With the never-ending information circulating the internet about how much/what/when to eat, sometimes the basic nutritional building blocks can get lost in translation. For example, did you know that one of the easiest ways to gauge a serving of vegetables is by using your fist for reference?
For the average woman, a good starting point for vegetable intake would be four servings roughly the size of your fist per day (for men, it would be roughly double this). This often comes as a bit of a shock to clients when they think about what their current intake looks like, so our focus begins with gradually working towards this benchmark.
One of my favourite ways to work on adding vegetables is by sneaking it into the foods you’re already eating. For example, a handful of spinach into a smoothie, stir fry or soup will go virtually unnoticed, but we’re already one big step closer to our benchmark. It’s a simple and effective way to get more servings in – and requires almost no change to what you’re already doing!
What do you do to ensure you’re getting enough vegetables in your day to day meals?!
Language in the Gym
Has anyone ever used the term “girl push-ups” in reference to the exercise on the right? I know it’s something I used to say – I specifically remember the term being taught to me in high school gym class. But have you ever thought about the meaning/message behind this term?
In a nutshell, the message is that girls aren’t as strong as boys. There are quite a few expressions out there that send this same message (“man up” and “grow a pair” are two that come to mind). While I don’t necessarily believe that people intend to be malicious using this language in the gym (or anywhere really), there is no denying that the underlying impact is the implication that women are inferior to men.
The truth is, this push-up modification has absolutely nothing to do with gender. Modifications/regressions of exercises are used to accommodate several things, including but not limited to injuries, mobility, strength, comfort level, personal preference etc.
This particular modification actually isn’t my go-to for regressing the push-up pattern. In my experience working with clients, performing the push-up on an incline, rather than from the knees, is a more accessible position for a lot of people and tends to show better results in working towards the full push-up. Either way - the world girl has no place!
Can you think of any other exercises or phrases that have a similar hidden (or not so hidden) message? Let me know in the comments below!
Hope. I think we could all use a bit of this right now…
As of 12:01 this morning, the Ontario government has mandated gyms to shut down once again. In the past two years, Maitri Fitness has been forced to close for 5 months, then 9 months, and here we are again. While I am in an incredibly fortunate position of having another job to support me through all this, the impact this has had on the business that brings me so much joy has been truly devastating. I feel such a wide range of emotions both personally and professionally, but if I had to label the most prominent one, it would probably be despair.
I’ve let myself feel that, deeply, the past few days, but seeing these words this morning reminded me that we all can, and will, get through this again (thanks Brené Brown for always having the words to lift me up). The resiliency of human beings that I’ve witnessed throughout this pandemic is astonishing, and with a little hope, I know we can all keep fighting through.
My hope for all of us is that we can remember to be kind to one another. Have compassion for everyone around you, knowing that we are all uniquely impacted by this pandemic. Just because you perceive your struggles as being worse than someone else’s, does not mean that they are not entitled to feel what they feel. Have openness to viewpoints that challenge your beliefs. Just because someone does not share the same opinion as you does not make them the enemy; you might even learn something from them. Have faith that people are doing the best they can with the resources they have. And above all else, have love for YOU. Prioritize your health, both physically and mentally, because you are the most important thing.
Sending hope and love to all of you small businesses owners, students, parents and any other human struggling through yet another shut down.
Broccoli Bean Buddha Bowl
- 2/3 dry cups of your choice of grain (rice, quinoa, barley)
- 2-3 cups broccoli and beans
- 2 cans of tuna (drained)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup chopped almonds
- Parmesan cheese to taste (approx 1/4 cup)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Cook the grains accordingly
- Steam the veggies
- Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix together
While cell phones are an incredible advancement of modern technology and undeniably have introduced many advantages to the way we can interact and do business, using these devices day in and day out comes at a cost. For most, our phones are nothing short of an addiction and have hindered our ability to have true human interaction and to be productive. Even though these devices may be completely necessary in our day to day lives, there are many small behavioural changes we can make to ensure we can still come back to the present moment from time to time.
The article below introduces 7 great tips on how we can be more mindful when it comes to cell phone usage, and I’d like to add one more – leaving your cell phone in your locker while you’re at the gym. Working out is one of the best ways to get out of your head and into your body, and to leave all the stress of your day at the door. But when we bring our cell phones in, not only are we remaining in this state of distraction, but it’s likely we’re also decreasing the efficiency of our workout with longer rest periods.
So next time you’re at the gym, do yourself a favour and disconnect for the hour, and try incorporating some of these other tips in to your day to day routine!
The article below is an excellent piece written by Girls Gone Strong outlining what I feel is one of the largest obstacles in helping female clients to have compassion for themselves and to feel comfortable in their own skin – living in a society where from a very young age, women are being indirectly taught that their self worth is dependent on their physical appearance.
This article touches on some great points, including that when we simply brush away a woman’s dissatisfaction in her physical appearance by reassuring her she looks beautiful or thin today, we are likely disregarding a pain that is much deeper rooted, as well as reinforcing the idea that being “beautiful” is an indicator of our worth.
At Maitri Fitness I try to incorporate the key suggestions of the article into the way I communicate with my clients, and I encourage other coaches, and anyone really, to do the same:
Next time you find yourself in this situation, rather than disregarding a comment your friend or client makes, challenge yourself to listen to their feelings so they know their pain is heard, and begin to authentically compliment their internal qualities.
The Importance of Active Recovery
Finding the time to adequately rest and rejuvenate our bodies can be a challenge – whether we are at the peak of our fitness goals, or at a time when we haven’t quite figured out how to work fitness into our daily routine.
Occasionally, active individuals will reach a plateau and feel like they are going backwards, despite spending endless time in the gym or on the trails. As we get caught up in our goals, we can forget to take the rest we need. This can actually have a detrimental effect on our body because despite what you might think – more is not always better when it comes to physical activity, especially as we increase intensity.
Each time we workout, we are putting our muscles and connective tissues under stress. While this is a necessary step to improving our strength, mobility and endurance, if we don’t allow adequate rest time, we aren’t allowing ourselves to recover from this stress. This can result in diminished performance, fatigue, and increase your chance of injury.
Resting and recovering doesn’t mean you have to sit at home on your couch – it involves a number of key components including getting an adequate amount of sleep each night, properly nourishing your body, and incorporating active recovery into your weekly routine.
Active recovery can include things like yard or house work, walking or hiking, or yoga. Yoga is a fantastic way to keep your body moving, stretch out those tired muscles, and to tune in to the often forgotten mental component of healthy living.
Yoga and other methods of active recovery can also be a great starting point for those of us that are struggling to meet the recommended amounts of physical activity each week. Chances are if you lead a busy lifestyle, taking the time to tune into your body and breath can provide clarity and increase productivity.
Next time you’re feeling tired or uninterested in a workout; feel like you need a break; or if you feel like you’re ready for a gentle start to physical activity – consider stepping onto your yoga mat!
Mediterranean buddha bowl
Another go-to recipe of mine - quick, delicious and packed full of vegetables!
- 1/2 c uncooked quinoa, cooked according to package directions
- 2 handfuls of spinach or other leafy green vegetable
- 4 tablespoons of hummus
- Approx 2.5 cups of chopped veggies such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, red onion and avocado
- 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
- Chopped olives to taste
- Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and basil to taste
- Divide all ingredients into two bowls
- Layer spinach on the bottom of the bowl, topped by the quinoa and hummus
- Top with chopped veggies, feta and olives
-Drizzle with olive oil, and vinegar, and top with salt, pepper and basil!
Spicy peanut buddha bowl
With all the fad diets we see in the media, it can be confusing to know what eating "clean" even means. In reality, eating well doesn't have to be hard, and it definitely doesn't have to be boring. The key is to eat a variety of fresh, minimally processed foods as often as possible. But after a long day at work, sometimes thinking about what you have to make, or following a complicated recipe, can completely deter us from cooking.
Finding a few favourite recipes can help alleviate the thought that goes into eating well and keep you on track with your nutrition goals. Here's a favourite in my house that can be ready to eat in just half an hour. The recipe serves 2, which is perfect for leftovers the next day or can be easily doubled if you're cooking for more than one!
Spicy Peanut Buddha Bowl
Makes 2 servings, vegetables and protein source can be substituted with your preferences
- 250g medium firm tofu
- 1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked
- Approx 3 cups of vegetables including onions, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, etc.
- 1/8 c each of soy sauce, maple syrup and natural peanut butter
- Approx 1/8 tsp each of red chilli pepper flakes, ground ginger, garlic powder
- Peanuts to garnish
- Preheat oven to 400
- Cut tofu into one inch cubes and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper on a cookie sheet. Bake for 30min, stirring occasionally
- Cook rice according to package directions
- In a large frying pan, fry all vegetables over medium heat (adding leafy greens at the very end)
- Mix sauce ingredients together in a small bowl
- When vegetables are nearly cooked, mix the majority of the sauce in to the frying pan, leaving a small amount to coat the tofu with
- Mix tofu in remaining sauce
- Add rice to bowl, followed by vegetables, tofu, and a few peanuts sprinkled on top