How to Use MyFitnessPal Effectively

Are you ready to take your food tracking, water intake and measurements a step further? Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle, lean out or feel more energetic throughout your day, the free app, MyFitnessPal is a user-friendly tool to help you reach your goals and set you up for success. On this post, I’m going to dive into some insider tips on how to use MyFitnessPal effectively.

As a Sports Nutritionist, I love having the ability to see what my clients are eating and hold them accountable. As an athlete, I love having the ability to plan ahead and maximize my macros for performance goals. It works for all levels, all ages all goals.

But the key to success, like most things, is being consistent with your tracking.

Why Track Food

Food journaling, or food tracking, is a method of mindful eating. According to the American Society for Nutrition, studies show that mindfulness has a great influence on how much we eat, how we feel when we eat and when we choose to eat. It can also help you

  • Remember what you have eaten that day.
  • Find out where you can improve if you are trying to achieve a goal.
  • See if you are eating too much or NOT enough.
  • Notice what time of day you typically get hungry and help you adjust your eating schedule.
  • Realize if you are eating out of boredom rather than hunger.

10 Tips on How to Use MyFitnessPal Effectively

With a handy barcode scanner, recipe importer, custom reminders and progress charts, MyFitnessPal makes food tracking a breeze! Here are 10 tips to get you going!

Be Honest.

Track everything, from the olive oil spray you put on the pan to the breath mint you grabbed from your coworkers desk. The more honest you are in tracking, the better you’ll be able to stay accountable to your actions…the faster you’ll achieve your goals.

Not tracking that bite off your kids plate doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Track Ahead of Time. Then Adjust.

One of the best things I love about MFP is the ability to plan my day ahead. Whether it’s the night before or the morning of, map our your day of meals and snacks to balance out carbohydrates, proteins and fats and hone in nutrient timing.

As your day throws you unexpected curves (like most days), simply adjust accordingly.

Test Yourself.

Learn to eyeball portion sizes.

The more you weigh and measure your food, become aware of how those portions look using your hand as a guide. This is extremely helpful when you’re eating out, at a friends house, holiday party, etc.

Set Reminders.

As you start this new tracking method, you can set up custom reminders through the app to be reminded throughout the day if you forget to track a meal or snack.

When you log your meals, make note of the time of day you are eating and how you are feeling. Keep your thoughts short and sweet – no need to write a novel, unless you want to.

Save Your Meals.

Do you eat the same thing for breakfast nearly every day? Save the foods as a favorite meal so you can add all items to your diary with one simple click.

Copy Your Meals.

Leftovers tonight?

Flip back to yesterday’s entry and click “copy meal” to copy those foods to today (or tomorrow…or any other date). Quick and simple.

Scan the Barcode.

Can’t find the right item in the search bar?

Simply hit the barcode button and scan your package then adjust portions accordingly.

View Nutrition Progress.

Either flip your phone horizontal and scroll to the bottom or click the menu bar and then the Nutrition tab to view that day’s nutrients.

Experiment.

Start with the free app as you’re getting started. If you feel this is a helpful tool to keep you on track, you can go with Pro, but the free app works well, too!

Add Your Coach.

Gain an extra layer of accountability by adding your Nutrition Coach or a friend to have access to view your food diary. You get to decide the level of privacy they can see.

There you have it: my top 10 tips on how to use MyFitnessPal effectively. Take your goals to the next level with one-on-one nutrition coaching. With ultimate accountability and guidance, we’ll help you achieve your goals.

Isn’t it to time to take care of you? Let’s chat!

Nutrition Inquiry

When Should You Choose Organic?

when to go organic

If You Choose Organic, Does That Mean It’s Healthy?

“Organic” always means “healthy,” right? Well, sometimes. Choose organic foods and you’ll avoid a lot of toxic chemicals, which is ideal… but think twice before you rely on the “organic” label just to justify that organic pastry or lollipop for your kids.when to go organic

What separates conventional farming from the organic way?

The National Organic Program, a regulatory program within the USDA has established national standards for organically grown foods. To earn the label of “organic” in the U.S., farmers must adhere to certain standards such as: submit to audits conducted by accredited certifying agents, give animals access to the outdoors, make use of crop rotation, mechanical tillage, hand-weeding and other management methods to control weed growth. They must NOT: treat animals with antibiotics, growth hormones, or feed made from animal byproducts, fertilize with sewage sludge, apply prohibited substances to their land for at least three years prior to harvest.

Simply stated, organic produce is grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones. “Organic” does not necessarily mean animals are humanely treated, free to roam pastures or grass-fed. And it is not synonymous with healthy, low-sugar or unprocessed food…but, that’s what marketers want you to believe. You know, so they can charge you more. Confused yet?

Be a smart consumer. Here is the organic label lingo to become aware of:

Organic Labels

Many people get caught up on trick labels like “healthy,” “fresh,” “natural.” It’s easy to get confused. Always check the ingredient list and the nutrition-facts panel to see what’s really in your product. If you can pronounce the ingredients, you won’t need a chemistry degree to decipher the label.

  • “100% organic”: This product must contain 100% organic ingredients.
  • “Organic”: This product must have at least 95% ingredients organically produced.
  • “Made with Organic ingredients”: This product must have at least 70% organic ingredients.

 

Choose Organic with the Dirty Dozen

Each year, the Environmental Working Group identifies the fruits and vegetables that contain the most—and least—chemical pesticides. They call them the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen.” The ”dirty dozen” list is a good place to start going organic.

  1. Strawberries (these are the worst offenders hording the most pesticide residues)
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes
  13. *Hot Peppers

NOTE: A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.

Even though it didn’t officially make the list (because it’s processed), the EWG also included a special report about raisins. EWG says that 99% of nearly 700 raisin samples tested positive for traces of at least two pesticides, and one sample had 26 different pesticides. “If we included raisins in our calculations, they would be number one on the Dirty Dozen,” said Thomas Galligan, Ph.D, a toxicologist for the EWG, in a press release. So, go organic with your raisins!

Clean 15

The Clean 15 list, on the other hand, includes produce that is least likely to be contaminated by pesticides. Almost 70% of these food samples had no pesticide residues whatsoever. You can typically go conventional with these fruits and vegetables.

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Onions
  5. Papayas
  6. Frozen Sweet Peas
  7. Eggplant
  8. Asparagus
  9. Cauliflower
  10. Cantaloupe
  11. Broccoli
  12. Mushrooms
  13. Cabbage
  14. Honeydew
  15. Kiwi

Keep in mind, organic foods can cost up to 50% more than conventional products, so do your research first and choose wisely.

Do Your Research

Is there a trick label that often confuses you? Take a moment to look it up, define it and share it.

But, I know, Google can be equally confusing. Here are a couple more reputable sources to consider for your own research:

 

More on our Salus Nutrition Coaching Blog:

Set Real Expectations

So, you’re motivated to make some changes and you’re willing to do anything you possibly can to achieve these goals. I would love nothing more! But, anytime you start a journey to make a lifestyle change, it can be tough. You can expect some bumps along the way which is why it’s important to set real expectations. For the long run.

Hey, I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect… and no one expects us to be. Because they’re not perfect either.

Set Real Expectations in the Face of Challenges

Sustainable change is all about learning how to set real expectations in the face of life’s challenges. If there’s one thing you can expect in life, it’s that things will always come up: parties, birthdays, anniversaries, life-altering events, stress, work, travel, sickness…COVID-19. Challenges will always be there whether we like it or not.

Don’t run from challenges. Anticipate them.

Challenges are part of life and unique opportunities for learning more about ourselves.

Research shows that while our behaviors may seem “spur-of-the-moment,” when it comes to over-eating, for example, the groundwork is laid several hours, days, months…years, in advance by our daily rituals, habits, mindset and automatic thinking. Your actions in the face of a challenge are simply the last link in a long chain of decisions.

The goal of today is all about recognizing your actions in the face of a challenge:

  • What is the root cause of those actions?
  • How can you learn from those events?
  • … and most importantly, How can you move forward?

According to James P. Leahy, author of Bridging the Expectation Gap: The Key to Happiness, unrealistic expectations create an expectation gap which leads to unhappiness and feelings of failure.

If you’re in this for instant gratification, don’t expect your changes to last. On the other hand, if you’re in this to embrace life-long, healthy habits that you can learn from, you can expect some amazing things to happen now, next month and even more the following year at your annual physical. That’s why if you make a mistake, it’s important to be nice to yourself.

Don’t let one mistake derail an entire day or a whole week.

Set Yourself Up For Success with Real Expectations

Expectations have an enormous effect on our outcome, energy, drive.

In fact, multiple studies show that the way we manage our expectations can heavily influence our ability to experience happiness in life, work and even health outcomes.

When life gets crazy and you end up making a mistake, the one thing that you can control is how you RESPOND in that moment. Remember, you are in charge of your own actions, choices and reactions, regardless of any circumstance.

Letting emotions control you is the easy way out. It’s easier to do (or say) things in the heat of the moment… that you may regret down the line.

But, it takes internal strength to pause, breathe, and make a sound decision by staying calm under pressure. And that starts with setting realistic expectations for yourself in the face of a challenge. 

“When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~Viktor Frankl

Rather than focusing on perfection, anticipate challenges to occur and then pour all of your energy into simply committing to doing your very best every day with the hand you are dealt.

Common Mistakes and Their Fixes

Here are a few common mistakes many people struggle with and their common “fix.”

The Mistake:

You deter from your normal way of eating and indulge in something outside of the norm, feel guilty and then proceed to eat everything in sight.

The Fix:

Remind yourself that slipping up a little is not the same as slipping up a lot. Own up to your choices and move forward.

The Mistake:

Eating portion sizes like a 5 year old during the day and then binging at night.

The Fix:

Of course you feel ravenous. ⁣
Of course you feel hangry.⁣
Of course you feel out of control.⁣

Your body is trying to do everything it can to signal to you that it needs to fuel itself.⁣ Instead, by eating balanced meals full of animal protein, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds throughout the day– you will reap the benefits of feeling satiated, full of energy, sleeping sound & through the night, and saying ‘goodbye’ to feeling ravenous late at night.⁣

The Mistake:

Waiting until 9pm to realize you still have 1,000 mL of water to drink.

The Fix:

Plan. Ahead. Do the math based on how much water you need and spread it out throughout your day. Rubber bands on water bottles, water app, giant jug…whatever set up works best for you, embrace it and just be ok with the fact that you’re going to probably be going to the bathroom a lot more than you were before. Just don’t let it interrupt your sleep by waiting until night to chug a liter.

Set Real World Expectations

For the next few weeks, focus on making deliberate choices that reflect reality.

There is so much outside of our control.

Focus on what you can actually control and let go of the things you can’t. Set real expectations for yourself, expect challenges to be there and use them to grow stronger.

Ask yourself these two questions:

What’s one thing that I can expect to get in the way of achieving my goals?

And what can I do today to help me keep going when I face that specific obstacle?

To learn more about making important improvements to your nutrition and exercise program, give us a shout at info@crossfitsalus.com.

 

Sleeping Tips for Athletes

Most of us know how important sleep is for our health. But do you know how important it really is for our digestion, thinking, performance…even body composition…oh yea, and our sanity? But we get it, even if you read all the sleeping tips in the world, the moment your head hits the pillow, you just can’t seem to fall asleep. You’re not alone.

Find out why getting your Zzz’s is so important, especially as an athlete, and some quick and easy sleeping tips to help you fall asleep…and stay asleep.

Sleep, Your Most Powerful (and Legal) Performance Enhancer

If your nutrition and training are on point, but you still don’t perform or look the way you want, poor sleep habits may be to blame. You better believe it, sleep is the most powerful recovery aid out there. And it’s legal.

In fact, research even shows that physical and mental impairments caused by one night of bad sleep can dwarf those caused by an equivalent absence of food or exercise. And those who sleep less than 6 hours per night (or, surprisingly, more than 9 hours) gain almost twice as much weight over a 6-year period as those who sleep 7 to 8 hours per night.

Not surprisingly, more than ⅓ of adults get fewer than the amount of sleep they need to keep their risk of health problems in check. So, what’s that magical baseline number?

Adults need 7 hours of sleep a night- minimum. You need more if you’re training hard in the gym or sick.

Sleep and Body Composition

There’s no question that a lack of sleep causes havoc in your body. When you’re more rested, you’ll be more successful if your goal is to stay lean and recover better so you can perform stronger.

Here’s how.

Research shows that sleep deprivation can create insulin resistance and reduce insulin sensitivity in subcutaneous fat cells, which play a key role in energy metabolism and balance.

Poor sleep habits drain our energy (and our mojo) and screw up the regulation of our hormones. It’s no coincidence that we’re hungrier when we’re tired. That’s because those hunger-regulating hormones that tell us to eat more, go up (ghrelin) and the precious ones that tell us when we’ve had enough, go down (leptin).

A lack of sleep also alters the activity of our hypothalamus, resulting in increased cortisol. Higher cortisol levels have been shown to increase appetite in some people, and can even increase fat storage.

In other words, develop good sleep habits to help your body and mind recover. In turn, it will help us in our efforts to stay lean, perform stronger, stay happy, focus longer and stay healthy.

Sleeping Tips that Work

The good news is that research shows that returning to adequate sleep (7+ hours) can quickly reduce any of the above risks.
So how do we go about getting that performance-enhancing, mojo-regenerating, energy-filling shut-eye?

Try one of these quick sleeping tips tonight!

1. Create Your Own Sleep Routine

We need time to transition from the day to the night. Create environmental cues to help you wind down and de-stress at night. Sip herbal tea, stretch or roll, take a bath, read, meditate, sit outside… you get the idea.

2. Be Consistent with Your Sleep Schedule

Whenever possible, aim to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day/night. I know that’s tough for those with a strong social-game, but the more consistent you are, the more your body will naturally release those calming hormones before your head hits the pillow making that whole falling-asleep process much easier. Plus, a schedule helps to stimulate those necessary hormones that help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to attack the day.

3. Moderate Caffeine and Alcohol Intake

Even though a nightcap may sound relaxing, consuming more than 1-2 drinks at night will interfere with deep, restorative sleep. Same goes for caffeine after 2 p.m.

4. Eat Properly

Eating too large of a meal right before you hit the sack can interfere your ability to fall and stay asleep. Your best bet? Eat a balance of protein, carbs and fats and walk away from your plate feeling satisfied, not stuffed, at dinner. Oh, and steer clear of those heavy late night mindless snacks.

5. Stop Bugging Out

We’ve all been there, your brain is wired and running through all the unchecked to-do’s on your list. The more you think about the fact that you cannot fall asleep, the more you lay there staring at the clock. Instead, grab a paper or create a voice-to-text note to write out whatever’s bugging you out. Dump whatever’s on your mind so you can finally relax.

6. Turn Off Electronics

Your phone, your computer, your TV: turn them off at least 30 minutes before bedtime. The light from a digital device stimulates our brain and interferes with melatonin production making it harder for us to fall asleep and, you guessed it, stay asleep.

7. Set a Bedtime Alarm

Seriously, set yourself an alarm to turn off your devices and start unwinding. Then, set another reminder alarm to head to bed. This will help to snap you out of whatever social channel you’re scrolling through and put the focus back on you, your pillow, and your health.

8. Make the Room Dark and Cool

A dark room will help you to maximize melatonin production. So close the blinds, unplug the hallway night light and flip your smartphone screen face down. Additionally, research shows that most of us sleep better when it’s cool (about 67 F). Set the thermostat to automatically drop a few degrees after bedtime.

Bottom Line

It’s time to get real about the health risks of poor sleep.

Give one of the above sleeping tips a try tonight and start working your way to those 7+ hours of sleep.  When you do, you’ll find that you can ward off stress easier, keep illnesses away, maximize performance & recovery and keep your mojo alive, too!

How do you wind down after a busy day? What’s your favorite pre-sleep hack?

Check out our series on sleep for more information:

Want more health and fitness tips? Check out our recent posts:

Do I Need to Count Macros?
Choosing a Jump Rope
Looking for Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu Season?
Importance of Staying Hydrated
Bar Muscle-Up Progressions
Olympic Weightlifting in NJ: Some Basics
Is Sugar Bad?
Mobility for CrossFit: Why You Need to Do It
What to Expect During Your First CrossFit Class

Top 3 Healthy Party Tips

Social Survival: 3 Easy Healthy Party Tips

Whether you’re at a holiday party, summer BBQ or on the road, take these 3 healthy party tips along with you to stay healthy, hydrated and still have some fun.

3 Easy Healthy Party Tips

1) Load up on the greens!

Start each meal with veggies, snack on raw veggie sticks, or any of the vegetable-heavy dish. This will help keep you full, hydrated and energized.

Plus, if you’re trying to control your macros, the simple action of chewing raw vegetables takes longer than it does eating most calorie-dense foods.

Just remember to keep your eye out for organic produce and quality meats, especially the dirty dozen. Read: When Should You Choose Organic? to learn more about the dirty dozen, clean fifteen and figuring out all those confusing labels.

2) Drink plenty of H2O!

Especially if you’re outside, drinking alcohol or getting active, you’ll need even more water than usual.

Having a hard time fitting in all water?

  • Start your day off with a large glass water. Before coffee. Before breakfast. Before you even brush your teeth.
  • Make some herbal or green tea the night before and then chill it for a refreshing midday drink.
  • Whip up a mocktail. Make some fruit-infused water with berries, oranges, lemons, limes, or even cucumbers. Add sparkling water and mint to make it really fancy.

Not sure how much water you need in the first place? Read: How Much Water Should I Drink? for more tips on hydration.

3) Be mindful and relax!

If there’s a sweet treat or certain drink that you really love, enjoy it, but do so in a relaxed (not guilty) state.

Take a moment to taste every flavor and chew slowly.

The simple act of slowing down will help you get more in tune with your hunger levels as well.

Be mindful about your choices, rather than mindlessly picking while you’re chatting. Read: Mindful Eating for more tips on slowing down while you’re eating.

 

LEVEL UP? Foundation Nutrition & Lifestyle Challenge Rules

WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE?

The Level Up Nutrition & Lifestyle Challenge is a habit based program to help you achieve your body composition and performance goals. The challenge begins Monday, Sept 9 and runs through Sunday, Oct 20. All nutrition challenge rules are below.

Do you want to lose body fat, gain muscle, perform your best at the gym or gain more energy for life?

Then this challenge is for you!

Nutrition is the cornerstone for optimal mental and physical performance.

No matter your goal, the 6-week Level Up Nutrition & Lifestyle Challenge will introduce nutrition and lifestyle changes in an incremental way resulting in the ability to lose body fat, build muscle, and, most importantly, learn how to maintain these results moving forward.

You will gain the tools and knowledge necessary to achieve your goals in an approachable, sustainable way.

Heading up the program is Coach Angela Salveo: CF-L2 Coach, Precision Nutrition Coach, 7-year CrossFit Athlete and International Masters Weightlifter.

HOW TO TAKE THE CHALLENGE?

Decide- Make a decision that your health is worth it. Kick off fall and attack your goals stronger than ever!

Commit- Tell a friend and sign up for the challenge together for the ultimate level of accountability.

Dominate- Everyone is on their own journey, so you have options! Choose a level for each goal and challenge yourself to make at least one positive change every day. They all add up!

IT’S THAT SIMPLE.

Sign up today: levelupfall2019.wodifyrise.com 

——————————

WHAT THIS CHALLENGE IS NOT

…A quick fix. You are starting a nutrition and lifestyle make-over. It requires a long-term investment. 6 weeks is just the beginning to guide you in the right direction so you can produce long-term results!

…A meal plan. Specific meal plans are simply not sustainable. You will, however, receive guidance about what kinds of foods to eat and how much to eat to ensure you’re getting enough macro- & micro-nutrients. 

…A deep dive into unique needs. This challenge is designed to introduce better eating & lifestyle habits. For more specific individual coaching needs (emotional eating, counting macros, nutrient timing, eating to perform, weight-cuts, etc.), we are offering the option of individual nutrition coaching at a discounted rate (50% off) throughout the challenge. Take advantage of this incredible value by contacting  foundationnutrition@crossfitsalus.com 

 


LEVEL UP CHALLENGE RULES

NUTRITION QUALITY 

Rules: Eat only whole (unprocessed), nutrient-dense foods from the food list. This will be entered in the “food journal” section.

  • LEVEL 1: Made one positive change today. (1 point)
  • LEVEL 2: Stuck to the food list for at least two meals and two snacks. (3 points)
  • LEVEL 3: Stuck to the food list for all meals and snacks. (5 points)

 

NUTRITION QUANTITY (PORTIONS & HYDRATION)

Rules: Follow portion guidelines and hydration guidelines.

Eat 3 scheduled meals and 2-3 planned mini meals/snacks (**no mindless picking when you’re bored)

Eat only to satisfied, never stuffed.

  • LEVEL 1: Made one positive change today (1 point)
  • LEVEL 2: Stuck to the portion guidelines for at least two meals and one mini meal. Made hydration goal by at least 80%. (3 points)
  • LEVEL 3: Stuck to the portion/hydration guidelines all day. (5 points)

 

What if I’m following macros?

For those of you who are already weighing/measuring your food and following prescribed macros under the guidance of a nutrition coach, you are encouraged to continue doing that during the nutrition challenge. If this is the case, your scoring will look like this:

  • LEVEL 1: You are more than + or – 15 grams away from your planned target ranges (0 points)
  • LEVEL 2: You stay within + or – 15 grams of protein & carb macronutrient target. And within + or – 10 grams of fat macros (3 points)
  • LEVEL 3: You stay within + or – 10 grams of protein & carb macronutrient target. And within + or – 5 grams of fat macros (5 points)

 

SLEEP

Rules: Follow sleep guidelines for your age range.

Note: this will be scored for the NIGHT BEFORE.

See sleeping tips and bedtime routine tips on our blog.

  • LEVEL 1: Slept within 1 hour of recommendations. AND made one positive change to establish a bedtime routine. (1 point)
  • LEVEL 2: Slept within 30 minutes of recommendations. AND turned off electronics 15 minutes before bedtime. (3 points)
  • LEVEL 3: Slept according to the recommendations AND turned off electronics 30 minutes before bedtime. AND followed a 10 minute bedtime routine (such as stretching, meditation, reading, etc). (5 points)

 

MOVEMENT

Remember, a little bit of activity goes a long way. Whether it’s a walk outside or a superset of pushups and sit ups, any exercise is better than no exercise. That’s why getting up and moving around is a big component of our lifestyle challenge. Working out at home? Check out free workout apps like NikeTrainingClub for some fun, free workouts.

Dedicate time in your schedule each week to make exercise a priority. And remember to tell a friend when you’re going to help you stay accountable.

  • LEVEL 1:  Made one positive change today (like taking the stairs, standing on a conference call or parking further from the door). (1 point)
  • LEVEL 2: Completed at least 20 minutes of physical activity. (3 points)
  • LEVEL 3: Completed at least 45 minutes of physical activity (if it is your recovery day, this means adding in a low intensity workout, like a walk). (5 points)

 

MOBILITY

Mobility (stretching, myofascial release, etc.) can alleviate ‘everyday’ aches and pains as well as improve our body awareness & performance.

  • LEVEL 1: Stretch and/or roll for at least 5 minutes. (1 point)
  • LEVEL 2: Stretch and/or roll for at least 10 minutes. (3 points)
  • LEVEL 3: Stretch and/or roll for a minimum of 15 minutes. (5 points)

 

STRESS MANAGEMENT

Implement stress-relieving techniques to take better care of your mind, body and spirit. This can be meditation, yoga, taking a bath, walk, organizing a messy area, talking to a friend, drawing, getting a massage, taking a nap, etc. Everyone is affected by stress differently, so try a variety of strategies to discover which ones are the most effective for you. 

Note: Screen-time for the purpose of this challenge is referring time spent on devices such as a smartphone/tablet doing recreational activities such as gaming, getting sucked down the social media rabbit hole, etc.

  • LEVEL 1: Destress for at least 5 minutes. (1 point)
  • LEVEL 2: Destress for at least 10 minutes. (3 points)
  • LEVEL 3: Destress for a minimum of 10 minutes AND limit recreational screen-time to less than 1 hour each day. (5 points)

 

 

Changing Habits

 

Changing Habits With Success

Changing habits, like changing a training program, comes with a natural ebb and flow. One day you’re making tremendous progress and the next day you feel like you’ve regressed. It’s an normal (and important) part of the process.

It’s normal, but it’s not easy.

I get it, finding a steady rhythm of consistency to change your habits and food choices can be challenging. But thankfully there are a couple proven ways that you can set yourself up for success: choosing your battles and staying focused on your goals in as many ways possible!

Changing Habits Against the Odds

Working on changing your habits?

Here are 2 quick tips to help you navigate the lows and come out on top.

1. Choose your battles.

You don’t always have to fight the lows.
Be smart and instead, change the timing of your highs.
For example, it’s 10:00 pm and you still have an hour of work to do (and mobility…and have to get up early for your kid’s soccer game). You sink into the couch, open your laptop and the eyelids start to flutter immediately. Your first instinct may be to fight through the fatigue with less than stellar focus, nodding your head a few times before giving in to the pillow… But this time, try a new approach. Close the laptop, hit your 10 minutes of mobility then go to bed so you get your 7 hours (or even 6) of quality sleep. Set your alarm 20-30 minutes earlier and knock out that work you had to do with a fresh mind.

2. Write down your goals, post them close by and remind yourself of them often.

Keep them eye level at your desk reminding you to drink water, on your mirror reminding you to attack your goals, on the refrigerator reminding you to eat more greens or even on the TV to remind you to stretch.
Because, that exact moment you’re on a downward trend, that little post-it written in your own handwriting will remind yourself of those important goals and help you keep plugging away. And during those awesome moments when you’re on the upward trend, having your goals front-of-mind will help to channel your energy in the right direction.
Success!

Changing Habits is Tough – We’re only human after all.

Some days you’ll be able to make it to the box on time, smash out a productive day of work, cook a clean meal, fit in the time for your family and get to bed on time.
Other days, your day feels like it drags on forever and the only thing you can imagine doing is watching Netflix.

Like everything else in life, goals come with its ups and downs. You can’t escape them. But you can learn how to navigate through.

Ask Yourself

What has been the most significant change you’ve made toward your goals recently and what can you to to increase your confidence that you’ll be able to carry them over with you through life?

Making those connections is key to your long-term success. Good luck working on your goals! Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions along the way.

More on our Salus Nutrition Coaching Blog:

6-Week RESET Foundation Nutrition & Lifestyle Challenge 2019

What is the 6-Week “RESET” Foundation Nutrition & Lifestyle Challenge 2019?

This nutrition challenge is all about helping you become the best version of yourself in 2019. Using nutrition as our foundation, we’ll also focus on hydration, exercise, mobility, sleep and motivation goals.

Because, when you have all these elements working together, you’ll experience positive changes with your performance, recovery, energy, body composition and more!

Our goal is to help you better understand the impact of your daily choices, so you can achieve sustainable results.

For 6 weeks you’ll not only be committing to yourself that you’re going to achieve these goals, you’ll be committing to a partner who will help you stay accountable, too!

Who Can Participate?

Anyone. Anywhere. Nationwide.

The 6-week “RESET” Foundation Nutrition & Lifestyle Challenge is for anyone (beginner, intermediate or advanced individuals) looking to experience positive changes in their performance, recovery, energy levels, body fat percentages, and get motivated, too! Teens have the choice to participate in the 6-week RESET challenge or the 2-week version below. 

Go ahead…partner up with a workout buddy at the box, a long-distance friend, neighbor, spouse… and let’s do this!

Teens and kids have their own fun 14-day challenge that starts at the same time. Head on over to GAME ON to find out more or get them registered now.

When Does It Start?

The 6-week nutrition and lifestyle challenge begins Monday, January 7 and runs through Sunday, Feb 17, 2019.

Initial weigh-ins begin Wednesday, Jan. 2, and end Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.

Sign me up >>

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of the nutrition challenge is $48.

This includes weekly email check-ins and two individual phone consultations (initial and mid challenge) with Coach Angela to establish and outline your own individual goals for the challenge. These customized goals will be the foundation for your unique point system. You will also receive the following:

  • Before/after weigh-ins.
  • Accountability from your partner.
  • Access to our RESET Challenge online goal tracker (download the free app: Wodify Rise).
  • Unlimited community support through our private RESET Challenge Facebook support group.
  • All the education and motivation you need to confidently achieve your goals (posted on our Foundation Nutrition blog and emailed regularly).
  • Two 15-min. phone consultations with Coach Angela to review goals, address individualized questions and overcome sticking points.
  • Regular email check-ins for questions, guidance and unlimited support.

Sign me up >>

Nutrition Challenge Details

Improve your health & wellness in 6-weeks by focusing on 7 habits every day. Every goal on the list below will be customized to fit your lifestyle. Connect with Coach Angela by January 9 to establish your own personal goals for the challenge.

  1. NUTRITION — Eat only whole (unprocessed), nutrient-dense foods from your food list and follow portion guidelines, eating only to “satisfied” instead of “stuffed”
  2. EXERCISE — Exercise for your set goal amount of time each day.
  3. MOBILITY — Stretch and/or roll for your set goal amount of time each day.
  4. SLEEP — Sleep your set goal of hours every night.
  5. HYDRATE — Drink your set goal amount of water daily.
  6. PERSONAL IMPROVEMENT — Establish a goal outside of work or exercise to keep you growing as an individual. Take the time to work on this goal for your set amount of time each day. (These goals can encompass anything from spirituality to charitable work to expanding your knowledge)
  7. MOTIVATE — Every day, share your experience about the RESET challenge with your partner to help you both stay motivated.

Scoring

Each person will start the day with 22 points. The team’s score at the end of the challenge will be the sum of both individual’s total scores.

A complete Nutrition day is worth 10 points is is comprised of two parts.

  • Simply Eat Clean, Nutrient-Dense Foods- For the duration of this challenge, we encourage you to clean up your diet and eliminate processed foods while embracing nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables, fruits, good fats and high-quality proteins. Connect with Coach Angela to discuss your specific guidelines.
    • Get 5 points for eating within your food guidelines.
    • Get 2 points for making one positive change in your diet.
  • Portions- See portion guidelines for all the details.
    • Get 5 points for following portion guidelines.
    • Get 2 points for missing a meal or eating until you feel uncomfortable or “stuffed.”

A complete Exercise day is worth 2 points.

  • Get 2 points for achieving your exercise goal.
  • Get 1 point for doing “a little something.”
  • 0 points for skipping your workout.

A complete Mobility day is worth 2 points.

  • Get 2 points for achieving your mobility (stretching and/or rolling) goal.
  • 0 points for missing the chance to be a supple leopard.

A complete Sleep day is worth 2 points.

  • Get 2 points for achieving your sleep goal.
  • 1 point for being within an hour of that goal.
  • 0 points for anything less…zzzz

A complete Hydrate day is worth 2 points.

  • Get 2 points for drinking your specific amount of water
  • 1 point for drinking up to 80% of that amount.
  • 0 points for anything less.

A complete Personal Improvement day is worth 2 points.

  • Get 2 points for making an effort to work toward your personal improvement goal.
  • 0 points for missing today..

A complete Motivate day is worth 2 points.

  • Get 2 points for taking the time to reach out to your partner EVERY day of this challenge to help each other stay accountable and motivated for all 6 weeks. Some suggestions include: Swap recipe ideas, arrange to swap pre-cooked meals. It can be as simple as a daily phone call, text, email, Facebook comment or IG messages to share success, struggles, tips, tricks, recipes, etc. Take it a step further and set-up a weekly phone call or in-person meet-up to talk about your progress.

Sign me up >>

Bonus:

  • 1 point: submitting your weekly weigh-in
  • 1 point: submitting progress pictures on your app (these are private and are not visible on the app news feed)
  • 1 point: Weekly bonus TBD

Are There Prizes?

You bet!

  • First Place Team will receive:
    • COLD HARD CASH!! Note: The amount of cash prizes will depend on the number of participants we get.
    • PLUS 1 Month of Individual Foundation Nutrition Coaching  *valued at $175 each
  • Second Place Team will receive:
    • 2 CrossFit Salus Tandem Coaching Sessions (or remote programming if outside Monmouth county). *valued at $140 each
    • Plus, prizes from Kettlebell Kitchen, Birch Benders, Playa Bowl….AND MORE!
  • Third Place Team will receive:
    • 1 CrossFit Salus Tandem Coaching Sessions (or remote programming if outside Monmouth county). *valued at $70 each
    • Plus, goodies from more fun brands!

Note:

*Coaching prizes are not eligible to be redeemed for cash.

*Coaches who choose to participate in the challenge are not eligible to receive cash prizes.

Tiebreaker:

If there is a tie at the end of the challenge, we will refer to tiebreakers.

Considering this is a nutrition challenge, we’ll first look at the team who had the most points from both nutrition categories. And if there is still a tie, we’ll come up with a fitness-based tie-breaker challenge to ensure that only one team is victorious!

Next Steps:

  1. Make the choice that you and your health goals are worth some extra effort in 2019.
  2. Tell your friends and family about it to help hold you accountable. Maybe you’ll motivate them to join you!
  3. Email foundationnutrition@crossfitsalus.com to set up your individualized goals ASAP.
  4. Grab a partner and register now to RESET to a healthier you this year.

 

REGISTER NOW

Sign me up >>

 

Interested in something more individualized and in-depth? Sign up for our 3-month Nutrition Coaching Program. Find out more at http://www.crossfitsalus.com/foundation-nutrition-coaching/.

Endocrine Disruptors: What Are They? How Do I Avoid Them?

So, you’re drinking all your water, awesome! But now it’s time to step it up a notch and ditch the plastic bottles…and the endocrine disruptors that come along with them.

What Are Endocrine Disruptors?

Endocrine disruptors can be natural or man-made substances that interfere with our body’s endocrine system (hormone and cell signaling) and can lead to harmful developmental, neurological, immune and reproductive effects.

Maybe you’ve heard about BPA? It’s known to disrupt hormones and can mimic the effect of estrogen in the body, leading to hormone imbalances. BPA has been linked to insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease, liver damage, ADHD, infertility (for men and women) and altered gene expression

But, guess what? BPA-free doesn’t mean you’re safe from the health hazards of plastic.

A study published in Environmental Health indicates that almost all plastics, including BPA- and phthalate-free products, release chemicals with estrogenic activity. Bisphenol S (BPS) and triphenyl phosphate (TPP) are two chemicals often found in BPA-free products. Items containing these chemicals have been marketed as “safe” alternatives to BPA-containing plastics, but it turns out that BPS has endocrine-disrupting effects that are very similar to BPA, and TPP is even more estrogenic than BPA.

What Endocrine Disruptors Do?

Our endocrine system consists of glands that release hormones. Once released, those hormones act like chemical messenger that travel throughout our body, bind to target receptors on certain cells and cause predictable cellular change.

Endocrine disruptors mimic our naturally occurring hormones and end up binding to receptors which in turn changes our hormone creation, transport, binding and breakdown. They’re very stable which means they don’t break down easily (why manufacturers use them in products) and also means they stick around in our bodies for a long time.

When our hormonal systems are altered, it can lead to disrupted metabolism, immune function, bone health & mental status, altered testicular function & conversion of cholesterol to steroid hormones, oxidative stress, promotion of obesity and more.

Where are endocrine disruptors found?

We’re exposed to a cocktail of endocrine disruptors every day and probably don’t even know it.

They’re found in our plastic bottles, probably in your carpet and most likely in your drug store beauty care products. They’re even food packaging, shower curtains, cleaning products, children’s toys, canned food and of course water bottles (even BPA-free). That’s right, we’re constantly being bombarded with hormonal manipulators. They’re everywhere.

In fact, the CDC has found over 92% of people tested, including newborns, have detectable levels of BPA and other plastic chemicals in their bodies.

Yikes!

The good news? We can control most of our exposure.

Tips to Avoid Endocrine Disruptors

Research finds that BPA, phthalates and other plastics have harmful effects at both high and very low doses. Given the above evidence, I recommend trying to avoid all kinds of plastic, even ones labeled as BPA-free.

  • Use glass and stainless steel whenever possible for drinking, cooking, eating and storing food.
  • Never reheat your food in plastic containers or wash them in the dishwasher. Use glass.
  • Don’t cook with plastic utensils. Instead opt for bamboo or wood.
  • Use parchment paper or a lid from a pot to cover your food instead of plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
  • Watch what you eat (avoid canned foods and choose organic when possible).
  • Cook with cast iron instead of nonstick pans which can also hide endocrine disruptors.
  • Use a stainless steel thermos to pack your kids lunches instead of plastic baggies.
  • Don’t forget to say “no, thank you” to your receipt, as these have BPA coating as well.
  • Take a look at your (and your kids) cosmetic and personal care products (sunscreens, lotions, make up, soap, etc). Avoid those that contain phthalates in the ingredients and find natural replacements.
  • Choose wood or fabric toys for children instead of plastic.
  • Swap out those plastic water bottles and shaker bottles for an insulated stainless steel or glass (just make sure you keep the lid clean from mold).

Choosing what we put into and on our bodies can have an enormous impact on our health.

What steps do you currently take to avoid plastic? Are there some things you have difficulty finding alternatives for?

Take action, today… and every day.

Consider going plastic-free on your next water bottle purchase. But, remember: No matter what nutritional or lifestyle changes you’re here to make, you have to get better at making a change in the first place if you want those changes to stick.

One realistic step at a time. 

More on our Salus Nutrition Health Coaching Blog:

Got Pain? Leaky Gut Might Be To Blame.

Today we take a look into the connection between joint pain and leaky gut.

Achy knees? Chronic knee pain? Stiff joints? Often, these ills are attributed to the unfortunate effects of aging and we just chalk it up to be arthritis. What if that pain in the neck was actually caused by an imbalance from another part of our body?

Our gut.

joint pain leaky gut

Several studies have uncovered a link between microbes in our gut and other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). People with RA as well as psoriatic arthritis tend to have higher levels of a certain type of bug in their intestines that those without the disease.

This research suggests that the connections aren’t just between the gut and arthritis, but any type of inflammation in the body.

Hippocrates was right when he said, “All disease begins in the gut.”

What exactly is leaky gut?

Think of the gut as a drawbridge. Naturally, the gut is semi-permeable to allow micronutrients (think of them as tiny row boats) pass through the intestinal tract into our bloodstream (this is normal). Certain external factors such as processed foods, infections, toxins and stress can increase intestinal permeability, causing our drawbridge to stay open which allows larger boats to escape into our bloodstream (this is NOT a good thing). Your immune system marks those foreign invaders that were never meant to pass through, such as toxins, as pathogens and begins to attack.

According to a description in the journal, Frontiers in Immunology, leaky gut is described as:

The intestinal epithelial lining, together with factors secreted from it, forms a barrier that separates the host from the environment. In pathologic conditions, the permeability of the epithelial lining may be compromised allowing the passage of toxins, antigens, and bacteria in the lumen to enter the bloodstream creating a ‘leaky gut.’

What causes leaky gut?

Maybe you just tweaked your ankle and have been trying to limp your way through the day with a few Motrin. Perhaps you’ve been taking birth control for years. Or your diet is filled with processed foods. Any of these scenarios can irritate the small intestine leading to leaky gut or intestinal permeability (when the food particles that pass through the intestine “leak” into our bloodstream) which triggers the immune system to go into attack mode and fight the invaders.

This is dangerous.

Leaky gut results in increase in inflammation, this inflammation can lead to joint pain and a host of diseases.

Leaky gut can also be caused by chronic stress, toxin overload (alcohol, antibiotics, pesticides, tap water, aspirin, other drugs), poor diet (inflammatory foods such as added sugars, refined oils, soy, food additives, gluten, dairy, pretty much your typical Standard American Diet SAD diet), sleep deprivation, bacterial imbalance, aging and could even be a genetic predisposition.

As you can see, many things on that list is IN our control (minus aging and genetics).

So, how do I know if I have leaky gut?

In addition to your joint pain, additional symptoms that may indicate the problem is all in your gut include:

  • Inflammatory conditions, arthritis
  • Digestive problems (bloating, gas, IBS, gastric ulcers, diarrhea)
  • General/seasonal allergies and/or asthma
  • Hormonal imbalances (PMS)
  • Autoimmune diseases (celiac disease, psoriasis, lupus)
  • Chronic fatigue and/or fibromyalgia
  • Brain-related symptoms (brain fog, anxiety, moodiness, depression, ADD, ADHD)
  • Skin issues (acne, rosacea, eczema)
  • Candida overgrowth
  • Food allergies and/or intolerances

Remove. Replace. Restore.
How do I repair a leaky gut?

The first thing is to remove all inflammatory triggers (such as stress and food such as gluten, dairy, sugar, etc…sound familiar to our challenge?), replace the good (whole, unprocessed foods that support nutrient absorption), restore a healthy bacteria in your gut (think: high-quality probiotics, prebiotics: non-digestible fiber compounds found in garlic, onions, leeks, raw dandelion greens, curcumin, bone broth).

Journey to a Healthier You

Remember, our gut is the gateway to health.

With nearly 80% of our immune system residing in the gut and 95% of our serotonin produced in the gut, chances are, if our gut is healthy, we will also be healthy.

But this is a journey.

These changes won’t take place overnight. So, channel your inner Dalai Lama, get enough sleep and restore your gut with a long term clean eating plan.

P.S. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the information above, don’t hesitate to reach out and set up a free 15-minute consultation to learn more about our one-on-one nutrition health coaching.

More on our Foundation Nutrition Health Coaching Blog: