Category Archives: exercise

Who can work out at 11 AM???

I received a fantastic question on Facebook from Lee Ann. She asked:

What if you can’t work out until like six or after or early in the morning? Who can work out at 11???

That’s a great valid question. Sometimes I would take my lunch break at 12, work out for 45 minutes and eat for half an hour after, putting my lunch hour and my coffee break together. But I know this is not possible for many of you. Just last night at dinner, a girlfriend said she doesn’t have the option to eat at any other time but 12 and she can’t work out until 6 or 7 PM at night after work.

So we talked about this and figured out the timings. If she eats at noon and stops at one, her body’s got a good 4-5 hours of digesting time. And that is perfectly fine. That is excellent in fact. Because at noon she knows she’s eating to fuel her work out in the evening, and she also knows that she’s going to get most of your calories post workout. And after that, no more food. Lots of water. I also like this because you are so hungry after that workout you eat!

And eating is important. Eating rooted in hunger. True hunger. Tips for eating post workout at night? Eat a protein and vegetables. A lot of vegetables. So eat a steak and a huge salad. Or eat fish with steamed veggies. Eat chicken breast and sweet potatoes or roasted potatoes or root vegetables! Go for delicious things like asparagus, home-cooked parsnip fries, steamed broccoli with teriyaki sauce, baked cauliflower with parmesan and a touch of real butter, or hearty bean and lentil soup with a thick buttered helping of sourdough or whole-grain bread. I prefer a protein and vegetable, but eat what you want! Eat what you desire. Enjoy it. Enjoy every bite.

So at lunch go for a sandwich or soup or a salad packed with chicken and avocado or shrimp. Eat an apple and banana, carrot sticks and celery. Prepare your lunch at home. Here are some great lunch snacks pre-workout, that you can take to work:

I’m not afraid of cookies or donuts or cake. And I don’t think you should be either. Yes, if you’re eating a fried sugary donut a day, and you have a problem with that, try to cut it out. Break the pattern. But don’t stress yourself out. Baby steps.

So my advice is to leave the bulk of your calories to your post workout meal. Questions, comments, keep them coming. I wish you low fat, super strength, a good sleep and solutions to all of your stress!

xxSerena

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Intermittent Fasting: benefits, schedule and eating

I found a helpful infographic on mercola.com on intermittent fasting. Let me know if this helps you by leaving a comment on this blog! 

I know it says you should be eating green vegetables, nuts, free range chicken. It says you should be getting your fats from the yolks and the eggs, butter, coconut oil and avocado. But come on. Let’s get real. Sometimes a girl wants a burger and fries. She wants a big bowl of pasta or a tuna sandwich with mayo and pickles on the side.. Or both. And after a few months of intermittent fasting, I was eating whatever I wanted. For those of you who already intermittent fast: did you lose fat by keeping your calorie count or by eating clean foods?

It’s important to not give up. So my priority is keeping your eating window between six and eight hours if you are new to intermittent fasting. This will give your body optimal time to burn fat slowly. So that’s why I’m a little bit more lax when it comes to the food choices. I really think you should eat what you want. As long as you are counting your calories after calculating your BMR & BMI.

But check out the infographic, and let me know what you think:



This may provide a little more structure for those of you wondering about times or foods or the benefits of intermittent fasting.

Let me know if this helps you. In the meantime, best of luck and happy fasting! Read my other blogs on intermittent fasting for more information on how to start. If you have any questions leave them as a comment and I will get back to you!

xxSerena

Intermittent fasting, BMR and BMI questions answered

I received questions from people trying IF (Intermittent Fasting) for the first time. Firstly, pat yourself on the back, it’s not easy. For me, working out in addition to IF helped to decrease my body fat percentage and my measurements changed:

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Happy abs, pre workout

I’m getting questions about IF. They want to know details about what’s right for them food wise, time of eating windows, fasting times and yes all of these are great questions. The first thing you must do is:

knowthyself

And the two things you must know are your BMI (Body Mass Index) and your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Click to go see more information on BMI and BMR as well as get to the nifty calculators. How many calories should you eat to lose weight? A good idea when beginning is to decrease the amount of food you are eating currently by about 10% to 20%. Another tip is to add small amounts of raw vegetables and a lesser amount of raw fruit. And when I say add, I mean add more. In addition to what you are already eating, add more vegetables.

Wash well and eat the skin if it’s edible. That’s where you’ll be getting the vitamins and fibre. You need that fibre to keep you full for longer. After you calculate your BMI and BMR, you will have an idea of where you stand. After this, you can reduce your calories per day by a very small amount and if you can, try Intermittent Fasting. Remember, Intermittent Fasting may be difficult for people who have issues with blood sugar regulation, suffer from hypoglycemia, have diabetes, etc.  If you have an issue with these, I highly recommend you check with your doctor or dietitian before changing your eating schedule. Just in case. 

Those who believe in the benefits of IF say that while the body is in a fasted state, growth hormone is increased and insulin production is decreased. This in turn produces an ideal situation in which the body can burn fat and build muscle. I can’t say for sure because I have not measured these hormones but for me my fat decreased and my muscle mass increased.

So many of you have such great questions and comments. Please leave them here if you feel ok with that, since it helps others! xxSerena

What’s fascia and why should you work it out?

Fascia is a plastic type material that surrounds your muscles and other soft tissues like a net. Sort of like the net bag that holds your tomatoes. It’s not connected to the brain, so produces no sensation while you stretch or knead it. Those hard foam rollers you may have seen at your gym work on your fascia so that you can reduce the density of your fascia, thereby creating supple muscles and a greater flexibility of movement.

Bob Cooley, in his book “The Genius of Flexibility” has interesting things to say about fascia:

All past traumas are stored in the fascia. These traumas literally warp the natural form of the fascia, and deform it, thus holding the person into the damaged position. When the fascia is ‘thinned’ during RFST, the memories of those events surface and are brought to light so as to finally release the person from being held in the past.”

So what is RFST? It’s resistance flexibility and strength training. This means going further than just simply stretching. Contracting a muscle and lengthening it is a great way to stretch out your fascia:

So keeping your muscles contracted while you stretch, will help to thin out “bunched up” fascia tissue. So exercises that use resistance training, working against your own body weight, muscle conditioning with dynamic stretching, these are all great exercises to break up fascia and thereby create more movement, better posture and helps to avoid chronic joint stress.

What are other ways of working out your fascia?

Try a Yin Yoga class. In Yin Yoga we hold gravity-pulling poses for a long time, anywhere from 3 to 20 min, and this benefits deep connective tissue. You can prevent planar fascia (in the feet) by practicing barefoot training. Stretching while contracting is akin to holding a chin up exercise for a long time. It’s holding your leg up in a leg lift and moving it back down slowly. It’s slowing down your reps with dynamic weights at the gym. It’s rolling out your muscles with a hard foam roller.

Bob Cooley outlines stretches for specific ailments:

wheel-fascia

The importance of Yin Yoga: 

Yin Yoga is a great balance to our regular fast and furious yoga and it has come to be in some classes. People believe that the faster, the more “athletic”, the more “power”, the better for your body. The truth is, yoga is a time to slow down, fully experience each pose in each moment, and there is strength and power in that. It takes great focus and a powerful mind to stay in the present. With a balance of yin and yang, the body becomes strong and less vulnerable to injury. Our daily lives are filled with fast-moving, high stress, trying to please others and overextend. Slowing it down and breathing through yin postures can bring a great relief to our emotional health, which of course, affects our physical health. Here’s an example of a 30 minute Yin practice:

Please leave me questions or comments about fascia, yin yoga, or flexibility!

xxSerena

Three foods to keep you lean

Ok my buddy Alif sent another super good comment that I think deserves a post. He wrote:

Day 2 of IF complete. 2 questions I hope you can answer. The first is with a job such as a Sales Manager at BMW Gallery (selfish plug sorry) it is hard for me to take in all the calories I require in the 8 hour window. I know you are anti-supplements but is a protein shake better than not taking in enough calories? Any other tips for the busy body to intake the “right” calories? Second question is some critics say that IF for males is bad because it eats away at muscle mass. Is this true?
Thank you for your help

I answered him in my reply but I wanted to elaborate on some of these topics. firstly, the “right” calories. i’m not a nutritionist. I’m just a 40-year-old woman with a bunch of girlfriends all over the world. i’ve been working out for years and we’ve been discussing diet and exercise our whole lives.

Tips for the busy body to intake the “right” calories would depend on the person’s goals. Lets say your goals are to lose excess fat and gain muscle. I have chosen three foods that will keep you lean and allow you to build muscle:

1. Oatmeal

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Oatmeal is a nutrient dense food with lots of vitamins. It regulates blood sugar and keeps you full for longer. It’s a good healthy fuel.

2. Salad

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When I say salad, I mean heavy on the greens. I don’t mean a small bowl with a few salad leaves in the middle. I mean two or three heaping handfulls, chopped, so they get smaller and bitesized so you you can eat more and lots. Salad greens have very few calories so you need a LARGE amount.

3. Chicken breast

chicken breast

 

Chicken breast is low in fat and high in protein. So after a workout it’s good because the muscles need protein to build. Plus it’s another nutrient dense food. It keeps you full for longer.

Now, by no means should you only eat these three foods. But if you want to lean out and gain muscle, these three will help. I can’t stress vegetables enough too though. Other great choices include vegetables of all colours, fresh fruits, sweet potatoes, lean fish and beans.

What do you think of these three foods? Do you agree? Disagree? Leave me a question or comment below. Happy working out and eating right Fitfam!

xxSerena

Intermittent fasting part one

I get a lot of people asking me what intermittent fasting is. It means you have an eating window. That window last between 6 to 8 hours generally. The rest of the time, you don’t eat or drink anything with calories. You sleep, or exercise, or work. Some say the brain is more clear when it’s not digesting. When fasting, water is okay. Tea or coffee is okay. As long as you don’t add any sugar or cream or anything with calories to those drinks.

Generally if you want to start intermittent fasting, you start eating a little later in the day. I’ve never been a fan of an early breakfast so for me this is perfectly fine. My body takes a long time to warm up to wanting to eat. I have never been one of those people who woke up hungry. Intermittent fasting is something that you do if you want to lose body fat. when I do intermittent fasting I’m training at the same time. So when I work out, I work out fasted. Then I eat sometime after that workout.

I’ve had trainers and fitness professionals who’ve asked me what the sense behind this is. And I know why they are asking. Intermittent fasting goes against the most predominant idea in fitness and eating: that to lose excess weight you should graze throughout the day. They tell us to eat many small meals. And that is perfectly fine if that works for you. But I wasn’t losing the fat that way. As soon as I started intermittent fasting, my body fat started melting off. The idea the way I understand it is, your body takes a lot of energy to digest food. And if you are eating all throughout the day then it doesn’t give your bodies digestive system time to properly digest that food.

Also the night time is important. The body metabolizes fat and build muscle while you are sleeping. During your sleep is not the time to be digesting food you have just eaten. When you sleep, your body is metabolizing fat. If you have worked out your body build muscles while you are sleeping. An optimal time for building muscle? Two hours between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. So don’t go to sleep at midnight! You need your two hours between 10 and 1 a.m.

To start IF, you should aim for an eight hour eating window. That means start eating at noon or 1 PM and stop eating at seven or 8 PM generally. If you have any questions about this please leave a comment below! Now one last important point is that during your eight hour eating window, you should be eating the right amount of calories. To figure out the right amount of calories for you, you need to calculate two things. First is your basal metabolic rate or BMR. That is the number of calories you burn without doing any physical activity.

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If you want to lose weight, then you need to adjust the amount of calories you eat depending on how much you burn. It’s calories in versus calories out. So within your eight hour eating window, you must eat enough calories! Don’t eat too little calories. Eat as many calories as you are supposed to eat in the whole day, but eat it during your eating window.

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To me intermittent fasting makes sense.

We have a obesity and a myriad of health problems attacking our society today. Human beings created a society where it is too easy to get food whenever you want it. before this consumerism, human beings didn’t eat for a while. This gave their bodies a chance to metabolize the food properly. Now, with people being able to eat anytime they want, there’s too much food in our bodies. And we don’t give our bodies enough time to metabolize it. It’s something to think about.

Please leave me your comments! Do you agree with this? Do you disagree? Is this ridiculous? Your ideas are important. for me, intermittent fasting worked. but every body is different. I have been very happy with my results with intermittent fasting:

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