Category Archives: TWSM Health and Fitness Tips

How to Eat Healthy On-The-Go

Eat healthy on the go…

Life can be busy. Our days can get away on us between work and school and errands and, and, and… How often do you find yourself in a pinch without a lunch or dinner plan and you are busy running from one thing to the next?? Perhaps you’ve been so diligent in your quest at eating healthy but then time gets away and you didn’t have time to plan and the next thing you know you are driving through Chick-Fil-A or sitting at a restaurant for dinner feeling like you should just throw up your hands and call it quits. 

Don’t call it quits just yet, my friend. Even in the hustle and bustle of life and the days that aren’t planned or don’t go as planned, we can still maintain healthy eating habits while on-the-go. Here’s how.

3 Ways to Maintain Healthy Eating On-The-Go

Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Whether you are stressed or depressed or overwhelmed or tired, don’t let those emotions dictate your food choices. Easier said than done, I know, but this can be dangerous territory. When going through the drive thru in a pinch, let your decision be made through a clear mind, to the best of your ability. Choose foods that best align with your health goals. Thankfully, nowadays there are many more healthy options even at fast food restaurants. Always choose something that has protein, veggies, and the least amount of added carbohydrates/fat (i.e. dressings, condiments, etc.)

Use helpful apps to guide your decision making. There are several helpful apps out there to help you make the BEST, most healthy food decision you can if/when you have to eat out or go through the drive thru. My Fitness Pal is a helpful app to show you the calories, carbs, fat, protein of items. Most restaurants are on My Fitness Pal now, but if not, perhaps that restaurant has their nutritional info on their website/app. Cheat Day is another app that will help you find the healthiest options at over 700 restaurants, including many fast food and convenience restaurants. 

Create an SOS grab bag for your car. Having some healthy snacks on hand to grab quickly can be the difference to staying on track for the day or ending up in the McDonald’s drive thru at 2 PM. Keep some non-perishable snack items in your car in a little lunch bag. Think nuts, seeds, healthy trail mix, dried fruit, clementine’s/oranges, RX bars, Lara bar, Chomps meat sticks. These are all items that are great to have in a pinch that you can easily access and can prevent a hangry meltdown or a hangry decision you’ll later regret.

 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

Caring For Your Body During Grief

This may not be the most glamorous topic to talk about but it’s an important one nonetheless and one I’ve personally walked through and experienced recently. I haven’t shared a lot with you about my personal life but I am going to share today because I feel it is important for you all to see and be able to relate to someone who has experienced grief and some of the ways I’ve learned how to best care for my health and wellness during such a time.

Five weeks ago, I had a miscarriage. I was seven weeks along and had seen a heartbeat just 24 hours prior. My husband and I had a difficult time conceiving our now 2-year old son, so when we got pregnant after just 4-months of trying, it felt like a huge victory and blessing. We were thrilled! Obviously, God had different plans.

The last several weeks have been difficult to say the least. Grief and loss are something I haven’t had to experience up close and personal. I’ve felt it alongside others and extended family, but this was the closest it’s been to me as far as me losing someone I love. I am sure most women who have experienced a miscarriage will tell you and agree with me that a lot of the grieving is over what could have been, the hope, the anticipation…It’s its own unique path for sure.

But what I am here to share today is a few ways we can best care for ourselves when we face grief, loss, and suffering. Life is hard and painful and it’s not a matter of IF we will face hardship, but rather WHEN. So, whether you are in it now or not, pocket these tips for when that day comes (and obviously I don’t want ANY of you to face hardship but unfortunately it is inevitable).

Here are 3 things I’ve personally learned about caring for my body and health during this season of grief and loss.

Rest– Everyone always says to ‘get some rest’ when you are under a lot of stress or suffering. And rest is good, but what kind of rest are we talking about? Because the sleep-kind of rest won’t cut it, at least that is what I found. Rest, real soul rejuvenating, healing rest doesn’t come from catching more zzz’s but through time, solitude, being still, gathered around friends/family, doing activities that bring you joy. Sometimes it’s physical rest and sometimes it’s mental rest. Our minds and bodies need time and space to heal and sometimes simply BE. Resting and stepping away from the demands of life for a few days or weeks is totally acceptable and necessary. It is good for our physical bodies and our mental health.

Do What You Can– There were many days following the miscarriage where I couldn’t do much of anything. My productive self basically came to a halt. Life shut down, as it should during a difficult time. I’m so grateful for my husband and community that helped with child care, food, etc. As the days went by and the more I began to feel like myself both physically and emotionally, the more I was able to do. Don’t rush it. Do what you can each day and if one day that is absolutely nothing, just know that is healthy for your body for right then and right now. I had to remind myself that this wouldn’t be forever and so letting go of my taskers was ok and acceptable and was actually the BEST thing I could be doing for my health and wellness for that time. Doing an intense workout and depriving myself of the food I wanted was in that time and space, not the healthiest option for me. It would have caused me more harm than good. Sometimes it takes great discernment and wisdom to know what our bodies/minds need. Being healthy isn’t always choosing the salad or working your tail off at the gym. Sometimes the healthiest thing you can do for yourself is to step back, rest, and eat the queso. Just sayin’…

Move and Eat with Leisure– I have to be honest, most days following the miscarriage and all that ensued, I didn’t eat my normal, healthy way. And that is ok! Our bodies physically NEED different things when we are under such emotional and physical stress. In that time, I physically needed more carbs and that is what felt good and nourishing for my body. If you can’t stick to your healthy, clean eating plan during a time such as this, it’s ok to give yourself permission to meet yourself where you are at and know it won’t be forever. Other days I craved protein and veggies and I knew that is what my body needed for nourishment and energy. Just listen to your body. And the same with activity. Most days a walk outside felt really good. It may have taken A LOT of conjuring up to get out there but once I was up and walking with my husband and son, it was restorative for my soul and helped my health and body on my road to recovery both physically and mentally/emotionally.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. But how we care for ourselves and what we speak over ourselves during that time is important. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It is a season that won’t last forever. Taking the time to slow down, rest, move your body a little, and meet each day as it comes- these are all healthy ways to care for your body and your soul. I know we may not view these things as “health/wellness” and caring for our bodies but being healthy and well is far more than eating a kale salad and doing a 45-min spin class. It also involves our mental and emotional state and how we handle and deal with stress, grief, overwhelm, etc. Be kind and gracious to your body and mind.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
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Eating Healthy On A Budget

I want to bust the myth that eating healthy cannot be done affordably or on a budget. Perhaps much to your surprise (and against popular opinion), you do not need to spend your ‘whole paycheck’ in order to eat and maintain a healthy diet. Don’t get me wrong, healthy food can be expensive and eating a healthy diet can and likely will require some sacrifices in your life, but it can be done on a budget and it truly can become a lifestyle for you and your family. 

Here are 10 tips to eat healthy on a budget

Buy in Bulk- Buying certain foods in bulk can save you a significant amount. Items like oats, rice, barley, nuts, seeds, lentils, and beans are all great options for buying in bulk. Simply keep them in airtight containers in your pantry and they will last several months. These food items are also great staples to have on hand and can be used for a variety of meals and recipes. If you are able to front load your grocery money, shopping at wholesale club stores like Sam’s Club and Costco is another great way to save money by buying in bulk. It takes money on the front end, but you will save in the long run especially if you focus on buying staples like olive oil, nuts, dried fruit, meat, and frozen fruit/vegetables. This is truly the way to go when buying staple items that get used up quickly. Buying these items at a conventional grocery store can sometimes be close to double the price than at a wholesale store.

Buy Online- One of my favorite online grocery retailers to shop and save money is Thrive Market. Think Whole Foods meets Costco. Thrive Market carries a variety of healthy pantry items along with other household, beauty, and pet products that are all clean, eco-friendly, and mostly organic. Thrive Market has their own brand of items if you want to get an even better deal. Thrive carries some of the EXACT same brands and items as Whole Foods for less. 

Eat Seasonally- Buying produce that is in season is a great way to save money while eating healthy. It is also a great way to enjoy the best of the season and support local farmers. Seasonal produce is not only cheaper, but it is at its peak for freshness offering better nutrients and taste. 

Maintain an Organized Refrigerator/Pantry- Knowing what you have can save you a lot of money and decrease food waste. Be sure to take inventory before heading to the grocery store so you don’t find yourself questioning if you have that item at home while standing in the grocery store just to find out you already have two at home. I think we’ve all done that before…Toss any expired foods before grocery shopping as well. Speaking of tossing expired foods, along with maintaining an organized refrigerator and pantry, knowing how to store food is also important. Take some time to educate yourself on how to store fresh produce and pantry items so that you aren’t wasting precious food and money. 

Coupon & Check Sales- Take some time and look through the paper for sales at your local grocery store. If you live near a Sprouts Farmers Market you can take advantage of their double ad Wednesdays where you can shop the sales from that week’s ad as well as the previous week’s ad. There are several grocery savings apps out there so no need to clip paper coupons if that isn’t your thing. Check out Ibotta, Checkout 51, Rakuten, and Coupons.com just to name a few. If I see a favorite pantry staple item such as Banza chickpea pasta on sale, I always take advantage of the sale and stock up on a few. This is a great way to save money in the long run and you’re always sure to have your favorite items on hand. 

Buy Off Brand- Nowadays the store brand is just as good as the name brand as far as quality but for a fraction of the cost. Try shopping at a specialty grocery store like Trader Joe’s or Aldi whose entire store is dedicated to their own brand. These stores have become very popular among those looking to cut down on their grocery bill. Most big box chain grocery stores also have their own brand that is more cost effective than the name brands. 

Meal Plan- One of the easiest and most effective ways to save money at the grocery store and on your monthly grocery bill is to meal plan. Going into the store with a game plan and a specific list of items needed will help you from buying unnecessary items or over buying. Speaking of grocery shopping….also avoid grocery shopping when you are hungry. Back to meal planning…I like to sit down one day a week (typically on the weekends) and plan my meals for the week. I use this time and take inventory of my refrigerator and pantry and figure out what items we need. I like to choose 4 meals per week to cook but that will depend on the size of your family, how much you eat out, and how often you want to cook. Once I decide my meals and I know what I have and don’t have, I make my very detailed grocery shopping list. I always like to meal plan BEFORE going to the store but some people like to shop the sales at the grocery store or shop at a farmers market and then plan their meals afterwards depending on what fresh items they purchased. This can be an effective technique but does take more of a knowledge of what to cook and what to pair together versus following more exact recipes. The main goal is to take some time to plan and know what you plan to cook so you don’t overbuy and waste and to ensure you are buying what you need and not adding extras to your cart and your grocery bill.

Know What/What Not to Buy Organic- While buying organic is a great thing to do, if you are trying to eat healthy on a budget it isn’t necessary to buy everything organic. There are some items that are more important than others to buy organic. EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen is a great place to start when determining what to buy organic and what can be purchased conventionally. Check out the lists here

Cut Down on Snack Foods- I think you’d be surprised at how expensive crackers, cookies, and other prepackaged foods are considering the low nutritional value they offer. By skipping out on the snack and junk foods, you can reallocate that money to fresh, whole foods that are better for you! Oftentimes, fresh, whole foods are just as affordable if not cheaper than prepackaged, processed foods but it takes a shift in our mentality. 

Go Meat Free Once a Week- No need to go full on vegetarian but opting to do a meat free meal once a week (maybe Meatless Monday) is one way to cut down on your grocery bill because meat can tend to be expensive, especially quality organic, grass-fed meat. This is also an effective way to expand your palette and cooking repertoire by trying other healthy foods and finding different protein sources from things like beans and lentils. You don’t have to sacrifice protein just because you eat meat free…I think you’d be surprised by the amount of yummy vegan/vegetarian options out there now. 

I hope these tips will help you the next time you step foot in the grocery store and empower you to reach for the healthy items while keeping some extra money in your pocket.

 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

Top 10 Pieces of Equipment for At-Home Workouts

The pandemic over this last year has forced many people to change up their workout routine, equipment and even where they go to exercise.

With many gyms closed for several months to some still being closed, many people have had to rethink their workout regimen. At-home workouts have become SO popular over the years and 2020 I think sealed the deal for many, transitioning them from a local gym to exercising at home.

There are many benefits to working out from home, so if you can do it, why not?! You’ll not only save money but also time and gain flexibility as well. I find it so much easier to work out from home some days versus having to get out the door and drive to the physical gym.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love going to an actual gym and having access to all of the equipment and group classes, but there are many perks to exercising at home as well. 

Today I want to share my TOP TEN pieces of equipment to have at home for your home gym so you can work-out effectively and efficiently. I’ll preface this by saying that none of these items are more than $150 and you can likely purchase all of these pieces of equipment for under $1,000 and be well outfitted for your at-home workouts. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money outfitting your home gym, consider buying used from local friends or Facebook marketplace. You can also check stores like TJMaxx and Marshalls which sometimes have exercise equipment steeply discounted.

Without further ado, let’s dive in and find out my ten must-have pieces of equipment for at-home work-outs. 

*Yoga Mat/Exercise Mat: A yoga mat isn’t just for yoga. A non-slip exercise mat is helpful to have for floor exercises and stretching. 

*Dumbbells: Dumbbells are SO versatile and are necessary for strength/resistance training. There are literally hundreds of exercises you can do with dumbbells. Consider purchasing a set with a stand to save space and also allows you versatility with various weights. 

*Medicine Ball or Slam Ball: A medicine ball is soft whereas a slam ball is filled with sand and is weighted. Both are incredible tools for functional and strength-based exercises. Medicine balls can be used for a variety of exercises including core exercises. A slam ball is a great tool to use to get your heart rate up with HIIT type exercises.

*Kettlebell: Another great piece of versatile equipment, especially for functional moves like swings, deadlifts, lunges, and squats. Kettlebells are great for toning and strengthening every part of your body, including your core. 

*Loop Resistance Bands: Loop resistance bands often times come with a few resistances (light, medium, heavy) and a little travel bag. These bands are typically under $15 and you can travel with them and use them virtually anywhere. Loop resistance bands are especially great for strengthening and toning your glutes and hips but can be used for a variety of exercises and stretches. 

*TRX Suspension Bands: The TRX Suspension Training system is a unique system that allows you to work your lower and upper body while also targeting and enhancing your core stability. All you need is a door or a solid backyard tree to hook the bands up to and you are ready to go! These bands are a bit more expensive, but you can do SO much with them and get a full body workout in any day of the week!

*Slider Discs: Slider discs are under $10 and take up barely any space, if space is an issue. A double win! You can also easily toss these in your travel bag with your loop resistance bands and get an effective workout anywhere! Slider discs are also great as a low-impact option that is easy on your joints while still strengthening your major muscle groups. 

*Jump Rope: Yup- a basic jump rope is one of my top pieces of equipment for at-home workouts. It’s cheap and effective! Jumping rope for even just 5 minutes is a great way to increase our heart rates and get in some good cardio work. 

*Stability Ball and/or Pilates Ball: A large stability ball can be used in a variety of ways including as a chair ;). You can use it to target your core, upper, or lower body. A smaller, Pilates ball is a great addition to your yoga/Pilates/barre workouts and can help with core strength and stability. 

*Foam Roller: While you won’t use a foam roller during your workout, it is necessary to help your body recover post workout. Using a foam roller for self-myofascial release (aka massage) is SO important for recovery and keeping your muscles loose and limber.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

Easy Workouts That Can Be Done on Your Lunch Break

Easy workouts that can be done on your lunch break. Finding the time to workout can be one of the biggest, if not the biggest hurdle for people when it comes to establishing a consistent exercise regimen. We are all busy and stretched thin for time. As women especially, our time and energy are pulled in every which direction- home, work, kids, community/volunteer service, church, friends, etc. 

One key to maintaining a consistent workout regimen is to get creative with your time management. No need to work out for an hour when you can get just as effective of a workout in in 20-30 minutes! This is one of the main reasons I am a fan of HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts. They are short but highly effective! 

Utilizing your lunch break to get in a quick yet effective workout or movement is one way to get creative with your time, especially if you are short on it. If you are working from home, this is even better because you likely won’t need to shower afterwards and can jump right back into work. If you don’t typically take a formal lunch break, I’d urge you to consider blocking your schedule for 30 minutes to invest in yourself and your health and take a much-deserved break in the middle of the day. It’s a great way to reset and be sure you are coming back to work for the second half of the day refreshed, mentally and physically, and able to give your very best to your work. 

Here are 3 easy workouts that can be done on your lunch break! 

*HIIT Workout– Like I said above, 20 minutes of high intensity interval training is enough to get your heart rate elevated and your heart pumping for an effective workout. And the great thing is you don’t need any equipment; there is SO much you can do with just your body weight and by doing plyometric type moves (think jumping type exercises). I like to use the Tabata timer app for my HIIT workouts when I am crunched on time because you can do as many rounds as you have time for and each round is 4 minutes. I typically will do 1-2 exercises per round (each round is 8 times through of 20 seconds of work with a 10 second rest to make up the 4 minutes). The key is to do as much heart pumping work as you can do in 20-30 minutes with little to no breaks. 

*Walking– A simple walk can go a long way! Walking is SO beneficial for our health. Get outside and go for a quick 20-30 minute walk or walk around your building if it’s inclement weather outside. I think sometimes we don’t give walking enough credit, but it is a very effective form of exercise for heart health, hormone health, and overall wellness. Walking is a great lunch time option because you can get fresh air, vitamin D, and move your body, plus you won’t get too sweaty If you need to return to the office.

*Core Workout– This is a great option for a lunch time workout because you won’t get very sweaty. Working our deep core muscles is SO important for improving our overall strength, helping with our posture, and enhancing our other workouts because a strong core is vital for proper form. Working on our core strength and pelvic floor strength is low impact but certainly not a waste of your time and effort. Increasing core and pelvic floor strength can help if you suffer from back pain, incontinence, or if you are trying to heal diastasis recti postpartum. 

 

Give your lunch time a makeover and use that time to your advantage to squeeze in some movement that will give you a boost of energy for the rest of the day, help you progress in your health/fitness goals, and allow you to spend your after work time doing the other things you need to get done.

 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

Breaking Down Fitness Lingo Part 2

Welcome back to Part 2 of our ‘Breaking Down the Fitness Lingo’ blog series. Today we are going to cover all of the fitness terms from H to Z. Get ready, here we go!

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) High Intensity Interval Training is a specific type of cardiovascular exercise that focuses on alternating short bursts of all-out (anaerobic) exercise with less intense recovery periods. There is no set duration for this type of training although typically 30 minutes is sufficient to experience the benefits of HIIT. Some of the benefits of HIIT training include its efficiency, increased fat burn, increased cardiovascular capacity, little to no equipment needed, increased metabolism, and you can lose weight without losing lean muscle mass. 

High Impact– High impact on the joints and involves activities where both feet are off of the ground at the same time. High impact activities include running, jumping, plyometrics, and gymnastics. 

Heart Rate Zones– Zones to help you understand how hard you are exercising. Heart rate zones are the zones in between our personal resting heart rate and our max heart rate. A simple way to determine your personal heart rate zones is to take a % of your max heart rate. The different heart rate zones correspond with the intensity of your training. Heart rate zones are linked to anaerobic and aerobic thresholds. There are 5 different heart rate zones: 

HR Zone 1 (very light): 50-60% max HR

HR Zone 2 (light): 60-70% max HR

HR Zone 3 (moderate): 70-80% max HR

HR Zone 4 (hard): 80-90% max HR

HR Zone 5 (max): 90-100% max HR

Isometric– A form of exercise involving the static contraction of a muscle without any visible movement or change in the angle of the joint. Isometric exercises are done to improve strength in one particular position. These types of exercises can be beneficial for increasing stabilization. 

Lactic Acid Lactic Acid (lactate) is a chemical byproduct of anaerobic respiration. Lactic acid is also produced in our guts and in yogurt from bacteria. Lactic acid is in our blood where it is then deposited into muscle cells and red blood cells. 

Lactic Threshold– Lactic threshold is the point in your exercise where the lactate in your blood begins to exponentially increase and accumulate at a faster rate than it can be removed. This oftentimes happens with high intensity exercise and can result in vomiting and not feeling well and needing to stop the activity. 

Low Impact– Activities where one foot remains on the ground at all times, therefore being low impact on the joints. Walking is an example of a low impact exercise. 

Max Heart Rate– Max heart rate is based on a person’s age and is calculated by subtracting the person’s age from 220. This number is the maximum times the heart should beat during one minute of exercise. 

MET– MET’s are metabolic equivalents that can help determine your body’s energy expenditure and the intensity of an exercise.  A MET is the ratio of your working metabolic rate versus your resting metabolic rate. One MET is the energy used to be still/at rest. MET’s are calculated by multiplying 3.5 ml of oxygen (your cells use approximately 3.5 mL of oxygen to create energy for one MET per kilogram of body weight) times your body weight in kilograms. MET’s can be helpful in determining an exercise routine and to help you gauge how much you are getting out of your workout. Keep in mind that energy expenditure will vary person to person based on age and fitness level. 

One Rep Max– Your one repetition maximum is the max amount of weight you can lift for one rep of a specific exercise. You can use this information of your one rep max to determine the weight you should be using for your sets in general. 

Plyometric– Plyometric exercises are aerobic exercises used to increase speed, strength, and endurance. Plyometric exercises typically involve jumping such as squat jumps, burpees, box jumps, clapping push-up, and ski/lateral jumps just to name a few. These types of exercises are powerful, high exertion exercises that are meant for conditioned individuals and athletes. 

Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale is a way to measure the intensity of an exercise and how hard you feel like your body is working. The rating is on a 6-20 scale, 6 being the easiest and 20 being the hardest, all out effort. It is based on the individual’s personal physical feelings and experiences during the physical activity (i.e. increased heart rate, increased breathing, sweating, muscle fatigue, etc.). Although the scale is subjective in nature, it has been shown to provide a fairly accurate estimate of your actual heart rate during exercise. 

Repetition– In reference to strength training, a repetition is the number of times you perform a given exercise during a set. 

Resting Heart Rate– A normal resting heart rate range for adults is 60-100 beats per minute. A lower heart rate signifies that your heart is able to work more efficiently and you have better cardiovascular fitness. 

Steady State Cardio– A cardio workout with a continuous steady effort that can be sustained for a longer amount of time with a stable heart rate and oxygen consumption. This type of exercise is unlike interval training in that you do not vary the intensity or energy output. Steady state cardio can help to increase your aerobic fitness level and cardiovascular endurance. 

Strength/Resistance Training– The goal with this type of exercise training is to improve strength and function of muscles. You can weight lift using barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, etc. and you can also use resistance bands for resistance training. You can also do strength training using your own body weight to do exercises such as squats, push-ups, lunges, etc. 

Set– In reference to strength training, a set is repeating the same exercises a certain number of times. For example, you complete 10 squats for one set, then rest, and perform another ‘set’ of 10 squats. 

Superset– Two or more strength training exercises that typically work the same muscle group and are performed back to back without any rest periods. 

Tabata– A high intensity interval training protocol created by Japanese scientist, Dr. Izumi Tabata, that involves 20 second all-out maximum work intervals followed by a 10 second rest interval for 8 cycles (a total of 4 minutes). 

Warm-up– A warm-up is done prior to beginning exercise in order to prepare the body for the stress of exercise. A warm-up should consist of 5-10 minutes of low-intensity aerobic movements or dynamic stretches to increase blood flow to the muscles to warm them for more intense exercise. 

Now that we’ve gone from A-Z in the fitness world, hopefully you have a better understanding of some of these terms that are thrown around in your fitness classes or at the gym. I hope this understanding will help you continue to make progress and move forward in your health and fitness journey!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

Let’s Break Down the Fitness Lingo A-Z (Part 1)

Let’s Break Down the Fitness Lingo A-Z (Part 1)

Do you ever walk into your group exercise class or are working out in the gym and you hear all kinds of terms being thrown around and you have no clue what they mean? You are not alone! There is a lot of fitness lingo out there and sometimes it’s hard to keep up with it, especially if you are new to the gym arena or fitness in general. I’m here today to help break down the lingo for you so that you can head to the gym with confidence or get the most bang for your buck with your at home workouts. Knowledge is power and the more you know about fitness terminology, the more you can seek to grow and improve in your fitness goals. 

Let’s start from A- F this week and work our way through some of the most common fitness terminology. We will finish with F – Z next week, so stay tuned!

Active Recovery– Low intensity exercises and activities that follow a more strenuous exercise day. It helps heal the body/muscles back to pre-training levels. The goal is to increase the heart rate and get blood flowing to the muscles to clear out any leftover metabolic waste (i.e. lactic acid) causing muscle soreness and fatigue. Examples include walking, biking, yoga, and swimming. 

Activities of Daily Living (ADL)- A term used to describe fundamental skills required for an individual to independently care for oneself. These daily self-care activities include bathing, feeding, dressing, homemaking, mobility, and leisure activities. 

Aerobic Activity- Physical exercise (also known as ‘cardio’) of low to high intensity that raises the heart rate and increases the rate of breathing. Aerobic refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism. Examples of aerobic activity include walking, running/jogging, swimming, rowing, and cycling. 

Anaerobic Activity– Anaerobic means ‘without oxygen’ meaning that this type of exercise breaks down glucose stored in your muscles for energy without using oxygen. Anaerobic exercise is high intensity, high power exercise such as high intensity interval training, sprinting, biking, or some forms of weight lifting. 

Body Composition– Our body weight broken down into its various components such as fat, protein, lean muscle tissue, bone density, and water. It is a more accurate depiction of your overall health. A body composition scan will analyze your body fat vs. lean muscle mass. 

Body Mass Index (BMI)- A person’s BMI is determined based on their height and weight. It is calculated by dividing the person’s weight in kilograms by the square height in meters. BMI does not take into account a person’s body composition (i.e. lean muscle mass or body fat). 

Boot Camp– A type of physical training designed to increase strength and fitness through various exercises that may or may not be modeled after military style fitness training. Boot camp style workouts can be performed at gyms, by personal trainers, indoors or outdoors. Boot camp offers a lot of flexibility and diversity for exercise training. 

Cardiovascular Exercise– This is another name for aerobic exercise and we often refer to it as ‘cardio’. This type of exercise relies on the aerobic energy generating process, which uses oxygen as its energy source. The CDC recommends adults do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular activity each week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise (or a combination of both). For cardiovascular benefits, aim to spend 20-60 minutes doing cardio exercise in your target heart rate zone. 

Calisthenics– A variety of exercises that work large muscle groups, relying on a person’s body weight as their resistance. Exercises include movements such as pushing, pulling, bending, jumping, or swinging. These types of exercises help to improve and develop strength, endurance, flexibility, and coordination. 

Circuit– One completion or ‘round’ of all exercises in a set, typically with strength training or high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. Example circuit: 10 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 tricep dips

Circuit Training– A type of exercise regimen that works to train different muscle groups. Circuit training allows you to work on cardio, muscular endurance, and strength training at the same time, which is the best combination for building lean muscle and burning fat at the same time. One ‘circuit’ is one completion of all of the set exercises in the program and then you repeat from the beginning. Circuit training is different from interval training where you push through high intensity moves, going all out and alternate with rest periods or low intensity moves. 

Cool Down– Your exercise session should end gradually by slowing down. You can cool down by changing your pace to a less intense activity (i.e. running to walking) or by stretching. Your cool down should last approximately 5 minutes to allow your body to relax and recover. 

Core– Your core is the midsection of your body that includes the muscles around the front, back, and sides of your body. The muscles making up our core include internal and external obliques, transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, multifidus, and the pelvic floor muscles. Our core muscles are deep within the abdominals and back and attach to the spine or pelvis. Our core muscles are the main stabilizers for the entire body. 

Compound Exercise– An exercise move that incorporates multiple muscle groups such as squats, deadlifts, and lunges. It can also involve a movement that combines two movements such as a bicep curl to a shoulder press or a deadlift to an upright row. These types of compound exercises are efficient and effective for increasing muscle mass, strength, and burning more calories as compound exercises require more effort than isolated exercises (a single bicep curl alone). 

Cross Training– Involves mixing various types of exercise and training methods to develop a specific area of fitness. The benefits of cross training include a reduced risk of injury, improved total fitness, and enhanced weight loss. Cross training aims to pair workouts that support one another such as swimming with running or boot camp and a spin class. 

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)- DOMS is muscle pain/soreness that typically occurs 1-2 days after a strenuous workout. It is caused by eccentric exercise (the tension and lengthening of muscles) which causes microtears in the muscle fibers. Our muscles adapt to these microtears by increasing inflammation to the damaged sites, leading to delayed muscle soreness.

Dynamic Warm-Up– A warm-up that involves active movement, taking your body through ranges of motion to prepare your body for your workout routine. Unlike static stretching, a dynamic warm-up does not involve holding a stretch. Dynamic warm-up moves should mimic the movements you will be doing in your workout. The purpose of a dynamic warm-up is to increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments and increase range of motion. 

Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)- This can also be called the afterburn effect because your body continues to burn calories after your high intensity workout is finished. EPOC is the increased consumption of oxygen within the body and the calories it burns to recover from exercise. High intensity exercise generates a greater EPOC or afterburn than lower intensity exercise because of the increased demands on the body and the higher amounts of oxygen needed to recover. 

Flexibility– The range of motion for a given joint. The ability to move joints effectively through a complete range of motion. 

Foam Rolling– Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release technique using a foam roller. Foam rolling can be utilized to help relieve muscle tension, break up lactic acid causing soreness, decrease inflammation, and increase your range of motion. Foam rollers are cylinder shaped but can come in varying densities and sizes. It is beneficial to incorporate foam rolling into your warm-up and cool-down routine when exercising. 

Functional Move– Functional moves are based on real life situational biomechanics such as lifting a heavy box or carrying grocery bags. Functional movements typically involve using multiple muscle groups and moving in multiple planes of motion increasing the involvement of the core muscles. 

Ok that is all for today! That was a lot of definitions….hopefully you learned something new and can incorporate these terms in your fitness regiment and know what they mean! Being able to navigate the gym or your group exercise classes with confidence is SO important!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
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Benefits Of Strength Training For Women

Benefits of Strength Training for Women

When I was in college, exercising for me looked like jumping on the elliptical or treadmill and doing steady state cardio for 30-45 minutes and calling it a day. Don’t get me wrong, steady state cardio like this is really beneficial for our heart health and cardiovascular system, however it should not be the only means of exercise. For a long time women thought they could just run or do the elliptical to lose weight and get in shape. That may work for a season but eventually you will hit a plateau and your body will stop responding to that type of exercise. 

One of my favorite ways to exercise and truly continue to challenge the body is through strength training. Thankfully there are a lot more resources out there now for women to help them in strength training. In fact, I myself created a helpful tool to teach women how to become their own personal trainers and implement effective workouts, mainly strength training. You can find out more about my Whole Body Fitness Planner at homebodysoul.lpages.co/wbfplanner. 

Strength training and lifting weights is a great way to transform your body composition (muscle vs. fat) and change your physique. The goal should not simply be to lose weight or be a certain weight but to be your healthiest self. Someone can be 130 pounds but carry more body fat than ideal versus someone who could weigh the exact same, look smaller and more toned, and carry more muscle and less fat. This is the ideal scenario because more muscle equals more calories burned at rest throughout the day. How? Why? Because the more muscle on your frame, the higher your basal metabolic rate which is basically the amount of calories you burn at rest throughout the day. We want that number high because that means we can workout less but still maintain our weight. You will still have to workout and exercise but you can make your workouts more efficient and less time consuming. I think we can all agree that that would be wonderful! 

Ok- back to strength training. Here are 3 benefits of strength training for women (just to name a few). Don’t be afraid to pick up the heavy weights and challenge your body! Strength is in the resistance and our bodies truly change in how they look, feel, and operate when we strength train, add muscle, and lose fat. 

  1. Strength training protects your bone health. Building and maintaining strong bones is vital as women especially as we age. One of the best ways to maintain strong bones is through strength training. Strength training helps support our bone density which naturally can decrease as we age.
  2. Strength training is a great low-impact exercise option. For those who have a hard time with high impact exercise, strength training is even more for you! When you work several muscle groups at the same time (i.e. compound movements) with little rest in between sets, your heart rate increases just like it would through higher impact exercise like running. 
  3. Strength training can improve your mental health. There is something empowering about lifting weights, especially as a female. This alone can help boost your mood and make you feel not only physically strong but also mentally strong and resilient. Lifting weights helps us to tangibly tap into our internal mental strength reserves, which can definitely come in handy when life happens and we need that put that mental strength to use. Studies have also shown that those who participate in strength training have a lower incidence of depression. 

I hope I convinced you to pick up the dumbbells and get to it! Are you ready to add in strength training to your workout regiment?!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
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Selfless Self-Care

Self-care. It’s a term we see everywhere nowadays. It’s sprinkled throughout social media posts, magazines, pamphlets at doctor’s offices, fitness facilities, you name it. Self-care isn’t a bad thing at all but today I want to offer perhaps a different perspective on self-care. 

Often times when we see and hear self-care being discussed and promoted it is in the vain of doing something alone and specifically for oneself. It can sometimes have an indulgent type connotation- getting a massage, taking a bath, reading a book, etc. Leisure activities that bring you pleasure and joy are definitely important and necessary to help keep a person sane. And exercising and eating well can definitely be positive forms of self-care as well. But what is often not discussed is a SELFLESS approach to self-care. What do I mean by that?! I mean, what if self-care looked like you moving outside of yourself to care for someone else and set aside your own wishes/desires/time and resources? Often times self-care is self-focused. And sometimes it needs to be, but I’d argue it’s just as important for our self-care to be selfless at times and focus less on us and more on others. 

There have been so many instances where I’ve found that when I am feeling tired and stressed and just downright depleted, but I do an act of love or service for another person, it brings me great joy and reignites me. It helps me refocus and stop feeling down about my circumstances and stress. Sometimes the last thing you want to do is run an errand for a friend or make a meal for a new mama or visit your elderly grandma BUT when we work up the gumption and just do it, we come away feeling blessed, rejuvenated, and so grateful we did it. Why is this?! I think it’s because we as people are designed to not always be so self-focused. We are designed to give and serve others. When the focus is off of us for even just a few hours, it gives us perspective and helps us re-focus on what truly matters. 

Selfless self-care Is SO good for our mental, spiritual, and physical health and well-being. Next time you are feeling totally worn out and stressed out, perhaps find a way to serve someone around you, whether it be at work or in your community. Sometimes the moving outside of ourselves and our own circumstances is exactly what our hearts and souls need to thrive!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

Health Benefits Of Drinking Green Tea

Today I am going to let you in on one of my favorite little secrets! I’m sure you have all heard of green tea but you may not be aware of all of the health benefits that it offers. Green tea is probably my all time favorite drink! I love it hot or cold. I’ve been drinking this antioxidant filled drink since college and I want to let you in on why I love drinking it and why you should start drinking it too. 

Did you know that green tea has 24-45 mg of caffeine per 8 ounces? It’s not as much as a cup of Joe but it’s still a pretty decent amount of caffeine. It’s enough to get me moving in the morning! This is the perfect drink if you are trying to limit your caffeine intake. 

Green tea is chock full of antioxidants called catechins. These powerful antioxidants fight and prevent cell damage and prevent the formation of free radicals, which cause many diseases such as cancer. Research has proven that green tea lowers cholesterol and improves blood flow to your brain and other parts of your body like your heart. It has also been shown to decrease the formation of plaques that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Green tea also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and can help improve diabetic health.

I have read that green tea is beneficial for weight loss in sources like Women’s Health Magazine and other fitness related magazines. While research does not confirm this, some may experience slight weight loss when drinking green tea regularly. I do believe that green tea is beneficial for increasing your metabolism, which will essentially help with your weight. Research has shown that green tea increases your metabolism and speeds up fat oxidation due to its thermogenic properties. Thermogenesis is the calories the body burns while digesting and absorbing the foods you have eaten. Yes, our bodies generate heat during the digestion process, which is pretty cool! While the thermogenic benefits of green tea aren’t significant (about a 4% increase in your metabolism), every little bit counts! Drinking 3-5 cups per day can burn an extra 70 calories per day, which adds up to about five pounds in one year. One of the main active ingredients in green tea, the catechin EGCG, is the main antioxidant responsible for this boost in metabolism.

There are so many health benefits to this super-drink! And I only listed a few! I hope these benefits have encouraged and inspired you to go out and buy some green tea! I should note that if you do start drinking green tea regularly, be prepared to visit the bathroom quite frequently. Green tea definitely keeps me hydrated, but this is great because you are ridding your body of lots of toxins. To me, that’s worth the few extra visits to the little girl’s room! Here are my top 5 brands and flavors of green tea:

 

~Meghan