A lot of people use the gym to lose weight, get stronger and more toned physically. Although, working out has a lot of benefits for your mind as well. I know it seems a little cliché, but it is true! Working out is a great way to free any stress you have or problems that have been really difficult. Often times when we’re sad we isolate ourselves and want to stay in bed all day. Although it is okay to do that sometimes, working out is an excellent alternative. Exercising can remove physical and mental stress. It also increases levels of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain's response to stress.
Working out can also help improve your self-confidence, which is HUGE. Noticing little changes such as; toned muscles can be incredibly self-rewarding (at least it is for me!). How you look on the outside can often reflect how you feel on the inside. So, if you start noticing these little changes, it can really make a difference with how you perceive yourself on the inside.
Mental health is something that is becoming much more prevalent in our society. This is super important because although there is a focus to become healthy physically, we have to remember to take care of ourselves mentally as well. Working out is a step in the right direction. Sometimes things in life come up that we have no control over, and they can cause a lot of pain to ourselves. It is important to recognize that pain and try and find an outlet for it. Whether that be running on a treadmill, doing yoga or even just walking your dog...it can really help alleviate stress and anxiety.
So...try and remember this if you’re ever feeling down, because working out might be what you need to feel a little better.
A Valued Nexus Family Member
This month's Nexus Nibbles are on Egg Muffin Cups. Egg muffin cups can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a hearty and healthy breakfast all week. These cups are loaded with delicious and simple ingredients like eggs, spinach, and red pepper.
7 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
3/4 cup finely chopped spinach
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional!
Heat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 12-cup cupcake pan with cooking spray. This recipe yields 8 muffin cups so you will only need to spray 8 of the cupcake spots.
Be sure to use lots of cooking spray, so they don't stick.
In a mixing bowl combine the eggs, milk, salt & pepper and whisk together. Add the chopped pepper and spinach, and the cheddar cheese if using. Stir together. Pour the egg mix into the 8 muffin cups. The cups should be almost full.
Cook for 18-22 minutes. The center should set, and they should be puffy, however, once you take them out of the oven to cool, the cups will go back down.
Eat right away with some salsa or cool completely and store covered in the fridge for up to one week.
To reheat, microwave for about 45 seconds or enjoy cold.
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 already be eating 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 you 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 too 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. 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 adding sugar as it is a more natural form of sugar, rather than being 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