5 Thanksgiving Fitness Survival Tips

You’ve worked hard the past few months to get where you are. Your clothes are fitting great, you feel strong, and have gotten your confidence back.

But as Thanksgiving approaches it’s kind of scary to think of getting derailed and falling back into your old habits. Sure it’s only one day, but one day can lead to leftovers the next, and then a slice of leftover pie each day for the next week.

Well PNF has you covered with our Thanksgiving Survival Guide. We are all to familiar with that overstuffed feeling after the big meal that leaves us in a food coma on the couch. Our goal is to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Tip #1: Get in a morning workout.

Start your day with movement. This can be a pretty sedentary day between driving to see family and watching the Macy’s Parade and football, which is why we want to get some good quality movement in first thing.

This will help to also give your body a needed metabolism boost to help offset the food you will be eating later in the day.

Bonus boost if it is strength training versus cardio because of the long lasting metabolic calorie-burning boost it will give you.

Tip #2: Eat a healthy breakfast.

Get up and start your day with a healthy breakfast. A veggie egg omelet is a great choice, but just make sure you eat.

The worst thing to do it not eat until dinner because of fearing how much you will eat. Doing this will set you up to overeat and most likely eat more than you would have had you eaten breakfast.

The key is to keep your eating normal throughout the day, with the exception of Thanksgiving dinner.

Tip #3: Don’t deprive yourself.

If you love sweet potato casserole, eat it. If your mouth waters just thinking about your grandmas pumpkin pie, eat it. Don’t deprive yourself of the things you like, but only get to enjoy eating once a year.

What you eat at this one meal is not going to make much of an impact on your long-term weight loss success. The problem becomes when Thanksgiving dinner lasts for the next week and then spirals into a changed pattern of food choices.

Tip #4: Take a walk.

Yes, more movement.

Once you’ve finished your meal take a short walk, it doesn’t have to be long or even an intense pace. Just getting outside and moving will help you digest your food and burn a few more calories than if you just plopped down on the couch to watch football.

Bonus – take your dog and this will hopefully help them digest all the turkey they got fed to avoid their smelly turkey farts later in the evening.

Tip #5: Move over the weekend.

Sitting is always the waist’s enemy, so make sure you get up and move over the holiday week. This can be difficult with time spent in the car and visiting with family. So start each day with this simple ten-minute workout.

  • World’s Greatest Stretch with T-Spine Reach – 5 reps each
  • Push Ups – 10 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 10 reps
  • Repeat 3-5 times.

Bonus if you do it a few times through the day.

Stick to these tips to burn the bird, keep your belt buckle in the same hole and survive Thanksgiving.

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Eat Clean 80% Of The Time

You may not be eating as well as you think.

Sure Monday through Friday you may do well. But, then Friday night hits. You go out for dinner and order the grilled salmon with steamed veggies and skip the bread. But, you have dessert and a bottle of wine.

Or maybe on Saturday you feel that it would be nice to make your kids a big breakfast of pancakes and bacon. You tell yourself it’s okay because “it’s for the kids” and you’ll only have a little.

Then there is that stressful day that just needs unwound with a few drinks or a bowl of ice cream.

These are the small things that by themselves are perfectly fine, but added up can wreck your progress. To get results in the gym it takes eating clean 80% of the time. For most, it ends up only being 60-70% clean.

So what does 80% look like? Or better yet, what does the 20% look like?

To stay at 80% or above means you can have roughly 3-4 cheats per week. Every alcoholic drink that is a cheat. Every dessert that’s a cheat. Every piece of chocolate or candy another cheat. Fried and processed foods, a cheat again. Chips and salsa, you get the point.

Here’s an easy way to determine if you actually ate clean 80% of the time. Take a sheet and paper and make two columns. In column one write down all of your weeks “good” food choices and their calories, then in the second column write down all of your “bad” food choices and their calories. Now total the calories in each column. Then add those two numbers together. Finally divide the bad calories by the total calories of each column. If the number you get is less than 20% you did good if not, then you didn’t adhere to the 80/20 Rule.

Eating clean is the missing link to getting results. And many times what we think is clean eating isn’t clean enough.

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7 Habits of Clean Eating

 

You’ve probably heard before that results start in the kitchen and you will never be able to out exercise bad nutrition. This is true. It is simply too easy to consume calories faster than you can burn them. In order to lose body fat you need to make some changes to your daily nutrition, by incorporating the “7 Habits of Clean Eating”.

Nutrition is easy, everyone knows what he or she should and shouldn’t eat. Applying it is the hard part. 

By incorporating the following ” 7 Habits of Clean Eating” you’ll be on your way to making better nutritional choices and changing your body.

Clean Eating Habit #1 – Reduce Processed Foods

“If it was made to sit on the shelf for years, if will sit on your butt, belly and hips just as long.” Your goal should be to eat as much real, whole, unprocessed food as possible. This means if it’s in a box or a wrapper it’s processed and not the best choice.

Clean Eating Habit #2 – You Can’t Change What You Don’t Track – Keep A Journal!

At PNF we’ve seen repeatedly that those who achieve the best results keep a daily food log. Some prefer paper and pencil; others prefer an app, such as “My Fitness Pal.” What you use doesn’t matter as long as you track it. Simple but effective!!

Clean Eating Habit #3 – Eat More Protein

Eating more protein will result in greater fat loss and muscle gain than a low protein diet. Protein, which is found in red meat, pork, chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy, contains essential amino acids that act as the building blocks of muscles. These are needed to rev up your metabolism and help you shed fat. This happens through the process of building muscle tissue, which requires your body to burn more calories. Also, when you have more muscle on your body, it gives you a toned and sculpted looked. Aim to eat about 1 gram for each pound of goal bodyweight.

If you are following a vegetarian diet, your total daily protein will be slightly lower and you should try to eat a variety of nuts, seeds, and beans each day, along with a plant based protein shake after your workouts.

Clean Eating Habit #4 – Eat More Veggies

Not only do vegetables contain numerous vitamins and minerals, as well as high amounts of fiber. They are also very low in calories. Eat as many veggies as you can each day. We also recommend 1-2 servings of fruit each day. This makes a great dessert without all the added sugar.

 Clean Eating Habit #5 – Stop Drinking Calories

The number one way to gain weight is to drink calories. This means no soda, juice (even 100% juice drinks), sports drinks, and coffee drinks. The best options are water, green tea, coffee (no more than 5 cups per day), and other unsweetened teas. If you must have something in your coffee choosing either whole milk or full fat creamer is a healthier choice than skim or reduced calorie creamers. – See Habit #1.

But what about “diet” versions! The artificial sweeteners used in diet drinks trigger some of the same signals in your body as regular sugar and cause you to gain fat. The same can be said for artificial sweeteners such as Stevia, Sweet & Low, and Truvia.

And how about that nightly glass of wine? Wine, beer, liquor are a part of many people’s social lives and we don’t expect you to give them up all together. After all, we’d be hypocrites if we did, being that we are craft beer snobs at PNF. That being said we recommend keeping your total weekly drink to six or less. Now that doesn’t mean you should go out and buy bigger glasses, although we like how you think.

Clean Eating Habit #6 –Stop Eating Sugar

 Pass on desserts, candy, cakes and ice cream. These foods all contain high amounts of sugar and very little nutritional value and are a great way to gain body fat. With that being said, we don’t expect you to never eat anything bad again. Are you going to eat pizza and then follow it with ice cream? Sure you are, you’re human. You just are not going to do this regularly. Instead you will save these things for your splurges, or little indulgences to enjoy the good things in life. All you have to do is keep the splurges to only 20% of your diet. That means that 80% of everything you eat and drink is a healthy choice that will improve your body. The other 20% is where you eat and drink the stuff you know you shouldn’t, but tastes amazing.

 Clean Eating Habit #7 – Supplement for success

At PNF we are not big on supplements, but there are two that we find extremely helpful.

The first is a Post-Workout Recovery Shake. This is a shake that contains roughly 20 grams of protein (preferably whey protein because it is absorbed by the body better) and fruit puree. This natural sugar is beneficial to the body because it will replenish muscle glycogen stores that have been depleted during the workout. Also, post-workout is the one time that we always have control of our nutrition and the ability to get in good quality nutrition, during the rest on the day this is not always the case.

The second is fish oil. Fish Oil has numerous benefits including fighting inflammation and helping improving our body’s fat profiles. Our diets tend to be low in Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA specifically. So we like to supplement with these each day. Our recommended brand is Nordic Naturals as it is one of the highest quality fish oils available on the market.

There you have it 7 Habits of Clean Eating to help you feel better and build a better body.

 

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4 Diet Killers

4 Diet Killers

While there are many things that can wreck clean eating these four tend to wreck it without you realizing it.

Agave Nectar – Even though it is a “natural” sweetner agave nectar has been shown to derange liver function and promote obesity. The main reason is because it contains the highest amount of fructose. Even more than high fructose corn syrup.

Gluten Free Snacks – Today it is common to walk down any grocery store aisle and find gluten-free Oreo’s, gluten-free Pop Tarts, you name it. Just because a snack food is gluten-free doesn’t mean it is healthy.

Fat-Free – When fat is removed from a product taste is usually removed. So in order to make up for taste something else has to be added typically sugar, salt, flour, food thickeners, and other food additives. All fat is not bad and the body actually needs fat to function properly. Naturally occurring fat is what you want to eat, the man-made franken-fats are what you want to avoid.

Stevia – Many of the sweetners on the market that contain Stevia, claim that it is natural. But, in order for it to be made into a sugar it has to be processed and have other things added, like sugar alcohols. There is also evidence that artificial sweetners, which includes stevia products, contribute to obesity.

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5 Things To Look For When Buying Food

We had a great turn out this past Saturday for our Nutrition Seminar, taught by PNF Nutrition Coach Courtney Kirkwood. In case you missed it here are five take-aways from her presentation on things to look for when shopping for food.

  • When buying meat look for Certified USDA Organic. Certified USDA Organic is the cleanest meat on the market with no pesticides or hormones having been used, the animals are treated the most humanely, and it is the most environmentally friendly way of producing meat. Also, in the U.S. it is illegal to used hormones in pork. So pork that is marked hormone free is just a marketing ploy to get you to spend a little more money for the same product.
  • Artificial sweetners are masked under many different names. Check your labels for the following: Acesulfame Potassium, Aspartame, Neotame, Saccharin, Sucralose, Stevia, and Rebaudioside are just a few. Do your research on the ingredients in your food.
  • Prepare as much of you food at home as possible. This not only ensures that you eat less hidden calories, but it also helps you control what you are eating and what is in your food.
  • Watch for added sugars they are in just about everything that is packaged.
  • Don’t fall for Stevia’s “natural” claim. There is something like 42 or 43 molecules that make up the Stevia sweetners we buy in the store, of those only one molecule is natural the rest are all made in a lab or through processing. Stevia, also under the name Truvia and Stevia in the Raw, is just the latest hot sugar substitute and is really no better for you than Sweet N’ Low, Equal, or Splenda. When using sugar it is always better to use a true natural sweetner like plain sugar or honey. These are less processed and our bodies know how how to handle to them.

Eating clean can be very difficult, as there are many hidden ingredients in our food these days. The best rule of thumb is to look for items with the least amount of ingredients, look up the big “science class” words, and cook most of your meals at home.

If you would like more help with nutrition coaching, check out the link below.

Never Diet Again

Never diet again.

We don’t do diets. We do habits.

Here are 5 Habits that will never require you to diet again.

  1. Cut out the bread and pasta. These are both loaded with refined processed flour and will result in overeating empty calories due to an increased craving for more.
  1. Eat more veggies. We all could benefit from eating more veggies each day. Not only are they loaded with vitamins and nutrients their fiber will help you fill full longer with adding calories.
  1. Cut down your portions. Many times the food we eat is not bad, but the portions are too large. Try using a smaller plate. It will trick you into to thinking you are eating more because the plate will still appear full.
  1. Eat more lean protein. Protein not only get you feeling full, it also provides your body with the building blocks of muscle, which will boost your metabolism and increase your strength as your body adds muscle.
  1. Drink more water and less latte’s and soda. Drinking calories is the easiest way to gain weight. This is due to the ability to drink exuberant amounts of calories, primarily from sugar, in a very short period of time. Replace your daily soda, latte’s, juices, and sports drinks with good old plain water.

Eating healthy is a lifestyle change based around habits, not a quick crash diet.

 

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Gluten-Free Doesn’t Mean Healthy

A gluten-free diet is not a weight loss plan.

While some individuals have a gluten allergy and must avoid gluten from their diet, which typically results in weight loss. For those who don’t have this allergy this isn’t necessary for weight loss and can even be misleading as to making food choices.

A quick walk through any grocery store will turn up gluten-free cookies, muffins, pancakes, pasta, bread, and yes-even beer. Just because these items are gluten-free doesn’t make them any better for you than non gluten-free counterparts.

When it comes to weight loss it is better to focus on eating unprocessed foods and not focusing on eliminating one thing.

Breads and pastas are always good to reduce or remove because they are highly processed, which is why the removal tends to lead to weight loss. Not the gluten.

Meats, vegetables, and fruits tend to keep you feeling fuller longer than processed carbs and don’t make you crave more. This results in eating less total calories, which leads to weight loss and leaning out.

Just because a food is gluten-free doesn’t make it healthy and eating a gluten-free diet doesn’t guarantee weight loss.

Weight loss and body fat reduction are the result of the quality of foods choices made, not the diet followed.

 

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How To Eat Healthy At Any Restaurant

You’ve finally gotten into a workout routine, you are eating well, and you are beginning to see some changes in your body. But, then friends ask you and your husband out to dinner. Obviously, you want to go. You haven’t seen them in awhile and it would be really nice to have an evening away from the kids. But, then you kind of freak out asking yourself; “What am I going to eat? I’ve worked really hard and don’t want to lose the progress and momentum that I’ve gained.”

Well, assuming that you won’t be eating at a fast-food joint or pizza parlor, here are some strategies for eating well and stay on track with your fitness goals at any restaurant.

#1. Meat & Veggies. Skip the pasta and the cream sauces and order grilled fish, chicken, steak, or pork. Then for your sides, order steamed veggies and a salad with the dressing on the side.

#2. Pass the Bread. We’ve all had that time where we were so hungry that we eat all the bread and then aren’t hungry when are meal comes. So just tell the waiter to skip the bread basket altogether, or if your friends want bread have them leave just enough for them.

#3. Skip Dessert. Okay if you’re at a restaurant that is world-renown for their desserts go a head and have it, but just count it as one of your weekly splurges. Otherwise skip these sugar-laden treats that usually end up leaving you disappointed, not feeling well, and full of regret for eating so many empty calories.

#4. Drink Slowly. Tomorrow you will regret having drank so much wine, not just because of the extra calories, but also because of the pounding headache and two screaming kids you now have to deal with. Ordering a drink before dinner is fine and a great way to relax into the night. Having three at the bar while you wait for your table, another before dinner, and then hanging after for one more bottle of wine is a recipe for disaster. Not only will you consuming more calories than you wanted to tonight, but you will again tomorrow as you binge on comfort foods because you don’t feel well. So drink slowly, drink some water between drinks, and enjoy the conversation.

#5. Enjoy the Conversation. Put down your phone, stop logging what you are eating, and talk to the people you are having dinner with. Talking will force you to eat slower and get fuller sooner, resulting in eating less calories.

You don’t have to be stuck eating home cooked meals for the rest of your life to stay lean. It is okay to eat out occasionally and even have a few splurges here and there.

If you’d like more information about fitness coaching click here:

https://pittsburghnorthfitness.leadpages.co/21-day-shape-up-challenge/

Say “No” To Franken-Foods

Fat free, sugar free, low sodium, reduced calorie, gluten free, low carb; Are these really better?

Taste comes from three places: sweet (sugar), salt, or fat. Remove our reduce one an another has to be added or increased to make up for taste. Or worse, something fake gets added.

Eat real food and stay away from all the Franken-Foods and their deceiving labeling that makes them sound like better options.

If you’d like more information about fitness coaching click here:

https://pittsburghnorthfitness.leadpages.co/21-day-shape-up-challenge/

What 80/20 Really Looks Like

You may not be eating as well as you think.

Sure Monday through Friday you may do well. But, then Friday night hits. You go out for dinner and order the grilled salmon with steamed veggies and skip the bread. But, you have dessert and a bottle of wine.

Or maybe on Saturday you feel that it would be nice to make your kids a big breakfast of pancakes and bacon. You tell yourself it’s okay because “it’s for the kids” and you’ll only have a little.

Then there is that stressful day that just needs unwound with a few drinks or a bowl of ice cream.

These are the small things that by themselves are perfectly fine, but added up can wreck your progress. To get results in the gym it takes eating clean 80% of the time. For most, it ends up only being 60-70% clean.

So what does 80% look like? Or better yet, what does the 20% look like?

To stay at 80% or above means you can have roughly 3-4 cheats per week. Every alcoholic drink that is a cheat. Every dessert that’s a cheat. Every piece of chocolate or candy another cheat. Fried and processed foods, a cheat again. Chips and salsa, you get the point.

Eating clean is the missing link to getting results. And many times what we think is clean eating isn’t clean enough.

If you’d like more information about fitness coaching click here:

https://pittsburghnorthfitness.leadpages.co/21-day-shape-up-challenge/