Tag Archives: health

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
Connect with us!

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!

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
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

Megan’s Healthy Favorite Snacks

Hi everyone! Today I thought I would share some of my favorite healthy snacks with y’all! I can tend to be a grazer throughout the day, so I need to have options readily available so that I am making healthy choices as I “graze” and not just simply eating whatever because I am so famished, which can very easily happen. And snacking has become especially prevalent during this quarantine time at home. We are trying to not snack/graze too much but some days are better than others. Anyone else out there eat out of boredom or stress?! 

I’ve found that if I keep these favorite items of mine stocked in the pantry and refrigerator, I am more prone to eat them throughout the day instead of reaching for something unhealthy. I always tell my health coaching clients that it’s way less tempting to eat the bad stuff if it isn’t in your house in the first place… 😉 

Thankfully we are pretty health conscious, so we don’t typically have a lot of “bad” food in the house, which definitely helps! If it’s not there tempting you and having a stare down with you as you battle in your mind whether or not to eat it,  the better you are able to stick to your health goals. So, we just don’t even tempt ourselves. Although, it is a bit challenging sometimes to not go and reach for our son’s little toddler snacks (i.e. fig bars, animal crackers, raisins, muffins, etc.). Kid snacks can be so tempting…

Here are some of my personal favorite snacks that are my go-to. Some of them are Paleo and if they aren’t, we always try and steer towards gluten free at least.

Another great tip to keep in mind when it comes to healthy snacking is to snack your refrigerator and not your pantry. Healthy, whole foods options tend to live in our frig versus our pantries. Think veggies, fruit, and protein. Our pantries tend to house mostly refined carbohydrates. I try to pair any carbohydrate containing snack with healthy fat and protein as well to help keep blood sugar levels stable.  

Hummus: Hummus is a great choice because it can be paired with so much- cut up veggies like baby carrots or peppers, crackers, pita bread, the list goes on. I typically eat hummus with fresh cut up veggies or gluten free, multigrain crackers 

Greek yogurt: We really don’t eat a lot of dairy in our household, but this is one staple I always have on hand. I love Greek yogurt because it is naturally fat-free and is loaded with protein! Now, if you really want the healthy option, you’ll need to opt for the plain greek yogurt. I know those flavored Chobani’s are so tasty but they are loaded with sugar- like 18 grams or something crazy! I know some of it is “natural” sugar from the fruit, but when you are most likely going to add more sugar with granola or another topper, I think it’s just best to go with the plain. You can dress up the plain very easily. Add some honey, fresh berries, Paleo cereal, granola and you’re set with a tasty and super healthy-protein rich snack. You can even use greek yogurt in smoothies or shakes! In fact, I even substitute greek yogurt for sour cream in many dishes and when baking.

Fruit: I always like to have a plethora of fruit available in our home. Our typical fruit list is as follows- oranges, apples, bananas, grapefruits, strawberries (or some other type of berry). Occasionally we will mix it up and get pineapple or pears or a melon of sorts. Fruit is great because you can eat it alone or use it as a topper on oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, and many other options. And it’s easy to grab and go and take with you to the office or as you run errands.

Tortilla Chips with Salsa and Guacamole: This is probably my least healthy snack that I eat, but it’s really not too bad. I LOVE salsa and guacamole! I could eat it everyday no problem! I always make sure to get gluten free corn/multigrain tortilla chips. Recently, I’ve been really into blue corn tortilla chips. Yum! Trader Joe’s has some great tortilla chip options. The Newman’s Own salsa tastes so fresh and is full of different veggies so I feel like it’s not too terrible for me! We also really like the Jack’s Cantina Salsa from Costco, which is super fresh and the ingredient list is really clean. Watch out for unnecessary added ingredients or sugar content when you are buying salsa. 

Nuts and Dried Fruit: This is another great snack for on-the-go. Almonds are so incredibly good for you (within reason, of course). Grab a handful and snack away. I love dried fruit too! I love raisins on Ants on a Log or on top of a rice cake with peanut butter. I also love dried apricots, but I can only eat a few at a time because they are high in sugar. If you really want to be healthy (and creative) make your own trail mix with a combination of a few nuts, 1-2 types of dried fruit, and a seed (sunflower or pumpkin). Pumpkin seeds are also really good for you (lots of magnesium) and they pair well with nuts for a fiber-full snack with good protein and healthy fat. Win win. 

Bars: Granola bars and meal replacement type bars can be a good snack option- within reason of course. We need to be careful with bars because they can very easily venture into “candy bar” territory and be full of sugar and provide zero nutritional value to your diet. Again, read your labels and be sure you are getting some decent protein/fat/fiber and not a lot of sugar in your bar. Some of my favorite brands are The Perfect Bar (lots of superfoods added and good protein), RX Bars (clean ingredient list, low sugar), Lara Bars (a bit more indulgent as far as sugar content goes), GoMarco Bars (great flavors and are vegan), KIND Protein Bars, and EPIC meat bars (super yummy, clean ingredients, and Paleo). There are beginning to be a lot more options on the market when it comes to healthy bars, so that’s awesome! Just read your labels as always. 😉 

It’s important to have healthy snacks available because there are always those moments when we “forget” to eat lunch or are just really hungry and it’s typically in those moments of feeling famished where we are the most vulnerable to blow our clean eating and grab for the Snickers or bag of potato chips. 

I like to make sure my snacks have some good protein, fat, and fiber in them so that they are nutritionally dense and will keep me full and actually give me energy. Also- aim for NO MORE than 2 snacks per day. While snacks are fine to incorporate into our daily eating, it shouldn’t replace well-rounded meals. If you find yourself hungry 2-3 hours after a meal and vying for a snack, you likely didn’t eat enough at your last meal. 

Creating snacks ahead of time or having something readily available and easy to make or grab helps us to maintain our healthy eating goals! There are a TON of other great, healthy snack options out there but I just wanted to share some of my personal favorites and go-to snacks with y’all. 

Enjoy!

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

Eating Healthy On A Budget

Today 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. Read the last two weeks blog posts that I wrote on organizing your refrigerator and pantry. 

 

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. 

 

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. If you would like more information or guidance on grocery shopping and eating healthy on a budget, email me at hello@homebodysoul.com to book a personalized coaching session where we can discuss meal planning and grocery shopping on a budget. 

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

New Year, New Fridge, New Pantry, Tips on Organizing-Part Two

New Year, New Fridge, New Pantry, Tips on Organizing-Part Two. You can view Part One here.

Moving onto the pantry…We are going to apply several of the same principles and strategies when it comes to organizing a pantry. 

If you don’t have a built-in pantry or a pantry-type closet in your kitchen, that is ok. You can easily re-purpose a piece of furniture like a glass cabinet, hutch, or bakers rack and turn it into a pantry. 

Step 1: Clean out your pantry just like your refrigerator. Take EVERYTHING out and wipe down the shelves and drawers. After your pantry has been cleaned out, wiped out, and expired items tossed, it’s time to create a system BEFORE putting everything back in. 

Step 2: Begin to group things into categories- baking items, breakfast items, snacks, candy, etc. Be careful not to over categorize- really focus on the basics. Once you have your categories, you can begin to find a place for each category of items. Think about what you use daily and be sure those items are more accessible. 

Step 3: Now is when you will figure out what baskets, bins, and containers you will use as you reassemble your pantry. 

Use baskets, bins, and containers to your advantage. Baskets are great to put chips, boxed snacks, bars, etc. You can even put jars/cans in a basket if your pantry is more visible and you want it to be more visually appealing and tidy. Baskets are a great tool to help maintain cleanliness and organization in your pantry. I also highly recommend the OXO pop top containers. They keep food fresh and are easy to wash. These containers can be used for virtually anything in your pantry (or even elsewhere in your home). 

Use glass jars for pantry staples. Transfer common ingredients (especially baking ingredients) such as flour, sugars, spices, pasta, rice, granola, nuts, etc. into large glass jars with lids. Mason jars work great and are an affordable option. One idea is to take the jars to your local grocery store that sells bulk items (i.e. grains, beans, nuts) and replenish your staple items from the bulk bins. This will be a more cost-effective option versus purchasing these items pre-packaged.

Add shelving. If you have a pantry with a door, you can add an over the door shelving unit to add even more storage space to your pantry. These are particularly great for spices, cans, and other small items. 

Everyone’s pantry and refrigerator situations are a little different, but I hope these tips inspire you to clean out, organize, and set yourself up for success this new year and beyond. Our home environments have such an impact on our health and our ability to maintain our goals. Systems, routines, and organization play such a crucial role in us being able to maintain our health and keep moving forward with our goals so that it truly becomes a sustainable lifestyle. Happy organizing!

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