4 Ways to Ease Sore Muscles After Working Out

4 Ways to Ease Sore Muscles After Working Out

With Summer right around the corner, you may be scrambling to get back into an exercise routine. And with a new exercise routine or extra hard training in your normal routine, comes sore muscles. Luckily, there are a few effective, easy home treatments to help soothe your aches and pains.

What Causes Sore Muscles

Delayed onset muscle soreness, which typically occurs 1–2 days after exercise and lasts an average of 2–3 days, is the most common form of post-workout aches and pains. When you’re working out hard, tiny tears happen within your muscles, which cause soreness.

Thankfully, there are some very effective ways to deal with muscles soreness. In fact, I’m going to share four of my favorite tips for soothing sore muscles – and with this insider knowledge, you can go forth in exercise without fear!

Epsom Salt Bath 1. Epsom Salt Bath

Epsom salt contains magnesium which can help relax skeletal muscles and flush out the lactic acid buildup that happens with exercise. You can buy this magical salt in most grocery stores, and it even comes in different scents like lavender or citrus.

To help sooth sore muscles, warm up a bath and sprinkle in 2–4 cups of Epsom salt. Soak for 20–30 minutes.

2. Massage

Not only do massages feel incredibly relaxing, but they can also help ease muscle pain after a hard workout. Studies have shown that massage reduces a compound that plays a critical role in muscle inflammation after working out. It also stimulates mitochondria which aids in muscle repair [1].

There are multiple types of massages such as sports massage, deep tissue, swedish, and lomi lomi. Sports and deep tissue massage are the go-to post-workout recovery aids that many elite athletes turn to.

Ice Bath 3. Ice Bath

Ice Baths are a sworn recovery secret by many top athletes like marathoners, Olympic lifters, and NFL players. They aren’t for the faint of heart, however.

Following a hard workout, submerging your body in ice cold water for 15 minutes is believed to help with recovery time and muscle inflammation. In recent studies, ice baths have reduced muscle soreness by about 20% [2].

You can create your own ice bath by filling up your tub and adding ice cubes to it. The goal is to get the water to around 46 degrees.

4. Arnica

Arnica is a homeopathic medicine that comes from a flower and can relieve swelling, bruising, and pain. It can be taken in pill form or used as a cream, gel or ointment, and is a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to take Ibuprofen or other over-the-counter pills. You can find Arnica in your local supplement store or natural foods store.

References:

[1] Bakalar, Nicholas. “How Massage Heals Sore Muscles.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 06 Feb. 2012. Web. 29 Apr. 2017.

[2] Doheny, Kathleen. “Ice Baths for Sore Muscles Can Work.” WebMD. WebMD, 14 Feb. 2012. Web. 29 Apr. 2017

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Gym Bag Essentials: 8 Helpful Items for Gym Goers

Gym Bag Essentials

Whether you hit the gym before or after work, during your lunch break, or later in the evening, a successful gym outing can depend on what you did – or didn’t – bring with you.

While the specific contents of your gym bag are going to differ wildly depending on your personal preferences, when you work out, and what type of workout you’re doing, there are a few basic that should be in everyone’s bag.

Finding the Right Gym Bag

When you become a gym goer, you’re going to need a bag. There are two basic things to consider when it comes to finding the right one:

1. The Locker Situation

Depending on the gym, some have lockers that are huge and can fit any size bag. Others have much smaller lockers. The size of your gym bag is going to depend on the size of your storage!

Something else to consider is how you’re going to ensure your gym bag stays safe and secure. Some gyms provide pre-programmed locks while others require you to bring your own.

2. Your Gym Bag Items

What needs to go in your bag is going to also dictate the size and functionality of your gym bag. Do you need a few easy-access pockets? A mesh water bottle holder? More than one compartment? What about some zippered spaces to keep your keys, wallet, or jewellery?

8 Gym Bag Essentials

Now that you have the perfect gym bag, it’s time to decide what goes in it.

While the contents of your gym bag are going to differ, there are nine basic items I consider to be must-haves for any gym bag.

1. Flip Flops

Are you showering after a workout? Many gyms have showers available to use after your workout and it always wise to protect your feet in any public shower area with flip flops!

2. Towel

A towel is one of those must-have gym items. Even if you aren’t making use of the showers, you’ll need a towel to wipe your sweat away afterwards. You may also prefer to workout with a towel handy, in case you want to lay it down underneath you when using the mats.

3. Post Workout Snack

After a hard workout your body is going to need fuel. Having a healthy snack on hand can curb cravings until you are home and can make a proper meal.

4. Water Bottle

Having a water bottle with you during your workout will help keep you hydrated, which is so important when exercising.

5. Music Device / Earphones

You might like to crank up the tunes and power through your workout. Or, perhaps you just want to tune out to a great cooking show. Either way, make sure you have your music device and earphones with you to help you stay motivated!

6. Jacket

If you’re in a cool area, you’ll want a clean jacket or shirt to change into, especially if you’re a sweater!

7. Watch

Keep a watch on hand. Not only will it help you keep time but you can also use it as a stop watch or heart rate monitor.

8. Gloves, Wrist Wraps, and Weightlifting Belt

These particular items aren’t going to be for everyone, but if your main focus is lifting weights, they are must-haves. Gloves protect your hands from slipping and blisters, while wrist wraps support your wrists when gripping heavy weights. Weightlifting belts are used to protect your lower back when attempting movements like deadlifts.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Why You Should Give Burpees a Chance

Why You Should Give Burpees a Chance

For most, burpees are a groan-inducing exercise. A favorite of gym teachers, personal trainers, and boot camp instructor alike, the burpee is an exercise most of us have done, and hated, at some point in our fitness pursuits. But it’s time to stop fearing and start embracing the burpee! Here’s why:

It’s a Great Total Body Workout

The burpee involves your upper body, lower body and core all in one simple, cardio busting movement!

Like jumping jacks burpees can be done in sequence and utilized in a circuit. Since it’s such a great cardio move, burpees are often pulled into an exercise simply to raise your heart rate between exercises (known as active rest).

Like with all strength movements, burpees get easier with time and practice. At first, doing 10 may seem like a tremendous feat, but after practicing a few times a week, you’ll be doing 30 in a row no problem.

How to Execute a Burpee

  1. Start in a standing position.
  2. Bend your knees and place your hands on the ground in front of you, jumping your legs back into an upward plank.
  3. Jump your feet back in and stand up

You can also add a little jump at the end. Or, for added difficulty, you can do a push up as your legs jump back into an upward plank. The goal is to make this one fluid motion.

This video from Linora Low is a great visual on how to execute a burpee properly.

A Burpee Circuit

Here’s a fun burpee circuit you can do in 10 minutes, no equipment needed! As this circuit is a full cardio circuit, ensure you are cleared by your physician to do rigorous heart-pumping exercise before starting.

Do each move in the circuit for 30 seconds, then rest for one minute, and repeat!

  1. Burpees
  2. Jog in place
  3. Jump squats
  4. Jog in place
  5. Burpees
  6. Rest
  7. Jumping jacks
  8. Rest
  9. Burpees
  10. Jumping jacks

 

 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

How to Pick a Healthy Yogurt

How to Pick a Healthy Yogurt

What’s the deal with yogurt? For such a simple food, it seems like there’s so much to consider!

To keep you from getting frustrated, here’s a rundown of what you need to know about healthy yogurt –whether you’re choosing a store-bought variety, making your own, or simply trying to jazz it up.

Choosing a Yogurt

Finding the right yogurt can be a time-consuming process. There are dozens of brands to choose from, each with their own range of flavors, fat levels, and ingredients. But don’t despair, here are a few tips to help narrow down your search:

  • Choose plain yogurt – you can add your own healthy flavorings later
  • Look for unsweetened yogurt
  • Forgo additives, including thickeners, sweeteners, and preservatives
  • Opt for yogurts labeled “Live & Active Culture” to ensure a sufficient level of probiotic bacteria
  • Go for a quality serving of protein – from 9 g in regular to over 15 g per ¾ cup in Greek yogurt
  • Stick to low-fat varieties – anywhere from 0–2% dairy fat

Greek vs Regular Greek vs. Regular

Both Greek and regular varieties of yogurt are delicious and healthy, provided they are low in fat and free of sweeteners and additives. But the traditional Greek yogurt process strains out the liquid whey fraction, giving it a competitive edge. When compared to regular yogurt, the benefits of Greek include:

  • Almost double the protein content
  • A thicker, creamy texture
  • About half the carbohydrate content
  • More satiating

Benefits of DIY Yogurt

Do it yourself (DIY) yogurt is a fun and simple project, and it’s the easiest way to control the ingredients and ensure that you’re eating the freshest yogurt possible. It’s also cheaper than store bought – bonus! All you need is high-quality milk (preferably organic and grass-fed) and a starter culture, which can be ordered new or taken from an existing batch of high-quality yogurt.

Topppings Yogurt Toppings

Yogurt is a fantastic medium for toppings. Whether it’s a chewy, crunchy, sweet, or savory experience you’re after, there are plenty of healthy ingredients that’ll compliment your bowl of yogurt. Fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and grains – the options are endless! Here are a few of my go-to healthy yogurt toppings:

  • SlimStyles *PGX Granules – helps lower the glycemic index
  • Chopped nuts and seeds – adds protein and fiber
  • Honey or fruit puree – increases the sweetness
  • Ground cinnamon, ginger, or vanilla bean – adds warmth
  • A spoonful of almond or peanut butter – creates a rich flavor

*Drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX. If you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PGX.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Diet

5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Diet

Long, grey, cold winters can leave you stuck in a rut craving comfort food. What might make you feel good in winter and fall can leave you feeling heavy and lethargic in the warmer months, though.

Get a jump on summer with these five ways to spring clean your diet.

1. Clear Your Cupboards

If, like me, you turn into a bit of a squirrel in Fall and stock your pantry full to bursting, set aside a few hours and clear out your cupboards. Here’s how:

  1. Lay the complete contents of your cupboard on the kitchen island, counter, or floor to get a full view of your inventory.
  2. Check the expiry dates. Create a pile of food that needs to be used up sooner rather than later.
  3. Create another pile of  “cold-weather comfort food”, such as heavy soups, sauces, and cookies.
  4. To free up space in your cupboards for lighter, summer-friendly fare like quinoa and bulgur, consider donating your “cold-weather comfort food” pile to your local food bank.

Embrace Sunday Meal Prep 2. Embrace Sunday Meal Prep

If cooking a healthy dinner after a long work day is hard for you, try using Sundays for a bit of meal prep. This is as simple as planning a weekly menu and spending an hour or so chopping and bagging fresh vegetables for salads, soups, and stir-fries. This will help you throw together a healthy dinner every weeknight within a matter of minutes.

Meal prep can be done for breakfast too! To avoid picking up a coffee and Danish on the way to work, put together Mason jar smoothies or breakfast bowls for the week. Prepare your dry ingredients, such as PGX Satisfast Vegan Protein, spirulina powder, or another green food powder, in one large jar, then wash, peel, and bag up fresh fruit for each day. Then, every morning you can quickly put together a fresh, protein-and fiber-packed smoothie or healthy breakfast bowl!

3. Learn How to Make Salad Rolls

Salad rolls are easy, versatile, and fun! They’re also a great way to pack in your veggies and protein while keeping your calorie count in check.

  1. Thinly slice a heap of fresh veggies such as peppers, carrots, cucumber, and jicama and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  2. Whip up a peanut sauce with peanut butter, sesame oil, lemon juice, and a dash of soy sauce and store in a small Mason jar in the refrigerator.
  3. Soak rice noodles and drain
  4. Stir-fry choice of protein, such as strips of tofu
  5. Combine all ingredients onto rice paper, and roll!

Grow Your Own Herbs 4. Grow Your Own Herbs

Growing your own vegetables and fruits is very rewarding, but if it’s not how you want to spend your weekend or evenings, how about investing instead in some simple kitchen herbs? Nurturing herbs such as basil, dill, cilantro, and parsley, encourages us to eat them fresh. This not only adds nutrients to simple salads, soups, pasta, and other dishes, it adds flavour, allowing us to cut down on calorie-laden seasonings and sauces, helping to clean your diet.

5. Get Inspired!

If things have become a little humdrum in your kitchen, consider joining or forming a cookbook group. Choose a different recipe book each month and ask everyone to cook something from it for a group potluck. It’s a great way to sample new dishes, spend time with friends, and pick up a few new culinary skills along the way! If you’re forming your own group, consider choosing a theme that aligns with your health goals, such as whole food plant-based cuisine.

Switching things up for Spring can feel a bit daunting, so cookbook groups or visiting the farmers market are great ways to help clean your diet. Look out for fun, fresh, vibrant fruits and vegetables, such as fiddleheads, sorrel, heirloom tomatoes, fresh cherries and berries, and stock your refrigerator so you can snack with abandon this spring and summer!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)