Category Archives: Life Health

My Five

I feel like its been a hot minute since I last wrote a blog and whilst I normally have something to say in regards to nutrition, training or even mental wellness today I’m taking a different approach. I’m going to throw at you five things I cannot possible live without, this is in regards to every aspect of my life and a little “get to know me” type of post if you’re new to Union Fitness and have no idea who that blonde chick in the Birkenstock’s is.

 

My Five

 

Coffee: I’m a huge advocate for letting your body wake up naturally rather then jump out of bed and literally run for the freshly made pot waiting for you on the counter. However, there is nothing like it when I take that first sip in the morning, I truly do go to bed thinking about that initial cup of coffee. I will argue that Starbucks is consistently just okay and I’d much rather opt in for a small business brew that has been locally sourced.

 

Breakfast Food: I don’t know about any of y’all but I could eat breakfast at all hours of the day, I mean its basically an excuse to eat dessert at 8AM in the morning. I’d say my favorite breakfast meal that I don’t normally get to eat would be a crepes with a Nutella spread, bananas + strawberries doused in maple syrup (because I’m also Canadian, duh).

 

The Gym: Pretty sure a lot of people feel me here, especially post-quarantine I realized how much of my socializing in life comes from the gym atmosphere. Not only is it a huge hobby of mine it’s also my job and I’m very thankful to be able to do what I love on a day to day basis. The gym has allowed me to grow immensely over the past six years and within the last three, getting more involved in the competitive aspect I’ve truly learned how important it is to love the process and love the day in/day out mentality.

 

Leggings: I’m getting pretty basic here with my top five but if I’m being real with you, I own two pairs of jeans and thats 100% the truth. Leggings are my work, workout and life choice of clothing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I despise clothes that are tight and especially during specific times of the year sometimes I really just hate clothes and would much rather live on a private island so I could wear a bikini all day long.

 

Ice Cream: Hands down would do absolutely anything (that is legal) for Ben & Jerrys. I’m a fan of chocolate Halo Top but lets be honest, if I’m going to have ice cream I’m going to eat the real stuff, even if a lot of dairy hurts my stomach. I’m just a huge ice cream girl, I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and a whole pint in one sitting, truly wondering if maybe I could handle another. Name a better ice cream company, I’ll wait….

 

As generic as my answers are they are so truthful, my life is super boring and primarily revolves around work, training, eating and sleeping but honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way. So, now that I’ve told you all my five, I’m nominating my fellow co-worker Cayt Neff to white about her five things she can’t live without!

 

Much love,
J

Bootcamp and Beers

Great people of Union,

 

I come to you electrified with great tidings of events to come! We are so happy to see you all safely return to Union and want to do a little something something to celebrate our members, friends of members and our community with two upcoming events.

 

The first event will start your 4th of July off with a BOOM! Here at UF’s outdoor location we will have an hour long, fun filled Charity Super Class led by Curtis, CeJ and a few special guests coaches. The class will start at 9am, we will toss some weights around, jump, throw medicine balls, carry bars, sprint and much much more. So please feel free to bring a friend, brag about this event on your social media and rock your best 4th of July workout gear. We will be taking any and all donations for………..Wounded Warrior.

 

Our next event “UF & ACB Bootcamp & Beers” will be held at Allegheny City Brewing July 11th from 11am-12pm. A few of your favorite UF Coaches have paired up with ACB to bring you a Saturday morning get you right bootcamp class, that any and all our welcomed, you just have to be 21 or older to enjoy some tasty libations after the class. If you are interested in this class please just give us a heads up or surprise us and show up, no matter what we will be ready to get bumpy then safely cheers some glasses afterwards. We will be asking for canned food items to donate to our local food bank, no money for the class is needed, just a positive attitude and your smiling faces!

 

Thank you for making UF so strong and building a community.

 

Cheers,

 

CeJ

Why Team?

When I was younger nothing stuck for me, it wasn’t until my mother forced me into swimming that I eventually learned to love it. I started on a summer swim team, it was an outdoor pool and this less than 100lb girl would shiver like no other, my lips were blue and I was always and I mean always cold at practice. It was so bad that my mother had to buy me a wetsuit just so I could withstand an hour plus of practice. The Colby Sailfish is what started it all for me and from there my parents decided to put me into winter swimming, I remember it being a huge deal and caused so much drama. Back then moving from summer swimming to winter meant you wanted to be more competitive and looking back I realized if that never would have happened then I wouldn’t have been as competitive as I am today.

 

Swimming was a big part of my life and it helped me learn the importance of routine and structure. I followed swimming with cross-county and paired those together for the remainder of my school years. It didn’t leave much room for anything else but my life was sports and for as long as I can remember, even at 27 thats how it has always been. I’ve always enjoyed putting my all into something that gave me results based upon what I put in, it was entirely up to me and how hard I wanted to work. It showed me that work ethic didn’t throw out favors and it didn’t give away trophies for participation, there was a clear winner based upon time that was spent grinding.

 

My biggest takeaway from swimming was relays, it didn’t occur to me until later in life that I absolutely enjoyed the rush of being on a team consisting of four people. I’d always push myself harder, I’d swim faster and I’d leave it all out there in the pool for my teammates. This translated fluidly to when I started competing in the sport of Functional Fitness, being on a team consisting on two males and two females took pushing myself to a whole new level. In all my years of being an athlete I have never pushed myself to the point I continue to push myself on a day to day basis with my current teammates. 

 

This is why I think playing sports when you are younger is so important, it truly is part of what makes you who you are in this present moment. It teaches you things that you will carry throughout your life and give you skills that you can apply to many situations that aren’t even closely related to sports. When I was put on a relay in swimming I knew that I had a part to play in the outcome and with that being said, in life you play a part alongside many people. This can be your relationship, as a daughter, brother or sister, it could be as a parent or a coach. We are all constantly surrounded by opportunities to showcase our ability to work within a social structure and create something beautiful alongside others.

 

So, to answer the title of this blog, why team? I think it all comes down to being able to share something greater than yourself with other people. When working within a team generally you know your teammates abilities and they know yours so you’re able to jump in when they need a break and vise-versa. To be able to have this understanding amongst three other people is so rare and to even be able to communicate in such a way that you all understand what each individual is feeling is a learned skill from your younger years of competing. 

 

At the end of the day I absolutely love being on a team, it has given me a sense of belonging in a world that makes it so hard to be yourself. It’s also more than a team, they are your friends, your family, not because you spend so much time together but because you truly do care about each individual. I think I’ll always choose to be on a team in every aspect of my life, not just my athletic pursuits. If the life lessons of team sports taught me this much that it carried through till my 27th year around the sun then there is something to be said about the kind of person you turn into when you learn to let people help you and they let you help them in return.

 

Much love,

 

Jocelyn

UF Adventure Team

For those of you who couldn’t join us last Saturday we had a fun day of outdoor exercise and showed our new expansion (The Performance Lab). We here at UF are happy to be expanding our services to all of our members. One area I am hoping to see growth is our outdoor activities.

 

One of the events we had last weekend was the first ever UF bike ride. It was a small affair with 4 riders, but an active and fun group. We rode our bikes from here through the Northside and into the strip district for a nice tour of our fine city. The ride consisted of a few nice little climbs but nothing too bad.

 

I hope events such as this ride become a more normal activity here at UF. With all that we as a society have been through in the last three months let’s all try to get outside more. Find ways to connect with your community and see the beauty in the world. My challenge to UF is to find ways to be active, while remaining safe and healthy.

 

Thank you all for what you do, and if you have new ideas as to how we can get outside and be better people, neighbors and friends please tell us.

 

Peace and Love,

 

Todd Hamer

Trigger Points

Have you ever encountered a situation that made you feel emotionally triggered? Well, the muscles in your body can feel triggered, too. In fact, your body has trigger points at any given moment. You may or may not have heard your Massage Therapist mention trigger points, but today I am going to delve into the what’s, why’s, and hows of these little (maybe big) buggers.

 

“I have a knot in my *fill in the blank,” said by all of us at some point. Technically your muscles don’t have little people inside tying the fibers together into knots, but what you are feeling does seem knotty and rope-like. Those are the trigger points. Muscle fiber(s) can become triggered typically by something like injury or overuse. These lesions that are now within the sarcoplasmic reticulum cause a release of excess calcium ions which create the sustained muscle contraction. These sustained contractions lead to a poor supply of oxygen which in turn decreases the ability of the small tears from healing.

 

By the muscle remaining contracted, it is shortened which decreases the range of motion as a defense mechanism to prevent injury. You may begin to notice this happening as pain in the relative area and/or weakness. While the muscle is doing what it is programmed to do to prevent injury, it is not effectively doing the action it is meant to do which is a problem. Think about it: you want to do a bicep curl but your bicep (“problem muscle”) says, “naw I don’t feel great, the other guys can help”. The bicep is the prime mover and not doing the work, so in order to complete the curl, our body has to recruit other muscles around the area to do something that is not their job, or at least not their primary role. Can you see how although the body will perform the movement, it isn’t optimal? The longer we decide to work through the pain and allow compensations to occur, the trigger point will worsen causing the muscle to become weaker and more dysfunctional. It will continue to prevent the affected muscles from fully lengthening and relaxing as well as tire quickly, recover slowly, and contract excessively. If we want to continue to become stronger and function well, we need to move optimally.

 

Although we are capable of working through the pain during the early stages, that is also when we are most able to combat the problem before it develops into something more serious. There are a few different ways to take care of your muscles if you are already feeling the symptoms. You can try on your own through the use of foam rollers, body tempering items, percussion guns, or other items that can release the surrounding fascia. If you would like to plan a professional treatment once or twice a month and let someone else do the work, I would recommend finding a Massage Therapist you can trust. Having someone who is trained to palpate muscle, identify trigger points, and also understands the surrounding area is a beneficial option for your recovery.

 

At the end of the day, despite how careful we are and how great we are with taking care of our body, there will always be trigger points floating around the body. It is not a reason to live in constant fear, avoid movement, or overthink how you move. However, if you are aware of your body mechanics and devote yourself to proper nutrition, sleep, and forms of therapy, you can certainly help prevent and mitigate further problems from occurring.

Improve Your Sleep

Do you ever wake up from a night of sleep or a quarantine nap and swear your body secretly did a super intense workout? A lot of factors can contribute to your quality of sleep, but one somewhat simple solution could be due to your sleep position. Now of course, altering your position won’t help you fall asleep quicker or ensure a deeper sleep, but it will help your body feel better in the AM.

 

You’re probably wondering “what is this magical sleep position”? You might also be wondering how am I supposed to monitor this if I am asleep? The good news is that however you choose to sleep right now might be okay with only small adjustments. The bad news is that you can’t watch, you’ll have to pay someone to stay awake and splash water on you every time you move. Just kidding, thankfully.

 

So, here is the simple answer. The spine needs to remain neutral and what that means is that all three curves of your spine need to be aligned. This includes your cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back), and lumbar (low back hip area). With that said this does eliminate certain positions but still leaves you with probably your most favorite. Here’s a breakdown of a few tips:

 

Sleeping on your side: This position is one of the most popular and while it is good for pregnant women, it’s still a valid option for others as well.

 

The downfall: your upper leg will stay in hip adduction and internal rotation pulling the lumbar spine. Your bottom arm may also become numb which can lead to impingement. If sleeping on your side with your knees also bent in fetal it can cause shortened hip flexors which can affect the position of the pelvis.

 

The fix: place a pillow between your knees to prevent your top leg from pulling on your spine. A little bit trickier considering you are asleep, but try to rotate sides throughout the night or at least every night to avoid the same arm being on the bottom. Finally, stay on your side if you’d like, but try to keep your legs straight rather than bent.

 

Sleeping on your stomach: Also a comfortable position and may help ease snoring.

 

The downfall: Your head may be turned for breathing, your arm may be overhead, and the cervical and lumbar spine may be more elevated than the thoracic.

 

The fix: Sleep with your face flat down on a pillow by placing your forehead on the pillow allowing you to still breathe but better align your spine. You can also add a pillow under your stomach to raise that to a neutral position. It would also be beneficial to keep your arms by your side.

 

Sleeping on your back: The position commonly known as “the best”, but it still has its own advantages and disadvantages.

 

The downfall: It may aggravate low back pain or sleep apnea. Pregnant women should also avoid this position, at least towards the end. The positive side is that your spine is in a neutral position. There is not necessarily a fix given your spine is already neutral; however, if you suffer from sleep apnea or low back pain it may not be the best choice. When it is all said and done, the most important factor to keep in mind is that your spine remains neutral, no matter the sleep position you choose. It’s a nice treat to know that you still have the ability to choose a favorite way to sleep while also helping you feel much better when you wake. So, grab a few extra pillows and play around with the way you sleep. Your AM self will thank you. 🙂

 

 

Salutations Sultans and Sultanas of Swing.

Today we are going to play a game to help us understand and know the difference between Sprains, Strains & Tears on this episode of Know…Your..Lingo! (Audience participation and applause)

 

Let me lay down the terms and facts about them first. You will be tested on this so bust out your writing utensils, be it quil, dip pens, ballpoint or #2, and paper, parchment, or clay tablets and toss that thinking cap on, even you back there Billy!

 

Sprains go down when a joint (ankle, knee, wrist, shoulder, ect) is forced into an awkward or unnatural position. Sprains are the overstretching or tearing of ligaments. Think of a ligament as a fibrous connective tissue in the body that connects bone to bone to help stabilize them together. A scenario this could happen is when you are walking on an uneven surface and then your ankle turns/twists one way. People often say twist when they refer to sprains.

 

Strains materialize from repetitive movements over a long period of time or from a single incident, where overstretching or tearing of the muscle or tendon occurs. Muscles and tendons are fibers that connect muscles to bones. A chronic strain would be from repetitive movements overtime whereas an acute strain is a single instantaneous stretch or tear. A scenario this could happen is when you are picking up a heavier box from the floor and feel a “pull” in your lower back. People often say pull when they refer to strains.

 

Tears stumble into existence from the ripping of ligaments, muscles or tendons from related actions that would cause those fibers to overstretch and is far  more serious and could take months to heal. Tears could mean surgery or rehabilitation depending on the severity. You may see a tear happen in sports, one of the most know tears would be at the knee more commonly thought of as an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear.

 

Fill in the blank Test.

(Sprain Strain Tear)

Select the correct term above to fill in the blank. 

 

1. Todd was frolicking down Penn ave listening to Hatebreed when he awkwardly stepped in a pothole and _______ his ankle.

 

2. Big Curt has been throwing fast balls all season for UF’s baseball team, but after throwing the game winning pitch in extra innings he felt a pulling sensation in his shoulder muscles. Big Curt believes he _______ his shoulder.

 

3. During the Wizard’s Powerful class one of the members crushes a lift and hits a new PR. Upon celebration the Wizard performs his special PR dance and then magically goes down gripping his knee. Upon further review is appears the Wizard has suffered a ________ at the Knee

 

4. When Sky’s favorite gym reopened (UF) she was thrilled to go train. So elated, that she jumped on the deadlift platform, loaded the bar to 500lbs and gave it the old fashioned college try. About halfway up on the lift she feels her low back get tight and drops the bar. The crowd grumbles and rumbles, saying she must have ______ her low back.

 

5. Mr. Rogers was leaving his television station WQED on a cold Pittsburgh winter day. As he was walking down the stair he slipped on some slippy ice and caught his fall by extending his arms and landing on his writs. He felt like his wrist was jammed or twisted and said “Awe shucks I ______ my wrist.” He immediately healed because he is Mr. Rogers.

 

Thank you for learning and playing on today’s episode of “Know Your Lingo”. Tune in soon for more fun and as always Stay Bumpy my friends.

Cheers,

-CeJ

Answers: 1) Sprain 2) Strain 3) Tear 4) Strain 5) Sprain

Four Pillars: Sleep

I won’t talk too much about what someone can do during this pandemic. I believe that enough people talking about how to maintain your fitness during the current situation. What I do want to talk about is what I believe to be the four pillars to success in any fitness goal. These are the four subjects that I start with everyone I work with and constantly maintain status on them. Especially, if you feel like you hit a wall or stuck in going forward revert back to these four:

 

Sleep, Nutrition, Training, Water.

 

In that exact order as well. I realize that these might seem obvious but through a series of articles on each, I plan to cover certain points that I find people miss.

 

Let’s start with sleep. Sleep is by far the most important key to achieving any goal you have. Especially any physical goal. If you want to understand how important sleep really is I highly recommend looking into Dr. Matthew Walkers research.

 

Again everyone knows how important it is but how do you optimize it. Well besides sleep hygiene (no tv before bed, going to sleep at the same time each night, and no blue light an hour before bed) I believe there to nutritional deficiencies and air way problems that seriously hinder your sleep.

 

  1. Vitamin D
    1. Vitamin D is highly important for calcium absorption but less known that low vitamin D levels are associated with sleep disorders. Dr. Stasha Gominak has done some great work in looking at deficiencies in vitamin D and B vitamins with sleep disorders. Now, I am no doctor or dietitian so I highly, HIGHLY, recommend getting blood work. This helps establish where you are now. Another thing I want to make clear is when you get the test is important to note that the “normal” range for vitamin D is 30ng/mL – 100ng/mL which is a HUGE range. That just makes sure you are not sick that do not show optimal levels. Just because you are not defined as sick does not mean you are not showing symptoms that are effected by not being in an optimal range. I shoot to keep my levels around 60ng/dL. I do this by being outside as much as I can but also supplementing vitamin D. Again talk to a health professional but here is a link for further info on Vitamin and sleep which could help tremendously

 

https://drgominak.com

 

  1. Magnesium
    1. This one you might have heard of. A lot of sleeping supplements out there load this one up but the real question is why would so many people be so deficient in this one? I believe people consume an abundant amount of diuretics which can flush out important electrolytes and minerals. If you are drawing a blank let’s run through an average day. Waking up to a great cup of coffee is your first diuretic, then maybe around three you have another cup of diuretic and maybe it’s been a particularly long day so you have an alcoholic beverage or two to finish the day with a strong diuretic. Even before that hit’s you, most people’s magnesium levels are lower than optimal since magnesium is green leafy vegetables, which most people don’t consume. Again we are talking about optimal levels and since it’s not fat-soluble you can flush these real quick but also replenish quickly too. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian before supplementing but since magnesium is water-soluble it is fairly harmless to supplement. If you want to consume magnesium through food try a spinach smoothie with more than a cup in it as well as snack on Brazil nuts, which unfortunately taste like dirt.

 

  1. CPAP Machine (Continuous positive airway pressure)
    1. I want to give a client experience with this one. I had a client that wanted to get into powerlifting. The first thing I do is bring up my four pillars (for any goal). At first, he would always say that his sleep was great but after a while, he finally mentioned how he snores rather constantly through the night. Realizing that snoring is not a good sign I recommended a sleep study. It took some time but eventually convinced him to get a sleep study. My client was diagnosed a CPAP machine right away. Let me make something extremely clear, before this he told me he got “good” sleep, he didn’t wake up that tired, and normally felt energized throughout the day but once he got the CPAP machine one of the first things he told me was “I didn’t realize how poor I have been sleeping for so long.” One point I want to stress, the more I work with people the more I realize how common this is. I have seen all shapes and sizes have this problem so just because you don’t have a neck like some of our powerlifters doesn’t mean you don’t have it.

 

You might feel that you are sleeping “well” but I would argue that you also might be sleeping so poorly for so long that your baseline could eventually be one of your worst nights of sleep. 

Side note his blood pressure went down that was on the higher side for some time.

 

I hope you noticed how many times I mentioned “optimal.” It’s important because it’s not usually that giant red flags that hold us back from our goal. It can be the little things over a long period of time that ultimately restricts us from accomplishing our goals. Optimizing the little things can have a profound effect.

Here are added articles/videos that go more in depth:

https://www.sleepdiplomat.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCyJd-9VFq8&t=3s

https://thesleepdoctor.com/2019/02/12/5-vitamin-deficiencies-that-can-affect-your-sleep/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/sleep/ask-the-doctor-sleep-and-magnesium-supplements

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27225921/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6212970/

Qualities That Help Us Get the Most Out of Life

Throughout my career, I’ve always tried to learn from those individuals who have built their success on learning how to get the most out of life. A majority of those individuals all seem to practice very similar habits and poses certain qualities that help them achieve their goals and live their life to the fullest. The following are six qualities that I believe are some of the main staples that will help you live your fullest life.

 

1. Have passion and drive:

In my opinion, these two things set the tone for everything else that we are going to discuss coming up. Passion is something that carries over into all aspects of life. Whether it’s with your career, relationships, hobbies, etc., having passion for something will allow you to achieve great things. We all understand that there will be hard times and tough situations that come along the way. That’s inevitable. But being passionate about everything in your life is one of the only things that can keep you moving even when it seems like everything is standing still. Whatever you decide to do in your lifetime. Do it with passion.

 

2. Believe in your abilities:

Believing in ourselves is something that we are all taught to do from a very young age, but something that we seem to forget along the way. Maybe this is because we let others influence our thought processes and decisions, or maybe it’s because we actually stop believing in ourselves. Either way, a majority of the time the difference between us achieving our goals or falling short comes down to how much we truly believe in our ability to succeed. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right”. The mind is an extremely powerful thing, and positive self-talk is an extremely beneficial tool. If you one hundred percent undoubtedly believe in yourself and everything that you set out to do, you will be successful.

 

3. Don’t be afraid to fail:

Failure has the power to teach us some of our most valuable lessons. Without failure and learning from our mistakes, there is no growth. I think can all admit that we have been able to take something positive away from something that we failed in the past. Maybe it was a sporting event growing up. Maybe it was a test that we took in college. Or maybe it was a job opportunity that we missed out on as an adult. All of these failures presented us with an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and become better prepared for our future experiences. However, it’s not just as simple as failing and getting better. We have to be open-minded to the situation and willing to learn in order to see the benefit of the lesson. If we choose to play the victim or develop a fear of failure, we will never have the courage to take advantage of the opportunities that are placed in front of us.

 

4. Value all relationships:

Throughout our lifetime, we are all involved in relationships with others who have had an impact on us. Think about your family and friends. People who have supported and helped you along the way in your efforts to achieve your goals. Maybe they even believed in you in times when you didn’t believe in yourself. Without these relationships, you would not be where you are today. It’s also important to value past relationships, even if they even had a negative outcome. Even though we don’t like to think of those, it’s important to understand that we still grew from those situations. Without even realizing it, those relationships helped shape us into who we are today. Whether good or bad, relationships have taught us things that hold much value, and have helped us to learn and grow along the way. Don’t ever take them for granted.

 

5. Balance:

If you want to live a full life, you have to have balance. The tricky part is understanding that balance is not always going to be 50/50. There will be times where it becomes necessary to put more focus on some areas of your life than others. Understand that this isn’t a bad thing, but do not lose sight of the importance of the other areas. Maybe one of your goals has always been to start your own business. In order to make that happen, you are going to have to make it a number one priority. Know that a large majority of your time and effort will be spent on achieving this. At the same time, understand that those other things in your life such as family, friends, your health, etc., all play a role in your success. Without being able to balance those different areas of your life, you are potentially risking the chance of losing them all. By having balance in your life, you can in fact achieve all of your goals while living a more fulfilled life in the process.

 

6. Pass on:

Each of us has our own unique experiences and skills that we have acquired throughout our lifetime. However, those things mean nothing if you do not share them with others. Teaching and helping others is one of the most rewarding things you can do. There is nothing better than being able to share your knowledge with those eager to learn and get better. We all were once in that same place, wanting to know more about the particular topic. Most of us were fortunate enough to have a mentor, teacher, or friend that had the patience to share a little bit of that with us. We should each strive to be that person for someone. Not only are you passing on skills and knowledge to others, but you also end up learning more about it in the process. Ultimately, we all should aim to be a teacher, passing on our knowledge to those eager to learn.

 

Curtis Miller

Jocelyn’s Nutrition Series

Union fam, welcome back for PART 1 of Nutrition with Jocelyn. If you missed my first post on the UF blog about this new series, no worries because you’re reading at the right time. For those who aren’t aware, this is a new series I will be writing not only to keep my own spirits high and excited during quarantine but to aid in a hands on approach to what I am currently learning through my Nutrition Certification. I’m thrilled to be able to write such content for those interested that also encompasses my terrible humor you all might experience if you just so happen to see me during work at Union Fitness.

 

The first in our series is going to focus on eating well during quarantine. I’m not going to bore you to death with scientific information and I’m not going to tell you what you need to do, I’m simply here to help you find ways to fuel your bodies and encourage you to make small changes that ultimately will set you up for success post-quarantine. 

 

I know right now we’re all feeling a little blah and I’m not going to lie, I’ve indulged in a few pints of Ben & Jerrys here and there, drank a little too much and some days just really wasn’t feeling hungry at all. This is all a product of my own emotions, we as humans are very complex beings and with that comes actions that sometimes necessary don’t align with our overall goals (especially if you’re a female and it’s that time of the month). I’m here to tell you its OKAY to have days or weeks like this. The goal is to not let it be something that drags you back into a place that you worked so hard to get out of. This also doesn’t mean you have to make drastic changes all at once, I simply want you to start right where you are and start small.

 

Let’s start with an exercise

 

Right now I want you to picture what yesterday looked like for you, let’s start with a few questions. Grab a piece of paper, a pen or pencil and answer these honestly.

What time did you get up? 

What did you have for breakfast, lunch and dinner? 

Are you snacking in between those meals? 

What did your workout look like? 

Did you workout? 

What was your mood upon waking and before bed? 

What time did you actually go to sleep?

 

Now look at your answers to these questions, how do they make you feel? Do they all align with your goals or do only some of them align with your goals? Write down your answers to the questions below the above ones you just answered.

 

The purpose of this is to simply reflect, to understand why you made the decisions you did and how your emotions are a direct collate of those actions. There is no right or wrong answer.

 

When I talk about eating well what I really mean is mindful eating, knowing what you’re putting into your body and being mindful of how it’s going to make you feel. We are all emotional eaters, food is something that calms us and makes us feel good even if we’re not eating the most nutrient dense foods. Let’s take myself for example, what if I’m looking for an alternative to that pint of Ben & Jerrys ice cream, I might want to still eat 1 pint a week but I want something that can curb that extra craving I’m having on any given day. Protein shakes are a very good alternative to ice cream or something that can calm my sweet tooth. You can use a blender, add milk or a milk alternative and top it with whipped cream and/or chocolate chips. The consistency is almost identical when ice is added and I’m also knocking on my sweet tooth door whilst getting my protein intake as well.

 

All I’ve done is added something into my day that checks all the boxes, I didn’t eliminate the Ben & Jerrys because I’m allowed to indulge and if I want it I’m going to have it. The issue with some diets is they make us think there is only one way to eat and reframes our mind into having a bad relationship with food. Well I’m here to tell you there are many ways to eat healthy and that “one-size fits all” approach is totally bull. We need to eat for the lives that we live and every person is different from the next. What works for you might not work for me and we should never force ourselves into eating that will make us feel overwhelmed or limited into what we can consume.

 

Lastly, let’s knock on the door of those who love to snack (even though I consider Ben & Jerry’s a snack, you’ll find me eating the whole thing during Too Hot To Handle on Netflix). We’re mostly looking at those quick bites that are easy to pull out of the pantry and are something that can keep us full till lunch. Well I have an option for you and if you aren’t aware this series will also include small-business that I love and are a healthy alternative.

 

Nash Nutrition

 

Based out of Youngstown, Ohio Nash Bars are a  mouth-watering option for a quick snack. These nutrient dense bars come in four different favors for our peanut butter, chocolate and blueberry loving individuals. They are so dense that I find myself full for a lengthy period of time that I am able to get through a few more hours of work or a hard training session but also know I’m putting something into my body that makes me happy (we’re all about mood here guys). For example, the peanut butter chocolate chip option macronutrients are as followed:

 

300 calories

16g of fat

23g of carbohydrates

20g of protein

 

Most “protein” bars aren’t the most exciting things to eat, they lack taste or when we’re eating them we feel like we’re doing it to eat something healthy. Instead, Nash Nutrition does a really good job at providing options that again for me personally check all the boxes. Now before you ask, this isn’t a paid post on the UF blog and I don’t get free bars from Nash to promote, this is simply a plug for a nutritious option where if you purchase you’re also supporting a small-business during quarantine (which is something we here at Union are promoting on a weekly basis, being a small-business ourselves). 


Now back to our regularly schedule program

 

If we backtrack to our little food exercise we did, are there opportunities within that day where you could either add or replace a food with something that would make you feel better. If we start small like replacing one snack with something healthier, that one small change will lead us into making better choices day by day. The goal here just to reiterate is to become more mindful with our eating, aware of what we are putting our bodies and how our bodies are reacting to it.

 

Everyone wants to feel good but that doesn’t mean you need to stress yourself out or completely cut yourself off from certain foods. If you choose to make mindful decisions with your eating then you will find yourself having a better relationship with food and feeling better about all decisions that are food-based.