weight gradually not through crash diet and eat protein, fiber and healthy fat every 3 to 4 hours.

Your weights may be to light for you. When you lose weight, you lose muscle and fat. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. So, as muscle mass declines, the rate at which you burn calories does too. To rev up your metabolism again, weight and resistance training is a must. If you are trying to reduce your body fat and you've hit a plateau, you absolutely need to be lifting weights. Not 3-pound dumbbells, you need to use weights and resistance that will challenge you. You wont bulk up...I promise.  Each pound of muscle equals 50 to 150 more calories burned each day. 

Your perceived plateau may be your body's preferred weight. Bodies don't like to be out of balance. Body temp likes to be at 98.6 degrees. The pH of blood stays around 7.35-7.45. The same goes for your weight. The set point theory explains that weight is largely determined by genetics and you can't do much to change it. Before you get depressed, don't worry, you can change your set point. There is scientific proof that food, exercise and environment can override biology. This has led to an updated theory called "settling point theory" that takes the environment, nutrition and social factors into consideration. 

Consistency and lifestyle for the win!

Stay Strong

Coach Megan 

WHY IS RECOVERY SO IMPORTANT?


Your muscles don't actually grow while you are working out; they grow while resting in between sessions. Exercise is essentially stress, and when you repeatedly stress your body it becomes better adapted to respond to the stimulus. 

Working out, specifically weightlifting and body weight exercises, creates micro-tears in your muscles. If you don't give them adequate time to heal, then the tears grow and your muscles feel inflamed, swollen and exhausted. 

Not allowing yourself adequate recovery time can lead to decreased performance and even overtraining syndrome. Overtraining syndrome, or OTS, is ugly. It compromises your immune system, makes you feel exhausted and causes chronic joint and muscle pain.

Recovery is super important in the workout process. Not only does it help you avoid all of those negative side effects, but when those micro-tears heal, your muscles grow.

If you're more into cardio, this still applies. Aerobic exercise, especially running, follows the same progressive overload principle as weightlifting. This is a way of saying that the training programs are also designed to pile an increasing workload onto your body. Then, you recover, and your body adapts to better respond to that stress.

The specific adaptations depend on what specific exercise you do, but generally its the adaptation effect of getting "into better shape." 

For example, if you do aerobic activity, your VO2 max increases. Essentially, this means that your body is able to use more oxygen while working out, which boosts endurance. 

If you lift weights or do body weight exercise, the main adaptation is called muscle hypertrophy and increases the size of your muscles to make you stronger. 

The list of physical changes your body makes after working out is endless, but the point is that they all take time and rest to occur. Basically if you don't give yourself time to recover, you won't get as fit!

When athletes and fitness enthusiasts are able to recover quickly, they can hit the next workout with their full ability and maximize performance. 

If you don't take enough rest after each session, you won't give your body enough time to reap the full effects of your exercise and may even fall victim to overtraining. 

If you enhance your recovery, your body will adapt better to the stress you're putting yourself through and you may even get fitter for the same workout intensity and frequency.

High-tech recovery


While basic recovery techniques, like getting enough sleep or eating more protein tried and true, a few items or high-tech equipment will up your game.

Sone tools will aid your efforts in a wide variety of ways, including everything from allowing you to perform massage techniques on sore muscles to transforming body heat into radiation that literally helps your cells grow faster. 

Calf compression devices work by helping get rid of that swelling that makes your legs feel sore, increasing blood flow to your muscles and helping them heal faster. They look like a big version of blood pressure bands.

I use compression socks, I have some from running store, but I prefer Tommy Copper or Copper magic. You can get calf sleeves or full knee socks. Beyond the basic functions of normal socks, copper socks stimulate the production of capillaries, collagen and other key proteins producing healthier, softer skin. Additionally, there are antimicrobial properties of copper, it protects your feet against fungi and bacteria.

HyperIce's vibrating foam roller combines a massaging technique with vibration therapy for sore muscles. Both myofascial release (aka foam rolling) and vibration therapy help loosen tight muscles, providing relief from soreness and improving blood flow. I use regular foam rollers there are many densities, shapes and sizes. * Fascia is a thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber and muscle in place. The tissue does more than provide internal structure; fascia has nerves that make it almost as sensitive as skin.

Under Armour's sleepwear has technology that absorbs the heat your body emits and reflects it back as far infrared radiation that encourages cell regrowth. 

Cell regeneration is a key part of muscle growth, because when the muscle repairs itself to grow stronger it needs new tissue and more cells.

There's even Recovery bedding available. An infrared sauna session can also be helpful.

ThermX's foam rollers can be heated up in in a microwave or cooled in the freezer. While cooling muscles is slightly better for recovery, heat has also been shown to be effective at relaxing and reducing swelling.

The Wave Tool combines handheld massage therapy with IASTM, which stands for Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization The tool helps break up scar tissue from old injuries and keeps your muscles loose. It has eight different surfaces that can be used on every part of your body, from aching wrists to a sore back. 

This is very similar to Gua sha.

Gua sha is a natural, alternative therapy that involves scraping your skin with a massage tool to improve your circulation. This ancient Chinese healing technique seen in acupuncture clinics and more recently in in facial skin care often sold with Jade or rose quartz rollers. Gua sha tools sometimes called combs relieve tension in the muscles, boost blood circulation, and encourage lymphatic drainage to banish bloat. It helps break up fascia, the connective tissue that hugs muscles. 

 

Thergun and may other brands use percussive technology to increase blood flow and loosen sore muscles. It's pricey, and loud But effective! It offers intense vibrations meant to give your muscles a deep tissue massage.

NormaTec wraps around your entire legs (or arms, depending on what system you buy), delivering a pulsing motion that mimics the pumping of your muscles. It looks like you're wearing half of an astronaut suit.

Tens systems 

DR-HO'S Pain Therapy System Pro combines TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation), and proprietary auto-modulating pain relief wave technology to relieve muscle tension and pain in as little as 20 minutes. I personally don’t find they go deep enough and I don’t like applying cold gel.

Cryotherapy 

Lots of buzz about cryotherapy in the past year!

What is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is a non invasion, non medical approach to recovery. The CRYO therapy machine performs by exposing the skins surface to low temperatures  (between -220-256F degrees Fahrenheit (120-165C)) for 2-3 minutes which stimulates the body’s natural healing abilities. The treatments are administered individually in a CRYO Chamber. Looks like an egg.


When the skin is exposed to the cold stimulus thru cold dry air, it activates the nervous system which produces vasoconstriction, this causes the blood to transport to the vital organs. There, blood is enriched with oxygen and other nutrients and toxins are purified. When you exit the Cryo Chamber vasodilatation takes place and the enriched blood goes back to the peripheral systems of the body.
So basically a way to speed up muscle recovery after exercise, reduce delayed onset muscular soreness (DOMS) and increase performance. 

By exposing the body to extreme cold temperature for a short period of time the speed at which oxygen-rich blood flows back through the muscles is significantly increased. This is a safe and natural way to reduce inflammation and accelerate the healing process of damaged soft tissue and sore joints.

 Similar to the idea of an ice plunge or cold plunge baths seen at both Scandinavian and Japanese detox spas.

Creams, oils and ointments 

There are countless brands, most have both a heating and cooling effect and use essential oils synch as mint to help soothe tired muscles and joints.

I like Doterra and Aveda deep blue and Tiger balm.

Float Session

 

Float

Flotation therapy is therapy by floating in a warm salt water in a float tank. People are in a relaxed and healing state. This helps with conditions including stress, anxiety, pain, swelling, insomnia and jet lag.

When the body reaches a certain amount of relaxation, it is able to cause positive physical results like reduced muscle tension, decreased blood pressure, fewer stress hormones, and increased endorphins. 

I just grab some Epsom salt and I use a sea salt scrub sometimes.

 

Endorphins

Endorphins are chemicals produced naturally by the nervous system to cope with pain or stress. They are often called “feel-good” chemicals or “runners high because they can act as a pain reliever and happiness booster. That’s why we always feel great after a workout!

Always Recover!

Coach Megan

WATER AND WEIGHT LOSS

Everyone is always saying "drink more water" and this is why.

Why drinking water is mandatory for weight loss!
 
Many people don't realize the true importance of drinking enough water every day and how it can impact both your health and your weight loss efforts. According to experts in a recent study, drinking just 2 cups of water, which is smaller than the size of a bottled soda, before meals helped dieters lose an extra five pounds yearly and help you maintain your weight loss.

Additionally, drinking the right amount of water daily can actually speed up your metabolic rate and help to curb overeating when your body confused hunger and thirst. But how much water is enough? Here is how to calculate how much water you should drink a day for both health and weight loss benefits.

Your weight:

The first step to knowing how much water to drink every day is to know your weight. The amount of water a person should drink varies on their weight, which makes sense because the more someone weighs the more water they need to drink. A two hundred pound man and 100 pound woman require different amounts of water every day.


Multiply by 2/3: Next you want to multiply your weight by 2/3 (or 67%) to determine how much water to drink daily. For example, if you weighed 175 pounds you would multiply that by 2/3 and learn you should be drinking about 117 ounces of water every day.

Activity Level:

Finally you will want to adjust that number based on how often you work out since you are expelling water when you sweat. You should add 12 ounces of water to your daily total for every 30 minutes that you work out. So if you work out for 45 minutes daily, you would add 18 ounces of water to your daily intake.

To make it a little easier to calculate how much water to drink every day, here are the recommended amounts for a range of weights. Remember to adjust for your activity level.

Weight Ounces of Water Daily

100 pounds 67 ounces
110 pounds 74 ounces
120 pounds 80 ounces
130 pounds 87 ounces
140 pounds 94 ounces
150 pounds 100 ounces
160 pounds 107 ounces
170 pounds 114 ounces
180 pounds 121 ounces
190 pounds 127 ounces
200 pounds 134 ounces
210 pounds 141 ounces
220 pounds 148 ounces
230 pounds 154 ounces
240 pounds 161 ounces
250 pounds 168 ounces

Tips for Reaching Your Daily Water Goals

So, now that you know how much water you should be drinking every day, let's talk about how to make sure you actually get enough. Drinking over 100 ounces of water may seem impossible at first, but with these easy tips you can reach your goal in no time.

Drink 2 cups (16 oz) of water before every meal:

Science has proven that drinking 2 cups of water before every meal helps you to eat less during meal time and lose weight. If you do this three times daily - at breakfast, lunch, and dinner - you have already consumed 48 ounces of water.

 

Morning and Night:

Get into the habit of drinking one glass (16 oz) of water when you wake up and another 8 oz glass before you go to sleep every night. This will add another 24 ounces of water to your daily intake. The easiest way to do this is to keep a glass or container of water at your bedside, that way as soon as you wake up and start your day, you can begin drinking water.

 

Keep Track By Your Container:

One thing that has proven to help people consume enough water daily is to buy a special container for their water and set a goal of how many times they will can finish the container. For example, if you buy a 16 oz container and need to drink 80 ounces of water a day, your goal would be to drink 5 of those daily. Need to drink more water? Try a larger container.

Infuse Your Water With Flavor:

Water doesn't have to be boring and infusing your water with fruit, herbs, and other flavors can make it much easier to reach your daily goal. Try adding cucumber, strawberries, lemons, limes, and fresh herbs to create flavorful water. This fruit infusion water pitcher is a great way to always have great tasting water on hand.

Bubbles:

Consider carbonated and sparkling water in addition to regular water. Many people find that adding sparkling water and 0 calorie flavored water makes drinking water throughout the day more fun. Find yourself drinking lots of expensive sparkling water? Consider buying a Soda Stream and make your own delicious sparkling beverages at home.

What are the benefits of drinking enough water daily?

Water is essential for our bodies to function correctly and efficiently. It's vital to our health and can have a huge impact on our overall health and wellness. Most of us know this, but do you actually know why water is so important? 

Here are the main benefits of staying hydrated:

💧 Aids digestion and prevents constipation
💧Carries oxygen and nutrients to you cells
💧Helps stabilize blood pressure and heartbeat
💧Supports healthy joints and joint function
💧Helps regulate body temperature
💧Potentially lowers the risk for disease in the future such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney stones, and stroke

How much water should I drink to try and lose weight?

Let's start out by being clear that drinking water alone will likely not lead to weight loss. However, the benefits of drinking water can help support and encourage weight loss.

First, water helps us to feel full and satiated. When we are hydrated, we tend to eat less since we don't confuse signs of dehydration with signs of hunger. Many people actually report feeling hungry when they are in fact dehydrated.

Another added benefit of drinking water is that it is less likely that someone will overeat. When your stomach is filled with liquid from drinking water, it is less likely you will eat too much or mindlessly snack throughout the day.

Lastly, if you are focused on drinking more water, you are less likely to reach for sugary drinks and beverages with empty calories. Swapping in water for higher calorie beverages is a great way to lose weight.

Still Wondering How Much Water to Drink....

What liquids count towards your daily water goal?

All liquids count towards your daily water intake goals. This includes sparkling water, juice, milk, tea, coffee, smoothies, and even soda and diet soda. However, the best and most affordable option is always plain water. And it better for your body than other beverages.

 

A few notes about caffeine. For a long time, people believed that drinking caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea, actually counted against your daily water intake since they are diuretics. However, recent studies suggest that this might not actually be the case.

One other important note, food also contributes to your daily water goals. Some foods, like watermelon, are almost 100% water and therefore count as well. Since this can be hard to track, just think of food as extra water you are having every day instead of trying to track it.

How much water is too much?

Many people wonder if there is actually a point where you can drink too much water. There are some rare cases of someone over-hydrating, known as hyponatremia. However, it is very rare and usually only seen in endurance athletes who are over-drinking while doing very intense exercise or in older adults with certain health conditions.

For the average person, this is normally not a concern.

Is drinking a gallon of water bad for you?

Water poisoning or water intoxication is a condition where someone drinks too much water in a short period of time and their cells become imbalanced due to a loss of sodium. It is a serious condition but extremely rare.

General guidelines suggest that you shouldn't drink more than 27-33 ounces of water per hour. This means drinking a gallon of water in an hour wouldn't be recommended.

Any type of water challenge could potentially be dangerous and it is always best to listen to your body.

How much water do you really need?

At the most basic level, you should be drinking enough water every day that you do not show any symptoms of dehydration and that your body is functioning well. There is no exact number for everyone since it varies based on your body, activity level, diet, climate, and more.

 

Generally speaking, doctors recommend that you get at least 6 cups of water daily at a minimum but most people should be drinking more than that. One easy indicator is urine. Your urine should be fairly frequent and like yellow or clear in color. Darker or smelly urine is an indicator of dehydration and usually indicated you should be drinking more water.

Does water affect your energy levels?

Water can have a huge impact on energy levels. People who are dehydrated report feeling more tired, sluggish, and lethargic. Staying hydrated helps keep your cells functioning properly and helps energy levels stay high. In fact, it is one of the most recommended tips for boosting energy levels quickly.

Does water intake affect brain function?

Water and proper hydration have been shown to greatly benefit brain function. Specifically, staying hydrated can boost mood and mood stability, improve concentration, improve cognition, aid memory, prevent headaches, and even reduce stress.

How can I tell if I am are dehydrated?

Here are some of the most common symptoms of dehydration:

Feeling thirsty
Dry mouth
Headache
Dizziness
Change in mood
Feeling tired or weak
Trouble concentrating or focusing
Increase in body temperature
Rapid breathing and/or heartbeat
Flushed or red skin
Dry mouth, eyes, or lips
Dark yellow or smelly urine (note, this isn't solely caused by dehydration and is common after taking multivitamins or eating certain foods as well.
This evens out throughout the day, so most of your urine should mostly be light or clear.)

Should I drink 8 glasses of water daily?
What about the "8 by 8" rule?

To help people have a tangible amount of water to focus on, there was a push to recommend that the average person drink 8 glasses of water by 8 pm daily. This would mean that you drank at least 64 ounces of water daily.

There is no solid evidence suggesting that this is, in fact, the right amount, but it is probably a good recommendation for a minimum amount.

Depending on your lifestyle, body type, diet, age, and more - this will vary.

What factors affect how much water you need daily?

The amount of water someone needs daily depends on a number of different factors.


Here are the most common factors that affect water needs.

Activity Level and exercise:

People who exercise or do rigorous activity will need to consume more water daily. However, the exact amount varies depending on the activity, muscle mass, and climate.

Climate and temperature:

If you live in a hot and humid climate, or it's a hot day, you will need more water. As we sweat and perspire, we need to replace the water we are losing.

Diet:

Diets that are higher in sodium may require more water to flush out that sodium.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding:

Pregnant and nursing moms will need more water than the average person.

How do you know if you are well hydrated?

The easiest way to know that you are well hydrated is to pay attention to your urine. Generally speaking, it should be light yellow or clear without too much of a smell. Thirst is another indicator, but many people confuse this with hunger.

What about caffeine? How does it affect water intake and hydration?

There used to be a common belief that caffeine counted against hydration since it is a diuretic. However, recent studies have shown it may not affect hydration as much as was previously thought. With that said, water is always the best option when trying to stay hydrated.

How much water do you need during exercise?

It is recommended that you drink water before, during, and after exercise. For most exercise, plain water will do. Some people recommend drinking an electrolyte drink after doing any vigorous exercise for an hour or more to replace lost electrolytes. ( I use BCAA and coconut water)

One other note. Drinking too much water too fast during exercise can cause cramps and stomach pain. It is best to sip slowly while working out in most cases.

Drink up ladies! 💦
Coach Megan

HOW TO CONNECT YOUR PHONE OR iPAD TO YOUR TV

There are a few different ways to connect your iPhone or device to your TV. Here, in short, is what you'll need (in addition to the iPhone / device and TV) for each method. 

Option 1 
Connect via HDMI: For this you will need an HDMI adapter for your phone or device. The TV accepts an HDMI connection and your iphone/ipad will accept a Lighting connector and your android will receive a USB C connector. 

Once the phone/device is connected to the TV by HDMI, go to SOURCE on your TV and select one of the HDMI options (usually HDMI 1 or HDMI 2) whichever one shows the phone or device image.

 

Option 2 
Cast to your TV 

Make sure your phone and TV are connected to the same WIFI network. 

Go to the INPUT on your TV and turn on "screen mirroring". 

Select Android settings 

Select TV 

Establish a connection 

 

Option 3 
Connect via Apple TV:   

Make sure that the iphone/ipad are connected to the same WIFI network 

Open Control Center 

Tap Screen Mirroring 

Select your Apple TV or Airplay 2 compatible smart TV from the list. 

 

Tips for Zoom Class Attendees 

Update Zoom to the latest version

Sign in to Zoom desktop client by going to zoom.us or if you are on mobile, go to Zoom Cloud

Click your profile picture then click Check for Updates. If there is a newer version, Zoom will download and install it.
Mute your microphone upon entry to the class. You can also select this option in Settings.  


"Camera on" is optional. We always turn or microphones and our cameras on at the end to say hello and take our group photo.If you are not comfortable turning your camera on at any time, simply leave it off. 
To help keep background noise to a minimum, make sure you mute your microphone when you are not speaking. 
When your microphone is not muted, please avoid activities that could create additional noise, such as shuffling papers. 
Position your camera properly


If you choose to use turn your web camera on, be sure it is in a stable position and focused at eye level, if possible. Doing so helps create a more direct sense of engagement with other participants.  
You can make it easier to focus on the class by turning off notifications, closing or minimizing running apps, and muting your smartphone.    
If at any point, there is any issue with my sound or video image, please send me a message through the Zoom chat and then resume your workout. 
 
See you on Zoom!
 
Coach Megan

GET A FLATTER TUMMY WITH FERMENTED FOODS


I've made all of these probiotic food and drink options at some point. It can take time and patience to get started. I buy them pre-made as well. You can purchase many types of fermenting cultures at any health food store, on Amazon, or do everything from scratch. Most starters and cultures can live indefinitely and be used ongoing!
 
The health benefits of fermented foods:


Popular across cultures for centuries, fermenting has made a comeback as a provider of good bacteria that contributes to a healthy digestive system.
Historically the fermentation technique was used as a way of preserving foods and drinks long before the days of refrigeration. During the process of fermentation, microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast or fungi convert organic compounds - such as sugars and starch -  into alcohol or acids. For example, starches and sugars in vegetables and fruits are converted to lactic acid and this lactic acid acts as a natural preservative. Fermentation can produce distinctive, strong, slightly sour flavours.


The consumption of foods and drinks that have undergone fermentation contain benefits to health that stretch beyond food preservation. The transformation of sugars and starches enhances the natural, beneficial bacteria in food. These bacteria, known as probiotics or 'good' bacteria are thought to help a multitude of health issues, specifically digestive health.


Bacteria - good or bad?
The bacteria that live in our gut are essential. They help with digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients. Plus, they play a role in the function of our immune system. However there are 'bad' bacteria that also reside in the gut and the challenge is achieving the right balance between the two. When the balance is shifted in flavour of the bad bacteria, symptoms may arise such as bloating, constipation or diarrhea. This is termed dysbiosis – the state in which the gut flora are out of balance. 

Modern diets, high in refined sugars and stressful lifestyles can contribute to dysbiosis by feeding the bad bacteria, enabling them to flourish. Eliminating refined, high sugar foods and including probiotic-rich fermented foods can gut back into balance and support the immune system.

Did you know?: A total of one trillion bacteria live together in our digestive system. Their total weight is about four pounds!

Probiotic powerhouses to include in your diet:


Kefir - A probiotic cultured drink, kefir contains multiple strains of bacteria and yeast. Kefir is rich in minerals and vitamins, particularly the B vitamins and vitamin K (drinkable yogurt you need culture grains)


Sauerkraut - Easy to make at home, this fermented cabbage dish has been around for centuries. It's high in fibre, as well as vitamins A, C, K and various B vitamins. It's also a good source of iron, manganese, copper, sodium, magnesium and calcium (I put it in soup)


Miso- This traditional Japanese paste is made from fermented soybeans and grains consisting of millions of beneficial bacteria. It's rich in essential minerals and a good source of various B vitamins, vitamins E, K and folic acid (Anyone who like salty flavours will love it)


Kimchi – Spicier than sauerkraut, kimchi is also a form of fermented cabbage and other vegetables. It contains vitamins A, B1, B2 and C and minerals such as iron, calcium and selenium (It tastes like hot sauce on cabbage)  


Lassi – Made from soured milk, lassi has been used as a pre-dinner yogurt drink for centuries. They are a popular way of achieving probiotic bacteria. (The mango is so good)


Kombucha– A fizzy, fermented black tea. Yeast turns sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide, and bacteria called acetobacter convert the alcohol into acetic acid, giving it a sour taste. Watch out for sugar in shop-bought kombucha, you're better off making it at home. Soda pop lovers rejoice, you can flavour this like and tea or fruit. It can be used as a cocktail mix. You need to make or purchase a scoby. (It's like a starter fungus)


Tempeh – another version of fermented soy beans, tempeh is a rich protein source so a good choice for vegetarians. (Firm and filling)


Wild Sourdough Bread –  Some breads, such as sourdoughs are made from dough that is fermented. (So worth the wait ) Countless add ins as well! You can also use your bread machine. 


Yogurt - Lactobacilli bacteria convert lactose sugar in milk into glucose and galactose, which break down further into lactic acid, giving yogurt its sour taste. Live bacteria remain in the yogurt and provide a valuable contribution to gut microflora. You can also make or buy coconut yogurt and other dairy alternatives. (You can buy of make starter, you can use a yogurt machine or just 2 bowls) 


Did you know?

In Africa, millet is fermented for several days to produce a sour porridge called ogi, and in India rice and lentils are fermented for at least two days before making idli and dosas.

Nutritional Highlights


Fermented foods are rich in probiotic bacteria so by consuming fermented foods you are adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your overall intestinal flora, increasing the health of your gut microbiome and digestive system and enhancing the immune system.

 

Digestion and absorption - lactose intolerance 


As some of the sugars and starches in food have been broken down through the process, fermented foods are easier to digest. For example, fermentation breaks down the lactose in milk to simpler sugars – glucose and galactose – which, if you are lactose intolerant, can make products such as yogurt and cheese potentially easier to digest.

Synthesis and availability of nutrients
Fermentation can also increase the availability of vitamins and minerals for our bodies to absorb. Additionally, by boosting the beneficial bacteria in your gut, you are promoting their ability to manufacture B vitamins and synthesize vitamin K. (Vegetarians need more B vitamins)

Immune functions (ward off yeast infections) 


A large proportion of the immune system is housed in the gut. By consuming probiotic-rich foods, you are supporting the mucosa (gut lining) as a natural barrier, making the immune system more robust. A lack of beneficial bacteria allows disease causing microbes to grow causing inflammation in the gut wall. If you have recently taken a round of antibiotics, probiotic foods are helpful.

Phytic Acid


Some natural compounds that interfere with the absorption of nutrients can be removed by fermentation. Phytic acid, which is found in legumes and seeds, binds minerals such as iron and zinc, reducing their absorption when eaten. However, phytic acid can be broken down during fermentation so the minerals become available.  

Mood and behavior
The gut and brain are linked, through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Technically called the enteric nervous system, the gut is lined with neurons that can influence our emotions and feelings. Serotonin – a neurotransmitter involved in mood – is made in the gut and research further suggests that as probiotic bacteria contribute to a healthy gut, they are also linked to a healthy mind.  

How to select and store: 


Keep fermented foods in the fridge and beware of buying items straight from the shelf! If it's not in the fridge, it's been heat treated and pasteurization destroys the naturally occurring probiotics. Watch your choice of yogurts and kombucha too – those packed with sugar, high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners are not going to support the gut like natural, live options.

Taking a probiotic supplement is an option.

However beware, they can be a waste of time and money as some bacteria do not survive transit, manufacturing practices and heat damage if not stored properly. Strains of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium bacteria are the most commonly used as they can survive the passage through the digestive system to the gut, including the highly acidic conditions of the stomach. Always read the label! 

What's the difference between pickled and fermented?


There's often confusion over the difference between pickled foods and fermented ones. Pickles, like the ones you buy in the supermarket, are preserved in an acidic liquid, typically vinegar. Although vinegar is a product of fermentation the pickles themselves are not fermented, and so do not offer the same health benefits of fermented vegetables. (Also the vinegar is white vinegar, not raw and not apple cider vinegar) 

Prebiotic and Probiotic, what's the difference? 

Prebiotics are a type of fiber that the human body cannot digest. They serve as food for probiotics, which are tiny living microorganisms, including bacteria and yeast. Both prebiotics and probiotics may support helpful bacteria and other organisms in the gut.

Don't forget to eat naturally prebiotic rich foods too such as onions, asparagus, leeks and artichokes. These fibre-rich foods feed the good bacteria in the gut.

 

Happy Fermenting!

Coach Megan

WHAT IS MEAL PREP?

Why you need to do it and how to get started!

Meal prep is:

Dedicating a block of time to batch-cook ingredients and/or prepare full meals for the week ahead to make feeding yourself and your family easier each day.

But mainly to take control of your health so you do not reach for unhealthy, pre-made or take-out snacks and meals.

It can be as simple as chopping a bunch of veggies for salads and stirring together a sauce for the week, or as involved as cooking and portioning full recipes.

Meal prep should make life easier. It gives you a head start on the week, and helps you feel more in control of what you are eating and how you are spending your time.

Meal prep isn’t:

A one-size-fits-all process that looks the same every week, for every household and person. It also does not necessarily mean prepping, cooking, and portioning every single meal for the week ahead.

What works for one person might not work for another, and that’s okay. It also might not look the same from week to week, as schedules or needs can shift or change.

What’s the difference? Meal prep vs. meal planning

Meal prep and meal planning are both tactics that make getting weekday meals on the table easier, but they’re not the same thing.

Meal prep is the process of setting aside a block of time to prep ingredients and/or cook meals for the week ahead, while meal planning asks and answers the question of “What’s for dinner?” by choosing recipes that best fit your needs and schedule.

While the two can work hand-in-hand, they don’t have to. You can be a meal prepper even if you’re not a meal planner, and vice versa.

Another approach is making a few components that can be turned into a variety of meals during the week.

Start by:

1. Identifying your mealtime pain points (and needs).

Think about your struggles. Do you need healthier breakfasts? Maybe focus on prepping make-ahead eggs or oats for breakfast.

Don’t try to prep everything for every meal at once, your first time. Pick your biggest pain point and decide where to focus.

2. Choose your prep-ahead foods to meet your needs.

You are going to either choose a make-ahead recipe that will be easy to make in a big batch and taste good all week like our detox soup!

Or you will make some mix-and-match meal components like a a pot of grains such as quinoa, roasted vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, or a baked tofu to eat off of all week long.

* Physically make a list of all the tasks you plan to accomplish during your meal prep session. List out what you need to cook.

* Make a shopping list to ensure you have everything you need for your plan.

 

* Make sure you have all the containers and jars required or add them to your shopping list.

 

*You can purchase meal prep container kits if you take lunch to work everyday. It helps to make a fast grab and go from your fridge. This also helps avoid slip ups when you are in a hurry.
A variety of kits are available on Amazon.

 

* Block off time to dedicate to completing your weekly meal prep process.
The best way to develop a meal prep strategy that meets your needs is by doing it, and learning as you go.

 

* Set up for success. Have a plan for how you are going to eat your food.
Do you have to warm it up at work? Does it need to be kept cold?
Do you have utensils?
If your food was frozen make sure it thawed for when you need it.

 

* To avoid monotony, use different spices, dressings, or condiments to flavor your meals or plan on freezing your some of your prepped food for dinner another week.

A layered option like salad in a jar is an easy way to start! Grab a mason jar, start with filling a dressing into a jar and then layer heavy to light. For example, chickpeas, then quinoa followed by cherry tomatoes and mixed greens.
Top with chia seeds or nuts.
Keep salad jars in the fridge until you need them.
Then just shake up and eat or dump into a bowls.

The possibilities are endless.

Get Prepping!

Coach Megan

BAKING WITHOUT SUGAR AND BUTTER
 
Meal prep prevents unwanted snacking and saves time. Here are some guilt free ways to lower carbs and substitute items like butter and sugar. You should never feel hungry or deprived. Set yourself up for success by being prepared. A couple of hours a week in the kitchen can make life easier throughout the week and dial back on anxiety that can arise from snacking on unhealthy food because it was just easier at the time.
 
1. Use an equal amount of avocado in place of butter. Avocado will not only give your baked goods a creamy texture, but it will also provide fiber and heart-healthy fats. Just expect that using avocado instead of butter will change the taste slightly.
 
2. Swap unsweetened applesauce for half the butter and sugar. It can act as a thickener as well as add sweetness without the fat and calories of butter and the refined carbs of sugar.
 
3. Experiment with less sugar and sugar substitutes. There are various kinds of artificial and natural sweeteners that can work great in recipes without adding any calories. The ratio you'll want to use compared with regular sugar varies, so go to the brand's website to find recipes, measurements, and adjusted baking times. The size of the finished product may be smaller because the concentrated amounts of typical artificial sweeteners don't give baked goods the same bulk as regular sugar. You may also notice more of a slight aftertaste when you use some artificial sweeteners. Natural sweeteners are always preferred. Try stevia, a plant-based sugar alternative. You might also try simply cutting out one-third to half of the sugar in the recipe.
 
4. Try nut flours in place of white flour. Almond flour and hazelnut flour contain a little bit more fat, but they have less impact on blood sugar than white flour. If you can't find nut flour or you find the transition is too hard to make, I suggest making baked goods with half white flour and half whole-wheat flour, and see if you can gradually move toward using more whole-wheat flour over time. All of these alternatives also have the benefit of adding fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar.
 
5. Use cacao nibs in place of chocolate. When a recipe calls for chocolate, cacao nibs are better to use than milk chocolate. I also add them to trail mix. They don't contain the sugar that milk chocolate does. Other alternatives to try include dark chocolate made with 70 percent or more cocoa, unsweetened cocoa powder, or simply using less chocolate than the recipe requires. I like carob as well. You can even find Easter treats made completely out of carob. Both cacao nibs and carob chips are available at stores like Bulk Barn.
 
6. Add in veggies like carrots, zucchini, and spinach. You'd be surprised how often you can add ½ to 1 cup of shredded or chopped vegetables for a nutrient boost without changing the taste of baked goods like muffins. For example, you can add two cups of chopped spinach and one-third of an avocado to banana muffins along with bananas, strawberries, an egg, natural sweetener, and almond flour. 
Most baking recipes suggest that spinach be frozen and chopped, although some call for rinsed, firmly packed fresh spinach.
 
7. Try an open-faced pie. You can cut down on the amount of carbs, sugar, and butter in a pie simply by leaving the top crust off. Make it even healthier by using ground nuts instead of flour for the crust.
 
8. Limit portion sizes. Use mini-muffin and cupcake tins to create smaller portions. Or, set aside one serving of your baked treat and freeze the rest. That way, you won't be tempted to overeat.
 
9. Think about the overall meal. If you know you're going to indulge in something sweet for dessert, plan ahead by cutting back on the carbohydrates you consume in your main course.
 
10. Anything in moderation! 😉 
 
Share your experiments!
Coach Megan

THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDITATION AND FITNESS
 
Awareness meditation is a non-secular mindfulness meditation accessible to people of all backgrounds and beliefs. 
 
1. Meditation makes you happier
People who meditate generally lead happier lives than those who don't. Meditation is known to enhance the flow of constructive thoughts and positive emotions. Even a few minutes spent meditating regularly can make a difference. Scientific evidence supports this claim: extensive studies were conducted on a group proving the pre-frontal cortex of the brains (the part associated with happiness) was found to be extra active.

2. Meditation helps you manage anxiety, stress and depression

The transformative potential of meditation is often underestimated. Studies conducted proved that meditation has physiological effects on the brain. For example, researchers found that the part of the brain that regulates stress and anxiety shrinks when meditation is practiced consistently. By focusing on moment-by-moment experiences, meditators are training the mind to remain calm, even in stressful situations. Along with this, they also experience significantly less anxiety due to uncertainty about the future. 

3. You do not need to be a religious person to meditate

It's just about developing calmness, practicing awareness and decluttering the mind. Mainstream mindfulness is beneficial religious affiliation.

4.Meditation benefits are almost immediate

The numerous health benefits that result from meditation are another great reason to adopt the practice. Certain benefits can start making themselves felt very quickly after people start sitting. A sense of calmness and peace of mind keeps cortisol levels in check reducing stress related belly fat.

5. Meditation helps you fall asleep

Insomnia is troubling. Sadly, many people suffer from some form of sleep deprivation, whether occasional or chronic. Mindfulness meditation triggers the relaxation response, which is why some people actually have the opposite problem: they fall asleep as soon as they begin to meditate!

6. Meditation sharpens your memory

Apart from enhancing your happiness and improving your overall well-being, meditation also helps your memory stay sharp and your concentration remain steady. It makes you more aware of the present moment in a non-judgmental manner. Consequently, distractions are less and less likely to affect you. 

There are countless types of meditation such as:

mindfulness meditation
spiritual meditation
focused meditation
movement meditation
mantra meditation
transcendental meditation
progressive relaxation
loving-kindness meditation
visualization meditation
The common goal is to feel calm and have better awareness. 

Namaste

Coach Megan

FASCIA FACTS  - Why we foam roll!

 
What is fascia? 
It's a fibrous connective tissue that is attached to every organ and system within the body. 
 
Why is it important?
Fascia is your protective armour. Damage your armour = increase risk of injury and disease. 
 
It's not enough to drink an adequate amount of water each day; fascia by definition is a biological fabric that must move. Think of it as a thin sponge that absorbs water and has to be wrung out through body movement (such as exercise, foam rolling, body work, and yoga) so that it can absorb more water and keep everything moving properly.
 
Your body contains more collagen than any other protein. It's not just in the skin but in bones, muscles, and all connective tissues, including the fascia. Collagen is impressive stuff: there are at least sixteen types of collagen in the body and some are proportionally stronger than steel.
 
This web of collagen attaches to muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs = anything and everything on the inside of your body! The fascia is how they are able to move without flopping about every which way. Fascia is like a muscle sheath, covering them while they move beneath. It is normally extraordinarily flexible.
 
Myofascial meridians run along "the girdle" of the body, top to bottom, front and back, and diagonally to allow us to move. These differ from acupuncture meridian lines. Because the myofascial meridians are all connected, we sometimes experience "transferred pain": a fascial constriction in one area of the body can cause pain in an entirely different area. A tight piriformis muscle in the pelvis, for example, can cause lower back and leg pain. This is a function of myofascial meridian lines
 
Fascia isn't just a network, a system in itself, it's also part of the overall organism. No one system exists in isolation of the rest.
 
Be sure to manipulate and move your fascia in a healthy sustainable way by foam rolling regularly.
 
Get Rolling!
Coach Megan

DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING

Diaphragmatic breathing (also called "abdominal breathing" or "belly breathing") encourages full oxygen exchange; that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, this type of breathing slows the heartbeat and can lower or stabilize blood pressure.

This technique of deep breathing boosts metabolism and helps to burn fat on the top of abdominal muscles.

When you inhale, your diaphragm contracts (tightens) and moves downward. This creates more space in your chest cavity, allowing the lungs to expand. When you exhale, the opposite happens; your diaphragm relaxes and moves upward in the chest cavity.

Lie on your back on a flat surface (or in bed) with your knees bent. You can use a pillow under your head and your knees for support, if that's more comfortable.

Place one hand on your upper chest and the other on your belly, just below your rib cage.

Breathe in slowly through your nose, letting the air in deeply, towards your lower belly. 

The hand on your chest should remain still, while the one on your belly should rise.

Tighten your abdominal muscles and let them fall inward as you exhale through pursed lips. 

The hand on your belly should move down to its original position. 

The stomach vacuum and vacuum twist are scientifically proven to tighten the core and increase metabolism. There are many other techniques. 

The vacuum and vacuum twist used by many athletes aims at strengthening your inner abdominal muscles.

Lie on your back on a mat with your knees bent and feet flat. Slowly inhale as much air as you can.

Start exhaling as much air as you can, bringing your stomach as close to your spine as possible.

Hold the pose for 15 to 20 seconds. Try to breathe normally while you hold the pose.

Release the pose with an inhale. You can repeat this exercise for several times. *As you do the exercise, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.

* Breathing exercises have proven themselves to be effective in fighting belly fat. Remember however, that you have to combine them with exercise and a healthy diet to see and feel the results of your breathing workouts.

 
Inhale Exhale 
Coach Megan

TOP 20 PROTEIN RICH FOODS

Protein is essential for maintaining and repairing body tissue. It will also help you lose weight by feeding your muscles and keeping you feeling full.
A wide variety of foods provide protein for every type of diet including plant-based and nut free. 
 
Always read labels. Avoid high fat and high sodium content. Fewer ingredients is always best for a clean diet to keep your body lean. 
 
Here is a list of the top 20 best protein rich foods. They are not ranked in a specific order. 
 
1. Eggs
 
Whole eggs are among the healthiest and most nutritious foods available.
They're an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, eye-protecting antioxidants, and brain nutrients that you need.
Whole eggs are high in protein, but egg whites are almost pure protein.
Protein content: 33% of calories in a whole egg. One large egg has 6 grams of protein and 78 calories.
 
2. Almonds and other nuts
 
Almonds are a very popular type of tree nut.
Most nuts are a great source of protein.
If using almond butter try to opt for the de-fatted powdered version to avoid the oil. 
They are rich in essential nutrients, including fiber, vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium.
Protein content: 15% of calories. 6 grams and 164 calories per ounce (28 grams).
Other high protein nuts:
Pistachios (13% of calories) and cashews (11% of calories).
 
3. Chicken breast and tofu based mock meats 
 
Chicken breast is one of the most popular protein-rich foods.
If you eat it without the skin, most of its calories come from protein.
Chicken breast is also very easy to cook and versatile. 
Protein content: 75% of calories. One roasted chicken breast without skin contains 53 grams and only 284 calories.
 
4. Oats
 
Oats are among the healthiest grains available.
They provide healthy fibers, magnesium, manganese, thiamine (vitamin B1), and several other nutrients.
Gluten-free oats are also available. Oat groats are the healthiest.
Protein content: 14% of calories. One cup of oats has 11 grams and 307 calories.
 
5. Cottage cheese
 
Cottage cheese is low in fat and calories.
It's rich in calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B12, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and various other nutrients.
Protein content: 69% of calories. One cup (226 grams) of low fat cottage cheese with 1% fat contains 28 grams of protein and 163 calories.
Other types of cheese that are high in protein:
Parmesan cheese (38% of calories), swiss cheese (30%), mozzarella (29%), and cheddar (26%).
But be mindful of sodium and fat.


🌱 Most vegan cheeses come from pea protein and are also great sources of protein.
 
6. Greek yogurt or coconut milk non-dairy yogurt
 
Greek yogurt, also called strained yogurt, is a very thick type of yogurt.
Make sure it's not just thickened with gelatin and skim milk powder.
It pairs well with sweet and savory dishes. It works as a dip and substitute in baking. It has a creamy texture and is high in many nutrients. 
Protein content: 69% of calories. One 6-ounce (170-gram) container has 17 grams of protein and only 100 calories.
When buying Greek yogurt, opt for one without added sugar. Full fat Greek yogurt is also high in protein but contains more calories. 
Similar options
Regular full fat yogurt (24% of calories) and kefir(40%). Kefir is a great probiotic.
 
7. Milk and milk substitutes 
 
Milk contains a little of nearly every nutrient that your body needs. 
It's a good source of high quality protein, and it's high in calcium, phosphorus, and riboflavin (vitamin B2).
If you are concerned about your fat intake, low or zero fat milk is an option.
For those with lactose intolerance, consuming milk can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms. 


🌱 For those who wish to drink milk but either cannot tolerate it or follow a plant-based diet, alternatives include soy, almond, oat and hemp milk. All are good protein sources. Always read labels. 
Dairy milk protein content: 21% of calories. One cup of whole milk contains 8 grams of protein and 149 calories.
 
8. Broccoli
 
Broccoli is a healthy vegetable that provides vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, and potassium.
It also provides bioactive nutrients that may help protect against cancer.
Calorie for calorie, it's high in protein compared with most vegetables.
Protein content: 33% of calories. One cup (96 grams) of chopped broccoli has 3 grams of protein and only 31 calories.
 

9. Lean beef
 
Lean beef is high in protein, as well as highly bioavailable iron, vitamin B12, and large amounts of other vital nutrients.
Protein content: 53% of calories. One 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of lean sirloin steak contains 25 grams of protein and 186 calories.
Beef is suitable for people on a low carb diet.
 
10. Tuna
 
You can eat it hot in a range of baked dishes or cold in salads.
It's low in fat and calories but a rich source of protein.
Like other fish, tuna is a good source of various nutrients and contains omega-3 fats.
Protein content: 84% of calories in tuna canned in water. One can (142 grams) contains 27 grams of protein and only 128 calories.
 
12. Protein powder
 

When you're pressed for time and unable to cook, a protein supplement can really come in handy.
Whey protein is a high quality protein from dairy foods that can help build muscle mass. It may also aid weight loss.


🌱 Vegan and other clean options include pea and hemp protein. 
Protein content: Varies between brands. Over 90% of the calories may be protein, and there may be 20­–50 grams of protein per serving.
 
13. Lentils and other legumes 
 
Lentils are legume family.
They are high in fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron, folate, copper, manganese, and various other nutrients.
Lentils are among the world's best sources of plant-based protein, and they're an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans.
If using canned look for unsalted.
Protein content: 31% of calories. One cup (198 grams) of boiled lentils contains 18 grams and 230 calories.
Other high protein legumes:
Soybeans (33% of calories), kidney beans (24%), and chickpeas (19%).
 
14. Ezekiel bread (seen in your Strong Nation Nutrition Guide)
 
Ezekiel bread is different from most other breads.
It's made of organic and sprouted whole grains and legumes, including millet, barley, spelt, wheat, soybeans and lentils.
Compared with most breads, Ezekiel bread is high in protein, fiber, and various important nutrients.
Protein content: 20% of calories. One slice contains 4 grams and 80 calories.
 
15. Pumpkin seeds
 
Pumpkins contain edible seeds called pumpkin seeds.
They're incredibly high in many nutrients, including iron, magnesium, and zinc.
Protein content: 22% of calories. One ounce (28 grams) has 9 grams of protein and 158 calories.
Other high protein seeds
Flax seeds (12% of calories), sunflower seeds (12%), and chia seeds (11%).
 

16. Turkey breast
 
Turkey breast is similar to chicken breast in many ways.
It consists mostly of protein, with very little fat and calories. It also tastes delicious and is high in various vitamins and minerals.
Protein content: 82% of calories. One 3-ounce (85-gram) serving contains 26 grams and 125 calories.
 
17. Fish (all types)
 
Fish is healthy for various reasons.
It's rich in essential nutrients. Some types are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Protein content: Highly variable. Salmon is 22% protein, containing 19 grams per 3-ounce (85- gram) serving and only 175 calories.
 
18. Shrimp
 
Shrimp is a type of seafood.
It's low in calories but high in various nutrients, including selenium and vitamin B12.
Like fish, shrimp contains omega-3 fatty acids.
Protein content: 97% of calories. A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving contains 20 grams and only 84 calories.
 

19. Brussels sprouts
 
Brussels sprouts are another high protein vegetable related to broccoli.
They're high in fiber, vitamin C, and other nutrients.
Protein content: 28% of calories. One-half cup (78 grams) contains 2 grams of protein and 28 calories.
 
20. Peanuts
 
Peanuts are high in protein, fiber, and magnesium. 
Studies show that they can help you lose weight.
Peanut butter is also high in protein, but it can likewise be high in calories. Therefore, you should eat it in moderation. Or use the de-fatted powdered version.
Protein content: 18% of calories. One ounce (28 grams) contains 7 grams and 161 calories.
 
Enjoy
Coach Megan

BUILDING MUSCLE IN A CALORIE DEFICIT
 
You can definitely build muscle while being in a calorie deficit.
 
You need muscle to have a high metabolism and to look firm and toned. 
 
There's a couple important factors when it comes to this, the main one is your type of training. 
If you want to build while cutting, you have to lift heavier weights. Only doing cardio and bodyweight HIIT training isn't enough.
Lifting heavy is key!  The reason you need to lift heavy is because it will put more stress on the muscles which tells your body to keep the muscles that you need. Not only will you build a little, but you will also keep the muscle you have, while cutting and defining. 
 
Another important factor is your diet. Even if it's low in calories,  it has to be high in protein.
It becomes challenging to eat enough food to hit your protein level without exceeding your calorie intake. This is where most people use protein supplements like shakes and protein bars or balls. 
 
This type of muscle build takes a longer time because most people don't have the energy to lift heavier while being on a calorie deficit plan.
 
The bottom line is to train efficiently by doing a well rounded routine, and challenging yourself with heavier weights and resistance as well as choosing higher intensity moves if possible.
Eating a high protein, well balanced diet including whole grains, vegetables and good fats is key to a sustainable healthy lifestyle.
Remember to always make sure you are adequately hydrated. 💦 
 
Coach
Megan 

HOW STRESS AFFECTS YOUR WORKOUT
 
Exercise can be an incredible stress reliever for many as it boosts endorphins and releases those feel-good hormones. Too much stress can end up sabotaging your workout. 
 
IT THROWS YOU OFF YOUR WORKOUT GAME
 
Stress has the ability to distract your mind and overwhelm your body, making you a lot less likely to stick to your training regime. Apart from ruining your motivation, you'll have a hard time reaching your fitness goals when your mind is elsewhere. The quality of your workout will suffer as you sacrifice technique in favour of getting it done as soon as possible.
 
To overcome this, try to remember that stress is all in the mind, and it's only as big as you allow it to become. While it may be difficult to push your worries to the side, thinking about it won't make it go away and it won't make it any better. Exercise combined with other stress management techniques, such as meditation can help to calm you down and keep you focused and motivated.
 
IT MAKES YOU STRESS EAT 
 
Emotional eating is a pattern of eating where people use food to help them deal with stressful situations. Many people experience emotional eating at one time or another. When people are upset they don't feel like cooking and often reach for whatever is fast an easy like chips. Sometimes people don't feel like eating and become hungry late at night and eat anything that's around. Often people use food as reward by eating junk as comfort for how terrible they are feeling. This can lead to regret, shame, or guilt causing more stress. 
 
Stress can strike at anytime. Try to arm yourself with healthy options at home, work and in your car. Think before acting and try to make healthy choices. 
 
IT WRECKS YOUR RECOVERY
 
It's normal to feel a bit sore after a workout, but when you're stressed, the effects are multiplied, as your muscles are stressed too. The mental demands of stress steal valuable resources from your body and leave you feeling more run down than usual. When this is combined with a tough workout, it'll leave you with nothing left in the tank.
 
It's important to give your muscles and your mind time to recover following a strenuous workout. This means taking regular rest days, stretching, foam rolling and yoga. 
 
IT SPIKES YOUR CORTISOL LEVELS
 
Chronic stress hurts your ability to regulate the hormone cortisol, which influences your metabolism, immunity, sleep rhythms and blood pressure. Un-regulated cortisol levels will leave you feeling run-down, tired, and more susceptible to gaining weight, as well as making you crave more sugary and fatty food.
 
Lack of sleep coupled with stress is terrible. Sleep is essential in helping you restore your muscles after training and feeling refreshed and energized the next day. You can regulate your cortisol levels by getting a proper sleep. Cortisol, the stress hormone is way higher when you're experiencing stress, and high levels of cortisol encourages insulin production which could result in sugar cravings. It also slows down your metabolism. Increased levels of cortisol can also make it difficult to lose body fat, especially in the abdomen areas.
 
STRESS AFFECTS INCREASES YOUR RISK OF INJURY
 
If you're overly stressed it's possible that you're not focusing properly on your workout or technique, this could cause injury. You also experience increased muscles tension, and this can lead to injury or make existing aches and pains worse.
 
YOU'LL FATIGUE FASTER 
 
Stress affects the part of your brain which deals with both short- and long-term memory, as well as working memory, which is what you use when you're processing multiple pieces of information at once. This means that you'll mentally and physically fatigue more quickly which will impact on your workout.
 
STRESS MIGHT AFFECT YOUR WORKOUT BUT IT CAN ALSO GIVE YOU THAT EXTRA PUSH
 
Stress can be unavoidable. While stress can be bad for your training, try to harness it to motivate you. 
A slight increase in cortisol from moderate stress has been proven to have a positive impact on performance. So rather than seeing stress as a barrier to success, try viewing it as an obstacle you've overcome in the past and know that you will succeed at again. 
 
It's all about your state of mind and if you use stress to fire up your workout, you will be amazed at what you can achieve! 
 
Coach Megan

THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF FASTS AND THEIR USES EXPLAINED 

Fasting is not a long-term sustainable solution to weight loss. Eating healthy food in a calorie deficit and implementing a well-rounded fitness program is the proven scientific solution to losing body fat.

Over the last couple of years, fasting’s popularity has increased dramatically as terms like intermittent fasting and time-restricted feeding have become mainstream terms we hear regularly.
Fasting is the act of going without food for an extended period of time. Looking back at our primal beginnings, fasting was part of everyday life. During this time it was a challenge to source our foods, so it wasn’t uncommon to go without food for extended periods of time.

With this new era in food sourcing, our pantries and fridges are packed yet fasting has gained popularity as a hack to attain your fitness goals.

 

However, fasting isn’t for everyone and before you begin restricting your eating there are some prerequisites to keep in mind.

People who are fasting need to demonstrate quality lifestyle practices which include getting enough sleep, getting enough sun, drinking adequate water, and chewing food thoroughly.

 

These are basic lifestyle guidelines.

They must also possess a quality diet and be able to maintain blood sugar levels throughout the day.

Possible Benefits of Fasting:

1. Mental acuity
Research has shown that being in a fasted state can improve cognitive function.

2. Gut health
It can help build and maintain a healthy gut: Removing food for a period of time gives the gut a break from digesting and assimilating nutrients and can benefit the microbiome.

3. Detoxing the body after medication.

4. Reduce inflammation
Fasting has been shown to lower inflammation by reducing oxidative stress and has also been demonstrated to lower insulin resistance.

5. Weight loss
Fasting can be used as a tool for weight loss and can stimulate metabolism to put the body into a state of ketosis. Fasting is often not a sustainable long-term solution and can create problematic behaviours.

Types of Fasting:

The main types of fasts are, calorie restriction, nutrient restriction, and seasonal eating. Under these umbrellas are many sub-categories.

Calorie Restriction Fasts

The most basic type of fast is a calorie restriction fast. This is what most people think about when they hear the term “fasting”. It is simply going without food for a certain period of time. These types of fasts are typically done between 18-48 hours. Water and ice are consumed. Caloric restriction diets only work in the short-term before basal metabolism falls in response. This is sometimes called ‘starvation mode’. Daily calorie restriction fails because it unerringly puts you into metabolic slowdown. It’s a guarantee. Reversing type 2 diabetes relies upon burning off the body’s excess glucose, so the daily calorie-restricted diet will not work.

 

Macro Nutrient Restriction Fasts

This type of fast involves restricting a certain macronutrient (The three macronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats). Typically, these fasts are protein de-loads. These types of fast work best for athletes who have a higher protein requirement and are consistently stressing their guts. In this type of fast the athlete will consume only high-quality fats, carbohydrates, and thoroughly cooked vegetables for 2-3 days in a month. The reduction in protein consumption will give the gut a break and allow it to heal. Keep in mind that it is important to make sure your activity is somewhat minimal during this time period.

Seasonal Eating:

The third type of fast isn’t a fast at all, it’s seasonal eating. This type of fast is based on primal times and what our food supply would have looked like during different seasons.

In the winter, fattier meats and tubers like sweet potatoes were consumed and summer was reserved for fruits and leaner meats. Most civilizations at northern latitudes wouldn’t have access to ripe bananas in January. Seasonal eating follows the concept of personalized nutrition.

 

Juice Fasting

Juice fasting is known as juice cleansing. This is when a person consumes only fresh fruit and vegetable juices while abstaining from solid food consumption. It is used for detoxification, an alternative medicine treatment, and is often part of detox diets.

 

Dry Fasting

Dry fasting, or absolute fasting, restricts both food and liquid. It doesn't allow any fluids, including water, broth, and tea. This is different from most fasts, which encourage water intake. The belief is that dry fasts burn waste faster than water or juice fasts. This type of fasting puts your body in the state where it starts the process of utilising everything available for energy at the cellular level.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting, also known as intermittent energy restriction, is an umbrella term for various meal timing schedules that cycle between voluntary fasting (or reduced calorie intake) and non-fasting over a given period. Methods of intermittent fasting include alternate-day fasting periodic fasting, and daily time-restricted feeding. A type of periodic fasting known as the 5:2 diet is one of the most popular.

Intermittent fasting may help with obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and inflammation.

Three methods of intermittent fasting are alternate-day fasting, periodic fasting, and time-restricted feeding:

Alternate-day fasting involves alternating between a 24-hour "fast day" when the person eats less than 25% of usual energy needs, followed by a 24-hour non-fasting "feast day" period. It is the strictest form of intermittent fasting because there are more days of fasting per week.

There are two subtypes:

Complete alternate-day fasting (or total intermittent energy restriction), where no calories are consumed on fast days.

Modified alternate-day fasting (or partial intermittent energy restriction) which allows the consumption of up to 25% of daily calorie needs on fasting days instead of complete fasting. This is akin to alternating days with normal eating and days with a very-low-calorie diet.

Periodic fasting or whole-day fasting involves any period of consecutive fasting of more than 24 hours, such as the 5:2 diet where there are one or two fast days per week, to the more extreme version with several days or weeks of fasting.

During the fasting days, consumption of approximately 500 to 700 calories, or about 25% of regular daily caloric intake, may be allowed instead of complete fasting.

Time-restricted feeding involves eating only during a certain number of hours each day. Skipping a meal and the 16:8 diet (16 fasting hours cycled by 8 non-fasting hours) are examples. This schedule is thought to leverage the circadian rhythm.
(Which is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep–wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours.)

Intermittent fasting exists in some religious practices. These include the Black Fast of Christianity commonly practiced during Lent, Vrata (Hinduism), Ramadan (Islam), Yom Kippur (Judaism), Fast Sunday The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jain fasting in Jainism and Buddhist fasting.


Religious fasting practices may only require abstinence from certain foods or fasting at certain times. Religious fasts can last for a short or long period of time.

Fasting is a personal choice and has been associated with a wide array of potential health benefits. If you fast too long or too severe for an extended period of time your metabolism begins to slow and you will store fat and likely gain back any lost weight.

Weight loss does not have to be complicated.

If you eat more calories than your metabolism uses, you will generally gain weight.

The opposite is also true. If you eat less calories than your metabolism uses, you will generally lose weight.

If the energy in doesn’t equal energy out, your weight will not change. This concept is called energy balance. This will maintain your weight.

When choosing to do a fast or diet of any kind, it is always best to consult with your doctor.

Coach Megan

WHAT TO EAT BEFORE AND AFTER YOUR WORKOUT

As a fitness coach, I am often asked:

"How can I get the most out of my workouts"?
 
"How can I lose weight faster, burn the most calories, and feel energized enough to power through every training session"?

 
While there are other elements that may affect your unique situation, there's one simple answer that applies to all of these questions: Eat! More specifically, eat the right foods at the right time.

Whether you eat or don't eat before exercise, research shows the body burns the same amount of fat. However, you can actually cause muscle loss if you regularly work out on an empty stomach.

When you're hungry, your body goes into survival mode and draws protein from muscle instead of from your kidneys and liver, where the body normally looks for protein. When this happens, you lose muscle mass, which can ultimately slow your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose weight. Plus, if you exercise on an empty stomach, you're not giving yourself the fuel you need to power through an intense training session.

The best pre-workout fuel contains some form of complex carbohydrate and a protein. The key is to have a mix of complex carbs so that the release of energy during your workout is slow and steady throughout your routine.

Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables. Both simple and complex carbohydrates are turned to glucose (blood sugar) in the body and are used as energy.

Some pre-workout ideas:

Brown rice (1/2 cup) with black beans (1/2 cup)
Small sweet potato with steamed or lightly salted broccoli in olive oil (1 cup)
Banana with almond butter (2 tablespoons)
Apple with almond butter (2 tablespoons)
Multi-grain crackers (10) with hummus (3 tablespoons)
Oatmeal (1/2 cup) with berries (1 cup), sweetened with stevia or agave
Apple and walnuts (1/4 cup)
Whole-wheat toast (1 slice) with a sliced banana and dash of cinnamon
Greek yogurt (6 ounces) with trail mix (1/4 cup)

*The Importance of Eating After Your Workout

During exercise, your body taps glycogen (the fuel stored in your muscles) for energy. After your workout, your muscles are depleted of their glycogen stores and broken down.

Eating or drinking something that combines protein and carbohydrates 30 minutes to an hour after your workout refills energy stores, builds and repairs your muscles that were broken down, and helps keep your metabolism burning strong.

Regardless of your goals, your body needs these macronutrients to refuel, otherwise, it will actually hang on to more calories because it's in that survival mode.

The sooner you start refueling, the better off you'll be.  Your body's ability to refill muscle stores decreases by 50 percent if you wait to eat just two hours after your workout compared to eating right away.

I usually refuel with a smoothie.

Some after workout meal ideas are:

Protein shake made with half a banana, one scoop of protein powder, almond milk, and hemp seeds (excellent protein source)
Salad with roasted chickpeas (1/2 cup), light olive oil, and vinegar
Sautéed or steamed vegetables (1 cup) with non-GMO tofu (1/2 cup)
Quinoa bowl (1 cup) with blackberries (1 cup) and pecans (1/4 cup)
Whole-grain/gluten bread (2 slices) with raw peanut butter (2 tablespoons) and agave nectar
Burrito with beans (1/2 cup), brown rice (1/2 cup), guacamole (2 tablespoons), and salsa
Grilled chicken (4 ounces) with sautéed or steamed vegetables (1 cup)
Omelet (2 eggs) stuffed with sautéed vegetables (1/2 cup) and avocado (1/4 of fruit, sliced)
Grilled salmon (4 ounces) with a baked sweet potato (5 ounces)
Whole-grain or gluten free bread (2 slices) with tuna (3 ounces) mixed with hummus (2 tablespoons), spinach leaves (1/2 cup)
Chocolate plant milk or dairy milk (1 cup)
 
Fast and easy ideas:

An omelette with avocado spread on toast
Oatmeal with almonds, whey protein, and banana
Hummus and pita
Cottage cheese with berries
Greek yogurt and berries
Quinoa with avocado, dried fruits, and nuts
Scrambled eggs
Soybean and chickpea salad

 

Always remember to meal prep snacks so you are prepared and avoid temptation.
 
Coach Megan

 

HYDRATION SERIES PT 1

5 WAYS TO HYDRATE

You already know the countless benefits of drinking water. Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood and aids in weight loss.

When we walk down any beverage aisle in the grocery we are drawn bright bottles of water.

The labels feature catchy names, tasty flavours and boast ingredients such as vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.

It sounds great, but beware.

Those labels are made so that we reach for the bottle and we want to buy it because we think that it’s giving us something we need.

Vitamin water is the perfect example.

There are so many different flavours and it targets a wide range of needs such as increased focus, antioxidants and vitamins. You feel like the drink is going to actually help you, but what you’re really drinking is a lot of sugar.

Proper hydration is critical for our bodies to thrive, especially during workouts or exercising in hot weather.

Best to worst drink options

Level 1: Plain water

Weather you chose spring water, filtered or tap. You are not harming the body. In its purest form, water isn’t processed. So from a health standpoint, we want to try to consume food and drinks in its most natural form possible.

Level 2: Infused and carbonated water

Infusing plain water with natural ingredients such as fruit or herbs is a healthy, flavourful option,  So is steeping unsweetened herbal teas. Your Nourish page has a drinks category with infused water recipes.

Keep in mind, that when infusing fruit there are naturally occurring sugars, so that’s why it’s the level below plain water. It’s very low and may help you enjoy more water.

Carbonated water can also be a good way to spice things up. The air may temporarily make you appear bloated.

A plain Perrier with your own limes and lemons is a great option. It gives you that little bit of fizz so it’s a bit more exciting. It’s still hydrating; it still counts towards your water intake. Get creative with fruits and even a dash of stevia or your preferred natural sweetener. If it’s a flavoured carbonated drink, read the label. There may be a high amount of chemicals in the sweeteners or flavours.

Level 3: Water with artificial flavours or low-cal sweeteners

Products listed as tasting better should raise your skepticism, especially if labels say it doesn’t contain much sugar.

Where it says natural flavours or artificial flavours, they can hide a percentage of sugars.

Level 4: Vitamin waters, sports drinks, coconut water.

Some of these beverages are 130 calories or more and have 30-plus grams of sugar in about a 500-millilitre bottle. That can be comparable to a can of pop.

Coconut water is hydrating and a natural recovery drink because it provides a good amount of electrolytes (essential minerals). However, the ones with shredded coconut in the bottom often has added sugar so it’s higher in calories – sometimes more than 100 calories per serving. Look for natural coconut water as the only ingredient. Kit can also be frozen as a popsicle.

If you’re working on your body composition, a beverage over 100 calories is not an ideal choice. It’s not going to make you feel full and it’s not giving you high-quality nutrients. It’s empty calories you could have spent on something else.

Sports drinks also contain electrolytes, but there are way better ways to replenish those without having a high sodium and high calorie drink.

Squeezing a little lime and lemon juice into your bottle of water to sip while exercising can replenish electrolytes and make you feel better.

There are electrolyte powders on the market that can be added to water, but again check the label for natural and artificial flavours that could hide sugar.

Level 5: Energy drinks

These types of drinks often have astronomical amounts of caffeine, artificial sweeteners and flavours.

Red Bull for instance almost acts like a diuretic. It’s actually not going to help you stay hydrated. It could even have the opposite effect if you’re drinking too much caffeine.

Our daily requirement for water varies by individuals, but a good rule to follow is 30 ml per kilogram of body weight. For example, someone weighing 150 pounds would need at least two litres (eight cups) of water intake. More if working out.

Liquid calories are dangerous. They can have a big impact on your body composition without you even realizing it. Choose your beverages with your goals in mind. Don’t worry about revamping your drinking habits overnight. Make small, manageable changes that you can sustain.

I did not include BCAA (branch chain amino acids) in this list because it falls under supplements. You can learn more about it in our supplements 1 Meeting in your library.

I use BCAA is my water because I workout. I only use it during my workout and sometimes as a pre-workout. They’re “essential” because your body doesn’t make them on its own—you have to get them from food and workout supplements. Like other amino acids, they’re the building blocks of protein. But these particular aminos may also help preserve muscle glycogen stores, which fuel your muscles and minimize protein breakdown during exercise. Translation? BCAAs can help you get more out of your workout sessions.

Look for hidden sodium and chemicals. I use a sodium free brand. The word electrolytes can often hide salt.

Get creative with flavours, temperatures from warm to frozen and with sparkling waters for fun!

HYDRATING FOODS CAN HELP IF YOU DO'T HAVE ACCESS TO DRINKING WATER

As you know, proper hydration is extremely important for your health.

In fact, not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, which can cause fatigue, headaches, skin problems, muscle cramps, low blood pressure and a rapid heart rate.

What’s more, prolonged dehydration can lead to serious complications like organ failure.

Experts generally recommend drinking several glasses of water per day to meet your hydration needs.

But while drinking water is very important, you can also get it from foods. There are many healthy foods that can contribute a large amount of water to your diet.

 

Here are 19 water-rich foods that will help you stay hydrated.

1. Watermelon
Water content: 92%

Watermelon is very healthy and one of the most hydrating foods you can eat.

A 1-cup (154-gram) serving contains over a half cup (118 ml) of water, in addition to some fiber and several important nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A and magnesium. It is also quite low in calories, providing only 46 calories per cup.

Because of their high water content, watermelons have a very low calorie density. That means that a relatively large portion of watermelon contains very few calories.

Foods with low calorie densities have been shown to help with weight loss by promoting fullness and reducing appetite.

Furthermore, watermelon is rich in powerful antioxidants, including lycopene.

This compound has been studied for its ability to reduce oxidative damage to cells, which has been linked to diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

You can add watermelon to your diet by consuming it as a refreshing snack or side dish. It’s also commonly used to make salads.

SUMMARY:
Watermelon is a hydrating, nutrient-dense fruit that may provide several health benefits, including a reduced risk of chronic illness.

 

2. Strawberries

Water content: 91%

Strawberries have a high water content, making them a very hydrating food.

Because about 91% of strawberries’ weight comes from water, eating them will contribute to your daily water intake.

Furthermore, strawberries provide lots of fiber, disease-fighting antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate and manganese.

Eating strawberries on a regular basis has been shown to reduce inflammation, which can help protect against heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and various types of cancer.

It is easy to include strawberries in your diet by blending them into smoothies or incorporating them into salads. They also make for a unique addition to sandwiches and wraps.

SUMMARY:
Strawberries are very healthy and contain lots of water. Plus, the nutrients they provide may deliver a number of health benefits.

 

3. Cantaloupe

Water content: 90%

Cantaloupe is a melon that’s extremely nutritious and may boost your health in several ways.

One cup (177 grams) of cantaloupe is composed of about 90% water and delivers more than a half cup (118 ml) of water per serving.

One cup of cantaloupe also contains 2 grams of fiber, which works together with water to promote fullness and reduce your appetite.

Additionally, cantaloupe is rich in vitamin A, providing 120% of your daily needs in a 1-cup (177-gram) serving. Studies have shown that vitamin A may boost immune health by protecting against infection.

You can consume cantaloupe plain or add it to salads, smoothies, yogurt or salsa. It also makes a great side at breakfast.

SUMMARY:
Cantaloupe is a healthy fruit that provides a significant amount of water and many health-promoting vitamins and minerals.

 

4. Peaches

Water content: 89%

Peaches are a very nutrient-dense and hydrating fruit.

Close to 90% of their weight is water. They also provide several important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins and potassium.

Furthermore, eating peaches with the skin on may also contribute disease-fighting antioxidants like chlorogenic acid to your diet.

Peaches’ water and fiber contents are why they are so filling and low in calories, with only 60 calories in a medium peach.

It is simple to add peaches to your diet. They are commonly combined with smoothies and salads and also make a great addition to cottage cheese and yogurt.

 

SUMMARY:
Peaches are rich in water, fiber and antioxidants, in addition to several vitamins and minerals that may promote hydration and provide many other health benefits.

 

5. Oranges

Water content: 88%

Oranges are incredibly healthy and may provide a number of health benefits.

There is almost a half cup (118 ml) of water in one orange, along with fiber and several nutrients.

These include vitamin C and potassium, which may boost your immune function and heart health.

Oranges are also rich in disease-fighting antioxidants, including flavonoids, which may prevent cell damage by reducing inflammation.

The water and fiber in oranges may promote feelings of fullness, which is helpful for keeping your appetite under control.

Additionally, regularly eating citrus fruits like oranges may protect against kidney stones. This is because the citric acid they contain can bind with stone-forming calcium oxalate, helping flush it out of the body.

Proper hydration is another important factor in preventing kidney stones, which the high water content of oranges can help promote.

 

SUMMARY:
Oranges are a great source of water, fiber, antioxidants and several nutrients and may help prevent kidney stones and several illnesses.

 

6. Skim Milk

Water content: 91%

Skim milk is very nutritious.

It’s made up of mostly water and provides a considerable amount of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B12, phosphorus and potassium.

Not only does milk help with overall hydration, but it may also help you rehydrate after strenuous exercise.

A few studies have shown that low-fat milk helped people stay hydrated after a workout, compared to sports drinks or plain water.

This is partly due to milk’s electrolytes and protein content, which may help replace body fluid losses.

Because milk is widely available and affordable, it’s easy to incorporate into your diet.

SUMMARY:
Milk is rich in water, vitamins and minerals, and has been shown to help people maintain proper hydration, especially after exercise.

 

7. Cucumber

Water content: 95%

Cucumbers are another healthy and hydrating food to include in your diet.

They are made up almost entirely of water and also provide a small amount of some nutrients, such as vitamin K, potassium and magnesium.

Compared to other water-rich vegetables, cucumbers are one of the lowest in calories. There are only 8 calories in a half-cup (52-gram) serving, and their water content makes them very refreshing.

You can eat a relatively large portion of cucumbers without adding a significant number of calories to your diet, which is helpful for maintaining your weight.

It’s easy to incorporate cucumbers into your diet. They are commonly added to salads and sandwiches, but they can also be included in cooked dishes like stir-fries and soups.

SUMMARY:
Cucumbers are high in water but very low in calories. This combination is beneficial for several aspects of your health, including hydration.

 

8. Lettuce

Water content: 96%

Lettuce has several health-promoting properties.

One cup (72 grams) of lettuce provides more than a quarter cup (59 ml) of water, in addition to 1 gram of fiber. It also provides 5% of your daily needs for folate.

Folate is important for pregnant women, as it can help prevent neural tube birth defects.

Additionally, lettuce is high in vitamins K and A, both of which have been studied for their roles in keeping your bones and immune system healthy.

Furthermore, the combination of water and fiber in lettuce makes it very filling for a low number of calories. There are only 10 calories in a 1-cup (72-gram) serving.

You can easily add lettuce to your diet by using it to make salads. Additionally, you can use it as a “bun” for burgers or wrap instead of a tortilla to substitute for less-hydrating grains.

SUMMARY:
Lettuce provides a few important nutrients and fiber, as well as a high amount of water, which may help keep you hydrated.

 

9. Broths and Soups

Water content: 92%

Broths and soups are usually water-based and have the potential to be very hydrating and nutritious.

For example, 1 cup (240 grams) of chicken broth is made almost entirely of water, which contributes a decent amount to your daily hydration needs.

Consuming water-rich foods like broths and soups regularly may also promote weight loss due to their low calorie content.

Many studies have found that those who consume soup before the main course of a meal eat fewer calories and therefore end up with a lower daily calorie intake.

In one study, participants who ate two servings of low-calorie soups per day ended up losing 50% more weight than those who consumed the same number of calories from snack foods.

You can significantly increase the nutrition content of broths and soups by adding lots of vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes.

 

Summary:
Broths and soups are rich in water and therefore excellent foods to include in your diet to promote hydration.

 

10. Zucchini

Water content: 94%

Zucchini is a nutritious vegetable that may provide several health benefits.

A 1-cup (124-gram) serving of chopped zucchini contains more than 90% water and provides 1 gram of fiber. Both these components are great for keeping you full.

And as a result of its high water content, zucchini is fairly low in calories by volume, with only 20 calories in 1 cup (124 grams).

Eating zucchini will contribute several nutrients to your diet, especially vitamin C, since 1 cup (124 grams) of it contains 35% of your daily needs.

Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system and may help protect against a number of diseases.

To include zucchini in your diet, eat it on its own as a side dish or add it to soups, salads and stir-fries. You can also cut it into strips to create “noodles” that you can use as an alternative to regular pasta.

SUMMARY:
Consuming zucchini will contribute a significant amount of water and nutrients to your diet. It will help keep you hydrated, and it’s beneficial for your overall health.

 

11. Celery

Water content: 95%

Celery is a very healthy and hydrating food to include in your diet.

It’s made mostly of water, providing close to a half cup (118 ml) of it in a 1-cup serving.

This contributes to its low calorie content of just 16 calories per cup.

Like other water-rich vegetables, celery may be a beneficial weight loss food due to its high water content and low number of calories.

In addition, celery contains some fiber and lots of important nutrients.

It’s particularly high in vitamin K and potassium, which may protect against heart disease, certain types of cancer and bone-related diseases like osteoporosis.

It’s quite simple to incorporate celery into your diet, as it can be eaten raw or cooked. You can add it to soups and salads, or eat celery sticks along with a healthy dip such as hummus or Greek yogurt.

SUMMARY:
Celery is low in calories and an excellent source of water and nutrients. These properties can promote several aspects of your health, including proper hydration.

 

12. Plain Yogurt

Water content: 88%

Plain yogurt contains lots of water and nutrients that may boost several aspects of your health.

A 1-cup (245-gram) serving of plain yogurt is made up of more than 75% water. It also provides several vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus and potassium, all of which are known to help promote bone health.

Yogurt is also a great source of protein, providing more than 8 grams and about 17% of your daily needs in a 1-cup (245-gram) serving.

Eating yogurt on a regular basis has been shown to promote weight loss, an effect that’s largely due to the appetite-reducing effects of its high water and protein contents.

To reap the full benefits of yogurt, eat plain rather than flavored yogurt varieties.

This is because flavored yogurt is typically high in unhealthy added sugar, which should be limited in your diet due to its role in promoting diseases like obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

For example, 1 cup (245 grams) of fruit-flavored yogurt contains 47 grams of sugar, which is more than four times the amount found in the same serving size of plain yogurt.

SUMMARY:
Plain yogurt is a great source of water, protein and some important vitamins and minerals. It may provide hydrating effects, along with many other health benefits.

 

13. Tomatoes

Water content: 94%

Tomatoes have an impressive nutrition profile and may provide many health benefits.

One medium tomato alone provides about a half cup (118 ml) of water.

It also provides a significant amount of vitamins and minerals, including immune-boosting vitamins A and C.

The high amount of water in tomatoes contributes to their low calorie content, with only 32 calories in a 1-cup (149-gram) serving.

Additionally, tomatoes are rich in fiber and some disease-fighting antioxidants, including lycopene.

Lycopene has been studied for its potential to lower the risk of heart disease and may help prevent the development of prostate cancer.

You can enjoy tomatoes cooked with soups, sauces and several other dishes. They are also often added to salads and used to make salsa.

 

SUMMARY:
Tomatoes provide lots of water, nutrients and antioxidants, which are beneficial for hydration and protect against several diseases.

 

14. Bell Peppers

Water content: 92%

Bell peppers are another incredibly healthy vegetable with a variety of health-promoting effects.

More than 90% of the weight of bell peppers comes from water.

They are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and potassium. Bell peppers also contain carotenoid antioxidants, which may reduce the risk of certain cancers and eye diseases.

What’s more, bell peppers contain the highest amount of vitamin C, compared to other fruits and vegetables, providing 317% of your daily needs in just one cup (149 grams).

Not only does vitamin C benefit your immune system, it also helps your body absorb iron more effectively, promotes bone health and protects your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals.

Because of their high water content, bell peppers are very low in calories, providing 46 calories per cup (149 grams). That means you can eat large portions of them without feeling like you’ve gone overboard.

There are several ways to include bell peppers in your diet. They can be eaten raw in salads, included in sauces or added to stir-fries.

 

SUMMARY:
Bell peppers may provide a number of health benefits due to the high amounts of water and nutrients they contain, particularly vitamin C.

 

15. Cauliflower

Water content: 92%

Cauliflower is an excellent vegetable to include in your diet, since it is very nutritious and hydrating.

One cup (100 grams) of cauliflower provides more than one-forth cup (59 ml) of water, as well as 3 grams of appetite-reducing fiber.

Its high water content contributes to its low number of calories, with only 25 calories per cup.

Additionally, cauliflower consists of more than 15 different vitamins and minerals, including choline, which is not found in many foods. Choline is an essential nutrient for supporting brain health and metabolism.

You can use cauliflower as a replacement for less-hydrating grains by chopping it finely into “rice” or using it to make a cauliflower-based pizza crust.

 

SUMMARY:
Cauliflower provides a significant amount of water, fiber and nutrients, and it’s a good substitute for grains that are less hydrating.

 

16. Cabbage

Water content: 92%

Cabbage is an impressively healthy cruciferous vegetable.

It is quite low in calories but high in fiber and nutrients. It is also rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and several trace minerals that may have a variety of health-promoting effects.

For example, vitamin C is well known for its role in reducing inflammation and has been shown to lower the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

In addition, cabbage provides glucosinolates, which are antioxidants that are thought to help protect against certain types of cancer, such as lung cancer.

Furthermore, cabbage is commonly fermented into sauerkraut, which is also rich in water and may benefit digestive health.

 

SUMMARY:
Eating cabbage may help several aspects of your health, including hydration. This is due to its water, nutrient and antioxidant contents.

 

17. Grapefruit

Water content: 88%

Grapefruit is an exceptionally healthy citrus fruit with many health benefits.

In half a grapefruit (123 grams), there is close to a half cup (118 grams) of water, which contributes a decent amount of water to your daily hydration needs.

Additionally, grapefruit is rich in fiber, antioxidants and several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, potassium and folate.

It’s especially high in immune-boosting vitamin C, providing 120% of your daily needs in half a grapefruit (123 grams) .

Several studies have shown including grapefruit in your diet may help boost weight loss, as well as reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

You can easily include grapefruit in your diet by eating it plain, blending it in with smoothies or adding it to salads.

 

SUMMARY:
Grapefruit may promote hydration due to its high water content. It’s also rich in nutrients and antioxidants that may have a number of health benefits.

 

18. Coconut Water

Water content: 95%

Coconut water is a super healthy beverage that will keep you hydrated.

Not only does it have a very high water content, it’s also rich in electrolytes, including potassium, sodium and chloride.

Studies have shown that coconut water may be beneficial for rehydrating. And it’s thought to be helpful for exercise recovery due to its electrolyte content.

Drinking coconut water after exercise is a much healthier option than drinking a manufactured sports drink, since many sports drinks are loaded with added sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.

For example, a 1-cup (237-ml) serving of Gatorade provides 13 grams of sugar, which is 50% more than in the same amount of coconut water.

 

SUMMARY:
Drinking coconut water is especially helpful for hydration because it’s rich in water and electrolytes.

 

19. Cottage Cheese

Water content: 80%

Cottage cheese is another healthy and nutritious dairy product with hydrating properties.

About 80% of the weight of cottage cheese comes from water.

It also contains 25 grams of protein per 1-cup (225-gram) serving, which is 50% of your daily needs.

It’s high water and protein contents are a major reason why it’s such a filling food that may help reduce your appetite.

Additionally, cottage cheese has an impressive nutrition profile, providing 36% of your daily needs for phosphorus, 19% for calcium and 31% for selenium in just 1 cup (225 grams).

Furthermore, cottage cheese is a great source of B vitamins, including riboflavin and vitamin B12, which are necessary for brain health, metabolism and keeping your bones healthy.

It is easy to incorporate cottage cheese into your diet. You can mix it with fruit, use it as a spread, add it to salads or eat it with an omelet.

 

SUMMARY:

Cottage cheese contains lots of water and protein, in addition to vitamins and minerals that may provide health benefits.

 

The Bottom Line

Staying hydrated is extremely important for your overall health.

Health experts often recommend drinking several glasses of water per day to meet your hydration needs, but the water content of foods is often overlooked.

While drinking water is very important, you can consume a significant amount of water by including a variety of water-rich fruits, vegetables and dairy products in your diet.

As long as you're eating plenty of water-rich foods and drinking water when you feel thirsty, you won't have a problem staying hydrated.

If you are working out, hoping to lose weight, or in a hot climate, it is important to stick to your body's water calculation for proper intake.

Think of hydrating foods as an added bonus to your hydration.

Coach Megan 💧

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