This healthy broccoli and lemon winter salad is the perfect nourishing bowl for winter. Roasted broccoli and cauliflower drizzled with a lemon garlic dressing and topped with the winter essentials; pomegranate and toasted almonds.
Winter salads are such a great way to get a nutrition kick and to use up some veggies you probably already have in your crisper drawer. Use what you have available! This is an easy salad that whips up pretty quick, but is loaded with taste and nutrition. YUM!
With all the celebrations and family gatherings this holiday season, are you concerned about maintaining your current weight? If you think about your energy balance (energy in vs. energy out) it is very easy to see how over the holidays you eat a little more and move a little less, which leads to some weight gain.
During the holiday season, the average person gains 5-12 lbs! Fortunately, though, you don’t have to fall victim to excess holiday bulge with these fitness tips...
Tip #1 – Write it down
Create a plan during the holiday season and write down your goals. For most people, the act of actually sitting down and writing out a plan of action, helps them to stay focused and increases their chances of following through. Make sure your goals are realistic and plan out some daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Make sure your plan contains some of the following tips in it as well.
Tip #2 – Get moving and make exercise a priority
During the holidays, most people cut out exercise because they say that they “don’t have the time.” Wrong–you do have the time! You don’t have to exercise an hour every day to get the benefits of exercise. If you are pressed for time, try some interval training which can burn more calories than an hour of steady-state cardio and can be done in only 20 minutes. Another way to burn extra calories in a shorter period of time is to perform some strength training workouts. Interval training and strength training both create an exercise-after burn which allows your body to continue burning additional calories even while you rest for up to 36 hours or more.
Tip #3 – Drink water
This really isn’t anything new, we all know that we need water to stay hydrated, but it’s more than just hydration. Sometimes the lack of adequate amounts of water in our diet can cause us to feel hungry when we are really not. Many people end up packing on extra calories because they think that they are hungry when really all they need is some water. Water helps keep our metabolism running at peak performance and aids in the digestion of foods so, drink up!
Tip #4 – Don’t skip meals
Holiday season means huge meals and huge appetites. On these days people generally tend to skip breakfast or lunch in anticipation of that big holiday dinner. The problem is that this tends to cause people to overeat and really pack on the pounds. Skipping meals slows the metabolism and aids in fat storage. Make sure to eat a few small meals before your holiday dinner to help minimize overeating and save yourself a 1,000 calories.
Tip #5 – Moderation
Watching what you eat and losing weight doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself every now and then. The problem is that when most people go to treat themselves, they over-do it. Go ahead and grab a small piece of the pie, but remember to think in moderation and avoid going for seconds on dessert. Eating a few small meals and a small salad before your holiday dinner can help you avoid those cravings for sweets and help keep you feeling full.
Tip #6 – Minimize alcohol
One gram of alcohol contains 7 calories which is nearly double the amount contained in one gram of carbohydrate (4 calories) and is only two calories shy of a gram of fat (9 calories). These 7 calories per gram don’t even include all the calories and sugar you may take it if you mix your alcohol with something else. Drinking alcohol is a quick way to pack on excess calories and weight. If you plan on drinking, just remember moderation.
Tip #7 – Get some sleep
Lack of sleep has been shown to aid in the accumulation of belly fat which can be very dangerous to your health. Make sure, even though holidays are a busy time of the year, that you are getting enough sleep.
Roasted Butternut Squash – three ways! Try this quick and healthy weeknight dinner with roasted butternut squash as the base. Vegan adaptable and gluten-free!
The filling is made while the butternut squash roasts in the oven, which takes about 30 minutes. Not too bad for a weeknight dinner, made entirely from scratch, based on seasonal produce… our favourite kind of meal!
Roasted Butternut Squash with Persian Lentils
Roasted Butternut Persian Style:
Perfect for Fall, this one pot pumpkin curry is a home run in the flavour department and comes together quickly. Mix and match with veggies and proteins on hand, and enjoy this hearty meal that's also naturally gluten-free. Try this for your next family gathering or get-together! Thanksgiving is just around the corner :)
Remaining pumpkin curry ingredients:
VEGETABLES: Mix and match this one pot pumpkin curry with other veggies such as cauliflower, asparagus, kale or collard greens (added when the broccoli is added), regular or sweet potato (added with the red curry paste), spinach or bok choy (wilted in toward the end of cooking). Baked or fried tofu can also be substituted for the chickpeas. Get creative and have fun with it! Enjoy :)
Mornings can be busy. And once the kids are back in school, this time of day can feel downright hectic. Since breakfast is an integral component to the morning routine, whipping up something that's ultra quick, easy and healthy can go a long way in easing into the start of your day. A protein packed, berry smoothie bowl is a perfect way. You can take this bowl to the office or even drink it during your commute - and the kids will love it too. It's nutritious, delicious and a must-try!
For all recipes, we recommend adding a scoop of natural plant based or whey protein powder (chocolate or vanilla flavour). We carry a variety of all-natural protein powders at the club for your convenience. Protein is essential for everyone. It fuels your body, helps you build lean muscle, accelerates recovery, keeps you satiated and so much more.
Makes 1-2 Serving
Blueberry Muffin Smoothie
For all smoothies:
This gorgeous and healthy summer vegetable salad is loaded with produce, including golden beets, avocado, corn, micro-greens and radishes. Chickpeas and edamame add substance, and an herb-filled avocado dressing makes this salad really special. Serve it on its own for a light vegetarian meal or add grilled chicken for an easy weeknight dinner.
There is no shortage of healthy activities that can be packed into these last few weeks of summer to help make up for lost time! Here are some ideas:
1. Up the intensity. Don’t just go for a leisurely jog on your usual neighbourhood circuit; quicken your pace and feel the burn! If faster doesn’t seem possible, then add 10 minutes to your usual workout. Walking, jogging, hiking, inline skating and cycling are all great activities in which you can up the intensity.
2. Get out and explore. Discover park trails and open roads and take in some new scenery.
3. Hit up the water. If you live near the beach, get out and play volleyball, throw the Frisbee or football around, beach comb, or play an energetic game of fetch with your dog. If you’re near a lake, try rowing for an unrivaled total-body workout and a change of pace. Late summer is a great time to do beach and water activities because these areas tend to be less crowded.
4. Think outside the box. Always wanted to stand-up paddle board, take a whirl on a skateboard or ballroom dance? Ask any schoolchild – the beginning of the school year is a great time to try something new. Plus, you’ll likely discover muscles you didn’t you know had and you’ll see a new level of tone in your body.
5. Integrate exercise into your life. In addition to the obvious suggestions – like parking your car farther away from your destination and taking the stairs instead of elevators – here are a few that are less obvious: While at the kids’ soccer practice, instead of reading a book or visiting with another parent, why not walk around the outside of the field while they practice, or even warm up and cool down with the team? Schedule a ‘walking meeting’ instead of an in-office discussion. Swap the cart for your legs when golfing. You can also transform your commute by walking or biking to work, or taking a bus and hopping off a few stops early.
6. Playgrounds aren’t just for kids. Adults can rekindle their inner child and enjoy these outdoor play spaces, too – and get a great, affordable workout at the same time. Slides can be used for challenging push-ups or sit-ups, monkey bars can be used for pull-ups, and holding yourself stationary on a swing in plank position can provide an incredible core workout.
7. Plant a late-summer garden. If you’re looking to spice up your lawn or garden, August is a perfect time to plan a fall harvest. You can also keep your garden ablaze with color through the end of summer with a mix of fall-blooming annuals and perennials. The simple fact is that gardening is exercise, and done properly, can burn as many calories as more traditional exercises.
8. Farm your way fit. Find a local farm and volunteer to spend a day or more learning about farming, harvesting, picking and general farming chores. In return, you usually get fed locally produced, healthy meals!
9. Schedule breaks. We believe that an hour of sitting is too long, so make time to get up and stretch! Take a lap around the office or outside parking lot after each hour of sitting and stand while talking to a coworker. Use part of your lunch break to go for a stroll or pick up lunch at a place within walking distance. Just can’t get away? Take a call on your mobile phone and head outdoors – they’re called mobile phones for a reason!
10. Practice yoga, Pilates or meditation outdoors. Put the tree back in tree pose and swap the mat for grass. The only thing more peaceful than a mind-body session is spending time in the beauty of nature.
As summer days start to get shorter, we tend to return to a more sedentary routine. Challenge yourself to not let your fitness level fall with the end of summer! Incorporate some of these ideas into your summer fitness routine and you'll be a lot more likely to continue with the momentum of these habits come Fall.
Though a healthy lifestyle should be a year-round thing, you might be more aware of your body and how you look and feel during the summer months. With all of the time we spend in tank tops and bathing suits and really just way less clothing than we’re used to wearing outdoors, you might be a lot more mindful of your body and creating some healthy fitness habits. While getting into a healthy routine can be done simply enough at the gym, we’re all on-the-go much more in the summer, considering the vacations and weekend getaways that inevitably happen. To find out how you can stay on track when not at the gym throughout the summer, check out our list of tips and suggestions below. Even doing a few of them will greatly make a difference in helping you to become healthier and more physically active. And be sure to check out the fitness checklist at the bottom for the quick and easy cheat sheet ;)
1. Use your body weight. You need nothing else besides your own body weight to get great results. The push up, for example, a very simple exercise performed with your own body weight will help you sculpt shoulders and a nice firm midsection.
2. Pick up the pace! No matter where you are, you can squeeze in some extra cardio. Walk at a faster pace while breathing deeper to increase your heart rate. Bam! A mini cardio exercise.
3. Use your breath. To get the most out of your breath, breathe from the diaphragm. To do this, think of breathing in a 3D fashion; your ribcage should expand from front to back, top to bottom, and left to right. These deep breaths will help you burn extra calories and give you extra energy during your workouts. The bonus is that you can use this breathing style not only to burn more calories during exercise but also while walking to the store, working at your desk, or just sitting in the car on your next road trip!
4. Carry a reusable water bottle. No matter where you go or what you do, bring water with you. Our bodies can misread being hydrated for being hungry, leading to over consumption and weight gain. Also, when traveling on planes or to higher altitudes in general, the amount of oxygen in the air decreases equating to dryer air and reduced body hydration. This can leave you with unhealthy food cravings, headaches and poor body awareness from fatigue. To be more alert and make more right food choices, drink more water! Carry a reusable water bottle wherever you go. You can empty out the water before a security check point and fill it up right after. You’ll save money on bottled water, not to mention help reduce waste! And be sure to check out our amazing FPF branded water bottles at the gym - they're stainless steel, double walled, vacuum sealed and will keep your liquids cold (or hot) for days. Available in 2 sizes.
5. Be food prepared! No matter where we are, we’re often tempted to “grab and go,” especially when traveling. Unfortunately, most ready to go snacks are calorie packed and nutrient deprived. Save yourself the extra calories and pack some protein bars, pre-cut veggies, fruits and/or nuts in your carry-on bag so you’re prepared to fight the urge of the grab and go unhealthy options.
6. No time? No problem! More intensity! Even 20 minutes will get you into the zone of fat blasting and muscle building as long as you maximize your effort. The goal of a short workout should be to workout at your personal intensity max. When you feel like it’s time to stop, try pushing for 10 more reps to maximize the hormonal response from your workout. Do this for at least 20 minutes targeting your upper, middle and lower body with push ups, planks, crunches and burpees, and you’ve got a complete workout!
7. Keep a food log. Recording what you eat is one of the best ways to stay on track. Make it easy for yourself and download an app (we like Lose It!) to keep track of your daily intake no matter where you are. Your goal should be smaller meals, more often.
8. Watch a workout video. No matter where you are, you can easily watch a YouTube fitness video to stay on track – it’s like bringing a personal trainer wherever you go!
9. Buddy up! Accountability is everything. Having a partner keeps you accountable and makes diet and fitness goals more fun! Not only have you set yourself up for success with buddy system accountability, but you now have someone to share your excitement with when you hit your goals!
10. Shop the farmers market for fresh produce. If your food can survive nuclear fallout, you shouldn’t be putting it in your body! The less time your food can survive on the supermarket shelf, the better it is for you. Fresh fruits and vegetables don’t last as long as a box of Wheat Thins and that’s a good thing! Vitamins and minerals that are found in darker fruits and vegetables are what you need to keep your body healthy. Pick up fresh produce wherever possible.
11. Find stairs! Climbing stairs is an incredibly effective cardio and lower-body sculpting workout, and you can normally find staircases somewhere in the vicinity of a park or beach.
12. Use water bottles as dumbbells. You get the dual benefits of resistance training and hydration, both critical during the summer. Water bottles can be used for a number of toning exercises such as tricep kickbacks, arm circles and overhead presses, and can also add resistance to lunges and squats.
13. Burpees! The most comprehensive exercise that can be done anywhere, anytime! Three sets of burpees will give you a cardio workout while also targeting upper body, lower body and core strength. It’s the all-in-one exercise!
14. Find a bench. Benches can be found in numerous outdoor areas and serve as a great fitness tool. For a quick full body routine, try the following: Start standing on top of the bench and lunge behind you bending the back knee as low to the ground as possible. Make sure your front knee remains directly above the heel to protect your knee. Alternate reverse lunges completing 8 on each leg, 16 total. Step down from the bench and turn around and sit on the bench with your legs extended straight in front of you, feet on the ground. Pressing your palms into the bench with fingertips forward, lift your rear end off and slightly in front of the bench, and bend your elbows directly behind you for a tricep dip. Shoot for 15 getting the full range of motion. Turn around and finish the set with 15 push ups, hands on the bench, back in a straight line from your neck to bottom of your spine. Start from the beginning with the reverse lunges, followed by tricep dips and push ups. Complete three full sets.
15. Pack some tubing or elastic bands in your suitcase. They’re light, take up very little space in your bag and can provide several options for toning and resistance training.
16. Ocean swim! Take advantage of nature’s biggest pool and get a great workout. When it’s time to cool down from the sun, create a challenge for yourself and see how long you can keep your feet off the ground treading water. Try three rounds and attempt to last a little longer each time.
17. Engage the family. Part of the beauty of summer is family bonding, and finding fun ways to incorporate fitness can also teach kids the value of staying active. We recommend creating a fun obstacle course for the whole family to participate in, either as individual competitors or as teams. Let the kids help you come up with the obstacles, which can be done at the park, the beach or in the backyard. Think of a Tough Mudder inspired course…find something you can climb up, something to climb under, something heavy to carry or pull from one spot to another. Add in some long jumps or something to jump over, some cones/stones to zig-zag around, or even simple hopscotch. You’ll get a great workout and have stories to tell for years!
18. Walk during airport delays/down time. Depending on the city you’re in, airports have become a modern day shopping mall. If you have a delay or extra time before boarding, take a lap around the airport and browse the shops in your terminal. You can pick up a gift for your loved ones and burn some calories while tugging along your luggage.
19. Pack for fitness. If you pack gym clothes at the top of your suitcase, it can be a great reminder to hold yourself accountable for a workout.
20. Rent a bike. Most major cities around the world have adopted “Rent a Bike” programs. This way you can tour the city and get a great workout.
21. Pack healthy snacks for long flights. It’s best to bring your own healthy snacks on flight rather than purchasing candies, chips and processed foods in flight. Good ideas for snacks include almonds, bananas and protein bars.
22. Hit the sand. Summer traveling involves some fun in the sun and if you’re really fortunate, the beach! Challenge yourself with working out in the sand. Exercising in the sand provides an excellent training environment and in certain aspects actually works the body a lot harder than using a hard, flat surface.
23. Drink tons of water. Anywhere, everywhere, any time. Drinking water and staying hydrated can help fight jet-lag, it can amp up your energy and can also prevent heat exposure and heat exhaustion during the summer.
24. Book hotels with fitness amenities. When traveling, it’s easy to get off your A-game and not put any time in at the gym. When booking hotels or other accommodations, be sure that the location has some sort of fitness center or workout space, this way you have no excuse to slack off.
25. Eat the food of the culture. When traveling abroad, you’re most likely to taste different cuisines rather than gorging from places you eat from at home. This way, you can experiment with smaller, multiple meals throughout the day, which is better for digestion and building metabolism.
Try this healthy summer salad that’s super simple and fast to make ahead of time. You have a cucumber base with black beans (or kidney beans) and corn added. Throw in two large avocados, cherry tomatoes, green peppers and cilantro, and you have a refreshing salad that is perfect to take along to your next picnic or family gathering.
(Serves about 8; use organic vegetables whenever possible)
These veggie packed spring rolls with spicy dipping sauce make the perfect pack-ahead lunch or healthy snack. They are fresh, simple to make and so easy to customize based on tastes and mood.
The slightly chewy rice paper coupled with the fresh veggies and absolutely addictive sauce are pretty irresistible. Additionally, these spring rolls are pretty fun to make and can involve the entire family! This recipe is entirely veggie-based, but you can add some cooked shrimp, chicken, tofu or any other protein of choice.
Even if white rice is not a part of your regular diet, these spring rolls are great to make on a weekend or cheat day. They are still relatively low in carbohydrates, minimally processed and packed with nutrients. Plus, as you’ll soon find out… the dipping sauce is also incredibly nutrient-dense and good enough to eat on its own!
I'm Natatia Gemmell. No matter how busy life gets, eating well and exercising is always a priority! I LOVE fitness, and I teach my clients how to stay on the health & fitness path by exercising, eating better and staying healthy!