Monday, 25 December 2017


Eating clean is a lifestyle, and although you may indulge in junk foods every once in a while, you will want to avoid them for the most part. This can be difficult in our food-saturated culture. Here are a few ideas and tips on how to overcome your junk food cravings when they hit you.

Keep Healthy, Convenient Food on Hand

One of the big allures of junk food is that you can usually grab it easily and eat it without a second thought. Keep healthy foods on hand that are both easy and tasty. Fruit can satisfy a sweet tooth, and you can wash a few pieces at a time and store them on the counter so that you can eat them immediately when hunger hits you.

Keep other easy clean items on hand, such as nuts and even items you have previously baked and stored in the freezer, ready to be eaten. When you meal prep, make an extra serving and keep a variety of these healthy frozen meals ready to be used when you don’t have time to prepare one.

Don’t Let Yourself Get Too Hungry

Going too long between meals can be a bad idea when trying to eat well. A person who feels like they are starving is much less likely to make wise food choices than someone who is prepared and just beginning to detect the feeling of hunger. Eat your meals at a consistent time and you will find yourself better able to resist temptation.

Have Substitutes for Your Biggest Temptations

Speaking of temptations, we all have certain junk foods that have a strong appeal to us personally. Choose a substitute, and keep it on hand to enjoy when you are feeling the pull of the unhealthier version.

If chocolate is your weakness, make frozen chocolate cups out of ingredients such as almond butter, coconut oil, cocoa powder, vanilla and honey. Mix and put into tiny silicone freezer molds so that when you want that specific chocolate taste, you can pop one or two out, enjoy, and feel the craving pass.

Indulge Occasionally

Because eating clean is a lifestyle and not a diet, there will be occasional times when you indulge in what you are really craving. Keep these times few and far between, but don’t cut them out completely. Have a small piece of apple pie, a scoop of ice cream or a single serving of potato chips and eat them slowly and mindfully. Enjoy your treat and then get back on track without any feelings of guilt that may sabotage your eating goals.

Drink a Glass of Water

Often when we feel hungry and when we are craving various foods, we are actually thirsty and dehydrated. Keep a timer on your phone reminding you to drink water, or fill a jug and sip on it throughout the day. If you feel a craving, promise yourself that you will first drink two full glasses of water. By the time you are done, the craving may have passed.

When you have a craving, it is often a signal that you are not functioning in total balance. Check all of your lifestyle habits. Ask yourself whether you are getting enough sleep, or whether your craving might be boredom or your body’s reaction to not getting enough exercise. If you have a craving, there are many steps you can take which can reduce or eliminate it. Try a few of them next time the feeling hits you.

Friday, 22 December 2017


Whether you're a newbie to the gym, a retired cardio bunny or a former athlete who lifted years ago, there are basics about strength training that cross all boundaries.

There are three major compound lifts that are essential to any training program and can be perfected with practice and patience. Let me introduce you to the bench press, squat and deadlift.

**For demonstrations of these exercises just type them into google and there will be highly detailed videos and demonstrations on exactly how to perform these exercises**

Also known as the three power lifts, the bench press, squat and deadlift are excellent compound movement exercise. Compound exercises are named as such because they incorporate nearly every muscle in your body to execute.

Doing exercises such as a seated bicep curl would be an example of an isolated exercise, opposite of compound, as it really only works the bicep muscle(s). Isolation exercises are just as important but we will touch on those later.

The deadlift is a great exercise that really works the back, glutes, hamstrings and quads. There are many variations of this lift, such as conventional or romanian. Depending on which you do, you will notice different muscle groups being engaged.

Squats work similar muscles to the deadlift. You can do squats with the bar on your back or holding the bar across the front of your shoulders. Either way, make sure you squat with great depth and maintain control and good posture.

The bench press is a great exercise for the upper body, working the chest, triceps and shoulders.
There are other exercises you should know when stepping foot onto a weight floor. Some of these exercises are:

Push Ups- You can do variations of these if you're not quite there with doing "real" pushups. Try kneeling pushups or doing them against a wall.

Sit Ups- Done properly, sit ups are awesome for your core (abs and obliques) and your lower back as well. Try them on the flat ground and on a decline bench.

Lunges- Work your quads, hamstrings and butt all in one with this exercise. Lunges can be done stationary (in place), walking, or even on a treadmill. Just be sure your knee never crosses over your toes when lunging to keep proper form in check.

Leg Press- This is an awesome exercise for many reasons, one being that you can work different muscle groups in your legs just by switching up your foot stance. For more hamstring work, put your feet high and wide and press on your heels. Put your feet low and narrow and suddenly you're working your glutes. Play around with variations.

Ask anyone what they believe to be the basic strength training exercises and chances are you'll get a variety of answers. After building your foundation do experiment and then stick with what works best for you. Always remember to warm up and cool down, and include stretches. Practice proper form and you'll see your maxes go up on a regular basis with these exercises!

Monday, 18 December 2017


Contrary to popular opinion, eating clean doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many ways you can cut down on your food bill while doing good for yourself and the environment. Here are some tips to help you save money while eating well.

Eat Produce in the Right Season, and Other Tips on Produce

Basically, eating in season means choosing fresh produce that is in season, often locally, at the time of consumption. When you choose fruits and vegetables that are naturally available at the time of year you are in, there are several benefits. Number one, they taste much better, and there is much greater variety too. They are also richer in nutrients when eaten at the time they naturally grow in your local area. Yet another benefit is price. You will pay much less for produce in season than when it has to be shipped from another part of the world to keep up with unreasonable consumer demands.

Farmer’s markets are great places to find local, in-season produce, and you can also request it at your grocery store of choice. If you tend to buy large amounts of produce and end up throwing it away, consider buying less and just eating what you have. When fruits and vegetables begin to soften and aren’t as tasty, juice it all to use up the remainder of the produce in your fridge instead of letting it sit around another couple days, eventually going bad and being thrown out.

Buy in Bulk

When it comes to items that last a long time in your fridge and cupboard, consider buying in bulk. This can often save you a lot of money in the long run, and sometimes a huge pack of food doesn’t cost much more than a smaller amount. Large warehouse-type grocery stores are getting a more comprehensive variety of organic and clean foods, and shopping there can save you money when you add up all the savings you will gain over time.

Meal Prep

Not only will meal prepping save you time and help you stick to your clean-eating goals, it will assist you in saving money as well. When you have all your meals and snacks planned, you will be less likely to eat other more expensive foods. It will also prevent you from buying snacks on the run, which can quickly add up money-wise.

Use What You Have

This might seem like a no-brainer, but instead of always going to the grocery store "just because" and buying on impulse, take stock of what you already have in your home. Plan your meals for the week, using the food already in your kitchen as a guide.

Taking this step alone can save you large amounts of money, since going to the grocery store even to supposedly pick up one ingredient often ends in a big trip full of expensive grocery items that you may not even use completely.

If you are eating clean and on a budget, you can still make it work. By using these tips, you will save money while you become healthy. Follow this list and enjoy your affordable clean-eating lifestyle.

Friday, 15 December 2017


When it comes to working out and staying committed, you’ve got to find what makes you tick. For some folks, that’s being in a gym around others who are pumped and eager to work hard. For others, it’s in the privacy, peace and quiet of their own home.

If you’re new to the workout scene and weighing your options, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both modalities.

Joining a Gym vs Working Out At Home:

EQUIPMENT

Gym Pro: If you’re the type of person who loses interest quickly in a type of exercise or is always look for variety, a gym can be a great resource. If you find a fitness facility with a variety of amenities, you may have found your perfect match. You can play racquetball, hit the pool, take an exercise class or lift some weights. If you like cardio, you can spend one week’s worth of workouts on a treadmill, then change to a stairmill, and so on.

Home Pro: If you’re a neat freak or know that you just need one or a few pieces of equipment, this may be your best bet.

Gym Con: Belonging to a gym means everyone is sharing everything. So if you were planning on a thirty minute run but all the treadmills are taken, you’ll have to adapt. This can be a real pain, especially if you work out during “rush hour.” Also, gym equipment isn’t always the cleanest. You may be more likely to get sick as you are exposed to lots of other peoples sweat and germs.

Home Con: You’re basically stuck with what you have. You can go outside or to a playground to spice things up but at the end of the day, you have to make it work with what you have.

MONEY

Gym Pro: Investing in a gym membership often makes people feel more accountable. When others know you belong to a facility, you may feel more motivated to show up. Plus, seeing that money come out of your bank account every month can give you that extra push.

Home Pro: By investing in equipment for your house, you can be sure it will be taken care of and last much longer than equipment at the gym that’s being used all day long like a revolving door.

Gym Con: Prices can go up and oftentimes facilities will hit you with a yearly fee. Plus, cancelling can be a real pain not only time wise but also financially (cancellation fees, etc.).

Home Con: Guilt doesn’t sink in as much about a treadmill at home that now serves as a coat rack because hey, who’s going down in your basement anyhow?

There are many different things to consider when deciding what the best thing is for you when it comes to working out. If you are someone who needs motivation, being around a gym full of people may be best for you. If you would rather watch a TV show or sing out loud to your iPod tracks, maybe home is best for you to get your workout in.

Consider finances, time (traveling to a gym obviously takes time while working out at home is much more convenient), goals, equipment needs and motivation. Whatever you choose, stick to it and believe in yourself and your goals.

Monday, 11 December 2017


Whether you choose to include or exclude dairy, you can make a choice to eat the clean version of the foods in this category, as well as clean substitutes. This will affect your health in a positive way, and you will get to a point where you enjoy the clean version of the food even more than you enjoyed the non-clean version. Here are some ideas as you clean up the dairy and dairy substitutes in your diet.

Yogurt

When you are choosing yogurt, look for organic. Try Greek yogurt because you will get much more protein than the regular kind, and make sure your yogurt contains probiotics rather than the type that has been stripped of any goodness. If you eat flavoured yogurt, be sure to choose a brand that uses natural sweeteners, and try to avoid those that use refined sugar.

There are many choices for non-dairy yogurt, which include coconut yogurt and soy yogurt. Use the same standards that you use when choosing a dairy yogurt, always avoiding refined sugar.

Milk

When choosing milk, insist on organic. This ensures that you will not be consuming bovine growth hormone. Some conventional milk does not contain it either, due to popular demand, but there is no guarantee and the easiest way to ensure that you don’t consume this in your milk is to stick with organic. In general, try to stick to slightly lower fat varieties of milk, such as 1 percent.

If you are going for the non-dairy type, there are a wide variety of healthy, non-dairy milk substitutes such as almond milk, rice milk, cashew milk and hemp milk. Don’t forget to read labels, though, to ensure that your milk substitute is clean.

As consumers demand more variety of healthy milk alternatives, there are occasionally those individuals who want to cash in on the fad and create less-than-healthy choices in hopes that undiscerning consumers will simply buy now and think later. A truly clean milk substitute won’t contain an endless list of ingredients that you cannot pronounce.

Ice Cream

If you have a sweet tooth and wish to indulge, you can do so without feeling guilty about it. For a completely guilt-free, dairy free "ice cream," simply freeze bananas and then blend when completely frozen. You can add anything you choose for flavor, such as vanilla or cocoa powder. There are even recipes that use avocado as a base for homemade ice cream.

For dairy ice cream that is clean-eating approved, consider making your own at home. Use organic cream and milk, and then add honey as a sweetener along with the other ingredients you choose. Fortunately, there are many easy recipes available online.

Butter and Cheese

These two types of dairy are often used to enhance taste in meals. Butter should always be organic and unsalted. If you wish to avoid it altogether, substitute avocados and Greek yogurt when baking, and use things like avocado as a spread or topping for your toast and other items.

Cheese can be eaten on a clean diet in moderation. Look for fresh cheeses, rather than the type that can be bought months ahead of time before expiring.

Dairy is a large category, and there are many options to choose from each type of it. Learn the rules, and you will be able to enjoy dairy in your clean-eating lifestyle. By using these tips, you will know what to look for when searching for dairy products.

Friday, 8 December 2017


Everyone embarks on a fitness journey for their own personal reasons. Whether their initial motivation was external or internal isn’t important- what matters is that they started.

As females, by nature, we tend to feel a competitive sense amongst each other. Instead of building each other up and encouraging each other, we make snide remarks about other women (oftentimes who we don’t even know!) and try to outdo them.

In the world of weight lifting however, for optimal success and happiness, these things can’t happen. As much as females have emerged and created a presence in the weight room, it is still by and large a “man’s sport.”

Because of this, it is absolutely crucial and necessary that we, as females, learn to stick together and be a constant support for each other in the world of weight lifting.

By changing the way we view each other, we can create an environment in which progress is always encouraged and happening and motivation abounds. There are some important things to remember, as a weight lifter, if you want to be true to yourself and your sport.

Be Honest with Yourself- Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves with regards to training too much or too hard, or we don’t listen to our bodies. While lifting weights is such a positive and healthy thing to do for our bodies, there is such a thing as doing too much.

When we experience pain, persistent exhaustion, or find ourselves throwing around more weight than our bodies are ready for, it’s time to take a step back. Sometimes honesty comes off quite brutal but it is necessary in this sport.

Perfect Form Before Adding Weight- Yes, hitting a PR feels amazing! That’s no secret. But rushing to lift a certain amount of weight before your strength is increased enough is a recipe for disaster.

It is absolutely crucial to be confident and on point with your lifting form (for any lift!) before adding heavy amounts of weight. Practice patient and be sensible before trying a new weight.

Be Humble and Support Each Other- We are all talented at our own special things. For some women, try as they may, their strength may remain mediocre at best. Who cares! Just because you can deadlift three times as much as your fellow female weight lifter doesn’t give you the right to be arrogant.

Humility is an awesome quality to have in life, and especially in the gym. We all have our own stories and our own origins. Support and uplift!!

To be most successful at anything you do, you must believe in it and believe in it to your core. By surrounding yourself with other women who love the sport as much as you do and always supporting and uplifting each other, you will be sure to prosper. After all, failure is rare when a group of strong, dedicated women band together!

Monday, 4 December 2017


Many individuals are becoming more aware of the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Clean eating is a movement of taking your diet back to the basics, and cutting out all the extras such as processed and packaged meals, fast food and refined flours and sugars.

When you begin eating clean, you will likely deal with cravings for the old, unhealthy foods you used to fill yourself with. It helps to have a list of healthy alternatives that you can eat instead. Here are some ideas for substitutions of some of the common culprits in our modern diet.

Table Salt and Unhealthy Sauces

Instead of covering your meal in ketchup, barbecue sauce, or salt, cook it with herbs and spices. When your meal is filled with various flavors, your taste buds will not feel as though they are lacking in any way. As an added bonus, herbs contain many vitamins that will benefit your body in a variety of ways.

Sugar

There are many ways to satisfy your sweet tooth when eating clean. If you are baking, use unsweetened apple sauce instead of sugar. If you are looking for something clean to add to your coffee and give it a great taste, try stevia. There is even flavoured stevia that you can add to your coffee and water to give it just the right amount of sweetness and a pleasant flavor. Maple sugar flakes are delicious, and taste great sprinkled over any item - giving you a burst of satisfying flavor without the downsides of refined sugar.

Oil

Apple sauce is a good replacement not only for sugar, but for oil as well. Flaxseed oil is a great replacement for the more commonly used and less healthy oils that many individuals have in their pantries. If using flaxseed oil, only use it in recipes that will not be heated. Yogurt is another nutrition-filled alternative to oil in your recipes, and it adds a little protein to your baking at the same time.

White Pasta

When you are craving a bowl of spaghetti, what better substitute is there to use than spaghetti squash? Simply cook the squash in the oven, cut it in half and scrape the insides out. Cover it with fresh tomato sauce and steamed vegetables for a dish that is both filling and loaded with nutrition.

Cow’s Milk

Instead of drinking cow’s milk, which can cause reactions for many and is less than palatable to many individuals, try unsweetened almond milk. This substitute is a great clean alternative to drink and use in your baking, and can even be made from fresh, soaked almonds. Unsweetened coconut and soy milk are alternatives for cow’s milk as well, so try several and then stick with whatever you prefer.

We eat many foods that are not assisting us in our journey toward health, but fortunately there are many substitutes for almost any food we may be trying to cut out of our diets. By simply being creative and doing your research, you can find more ideas on foods that are a better option than what you are using currently. Try these ideas and start on your clean-eating journey now.

Friday, 1 December 2017


You're reading this guide as a commitment to start lifting weights- awesome!! There was something that fueled you to make a change and introduce this into your life. Beginnings are great, but can be even better with some structure and planning. Let's talk about how to begin a strength training program.

First off, decide what your goal is. Do you want to get stronger? Do you want to reshape your physique? Do you need an outlet for stress relief? Do you want to protect your body from the aging process? Your goal may be one, some or none of these, but that's okay! As long as you know what you want to ultimately achieve, you can tailor your program around this.

Secondly, consider your options. If your goal is to get stronger and you know you'll be squatting or bench pressing a lot, you're going to need the equipment for this. On the other hand, if you just want to tighten your physique, you may just need some dumbbells. Consider these options when evaluating your options to obtaining or having access to the proper equipment. Some goals can be easily reached at a home gym, others may require lots of equipment and work better at a fitness facility.

If you have any medical issues or concerns, please consult your doctor. Even a trainer will tell you this. Whether it's an old or preexisting injury or condition, be sure to consider and discuss this before starting a weight lifting regimen. The most frustrating thing when starting on a journey to health is finding out you reinjured a dormant injury and now are back to square one.

Lastly and absolutely most importantly, assess your mental readiness and ability to commit. Being halfheartedly committed to your goal isn't going to work. You have to know you can commit the time and win the mental battles. You have to set aside the time to get it done despite other things that may arise. You have to practice patience and understand that good things take time and this is no exception.

Whatever your reason for beginning a strength training journey, embrace it. Not only will you become physically stronger, but you will feel the change mentally as well. Our bodies are made to be sculpted and you have just taken the first step. Believe in yourself and you will be amazed at what you are capable of doing

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