5 Exercises you can do at HOME Exercise #1

Exercise #1 Plank

Benefits

Targets the core, which is essential for a desk-chained individual. A strong core is associated with good posture and it’s what’s usually lacking when you’re caught sitting for most of the day. As an added bonus they’ll also contribute to the 6-pack you’re dying to see.

Progressions

To make things more challenging add movement/weight to the plank.

– movement with arms/legs (countless variations)

– added weight plate on back

written by Jay Agustin, edited by lifefitwork

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Back to my Roots

Although my studies and career have taken a completely different turn over the last few years, I feel compelled to return to my educational roots in psychology. (If only, to solidify in my mind that yes, the money spent on my degree was worth it!)

As a psychology student I’ve studied many theories that have been used to explain why, how and when we do the things we do. From Sigmund Freud, B.F. Skinner to Abraham Maslow, all have strived to define our thoughts and actions. A theory that has stuck with me since undergrad is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which continues to be used to help explain what motivates behaviour. His hierarchy “suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs” as described by Kerry Cherry. Meaning, we all have basic needs (food, water, sleep etc.) that we need to satisfy before we’re able to tackle the “outer” or secondary needs (love, social acceptance, security etc.). Take a look at the diagram below, this is from my personal psychology student archives circa 2011. (Truthfully, I think this was more along the lines of the i’m so tired of studying so I will draw this little doodle that’s somehow related so I can convince myself this is still “studying”)

Archived from pages and pages of study notes (I am no artist, I know).

Archived from pages and pages of study notes (I am no artist, I know).

But it makes sense right? You can apply that theory to almost anything. When you’re building a house, what do you do first? You build from the bottom up, (floor, walls then a roof) not the other way ‘round!

So why am I telling you this? Because I’m hoping to shift your focus back to the basics! Forget about today’s “it” vegetable or fad diet or whether or not you should do yoga everyday (but actually, yoga is great and MJ makes it look SUPER cool). Now hear me out – I’m not knocking any of these things but it’s important to establish your baseline. Figure out what it is your body truly needs and expand from there. What I mean is, you don’t NEED the gluten free, dairy-free, soy-based vegan whaddayacallit anymore then you need the 3-egg veggie omelet with toast, hashbrowns, bacon/sausage with pancake on the side for breakfast. Fuel yourself for the day with the carbs/proteins you need and don’t overdo it.

Once you’ve established those basic needs then you can work on incorporating the secondary, or “hip” healthy suggestions. But remember, they are exactly that, SUGGESTIONS. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to work for you.

Now go re-build your house and #lifefitwork

#FAIL

Search #fail on twitter, instagram, youtube, vine etc. and you’ll find yourself watching dozens of videos like this;

Extremely entertaining, sometimes disturbing but altogether with the same common theme of displaying incredible “failure” moments in life.

So take a page from these adorable pups and FAIL!

No seriously, I want you to fail. I want you to make a goal for yourself and stick to it, then I want to see you fall off that bandwagon. Seems counter-intuitive to my entire blog premise right? WRONG. If we don’t fail in our efforts to change a bad-habit into a healthy habit then we will never learn how to overcome them. What’s the secret here? Guilt.

Guilt is the super-power we all have, but to reap its benefits we have to cultivate and learn when to use it! If you feel guilty after missing a day or two at the gym, or eating that entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s then you’ve succeeded! The recognition of that guilty feeling can be used as a tool to help bring you back on track. One error or moment when you’ve strayed off the path does not undo all of the hard work you’ve completed so far, so please – DON’T GIVE UP!

Turn your guilt into motivation and continue to #lifefitwork!

Glass or Plastic?

Remember those tips we talked about when doing your grocery shop? Now you have all of these lovely fresh fruits, vegetables and protein you can use to whip up some healthy meals and quick snacks. One of my favourite meals to make and enjoy in the winter is homemade beef stew with dumplings (my mother is not quite ready to share her secret recipe but here is one from English chef James Martin). The great thing about stew is that you can really make it your own and add all kinds of  vegetables you like rather than the standard carrot/potato combination. The only problem I find with making stew is that most recipes make multiple portions and me, myself & I can’t eat it quick enough! I try my best not to waste any food so I will either pass it off to friends and family or freeze it to eat at a later date. Here’s the question, are you team Glass or Plastic? In the last 5-10 years we have heard a lot about “BPA-free” bottles and containers but is plastic really the villain the media has made him out to be? As a user of both types of containers I’ve compared them to see who ranks best;

Glass VS. Plastic

Glass VS. Plastic

                       Glass

VS.

Plastic

Dishwasher safe & residue or stains are easily removed.

Cleanliness

Can stain permanently & dishwasher leaves residue, which often results in an added hand wash.

Heavy

Portability

Light

4-sided snap lid or rubber lid provides an air tight seal.

Closure/Lid

I find plastic containers leak more often, so if transporting soup etc. I would keep upright and place in a Ziploc bag.

Food flavour will not leach and will protect the shelf-life of food.

Food Safety

Even BPA free plastic can leach into food, can absorb smells and alter taste.

100% recyclable

Environmental Safety

There are 7 types of plastic and some are not recyclable, causing further waste if they can’t be re-purposed.

Oven proof, freezer-safe, microwave-safe, dishwasher safe

Versatility

Freezer safe, microwave safe but quality decreases after each use (down-cycling).

More expensive, but most durable.

Price

Less expensive, but not as durable so you will likely spend more on purchasing additional containers.

Conclusion: Team Glass outranks plastic overall. However, plastic can still serve a storage purpose as long as you are not cooking or freezing in them. If you’re still not comfortable using plastic, try to repurpose them and get the most out of your money spent. Use as storage containers for hardware, arts & crafts or to organize those “miscellaneous” drawers. Real simple created a fantastic “Best for Leftovers” list combining both plastic & glass containers with tips on when is best to use them.

Keep yourself healthy & safe with glass containers and don’t be afraid of the added weight. The bonus? You’ll be weight-lifting on the go! #lifefitwork

“A B C it’s easy as 1 2 3”

Take a note from the late Michael Jackson and let’s begin. The most time consuming exercise you’ll have to do all week, but once it’s done? You’re coasting! Consider this the biggest test of your organizational skills. Here are 5 easy steps for a successful (and healthy) grocery shop;

  1. Make a list. I prefer to write mine down (yes, the trusted duo, pen & paper!) or you can type it on your phone, send yourself an email etc. whatever works best for you. Appdicted? Sign up in store at any Loblaws and try the PC Plus mobile app. You can create a shopping list, set preferences and save money on groceries! (P.S. I don’t work for Loblaws, I just really really dig this app!)
  2. STICK to the list. Meaning, if it’s not on your pre-set list, take it out of the basket! Not only will this keep you focused on the task at hand but you’ll save a buck or two at the same time.
  3. Outer GTA is your best friend. No, I don’t mean go to Mississauga for groceries. The majority of your shop should take place around the outer aisles/areas of the store. This is where you’ll find all the yummy fresh eats you need, rather than the quick-fix packaged goods you think you want.
  4. Buy what you like, not what you think you should like. Kale is the new black these days, but if you don’t like kale, don’t buy kale! If you are putting items on a list that you know you or your family will not touch, what’s the point? Buy the foods you’ll want to eat and half the battle is already done!
  5. Change with the seasons. You wouldn’t wear a winter jacket in the summer, so you shouldn’t eat the same produce month-to-month either. I know you can get all kinds of produce year-round these days but seasonal fruits and vegetables will contain a higher nutrient value. Not to mention, you’ll be supporting your local Canadian farmers! (Good karma? Check.)

This may seem like a little extra work now, but after a few focused trips, you won’t even know you’re doing it. Establish the habit and change the way you shop.

I challenge you to apply these steps to your next grocery shop. Leave a comment or tweet @sarahkcopes and let me know how you’re getting on!

Not sure where to start? See my list this week below for some inspiration.

Happy shopping! #lifefitwork

This week’s list

Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat.

Sounds familiar right? If only it were that simple…

Embed from Getty Images

In 2015, it should read more like this: Sleep, check Twitter, Weather app, Facebook, eat, work, check Twitter, LinkedIn, send some emails, check Instragram, buy lunch for the 4th time this week, work, grocery shop, check Twitter, do that thing you’ve been putting off for weeks but procrastinate and say it can wait because all you really want to do is go home and watch Netflix, check Twitter, Instagram, ask your friend why she commented on your IG picture but didn’t like it, maybe go to the gym but probably not, definitely do that assignment due tomorrow but get lost for an hour on Pinterest, eat, check Twitter & Instagram one last time, run through everything you didn’t do today in your head and decide tomorrow will be the day when you get ‘er done, and finally, sleep. 

Stay. Calm. 

So how do we manage all of that AND keep ourselves healthy? We’re told time and time again, to eat this, take that, have a pill, do this exercise and you will live a long healthy, happy skinny life filled with rainbows and sparkles and… a couple of weeks later you’re ordering take out from the guy at the Thai restaurant that knows you by name. But, what I’ve come to learn over my years of working multiple jobs, going to school, volunteering, staying fit, still having a social life (somehow), all at the same time – is that a little organization goes a long way (yes, this is the OCD talking).

Let’s look at this from a business perspective, (because I’m a banker, you know) what makes any business, government or event a success? The ability to plan, organize and execute. Over the next few weeks I have set out to explore and share simple, but effective ways you can reach that balance of LIFEFITWORK. Note: This doesn’t mean wake up at 5am to go to the gym before work, start a juice cleanse and buy that $16 dairy/gluten free breakfast, lunch & dinner. It means changing a little, and getting a LOT in return.

I take your Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat. and raise you to #lifefitwork !