P.O.W # 19 Salt for your Health, Functional Training, Biko App

“3 P’s for Optimal Performance and Health”
The Power of 3..
POTION: Salt

“We cry salt, we sweat salt, and the cells in our bodies are bathed in salty fluids. Without salt we would not be able to live.”

I recently read a booked called The Salt Fix  by Dr. James DiNicolantino. It’s about the myth laid on the public that salt is bad for our health, bad for our hearts, causes high blood pressure and hypertension among other things. After reading the book and experimenting myself, I really can feel the difference of how I perform while training, the ease of muscle soreness and short recovery periods, my booming energy levels and increased hydration.

Excerpt from ” The Salt Fix”:

“Your body drives you to eat several grams of salt (around 8–10 grams, equal to 3,000–4,000 milligrams of sodium) every day to remain in homeostasis, an optimal state in which you put the least amount of stress on the body. But you could literally live the rest of your life—and probably a much longer one—if you never ingested another gram of added sugar.

“We’ve all heard the recommendation: eat no more than a teaspoon of salt a day for a healthy heart. But there’s one big problem with this: the vast majority of us don’t need to eat low-salt diets. In fact, for most of us, more salt would be better for our health, rather than less. (Not to mention, much tastier.) Now, Dr. James DiNicolantonio reveals the incredible, often baffling story of how salt became unfairly demonized—a never-before-told, century-spanning drama of competing egos and interests. Not only have we gotten it wrong, we’ve gotten it exactly backwards: eating more salt can help protect you from a host of ailments, including internal starvation, insulin resistance, diabetes, and even heart disease. (The real culprit? Another white crystal—sugar.)”

Some of my big take-aways from the book:

Salt Wasters

The recommendation of  a little over 1 teaspoon of salt per day (2,000 mg/ 5 grams) increases exponentially with every coffee or caffeinated drink you have, how active you are or they type of medication you may be on. For Example, if you have a coffee in the morning and a coffee in the afternoon, you will have depleted 2 whole teaspoons of salt from your body. If you workout daily or use saunas you’re loosing another teaspoon of salt every time you sweat. Also, are you drinking the recommended 2-3 litres of water per day? Then you’ll need even more salt.

Tips in increase salt if you use these salt wasters:

  • In the morning after coffee, have half a teaspoon of salt washed down with filtered water ( I even add a pinch of salt to my coffee to bring out the flavours even more )
  • Before a heavy work out have a half to a full teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon for every half hour after during your workout to feel super energized and powerful. ( It’s actually amazing how well this works. No need for expensive, sugar laden Gatorade for electrolytes!)
  • Take salt like a medicine for an afternoon pick up. Half a teaspoon of salt after your mid day caffeinated drink. ( I carry a little bottle of Redmonds Real Salt with me every where and knock it back like I used to knock back tequila when I was 20. Shots for fit people! )
  • Ask your Doctor if any medication that you’re on has a diuretic effect (depletes water/salt from your body )**

** Before adding more salt to your diet (especially if you’re on medication) ask your doctor to test your salt levels. Remembering their recommendation of salt in take will be the standard 1 and 1/3 teaspoons of salt per day.

Salt Myths

Salt causes high blood pressure

Excerpt from “The Salt Fix”:

“When we eat salt, so the theory goes, we also get thirsty—so we drink more water. In the salt–high blood pressure hypothesis, that excess salt then causes the body to hold on to that increased water, in order to dilute the saltiness of the blood. Then, the resulting increased blood volume would automatically lead to higher blood pressure. That’s the theory, anyway. Makes sense, right? But evidence in the medical literature suggests that approximately 80 percent of people with normal blood pressure (less than 120/80 mmHg) are not sensitive to the blood-pressure-raising effects of salt at all. Among those with prehypertension (a precursor to high blood pressure), roughly 75 percent are not sensitive to salt. And even among those with full-blown hypertension, about 55 percent are totally immune to salt’s effects on blood pressure”

Instead, we focused on those extremely minuscule reductions in blood pressure, completely disregarding the numerous other health risks caused by low salt intake—including several side effects that actually magnify our risk of heart disease—such as increased heart rate; compromised kidney function and adrenal insufficiency; hypothyroidism; higher triglyceride, cholesterol, and insulin levels; and, ultimately, insulin resistance, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

Recent research even suggests that chronic salt depletion may be a factor in what endocrinologists term “internal starvation.” When you start restricting your salt intake, the body starts to panic. One of the body’s defence mechanisms is to increase insulin levels, because insulin helps the kidneys retain more sodium. Unfortunately, high insulin levels also “lock” energy into your fat cells, so that you have trouble breaking down stored fat into fatty acids or stored protein into amino acids for energy. When your insulin levels are elevated, the only macronutrient that you can efficiently utilize for energy is carbohydrate. See where this is headed? You start craving sugar and refined carbs like crazy, because your body believes carbohydrate is your only viable energy source. And, as the now-familiar story goes, the more refined carbs you eat, the more refined carbs you tend to crave. This overeating of processed carbs and high-sugar foods virtually ensures fat cell accumulation, weight gain, insulin resistance, and eventually type 2 diabetes. ”

Salt and the Kidneys

“Research has shown that patients with normal blood pressure and kidney function can easily excrete ten times as much salt as we normally consume in a day. The reason why humans cannot solely live on seawater is not that our kidneys cannot handle excreting the high salt content—it’s that in order to do so, water must leave with it, which would eventually cause dehydration (and eventual death!). But if we had enough access to freshwater to replace what is lost during the excretion of that salt, humans would absolutely be able to drink seawater.

Salt for Hypothyroidism

I’m sure that you or someone you know is effected by Hypo/hyperthyriodism. It is incredibly common today, effecting men and women and their hormone production. All hormones are linked so If your thyroid, adrenals or sex hormones are off, you’ve kicked one of the three legs out from underneath your hormonal stool. Iodized salt is a man-made addition to salt to prevent iodine deficiency and Iodine plays an active role in promoting healthy thyroid hormone function. “Worldwide, iodine deficiency affects about two billion people and is the leading preventable cause of intellectual and developmental disabilities.[1][2] Deficiency also causes thyroid gland problems, including “endemic goitre“. In many countries, iodine deficiency is a major public health problem that can be cheaply addressed by purposely adding small amounts of iodine to the sodium chloride salt. If you lower your salt intake and have thyroid issues this can exacerbate your symptoms.

The right kind of Salt 

Different types of salt contain various types of minerals. Not all salt is created equal.

Table salt although iodized, could be bleached, contain anti-caking agents to prevent it from getting stuck together, and even dextrose (sugar) as a filler!

The Best on the market:

Redmonds Real Salt:

“According to geologists, the Redmond salt deposit is the remnant of an ancient inland sea, probably part of what they call the Sundance Sea, which places the deposit within the Jurassic Period. Over time, the salt that settled at the bottom of the sea was trapped within the earth and then pushed up near the surface close to the town of Redmond, Utah.

The deposit occurs with over 70+ natural trace minerals which gives the salt its unique color, unique flavor, and numerous health benefits.  Because this deposit comes from an ancient sea bed, nature created the salt long before the earth experienced anthropogenic pollution and contaminants that are troubling our oceans today.”

Himalayan Salt:

Himalayan crystal salt comes from salt mines 5,000 feet deep below the Himalayan Mountain Range. The salt from these mines has experienced tremendous pressure over millions of years and is said to be over 99 percent pure and contains high amounts of potassium and many other trace minerals but no iodine unless added.*

*Keep in mind if you’re using this salt before or after workouts or have a thyroid condition as iodine depletion is much higher in those who workout regularly or have thyroid dysfunction.

(Watch out for labels that just say Pink Salt, it could just be died sea salt!)

Celtic Sea Salt (grey salt) :

Celtic sea salt is comparable to Himalayan crystal salt in its composition and health benefits, but it’s a completely different salt that comes from a different source (Brittany, France).

Sea water contains minerals such as sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, plus many trace elements such as iron, zinc, and manganese. The human body uses the minerals & trace elements in sea salt to create electrolytes, maintaining the ‘œinternal ocean’ which is vital to the proper functioning of every system in the body.

Regular Sea Salt:

Because some brands do not state where they gather their salt from keep in mind some of our oceans aren’t the cleanest anymore! But likely most sea salts are better than table salt!

In general, salt is essential for maintaining healthy functioning of the body’s cells, nerve conduction, digestion, as well as the absorption of nutrients and the elimination of waste products. So, Pass the Salt!

  Get  a copy Here  

 

 

PHYSICAL: Functional Training

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, build strength or endurance, Functional training has it all. By challenging the body in areas of balance and sometimes unilateral resistance ( 1 limb being used at a time) you can achieve a full body workout by recruiting other muscles to work and stabilize. Instead of plain old squats, why not try Kettle bell swings, box jumps, or weighted squats on an upside down Bosu-Ball. Instead of bicep curls, utilize the entire arm while whipping the battle ropes, or picking up medicine balls and then slamming them down (super fun to just throw sh*t around actually!). Each functional variation requires the core to be fully engaged because balance is a huge factor for each movement. It also requires more speed/more repetitions to bring your heart rate up and burn more fat. We’re not against heavy lifting ( actually we encourage it for EVERYONE) but we do believe it’s better to break up your workouts with endurance training and challenge the body to work in different ranges of motion. We think more holistically when it comes to working out. Core stability and balance are areas of concern and harder to maintain as we age so why not get a head start?!

Try F45 (Functional 45) Training. They have studios popping up all over Toronto. You sign up for classes with their easy to use app. In and out in 45 mins, sweat like crazy, and feel a great pump!

and of course come check out our 12pm Saturday class at Whole Life Balance if you haven’t already! The reason why we started Pulse Pump Prana was because of it’s super functional order of Pilates, HIIT and Yoga 🙂

 

   

 

PRACTICAL: Biko App

We downloaded the Biko App on our smart phones this summer, which tracks your distance travelled ( via GPS not data), it helps plan the easiest route for bikers and the best spots to lock up. In an effort to reduce C02 emissions, Biko rewards you for riding your bike everyday!  The rewards range from discounts on Yoga gear, coffees, smoothies, juices, beer, spa services, bike repairs and even discounts on Zipcar. Participating companies include; Jimmy’s coffee, Fresh, Foodoora, Carnivore Club, BGood, Big Rock Brewery,BYoga Urbane Cyclist, Sweet Pete’s and 2 Wheel Gear. You can also add friends and see who has the most points racked up! It’s a great way to stay active and earn for being healthy and cleaning our air 🙂

Download Biko in the App Store

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back weekly for more!

AND Don’t forget to download our FREE PPP exercise E-Guide! Free only for a limited time.

Plus if you complete the challenge we have merchandise and trips to BALI to give away! Check it out you won’t be disappointed!

xx

Andy and Brit 

 

 

 

POW # 16 – German Volume Training, Nature and The Vitamix

3 P’s for Optimal Perfomance and Health! 

 

The Power of 3…

 

PHYSICAL : German Volume Training

What is German Volume Training? GVC is a program to do if you are looking for rapid size gains. Usually this would involve lower reps (about 8 or lower) and for many this works great. Whereas, many high rep programs are geared more towards conditioning and fat loss.

But then, there’s German Volume Training, also known as the 10 set method. “This method was, to the best of my knowledge, popularized by Rolf Feser, the German National Weightlifting Coach of that time, and was quite popular in weightlifting circles as a method to gain weight, often causing athletes to move up one full weight class in only 12 weeks.”- Charles Poliquin

The standard protocol for German Volume Training (GVT), consists of choosing a large movement for a given muscle group (Legs-back squats) followed by another movement from the same muscle group (Legs-hamstring curls) and performing 10 sets of 10 reps with 90 seconds between sets.

Now, for most this is a 12 week program (for those looking for massive gains) but I did it for 7 weeks knowing that I would like to put on mass but not 12 weeks worth of it. When I finished this program I went straight into two weeks of HIIT ( high intensity interval training) strength and strength and endurance classes. Im still in this phase and will move on to another one shortly. I will keep you posted with my results!

GVC can be incorporate in a number of ways but this is what my 7 weeks looked like:

(Remember, you want to choose your weight carefully. A good weight to start with is 60 % of your 1RM so if your back squat 1 RM is 175lbs  you would start with 105 lbs. I know this seems light but trust me, its going to get heavy real fast. If you can get through all 10 sets hitting 10 reps each time then its time to bump up your weight.) 

 

Day 1/5- Chest and Back

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Tempo

Rest

A1

Flat DB bench press

10

10

4020

90

A2

Negatives/pull downs

10

10

4020

90

B1

Incline Flies

3

10-12

2020

75

B2

SA DB row

3

10-12

2020

75

 Day 2/5- Legs and Abs

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Tempo

Rest

A1

Back Squats

10

10

40X0

90

A2

Hamstring curls

10

8

40X0

90

B1

Hanging leg raises

3

10

2020

75

B2

Seated Calf Raise

3

10-12

2020

75

Day 3/5 OFF (Rest)

Day 4/5- Arms and Shoulders

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Tempo

Rest

A1

Bicep curls

10

10

40X0

90

A2

Tricep dips

10

10

40X0

90

B1

Standing lateral raises

3

10-12

2011

75

B2

Bent over lateral raises

3

10-12

40X0

75

 Day 5/5 OFF (Rest)

Back to Day 1

German volume training is not for everybody but its effectiveness is indisputable. If you are doing this program on your own I’m not going to lie to you, its tough to push through! The first 4 sets I found were the hardest and come the 8th set you actually start to feel stronger due to neurological adaptions. My advice to you is to always listen to your body. Do not go up in weight if you did not get through all 10 sets. When you have, that is the time to move on and you can push through even when you start to feel tired. There will be days that are much harder than others but you will get though it and you will be damn proud of yourself! Nothing easy is ever worth it. Not only did I put on mass but I saw strength gains as well and I’m very happy with my progress thus far.

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” Napoleon Hill

                                        

 PRESENT: Nature

Imagine this, it’s 6am on a Sunday morning and your alarm clock goes off. You roll out of bed, whip up a Natural PB and banana sandwich (yes please), brew up some coffee and you’re out the door. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, “Why the hell would I be up at 6 am on a Sunday morning?” But let me ask you, why the hell not!? We’re always searching for more hours in the day when really we could create them for ourselves. We can choose to embrace every moment of our big, beautiful lives and thats exactly what I did on Sunday morning. I walked outside and it was pretty brisk for a summer morning so my coffee was tasting extra good. I went down to the beach with a friend and we rented paddle boards. We dipped our feet in the water as we went to hop on the boards (MY GOD, it was FREEZING!). I’ve never hopped on a board so fast before. However, we forgot about how cold the water was really fast as we paddled on. The energy on the lake was so calm, so still, so serene. It was crystal clear and we could see right to the bottom. As we began to paddle out the sun was rising ever so slowly and it was absolutely epic. The sun was glistening off the water over the horizon and I thought to myself, “Thank god I’m not in bed right now”

Whenever I start to have feelings of anxiety, worry, anger, frustration, sadness, etc. The solution I always come back to is to get outside. My thoughts just seem to disappear and it’s just me, in the moment with my breath.

My advice to you, whether it is paddle boarding, walking, hiking, kayaking or anything really that gets you outside is to spend more time with nature, with your shoes off and away from social media (of course you can take some pictures) but really, find yourself there. Find yourself in that present moment. It will truly give you feelings of euphoria. I’m sure you will want to get up a little earlier every morning and really start to embrace you day. Really start to LIVE your LIFE

   

 

PRACTICAL : Vitamix

We just purchased the vitamix about a month ago and we absolutely love it. Don’t get me wrong, our last blender was good. We had the Ninja and it cost us about 100 bucks. It definitely did what we needed it to do, which was make smoothies. Now, not only can we make smoothies we can make ice cream, hot soups, sauces, hummus, dips and sauces. Whether you are creative with trying/ making new things the vitamix is a must-have. You can do so much with it. I don’t know of any other blenders that can make soup and blend it so fast that it heats up the soup for you. You will no longer have to chew your smoothies and you will have a variety of new sauces to make your meals new and different every time!  Eating breakfasts, lunches and dinners just got a whole lot more exciting!

Is it worth the price?

I paid a little over $400 for my Vitamix and if it lasts me 15 years, it will cost me $26 a year, which seems very reasonable.

A $40 blender replaced every three years would cost me $13 a year

A $100 blender replaced every five years would cost $20 (which is almost the same as the Vitamix)

So, yes,  INVEST in the vitamix… Its totally worth it!

Recipes to try

Ice cream- Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter

1 frozen banana

1 Tbsp of nut butter

1 Tbsp of cacao

1 Tbsp of coconut oil

Toppings

1 Tsp of chia seeds

1 Tsp of hemp hearts

1 tbsp of pecans

Place banana and nut butter in blender. Give it a little bit of time and if it isn’t blending up for you (it definitely should if you are using the vitamix) then you can add a tiny bit of almond milk. I like to add a pinch of himalayan salt and cinnamon to my blend. While this is blending take a tbsp of coconut oil and a tbsp of cacao and heat it up in a sauce pan for a minute. Once your ice cream is all whipped up, pour it into your bowl and pour your chocolate sauce on top. Add any extra toppings you like:)

Soup – Beet soup

Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion (yellow)
2 medium beets
½ cup water + more
salt to taste (¼ tsp or more

Makes ~3 cups: 2 large servings or 4 medium.

Peel and chop the onion and beets (½” by ½” sticks is good for the beets) Add oil to pan, sauté onions on medium-high heat for ~1 minute, then add beets and no more than half a cup of water to soften the beets.  Reduce heat and cook 3 minutes

Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes, then transfer to blender. If you want a really thick soup, you don’t have to add any more water. Blend on high until smooth. Himalayan salt to taste, serve, garnish, and enjoy!

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back weekly for more!

AND Don’t forget to download our FREE PPP exercise E-Guide! Free only for a limited time.

Plus if you complete the challenge we have merchandise and trips to BALI to give away! Check it out you won’t be disappointed!

xx

Andy and Brit 

P.O.W # 13 Acro Yoga, Activated Charcoal, Cacao Ceremonies

“3 P’s for Optimal Performance and Health

PHYSICAL: Acro Yoga 

This Past week Brit and I taught our beloved PULSE PUMP PRANA workout in Negril, Jamaica at the TMRW TDAY Culture fest. It was an amazing week filled with yoga, fitness, meditation, health talks, music, dancing, food and beautiful Jamaican sunshine. One of our highlights was learning Acro Yoga from The Acro Buddahs (Miranda and Ryan from Toronto). Not surprisingly, Arco Yoga combines acrobatics and yoga. Brit and I both had our significant others accompany us on the trip which was something we all looked forward to. After our first session with the Acro Buddhas, we were hooked and continued our practice on the beach each day. We learned a lot from helping each other as couples while spotting and were pushed to take our trust as partners to a new level. The “Base” (the person on the bottom) has to keep the “Flyer” in alignment and feeling safe. Sometimes we get turned around, up side down and maneuvered all over so it’s immensely important to keep communication up all the times. If not.. you may fall but we sometimes need to fall to find our boundaries and limitations. The frustration that comes along with many failed attempts can have you and your partner feeling impatient and annoyed (so hilarious looking at the bickering in some of our video footage!) However, when you achieve a flow with your partner it feels so incredible and harmonious, as if you’re talking through your bodies on another plane. The sense of accomplishment as a couple is extremely rewarding.  You feel you can achieve anything together.  You learn how to communicate better, without playing the blame game since this practice is never solely one persons issue/fault alone.

Miranda and Ryan were fantastic teachers and their passion for teaching this practice together and spreading the knowledge they have to others was clear. Even on their “off time” they were helping us out and teaching us more! One thing we will for sure take from this practice as a couple (among many, many other take-aways ) is a question Miranda and Ryan advised us to ask our partner during our practice which was “What Can I Give You?” What a powerful question. It diverts your potential frustration and veers one away from saying “you’re not doing this, you’re not doing that” or  “I need this, I feel that”  to “How Can I make this better/easier for you?” If both partners ask and respond to this question you make so much progress. Understanding that we both need different things to be successful but also need each others support 100% . These are not just Acro Yoga lessons, these are relationship and life lessons! The bonding, trust, communication and exhilaration all wrapped up into one beautiful and present yoga practice. Together as one. They say Yoga comes from the word “Unity” and I think this yoga practice unifies a couple together more than anything I’ve seen.

Thank you Acro Buddha’s!

 They will be having a Acro Yoga Work shops on the following dates at:

LULULEMON – THE ATTIC
318 Queen Street West, Toronto

May 25th 5:30pm – 7:00pm
June 24th 12:30pm – 2:30pm
June25th 11:00am – 2:00pm

and join them at the EMERGE FESTIVAL in Laurentian Valley, Ontario from

Friendship and trust bonding exercise
 Miranda and Ryan teaching
Miranda and Ryan shooting with the sunset
Our daily practice!

POTIONS: Activated Charcoal

Also, while in Jamaica we had the pleasure of listening to a few talks held by David Wolfe. David is nutritionist from a family of medical doctors who focuses on super foods, raw foods and the worlds most powerful supplements coming from nature. He gives many talks at events, retreats, expos and schools around the world. He was also a guest lecturer during our studies at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) , where brit and I studied in 2014.  One key take-away from David was that Activated Charcoal is likely the most important supplement there is and should be taken daily!

 

Dr.Axe writes “Activated charcoal is a potent natural treatment used to trap toxins and chemicals in the body, allowing them to be flushed out so the body doesn’t reabsorb them. It’s made from a variety of sources, but when used for natural healing, it’s important to select activated charcoal made from coconut shells or other natural sources.

One of the most popular activated charcoal uses is for the safe and effective treatment of poisoning and drug overdoses. It’s used in emergency trauma centres across the world. In addition, it’s used to reduce bloating and gas, lower cholesterol, treat bile flow problems safely during pregnancy, and even prevent hangovers.” Read more 

We like to make a charcoal lemonade after or in-between alcoholic drinks, when we have stomach/digestive issues (cheat weekend anyone?) or when we feel we need more detoxification due to walking or biking around in a big, air-polluted city ( still love you Toronto!). We also like making a mask or peel with charcoal.  Mix with bentonite clay for a mask or gelatin for a peel to pull out toxins and impurities from the skin!

Charcoal lemonade recipe:

Serves 2

  1. 2 lemons squeezed
  2. 2 cups of filtered water or chilled black/green or rooibos tea
  3. 2 tea spoons of activated coconut charcoal
  4. 2 table spoons of sweetener = honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar. If using stevia just 1 teaspoon since it’s hyper sweet! 🙂
  5. Pinch of himalayan salt
  6. Blend and enjoy!

 

POSTIVE THOUGHT: Setting Intentions 

Another event we attended at TMRW TDAY was a Cacao Ceremony. If you’ve never heard of one of these, listen up! It includes loads of hot chocolate, great music and friendly vibes.. Need we say more? Not to mention setting an intention with each sip or bite of the wondrous cultivated bean.

An article by the-numinous.com writes :

WHAT IS A CACAO CEREMONY, AND WHEN DO PEOPLE SEEK THIS MEDICINE OUT? 
“A cacao ceremony is an opportunity to connect to yourself and open your heart. Because of cacao’s ability to increase your connection to your inner self and your heart chakra, it aids in any transformational shift you are working towards, whether you are looking to deepen your understanding of who you are, release old patterns and traumas, or move into a more self-confident space. Whatever your path, the intention is yours to set, and the cacao allows you to the insight and awareness to move towards that goal.”

CACAO IS ASSOCIATED WITH UNIVERSAL LOVE – WHY IS THIS? IS THIS WHY WE GIFT CHOCOLATE TO OUR LOVERS?
Due to certain active ingredients that help release ‘feel good’ emotions, cacao is considered a heart opener. Creating feelings of emotional intimacy and pleasure, it has long been considered a luxurious delicacy, especially with the addition of sugar and spices to suit modern palates. Without realizing, we still get to enjoy a small fraction of it’s potential when we eat cacao in a regular chocolate bar. And yes, this is why it has become associated with romantic gestures and pleasurable indulgence! ” Read more here!

 As we sat and learned a bit about the history of the cacao plant, cacao fruits and the bean, we drank a delicious mix of raw cacao, coconut milk. lucuma ( a natural sweetener) and sea salt. We then set our intentions for the night, for the week or even the year. Eating or drinking cacao has some energizing effects so these ceremonies are done without any alcohol or stimulants involved, but you’d be surprised how much fun you can still have without them which is in it’s self, another powerful lesson. After, we danced to live music, watched a beautiful performance by the Acro Buddahs and laughed with old and new friends.  
We don’t know about you but we freaking love chocolate.. and the darker, the better.  The darker you eat, the more minerals like zinc, magnesium, copper, healthy fats and less sugar it will contain. We started at 50 0r 60% then worked our way up and now that seems too sweet! Brit and I are big fans of 90% Swiss chocolate and sometimes we dip them in nut butters for the most delectable snack. Now we’ll surely set an intention each time we have our beloved chocolate, which by the way is already a daily ritual! 
Ways to add more cacao love into your life:
  • Add 100% Cacao powder to your morning coffees for a homemade mocha
  • Sprinkle Cacao Nibs ( crushed cocoa beans) on to your yogurt/ smoothie bowls
  • Make energy balls or or trail mix with nuts and cut up dark chocolate/nibs
or make this 1 min mug cake!
Serves 1
  1. Using one standard coffee mug:
  2. Melt 2 pieces of dark chocolate (20 grams) or 1 table spoon of cacao 
  3. add 1 table spoon of butter or coconut oil
  4. 1 table spoon of maple syrup
  5. 1 table spoon of nut butter 
  6. mix that well 
  7. add 1 egg
  8. stir well 
  9. then Microwave for 1 min 20 seconds
  10. Set your intentions and enjoy! 

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back weekly for more!

xx

Amanda and Brit 

P.O.W #12 Sunscreen, Running and Time Management

“3 P’s for Optimal Performance and Health

Potion: Coola Sunscreen 

Oh sunscreen. Yes, it truly is a love-hate relationship. We want to keep our skin healthy and “sans burn” however we also want a bronzed and golden tan all throughout the summer. The process to get a perfect and (and safe) tan should be strategically planned, coupled with a bit of patience and should involve a healthy and sustainable sunscreen. From our own experience we have found that you will still get a beautiful tan while you wear sunscreen AND you will be protecting your skin from burns and harmful UV rays.  We’ll  certainly want to be protected while teaching in beautiful Negril, Jamaica at the TMRW TDAY Culture fest this month! Super stoked we’ll keep you posted. So, let us tell you a little bit about the sunscreen we choose to use while basking in the beautiful rays.

COOLA’s full line of luxury and high performing sun and skincare products incorporate a Farm to Face® sourcing philosophy, using the freshest and most natural ingredients whenever possible. Each product is formulated with Plant Protection®, which allows to achieve clinically tested, broad spectrum, age-defying and antioxidant-rich protection while using fewer traditional actives and no nano-sized particles. Better for your skin, better for the environment.”

With Coola we find a little goes a LONG way. It smells amazing and it doesn’t leave our skin feeling oily. The price point is a little higher but we believe it is a great investment. 

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (Sunscreen) 5.25%, Zinc Oxide (Sunscreen) 3.0%. 

Why the bad stuff is bad

Most sunscreens in many cases may actually promote skin cancer growth and free radical production in the body. In fact, many reports show that most sunscreens actually increase skin cancer risk according to this article by the Huffington Post. AND… if you are feeling creative and crafty – why not try making your own concoction of Natural sunscreen?!

Physical: Running ( brit’s journey to prepare for  the Sporting life 10K)

I never thought I would say this but I am really starting to like this thing called running, I would ALWAYS dread it in any workout even if it was a light jog to just warm up. However, I recently signed myself up to run the Sporting Life 10K  in support of a summer camp. Camp Oochigeas is unlike any other camp in Canada. Exclusively serving children with cancer, it’s be privately funded, staffed entirely by volunteers and completely free. A camp where every child no matter how debilitating their illness, would be provided an opportunity to explore enriching, challenging, fun experiences through what is fondly referred to today as “the Magic of Ooch.” I thought to myself ” What better reason to run then for someone who needs it and 10k isn’t that far – I’ve got this”. Little did I know it is actually pretty far for someone who isn’t a frequent runner and already disliked running.  My first run was pretty tough. I would walk then run repetitively taking breaks letting my mind (and my sore feet and shins) get the best of me. My second run got a little better at the beginning and then became tough around 3 Kilometres in and I thought to myself “Will this ever get better or easier?”.  I felt like there was ALWAYS something bothering me on every run especially when my calves really started to flare up. I asked my boyfriend, “Why are my calves hurting but everyone else I speak to who’s been preparing for this run feels fine?!” and then, we figured it out… It was my technique! I had been running on the balls of my feet and not from heel to toe! So on my fifth run I started to feel REAL good! My cardiovascular was on point! I felt like the energizer bunny and come the end of my run my calves didn’t hurt! YES! The lesson here is, well, don’t run on the balls of your feet of course 😉 BUT to stick to it and be consistent! Just keep going like the energizer bunny because you can do absolutely anything you set your mind to. I know, a lot of you are probably thinking running just isn’t for me and you know what? You could be right! We all have to find what works for us but there is nothing wrong with trying a new thing and when you decide to do so stay consistent and give it your all! Rome wasn’t built in a day my friends! Ask yourself – Has anything you’ve tried out for the first time worked on the first attempt? Of course not! So give it a go, you may surprise yourself! Last piece of advice; Remember to always listen to your body! 

“Running generally has profound benefits.  It has been shown to decrease the risk of diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and depression while improving bone density and supporting weight control. However, the risks of marathon distance running must be considered and addressed with proper training, nutrition, rest, and attention to form. Those with heart conditions, biomechanical issues or other risk factors should not begin training for a marathon without close medical supervision. Future articles will provide injury prevention tips and nutritional guidelines for long distance running to help reduce the risks and optimize the benefits of long distance running.”

Check out this article on the risks and benefits of long distance running. 

Sign up, donate or learn more about The Sporting life 10K here

 

 

Practical: Time Management 

Time management can make or break you. We have 24 hours in a day people! Thats a whole lotta hours that is, if they are used in the right way. Working harder does not necessarily mean you achieve more of your tasks but by working smarter you can easily get more things done within the allotted time frame or even with less. If we start to become more aware of how much time we should really be spending on a specific activity we can then become much more efficient with that time. Effective time management is based on quality rather than quantity. It does not mean getting more things done quickly, it means getting important things done first. Its all about Efficiency.

Tips for time management

Make lists 

  • Learn to prioritize what is most importantWhat needs to get done first? Using apps like Wunderlist will do “Wunders” or simply have a white board on the fridge so that it’s visible to you every morning.
  • Break your lists up. We like to have a day to day to-do list, a week to week to-do list and a monthly to-do list. Once you’ve achieved all of your tasks anything else that you complete is just a bonus! With Wunderlist you can set alarms and priorize what needs to get done firstly today, tomorrow or in a week etc.
  • Add friends or partners to hold each other accountable for shared tasks. You could do this without an app but it’s free and you both can be added to a specific list and get notified when one of you completes a task or picks up a grocery item!
  • Set a timer for social media. We all love to waste a little time here and there but let’s be honest, did we need to scroll through Instagram for an hour? Probably not. We like to set a timer on my phone or just tell myself  “Okay, you have 15 minutes to kill some brain cells.. now go!”.  We’re not referring to informative articles or blog posts (such as this one of course!) As long as we feel we’ve learned something we still believe the time used was valuable.

Once you have your priorities in check you will have more time to spend on the things that matter. When we have trouble managing our time it can result in lack of time spent with our families, close relationships, self-care, finances and personal development.  Effective time management can help us spend quality time with things we really care about. It helps you make great choices and spend time with things that are more valuable to you. The more that you value your time you realize what matters most to you. The hardest thing to do is start implementing these habits but once you start you’ll never turn back!

 

 

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back every Friday for more!

xx

Amanda and Brit 

 

POW # 11 (Mindfulness, Jump Squats and Connection)

“3 P’s for Optimal Performance and Health

Firstly, thank you to Brit & Amanda for asking me to do a guest post on their blog. I absolutely love the idea of the 3 P’s and I’m so excited to be able to share three P’s that resonate with me this week. Here goes …

PRESENCE : Mindfulness

We all know how hard it is to be truly present in the moment. As a working mom, this is especially difficult, but so important. But kids or no kids, what I believe really helps is meditation. Meditation can recharge us, as well as get us back to centre. I know you might be thinking it’s crazy to try and find time to sit in silence, but start with just 5 minutes a day and work your way up each week. If you commit to even a short amount of time, you will find that meditation helps to reconnect you to your inner self and will help you be more grounded, less stressed and more PRESENT.

There are three types of meditation including guided meditation (lead by a series of vocal prompts); mantra meditation (mental or verbal repetition of a phrase or affirmation); and relaxation (imagining each area of your body relaxing and listening to your breathing). Whatever you choose, the benefits of meditation are endless and improving your presence in the moment is just one of them!

Suggested apps:

Insight Timer and Headspace

PHYSICAL : Jump Squats

Movement keeps our blood flowing and ultimately, it keeps us alive! This week I encourage you to challenge yourself to move a little more than you usually do. Try that new fitness class. Go for a run or a walk outside. Stretch. Stretch a little more. Recruit a friend. This week just MOVE.

5 Benefits To Movement

1. Improve your metabolism and control weight

2. Boost your energy levels

3. Support heart health

4. Improve your sleep

5. Better your mood

Suggested move of the week:

Jump Squats. They work your whole body and can be done just about anywhere. Here’s how you do them:

• Stand with the feet shoulder width apart.

• Squat down as if you were performing a normal squat.

• Engage your core and jump in the air explosively.

• On landing lower the body back into the squat position and that is one rep.

• Be careful to land with control and if there is any pain in knees stop immediately.

PEOPLE Awareness & Connection

If there is one ‘P’ that you should remember from this post, I hope it’s this one. With our busy schedules and the madness of social media, it can be easy to lose that human connection. Instead of walking into the gym with head down and mid text, put your phone away and get eye contact with people. Say hello and engage those around you. This real human interaction is so key to a healthy state of mind. We learn from each other that an Instagram post can never replace a face-to-face conversation. This week focus on PEOPLE – family, friends or even strangers at your local coffee shop.

Did you know?

There are studies that have shown that a lack of social connections was associated with a significantly increased risk for inflammation, becoming overweight, and even developing high blood pressure.

For more information you can find Trisha at notummymommy.com 

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back weekly for more!

xx

Amanda and Brit

P.O.W # 10 Deltoids, Hyaluronic acid, Bosu Ball

“3 P’s for Optimal Performance and Health

PHYSICAL: Deltoids

Isolating and targeting the deltoid ( shoulder ) muscles is a great workout that I have been working on in my own personal workouts and also what I teach in my Pilates classes. There are 3 parts to the deltoid; Anterior ( front), Posterior ( back ) and Middle division. In my personal opinion it is hard to target Anterior and Posterior Delts without the Middle Delt taking over or our Trapezius muscle which is a bigger, stronger upper back muscle. This is often why when we do 45 degree angle “Flys” ( Lifting arms straight in front of you in the shape of a “v” while holding hand weights ) the anterior delts get tired very quick and the neck and shoulder muscles must pick up the slack. If you’re not an instructor or trainer you may not know how to feel if you have the right muscles firing. In 45 degree angle flys a lot of people tense their shoulders up to their ears which takes the isolation away from the delts into the trapezius muscles. Also, the belief that you need heavier weight to increase strength in this case, I don’t believe is true. The heavier the weight is will likely cause your larger muscles to recruit to handle the tension. So that Delt exercise becomes a trapezius and rhomboid exercise.  The exercise below is my favourite way to target Anterior delts because you’re lying down on your side allowing your back to be free from the tension that is caused from standing and stabilizing. Also, lying on your side ensures gravity is helping to access posterior delts as well while we go from internal and external rotation with gravity pushing downwards during internal rotation.  If most of that is “jibber jabber” just try this exercise and tell me which muscles you feel screaming at you 😉

Start side lying with either head proper up or lying down on top of a straight arm on the ground, knees bent in on a 90 degree angle in line with the front of your hip bones.

  • Pull the ribs and belly button in towards the spine so that the lower back is flat and core is engaged
  • Using your elbow and hip as a pivot point trying to keep contact with the side of your body or hip bone at all times
  • Choose a Weight : I recommend starting low and seeing how quickly your muscles exhausts. 2 – 8 pounds is all you need! ( 8 being VERY optimistic.. I usually only get some men to use 8lbs )
  • Inhale to begin with the weight on the mat, exhale to lift the weight to the ceiling right over the hip. After 8 repetitions of full range do 8 reps half way down (hip height parallel to ground –  Picture 2 ) then back up to the ceiling. With out a break do it again 8 reps full range (floor to ceiling) immediately followed by 8 reps mid range ( hip height to ceiling)

The front of your shoulder should feel like its burning or about to fall off 😉  Enjoy!

 

 

 

POTION: Hyaluronic Acid

I’m sure you’ve heard of HA as an ingredient in your skin care products and if you haven’t make sure one of yours contains it! Dr Axe Writes ”  Hyaluronic acid is a lubricating, clear substance that’s produced by the body naturally. In the human body, hyaluronic acid is found in the greatest concentrations in the skin, inside joints, within the eye sockets and in other tissues where it helps retain collagen crease moisture, and provide elasticity and flexibility.” Hyaluronic acid has the ability to hold 1000x it’s weight in water keeping your skin hydrated and plumped all day long. It works to keep every aspect of skin stable, protected, constantly renewing and repairing. It’s suitable for all skin types and a great help for those with wrinkles, acne, pigmentation or scars. When I went off birth control last year my skin wrecked havoc on my life. I figured that I needed to use typically boasted acne products with super drying agents to combat the supposed oil production. Little did I know I was doing more harm than good. In most cases our skin just needs to be super hydrated so that it can heal it’s self. If we were to constantly scrub and dry out a wound it takes longer to heal opening the wound over and over again not to mention drying the skin creating longer lasting hyper-pigmentation, deeper scars and/or wrinkles. I use skin care products from Pure and Simple. They are a Toronto made organic skin care brand based on the Ayurvedic philosophy that I absolutely love. Their staff is SO helpful and knowledgeable and they will let you go home with several samples at a time to try out their products. They also keep a record of everything you try or liked/didn’t like.

A little bit about what Pure and Simple stand for:

ABOUT PURE + SIMPLE

Pure + Simple is an all-natural skincare + wellness spa for customers seeking products + services that are consistent with their healthy natural lifestyle.

What we put on our skin is absorbed into our bodies’ circulatory system, meaning it can contribute or detract our overall health. Beauty is a result of good health; that’s why we only carry skincare brands that have safe + natural ingredients. Every product you see on our shelves is free of harmful ingredients like parabens, petrochemicals, silicones, phthalates, sulfates, or synthetic fragrances + dyes.

The Pure + Simple Difference

We’re different, so we love that you’re different too.

We know that everyone’s skin is unique, requiring customized care. What works for one customer may not work for another, + finding the right fit in terms of products or services for each individual is our expertise.

In order to meet our customers’ skincare needs, we carry more than just our own house brands. Purer + Simple is a curator of truly natural skincare products + services. We test out all of our products + services before offering them to our clientele.

We believe that Knowledge is Power, which is why we invest a lot of time in sharing our research + experience in natural beauty with our staff + clients in order to effectively solve skincare + beauty issues. Our skincare philosophy is based on Ayurveda, a holistic health modality from India that emphasizes the relationship between our mind, body, + spirit. We trust that our belief systems, along with our behavior + actions, greatly influence the state of our health + physical appearance. That’s why we strive to live holistic, healthy lives, which positively affects our skin!

Our staff are constantly learning + undergoing training to refine their skills. Our standards for hiring are high, but our standards for growth within the company are higher. That’s why we appreciate all client feedback, as it helps keep us in touch with individual and team progress. If you would like to contribute to our continued improvement, contact us here.

I use these products from Pure and Simple :

Algea Serum

Damage Care

Propolis Cream

All contain a minimum of 80% organic ingredients

 

PROP: Bosu Ball 

The Bosu Ball is a prop used for balance, stability and functional training. “Originally, the name “BOSU” was an acronym for “Both Sides Up.” It meant that the BOSU® Balance Trainer could be used on either side, the dome or the platform.” There are SO many fun ways to incorporate the bosu into your workout and these are just a few! I love how the instability requires you to recruit more muscles to enhance your strength and tone your whole body even more.  Check out their website for more exercise examples!

This one is great for deltoids, triceps and obliques!

Add a little core stability and a wider range of motion 

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back weekly for more!

xx

Amanda and Brit

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.O.W # 8 (Box jumps, Borage oil and Anthony Cheam)

“3 P’s for Optimal Performance and Health”

PHYSICAL: Box Jumps 

We absolutely love box jumps! We all need speed to bring our strength to new levels and box jumps are the quickest way to get explosive, express power and practice landing softly (sound landing mechanics take a lot of core strength, which is great because its easy to forget about keeping our core activated throughout workouts)

Things to be aware of while completing a box jump

  • Feet are flat while landing.
  • Knees stay neutral (they are not pointing out too much or buckling in)
  • Core is engaged.
  • Shoulders back and chest up.
  • When landing on the box, extend the knees and thrust the hips forward.
  • Eyes are always looking forward or up. You never want to be looking down because thats the direction you will go in.
  • Step back down off the box one foot at a time.

We know box jumps can be intimidating, so try practicing first by placing an object on the floor in front of you and jumping over it, tucking your knees in close to your chest. Once you’ve mastered this you should have no problem taking on the box jump!

              

POTION : Borage Oil (GLA oil) 

Borage oil is a natural substance that provides high levels of the fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a strong anti-inflammatory found in certain plant oils.

While gamma-linolenic acid is derived from extracts drawn from the seeds of plants like borage (Borago officinalis) and evening primrose, it’s not found in high amounts in the human diet. Therefore, taking a supplement is the way to go.

Borage oil is one of the most popular natural anti-inflammatory supplements because it has one of the highest amounts of GLA of all seed oils, a total of 23%! Whereas, Primrose only has 9% .

Benefits of using GLA Oil

  • PMS symptoms (I did notice less breast tenderness and skin breakouts but still felt cramping.)

       Bone loss and osteoporosis

  • ADHD Symptoms
  • Menopause symptoms
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Ongoing Fatigue (I have felt less fatigued)
  • Inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Dealing with Stress
  • Managing Diabetes

I have been using Borage Oil (GLA Oil) now for three weeks and I absolutely love it. Some call it a facial in a bottle and I believe it! Stay tuned for future updates.

PERSON : Anthony Cheam (Life Coach, Personal Trainer and Motivational Speaker)

I have known Anthony since I was 14 years old, thats 14 years! When I was 18 he started to train me. However, through working with Anthony I gained so much more than just a fit body. I was inspired, motivated and driven to be a better version of myself every single day. I couldn’t wait for our sessions together because I would always leave with more knowledge than what I came with. He shaped part of the individual that I am today. He is one of the reasons why I became a personal trainer and why I wanted to work with others to help them to be better versions of themselves.

Since I’ve known Anthony he has gone on to write two books, give a TED talk, hosts numerous teaching events about how to be the best version of YOU and SO much more.

Stay tuned for a guest POW from Anthony soon!

You can find all that Anthony does at:

http://anthonycheam.com/

  (Anthonys Book)

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back weekly for more!

xx

Amanda and Brit 

P.O.W #6 Yin yoga, Algae and Wayne Dyer

“3 P’s for Optimal Performance and Health”


PHYSICAL: Yin Yoga 

Yin Yoga is great for all levels. A perfect complement to the dynamic and muscular (yang) styles of yoga (hatha, vinyasa)  that emphasize internal heat, and the lengthening and contracting of our muscles. Yin Yoga generally targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine.

When practicing yin yoga we have the opportunity to tap into our parasympathetic nervous system (our rest and digest system) through pranayama (breathing) A slow, deep, even breath will create a relaxed nervous system, allowing for a calm mind

Initially this style of yoga may seem boring, passive, or soft but yin practice can actually be quite challenging due to the long duration of the poses. We can remain in the postures anywhere from one to twenty minutes! However 3-4 minutes is the go to hold times in most classes, unless you are extremely advanced.

You need to experience yin yoga for yourself to truly see what it is all about.

Namaste 

POTIONS Algae

Benefits of Chlorella

Chlorella is one of the most ancient food plants known on earth. Chlorella floats on the water’s surface soaking up sunshine and converting it into green energy power cells all day long.

Chlorella contains the highest concentration of chlorophyll (a potent green pigment) of any plant on earth.

Chlorella intake has a positive effect on blood cholesterol, blood sugar, appetite control and also has the power to remove toxins from the body.

Benefits of Spirulina

Spirulina is another ancient superfood plant containing an impressive 70% protein content!

Spirulina is also a natural source of minerals, including iron, calcium, and magnesium.

Spirulina contains high levels of B12 and plant-based protein, making it especially perfect for vegetarian and vegan diets.

Spirulina intake reduces blood cholesterol and inflammation.

Spirulina also removes accumulated toxins in the body.

PERSON: Wayne Dyer

Wayne Dyer has been someone Ive looked up to for years now. Reading his books on self improvement have motivated and inspired and I hope they can do the same for you!

“My purpose is to help people look at themselves and begin to shift their concepts,” he said. “Remember, we are not our country, our race, or religion. We are eternal spirits. Seeing ourselves as spiritual beings without label is a way to transform the world and reach a sacred place for all of humanity.”

Dyer was affectionately called the “father of motivation” by his fans.

His main message was “that every person has the potential to live an extraordinary life. What’s more, it’s possible for every person to manifest their deepest desires—if they honour their inner divinity and consciously choose to live from their “Highest Self.”

How are your going to live your most extraordinary life?

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back weekly for more!

xx

Amanda and Brit 

P.O.W # 5 ” Inverting, Organizing and Success”

“3 P’s for Optimal Performance and Health”

 

 

PHYSICAL: Handstand Drills

Lately, we’ve been loving Handstand Drills! These drills are devised to strengthen the muscles needed for solid and stable free standing handstands that we hope to one day achieve (in the near  future). We must understand that things like this take time and continuous effort, but little by little your body (and more importantly your brain) remember each attempt and learn from each session. Handstands require a lot of internal “conversations” to the rest of your body which is also called “Proprioception”.  Rather than mindlessly kicking your feet over your head you must slowly (in your mind) but quickly (in your body) recruit all the necessary muscles to feel the alignment and centre of gravity all at once. Of course, we know when we do squats we need to focus on using our glutes and quads but when we’re inverting (which can be somewhat scary at times) sometimes all we focus on is getting our legs in the air which is just one piece of a handstand but not the whole pie! In these drills we focus on strengthening shoulders, back muscles and abdominals as well as feeling better/safer and more confident while inverted.

Give these a try!

Scissor your legs one at a time off the wall to feel when your feet are over your hips.

Try 10 taps alternating each leg

 

Pike against the wall as close to 90 degrees as you can and hold for as long as you can!

 

PRACTICAL: WunderList App

A great APP that helps make lists easier, and more effective. You can share lists with friends, partners or coworkers so you can both check off what needs to get done and divide who does what . You can also make notes on each list item and reminder timers so you achieve the task by said time – no later. They have a smartphone app and a desktop version so it’s always accessible. It’s helped me daily with work, studying, and even grocery lists which my boyfriend and I can see who got which item in real time so we know when we’re out what there is left to grab. Try it out! It’s free of course so there’s no risk involved, just a more organized you!

WunderList App iTunes

 

 

POSTIVE THOUGHT:

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

-Arnold Schwarzenegger 

You have to fail to become successful, there’s no doubt about it. No one gets into a handstand the first time they try as true as no one becomes a CEO the second they graduate. We can apply this theory to our physical goals as well as to our life and career goals. Patience is key as well as learning from our mistakes and realizing it’s only human to make them.

 

We hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of Health Hacks and Fitness Tips.

Check back weekly for more!

xx

Amanda and Brit