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Meal-prep is all the rage these days, especially for anyone on a tight schedule. It goes something like this:

Sunday morning you head to the grocery store and buy your healthy eats in bulk. You go home, cook a big batch of the meal of choice and dish it up in individual containers. Pop them in the fridge and you’re set for the week. That’s quinoa, steamed broccoli, chicken and a handful of blueberries Monday to Friday…boooring!!!

I’m here to tell you that meal prepping does not have to be this way. Planning your meals is an awesome way to keep healthy and stay on track, but do yourself a favour and switch it up a bit or you’ll be bingeing at McDonalds by Wednesday.
Here’s how:

  1. Cook two protein options. This is obviously more work, but getting off track is much worse than an extra burner running. If you have two mains you won’t need to eat the same thing two days in a row. Really pressed for time? Have a chicken fillet one day, and chicken salad the next. Diversity is key.
  2. Make food you enjoy eating. There’s nothing worse than dreading lunch because you made a healthy meal you can’t bear to eat. If you hate kale, make spinach!
  3. Make your sides fresh. Once the mains are cooked, the rest of the meal can easily be prepared same day. Throw a sweet potato in the oven the night before, you don’t even need to peel it until it’s cook and then it’s a two minute job that you’ll really appreciate when you pull out your meal the next day.
  4. Store your food in separate containers. If you’re packing a lunch the morning of from your individually packaged food items, you are more likely to change things up everyday. One day you might want salad with your protein, and the next might call for something a bit heavier like rice. This doesn’t make it more complicated but does guarantee you aren’t grabbing the same lunch box as yesterday.

Setting goals and sticking to them is no easy task, especially when it comes to your health. Meal-prep is a great way to guarantee a healthy week, especially for those who are out and about during the day.

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Magnesium is an essential mineral our bodies need to function properly. Most women take a multi vitamin and don’t really worry themselves about how much of each vitamin and mineral they are actually getting. Many studies have shown that a daily multi vitamin is actually not enough to sustain the human bodily properly when it is not paired with a very well balanced diet. Magnesium is one of those vitamins that our bodies does not produce so we need to be extra mindful of how we get it, and how much.

Benefits of Magnesium

  • Promotes healthy bones
  • Supports the heart
  • Relieves pain from headaches, muscle tension, fibromyalgia, etc.
  • Mood booster… think PMS
  • Reduces stress
  • Helps with digestion

Taking a magnesium supplement is a great way to get a good dose, and also the easiest, but the best way to get your essential minerals is always through the food you eat.

Here are some foods that are high in magnesium:

  • Spinach
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Fish
  • Whole grains: black rice, quinoa, oats
  • Avocado
  • Dairy
  • Potatoes
  • Bananas

Getting your daily requirement through a supplement or the food you eat is not always enough, however. Many things we do in our day-to-day lives can deplete the amount of magnesium our body has in store. Too much refined sugar, or caffeine are a couple of ways we reduce our supply. As we get older, it is more difficult to hang on to our magnesium supply so a well-balanced diet and lifestyle is crucial.

If you notice you are having an off day with your diet, or you are feeling extra stressed, up your magnesium intake by indulging in some mineral rich foods, you’ll feel so much better!

 

Image:

http://www.care2.com/

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So what’s with all the panic regarding ticks lately?

It’s hard to even mention a potential hike or picnic without someone piping in about these pesky little creatures.

The reality is blacklegged ticks (also known as deer ticks) are for real, and they have the potential to carry a very serious illness called Lyme disease. I say potential because not all ticks carry the virus and just because you come in contact with one doesn’t mean you have been infected. That being said, Lyme disease is becoming more and more of a concern so it’s important to be aware of a few things before heading into the grasslands.

Where are Ticks?

Ticks normally prowl in tall grassy fields, usually at the very tip of the grass, waiting for a human or animal to pass by to latch. They can also be found in forests, or bushes, mainly areas that are damp.

Lately ticks have even been spotted in neighborhood parks so keep an eye out.

How to Avoid Tick Bites

Wear long pants tucked into socks when out in areas where ticks may be.

Wear light-coloured clothing to spot them easier.

Use insect repellent containing DEET

Double-check yourself after your walk

Check your pets for ticks and speak to your veterinarian about tick prevention

How to Remove a Tick

If you find a tick attached to you use tweezers to gently grasp it as close to your skin as possible. Do not use your fingers because you will not have a secure grip on the tick.

  • Pull the tick straight up, making sure not to squish it.
  • You want to make sure that you have removed the entire tick including the head.
  • Put the tick in a ziplock bag to send in for Lyme testing.
  • Clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Fever

Muscle and joint pain

Fatigue

Facial paralysis

Swollen glands

Headaches

Numbness

Skin rash

If you come in contact with a tick do not panic because they are not necessarily carrying the virus but make sure to seek medical attention just in case. If Lyme disease is suspected you may be prescribed a round of antibiotics. Early detection is very important.

A great resource is Telehealth Ontario, a free service available 24/7.

Call toll free at 1-866-797-0000

 

Images:

http://www.pestworld.org/

http://www.tickencounter.org/

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If you are planning a trip by the ocean this summer you are probably really looking forward to some rejuvenating beach days. Sea water is not only an enjoyable way to pass your summer vacation, but it is also incredibly good for you.

Historically, doctors would recommend that people who were ill spend some time by the ocean because of all the great benefits that come from not only swimming in the water, but also from the air.

Soaking up some vitamin D, enjoying the warmth of the sand between your toes, and getting a great tan are basics of a salt water vacation. If you are lucky enough to head to the beach, here are the perks:

Natural Exfoliation
You will find that your skin is glowing from exfoliation that happens while swimming in the ocean. For some extra smooth skin, rub some sand all over your body and go for a dip.

Improved Immunity
Seawater contains amazing minerals and vitamins, amino acids and living microorganisms that have antibacterial properties to help promote a stronger immune system. These are absorbed through the water while swimming, and inhaled through the mist in the air.

Circulation
Improve circulation by swimming in salt water. Seawater therapy is commonly used for blood circulation by restoring essential minerals; an issue that arises due to a poor diet, poisons in the environment, and stress.

Overall wellbeing
Seawater is rich in magnesium which is essential for common ailments like poor sleep, anxiety, asthma, bronchitis, and various inflammatory diseases. A good dose of ocean life will leave you feeling better, overall.

 

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The squat, also known as “the king of exercises”, is the first exercise you ever did as a child and you probably didn’t even know it. In some countries, people squat well into adulthood, and master their form while the rest of us must relearn it through exercise.

You will have a hard time finding a workout that doesn’t include this versatile exercise.

Commonly used as a leg exercise, the squat is actually a full body workout as it engages the back, core, hips, shoulders and arms, when done properly.

Check out this great video on the History of the Squat.

Benefits of the Squat

  • Gain strength
  • Lose weight
  • Improve posture
  • Actively engage all muscles
  • Strengthen bones
  • Strengthen joints
  • Improve balance
  • Strengthen entire body and prevent injury
  • Increase flexibility
  • Improve mobility

Avoid knee and back pain by squatting properly. Here’s how:

  • Keep your body balanced and stable
  • Back straight and hips mobile
  • Squat down until your hips are below your knees, keep back neutral
  • Keep knees in line with hips and feet
  • Squat back up

 

Image

  1. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-the-squat

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Lavender is filled with health benefits and is becoming more and more popular through the use of essential oils (if you haven’t yet, check out aromatherapy boutique Saje), and various other natural healing methods. This beautiful flower not only smells amazing, but it’s a sure way to calm nerves, and give you a good night’s rest.

Health Benefits

 Mood Boost: Balance your mood through the use of essential oils. Soothe Stress and anxiety by rubbing a few drops of lavender oil on your temples.

Anti-Inflammatory: Have you ever taken a lavender soak? A lavender-infused bath is not only a relaxing way to relieve stress, but an incredible anti-inflammatory for your entire body, which can also soothe sore muscles. Try a natural, lavender bath bomb for an extra treat.

Sleep Better: Since lavender calms you down, you’ll notice a much better sleep pattern once you introduce it to your self-care routine. Try defusing or sip on a lavender tea before bed. Rub dry lavender leaves on your pillow and indulge in the beautiful scents that surround you while you sleep.

Antiseptic: Lavender has antibacterial properties and can be found in many cleaning solutions for a natural alternative to chemical-infused products. Pick up a big bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Liquid Soap and use it for everything from bathing, to floor cleaning.

Culinary: Cook with it, bake with it, substitute it for rosemary in meat rubs or marinades. We receive the same benefits when we eat this beautiful flower, so get creative. For some really great lavender recipes go here.

 

Image:

http://www.cookandgarden.com/

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Have you noticed all the local farmer’s markets opening up? They are a great resource for berries, because they are fresh, taste extra sweet, and just so happen to be in season—as you know by now, we love that!

If you’re like me, you get home and eat right through your box of strawberries as you’re unpacking groceries. With any luck, you’ve stocked up and have lots to spare for the rest of the family.

Berries are jam-packed with health benefits like antioxidants (great for memory and liver function), and fiber (crucial for proper digestion).

If you have extra berries, here are some great ways to incorporate them into your meals:

  1. Top them over your cereal
  2. Make a berry compote. Get a great recipe here
  3. Add them to your smoothie—mmm, fresh berries first thing in the morning!
  4. Add them to savoury salads—trust me it’s the best thing you’ll ever eat.
  5. Bake with them—who doesn’t love a warm blueberry muffin.
  6. Grilled scewers are a great hit at any bbq- stick some strawberries, pineapple, and grapes on a stick and you are ready to go.
  7. Add raspberries to plain quinoa with a light drizzle of maple syrup for an energy-boosting snack.
  8. Fruit salad topped with Greek yogurt.
  9. Make vinaigrette, it’s easier than you think. Try this recipe.
  10. If by some miracle you have so many, they are at risk of going bad, freeze them to use later.

Image:

http://www.taste.com.au/

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You’ve just finished a great workout, you’re feeling amazing, and you’re starving for a snack!!! You’re sort of torn because it’s 8pm and you’re always hearing about how bad it is to eat past 7. Do you go to bed and hope to sleep through the hunger pains, or do you break the no late snack rule?

There is a lot of truth to the claim that eating late will hurt your waistline, but it’s not as black and white as you think. Yes, a bag of chips, or slice of pizza is probably not a good idea, but settling for healthy snacks, in appropriate quantities, can actually benefit you–remember, you keep burning calories for hours after you finish your workout.

Try and eat at least one hour before going to bed to give your body a chance to process the food. Here are some of our go-to snacks for a late night workout:

Greek Yogurt (plain)

This is the perfect healthy snack because it’s great for your heart, bones and muscles. It’s rich and creamy, but won’t harm your fitness/weight goals. Top with hemp hearts for an extra protein boost.

Apple with Nut or Seed Butter

This is always a healthy favourite for post-workout snacks. The apple and nut/seed butter usually go hand in hand as the fiber from the nuts helps to balance the sugar from the apple.

Dark Chocolate

Obviously know your limits when indulging, but a good quality piece of dark chocolate is always a good idea when you want a late night snack, especially when you’re having a sweet craving.

Cottage Cheese*

This snack is low carb, high protein, and deliciously satisfying

*Healthy Tip: Don’t be afraid to go for “full fat” cottage cheese. It normally contains less than 6 grams of fat, which will help keep you full longer.

Fermented Coconut Milk

Get your GI track in order with a dose of probiotics with this delicious drink, which contains only 70 calories per serving.

 

Image:

http://go4healthyliving.com

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Pain is something we like to remedy quickly, especially the common nuisance ones, like headaches, that can be kicked by simply popping an Advil or Tylenol.

With conditions such as frequent migraines, sore muscles, or gastrointestinal issues, getting to the root of the problem is the best way to beat them naturally. At the root of these problems is usually inflammation of some sort.

Inflammation happens when your immune system senses an injury, unknown bacteria, damaged cells, or virus and reacts before any more damage can be done to your body.

The pain you feel, is your body’s way of fighting. To heal this inflammation, there are some amazing natural ingredients, you may or may not already be using in your diet.

Here is a list of natural painkillers and how they are good for you:

Salmon

  • Salmon is high in omega 3s, which helps reduce inflammation
  • Although omegas can be obtained from plant sources, cold-water fish is easiest for your body to absorb
  • Reduce your risk of inflammatory-related diseases like arthritis, cancer, and various forms of heart disease

Avocado

  • Healthy fat as it’s monounsaturated
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Perfectly balanced with healthy fat, fiber, and protein

Garlic

  • An ancient pain remedy
  • Rich in sulfur-containing compounds, which helps against inflammation
  • Also a great stress reliever

Ginger

  • Ginger can fight pain before it even takes over your body, and can also reverses inflammation once pain has set in.
  • Helps with inflammatory ailments such as arthritis, and rheumatism when consumed regularly

 

Images:

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/

http://www.health.com/

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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If you’re registered for our first ever Fitbox Bootcamp this Friday, you’re in for a real treat… or rather a real sweat!! The first 30 minutes of the class will focus on circuit type training, which when paired with our popular calorie-blasting Fitbox, combines cardio and strength training for optimal results.

If you are unfamiliar with circuit type training, here are some benefits you can look forward to:

Challenges your Entire Body

Although Fitbox is already a full-body workout on its own, incorporating highly intense, bootcamp-style elements such as skipping, and band exercises, guarantees the use of all major and minor muscle groups.

Maximize Results

Your first Fitbox class ever probably introduced you to muscles you didn’t even know existed… we are kicking it up a notch or two so that you’ll be rediscovering those muscles and many others. Circuit training gives you maximum results in a short amount of time.

Strength Training

If you’re looking to gain lean muscle and tone, one of the best ways to accomplish this is through strength training. Lifting weights has also been known to help with issues such as high-blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

It’s FUN!!

…but isn’t Fitbox already fun? Somehow we’ve amped up the fun!! See you Friday!