Crystal Kirby-Peloquin

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin

The Sweaty Truth

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin writes The Sweaty Truth fitness column. She is the owner of 204 Lifestyle and CrossFit 204. Email her at crystal@crossfit204.com

Recent articles of Crystal Kirby-Peloquin

Keep things simple this holiday season

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Keep things simple this holiday season

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022

Managing your health and fitness goals during the holiday season can be daunting. There are holiday concerts to attend, baking to be done and enjoyed, and of course endless gifts to purchase. In addition, work and family schedules are jam packed with events, many of which involve food and alcohol.

It might be tempting to hit pause on your workouts and throw all caution to the wind until the New Year, but that would be a mistake. Exercise is a great way to manage your stress and boost your natural immunity during this busy season. Unfortunately, it’s also common to see people drop the fitness habit–and then fail to restart it after the holidays.

Instead of hitting full stop on all things fitness and nutrition, just adapt. This is the best time of the year to focus on keeping things simple. Set small but manageable goals, and then plan ahead to stay on track with these goals until your schedule slows down and you can scale up. You might not get four or five workouts in each week, but if you manage to get two or three, you’re still taking care of yourself. Even one is better than zero!

Do your best to make adjustments that will help you maintain as much momentum as you can. For example, if you normally train in the evenings, you might need to switch to a morning routine or even hit a quick workout on your lunch hour. These changes might affect the duration of the workout or even the style of training. But that’s not a big deal.

Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022

Dreamstime

This holiday season, focus on preparing as many of your meals as possible at home, then give yourself permission to enjoy some holiday treats in moderation.

Never buy another diet book

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Never buy another diet book

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022

Improving nutrition and fitness is all about changing behaviour. As with many things, the mind comes before the body. So, if you’re thinking of buying a new book hyping the latest diet trend or workout program, consider switching courses and purchasing a book that teaches you how to rewire your brain to create new and better habits. That book will pay for itself over and over again because you can apply what you learn to any pursuit.

The same advice applies to the social-media accounts you follow and online content you consume. You can acquire a lot of fitness and nutrition info through your phone, but none of it matters if you just aren’t motivated to change your current habits. The workouts and meal plans you find on the web might be great, but the best workout is the one you’ll actually do. And the best healthy meals are the ones you’ll actually eat regularly. It’s not about information but motivation. So avoid distractions and consume content that helps you focus and move forward.

To make positive changes, start by reflecting on what you’re currently doing. Ask yourself why you keep doing these things, how the actions relate to your goals and why you want to make changes. Then consider how you’ll make your proposed changes stick, what milestones will assure you that you’re on the right track and how you’ll feel when you achieve your goals. This is mindfulness. It’s work for your brain before you start working on the body.

It might seem counterintuitive to concentrate on the mind when your goal is to change your waistline, muscle mass, blood work or anything physical. But many people who struggle to achieve health and fitness goals often don’t address the mental aspect of change.

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022

Dreamstime

If you’re thinking of buying a new book hyping the latest diet trend, consider purchasing one that teaches you how to rewire your brain to create new and better habits.

Beating the gym-membership odds

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Beating the gym-membership odds

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022

Here are two of the top reasons people cancel gym memberships — they don’t get results, or they lose motivation.

You might note the symbiotic relationship between the two. It’s definitely very hard to know which one comes first. Some people train infrequently or incorrectly and get frustrated because the results never come. Others lose motivation before they have a realistic chance of seeing progress. And some people actually make progress but quit because they don’t realize it.

Get this: gyms report that 50 per cent of new members will cancel their memberships within six months. This isn’t great news for gyms or for people who are trying to improve their health and fitness. So, if you’re starting a program, know that the first six months are critical. It’s important to ensure you get results because I believe they create motivation. So, what can you do to be one of the long-haul success stories, not a frustrated former gym member?

First, start where you are and set realistic goals. At the beginning of any new program, motivation is always very high. You’ve decided to make a change, and you’re fired up. You jump right in with workouts and meal plans. But as life gets busy and barriers pop up, it can be increasingly difficult to maintain that level of discipline. A few missed workouts and suddenly you’re off the rails, you feel like a failure, and you question why you even started. The key is setting small goals that will move you toward your major goals. Doing so will allow you to feel a regular sense of accomplishment that will generate new motivation.

Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022

At the beginning of any new gym program, motivation is always very high but gyms report that 50 per cent of new members will cancel their memberships within six months.

Nutrition and the holiday season

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Nutrition and the holiday season

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022

Do you feel like your personal goals take a back seat every year during the October-to-January holiday season?

From Thanksgiving all the way to the New Year, people often struggle to balance health and fitness goals with all the festivities. Many either give up on their goals or exist in a permanent state of stress and shame over perceived failures. Neither option is healthy for you mentally, emotionally or physically.

So what can you do to care for yourself while navigating work functions, social events and family gatherings during the holidays?

First, prioritize movement. Movement is good for you, period. During the busy holiday season, plan your workouts and physical activities the way you would plan other appointments. Note them in your calendar and don’t let anything take precedence over them. That is your time to build and maintain your muscle, get your heart pumping, strengthen your immune system and blow off stress. A high-impact, low-drag habit to use during the holidays is to simply go for a walk after your evening meal. Even if you cannot head outside, do some laps in the house. You can get everyone involved and make it a family habit.

Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022

From Thanksgiving all the way to the New Year, people often struggle to balance health and fitness goals with all the festivities. The best way to approach the season is to plan a course of action — keep active, reserve (and preserve) time for workouts and don’t overdo it.

Can you ‘hack’ your way to fat loss?

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Can you ‘hack’ your way to fat loss?

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2022

“Try this amazing hack to lose 15 pounds in just 15 days!” I bet you’ve seen something like that recently. So, is ‘hacking’ your way to better health possible, or are these promises just scams?

The truth: When a coach or company makes grandiose, too-good-to-be-true claims, you should likely steer clear. Unfortunately, fast fixes and big promises have a significant effect on people. This type of marketing is particularly appealing to folks who are feeling very frustrated by slow or no progress, who have a history of extreme dieting, or who are perhaps overwhelmed at the prospect of making big changes. When you feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing sticks, or when you’re intimidated by a new challenge, a miraculous hack might seem to be just the solution you’re looking for.

I can assure you that these hacks are not all they promise to be. If amazing cures, diets or training plans worked wonders in a few weeks with no effort, obesity wouldn’t exist.

Ready for ‘the real hack’? It’s consistency. We just haven’t discovered an exciting way to market it. And who can be blamed for feeling less than thrilled about the slow-and-steady approach? Eating whole foods, drinking water, and prioritizing sleep and movement are way less sexy than miracle beverages, powders, products and protocols, but they’re incredibly effective.

Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2022

The ‘real’ weight-loss hack is consistency — eating whole foods, drinking water, and prioritizing sleep and movement.

Try resistance bands for training

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Try resistance bands for training

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2022

I love barbells and dumbbells, but I also love resistance bands for training my arms. They change every movement, and they’re relatively cheap. These thick rubber bands come in a variety of lengths and widths to offer different levels of resistance, and they don’t take up any space.

Bands are great for training with high reps. I prefer barbells and dumbbells when I go heavy and train my arms with sets of five to eight, but I love bands when I’m doing two or three sets of about 10 to 12 reps. They bring the burn! You can use bands for leg training, too, but you might need thicker bands because leg muscles are very strong.

Interested in training with bands? You can find them at most fitness shops or online. Some have handles, and some are continuous loops. Find a band that will offer enough resistance that your muscles are working hard between 10 and 12 reps. You might get a few models you can use for different movements. If you visit a local store, ask the salesperson if you can try a few repetitions to ensure you have the right band.

You can do band training every second day or so. I wouldn’t perform the same movements on two consecutive days. Give your muscles time to recover. For example, you can train your arms one day, then your shoulders the next. That’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but try to make sure you aren’t doing the same workouts two days in a row. If you’re very sore all over, take a rest day and go for a light jog instead.

Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2022

Resistance bands are great for exercises involving lots of repetitions, and they can be used many different ways.

Fall into taking more steps

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Fall into taking more steps

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022

Walking is one of the best things for your health and fitness. As summer winds down and the weather begins to cool, now would be a great time to ask yourself if you should add more movement to your day.

I’ve written about the benefits of walking and sleeping here before. Today, we’re going to dive into how you might begin a new fall walking program.

Walking is free, it’s low impact, and you can do it with little to no fitness apparel. Even on days when you’re busy with work or family, you can usually squeeze in a 10- or 15-minute trek. Walking not only helps with physical fitness but also mental and emotional health. It’s a great way to manage stress.

The first step is simply to start where you are. If you haven’t been doing any movement, don’t set an aggressive goal of walking for an hour on Day 1. Your body needs to adapt to new exercise, just as it does with anything else. You will need your joints and muscles to adjust to your new activity level, so take it slow. You can begin with a timed effort of five, 10 or 15 minutes. Or you can set a distance such as 1,000 metres – or anything else that’s reasonable.

Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022

Licks, nibbles and sips — they all count

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Licks, nibbles and sips — they all count

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022

With nutrition, one thing is clear — there’s no “perfect diet” that works for everyone. Each person’s nutrition needs are unique. So, when it comes to setting goals with fitness and food, personal preference, diet history, lifestyle, food allergies and other factors come into play.

For some people who set goals of losing weight or body fat, tracking protein, fat and carbohydrate intake is the right plan. “Macronutrient tracking” is a more precise way to manage calorie intake and, very importantly, the composition of one’s diet. The goal isn’t to just hit a certain number of calories. It’s to measure the caloric breakdown about protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The key is precision.

This type of plan can generate results because it’s very precise. If you do it right, you’ll know exactly what you’re consuming. But sometimes people will experience little to no success using the macro-tracking approach. As a nutrition coach, I see some common mistakes. One of the biggest is not counting the mindless “licks, nibbles and sips” throughout the day. You know what I mean — licking the knife that’s full of peanut butter, pouring “one tablespoon” of cream that’s really two, and so on. These are just a few examples of how unconscious consumption of calorically dense foods and beverages can add an extra 100 to 200 untracked calories back into your day.

Any nutrition plan involving numbers depends on accuracy, so not accounting for these extras can prevent you from getting to your goals. With enough extra untracked food and drink, you can easily find yourself back at your original caloric intake — or maybe you’ll even reach a higher number. This can be very frustrating because it still feels like you’re doing a lot of hard work, but you aren’t getting any results.

Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022

Yes, even the ketchup you put on your fries, now matter how much, should be accounted for if you are tracking calories. It can add up very fast.

Nutrition for ‘the littles’ in your life

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Nutrition for ‘the littles’ in your life

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022

If you’re a parent, you might worry about your kids’ nutrition — especially if they are picky eaters. Are they eating enough? Are they eating too much? Is the food “healthy”? Will they like what you serve? What do you do on those super busy days when time is short? And you might not be the only one feeding your kids. School programs, daycares, grandma and grandpa, and other care providers might also be in the mix. Feeding kids can be incredibly stressful for everyone.

Every family will have its own routines, as well as other variables including income, food security and family traditions. All this will affect how you approach nutrition.

Here are a few general tips, to reduce your stress, narrow your focus and keep it simple for you and your kids:

Do your best to eat meals together. This is a great way to connect as a family and enjoy food. If you can make it happen, get everyone to put their screens away. This can help kids eat mindfully instead of wolfing while watching. TVs and tablets can make the experience less interactive and might short-circuit hunger and fullness cues if kids are fixated on their favourite shows and not their food.

Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022

Having a set schedule of family meals can help prevent meltdowns throughout the day, and kids tend to thrive with routines.

Keep it simple with kettlebell training

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Keep it simple with kettlebell training

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, Jul. 20, 2022

How much money do you need to spend on fitness equipment to stay in shape at home? Honestly, not very much. In fact, it would be a mistake to avoid starting a new fitness routine because you think you don’t have enough gear for a great workout.

You can get fit without any gear at all but buying a few items will spice up your routine and allow you to build strength faster. News aggregators have been serving up articles about kettlebells lately, so here’s the info you need to use an implement that gives you a lot of bang for your buck.

A kettlebell is basically a chunk of metal with a handle on it. It takes up very little space, and it’s incredibly versatile. Kettlebells retail for about $2 a pound, and they’re available in increments, usually from five pounds to 80 pounds or more. You can use a kettlebell to train your whole body with deadlifts, squats, swings, snatches, cleans, presses, carries and many more movements.

Kettlebells work very well with different training styles, too. They’re perfect for both strength training and conditioning or workouts that combine both elements. High-intensity interval workouts, bodybuilding workouts or functional fitness workouts can all be done with a kettlebell.

Wednesday, Jul. 20, 2022

Going to the lake on vacation? Bring your kettlebell and grab some sweat sessions on the beach

Getting thrifty with grocery shopping

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Getting thrifty with grocery shopping

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2022

Are you feeling some hunger pangs from rising food costs? A recent study conducted by Mainstreet Research found that nearly a quarter of Canadians are eating less than they should because their food budgets are exhausted. Many other people are looking for ways to make each dollar go further.

To help you spend less at the grocery store, I’ve got a few shopping hacks for you this week.

Shop for no-name itemsBrands pay a lot of money to become your go-to choice — but in times like this, it’s worth comparing prices. Did you know that many no-name or house-brand items are 30 per cent cheaper than name brands?

For example, at one local grocer you can find brand-name, pulp-free orange juice priced at $5.39 for 1.54 litres. The same size in the house brand is regularly $4.29 and was on sale for $3.49 at the time this article was written. That’s a saving of almost $2 on just one item.

Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2022

There are many ways to save money when grocery shopping. Chief among them is staying disciplined.

Summer snack attacks

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Summer snack attacks

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Friday, Jun. 17, 2022

Summer barbecues and potlucks, weekends at the cabin, days at the beach, and nights on the patio are summer standards. We all look forward to the eight weeks of warm weather and try to make the most of every day in a short Manitoba summer. But a sneaky summer habit can be tough to turn around come fall — mindless snacking.

Will you ever find yourself at the bottom of a bag of chips after a beer on the deck? Or maybe you go to family barbecues hungry and fill up on crackers and dip before the main course is served. Inclined to nab a cookie from the box on the counter as you head to the dock or wolf down a handful of nuts as you chat with a friend? Things like this are very common, and when you add in drinking and socializing, the total intake often doesn’t match up with our health and fitness goals.

Snacking can absolutely be part of a balanced diet. Thoughtfully planned snacks help fuel you, maintain your energy and meet your fitness goals. It’s the unplanned, mindless, high-volume snacking that can really derail you.

Just like you plan your meals, plan your snacks ahead of time. Make it part of your routine. Add your favourite snacks to your grocery list and plan when you’ll have them — even and especially on summer weekends. If you follow this plan, you’ll get to enjoy foods you actually like instead of filling up just by reaching for something “because it’s there” or because it’s offered to you. Even better, if you know what you’ll snack on, you can balance it with nutritious food at your meals during the day.

Friday, Jun. 17, 2022

It can be too easy to over-indulge on unhealthy snacks while socializing during summer. With planning, though, you can enjoy them without overdoing it.

Reset your routine, rediscover fun

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Reset your routine, rediscover fun

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 8, 2022

Have you lost that loving feeling for your workouts and fitness routine? Don’t worry — you can get it back before it totally slips away. Here’s how to do it:

First and foremost, we have to make fitness fun if we want to rekindle the fire. “Fun” means something different for everyone, and you’ll need to figure out what creates sparks for you. Seek out novelty and try new things. Perhaps you always played rec sports and did weight training, but that got stale. Maybe your new plan will benefit from things like yoga and spin classes. If you just don’t feel fired up to jump back into something, now’s the time to explore the world of fitness and discover things that motivate you.

The good news is that you have so many options to choose from, including amazing group classes, personalized coaching, at-home training, and fun general summer activities such as running and golfing. Consider this a “reset” period and explore. Ever wanted to try rock climbing? Wondering what happens at a cycle studio? Curious about pickleball or other increasingly popular sports? Now’s the time to try out some new forms of movement.

As you look for new activities or perhaps re-engage with old ones, it’s important to avoid thinking about what you “should do” or “supposed to do.” You might not be good at a new activity right away, or maybe you’ve fallen behind in an old pursuit. That’s OK. If you’re moving again, you’re grooving. Don’t downplay your effort to climb the learning curve or beat yourself up over lost progress. Something is better than nothing, and if you’re enjoying movement again, that’s a huge win. Roll with it and progress will come.

Wednesday, Jun. 8, 2022

Switching things up and trying something new, like spin classes, may help you regain your love for moving and fitness workouts.

Don’t be afraid to mix it up this summer

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Don’t be afraid to mix it up this summer

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, May. 25, 2022

A Manitoba summer is almost upon us, and we all know it won’t last long. It’s been a long, cold winter, and, for some people, staying inside to work out just isn’t an option after six months indoors. People are itching to get outside, sit on a patio and just soak up some much-deserved sunshine. So what does this mean for your fitness?

To stay on track, you should look for ways to take your training outside. Working out doesn’t have to be a strict regimen of three sets of eight reps three times a week under fluorescent lights in a gym. You can absolutely “double down” and get moving outside. Doing so will help you stay fit and shake off cabin fever.

Walking, running and hiking are excellent and accessible ways to work on your fitness. Manitoba has no shortage of paths and trails to explore during the summer. You can do a brisk walk on a lunch hour, run some stairs behind the Legislature or head into the woods for a weekend of trail hiking. Many of my clients add resistance by wearing weight vests or carrying some dumbbells as they walk. If you have a backpack, throw in some books and use that. This is a low-barrier way to add strength training to your outdoor fitness. When I just don’t feel like another day in the gym, I’ll often throw on a vest and walk in nature. It recharges me.

You can also rest assured that yard work can help you maintain fitness. Think of wheelbarrows, garden stones, lawn mowers and other “odd objects” that require physical effort to move. Digging flower beds, moving bags of dirt, chopping wood — they all train your entire body. And if you’re outside absorbing some vitamin D at the same time, you’re winning all around.

Wednesday, May. 25, 2022

Did you know the average person burns 350-450 calories an hour pushing a mower? Pushing, pulling, lifting or moving something is great “real-world fitness training.”

The messy middle

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The messy middle

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, May. 11, 2022

When it comes to fitness and nutrition, extremes are very marketable — but they aren’t helpful for the average person.

Have you ever noticed that social-media media platforms are full of popular lifestyle accounts that rely on dogmatic thinking, black-and-white statements and outlandish practices? When it comes to attracting likes and followers, it seems that the more extreme you are, the better.

My problem with these accounts is that they rarely help people. Instead of using their platforms to meet people where they are and help them with their goals, their owners try to convince people that they are absolutely right. And there is no room for questions or debate. These folks will use anecdotal evidence to support their viewpoints and products. Or they will cherry-pick data from studies that support their claims and conveniently ignore anything that raises questions. This kind of thing is rampant in the wellness, fitness and diet industries, and it confuses people who are looking for guidance and support.

Check out some of these inflammatory statements, which are very common on social media: “You can only consume meat; vegetables will kill you,” “Cut out all dairy because you weren’t meant to eat it,” “Sugar is worse than cocaine,” “If you watch what you eat, you’re on the road to an eating disorder.” Or how about these two: “No pain, no gain” and “This style of training is the only way to get the body you want.”

Wednesday, May. 11, 2022

You don’t need to run marathons in the desert or go to any other extremes in order to be a fit person.

How long does it take see changes?

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How long does it take see changes?

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 27, 2022

People start new fitness routines for many different reasons. Here are just a few — improved cardiovascular health, increased muscle mass and strength and better body composition. If the latter is your goal, you’re likely looking to lose fat, and you probably want to know when you can expect to see changes.

The answer absolutely depends on the individual. There is no set timeline, and everyone will progress differently. Maintaining muscle mass while losing body fat requires a slow and steady approach that involves a blend of healthy eating and fitness training.

Depending on where you start your journey, the weekly changes can be very noticeable or seemingly nonexistent. Even if you feel like the changes are absent or slow in coming, staying the course is the best plan. It’s a long game, and you can navigate the journey with some simple but effective strategies.

Focus on how you feelWe often feel positive changes before visible results appear. More energy, better sleep, better workouts and an improved sense of well-being are just a few “internal signs of success.” Even if you’re ultimately after six-pack abs, don’t discount less obvious milestones. In fact, these smaller successes will likely keep you going long after you accomplish your main goal. Looking great but feeling terrible isn’t a sustainable long-term plan. But who doesn’t appreciate a great night of sleep and a wealth of energy? As you work toward your physical goals, be mindful of how you feel, too.

Wednesday, Apr. 27, 2022

Even if you don’t see results in the mirror right away, there are other ways to measure the progress of your fitness routine.

Four habits to help sustain weight loss

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Four habits to help sustain weight loss

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 13, 2022

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that lasting changes in health and fitness are rooted in behaviour modification. New year’s resolutions, fad diets and short-term commitments seldom produce sustainable results because people often go right back to their old patterns. Those who experience long-term success break bad habits and completely replace them with new healthy habits.

So what should you focus on to help make permanent positive changes?

I have four simple but very effective healthy habits you should consider implementing if you haven’t already.

Keep a regular meal scheduleConsistency is essential for lasting success. So structure and routine will help you stay on track when it comes to food. Grocery shopping, meal planning and eating at similar times will stop you from hitting the drive-through or the vending machine. The good news is that as you dig these habits into your life, they’ll be easier and easier to maintain. In fact, making less healthy choices will become increasingly difficult.

Wednesday, Apr. 13, 2022

Turning screens off, eating mindfully and enjoying conversation with others is a good mealtime habit.

Two most underrated tools to improve health

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Two most underrated tools to improve health

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2022

The fitness and nutrition industry can make people dizzy with complicated programs and advice, but the truth is it’s the simple stuff that works. Some of the most powerful health-improvement tools fly under the radar but are actually very accessible to everyone for free.

Before you buy a new supplement or try a new fad diet you heard about, check in with yourself and make sure you have absolutely nailed these basics. If you haven’t, ask yourself why. And then get a plan in place to start. If you do, you’ll save money, feel better and establish some fundamental healthy habits that will serve you no matter what your goals are.

WalkingDo you know how many steps you take in a day? Non-exercise activity is very underrated. We often focus on burning calories in the gym but tend to ignore the other 23 hours in the day. Your time in the gym is best spent building muscle and performing movements you enjoy. Outside the gym, evaluate how much you are sitting. Do you have a desk job? Do you head home, pop on Netflix and call it a day?

You cannot offset eight hours of sitting with a one-hour workout. The goal needs to be more small pockets of movement throughout the day. In particular, moving after meals has been shown to improve digestion, blood-sugar management and even mood. Use a smart watch, wearable tech or your phone to see how many steps you’re currently taking. A great goal is 10,000 steps a day. But if you’re currently well below that, the goal is to progressively add more to whatever total you’re logging now. Look at your schedule for the day and plan to get up and move every hour or so. See how much you can improve.

Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2022

Ditch the comparisons

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Ditch the comparisons

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 16, 2022

“Comparison is the thief of joy,” Theodore Roosevelt said. Even if we remember that, comparison is often a measuring stick we use to gauge personal success. When we do that, it’s easy to lose any satisfaction we have with our current circumstances because some others are always further ahead. And the real kicker is that our comparisons are now often based on other people’s highlight reels, as shown on social media. Who can possibly measure up?

Comparison isn’t all bad, but it should be managed and kept in perspective — especially when it comes to fitness. In some cases, it can be damaging to compare yourself to others: “I’ll never be able to do that.” But in other cases, you can find inspiration in someone else’s struggles and successes: “What an inspiring role model!”

The key is to recognize when comparison is holding you back and when it’s helping you move forward.

Own your journeyDo you ever find yourself deep in a social-media “doom scroll” and feel bad about yourself? If so, evaluate why. What made you seek out images, accounts or stories that tanked your self-esteem? And why did you keep scrolling? Did you just have a workout where you lifted less than you wanted to? Did you eat something and feel ashamed about it? In situations like this, checking in to see how other people are doing in the gym or kitchen might not be the best plan. Instead, focus on yourself and ditch the comparisons.

Wednesday, Mar. 16, 2022

Comparing yourself to others isn’t a healthy way of measuring your fitness success.

Slow and steady wins the race this spring

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Slow and steady wins the race this spring

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Monday, Feb. 28, 2022

Given the incredible amounts of snow we’ve had recently, it’s hard to imagine spring is on the way. But the truth is the first day of spring is March 20, and warmer temperatures are coming. If you’ve been hunkered down all winter, it’s very likely you’ll be itching to get moving.

Before you “spring” into action, consider making a plan to ease into more movement. If you’ve been very inactive, too much activity too soon could sideline you. For the best results, you want to incrementally increase your activity – and now is the time to do that so you can take full advantage of the nice days ahead.

A few years ago, I bought a new bike and didn’t take my own advice. I just started riding long distances every day. Even though I had worked out regularly all winter, my body wasn’t ready to ride 50 kilometres at maximum effort right away. Some nagging knee pain due to an extreme increase in cycling convinced me to dial things back and then work up to long, hard rides.

Here’s an all-too-common scenario: A recreational athlete pulls a hamstring in the first softball game of the year and misses six weeks of the season.

Monday, Feb. 28, 2022

Dreamstime.com
If you’re looking forward to enjoying your favourite outdoor activities when all this snow finally melts, you should slowly ramp up your fitness levels now.

Balance is best when taking a fitness break

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Balance is best when taking a fitness break

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Monday, Feb. 14, 2022

If you take a week off from the gym, do you think you’ll lose all your progress? Or if you’re planning to stop training over a month-long holiday, do you think your hard-won gains will still be there when you return to your routine?

Before you decide to take a hiatus on health, here’s the sweaty truth: If you decide to stop training, you can expect to lose some progress. But the erosion of fitness doesn’t happen in a day or even a few days. You absolutely don’t need to go crazy if you miss a workout or two. Similarly, a week-long holiday isn’t the end of the world, especially if you stay generally active while you’re out of the gym.

But it’s a mistake to take an extended layoff from training and movement. In two to four weeks of inactivity, you’ll notice lower levels of fitness. If that period stretches into several months, you’ll notice more extreme declines. Fitness researchers have identified these time frames, and I’ve definitely observed them in my years as a coach.

I’ve seen some people take well-deserved week-long vacations filled with activities and come back without missing a beat. Others have taken slightly more time off to “fly and flop,” and they’ve had to work harder to regain momentum in the gym. Some people have taken a month or more off training and activity, and they were very disheartened to find that they had lost significant levels of strength and conditioning.

Monday, Feb. 14, 2022

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Taking a well-deserved beach vacation? Don’t sweat losing some fitness but don’t overdo the all-inclusive package and expect to pick up where you left off.

Adjust your goals to your situation

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Preview

Adjust your goals to your situation

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022

“I feel like I’m failing with my nutrition right now.”

Does that sound familiar? Below are three easy ideas to help you adjust your nutrition and fitness goals so you can find success if it’s a stressful or challenging time for you.

This doesn’t mean you’re giving up on long-term goals. It means you’re recognizing that your situation has changed, and you’re going to adapt to current conditions so you can find success until your stress abates and you can get back to normal.

Try these three tips for success:

Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022

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One of the biggest obstacles to achieving fitness goals is being unwilling to adapt when circumstances warrant. If things are tough, relax and readjust.

Don’t get lost in the supermarket

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Preview

Don’t get lost in the supermarket

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022

Do you struggle in the grocery store when trying to make the right decisions for your health and fitness?

You aren’t alone. It’s not uncommon to see people work really hard in the gym but spin their wheels in the store and the kitchen. We spend more time outside the gym than in it, so we need to support our hard work with solid food choices.

Many people spout advice about food, so things often become overly complicated. Below, I’ll give you some simple concepts to help make your next trip to the grocery store a little easier. We’ll stay away from contentious areas and stick to general practices that apply no matter what your “food philosophy” is.

Plan your meals for the week before you go shopping

Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022

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Planning ahead is the key to healthy grocery shopping.

You don’t have to be perfect; just active

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Preview

You don’t have to be perfect; just active

Crystal Kirby-Peloquin 3 minute read Monday, Dec. 20, 2021

Every January, people flock to the gym in droves, determined to make this the year they finally prioritize their health. They clean out the fridge, toss out the booze and holiday leftovers, and get on “the plan.” Unfortunately, few succeed. By late February or early March, many have reverted back to their old eating patterns, and their gym memberships have been cancelled.

So what are successful people doing to stay on track month after month?The truth is there is no secret beyond commitment to an active lifestyle. Six-week and three-month

transformations are sexy and enticing, and new year’s resolutions are de rigueur. But real success isn’t found in dramatic short-term “solutions” but in small changes that compound over time to create a healthy lifestyle.

As you prepare to tackle your health and fitness goals in 2022, keep these two simple suggestions in mind:

Monday, Dec. 20, 2021

Dreamstime.com
When it comes to making fitness plans for the new year, don't sweat being perfect. Worry more about just doing better, as the process will be gradual.