By Coach Meredith
As we ease into the first round of summer heat waves, we need to take precautionary steps to avoid heat-related illnesses.
Hot temperatures and high humidity are likely in our forecast for the next couple months. It is vital to drink plenty of fluids, mainly water or a natural electrolyte drink such as coconut water. It is also a good idea to stay out of the sun during the mid-part of the day, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are typically the strongest. It is also advised to conserve your energy where you can by limiting activity that is directly in the sun.
Make sure to drink cool water before you exercise as well as after your workout. If you're planning to exercise in the heat and humidity for more than an hour, it's important to consume a drink that contains electrolytes, in addition to water, to replenish the salt loss from sweating. A few salty pretzels and water are also a quick alternative to an electrolyte drink if you prefer.
To beat the heat, it is best to stay indoors with air conditioning if possible. If air conditioning isn’t available, the use of fans and a cool mist will work well too.
When outside, wear loose-fitting and light-colored clothing and a hat that provides shade to the head and face. Wear sunscreen and make sure to reapply every two hours.
During any periods of high heat and humidity, keep a close eye on seniors and children because both are at increased risk for heat-related illnesses.
Heat cramps and heat exhaustion are the most common heat-related illnesses. Nausea, dizziness and muscle cramping can also occur. Heat stroke is even more serious than cramps or exhaustion, and is a medical emergency. Depending on how serious symptoms are, IV fluids may be necessary to help reduce the effects of heat and to rehydrate the body.
In some situations, you may even develop temperatures up to 106-108 degrees, which can cause confusion and disorientation, as well as loss of ability to produce sweat to cool the body. Ice baths and misting fans can help reduce your core temperature.
Therefore, it is highly encouraged to drink plenty of water (at least ½ your bodyweight in ounces per day) on a regular basis to remain properly hydrated. This way your body can function and cool itself properly.
Infused Ice Pops
Provided by Coach Meredith
Pineapple Raspberry Pops
Sparkling Lemon-Lime Pops
**Can also freeze into ice cubes to add refreshing flavor to your water.
By Coach Meredith
Food cravings tend to derail our weight loss or fitness goals. Cravings are a natural and normal response to meeting a need, however we don’t always need to give in to an edible object. Learning how to control our cravings is key for our health and wellness. We can reduce our overall susceptibility to acting on them and ultimately reduce the effect it has on us.
Here are some tips to help control and satisfy those cravings:
Our hunger cues can be both physiological or hedonic. This means either our bodies are actually hungry or we saw something appetizing and it set off hunger pangs. If it’s the latter, try something as simple as breathing. By changing our breath, we can change how we feel. Long, deep exhalations help to ease anxiety, which also helps you fight cravings. Very slow breathing, about nine breaths per minute, has also been found to possibly help reduce food cravings.
THINK ABOUT IT
Justification is the enemy here. When someone eats something they probably shouldn’t have or has too much of something, they typically use justification as to why they were “allowed” to have it. For example: “I walked my 10k steps today, I can have this brownie Blizzard.” Although it may seem hard in the moment, being logical and actually thinking about why you need the food, can help to stop a craving. Are you actually physically hungry and are in need of energy? Or are you just bored? If you track your calories or macros [macronutrients], you are able to easily see if you’ve hit your goal for the day. This helps you to see that you don’t “need” that ice cream, you just “want” it.
Procrastination isn’t always a good thing, but it might help you with your cravings. Taking a brief walk or doing some physical activity for 3-5 minutes has been known to help decrease the thoughts of food. Also replacing that craving by playing a game or reading, helps to reduce overall snacking. Using an app like Stop, Breathe & Think or Headspace and doing a short meditation is another great way to distract yourself from those cravings.
Eating on a consistent schedule helps us to keep our blood sugar levels stable which in turn helps us to avoid the crash and cravings that follow. Whether you’re a 3, 5, or even 6 meal a day person, this strategy will surely help fend off the unwanted cravings.
HAVE A BACK-UP PLAN
It’s always a great idea to have a Plan B for your nutrition. For example, if mornings get too crazy trying to shuffle the kids out of the house and you don’t have time to make breakfast, keep five ingredients on hand that you can toss in the blender to have a quick, healthy smoothie. Or what happens if you pack everyone else’s lunch and forget your own? Have a plan to know exactly where to go for a healthy lunch option. Having a plan in place will make you less likely to eat just anything.
There are my top tips to fighting off those annoying food cravings and saving you the extra calories. And don’t forget to DRINK PLENTY OF WATER as it is getting hot outside (another food craving fighter).
Crockpot Shredded Beef and Cabbage
Provided by Coach Meredith
Slow Cooker Beef:
2 lb. Beef Chuck Roast, trimmed and cut into thick strips
1 T Taco Seasoning (or your favorite Southwestern spice blend)
2-3 tsp. Olive Oil
2 cans (4 oz. can) diced Green Chiles with juice
Cabbage Slaw and Dressing:
1 small head green cabbage
1/2 small head red cabbage
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
6 T mayo (*Ingredients Below) or light mayo
4 tsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. (or more) Green Tabasco Sauce
*ALL ingredients must be room temperature
1 large egg yolk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white vinegar
¾ cup macadamia nut oil or avocado oil
2 large avocados, diced
1 medium Poblano (Pasilla) pepper, diced very small
1 T fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro (or you can use thinly-sliced green onion)
Trim all visible fat and any undesirable parts from the chuck roast and cut into thick strips. Rub strips of beef with the taco seasoning. Heat the oil in a large, heavy frying pan and brown the beef well on all sides.
Put the strips of browned beef in the slow cooker and pour in the diced green chiles and juice from the cans. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or until the beef shreds apart easily. (If you're going to be out you can also cook this for 6-8 hours on low.) When the beef is done, use a large slotted spoon to remove it to a cutting board, leaving the liquid in the slow cooker. Shred the beef apart with two forks and put it back in the slow cooker to absorb the liquid and keep warm while you make the cabbage slaw, mayo, and salsa
Cut the cabbage into very thin strips. (You can use a Mandoline Slicer or cut by hand). Slice the green onions. Whisk together the mayo (*Recipe below), lime juice, and Green Tabasco sauce to make the dressing. Then put the cabbage and green onions into a bowl and toss with the dressing.
[Mayo--Put all the ingredients except the oil in a large bowl and whisk until the yolk thickens and the color brightens (around 30 seconds). Add ¼ cup of the oil in a slow steady stream while whisking vigorously (~1 minute). After the oil is incorporated, slowly add the second ¼ cup of oil and incorporate it the same way as the first (~30 seconds). Add the last ¼ cup of oil all at once and whisk it to emulsify the mayo completely]
Peel and cut up the avocado, place in a bowl, and toss with the lime juice. Finely chop the cilantro (or green onion) and the Poblano chile and add it to the avocado. Drizzle in the olive oil and gently toss again.
To assemble the bowl, put a layer of the slaw, then a generous amount of the spicy beef, topped by a couple of spoonfuls of the avocado salsa.
(Only dress the amount of cabbage you'll be using, if you want to save leftovers. Refrigerate the ingredients individually and then warm the beef and toss the cabbage with the dressing when you want to eat again).
By Coach Meredith
Last time I discussed some pre-workout nutrition tips, so this week I would like to cover a few post-workout musts. Here are my top 3 post-exercise tips:
Static stretching is best reserved for after your workouts. Static means you will hold the position. Dynamic stretching involves a gentle flow or movement through a series of positions. When performed immediately after your workouts, static stretching helps to you cool down, increase muscle relaxation and potentially get tight muscles back to their resting length.
Exercise tends to shorten muscles through contraction and it is important to stretch them out afterwards. For example, runners will typically will have tight hamstrings or calves if they don’t consistently stretch after their runs. The tighter the muscles get, the more likely they are to develop injuries and lose their speed or functionality.
Immediately following your workouts, when your muscles are still warm, aim to spend at least 30 seconds to one minute stretching each muscle group that you’ve used or may feel particularly tight. The use of lacrosse balls, foam rollers, and resistance bands comes in handy here.
2. WEIGH YOURSELF and or DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Post-exercise, you shouldn’t lose any more than 2% of your body weight between the beginning and end of your workout. So, for example if you weighed 150 pounds at the start, you shouldn’t weigh any less than 147 pounds at the end. If your weight loss is greater than, it means you are on the road to significant dehydration. Improper water consumption can decrease your exercise performance and put you at risk of heat stroke as well as exacerbate symptoms of muscle soreness and fatigue.
Any drop in weight should be dealt with by drinking at least 8oz of water following your workout. If you’re dehydrated, it is also beneficial to hydrate with an electrolyte-containing drink or coconut water.
3. EAT PROTEIN AND CARBS
Muscle undergoes rapid remodeling and rebuilding, especially during the period following an intense workout. In order to push the muscle protein in a positive direction for growth and recovery, it is important to consume adequate protein, including branched-chain amino acids, after a strenuous workout.
How much do you need? It depends. Exercises like lifting or running tend to lead to more muscle damage versus low-impact exercises such as yoga or walking. It may be necessary to consume higher amounts of protein and BCAAs after intense exercises that cause more muscle damage in order to promote optimal muscle repair and recovery. Aim to get anywhere between 20 and 40 grams, consuming toward the higher end for the greater your exercise intensity or body size.
There is what’s called an “anabolic window” which is the post-workout time period in which the body can most effectively absorb protein and incorporate it into its muscle cells. This time period is typically 30 minutes up to 2 hours.
That being said, you may actually need more carbs than protein post-workout. Post-workout foods and drinks should have a 3:1-to-4:1 ratio of carbs-to-protein for ideal muscle recovery. This means, for every gram of protein you consume following a workout, you likely need three to four times as many grams of carbs.
Why is this so? Insulin, released by the pancreas when you eat carbs, helps amino acids from protein enter muscle cells for repair and recovery. Try choosing whole carbs from natural sources including fruit, whole grains, and dairy.
Provided by Coach Meredith
Peanut/Almond Butter & Banana on Rice Cakes
Smooth your peanut or almond butter onto two brown rice cakes for extra fiber. And while you may usually avoid bananas because they're too full of sugar, eating one after a workout is just fine. It will replenish your energy quickly.
Recommended Serving Size: 1/2 banana, 1 tbsp. peanut/almond butter, and 2 brown rice cakes
Hummus and Pita
Hummus, a dip made from pureed chickpeas, gives you both carbs and protein. Coupled with the slow-release energy from the whole-wheat pita, it makes for a snack that'll keep you fueled for hours
Recommended Serving Size: 1/4 cup hummus with 1 whole wheat pita
Yogurt and Fresh Berries
Low-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt can pack nearly 15 grams of protein; then add some berries for carbohydrate-driven energy.
Recommended Serving Size: 1 8-ounce container of plain, low-fat yogurt with 1/2 cup berries
Tuna on Whole Wheat
Tuna drizzled with a little lemon juice and olive oil spread over a slice of whole wheat bread is an ideal protein/carb mini-meal.
Recommended Serving Size: 4 ounces water-packed tuna & 1 slice whole wheat bread
Turkey and Cheese with Apple Slices
If you're not in the mood for a sandwich, skip the bread and eat the fillings on their own! Spread a soft-cheese wedge over two or three slices of lean deli turkey, then roll up for a quick, high-protein, eat-on-the-go snack. Add a sliced apple for some energy-boosting carbs.
Recommended Serving Size: 4 ounces deli turkey, 1 soft cheese wedge, and 1 apple