8 exercise habits that are holding you back

There’s nothing more satisfying than conquering a great workout. The feeling of pride after smashing a challenging new exercise or activity is pretty incomparable. In addition to the emotional benefits of working out, there are also a ton of physical benefits to fitness. Many people incorporate workouts into their daily routines, but what they may…

8 exercise habits that are holding you back was originally published on Self Evolve

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There’s nothing more satisfying than conquering a great workout. The feeling of pride after smashing a challenging new exercise or activity is pretty incomparable. In addition to the emotional benefits of working out, there are also a ton of physical benefits to fitness. Many people incorporate workouts into their daily routines, but what they may not know is how seemingly harmless habits can affect their health. These eight exercise habits could be doing more harm than good when hitting the gym.

Eight Exercise Habits

  1. Doing way too much cardio. While it may seem like the key exercise habitsto getting in shape and maintaining weight loss, cardio should be done in moderation in order to see overall changes.
  2. Watching the calorie counter. One of the most harmful things you can do is focus on burning tons of calories and not on developing your individual sense of physical health. Instead of watching numbers and playing the calorie guessing game, focus on doing activities that help you feel your best.
  3. Setting unrealistic goals. Ok, so you want to lose five pounds and/or attempt shredding your abs into that six-pack you’ve always wanted. That’s great. Do you want to do it in a week? Not so much. Instead of focusing on a big resolution, focus on small daily steps that help you get towards your overall goal.
  4. Hitting the gym every single day. There’s such a thing as too much working out. Rest and recovery days are just as important as those workout days. There are many bad side effects to training everyday, such as trouble sleeping, weight loss plateaus, and exhaustion.
  5. Skipping stretches. Stretching improves posture, increases flexibility, and even preps the body for later in life when the hips and legs tend to become a bit sorer. Stretching can help avoid cramps, muscle imbalances, and muscle spasms.
  6. Saying “no” to cooling down. The American Heart Association warns that cooling down is nearly almost as important as the workout itself. Incorporating a walk, stretch, and deep breathing into the end of a routine will allow the body to gradually decrease its heightened blood pressure, temperature and heart rate.
  7. Not drinking enough water. Water keeps your body moving and adequately fueled during workouts, so you need a ton of it to keep going, before, during, and after your workouts. It’s smart to bring your own reusable water bottle in order to fill up and keep moving.
  8. Sticking to the same routine. Once you find something you love, it’s easy to make it into a habit. But if you do the same thing day-in and day-out your body will hit a plateau. Switching up workouts every few weeks is ideal, it’s best to keep your body guessing.

Do you do any of these exercise habits?

Next time you’re in the gym, keep these in mind. At the end of the day, it’s all about you feeling your best. Keep it fun and don’t focus so much on the numbers.

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8 exercise habits that are holding you back was originally published on Self Evolve

Layer up: What to wear for your winter run

 Are you crazy?! This is the typical response I get when I tell people I went for a run outside, in the dead of winter in Chicago. Lately, the temperatures have been well below zero and running outside has been kept to a minimum (treadmill, anyone?). But for some of us, there’s nothing better than…

Layer up: What to wear for your winter run was originally published on Self Evolve

 Are you crazy?!

This is the typical response I get when I tell people I went for a run outside, in the dead of winter in Chicago. Lately, the temperatures have been well below zero and running outside has been kept to a minimum (treadmill, anyone?). But for some of us, there’s nothing better than a nice run outside. And if you’re crazy like me, you’ll need to know how to layer up for your next winter run.

Baby it’s cold outside

winter runKeep in mind that once you’re moving, your body heats up fast. Don’t overdress when you think it feels cold. The opposite is true as well: once you stop moving you’ll cool down quickly. Be sure to plan ahead to get out of your workout clothes as soon as you can after your run. Dressing in layers is key for winter running. They will keep you warm at the start, then you can shed some as you warm up. See below for a chart on how to dress according to the temperature outside.

50–59 degrees: short sleeve tech shirt and shorts (feels like 6079 degrees)

40–49 degrees: long sleeve tech shirt, shorts or tights, gloves (optional), headband to cover ears (optional) (feels like 5069 degrees)

30–39 degrees: long sleeve tech shirt, shorts or tights, gloves, and headband to cover ears (feels like 4059 degrees)

20–29 degrees: two shirts layered—a long sleeve tech shirt and a short sleeve tech shirt or, long sleeve shirt and jacket—tights, gloves, and headband or hat to cover ears (feels like 3049 degrees)

10–19 degrees: two shirts layered, tights, gloves or mittens, headband or hat, and windbreaker jacket/pants (feels like 2039 degrees)

0–9 degrees: two shirts layered, tights, windbreaker jacket/pants, mittens, headband or hat, ski mask to cover face (feels like 1029 degrees)

Once we get below zero like in Chicago, be sure to pay attention to your local weather information and warnings. Use your best judgment to determine whether you should run outside or hit the gym instead. Also, beware of ice and be sure that you’re visible if running in the dark!

How do you dress for your winter run?

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Layer up: What to wear for your winter run was originally published on Self Evolve

Curb your appetite: Homemade no bake protein balls

Hungry? Are you craving something sweet but also filling? Do you need an extra bite of something to perk up your energy? Well, look no further. I have found the answer to all of your problems! Continue reading to learn how to make delicious homemade no bake protein balls. Not only are they healthy, they…

Curb your appetite: Homemade no bake protein balls was originally published on Self Evolve

Hungry?

Are you craving something sweet but also filling? Do you need an extra bite of something to perk up your energy? Well, look no further. I have found the answer to all of your problems! Continue reading to learn how to make delicious homemade no bake protein balls. Not only are they healthy, they also taste really good!homemade no bake protein balls

Homemade no bake protein balls

To start, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of whole grain oats
  • 1/2 cup vanilla protein (about 2 scoops)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter (or any nut butter)
  • 3 tbsp raw honey (or maple syrup to make these vegan)
  • 2-4 tbsp of liquid (almond milk, milk, water etc…)
  1. Add oats, protein powder and cinnamon to a large bowl.
  2. Add in peanut butter and honey. Stir to combine.
  3. If you’d like to add in anything else, i.e. raisins or chocolate chips, you can add in about 1/3 cup.
  4. Slowly add in liquid 1 tbsp at a time and using your hands combine until it comes together in a sticky ball that holds together. If mixture is too dry, add in more liquid but not so much that it won’t hold shape.
  5. Roll into balls using hands.
  6. Place on a baking sheet or in a container to keep in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Store in fridge until ready to eat.

These are great for on the go snacks or even a light breakfast. They pack a heavy punch: they’re high in protein and fiber, which will help you stay feeling full for longer. Whenever I find myself craving something sweet, I reach for a few of these. Also, you can add in anything you want which means there’s a lot of variety you could have with these. You can try different types of nut butters, or change up the honey versus maple syrup. Add in raisins, nuts, or different types of chocolate chips.

What’s your favorite go-to snack?

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Curb your appetite: Homemade no bake protein balls was originally published on Self Evolve

How to avoid Thanksgiving feast food coma: Holidays

The Holidays are here Do you hear the sleigh-bells ringing? Are they glistening? Or is that just the turkey basting in the oven? If you’re anything like me, you’re licking your lips as you imagine yourself chowing down during this Holiday season. But with a big meal comes a big post-meal nap. And for some…

How to avoid Thanksgiving feast food coma: Holidays was originally published on Self Evolve

The Holidays are here

avoid Thanksgiving feast food comaDo you hear the sleigh-bells ringing? Are they glistening? Or is that just the turkey basting in the oven? If you’re anything like me, you’re licking your lips as you imagine yourself chowing down during this Holiday season. But with a big meal comes a big post-meal nap. And for some of us, this may interfere with our Holiday shopping plans. I’m here to tell you how you can avoid Thanksgiving feast food coma.

Eat throughout the day

Whatever you do, don’t skip breakfast in lieu of an extra-large dinner! Just be smart about what you eat: stick to some protein like eggs or yogurt to hold you over until the big feast. Starving yourself all day just to gorge out at your Aunt Marge’s house is not a good idea! Be smart, and don’t starve yourself. This will also help you to not over-indulge on sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.

Try to eat a balanced diet

avoid Thanksgiving feast food comaEat more than just the carbs! Stuffing and potatoes are great, but get your protein in too! Be sure to eat a healthy amount of turkey (or tofurky, for you vegans out there) in addition to those carbs. This way, you will feel full faster and hopefully avoid the itis. The I just turned into Frankenstein I’m so stuffed itis. The I just took a 5 hour long nap itis. All the things that make you miss out on life post-holiday mealtime, i.e. Black Friday. Also, be sure to drink lots of water and stay hydrated! This will also help you eat a more moderate amount.

What if it’s too late to avoid Thanksgiving feast food coma?

At the end of the day, I’m not going to tell you to not indulge! We only have a huge feast like this once a year, right? Or, if you’re like me, you hit multiple family member’s houses to get your Thanksgiving portion doubled or tripled in one day. Thanksgiving has historically been one of my favorite holidays, only because I love to eat. And eat I do. So eat away! And even if you fall into a slump afterwards, I say more power to you! BUT, I am going to challenge you to workout the next day! Most of us get the day after Thanksgiving off, and while some of us go shopping, Black Friday is a great day to hit the gym! Almost no one’s there (uh, empty gym? yes please!) and you can sweat out those extra calories you consumed the day before. If you’re not a gym junkie like me, at least go for a nice, long walk!

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?

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How to avoid Thanksgiving feast food coma: Holidays was originally published on Self Evolve

Spice up your life: allspice or no spice?

An alternative to cinnamon Cinnamon has many health benefits as we all know. But some people are allergic to cinnamon! If you’re one of those unfortunate people, don’t fear! Allspice is a great alternative with many health benefits as well. I’m here to tell you why you should spice up your life, especially during this…

Spice up your life: allspice or no spice? was originally published on Self Evolve

An alternative to cinnamon

Cinnamon has many health benefits as we all know. But some people are allergic to cinnamon! If you’re one of those unfortunate people, don’t fear! Allspice is a great alternative with many health benefits as well. I’m here to tell you why you should spice up your life, especially during this holiday season.

Allspice benefits

  1. Digestive Benefits. Allspice may benefit digestion. The eugenol components of allspice’s fruit not only provide an unusual aroma but can also ease digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Also, allspice may be gas-reducing. This spice acts as a relaxant to aid stomach cramps and conversely acts as a stimulant to aid digestion.
  2. Anti-Bacterial Benefits. Recent research studies have revealed that a kind of traditional preparation made from a mixture of allspice oil, garlic extraction, and oregano can combat against E.coli, Salmonella and L.monocytogenes infections.
  3. Good source of minerals. Minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, copper, selenium and magnesium are found in allspice. Iron is essential for red blood cell production in the bone marrow. Potassium helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is utilized in the human body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  4. Good source of vitamins. Vitamin A, B-6, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C are all found in allspice. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant.

Spice up your lifespice up your life

Some great ideas to add allspice to your diet include the following:

  • Adding the berries when making glühwein or chai tea.
  • Sprinkle a pinch on roasted vegetables.
  • Add to sweet dishes when you want a bit more spiciness (i.e. gingerbread, apple pie, or dark chocolate desserts).
  • It’s a great addition to stews, curries, and soups.
  • Jerk chicken recipe using ground allspice.

What are your favorite allspice recipes?

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Running with the runs

If you’re a runner, you’ve likely either have heard of or experienced firsthand a case of runner’s diarrhea. I’ve been a semi-serious runner for about four years now and I can safely say that my running friends are the ones I know the most about in regards to their bowel movements. There’s a special level of…

Running with the runs was originally published on Self Evolve

If you’re a runner, you’ve likely either have heard of or experienced firsthand a case of runner’s diarrhea. I’ve been a semi-serious runner for about four years now and I can safely say that my running friends are the ones I know the most about in regards to their bowel movements. There’s a special level of friendship that you achieve once you spend hours running with someone. All modesty goes out the window.

I’m here to share some expert (or just witty) tips to avoid running with the runs. These may help you run further without having to pop a squat.

  • Pay close attention to what you eat before a run. Not just the day of, but also the day before. If you’re consuming a lot of fiber, expect a lot of poo to follow. Most runners learn what works best for them. For me, a light breakfast i.e. a banana and Clif bar does the trick prior to my long runs. Avoiding cheese, dairy, and lots of fiber the day before also helps.
  • Try your absolute best to poop before running, like when you first wake up. And for me, avoiding coffee until after the run helps me not have the urge to go.
  • You may be trotting along and get what I call bubble gut. Is it a fart? Or a poop? General rule of thumb: don’t trust a fart after mile 10. Some runners don’t trust a fart ever.
  • If you do have the urgency to go, please find a bathroom or port-a-potty. It’s not worth it to destroy your clothes and dignity just to get that goal race time. Just saying.
  • If you are gonna pop a squat and have no other option, come prepared with toilet paper or something similar to wipe the bum. No one likes chafing poo.

I hope these tips help you on your long runs and on race day. Let me know what works for you in the comments below! And happy running!

Running with the runs was originally published on Self Evolve

Tapering off sugar

After seeing a sugar free trend on Facebook, I decided to do some research into the idea of not consuming sugar. What I found was concerning. Not only does sugar lead to heart disease and diabetes, it’s also considered a powerful drug. People get addicted to sugar similar to or even worse than cocaine. With this knowledge…

Tapering off sugar was originally published on Self Evolve

After seeing a sugar free trend on Facebook, I decided to do some research into the idea of not consuming sugar. What I found was concerning. Not only does sugar lead to heart disease and diabetes, it’s also considered a powerful drug. People get addicted to sugar similar to or even worse than cocaine.

With this knowledge and the inspirational posts from friends, I decided to try and taper off sugar about three months ago. I’m not going to lie, it’s been an uphill battle. Some days I’m completely sugar free, other days I’m eating cookies. I’ve taken the proper steps to replace my sugary foods with healthy alternatives. For example, I now eat unsweetened oatmeal for breakfast and stick to nuts and fruit for snacks. I also try to eat more salads and veggies rather than sandwiches and bread.

Overall, I feel better just from cutting back on sugar. I’ve noticed my workouts improving and I don’t feel as tired as I did before. I also have noticed my emotions have balanced out, even when I’m experiencing my monthly cycle. Also, in relation to that, less cramps which means a less cranky Jen.

What’s your relationship with sugar like? Are you addicted? Are you trying to cut back or cut it out completely? What have you done that works?

Tapering off sugar was originally published on Self Evolve