Tag Archives: fitness

Why You Need To Add NEAT To Your Day

Ok, you’re probably thinking what the heck is NEAT,  Meghan??, just from the title of this post.  Well, I am here to tell you! NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis. That’s a lot of fancy words that are probably foreign to you so let me break it down for you.

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis are calories burned outside of exercise. Any activity or movement you do during the day that is NOT formal exercise is considered NEAT exercise. Cleaning, walking, raking leaves, moving objects, climbing stairs…basically any activity where your body is moving outside of exercise, eating, and sleeping. Most of us do some amount of NEAT every single day without even realizing it. It’s truly just a part of living our lives. 

So, why is NEAT important and what is the benefit of it? NEAT exercise is important because we can burn more calories by simply moving more throughout the day doing normal daily lifestyle activities. It may be hard to believe, but the energy expenditure and caloric output from NEAT exercise can be substantial and help you to maintain or even lose weight. 

Research has shown time and time again that those who move throughout the day are more likely to maintain their weight or reach their weight loss goals versus those who are sedentary and expend most of their energy in a single exercise session. A greater caloric output occurs throughout the day with various modes of movement than oftentimes you can achieve in a single 30-minute exercise session. 

Most people spend a majority of their day at work sitting behind a computer. This mode of working and living has definitely contributed to our more sedentary lifestyles and obesity epidemic in our nation. One effective way we can shift this is by adding more NEAT movement to our days. 

I often encourage my more sedentary clients who work 9-5 jobs to set alarms throughout the day to stand, go for a walk, or do some air squats near their desk. Try walking to lunch instead of driving if it is feasible. Park further away at the grocery store. There are SO many creative ways we can add more NEAT movement into our day to day lives to help maximize caloric output. Not only can we benefit by burning more calories throughout the day but this will also make us healthier individuals and a healthier country overall. 

NEAT is pretty neat, right?! Give it a try!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

Set Your Goals Into Motion For 2021

Set your goals in to motion for 2021….We are SO close to a new year when we can finally put 2020 in our rear view! I think we’ve all been anxiously awaiting this moment the last several months…or perhaps since 2020 began. 😉 While we may be putting a lid on 2020, not everything will magically disappear or fix itself once Jan. 1, 2021 hits. We must still be INTENTIONAL with how we want 2021 to be for us and our families. We have to know what we value most and what we want this year to look like for our families, even if the circumstances don’t change entirely or even if this is another hard year…because we really don’t know. But, we can go into 2021 with our eyes wide open, prepared, and ready to take on the year with grit and determination. And how we do this is by setting intentional goals that we CAN control; how we run our homes, how we care for our bodies, how we prioritize family time…all of these things we have more control over than we may think. Let’s choose wisely and intentionally for 2021. Let’s choose TOTAL health and wellness for 2021 and beyond. Today I am going to walk you through a proven way to set and achieve goals. Here we go…

Studies show that only about 19% of people who set New Year’s resolutions maintain their goals long term. 

What is goal setting? Goal setting is the practice of cultivating and developing an action plan to motivate and guide someone towards a specific goal. Goal setting is a common practice in self development and can include the use of goal setting techniques such as SMART criteria . Goal setting is the first step in planning ahead for the future and for achieving the life you desire to live in various facets including but not limited to your health, relationships, education, work/career, etc. 

So what is this SMART criteria? 

SMART is simply an acronym for the guide to goal setting. The purpose of using SMART to help guide you in your goal setting process is to provide clarity to your ideas, bring focus to your work, help you to use your time and resources in a productive manner, and help you achieve lasting success for your goals. 

What does SMART stand for? 

Specific: Target a specific area for improvement

Measurable: Set a goal that’s measureable

Attainable/Achievable: Is this goal possible to attain?

Relevant/Realistic: Can this goal realistically be achieved? Is this goal relevant and does it make sense for you?

Time Bound: State when you will get it done and state a specific time frame or end date for goal. 

Next time you want to achieve a specific goal, take some time and break it down into a SMART goal and write down each specific step and how you will achieve it. 

Questions to Ask when Goal Setting: One of the questions I like to ask myself and have my clients ask themselves first and foremost is ‘why are you doing this?’ If we do not assign a bigger ‘why’ to our goal setting, we will have no purpose or value to fall back on when things get tough and we want to throw in the towel. Your ‘why’ is not only your fire starter so to speak, but it’s also your fuel to keep the fire burning. When the flames have simmered down on your goals, what is the thing that will reignite that flame, that fire within you? It needs to be your ‘why’, your deeper purpose and vision for your life. Take some time to think about your ‘why’ and cast a vision for where you want to be in 10 or 20 years. Think about the life you want to look back on when you are 80 years old. Think about the legacy you want to leave behind and the imprint you want to leave on your family and community. 

I know it can seem daunting and overwhelming to think about your life in such a big picture kind of way and then figure out how you are going to get there. The secret sauce is to start small. I am a firm believer that little adds up and that the small daily decisions we make ultimately impact our life long-term. As Annie Dillard once said, “how we live our days is how we live our lives.” So our 80-year old vision for our life has to start here and now, today. Start small. 

Why Small Works: Again, going back to SMART goals, it’s important to have specific and reasonable goals. It can be easy to get excited and jump in with both feet without really thinking about the logistics of how you will achieve the goals you have set. This is one of the biggest reasons why New Year’s Resolutions fail. According to US News and World Report, 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by February. But they don’t have to. 

Find Accountability: Whether it’s a friend, a co-worker, spouse, or a health coach like myself, having an accountability partner will greatly impact your success in maintaining your goals and achieving them! Have your accountability partner check in with you via text or email once a week or however often you decide you need accountability for your specific goals. Working with a health coach is a great way to not only receive accountability but it also provides a time and space to discuss any barriers or obstacles coming in your way and how to overcome them so that your goals stay a reality. 

With these few pointers, I hope you can set your goals into motion this year and every year. And remember, there is nothing special about January 1st. Today is as good a day as any to begin working towards a new goal and begin living a healthier lifestyle. If you have a goal or need to re-evaluate your priorities and how you want to live your life, today is as good a day to begin! I promise you won’t regret it. Don’t wait until next year to begin living a life of purpose and priority, achieving the goals that matter to you. 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

 

Sources:

 

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/modern-mentality/201812/why-new-years-resolutions-fail

Healthy Holiday Round Up Part 2

Healthy Holiday round up part 2 is a continuation of a 3 part blog.

You can see ‘Healthy Holiday round up: Part One’ here.

I am sure you’ve seen gift guide after gift guide this holiday season from your favorite bloggers. I don’t know about you but the gift guides can be super helpful when buying for that tricky person in your life or getting ideas for teachers, co-workers, and friends this season of giving. 

Today I want to provide you with a healthy holiday roundup of some of my PERSONAL FAVORITE resources when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. I am by no means sharing this as a sponsored ad; everything I am sharing I am sharing freely because I genuinely LOVE the products/programs.

As we round out an utterly stressful, tragic year, I think we can all do ourselves a favor and bless ourselves and those around us with the GIFT OF HEALTH as we enter into 2021. If you’re anything like me, this year truly revealed the importance of being grounded in a healthy lifestyle- physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Below are just a few ideas and products that I love and that I think you will too….or will love to gift to someone you love this Christmas season.

Programs: 

30 Day Fit & Healthy Jumpstart Program– This is MY newest program that I am so excited to share with y’all. It’s a 58-page digital guide that will walk you through 4 weeks of foundational health/wellness lessons. You will be equipped with knowledge in the areas of meal planning, exercise, fueling your body with proper nutrition, and much more. This program includes several worksheets/trackers as well as handouts such as a grocery shopping list, pantry list, and healthy snack ideas.

Metabolism Makeover– I personally know Megan who is a registered dietician and  is the creator of this program and I cannot recommend her enough. Her nutritional background is SOLID and her approach is flexible and sustainable. 

Nancy Anderson Post Pregnancy Ab Rehab Course– I have yet to purchase this course and use it myself but I will FOR SURE be using it during and after my next pregnancy. I’ve followed Nancy Anderson for a while now and I wish I would have known about this program when I was postpartum with our first child. She will help you get rid of your belly pooch by healing your core and pelvic floor from the inside out. I’ve seen some incredible results!

Fitness:

Whole Body Fitness Planner & Resistance Bands– This is another one of my own products that I created. This planner is a 6-month, undated fitness planner that is literally like having a personal trainer with you everyday for less than the cost of ONE session. The daily guided workouts provide the structure for that day’s workout but allows the user to choose which exercises to plug in (over 250 exercise options included in the exercise appendix in the back of the planner) based on preference and ability. This is like no other fitness planner out there and it is SO comprehensive, flexible, and scalable. This program/planner can be used at home or the gym. I also sell a set of 3 resistance bands (with a carry case) along with the planner. 

Gliders– A great and convenient fitness tool to keep at home to help you get an effective workout. There are SO many things you can do with gliders ranging from core work, to low impact, to high intensity workouts. 

Fabletics Fitness Attire– Fabletics is offering a special promo where you can get your first 2 pair of leggings for $24! It’s a steal! I love the quality of their fitness attire and it’s a fraction of the cost of other brands. The best way to get the most bang for your buck is to be a part of their monthly membership which is $49 (but you can skip any month and cancel at anytime).

See you next week when we will introduce Part 3-Mental Health/Wellness, Healthy Snacks & Other Health/Wellness.

Meghan Meredith

HomeBodySoul, FounderCertified Health and Wellness Coach

Certified Personal Trainer

www.homebodysoul.com

Connect with us @homebodysoul

How to Have a Happy & Healthy Holiday Season

Oh the holiday season that is upon us! This most wonderful (yet busy) time of year is filled with food, festivities, gathering, decorating, shopping, and traveling. If you are anything like me, the sights, smells, and music all make this time of year so nostalgic and magical. But along with all of the magic comes the inevitable stress, overeating, last minute shopping, planning/hosting parties, and full calendars for the entirety of the month of December it feels like. 

Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK, which is crazy! But there is a 5 week period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s that we need to plan and prepare for. We all want to enjoy the holiday season and all of the fun and joy it brings, but we also want to do our best to maintain our healthy lifestyle that we’ve worked so hard for. And 6 weeks of festivities and parties and eating can sure do a number to our waistlines and all the hard work we’ve put in. 

The goal of today’s post is to help you feel confident going into this season and ready to take head on the temptations, reduce the stress, and simply enjoy! We’re going to talk about three of the most common “problems” people face this time and year when it comes to maintaining health and wellness and a few tips on how to maintain health given these potential barriers. I think everyone can agree that some of the biggest struggles in staying fit and healthy this time of year revolve around our time, food and drink, and overall stress

TIME

This time of year always seems to fly by. There are never enough hours in a day to get all of the items checked off our list it seems. In order for this season to not become overwhelming and no longer joy-full, we need to make a PLAN to maximize our time and priorities. 

If one of your priorities this holiday season is to continue to exercise and move your body, make a plan for it. Our bodies need just as much exercise during the holiday season as any other time of year. Plan your workouts/movement around travel or plan to move while you travel. Pack a pair of running shoes and some resistance bands. Even walking for just 30 minutes a day will keep you feeling good and keep you active and well. 

Here are some common “problems” or barriers around exercise that arise for people during this time of year and some solutions.

PROBLEM: There isn’t a gym at the hotel or grandma’s house (or wherever you are staying).

SOLUTION:  Body weight exercises are a great way to exercise when you have no equipment. Body weight exercises help to improve balance, coordination, core strength, and flexibility. Stair climbing, walking outside, lunges up and down the driveway, squats while you brush your teeth. 

Travel Tips- Pack those running sneakers and easy to carry equipment like a workout DVD or a jump rope. Those things easily can fit in your carry on or check on luggage. 

PROBLEM: There simply isn’t time to workout, Meghan! Shopping, decorating, cooking, running around…there is no time left for working out. 

SOLUTION: Use a Tabata Timer to do a quick HIIT routine. 

You can download a Tabata timer app on your phone. It’s simple- you do 8 rounds of exercise in 4 minutes. You can choose to do one exercise or two and alternate back and forth. You will complete 20 seconds of all out work followed by a 10 second rest for 8 rounds for a total of 4 minutes. Do a couple of tabata’s and I promise you will be sweating and your heart rate will be elevated…and you’ll feel so good afterwards! Exercises like squats, jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups, tricep dips, mountain climbers, and jumping rope are perfect to do with the Tabata timer. 

Second- plan your workouts! Because this season can be so hectic, it may be a good idea to institute early morning workouts for these few weeks. Getting a good morning sweat in will also help you to maintain those healthy habits and choices the rest of the day! If you can’t do 30 minutes to an hour at one go, split up your workout into 10 minute bouts throughout the day. 

PROBLEM: You’re family and friends don’t understand why you want to exercise. 

SOLUTION: Stick to YOUR goals! Don’t let others detract you from your plan and your wellness goals. Stay firm. Maybe invite them along. It’s a good way to de-stress and can be a fun family activity. 

Another family fun activity is to sign up and hit the road for your local Turkey Trot, which is typically a 5K race that you can run/walk. It’s a great way to get in some movement before you put on your stretch pants for your big dinner! 

FOOD AND DRINK

Cookies. Egg Nog. Casseroles. There is always plenty…and plenty of temptation. How can you overcome these temptations around all of the yummy foods and drinks this season?!

 

    Eat a pre-party snack. One trick I tell my clients if they are going to a party or out to a dinner where they know they could splurge and over-eat is to eat an apple before going! Apples are full of fiber and will help fill you up a bit before you even go to dinner, therefore you will consume fewer calories. This will help you to not overeat the bad stuff and keep your appetite in check. 

     Choose your beverages wisely. The holiday season inevitably comes with lots of alcohol consumption between the eggnog, wine, fancy cocktails, and social drinking. Drinking alcohol is consuming empty calories because it won’t curb those hunger pangs. Alcohol doesn’t provide satiety. It’s best to avoid mixed drinks that have a lot of sugar. The number of calories isn’t the issue per say, but rather the number of grams of sugar in these fancy holiday drinks. For example, 1 cup of eggnog typically contains 30-50 grams of sugar depending on the brand. Let’s remember that the daily recommended sugar intake is 25 grams for women and 37.5 grams for men according to the American Heart Association.

Eat your protein first. When we eat our main protein source first, we help to curb our hunger and keep our blood sugar in check. Eating protein can help to keep your insulin levels lower. Eating protein before a party or first thing at the party will help you to control your cravings for the other high calorie foods. 

Drink plenty of water. Drinking water helps to fill your stomach so that you feel fuller and won’t cave to those cravings as much. Try to drink a bottle of water en route to your party or drink several glasses throughout the party. 

Pick your cheat or “treat” meals and fully enjoy it. We all need a cheat meal! That is key to any sustainable life changes and finding balance. We can’t deprive ourselves all of the time, otherwise we will go off the deep end eventually and lose all progress. Each day during the holiday season, we are tempted with treats- whether leftover at home or sitting in the lobby at our office. We could easily consume cookies and pie everyday between Thanksgiving and New Year, which is 37 days by the way for 2020. Let’s say you are consuming an extra 300 calories per day of sweets and goodies, which is equal to about 2 cookies or a piece of cake or pie. This adds up to just over 11,000 calories which equals 3 pounds of fat! The average already overweight person gains about 5 pounds during the holiday season according to NY Times. A survey by Fitness Magazine and Jenny Craig in 2013 found that 47% of women gain 4-5 lbs during the holiday season. So what is the key? My suggestion is to enjoy those holiday parties and get together’s, which typically happen on the weekend, but that will require sacrifice throughout the week. Leave the cookies in the jar at the office and say no to any treats at home or that your kids bring back from school. Eating a reduced-calorie diet, higher-protein diet five days per week and enjoying a couple of holiday parties or get-togethers each week can easily result in maintenance of body weight through the holidays. 

  1. Try new recipes or try replacing ingredients in your favorite recipes with healthier ingredients.Try replacing the not so great ingredients with healthier options. It can be pretty simple to clean up your favorite recipes. Some of my favorite swaps include swapping oil for Greek yogurt in breads, applesauce instead of butter or margarine, whole wheat flour instead of bleached white all-purpose flour, veganaise instead of mayonnaise, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, honey or maple syrup instead of pure cane sugar. 
  2. Eat mindfully. Eating mindfully might be a new concept for you. Eating mindfully is simply being more aware of your eating experience. Paying closer attention, notice your thoughts, feelings, sensations of the food. Oftentimes we eat so mindlessly and just put whatever in our mouths and don’t think anything at all about the sensation, taste, texture, etc. Give your body 15-20 minutes to recognize if it is full or not before going back for seconds. 

STRESS

Over the years, this joyful time of year has transpired into a stressful, chaotic time of year for many. The holiday season shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be stress-filled. By using these 5 tips, hopefully you can reclaim your sanity and the season and say good riddance to the stress that every other year has brought you. 

 

  1. Be Realistic. Oftentimes we enter the holiday season with expectation in mind as to how things will go with certain family members, what food we will eat, what fun we will have, etc. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. Try to keep those expectations in check so that you don’t come away feeling disappointed and upset and so that you can be fully present and enjoy the time with family. 
  2. Plan Ahead. Planning ahead does take forethought and time but in doing so, it will greatly reduce your stress you feel later on once the crunch time comes. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup. Also, plan ahead with your budget! Our budget can easily fly out the window this time of year and then create immense stress come January. Think ahead, talk with your spouse or other family members and come up with a plan for your budget so you aren’t overspending and having to pay the repercussions of that later. Maybe instead of gifting to everyone this year, you can start a family gift exchange, or make homemade gifts for friends and co-workers. 
  3. Set Aside Differences. Everytime families come together, there will be differences in opinion, tradition, sometimes values, etc. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
  4. Take a Breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm. Some options may include: Taking a walk at night and stargazing .Listening to soothing music. Getting a massage. Reading a book.
  5. Learn to Say ‘No’. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time. Learning to say no is very powerful and freeing. Learning to say No then allows us the freedom to say yes to the things that really matter!

“The more you live in the extremes of all or none, good or bad, the more likely that’s going to get you into difficulty,” says Gary Foster, chief scientific officer for Weight Watchers International. “The key is that this is a lifestyle. When it’s an on-or-off diet or a boot camp mentality, that’s a short-term behavior. It’s destined not to work out very well.”

We don’t have to live in an all-or-nothing state of mind around the holidays. Starving to over-indulging. Feelings of deprivation to feelings of guilt. 

 Give yourself permission to enjoy but in reasonable portions and reasonable frequencies- not all the time and not the whole cheesecake. The goal is to strike a balance.  

I hope these tips will help lead you into a life-giving, balanced, and enjoyable holiday season.  If you need other accountability, book a health coaching session with me by emailing me at hello@homebodysoul.com. I offer a FREE 30-minute health coaching consult call if you’d like to set a plan in place for your holiday season.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

My Favorite Exercise: The Burpee

My favorite exercise happens to be the burpee. Some begin to quiver at the mere uttering of the word burpee. If you’ve ever done one, you know the challenge they pose. If you haven’t done one but have watched someone else do a burpee, you probably got winded just watching them and vowed never to put yourself through that terrible misery. But fear not, today I am going to tell you why this exercise is my personal favorite and why you should add it to your repertoire at the gym. Because there are so many variations of a burpee, surely there is one for everyone, of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels. 

So, what exactly is a burpee? The burpee is a total body exercise. No muscle goes untouched with this one and that’s the beauty of it. It’s not only an effective cardio exercise that will get your heart rate up after only one, but it also aims to tighten and tone all the right areas of one’s body…and who doesn’t want that?! 

Why do I love the burpee so much? Burpees are one of my go-to exercises solely because you get so much bang for your buck. I am not a runner; in fact, I practically abhor it. Why you ask? Because running is boring to me and it takes a lot of energy, time, and is rough on my precious joints…oh and not to mention the excruciating calf cramps I get- but that’s a whole other topic for another day. In the amount of time it takes to run 3 miles, I could have completed my burpees, burned just as many if not more calories, left the gym, went into the grocery store, and drove home. Well, maybe not quite all of that but you get my drift. Burpees are one of the highest calorie burning exercises out there. Why? Because you are literally using your entire body- moving that body up and down, in and out. These things are fast and furious!

Let’s learn some history of the burpee and find out where it came from. 

The burpee was first developed in the 1930’s by Royal H. Burpee. Royal H. Burpee was an applied physiologist from Columbia University and was the first one to coin the burpee test. He created this exercise as part of his PhD thesis “as a quick and simple way to assess fitness.” Could you imagine if our only fitness test to this day to assess our fitness was a burpee test? Yikes. And it’s to no surprise, the exercise then became popular in the United States Armed Services. The burpee test was used to test recruits for World War II to quickly and effectively assess for agility, coordination, and strength. 

 So, the burpee not only burns big calories, but it also offers great benefits as a cardio exercise and works all of your major muscles. What’s not to love? 

Another thing I love about burpees is their portability. And by portability, I mean you can do them anywhere your body goes because you don’t need a single piece of equipment. Now that’s great! So, next time you’re traveling for work or need to squeeze in a quick and effective workout at home before the kids get home from school or wake up from their nap, whip out a few burpees. I promise you’ll be sweating in no time and feel like such a star when you’re finished. Their empowering and actually quite fun, at least for this fitness guru. I hope you find them just as empowering and effective! 

 

Let’s Break Down the Burpee

 

The burpee at its core combines a squat, a push-up and a jump. Here’s how to do it in 4 steps. 

 

Step 1: Stand with your feet hip width apart. Squat down and place your hands, palms down, on the floor in front of you directly under your shoulders, being sure to keep your knees over your ankles (like a proper squat) and your chest lifted. 

 

Step 2: Jump both feet back and extend your arms so that your body is in a high plank position- long and symmetrical. Be sure to create a straight line with your back and keep your hips slightly lifted.

 

Step 3: Pull your legs back in so you are in a crouching squat position with your palms on the floor in front of you. 

 

Step 4: Stand and jump straight up in the air with your arms extended upwards, landing softly on the balls of your feet with your hips shifted back and knees in line with your ankles, like a proper squat. 

** Remember to engage your core the entire time! This is also a great core exercise! ** 

This is the basics of a burpee. If you want an added challenge, add a push-up in between step 2 and 3. A burpee with the pushup is the form the Military most commonly uses. 

Like I said before, there are many variations of a burpee. If you have problems with your joints and do not like to jump, simply step your feet back and in and skip the jump up in the air in step 4. You can also simply step your feet back and in if you are overweight and need something with less of an impact and a little easier to begin with. You can always work up to jumping the feet back and adding the jump up at the end. 

Below I will share a few variations of the burpee. Some of the variations include removing or shifting an arm or a leg (requiring more core stabilization) or working in a different direction or adding a more explosive move to increase strength and power in the body. 

 

  1. Mountain Climber Burpee: Perform the standard burpee steps. When you get to the plank position to do the push-up, perform a mountain climber instead of the push-up. To do a mountain climber, alternate pulling one leg into your chest, alternating each side twice. Be sure to keep your hips from sagging and keep a flat back, core engaged. Return to the plank position before finishing the remaining steps of the burpee. 

 

  1. Jump Variations: You can also add variety to the jump at the end of the burpee. Varying the jump causes the lower body to do more work by controlling the hips, knees, and ankles. Adding jump variations helps your body to build strength, power, and stability in different planes of motion. Some different jump variations include a tuck jump, broad jump, and a single leg jump. 

For the tuck jump burpee, complete the burpee as usual and at the end instead of simply jumping straight up, jump straight up and tuck your knees in towards your chest. 

For the broad jump, instead of jumping straight up, jump out trying to cover as much distance in front of you as possible. 

The single leg burpee adds great challenge because it requires a lot of core stabilization and balance. You can either do the push-up and the final jump on a single leg or just the final jump on a single leg. Be sure to draw that core in to help you stay balanced and jump as high as you can on that single foot, landing softly. 

So, there you have it. I hope you feel inspired to add a few burpees to your next workout. Start with one and work your way up. Once you’ve mastered the regular burpee, try some of these variations. Take it slow and listen to what your body says. Even if you can’t do the jumps and you’re slowly stepping your feet back one at a time and coming up slowly, you are still burning a lot of calories by moving your entire body up and down and you are working on core stabilization, balance, and coordination.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

The Journey Of Health

The journey of health..

Have you ever felt like you are swinging on a pendulum- back and forth- in regards to your weight loss journey or in the area of your health and wellness goals? Maybe you have goals of going to the gym x number of times per week, eating this and not that, and choosing self-stewardship over self-negligence. But, oftentimes we find it’s only a matter of time before these well intentioned goals fly out the window, or rather get lost due to our busy and demanding lifestyles. It’s not that we do it on purpose, of course not. We WANT to succeed with our goals. We WANT to be healthier and feel better. Rather, our time and energy are in a tug of war with our self-stewardship and our personal wellness goals. And you can guess which one almost always wins.

This yo-yo back and forth is not only discouraging but also causes us to feel like we take one step forward and three steps back. And when we take three steps back, it’s that much further of a step forward to get back on track.

Can I admit that I struggle with my journey of health too? I love fitness and challenging my body with a tough workout, but there are so many days where it’s a sheer fight for me to get myself out of the house and off to the gym….or up out of bed an hour earlier than before my son wakes up to get it done. None of us can do it perfectly, and those that are doing it perfectly, I would bargain are struggling with some deep seated insecurities or are running themselves ragged and will eventually burn out.

Ultimately, for sustained success, we have to find a balance. So, what does that look like? How do we step off of this unstable pendulum and into a place of grace-fillled routine on this journey of health we find ourselves on? The reality is, our routine will be imperfect- that’s simply the nature of life. But we can find and build a routine that has breathing room for days when we don’t feel well, or are home with sick kiddos, or didn’t get a good night’s sleep before. We need flexibility in our life and in our journey of health, especially if we want to maintain these goals and this lifestyle for the long haul. So how do we get there?

Here are 5 tips for helping you on your journey to health through all the different seasons of life. These tips will help you start right where you are; whether that’s helping you refine your current routine or helping you to get on your feet and get active for the first time. These tips are meant for you, exactly where you are. When I find myself in a season of unpredictability or a season of plateau or boredom, I come back to these exact tips and figure out what I need to do personally to reset my mindset and my routine.

Find Accountability– This is key! And this is what I do a majority of my time as a health coach. I come alongside my lovely client’s and help them to stay on track. Because when we have someone who we know will ask us if we completed that spin class or how we fared at the work party, we are more likely to stay on track because we know we will have to answer those questions. And the only one we hurt by answering dishonestly, is ourselves. Accountability can come in many forms. Maybe you sign up for a boutique fitness studio that only offers Barre classes or Spin classes and if you don’t attend, you are still charged or charged an extra fee for not attending. Or maybe you begin to work with a personal trainer. Another idea is to schedule your workouts with a friend or co-worker and the two of you together can keep each other on track and cheer each other on. Finding ways to incorporate accountability into your fitness and health goals for this year will have drastic effects on your commitment and your progress. If you are interested in working with me for accountability and one-on-one coaching, you can book a FREE 30 minute consultation call here.

 

Find the Why- Before you even begin your new routine or program, I want you to sit down in a quiet place with just your mind or maybe a journal and reflect on a few questions. Ask yourself: Why do I want to accomplish this goal? Why is this goal important to me? How will I feel if I reach my goal? What if I don’t reach it? How will I realistically accomplish this goal or work towards progress? Will this goal get me closer to where I want to be and how I want to live my life? When we assign value and purpose to our goals, suddenly they take on a whole new meaning. People are far more motivated to stick to their goals when they are keenly aware of the purpose connected to their goals. For me, taking care of myself and investing in my health and physical well being makes me feel better, I am more productive throughout the rest of my day, I have energy, and I am a better wife. There are moments where I need to remind myself of my ‘why’ while I am begrudgingly doing my warm up. I remind myself of all of the times before that I felt this way yet still pushed through and how amazing my body and my mind felt afterwards. What is your ‘why’? Find it, hold fast to it, and constantly remind yourself of it. This will help you stay consistent which is key!

Find What You Enjoy- No one wants to do something they despise. I loathe running and therefore I barely run. I simply do not enjoy it. Finding an activity that excites you and energizes you will help you to actually attend and not skip your workouts. You can find multiple activities that you enjoy and switch it up so that you aren’t getting bored with your workout routine. I personally enjoy creating HIIT (high intensity interval training) circuits, teaching Body Pump, and hiking! The main thing is that we get out there, do something that brings us joy, and also helps us make progress on our goals.

 

Find Creativity and Flexibility– Living a holistic and healthy lifestyle is far greater than what we consume at each meal and the amount of exercise we do. If we only do those things, we are pigeon-holding ourselves into a box and missing out on so many little ways to live healthfully and wholly. Each of our daily decisions add up and either help to cultivate a healthy lifestyle or cause us to remain stressed, overwhelmed, and feeling discouraged. Just a few simple, daily decisions we can make that lend to an overall healthier lifestyle include taking the stairs, parking further away at the store, taking a walk after dinner with your family, or getting outside with your kiddos after school and playing tag. If we limit ourselves to only the gym in order to get a workout in, we are missing out on so many joy filled and creative ways to fit exercise and fitness into our daily lives. If you can’t make it to the gym one day, that’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Maybe when the kids get off the bus from school you all take the dog for a walk or go out back and run around together for twenty minutes. Get creative, think outside the box. I think when we shift our mindset and begin incorporating creative ways to be active into our daily lives, our goals will become more attainable. Remember, progress not perfection. Little by little our daily steps and choices add up.

Find Reason to Celebrate– Celebrate the big and small wins! Baby steps are okay! Changing your lifestyle is not an easy feat. It will take time and many stumbles and falls along the way. But that’s ok- get back up and keep moving forward. It’s important that we celebrate our little victories (and big ones, too) along the way. When we celebrate our progress, it encourages us to keep going. Celebrate by taking a day off, going to your favorite restaurant for a cheat meal, or going for a massage- you deserve it after all! Be cautious not to reward yourself with things or food that directly contradict the goals you’ve set for yourself. Now, I am not saying that you can’t ever indulge, but when it comes to rewarding ourselves for our small victories, we need to be cautious how we approach it and be mindful of the current state of our hearts and minds, for those emotions will either help us in our journey or de-rail us. Even if you miss some steps along the way, that is normal. Let’s not get into the habit of taking an all-or-nothing approach, but rather approach our goals and fitness routines with grace and the correct mindset.

I want to encourage you that our fitness and health goals are a journey, a journey that will last a lifetime and ebb and flow given the different seasons of life we find ourselves in. We don’t have to do it all perfectly- that is a lie. I want you to know that I struggle with some of the same things as the woman next to me, and simply because I am a personal trainer and health coach, doesn’t dismiss me from experiencing these same feelings or barriers. I eat ice cream just like the next person. And I skip workouts too. And I also work hard to stay consistent and make sacrifices to choose stewardship over negligence when it comes to caring for my body. It’s an ever evolving, ebbing and flowing practice for me and for all of us but it’s worth working at and seeking to find what works for each of us. I hope these 5 tips help you to reset how you view your goals and your own wellness journey. We are on this trip together, day by day!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

How To Build The Perfect Smoothie

A smoothie is a great way to get a boost of important nutrients in a fast and convenient way. They are also a great way to increase your protein intake, something I think we all likely struggle with. The goal for the average female should be to consume around 80-100 grams of protein per day. Adding protein to your smoothie is an effective way to get over 20 grams of protein in one go! You can use flavored protein powders or collagen powder to get that boost of important protein. 

Crafting a tasty and nutrient dense smoothie is not always as easy as we think. Whether we make it too runny, too thick, it tastes too much like kale, or it’s just hard to get down, making smoothies can be tricky. 

The key components of a healthy and delicious smoothie include your base liquid, vegetables/fruit, healthy fats, protein, and fiber. You can make them even fancier by adding in fresh herbs/spices like mint or cinnamon, and adding in superfoods like goji berries, maca powder, or bee pollen just to name a few. 

So, why all of these ingredients. Well, let me explain.

 

  • We add in greens/vegetables to increase our intake of important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. This is especially helpful if you struggle to eat enough greens and vegetables in your diet. 
  • We add in healthy fat to help us to stay full longer, help aid in brain health, and keep our bodies and hormones functioning optimally. 
  • Good ol’ fiber helps our gut to do what it’s supposed to do, if you know what I mean. 😉
  • Protein helps build and maintain lean muscle. 

 

Adding in these key components not only boosts our nutrient intake but it is also designed to help maintain a stable blood sugar level. When we don’t eat protein, healthy fat, and fiber in every meal, we are more prone to blood sugar spikes and dips which impacts our energy levels as well as our cravings. Including these components in our smoothies will help us stay full longer and mitigate these blood sugar spikes or other cravings which don’t align with our health goals. 

Here are a few tips to help your smoothie be as smooth as possible!

  1. Add frozen cauliflower or avocado to make your smoothie nice and creamy!
  2. Frozen fruit tends to blend better than fresh fruit and makes it thicker. 
  3. Put your frozen ingredients in the bottom of your blender first and then cover with other ingredients and liquid. 

 

Here are two smoothie recipes that you can make at home TODAY! 

 

Strawberry Banana Nut Smoothie:

1-2 cups Cashew Milk

½ to 1 cup Fresh/Frozen Strawberries

½ Fresh/Frozen Banana

½ cup Frozen Cauliflower

1-2 tbsp Nut Butter

1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder or Collagen Powder

1-2 tbsp Ground Flax Seed

 

Tropical Smoothie: 

1-2 cups Coconut Milk

½ Frozen Banana

½ cup Fresh/Frozen Pineapple

Handful of Fresh Spinach

1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder or Collagen Powder

1-2 tbsp. Hemp Seeds

 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

Why You Need An Accountability Partner

Why do you need an accountability partner?

Setting a health or fitness goal (or any goal for that matter) is a great thing but it comes with a lot of challenges and hard work. In order to achieve our well set out goals it takes perseverance, diligence, and commitment. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, working towards goals takes TIME and EFFORT. But there are ways we can set ourselves up for SUCCESS.

According to research, the two factors that effectively help people achieve the behavior change they desire are incentives and accountability.” Let’s dig into accountability because I know this is HUGE!

I’ve experienced it time and time again with my health coaching clients and personal training clients…when you have someone you know is going to ask you about a specific thing, you are more likely to do it and stick to it. You know someone is waiting to ask you and simply knowing that, pushes you to action. The reality is, none of us like to admit we were wrong or we didn’t do what we said we were going to do. This goes against human nature. But when we only tell ourselves we are going to do something and we don’t, it’s not as big of a deal because most of us don’t have the same respect for ourselves as we do other people, especially as women. If we tell ourselves only and don’t follow through, we are queens of telling ourselves it was because of x, y, or z. We can tend to do this with others too, but we are more likely to follow through because there is fire under our bottoms. 😉 The reality is, it’s hard for ANYONE to follow through and commit to any goal when they keep it to themselves and have no one to answer to except themself. We are human and we tend to naturally want to avoid hard things, even if the hard thing is a good thing, like a health/fitness goal.

So, how do we get around the barrier of ourselves if we really want to make changes in our lives and achieve our goals? Enter in an accountability partner.  Having an accountability partner or support group is KEY to your success of your health and fitness goals.

I recently read an article on Entreprenuer.com that says that it is in fact possible to increase one’s chances of succeeding in achieving their goals. In fact, it’s possible to increase that change to a 95% chance, which is HUGE! How?? Well, according to The American Society of Training and Development, people are 65% more likely to meet a goal once admitting it to another person. But if someone is a part of an on-going meeting or has an accountability partner that they regularly check in with, that success increases to 95%.

An accountability partner could be a friend, co-worker, family member or you could be a part of a support group or a group like Weight Watchers.

So, who’s holding you accountable??

P.S. If you are wanting to improve your morning routine and wake up earlier and lead more purposeful days, join me in my 12-week morning makeover program! Accountability will be a large part of this program so you can be sure to make lasting change and transform your morning and your day! Check it out and sign up here. We start TOMORROW so if you want in, sign up NOW!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

Get Your Move On

Get your move on with exercise. You may love it or hate it but you likely know it’s good for your physical and mental health. Perhaps you, like many of us, struggle to find the time to exercise each day or even a few days a week. I’m here to tell you that it IS possible to find the time and you don’t need as much time as you probably think you do.  So, let’s get your move on!

There are so many people who think if you cannot commit a solid 45 minutes to an hour for exercise, then why do it at all?! Don’t buy into that all or nothing mentality. You can get a super EFFECTIVE workout while also being EFFICIENT with your time! I am talking 20-30 minutes. That’s it! 

In fact, research has shown that you no longer need to work-out in longer blocks (at least 10 minutes) for it to be effective and count towards your weekly goal of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise. Mini exercise sessions such as a quick jog through the parking lot, doing squats throughout the day, or taking the stairs- it all adds up! Research also supports that small bouts of exercise throughout the day can provide many of the same benefits as a longer, continuous workout. These benefits include improvements in your cardiovascular health, weight loss, and even helping to promote long term adherence and consistency in an exercise program. Short and steady wins the race. It’s a great place to start especially if you are short on time or new to exercise. 

According to an article at Harvard Health, only 19% of women get the recommended amount of exercise each week here in America. So, how do we improve this? How can you improve this in your life? My answer- get your move on. Simply MOVE MORE! Take the stairs, park further at the grocery store, do core exercises while watching TV. Make the absolute best use of your time and I think you’ll be surprised how much movement you can actually get in a day. 

Here are 10 quick ways to get that burst of energy and movement into your day!

 

  1. Clean…vacuuming and mopping especially. 
  2. Walk around the work floor every hour.
  3. Do core exercises while watching TV.
  4. Play outside with your kiddos- play tag, frisbee, or kick a soccer ball
  5. Run up the stairs a few times.
  6. Do squats or lunges while cooking dinner.
  7. Start your day with 10 push-ups right when you get out of bed…it’ll help wake you up too!
  8. Park further away at the grocery store or Target.
  9. Get a standing desk and do squats and calf raises while you respond to emails.
  10. Go for a quick walk around the block post dinner with the family- quality time and movement time! Double win.
~Meghan 
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

Mornings Matter For Your Health & Wellness

Mornings can be tough. I don’t know about you but getting out of bed in the morning can be a STRUGGLE. I’ve never been a natural morning person. Developing a morning routine has taken years and years of practice, trial and error, and certain life circumstances to get me on board with being more of a morning person. I by no means am perfect and still struggle, BUT I’ve found a rhythm and routine where the pros definitely outweigh the cons. 

Our mornings truly set the tone for our entire day. Are your mornings marked by rushing and running out the door? Are you stressed out before your feet even hit the ground out of bed? Are you tired of being tired and overwhelmed and exhausted as you go through your days? When we start our morning, our day this way, it only lends to more stress, more unrest, more frustration. And this has a great impact on our health and wellness- physically and mentally. When we don’t start our mornings well, we typically grab a fast breakfast that may not be the most nutritious to fuel our bodies. Perhaps we drink too much caffeine and don’t start our day hydrating our dehydrated bodies with good ‘ol water. Maybe you’re already so stressed out from the morning madness that you make unhealthy choices the rest of the day. 

Our mornings matter! And it matters how we steward them because it affects every single aspect of our lives and overall health and wellness.In order to live a life of stewardship and simplicity, it starts with our morning! Your morning routine doesn’t need to be complicated or get you out of bed at 5 AM. It just needs to be CONSISTENT and PLANNED. A morning well spent brings a day of content. You don’t even need to work-out first thing if that really isn’t your jam and isn’t life giving for you. Perhaps the BEST way to spend your morning is catching up on dishes or laundry or sitting still and meditating/praying over your day. Whatever it is that will fuel you and fill you for the day, do that! 

When we begin our day making healthy choices, we will naturally continue those healthy decisions the remainder of the day. When you wake up feeling energized and rested, you will make your daily choices out of a place of peace and wellness versus making brash decisions rooted in immediate gratification and just trying to survive the next hour. 

I’m on a mission to help women reclaim their days by reclaiming their mornings. I so desire to see you live a life of wellness rooted in joy and peace. If this non-morning person can figure out a life-giving, grace-filled, morning routine, YOU can too! 

I want to invite you to join me for my BRAND NEW FREE 5-day workshop series called Mornings Well Designed. You can join here

Here is what we’ll cover:

 

  • Discover hidden time in your day so you can get all the things done you need to AND want to!
  • Learn how to steward your mornings well so you can BEST steward your home, body, and soul.
  • Find a flexible, sustainable, grace-filled morning routine that will serve you and your family in your unique lifestyle.
  • Leverage your mornings so your days go from rushed and ragged to productive and peaceful. 

 

Are you in?? We will begin the LIVE workshop TODAY, Monday Aug. 24 and continue each day this week. Join me for live trainings each day this week at 2 PM EST (if you cannot make it live that is ok. The videos will be saved and posted for you to watch when it is convenient for you). I hope you’ll join me on transforming your mornings! See you in class!

Sign Up Here: homebodysoul.lpages.co/mornings-well-designed-workshop

 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer