5 Tips To Reduce Stubborn Belly Fat

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Many people have a hard time reducing fat around their midsection normally due to poor dietary, lifestyle and exercise choices (yes even exercise can increase belly fat! I explain this below). Aside from aesthetics, carrying extra fat specifically around your abdomen (the nerdy term is visceral fat) is a clear sign of hormonal imbalance and is actually harmful to your health as these fat cells can actually pave the way for increased risks of diseases like diabetes, heart disease and dementia.


The two of the most common hormone imbalances responsible for that belly pooch are chronically elevated levels of insulin and cortisol. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels to tell us whether to store or burn fat, and cortisol is a hormone that is released when our body is under stress (it fluctuates throughout the day which is completely normal), but if either are at constantly high levels your body actually resists weight loss and what shows up is the dreaded ab flab!

So what can you do to help rebalance these hormones?

  1. Get sufficient sleep: Make it a priority to get your 7-9 hours of sleep to keep cortisol regulated.
  2. Manage stress: You can't avoid stress, but look at ways you can control it like meditation, deep belly breathing, and moderate exercise. If you drink coffee, reduce consumption as it worsens already high cortisol levels and opt for green tea instead.
  3. Don't overdo the exercise: There is a fine line between training hard and overtraining. Too much exercise can push the body’s stress response too far, actually harming your efforts in losing belly fat as over exerting your body increases cortisol production. Look to incorporate a fitness routine that includes heavy weight training, with a few high intensity exercises and yoga to keep cortisol regulated. Also rest days are crucial to help repair and restore the body so don't be afraid of a little time off if you want to see results.
  4. Avoid alcohol: Skip the 6-pack if you want that six pack 'cause it ain't called a beer belly for nothing. This includes juices and sodas. Liquid calories and refined sugar causes insulin to spike and store fat instead of use it as fuel. Instead, load up on filtered water. General guideline is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water (at least!) throughout the day to help clean out your system and increase metabolism.
  5. Upgrade your nutrition: In order to take advantage of insulin's fat burning effects, consume your starchy carbohydrates post workout and focus the rest of your meals with a quarter of your plate of lean protein, a couple tablespoons of healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil, and at least half your plate with fibrous (non-starchy) vegetables and leafy greens. Pictured below is a great example of a belly fat-burning meal.



If you've already been implementing these tips and still not seeing a reduction in belly fat, this would call for further investigation and it's best to work with a qualified health practitioner to uncover the root cause and find the solution. Book a free consultation with our in house nutritionist Maya Eid to help get you closer to your summer goals!
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Pictured: Baby kale, parsley, tuna, hummus, carrots, olives, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Find more meal examples and tips on Maya's Instagram Page







What Is Your Poo Telling You?

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Your digestive health reveals a ton about your eating and lifestyle habits, and your poo is a clue. If you’re normally feeling sluggish, having trouble losing weight or getting in shape then digestion is worth the investigation. When you're working with me as a 1:1 client you can bet I'm going to ask you about your doody duties because it helps us get to the *bottom* of things (ha!). 

How do you assess your poo quality? Turn around and look down! Make it a daily habit so you can track any trends and refer to this chart below as a primer:


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Your bowel movements are not up to par if you continuously experience:
• A day without pooping, or pooping too much in a day (1-3/day is optimal)
• Extremely foul-smelling poop
• A huge effort or a long time to evacuate
• A different colour other than brown (unless your last meal involved spinach or beets for example, the hue will change and that's OK)
• Different shapes and textures (the perfect poo should look like Type 4 in the chart above)
• If it floats or sinks isn't a huge issue but rather an indicator of fat (float) to fibre (sink) ratio


A good-looking poo means:
• You've got strong core muscles
• Your digestive system is working well
• You’re getting enough fibre and other nutrients
• Your hormones are balanced
• You aren’t overly stressed
• Your gut environment is happy and balanced


Contributing factors
Sub-optimal bowel movements are trying to tell you something important. Where can you improve in the following?

Poor diet and food sensitivities: Consuming sugar, processed foods, refined grains, food preservatives, lack of hydration, food sensitivities, and not eating enough fruits and vegetables can cause bowel dysfunction. Keep a food diary for a couple weeks to track what you eat and any symptoms you notice. Talk to a qualified health practitioner about an elimination diet to help track the culprits.

Stress: Delaying bathroom time because of a busy schedule is a common reason people get backed up. Never ignore the need to pass a bowel movement as too much water can be absorbed from the stool and it can become dry and impacted leading to constipation. Irregular eating patterns, eating on the run and making less healthy food choices, all can contribute to constipation. A more direct affect of stress is its impact on the nervous system which causes an interruption of normal signal functions. When you are tense, your colon restricts leading to constipation. Nervousness and anxiety can have a strong effect on the gut and intestinal muscle commonly leading to diarrhea. A qualified health practitioner can help pin point stress hormone imbalances and work with you to resolve them.

Gut flora imbalances and poor digestive health: When we have a good supply of friendly bacteria in our intestines we are much more regular. However, antibiotics, stress, certain medications, jet lag or shift work, travelling, aging, blood sugar irregularities, and a poor diet can all lead to gut flora imbalances which may predispose us to constipation. Health issues like Crohn’s and colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and low thyroid function can cause havoc on our digestive system and it's best to work with a qualified health practitioner to uncover what's going on. Eat fermented foods and consider a high quality probiotic to help get you started.

You're exercising too much or not enough: Physical activity favours intestinal mobility and so a sedentary lifestyle can lead to constipation. However, overtraining can cause major stress on the body too, causing loose or watery stool since blood flow to the gut is being reduced during exercise. Notice if you are experiencing constant muscle aches or fatigue and instead reduce intense workouts days and add more active recovery days like an easy swim, yoga, or a walk.

BONUS TIP: Pop a Squat! Humans were evolutionarily designed to squat when defecating and the modern day toilet does not favour this posture for complete elimination. One action you can take today if you are commonly spending too much time in the bathroom is to prop your legs up on a step stool when sitting on the toilet to help align the rectum and anal canal for easy pooping. If you think I'm talking shit then read about it here ;) 


As you can see there are many factors in play when it comes to achieving the holy grail of a perfectly formed poop and its relation to hitting your health goals. If you'd like personalized guidance on achieving your health and fitness goals, book a complimentary consultation with our in-house nutritionist Maya Eid today.
 

 

 


Probiotics vs Prebiotics - Why They're Necessary for Your Health

Last post I covered ways to improve your digestion because I strongly believe it's of the highest importance to anyone who cares about his or her health, and it can make or break your progress in the gym as well. There are roughly 100 trillion bacteria that exist in your body, and one of the most important factors in your health is the balance between the good and the bad bacteria. 

I spoke about probiotics in the last post and how effective they are in supporting gut health, preventing colds, flus, and allergies, and of course relieving digestive issues. They’ve also been known to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs), reduce cravings, and fight depression and anxiety. Research is starting to show that having a proper gut flora balance can even aid in weight-loss. 


HOW TO GET PROBIOTICS INTO YOUR DIET
Probiotics are living bacteria and yeast that mainly live in the intestinal tract. This good bacteria helps to balance out the bad bacteria in the digestive system. We ingest probiotics through food and supplements. NOTE: Antibiotics prescribed by your doctor tend to kill off all types of bacteria, which means the good, beneficial bacteria is often killed right along with it. This can lead to an imbalance of intestinal flora and cause yeast infections and also digestive issues.

Eating fermented foods and drinking fermented drinks like Kefir and Kombucha will introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system and help the balance of bacteria in your digestive system. 


Fermented Foods
Aim for local and organic, and they should always be unpasteurized and refrigerated. You want a living, growing product, so it's important to choose products that don't contain vinegar. Vinegar kills the live bacteria. These foods should be used in small doses, like a condiment, with each meal. They're great, but fresh veggies are also necessary! 

Favorites:
sauerkraut
kimchi
pickled vegetables
tempeh (fermented soybean cake)
miso
kombucha (a fermented tea beverage, drink in much smaller portions than the bottle says - only up to 4 ounces at a time)
beet kvass (another fermented beverage primarily made from beets and water)

Dairy based (if you can digest dairy):
kefir
yogurt
cheese
buttermilk

For the curious foodies:
dosa
bean curd
natto
fermented breads such as sourdough and injera
fermented drinks such as amazake (Japanese rice drink)
ginger beer
coconut water kefir (from fermented water kefir grains)

Although eating fermented foods is the most natural way to get the benefits of probiotic bacteria and improve gut flora, many people find it difficult to consume fermented foods on a consistent basis, or they simply don't care for the taste of them. An effective alternative is to take a probiotic supplement.

Probiotic supplement is needed if you suffer with any of the following:
digestive issues (gas, bloating, leaky gut, IBS, constipation, chronic diarrhea, etc)
trouble losing stubborn weight
PMS
UTIs
seasonal colds and flus
skin issues
brain fog
hormonal imbalances
mental health issues
chronic stress
vitamin and mineral deficiencies
autoimmune diseases
or if you have used antibiotics at some point in your life, probiotics as supplement form would be highly beneficial, email me at maya@fitfactoryfitness.com and I can help you make some recommendations. 

On their own, probiotics have a limited effect. That's because they're easily destroyed. In order to live, probiotics need food to feed on. That's where prebiotics come into play. 


WHERE CAN YOU GET PREBIOTICS IN YOUR DIET
Prebiotics are a form of fibre, they are not alive like probiotics are. Think of prebiotics as food for probiotics and bacteria in the gut. We also ingest prebiotics through food and supplements. A healthy diet rich in certain fresh fruits and vegetables are the best sources of prebiotic foods.

Note that most of these foods must be eaten raw or lightly cooked to obtain the good gut benefits.

Favorites:
dandelion greens and root
garlic
onions
leeks
green onions (anything from the allium family)
Jerusalem artichokes
asparagus
under-ripe bananas
plantains
raw honey
chicory (used in coffee substitutes)
oats
jicama
apples


MINI CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK

Include a fermented food in your meal.

Some ideas: Incorporate a little sauerkraut into lunch next week, throw in a little kimchi with your eggs, or make a quick miso and mushroom soup. 

Image shown below is my warm kale bowl (lots of kale!) with 1 cup cooked black bean rotini pasta, shredded salmon (1 4oz fillet) and carrots with some raw kimchi shown at the bottom part of the bowl. Simple and tasty! What will you try?

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5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Digestion Today

 

To cap off the first month of the new year, I’m going to be bringing you lots of actionable nutrition advice to this space, so keep a close watch for my latest monthly posts!


I decided to begin discussing digestion above all because optimal digestion is the root of incredible health. When the gut is in good working order, the benefits include lots of energy, strong hair and nails, smooth skin, a lean body, a fast metabolism, balanced hormones, and the list goes on!

Firstly... where does digestion begin?

 

Digestion doesn't begin in the stomach, nope, not even in your mouth. It actually begins with your eyes. The glimpse of a tasty looking dish or the aroma sends signals to your brain saying: "Good stuff is on the way." As a result, your brain - the ultimate message centre - shoots out impulses that:
- Make your mouth salivate.
- Make your stomach rumble (contracting and creating hunger pangs).
- Make intestinal glands start leaking digestive chemicals.

All that from a little look and sniff!

5 simple ways to improve your digestion today:
1.) Chew your food until it becomes a paste. Since your stomach doesn’t have teeth, you’ll need to put your chompers into more use and thoroughly grind your food down to a paste before swallowing for better nutrient absorption. When you chew your food properly, your body releases digestive enzymes in the stomach that help to break down food so that your body can convert it into energy. This also helps in reducing bloating when you chew your food properly and prevents you from overeating!

2.) Keep liquids away from your meals. Limit this to only 1 cup to be sipped with your meal, but normally anything beyond that quantity and you’ll be diluting your powerful stomach acid needed to break down your meal.

3.) Take 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar 15 minutes before a meal. Apple cider vinegar is no joke. It contains a high amount of malic and tartaric acids that when consumed speeds up fat and protein breakdown, allowing your stomach to empty effectively. Take 1 tsp (with a splash of water if you can’t stand it) before a meal to help aid in digestion and nutrient assimilation. Especially effective if you tend to feel bloated after meals.

4.) Take probiotics everyday. Probiotics are necessary for optimal digestion because our gut is home to over 500 bacterial species, and probiotics are the healthy, beneficial sources of bacteria which facilitate digestion, provides nutrients, and helps form the immune system. It's important to know that not all probiotics are created equal. If you’d like to learn more about my preferred brand of probiotics, send me an email at maya@fitfactoryfitness.com for more information.

5.) Eat undistracted. Were you ever in a trance watching tv while eating chips only to look down and realize you’ve got one last handful left? When we don’t pay much attention to what is on our plate because our attention is firmly glued to Netflix, our digestive system quickly takes the back seat because our brain and eyes have decided to focus elsewhere. Challenge yourself at being more mindful with the food on your plate (the smell, the texture, putting your fork down between bites) and you’ll realize that you’ll feel more satisfied and experience better overall digestion.


Kickstart your digestion by making this Happy Digestion Smoothie
Recipe and description from www.ohsheglows.com

Star Players:
Ginger: stimulates circulation and digestion and can cut gas and bloating, and alleviate diarrhea.
Pineapple: Contains a compound called bromelain. The protein-digesting enzymes in it help to aid digestion.
Parsley: Rich in vitamins K, C, A, folate, and antioxidants. It's a natural diuretic which can help release water retention. Opt for flat-leaf parsley as it's less bitter than curly parsley. Cilantro would be a nice swap here too!
Lemon: Rich in vitamin C. Aids digestion and helps flush out toxins.
Avocado: Major anti-inflammatory benefits and heart-healthy fats. High in fibre which aids with digestion.

SERVINGS: 2

  • 1 c granny smith apple chunks
  • ½ c frozen pineapple chunks
  • 4 kale leaves
  • ¼ c fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 c coconut water
  • 1/4 avocado
  • ½ c ginger tea, cooled down (or use a small knob of fresh ginger with 1/2 cup water)
  • 1 c ice
  • scoop of unflavoured protein powder (optional - add more water if adding the protein)

ADD all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. Divide between two glasses and enjoy.


Looking for 1:1 nutrition coaching? Take charge of your health and book an appointment with our in house nutritionist Maya Eid today! Email: maya@fitfactoryfitness.com for more information on packages and services.




21 Day New Year Reboot Challenge



Oh, the holidays. A time where we test the elasticity of our stomachs and our tolerance to alcohol (and family members). As much as we had a blast gathering around with our loved ones as we feasted around the clock, what's done is done and the New Year is our time to move forward and give our bodies a rest from the over indulgences. The aftermath of the festive season may have left you feeling bloated, tired, and with several unwanted pounds. If you are feeling like you want to scrub out your insides and clean up your diet, a nutritionist-tested detox is the best solution to reset your body by eliminating all the built up toxins.

But what are toxins anyway?

A toxin is a chemical or poison that is known to have harmful effects on the body. Toxins can come from additives in our food, pesticides on our produce, toxic contaminants in our water, chemicals found in household products, and toxic compounds from environmental pollution.

Sometimes we willingly expose ourselves to even more toxins like alcohol, cigarette smoke, sugar, and junk food. Good news is that our bodies are specifically designed to remove those toxins through organs like the liver and kidneys and eliminate them in the form of sweat, urine, and feces. However, the unfortunate news is that because of lifestyle, food, and environmental burdens in our modern society, our bodies have trouble keeping up with this bombardment of daily toxic exposure. This is where signs and symptoms in our bodies reveal themselves, which can include:

  • trouble losing weight
  • brain fog
  • unexplained exhaustion
  • insomnia
  • unexplained headaches
  • mood swings
  • bad body odour
  • constipation
  • muscle aches and pains
  • skin reactions or allergies
  • depression
  • reduced libido
  • sensitivity to scents
  • indigestion/bloating

This 3-week challenge is designed to help you:

  • eliminate cravings
  • detoxify your body from all the excess sugar, carbs, and alcohol
  • shed the holiday pounds... and then some!
  • increase energy
  • improve performance in your workouts
  • improve your sleep
  • heal digestive system complaints
  • improve bowel function
  • ramp up metabolism

What you will receive:

  • Recipe meal plan to follow for the 21 days. Simple for anybody to prepare, even with very little experience! These are nutrient dense meals created to continually cleanse and regenerate your body, and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
  • Grocery List of approved foods (free from dairy, gluten, and sugar)
  • A list of key foods and supplements to further aid in cleansing your body
  • A step-by-step guide that explains what foods to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat in order to cleanse your body and encourage fat loss, all while retaining your hard-earned muscles.
  • Tips on how to avoid reintroducing toxins in your body
  • Educational handouts to explain why certain foods and techniques are being used in this program so that you not only follow it, but you understand it.
  • Accountability, Motivation and Support from unlimited access to my private Facebook group community. This is where you can ask me ANY of your health and nutrition related questions 24/7. Share your wins and struggles with like-minded members.

A quick word on other detox programs:

Detox programs usually recommend diet plans with less emphasis on protein foods. They encourage raw fruits, raw vegetables, high fibre whole grains, nuts, seeds, or trendy juice cleanses. However, the function of proteins in our body is to repair, renew, and improve immune function. Therefore it would be counter productive to deny our bodies of protein when we need to heal it by detoxing. Within my program, I encourage protein in the meal plans in order for you to achieve the greatest results! This program can be adjusted for vegans/vegetarians.

More benefits from my challenge:
At the end of these 21 days you will feel lighter and more empowered to continue on this healthy lifestyle, where day-to-day food decisions don't overwhelm you. You will know exactly how to put together a healthy meal that helps to continually nourish and cleanse your body because you have been guided for 21 days so that in the end you can finally feel confident with your food choices and eating habits.

Testimonials:
"Maya was great in getting me back on track to a healthy lifestyle. Her approach is not focused on dieting but rather finding a sustainable eating lifestyle. My experience working with Maya completely exceeded my expectation, so if you are looking to change your life, health and glow from inside out, then you must go to Maya."

"Not only have I shredded 8 pounds without counting a calorie, I’ve developed a new appreciation of food and the importance of putting the right fuel into my body. I’ve really enjoyed working with Maya because changing my eating hasn’t been “going a diet” but a lifestyle change that I will continue to pursue. Maya’s directions of meals and snacks are easy to make and convenient for my very busy lifestyle."

"At the time I was following the meal plans you would find in men's health magazines but they left me feeling hungry and I felt like I lacked the fuel to push myself to the next level. That's when I went to Maya, she helped me correct some misconceptions I had on which foods were good for maintaining intense workouts. She even gave me advice on how to prepare myself for upcoming obstacle races. My experience with Maya was phenomenal."


Are you ready to make the move towards a clean 2017? Get the 21 Day New Year Reboot Challenge for only $129 ($99 for members)! REGISTER NOW so you don't miss out on this transformational journey!

I am 100% confident that you will get incredible results! And I look forward to personally supporting you towards increased energy, improved digestion, and a leaner you!!

Why you should do a Fall Cleanse

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Fall is a time of natural transition, to reset your system, slow down and restore your body's health. Below I explain why certain seasons are best for a cleanse and what you can do to prepare for the cooler months ahead to prevent the common weight gain and flu.

WHAT SEASONS ARE BEST FOR A CLEANSE?

Spring and Fall! Spring is the time of re-growth and renewal and after a dormant season (Winter), there is a lot of old build-up we need to flush out from the system. Fall is time when we get ready for the “storing season” so our bodies should be cleaned and prepared for the winter months, both physically and emotionally. Physically, it helps to build the immune system up in order to prevent the common cold and flu and prepare your organs for colder months, and emotionally it helps attain a clearer and more focused mental state.

WHAT HAPPENS TO OUR BODY IN THE SUMMER?

Our bodies tend to build up toxins over the summer months of heat that can lead to coughs, migraines and stuffy noses in the coming weeks. Fall is the best time to slow down and purge toxins that are holding us down and contributing to weight gain. Similar to the trees losing their leaves; you are shedding what is no longer serving you as you prepare yourself for the coming cold months.

Most importantly, regular seasonal cleansing is a fantastic tool for continually stepping up your eating and self-care habits. With each cleanse, you’ll create a few new habits that stick over the long term.

HOW DO I GET READY FOR THE COOLER MONTHS AND AVOID WEIGHT GAIN?

- Consume lightly steamed veggies and soups
- Sip teas that include detoxifying herbs, my favourites are dandelion, stinging nettle, and milk thistle
  (you can find them at your nearest health food store)
- Eat beets, steamed, baked, or juiced
- Add lemon to your drinking water in the morning
- Take a good probiotic
- Avoid processed soy or soy milk
- Eliminate allergens such as wheat and dairy for a while
- Get a massage and steam bath with herbal aromas
- Include starches from squash, crunchy apples and pears, and gluten free grains
- Supplement with vitamin D and an extra B vitamin if needed

HOW DO I GET THE MOST OUT OF MY CLEANSE?

Keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming Fall Cleanse Challenge beginning November 7th! We will be removing inflammatory foods such as sugar and gluten and focusing on wholesome, healthy foods such as leafy greens, healthy fats, and good-quality proteins as a sure way to get your body in detox mode without feeling deprived. Yes, you can support a natural cleansing of your body without feeling hungry or restricted! Often a cleanse opens the door to healthier living. When you feel healthier and happier, your life can change dramatically. You start wanting to make better choices and attend more to your fitness. I’d love if you join me on this exciting program so that you can look and feel great for the holidays!



October 2016 20 Class Challenge

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We've got a challenge for you this October to help you get after it this fall with $500 in CASH prizes to be won! All you have to do is attend 20 classes or more to earn tickets into the draw.

Challenge Rules:

Attend 20 classes for 1 ticket into draw.
Every additional class gives you 1 ticket.

1st place - $300 cash prize
2nd place - $200 cash prize
3rd place - $100 cash prize

Winners will be announced November 1, 2016

Challenge kick off class - Saturday October 1, 2016 at 11:30am 



What to Consume Before, During, and After Your Workouts


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If you are serious about seeing results, then you need to know the best things to consume before, during, and especially after your workout to make optimal change.

“abs are made in the gym, but shown in the kitchen.”

Below I delve into the details as to why this saying holds truth:

What you need before or after a bootcamp or strength and conditioning workout:
Pre-workout nutrition improves your ability to train a little harder and a little longer, effectively increasing the volume of your training. You should eat your pre-workout meal at least 90 minutes before exercise. Post-workout nutrition is just as important because it helps your body recover faster and generates muscle tone in order to improve your physique.

To make sure your efforts at the gym aren’t going to waste, you must consume a pre and post workout meal containing protein and carbohydrates:

1. Protein: It’s not just for the body-building pros; this nutrient is important for anyone who wants to maintain a healthy body. You need protein for your blood cells, which bring nutrients and oxygen to your muscles and help minimize muscle damage during your workouts. When you exercise, you are effectively tearing and breaking muscle fibres apart, which then need to be repaired by the body through protein intake. Protein also encourages the growth of muscles – the more muscle you gain, the faster your metabolism gets, which results in greater fat loss. The protein powder we supply is by Progressive and is by far one of the cleanest whey and vegan protein powders out on the market.

2. Carbs: consuming carbohydrates before a workout helps give us the needed energy to power through our workouts (because fainting in the middle of class is no fun). Carbs are also necessary during the post-workout period in order to replace muscle glycogen (the storage form of carbohydrates) and improve recovery. Like a sponge, we draw in all that glycogen much more easily immediately after a training session. (This is why the smoothies we have at the Fuel Bar contain fruits! Fruits are a carb source needed to provide us with energy and help us recover).

Nutrient Timing:
If you are serious about wanting to get stronger, shed fat, and build muscle, it’s important to consume protein and carbs within 30-45 minutes after your workout. For general health, timing is not as important; however, the longer you wait to eat, the hungrier you get, and the more likely you will overeat or choose unhealthy foods. Smoothies offer a faster method of delivering protein and carbohydrates to the muscle, which betters your chances for muscle building and recovery.

Supplements during your workouts (AKA Intra Workout):
BCAAs – is an acronym for Branched-Chain Amino Acids, which form a class of essential amino acids. Amino acids bond together to make long chains, and that’s what we call a protein! The reason why certain amino acids are called “essential” is because our bodies cannot manufacture them so they must be consumed through our diet.

When we talk about BCAAs, we are referring to three amino acids in particular: Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. These key players help prevent muscle breakdown and promote recovery and muscle gains, as well as enhance your endurance. When you consume BCAAs in supplement form, they require no digestion, and are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, reducing markers of muscle damage and soreness, as well as accelerating the recovery of muscle function. This is an ideal supplement to take if you are routinely lifting weights and want that hard work to pay off!

We carry Precision BCAA which provides 7 grams of pure pharmaceutical grade branched chain amino acids in every scoop. It contains an ideal 2:1:1 ratio of L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine to help you maximize fat loss and speed up muscle gain.

How to use it? Add one scoop of BCAAs into your workout drink per hour of training. We offer 2 tasty flavours that can be mixed into your water bottle (use at least 20 oz of water for best flavour).

Pre workout supplements for an energy boost:
It comes as no surprise to me that every client I work with is deficient in many nutrients. When you are not consuming a variety of foods, eating non-organic, or not eating enough, odds are you are missing out on important vitamins and minerals needed to help your body function at it’s full potential. You experience symptoms like feeling lethargic, foggy headed, scattered, hormonal issues, blood sugar swings, etc. This is the reason I chose Progressive’s VegeGreens powder because each small scoop provides the nutrient equivalent of 6 to 8 servings of fresh vegetables! This supplement helps to increase energy, renew mental clarity, cleanse the body, strengthen immunity, and support the heart, liver and digestive health.

Progressive’s PhytoBerry supplement is specifically designed to offer the equivalent nutrient content of 6 to 8 servings of fresh fruit! Helping to boost energy levels, balance blood sugar, enhance brain function and improve digestive function.

How to use it? Mix a scoop into a bottle of water (at least 16oz) and sip at least 30 min before your workout for a natural boost of energy. I also recommend these to clients who struggle with meeting their fruit and vegetable intake.

And there you have it! Train hard, eat smart, and watch your body transform.

If you are looking for more customized nutrition and advice, be sure to book a consultation with me. And if you are looking for more nutrition related resources and inspiration, follow me on instagram for frequent tips.

Top Strategies to Boost Your Metabolism


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You may recall those times when you used to be able to bounce back from a vacation full of margaritas and buffets, or maybe you’ve recently noticed a few pounds creeping up even though you have been eating and exercising the same amount for years. Suddenly, you clue in that maybe it’s your metabolism slowing down on you. Let's take a look at why it isn't cranking as good as it should, and solutions to help fire it up.

Firstly, what is metabolism?
It’s the way your body converts everything you eat and drink into energy – the stuff that fuels every single thing you do, from breathing to blinking to growing your hair and so on.

Your metabolic rate is influenced by many factors, including age, gender, muscle-to-fat ratio, amount of physical activity, and hormone function.

When someone says they have a slow metabolism, what they actually mean is that they have a low basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR is the minimum amount of calories you eat each day that are spent just keeping you alive and providing the basic energy you need to live.

Even if you were to lay in bed all day, you would still need these calories to support your basic body functions. Which leads me to my first strategy on how to boost your metabolism:


1. DON’T OVERDO CALORIE CUTTING
When you eat less than your body’s minimum caloric requirement, your body slams the brakes on your metabolism. It also begins to break down valuable calorie-burning muscle tissue for energy.

To figure out your “basement” calories (your BMR) use this calculator. From there, when you add your activity level you can make a more realistic guess of your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, or TDEE. This reflects the entire amount of calories your body burns during a given day when you're sleeping, ingesting and digesting food, working, and exercising.

There are many other factors that come with determining your calorie target, however, and working with a qualified healthcare practitioner can be useful in determining the least restrictive, calorically-appropriate program possible.


2. BOOST YOUR THYROID
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck. It acts as a metabolic thermostat by releasing hormones that work to control your body's temperature and the rate that your body burns calories. When you under eat (typically 25% less than your basement calories) your thyroid takes note by slowing down. When your thyroid gland is healthy and functioning properly, your metabolism will be soaring. If your thyroid's function is impaired, the metabolic rate slows down and this leads to weight gain.

At your next check up, as your doctor for a complete thyroid test. An optimal TSH level should be less than 2.0, not the currently accepted 4.7 reported by most labs. T3 and T4 should be in the middle of your lab's reference range, and your thyroid antibodies should be negative. It is worth checking rT3 if there are obvious symptoms suggesting an impaired thyroid.


3. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Almost dozing off in line at Starbuck’s isn’t the only downside of not catching enough zzz's. Researchers have found a link between metabolism and sleep, and not getting enough of it may seriously slow metabolism.

When you're exhausted, your body lacks the energy to do its normal day-to-day functions, which include burning calories, so your metabolism is automatically lowered.

Some tips on better sleep: Schedule your workouts earlier in the day (exercising within two to three hours of bedtime can sabotage your body's urge to sleep). Try soaking in a hot bath and sleep in a cool room. Wear a sleeping mask or use blackout curtains to encourage melatonin production (the sleep hormone). Make sure electronics are put away at least 1-2 hours before bedtime in another room as this can disturb sleep.


4. SUPPORT YOUR LIVER
Your liver is a 3lb organ that sits behind your right rib cage and it’s where the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat, and protein takes place. A healthy liver will help you burn and discard excess fat; a compromised one will slow down that process. Regularly consume liver-loving foods like beets, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts, leafy greens, lemons, garlic, and green tea or matcha. Consider taking milk thistle, an herb that detoxifies and supports the liver.


5. INCREASE YOUR PROTEIN AND FIBRE INTAKE
When fat loss is your goal, your diet should be heavy in foods with a high thermic effect (the energy used to digest food). Protein has a thermic effect upward to five times greater than carbohydrates or fat. So be sure to include fibrous vegetables and lean proteins. Lean protein foods like chicken breast, fish and egg whites have the highest thermic effect of all. Fibre from vegetables helps to lower blood sugar and insulin, stimulate digestion, as well as bind fat and cholesterol. Add 2 tbsp of ground chia or ground flax in your meals or smoothies to further boost fibre intake.

In regard to protein consumption, if you're within the normal ranges for body composition and you are training regularly, one gram of protein per pound of body weight is a good formula to calculate your daily protein requirement.


6. LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS
When you're young, muscle mass stores up energy, preventing weight gain. However, with age, we lose that muscle, which gives way to more body fat. By the time you hit 40, your metabolism starts to slow down 5% every decade, making weight loss particularly challenging.

By strength-training just a couple of times a week for example, you’ll reverse 50% of the seemingly inevitable metabolism slow-down that comes with age, says Gary Hunter, PhD, a professor of human studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Muscle requires more energy than fat, so it makes sense that increasing your muscle % will as a result increase your BMR. Take it up a notch by including High-intensity interval training (HIIT) within your week to help you burn even more fat and increase your metabolism.

Metabolism Boosting Matcha Latte

matcha

Coconut oil is a great source of medium-chain fats which are easily digested then sent directly to your liver, where they have a thermogenic effect which can help adjust your metabolism. Matcha tea is powdered green tea leaves which offers a mega dose of antioxidants that have been found to help increase metabolic rate. (Matcha contains caffeine so avoid consuming it after 2pm)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (125ml) unsweetened almond or coconut milk
1.5 tsp (7g) coconut oil (or MCT oil)
1 cup (250ml) boiling water
1 tsp matcha powder
option to sweeten with a few drops of stevia or 1tsp of maple syrup, coconut nectar, or raw honey

How to:
place all ingredients in a blender and blend until frothy.
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We offer on-site body composition testing (book by emailing getfit@fitfactoryfitness.com) which provides you with a detailed analysis of your body including muscle and fat %, BMI, and BMR (also called resting metabolism), and measurements.

Book a consulation with our in-house nutritionist Maya Eid to help you achieve your fitness goals in time for summer.

Looking for accountability? Join Maya’s Fit & Healthy Membership! Reach your goals faster and learn how to build healthy habits with confidence and ease.


Spring Kickstart Challenge


SpringChallengeBlogHeader

This 30 day challenge is designed to help you:
  • Shed excess fat
  • Cleanse your body
  • Boost your energy to power through your day & workouts
  • Heal digestive system complaints
  • Improve bowel function
  • Ramp up metabolism

What you will receive:

30 DAYS OF RECIPES
Delicious Spring-inspired easy-to-follow meal
plan, free of refined sugars, dairy & gluten

ULTIMATE SPRING FOOD GUIDE
Grocery list with key foods & supplements
& step-by-step eating guide

2 BODY COMPOSITION TESTINGS
1 before & 1 after body composition test

BONUS! 30 DAY UNLIMITED SUPPORT
Accountability, motivation & support
within a private Facebook group

KICK OFF SESSION WITH MAYA
King West Location
Sunday April 3rd, 3:30-4:30pm


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"Here's what a 3 week cleanse did for me. Thanks to Maya, our Nutritionist and the wonderful team at Fit Factory, I was able to achieve outcomes that normally take me months to feel & see. I may have lost an 1" and almost 5% body fat but I gained so much more. Holistic nutrition taught me how to regulate my system as a whole from clean eating habits, to sleep and self care regimen, and the balance between work and leisure. It's all about nourishing your body, mind and soul!"
- Lisa A. 21 Day Reboot Winner


OVER $600 VALUE!
Join now for $149
Team up with a friend for $258 & save $20 each!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP!

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