As we near the first day of Spring, our feelings towards the winter weather tend to loosen up. We've made it through the worst months known for the unforgiving weather, and by this point, we're daydreaming about those warm, sunny days. Soon, we'll be tucking away those wool socks and swapping them out for sandals, ditching the jeans and thick sweaters for shorts and tank tops... that sounds really nice until you try on said shorts and tank top only to realize they seem to fit a bit more snug than you remember from last year. If that's the case, have no fear, you've caught yourself in time to be able to drop some weight healthily so that when it's time to step out in those shorts, you'll be feeling maybe even better than you did last year. It all begins with making simple, but effective changes. Everyone leads busy lives, and here at Nexus, we get that. By operating as a 24-hour training facility, we hope that it helps our members to be able to make time for the gym, whenever their schedules can allow it. While staying reasonably active is one way to drop some pounds, making some healthier alternatives to the foods you may be eating already is a simple and effective way to kick-start your summer body.
Veggies and Dip:
If you find yourself snacking on veggies and dip and still can't seem to notice a difference – take a look at the nutritional label and see what the fat contents are in your dip. Often, cream based dips are loaded with fat and don't offer that much nutritional value. Hummus is a fantastic alternative to veggies and dips and also contains a lot more protein (and less fat) compared to traditional vegetable dips. You can find hummus in a variety of flavours, like original, roasted red pepper, garlic, and sweet potato that we are sure anyone can find a hummus that best suits their tastebuds! If you still insist on a cream based dip, opt for selections that have greek yogurt in them to increase your protein intake; this tends to lower the amount of fat you consume as Greek yogurt is typically lower in fat and offers more protein per serving than regular dips.
Another healthier swap in your diet is ditching the beloved sour cream. I know, taco night is coming up and what will you use as a substitute that won't make you feel as though you're missing out, or depriving yourself?! The answer, my friends, is plain greek yogurt. Yes, I agree with the majority that on its own, plain Greek yogurt is very bitter tasting. But, used as a substitute for sour cream, you will hardly notice the difference! It still offers that creamy taste that goes perfectly with tex mex cheese and salsa while providing yourself with less fat and (depending on which greek yogurt you choose) fewer calories per serving as well. You'll be eating more protein without even realizing it! Don't stop at taco night for making the switch; if you're into baking and a recipe calls for sour cream, swap it out 1:1 for plain Greek yogurt. This minor adjustment will hardly make a difference in the final taste while treating yourself to some freshly baked goodness.
Pre-Packaged Oatmeal Packets:
We understand that convenience is key to eating healthier, but you may unintentionally be eating way more sugar than you wanted. If you like your morning oatmeal and use those pre-packaged flavoured oatmeal packs, have a look at the sugar contents. A simple and cost-effective tip is buying a bag of old-fashioned oatmeal (not quick oats either as these are processed). You can prepare your breakfast ahead of time, cut up fresh apples or berries and throw in some cinnamon for an equally delicious breakfast. If the sweetness is not quite there yet, try drizzling honey on top instead of sugar as it is a more natural form of sugar than processed. The only thing you will need to do in the morning is boil water and pour over the bowl, let sit for a couple of minutes and enjoy as you normally would!
If you are an orange juice lover, well, we've got some bad news for you. A typical grocery store orange juice contains 24 grams of sugar per serving – twice the amount found in an orange. Try switching to an orange and reap the benefits, aside from its natural vitamin C, you will also be getting an extra 3 grams of fiber while reducing your daily sugar intake right from the start of your day.
You know where I'm going with this one. Bacon, while I admit is delicious, is killing your attempts at having a summer body. It is high in fat and sodium, which leaves you feeling bloated and lethargic for the rest of the day. If you insist on having eggs and bacon for breakfast, have no fear, there is a healthier alternative! Many grocery stores offer regular pork bacon, but there is also turkey and chicken bacon available too! Turkey bacon is a leaner option by providing 25 fewer calories than pork bacon and has less sodium per serving. If you're curious to learn more about pork bacon versus turkey bacon, click here.
A better option would be to ditch the bacon altogether as it is not a lean cut of meat. Instead, fry up some chicken with mushrooms, onions, and spices along with your eggs for an equally full flavoured breakfast that could become your new favourite.
There's nothing like a good plate of pasta, but are you eating enough vegetables in your day? Next time you're planning a pasta night, consider using spaghetti squash or zucchini as a substitute! Many adults are not meeting the recommended daily dietary intake of vegetables, and by replacing pasta with vegetables, you can eat more food and worry less about your caloric intake for the meal. According to an article in Readers Digest, squash contains 42 calories per cooked cup compared to 221 calories per cup with pasta. By switching to squash over pasta you will also be reducing the number of carbs per serving – squash only contains 10 grams to traditional pasta's 43 grams of carbs per serving while also giving you an extra helping of nutrients such as vitamins A and C and antioxidants lutein and zeananthin. If you are a lasagna lover but aren't quite sure how to make this classic dish healthier, try slicing the zucchini to mimic the length and thickness of regular lasagna noodles for an easy swap. Here is a recipe that I have personally used, and have loved! It is a definite must, especially if you are still looking for a good hearty meal to get you through the cooler days.
If you're not so good with your knife skills and are still looking for fun ways to cook with zucchini, a spiralizer is the best option. Many big box stores such as Walmart, Canadian Tire and Bed Bath and Beyond carry these fun kitchen gadgets offered at affordable prices.
A valued Nexus member
Going to the gym is all about losing weight, right? WRONG! But for some reason that is still the #1 reason most people are in there. In case you need a reminder, I compiled a short list of reasons that have nothing to do with losing weight, but they’re just as important!
Right off the bat let get into the best one, endorphins! Endorphins are neurotransmitters (chemicals that pass signals from one neuron to the next) and interact with receptors in your brain that reduce perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling in the body. In turn, these endorphins can assist in diminishing anxiety and depression, boost self-esteem and improve sleep! That runner’s high isn’t just in your head… well it is, but chemically.
2. Managing stress will be a breeze
This one goes along with the #1, but I thought it deserved its own category, stress. With our lives in our palm we are always connected, jobs are no longer 9am – 5pm because you can work from home and there is a constant social obligation to always be available via text and social media. This takes a toll on our health including our sleep, mood, immune system, etc. Students are being hit with stress now more than ever as well, 90% of students reported feeling overwhelmed or panicked about their workload, while 50% of those students felt straight up hopeless. Stress is an inevitable part of life, and we may not be able to eliminate it, but using exercise to manage stress is one of your best options. Even 10 minutes of exercise can be enough to trigger endorphins making it an ideal coping mechanism.
3. Running around with your (or your friends’) kids will be easier
It’s always a blow to the self-esteem when an 8-year-old asks you to play tag and you can only last 5 minutes without getting winded. Seriously, I would give anything to have the energy that my niece has. By exercising you’ll increase your aerobic capacity, which means they might be the first one to call it quits next time.
4. Summer is in 3 months
Now I know what you’re thinking, “this blog wasn’t supposed to be about losing weight, so why is this summer deadline important”? Well, I don’t mean that in terms of getting the perfect summer bod in time, but along with the heat comes bbqs, vacations and ice cold drinks (did somebody say mojitos?). It’s easy to give into temptation and fall off track, but by starting your fitness journey today, you’ll be better equipped to say no to the summertime indulgences. Additionally, this gives you 3 months to solidify your routine so that it’s easier to schedule your gym time once summer hits. This will allow you to feel confident while workout at home or outside if need be while on vacation. That family hike or friends baseball tournament won’t seem too intimidating now either, and a beach confident body will just be an added bonus.
At the end of the day it is all going to come down to your specific reason for choosing to live a healthier lifestyle.
What is your motivation to get your butt to the gym?
Email me and let me know!
Nexus Health and Training Personal Trainer
So you may have seen some postings around the facility lately referring to: “The Nexus Culture.”
You may even say to yourself, “what is this? It looks like a list of rules!”
And no, it’s not just a list of rules. Let me explain.
Firstly, culture is important to any business, workplace, or team that truly wishes to be successful. It is, as defined by Merriam-Webster, the “sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguishes one group from another”.
You see, culture can make or break someone’s experience. Just imagine having dinner at a restaurant where the tables are always dirty, the food always arrives cold, and the person sitting at the next booth steals your fork midway through the meal. It would be terrible. It’s a very different experience when you have dinner at a place that is clean, organized, and respectful.
That first restaurant has a negative culture, and I’d take a stab in the dark to say you’d not want to go back to that place. Here at Nexus, we want to establish, and maintain an extremely positive and, dare I say it, a culture of awesomeness.
Why? Well, if you ask me, culture is what makes a place MORE than just a place.
And we want Nexus to be MORE than just a gym for you. We want it to be YOUR gym. We want you to feel a sense of pride being a member, and we want you to make the most out of your membership here.
But in order to do that, we need to establish the things that are important to us as Nexus Members. And we need to do those things unwaveringly. Culture is set by what you tolerate, so please subscribe to these items, and don’t tolerate any less. This is the Nexus Culture:
1. All outdoor footwear in the lobby and, 2. Indoor shoes only
This one has to do with facility cleanliness. All we ask is that the shoes that you wear outside, at work, at home, or wherever ARE NOT the same shoes that you work out in. Rubberized floor mats are hard to clean at the best of times, let alone when people are tracking in salt, gravel, and all sorts of other things. Please change your shoes in the lobby before entering the training areas.
3. Must sign in every visit
Seeing as you enter the gym through the front door anyway, please sign-in/swipe-in every time. It’s important for liability reasons, not to mention, we want to know you were here crushing it! So please sign in every time you enter the facility.
4. Re-Rack Weights Seriously. If you are strong enough to move all the weights around, and lift them repetitively for sets, I’d be willing to bet that you are strong enough to put them back when you are done. Imagine getting to a squat rack 30 seconds after Snatch World Record Holder Lasha Talakhaze. Would you want to put his 478 lbs of weights away before you do your set? I doubt it. Plus, people like Lasha ALWAYS put their weights away. Be like Lasha. Put your weights away.
5. Don’t Drop Weights This is a biggie. Equipment costs money, and as such, we want to maintain it in the best condition possible. If you want to throw weights around, or drop them at the end of the set – learn how to properly Olympic lift with bumper plates. Or use the medicine balls, sleds, tires, and ropes. Heck, we’ll even teach you how. These things are meant to be thrown around a bit. On the other hand, cable machines, steel dumbbells, and steel weight plates are not designed to be dropped at the end of the set. Remember, dropping weights doesn’t tell us how strong you are, it tells us that you are projecting a bigger ego that you are able to lift. Don’t be that person. Take care of the equipment.
6. Sanitize Equipment After Use This should go without saying. Nexus provides towels and spray throughout the facility. Please use them. There is nothing worse than sitting down on a bench to start a set . . . and feeling someone else’s sweat on your back. Yuck. Please be courteous and wipe things down.
7. Put Away Equipment After Use This is similar to re-racking weights. If you use a piece of equipment, that is awesome. We are happy to see people making use of what is provided. But don’t leave it out when you are done. As a general rule, you should leave the gym in BETTER condition than you found it. If everyone does this, think of how clean our gym will be. Amazing.
8. Proper Gym Attire Wearing proper gym attire is important. Having clothes you can move in, and sweat in can make a difference in your training. Please don’t wear work clothes, or other clothing while using the facility.
9. Fragrance-Free When you go to the gym, don’t over use the body spray, strong scented deodourant, and other scented products. Some people have allergies and sensitivities to these things, so we just ask that you be courteous and don’t smell like a Giorgio Armani sample booth while you work out.
10. Be Respectful This is the big one. All of these rules can be summarized by this. If you are being respectful towards other members, you should be doing all of these things. And if you are being respectful to the other members, they will surely in turn be respectful back.
11. Don’t Bring Non-Members In If you have a friend who wants to try to place out, that is awesome. But don’t sneak them into the facility. Please respect your fellow paying members, and use proper guest passes, or have your friends join and become members too.
Remember, as I said earlier, the culture you see is a byproduct of what you tolerate. If all Members buy into these simple rules, that becomes the culture.
Let’s do things the right way, get your Grit Grind on and make Nexus YOUR gym.
Be an active member in the Nexus Culture.
Blaine Cressman, B.Sc, R. Kin
Personal Trainer, Nexus Health and Training
As we near the end of February, hockey players are pushing their bodies to the limits by trying to stay on top of their game for the playoffs. These players are physically and mentally exhausted from grinding it out all season long to get their team to where they are now. With the typical hockey season starting in September, training should really a be a year-long ordeal to keep up with the physical demands of the sport - but we will leave that topic for another post! That's why we're sharing these 5 ways hockey players can stay in the game during this stressful time!
The 5 ways Hockey Players (and all athletes) can "Stay In The Game":
1. Proper Nutrition
Proper Nutrition plays a crucial part in a hockey players performance on and off the ice. Not eating properly can work your body into the ground and can be tough to recover from. This starts with the most important meal of the day, Breakfast.
Eating a sizeable breakfast first thing in the morning is very important as your body likely hasn't gotten any food since your dinner the night before. But don't dive into the Frosted Flakes or Corn Pops just yet, your body is in need of a variety of foods containing proteins, carbohydrates and fats to restore your body and prepare you for the day ahead. And let's not forget about water, a good bench mark to figure out how much water you might need is to take your bodyweight, divide by 2 and that will be approximately your daily intake in ounces. For example: 180lbs / 2 = 80oz daily water intake.
80oz = about 2.4 liters. When it's game day, you will likely be consuming around 4 liters per day.
Below is a breakfast example that will give you the nutrition you need for your day:
1 Slice of whole wheat rye toast
After your game and/or workout, don't forget to have a serving of protein powder. Protein powder comes in many forms, and the most common 3 are whey, soy, and casein. Aim for 25-30 grams of protein (That will also be a future post!)
Click here for a chocolate peanut butter protein bar recipe!
Getting enough sleep every single night is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle, let alone for a hockey player.
Aim for a solid 8 hours every night if possible and try your best to get into a routine of heading to bed around the same time every night. If that isn't possible, consider incorporating short naps throughout your day when you can, a 15-minute snooze can give you a great boost when you need it!
Everybody hears that stretching is important, but time and time again it gets neglected and pushed aside leaving an athlete tight and sore. Doing a full body stretch each day is very important for overall health, it will improve your performance in all physical activities you perform throughout the day. Stretching will also decrease your risk of injuries, help your joints move properly and enable your muscles to perform effectively.
Click here for stretches made for hockey players after a game or practice.
One thing that often gets overlooked is the importance of listening to a podcast. Podcasts are very popular, and they aren't slowing down anytime soon! First of all, podcasts are free to listen to and are packed full of knowledge, there are many hockey related podcasts out there; Jay and Dan, The Sportsnet Hockey PDOcast, Breakaway, the OMHA Podcast, to name a few. There are also podcasts on motivation, Tony Robbins and Gary Vaynerchuk have a very respectable daily podcast that revolves around motivation. If there are any issues you are working through in your life, there is a podcast that can help! Here are some benefits to listening to podcasts. Gain new interests, become a better listener, learn new things and allow yourself to see the world from many different perspectives and hear thoughts from different voices
5. Maintaining your body
This point is very important, proper maintenance of your body throughout the season will pay off huge come playoff time.
A full hockey game takes a lot out of a player mentally and physically, the major muscle group that a hockey player uses is, of course, their legs. Now, the game of hockey revolves around short bursts of super high-intensity bursts on the ice. So why would a hockey player be doing 5-10 km runs? Doesn't make sense. Hockey players should switch their focus from long duration workouts and focus on short high-intensity exercises because that's what you'll be doing on the ice.
By switching to short-burst exercises, it will also leave extra time for your muscles to recover from training which is very important.
Here is an example of a total body High-Intensity Interval Training that can be done on our Truf Area at Nexus!
(Do as a superset)
120-Foot sled pushes
10 Reps of two arm medicine ball slams
20 Bodyweight reverse lunges
If you follow these 5 steps, you will perform much better on and off the ice!
Thank you for reading, and we hope to see you soon at Nexus!
Co-Owner and Founder of Nexus Health and Training Inc.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Essentials Protein Bars
Below is a simple recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bar's. These are a great snack after a hard workout.
A great mix of protein, carbs, fiber and fat!
This was created by our group trainer Monique Roes! Monique teaches Cycle Mash Up Monday nights at 6:30PM and Strength Mash Up Sunday's at 9:30AM every other week!
The recipe is below:
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine peanut butter and honey, heat in microwave for 70-90 seconds, until
it easily stirs .
ADD PROTEIN POWDER AND OATMEAL AND MIX THOROUGHLY - it will be VERY THICK!
Press into a 9 by 16 in. pan. Refrigerate 1 hour, or until solid enough to cut into bars. Wrap each bar in
foil or plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
MAKES 24 SERVINGS:
CALORIES - 190
FAT - 7 GRAMS
PROTEIN - 20 GRAMS
CARBS - 8 GRAMS
SODIUM - 86 MG.
FIBER - 5 GRAMS,
SUGAR - 10 GRAMS
Try this recipe out and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #nexusnibbles for your chance to win a Nexus dry fit shirt!
Nexus Health and Training Group Trainer - Cycle & Strength Mash
In honour of #BellLetsTalk day, I wanted to share my story of dealing with a mental illness and some benefits of exercising that affect you not only physically, but mentally as well. Millions of people live with a mental illness, and I am one of them. It can be consistent, or it can come in bouts that hit you like a wall. I want you to know that everything will be ok and that you shouldn’t feel ashamed of living with an illness.
I enjoy going to the gym because it is an independent sport and I can let out my frustrations in a healthier way. If I’ve had a bad day, I can count on the gym to help me work through the emotions I am feeling, and it allows me to reflect on why I may feel the way I do. It allows me the space I need to work through things on my own. Now, I would be lying to you if I said this worked all the time. It hasn’t, and I’ve also been that person pushing away uncontrollable tears while walking on a treadmill. The key to making it through is having everything in moderation (yes, you can have some chocolate or a glass of wine!) and listening to your body to know when you need to rest and focus on other things. For me, this involved getting outside on my lunch breaks and walking, biking or running around and looking at nature to appreciate my surroundings instead of just looking to see. I’ve also turned to reading a book with a candle lit in the bath; it all depends on your mood!
Exercise is beneficial for everyone – even those suffering from depression, anxiety, and stress. While exercising, your body releases endorphins which helps you stay focused. Endorphins can also increase your overall mood and reduce pain. Exercise can help you get out of constant worries or negative thoughts by solely focusing on what is happening in the moment while relaxing your muscles and relieving tension from your body. Alternatively, exercise helps sharpen your memory and thinking, increases self-esteem, regulates your sleep cycle and ultimately gives you more energy to tackle your day.
Remember, everybody is beautiful in their own way. Together we can end the stigma and do anything we set our minds to.
- A Valued Member
The fitness industry is blessed with a wealth of information, and better yet, free information. There are tons of fitness pros that put out amazing content regularly via their blog, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and every other social media outlet possible. It’s overwhelming at times, but also awesome!
Unfortunately, any time there is a large volume of information being spewed out (especially in something as unregulated as fitness), you get a lot of bad information too. Whether it is just misinformed, or just flat out unscientific, you’ll see quite a mix of content on the internet.
How many times do you see something like this online, complete with testimonies of people who successfully achieved their goals?:
All the time, right?
Here’s the thing that people seem to lose amongst all of this:
Anything will work for four to six weeks. That’s right. Pretty much anything.
Every time you see a four to six week program from a fitness resource, I am confident to say that if you follow that program to the best of your effort and ability, you will see a result. I’m not sure what the result will be necessarily, but something will happen. This all needs to be within reasonable parameters, of course. Like, if a program says, “drink a cup of bleach before each meal”, hopefully logic will prevail, and you won’t do that thing.
This holds even more truth if you haven’t been active lately. Makes sense though, right? Go from doing nothing . . . to doing something. You’ll get a result.
Go from eating 10% healthy foods, to eating 30% healthy foods. A result.
Go from exercising once per week, to exercising three times per week. A result.
Make a positive change. Get a result.
It’s a pretty simple relationship. And whether the information you followed is good, or not so good, it’ll probably still work for the four to six weeks.
Legitimately challenging your body by throwing a new workout, or new meal plan at it can lead to some pretty amazing results. Those early weeks are the time it takes to adapt. And the human body is crazy impressive. It will adapt, and it will make changes. And you will get a result.
So that is a good deal. Despite the quality of your programming, you still make progress. The weight is going down. The muscle is building. The strength is growing. But then, you seem to plateau. And you can’t seem to get to the next result, and are struggling with progressing your goals. What you were doing seems to cease working for some reason. Maybe the weight starts to come back? Maybe you are starting to feel some pain? Maybe you are just flat-out discouraged?
This is the critical piece.
Was the program that you were following actually well crafted, well thought-out, and designed for fitness and health? Or was it perhaps questionable information?
Just because something helped you get a result once, doesn’t mean it was the best for your health and fitness. Especially long-term, but maybe even in the short-term.
For example, if you eat exclusively one 1200 calorie meal from a fast food restaurant a day for six weeks. You will probably lose some weight. But that doesn’t mean that what you are doing is healthy, or good for you. Right?
Or what about, going to the gym, and lifting the heaviest weights possible with questionable technique, despite that pain you feel in your back? Again, probably not the healthiest way to do it.
But you will still probably get some sort of result through the effort. There’s just a risk-reward balance to consider. Some risks may be worth taking, some may not be.
Now, I’m not here to solve the woes of bad fitness information on the internet. If I had that answer, I’d happily share it. But for today, my goal isn’t to force my opinion upon you.
Just know that there are differences in opinion on what is “good” and what is “bad” in the fitness industry. In my opinion when it comes to fitness, the more rooted in science it is, the more I trust it. The more evidence-based it is, the more I’m willing to apply it. The more I’ve utilized it, and experienced it myself, the more comfortable I feel with it. But that is just me. And I surely don’t know everything there is to know.
But more important than what my own personal biased opinion on health and fitness is, here is my lesson for you today:
Just because someone got a result from something does not mean it is healthy or right. Don’t blindly accept it. Think critically about it, and ask “why?”.
Simply asking “why?” can lead you to some of your greatest learning. It’ll help you to understand the nature of health and fitness better than you did before. And from there you can start to learn how to discern what information is good, and what information may be suspect.
And if you don’t want to do that, well, you are in luck!
You can ask for some help. That’s what we are here for. A good fitness resource, trainer, coach, or consultant will help you discern good information from bad information to the best of their ability. They will work with you to find, craft, teach, correct, and adjust a program so that you can exercise safely, effectively, all the while enjoying the experience. So feel free to ask those of us in those roles. We should be able to help explain the “why”, and if not, we should be diving into the sea of information to see what we can learn from it.
Not only can this help you achieve your goals in a healthy way, but you may really start to advance your health and fitness regime (for longer than 6 weeks). And heck, maybe you’ll learn a thing or two! And to be honest, we probably will too!
Blaine Cressman, B.Sc, R. Kin
Personal Trainer, Nexus Health and Training
This delicious homemade recipe is a classic for anyone with a busy work schedule. Over the past few years, I've come up with around 6 or 7 overnight oats recipes to make things quick and easy in the morning. Yes, I will be posting these recipes over the next few months!
These overnight oats are fantastic, very healthy and will give you the protein, carbs and fat to help keep you full until lunchtime hits.
Basically, you can make a weeks worth of breakfast in about 20 minutes! Such a time saver.
Below are the ingredients and the amounts you will need for this recipe. I used to do a minimum of 3/4 cup of oats, but by mid-afternoon, I would be feeling EXHAUSTED. So I decided to cut back the carbs, and this had me feeling much better. Try it out and let us know how you like it!
Maple Banana French Toast Overnight Oats Recipe
¼ cup large flake oats
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
⅔ cup of unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup sugar free, fat free vanilla greek yogurt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 banana sliced
1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup (Because Elmira is our home!)