Why You Crave Sugar


Why You Crave Sugar

Practically everybody knows that sugar is bad for our health, so why is it such a challenge to give it up? What is it that makes many of us crave sugar so relentlessly, and how can we conquer those cravings? A wealth of research suggests four considerations that may affect sugar cravings:

  1. Stress
  2. PMS or Menopause
  3. Microbial imbalance in the gut
  4. Thyroid health

These issues can all overlap, feed each other and make sugar cravings that much harder to overcome.

1. Stress

Someone who has a diet high in sugar typically has a higher risk of occasional sleep problems, erratic energy levels, and less  concentration. This can make it harder to get through essential tasks and to manage emotions. This then leads to stress, which can prompt sugar cravings, and so on. It’s a cycle that’s all too easy to get stuck in.

According to a study published in the journal Appetite, 77% of women who had high levels of stress reported sugar cravings, compared to just 31% of women who were relaxed. The women who felt stressed also had significantly larger waists and higher levels of leptin, a hormone involved in appetite control.

For some people, finding new ways to relax or allotting for sufficient downtime in their schedule could be key to conquering their sugar cravings. Taking up a new sport, social activity or simply finding the time to take a bath may be just what you need to skip the sugar.

2. PMS or Menopause

PMS and menopause normal life stages can influence the activity of insulin, making cells more resistant to its effects and thereby increasing the likelihood of sugar cravings. Ensuring a healthy, balanced diet that is high in vitamins (especially B vitamins), minerals and healthy fats and protein from fibre-rich plant foods can support hormone levels and stable energy release, helping to combat sugar cravings. Taking a high-fibre supplement such as PGX* can also help with appetite control by slowing down the release of carbohydrates from food and maintaining a feeling of fullness for longer.

Anyone who is having a hard time cutting back on sugar and who is approaching menopause, or who experience alterations in appetite around the time of their period, may find it helpful to talk to a physician or qualified naturopathic doctor. Other signs of PMS or menopause can include mood swings, changes in libido, occasional lack of sleep and fatigue and hot flushes.

3. Gut Bacteria

A high-fibre diet is also a great way to feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut which, in turn, helps reduce the likelihood of yeast overgrowth. Anyone who has recently taken broad spectrum antibiotics or who is on long-term antibiotic therapy is at a higher risk of dysbiosis, a state of microbial imbalance in the gut, where the blanket eradication of bacteria (good and bad) can lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria and microbes, like Candida albicans, that cause yeast infections.

An imbalance in gut bacteria has been associated with altered energy metabolism and even alterations in neurotransmitter levels. The microbes in the gut produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin and communicate with the central nervous system through the vagus nerve. Researchers have found that a diet high in processed foods and simple carbohydrates can dramatically reduce biodiversity in the gut, which could have a significant impact on cognitive function and appetite.

A prebiotic diet that includes fibrous foods like asparagus, artichokes and chickpeas can help to feed good bacteria, while a high quality multistrain probiotic formula can replenish lost beneficial bacteria.

4. Thyroid Health

Thyroid health is another  consideration where sugar cravings are concerned, and is best addressed with a qualified health practitioner.

In the meantime, it is important to ensure a good intake of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and lean protein from high fibre plant foods, in addition to cutting back on caffeine and sugar and ensuring you get adequate sleep. Eating sugary foods can increase stress on the body and lead to fluctuating energy levels, so avoid these foods and support your thyroid health.

You may find that simply increasing the level of fibre in your diet, staying hydrated, and getting a good night’s sleep make it much easier to keep those cravings at bay.

*Drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX®. If you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PGX®.

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Fall Fitness: 4 Ways to Stay Motivated


Fall Fitness: 4 Ways to Stay Motivated

The short days and cool temperatures can make it rather tempting to cozy up inside with a good book and a cup of tea, but don’t let fall sabotage your fitness! If your motivation is flagging, check out the following ways to put a spring back in your step:

1. Set a Goal

One of the best ways to stay motivated is to focus on making a dream a reality. This means not only deciding what you want to achieve, but figuring out a realistic plan to accomplish that. Maybe you want to run a marathon or half-marathon, or even 5K or 10K next year. Perhaps you want to take on a challenging multi-day hike that was just outside your comfort zone this summer. Now’s the time to work on a training plan so you’re ready to achieve that dream next summer.

2. Sign up for a Class

If you find it hard to stay motivated by yourself, try going back to school! Check your local community centre, gym or other fitness facility for fall classes and pick something fun and social. You’ll learn new techniques, make  friends, and have a regular fitness routine to keep you motivated. How about salsa? Zumba? Yogalates? Or maybe hip-hop dance is more your speed….

3. Reward Yourself

If exercise isn’t itself a rewarding activity for you, why not engage in a little operant conditioning? Treat yourself to something fun after every fitness class, run or gym session and you’ll soon associate exercise with positive things. If you’re trying to watch your weight, avoid food-based rewards and try something activity oriented, like going to see a movie, browsing the bookstore, or going to an art gallery with friends.

4. Switch up your music

If running, rowing, cycling or otherwise exercising is starting to feel a little repetitive, try creating a new music playlist to boost your motivation. Eye of the Tiger, Coldplay, maybe even some Cotton Club era jazz or a little Taylor Swift could all help you, ahem, shake it off.

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Cholesterol and Fibre


Cholesterol and Fibre

Experts recommend that all men should have their cholesterol checked before the age of 35, and that women begin having regular cholesterol checks by age 45.

A complete cholesterol check, which can also be referred to as a lipid panel or profile, looks at the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), total cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. It is beneficial to have a good level of HDL cholesterol as this is the type that helps remove LDL cholesterol from the blood.

Triglycerides, meanwhile, are formed from excess calories from sugar and fat and are stored in fat cells.

What is a Healthy Cholesterol Level?

Recommended levels of cholesterol and triglycerides for adults are as follows (measured in milligrams per decilitre of blood):

  • LDL: 70-130 mg/dL (the lower the number, the better)
  • HDL: more than 40-60 mg/dL (the higher the number, the better)
  • Total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dL (the lower the number, the better)
  • Triglycerides: 10-150 mg/dL (the lower the number, the better)

Here are some things you can do to help support healthy cholesterol levels:

  • Get regular exercise
  • Reduce alcohol intake
  • Quit smoking
  • Eat a high-fiber diet
  • Reduce intake of fat and sugar

Fibre and Cholesterol

Dietary fibre and functional fibre are thought to bind to fat and block its absorption. Fibre also helps the body regulate blood sugar by slowing the rate at which carbohydrates are broken down and enter the bloodstream.‡

Fibre also helps people feel fuller for longer, thereby helping prevent cravings and minimize overall food intake. This means fibre may also help support the liver by supporting healthy production of cholesterol and triglycerides in response to calorie intake and blood sugar.‡

Fibre and Plant-Based Proteins

One of the easiest ways to reduce fat intake and increase fibre consumption is to replace animal-derived foods, such as meat and cheese, with fibre-rich  options, such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, and legumes. These foods provide protein and fibre and they’re packed with phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity, offering additional support for cardiovascular health.‡

Considering that meat and cheese contain no fibre, but do contain saturated fat, switching to plant-based sources of protein seems pretty wise all-round. Take a look at the fibre figures per half cup of the following foods and it’s easy to see how quickly you can achieve the recommended fibre intake:

  • Chickpeas – 17.5 g
  • Lentils – 8 g
  • Adzuki beans – 8.5 g
  • Oats – 8 g
  • Quinoa – 2.5g
  • Brown rice – 1.75 g

Even a small banana contains 2.6 g of fibre, while an average sized apple contains 4.4 g!

A healthy breakfast of oatmeal with fresh slices of apple and banana could jump start your day by providing some 15 g of fibre. Enjoy a chickpea and vegetable curry with brown rice for dinner, or some homemade chickpea fries with a salad and a white bean and parsley dip, and you’ve already met your daily minimum fibre intake if you’re a woman! Have a three-bean quinoa salad for lunch and you’re easily topping 40 g of fibre.

Fibre Supplements

Of course, there are days where it may be a struggle to eat well, which is where functional fibre supplements come in handy. Adding just a scoop of PGX® to your morning smoothie, or even to your glass of water at lunch, can help keep you stay on track to meet your daily target for fibre.*

*Drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX®. If you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PGX®.

‡ This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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5 Foods for Endurance


5 Foods for Endurance

Loading up on carbs is standard practice before an endurance event as this is thought to help ensure the muscles are full of glycogen for quick energy, but some athletes have found other great ways to boost stamina and performance.

If you’re gearing up for a race, try smashing your personal best by eating these 5 foods for endurance:

1. Buckwheat

A source of all nine essential amino acids, tryptophan and vitamins E and B, calcium and manganese, buckwheat is a staple for many endurance athletes. Not actually a grain, this seed of the rhubarb family is gluten-free and much more alkaline-forming than glutinous grains, helping the body to maintain a healthy blood pH. The slow-release carbohydrates in buckwheat help sustain energy levels and promote a better performance.

Try adding sprouted buckwheat to a smoothie, or as part of a salad with chickpeas, beans, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

2. Flaxseed

A source of omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed supports healthy fat metabolism, circulation and normal inflammatory response. The easily metabolized fatty acids in flaxseed help to spare muscle glycogen, enhancing endurance. Flaxseed is also a source of potassium, an important electrolyte needed for muscle contractions and lost through sweat.

Try a tablespoon of flaxseed in a smoothie, on yoghurt and fruit, or with granola. Add a scoop of PGX® to help support healthy blood sugar regulation already in the normal range  and keep hunger pangs at bay!*‡

3. Soy

These green beans are perfect for endurance athletes. Steamed edamame are a delicious snack to keep protein intake high, while soy protein is easily digestible and ideal for a recovery drink after a long run to help promote muscle growth.

In one study, researchers at Ohio State University found that soy is just as effective as whey protein for building lean muscle in male athletes (Brown et al., 2004). What’s more, soy actually helps preserve antioxidant function, whereas whey had a potentially negative effect on antioxidant status after workouts!

4. Apples and Onions

Several studies have shown that quercetin, a natural polyphenolic flavonoid found in abundance in apples and onions can help improve endurance when ingested for at least seven days prior to exercise. Quercetin has been seen to have antioxidant activity and to support healthy immune function and healthly  inflammatory response, which could help athletes recover more quickly after training. ‡

In one study, healthy but untrained volunteers who took 500 mg of quercetin twice daily for 7 days had a 13.2% increase in the time it took for fatigue to set in during a bike ride, compared to those taking a placebo for 7 days. Quercetin was also associated with a modest increase (3.9%) in VO2max, a measurement of maximal aerobic capacity (Davis et al., 2010).

An apple a day (around 100g) contains the equivalent antioxidant activity of about 1500 mg of vitamin C, with much of that activity courtesy of quercetin (Eberhardt et al., 2000). Importantly, the quercetin in apples is found exclusively in the peels, with the average amount of quercetin amounting to 13.2 mg/100 g of fruit (Lee et al., 2003).

5. Almonds

Almonds are not only a source of calcium and other minerals, they may also enhance endurance in trained athletes. A study published recently in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that cyclists and triathletes who ate 75 g of almonds per day had an increase of 1.7 km in endurance cycling distance compared to baseline (Yi et al., 2014).

The almonds were also associated with more efficient use of oxygen and carbohydrate, as well as higher vitamin E and total antioxidant capacity, suggesting that including a handful of almonds in your daily diet could help enhance your exercise endurance and support healthy muscle recovery by reducing oxidative damage during exercise.

Brown EC, DiSilvestro RA, Babaknia A, et al. (2004). Soy versus whey protein bars: effects on exercise training impact on lean body mass and antioxidant status. Nutr J, Dec 8;3:22.

Davis JM, Carlstedt CJ, Chen S, et al. (2010). The dietary flavonoid quercetin increases VO(2max) and endurance capacity. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, Feb;20(1):56-62.

Eberhardt M, Lee C, Liu RH. (2000). Antioxidant activity of fresh apples. Nature, 405:903-904.

Lee K, Kim Y, Kim D, et al. (2003). Major phenolics in apple and their contribution to the total antioxidant capacity. J Agric Food Chem, 51:6516-6520.

Yi M, Fu J, Zhou L, et al. (2014). The effect of almond consumption on elements of endurance exercise performance in trained athletes. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, May 11;11:18.

* Drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX®. If you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PGX®
‡ This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to  diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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The Importance of Exercise for a Healthy Heart


The Importance of Exercise for a Healthy Heart

September 29th is World Heart Day – a good reminder for all of us not to take the health of our heart for granted. Clear winning strategies for heart health include staying physically active and eating a heart-healthy diet.

Being physically active doesn’t always have to equate to running marathons or even vigorous workouts – exercise comes in all shapes, sizes and levels! The important thing is to get up and moving every day.

Work Exercise Into Your Daily Routine

It might not be top of our minds most days, but the places we live and work are often built for efficiency rather than health. One look at a typical rapid transit  system (Skytrain, El train, or subway) quickly reveals that not only do most people choose to use escalators and elevators, in some cases there aren’t even stairs available for the general public! These strategies certainly help get large numbers of people moving quickly, but they do nothing for building exercise into our daily routines.

Taking the stairs on your way to and from work offers a simple way to offset some of the risk of being sedentary for the bulk of the working day. Or, even better, skip the car or transit and cycle to work instead. Just 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week (which can be split into small chunks of just ten or so minutes) supports healthy heart function. Aim for 75 minutes of vigorous activity if you’re pushed for time!

I confess, I’ve never had a gym membership in my life, and the idea of running on a treadmill bores me to tears. Still, I rack up at least 15 hours of exercise a week simply by walking my dog, running almost all my errands by foot, hiking with friends and eschewing the use of elevators and escalators wherever possible. None of it feels like exercise, and yet it all helps keep my heart healthy, not to mention happy!

Find A Form of Exercise you Enjoy

If it’s been a while since you’ve been active, it’s understandable that you might feel anxious about starting to exercise more. Rest assured, exercise is great for helping you improve your energy levels, mood and overall health and well being. Some caution is certainly warranted, as is common sense, so if it’s been a few months or years avoid jumping straight into training for a marathon or lifting heavy weights.

Find forms of exercise that you enjoy, such as walking, jogging, playing soccer with the kids, skipping rope, swimming or even playing dodgeball – and go out and have fun! That way, it won’t feel like a chore and you’re more likely to stay motivated to achieve your health goals.

Exercise is a great way to:

  • Support your heart
  • Manage blood pressure already within the normal range
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Support mood and self-esteem
  • Keep everyday stress at bay
  • Promote great sleep!

Be sure to talk to your health care practitioner to work out the best way to build more exercise into your day.

Exercise with Friends

If you’re struggling to find fun ways to exercise, try asking friends how they stay active and ask if you can tag along on a hike, bike ride, freshwater swimming excursion, or if you can borrow their dog a couple of times a week to go for a long leisurely walk. Or, check out your local community center and sign up for salsa, Zumba, Pilates or other class where you can learn new skills, get fit and make new friends.

Let us know in the comments what creative ways you’ve found to meet your weekly exercise goals!

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How to Conquer Your Cravings


How to Conquer Your Cravings

Eating a delicious treat every now and then isn’t going to have a huge impact on health, but when temptation leads to unhealthy foods becoming a regular part of your diet, it’s time to figure out how to conquer your cravings.

Many food cravings serve a psychological purpose, with specific foods attached to a strong emotional response. Others can indicate a lack of a specific nutrient, or are a result of plain old hunger or boredom. Craving (and consuming) non-food items, like soil, may be a sign of iron deficiency and should be assessed by physician. For most people though, cravings are more likely to take the shape of sweet or salty snacks that provide quick energy, but offer little in the way of healthy nutrients.

As such, managing blood sugar levels and insulin already within the normal range is one way to minimize cravings. By supporting the body in keeping blood sugar and energy levels stable, this helps stave off feelings of intense hunger that can cause us to make poor dietary choices. The best way to help keep blood sugar stable is to reduce intake of simple carbohydrates, and to ensure a good intake of fiber, protein and healthy fats. These help slow down the release of energy from food, preventing the rollercoaster of blood sugar and insulin peaks and troughs that can trigger food cravings.

Chromium and Blood Sugar Regulation

Chromium is a trace mineral that is vital for blood glucose regulation as it forms part of a molecule called glucose tolerance factor (GTF) that helps support healthy insulin levels already within the normal range so the body can use fuel more efficiently. Ensuring a good dietary intake of chromium may help regulate appetite, support healthy blood sugar regulation and insulin demand, and encourage lean body mass.

Dietary Fibre and Weight Management

Fibre helps slow down the release of energy from food, supporting stable blood sugar levels already within the normal range. The natural polysaccharide (fibre) complex PGX supports appetite management by promoting a feeling of fullness, thereby reducing cravings. PGX may even exert a ‘second-meal’ effect, meaning that consuming PGX at dinnertime can actually help lower the glycemic index of breakfast the next morning (Brand-Miller et al., 2010).

PGX Satisfast protein bars are ideal for people who find themselves succumbing to cravings as they offer a low-glycemic treat that can actually help curb between-meal snacking. These bars contain 15 grams of plant-based protein in each bar, alongside 1.5 grams of PGX, making them a great option for anyone looking to achieve or maintain a healthy body weight. They also contain antioxidants such as vitamin C, alongside calcium, iron, healthy fats and potassium, an essential mineral for water balance and proper signalling between cells.

Serotonin and Appetite Control

Another natural supplement, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), has also been seen to help with appetite regulation. 5-HTP is a natural precursor to the brain chemical serotonin, a neurotransmitter essential for mood balance, sleep, and appetite control. Derived from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, 5-HTP provides a natural way to boost serotonin levels.

Low levels of serotonin have been implicated in poor appetite control, with insufficient serotonin thought to decrease the feeling of satiety or fullness after eating. In one study, people taking a 5-HTP supplement had improved appetite control. By restoring healthy levels of serotonin 5-HTP may help increase the feeling of fullness after eating and help you conquer your cravings!

Other top tips for keeping cravings in check include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Meditating
  • Eating mindfully
  • Staying hydrated
  • Removing temptation
  • Preparing for tricky situations
  • Having healthy snacks on hand

One highly effective strategy for conquering cravings is to wait ten minutes after a craving strikes before giving in to temptation. In most cases the craving will pass, especially if you successfully distract yourself by going for a run, reading a book, chatting with friends and family, or playing with the dog.

If you have a sure-fire way to conquer cravings, let us know in the comments below!

Brand-Miller, J.C., et al. (2010). Effects of PGX®, a novel functional fibre, on acute and delayed postprandial glycaemia. Eur J Clin Nutr, 64:1488-1493.

* Drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX®. If you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PGX®

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The Benefits of Biking


The Benefits of Biking

I’d like to preface this post with the admission that I do not consider myself a hardcore cyclist by any means. Although I rarely get out and about on my bike these days, I have cycled from Montreal to Vancouver, BC. As such, I know that one of the major benefits of biking is getting to see a country in a way that simply isn’t possible when driving.

Biking for Your Mind

Cycling is a great way to learn to go slow and appreciate the little things, especially in a big country like Canada or the US. Days spent cycling across the prairies lend themselves to mindful reflection. The big skies foster big thoughts, helping to push away the daily grind of answering emails, taking calls, making to-do lists and feeling overwhelmed by the minutiae of life.

Cycle-touring also offers a crash course in prioritizing, valuing, and jettisoning material possessions. When your thighs are burning as you ascend a mountain on your bike, it’s a good time to really consider whether it was necessary to hold onto that sweater, book, or metal paperweight in the shape of a cat. Being able to pack light, leave unnecessary baggage behind and make do with what you find on the road is good practice for life in general.


Biking for Your Body

In addition to the psychological benefits, cycling is fantastic all-round exercise. You can go at your own pace, meaning that it is easy to gradually increase your fitness level by choosing a short route that avoids steep hills initially, and working up to conquering the mountains (if you so wish). It is also low impact, so it’s ideal for runners who want to maintain their cardiovascular fitness without constantly jolting their joints.

The health benefits of biking include:

  • Improving overall muscle tone and strength
  • Increasing stamina (helping with other fitness and leisure activities)
  • Enhancing cardiovascular fitness and heart health
  • Supporting mental health by decreasing stress
  • Aiding weight management (burns about 300 calories an hour)
  • Enhancing joint flexibility and coordination

Biking for Your Environment

Not only does cycling help to keep cars off the road, thereby reducing air pollution, it also leads to healthier, happier employees. Many companies actually offer incentives, both financial and otherwise, for people who regularly cycle to work. Some companies will even give employees a rebate for a new bike as part of their commitment to health and the environment. So, be sure to ask your colleagues about any such initiatives, or help your company set up a program so that everyone can experience the benefits of cycling!

Biking for Your Enjoyment!

Cycling is an enjoyable way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine; you’re more likely to exercise when it’s fun! Getting the whole family to cycle to school and work together is also a wonderful way to keep kids active and healthy. Just be sure everyone is wearing a helmet and reflective gear

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Summer Family Fitness: 5 Ideas


Summer Family Fitness: 5 Ideas

We all know that ingraining healthy habits in kids is important for their health as adults, but what can you do to keep the whole family active in summer? If your kids are more inclined to spend their summer break inside playing video games or chatting with friends online, it’s time for emergency measures.

Here are five ways to stay fit with the whole family this summer:

1. Stay Playful!

How many cartwheels can you do in a row? Who’s up for some tug of war? Is your sidewalk crying out for a hopscotch race? Who’s the best at hide and seek? Can you finish a pillow-case race?

Staying active doesn’t always have to include well known, heart-pumping activities like swimming, hiking or sports. Create little games or challenges throughout the day for bursts of healthy fun, and your whole family – mom and dad included – will be getting lots of fun-loving exercise.

2. Indulge Their Whims!

Kids are fickle creatures, so if you want to encourage them to be healthy, indulge their whims. This might mean taking a spontaneous trip to the lake to swim, to the beach to play volleyball, or to the local courts to play tennis as soon as you get home from work, and why not? A couple of minutes into it, and you’ll be enjoying spending time with your kids, while feeling good about getting exercise.

3. Learn Together

What have you always wanted to learn? Tap dancing, karate, kayaking? Summer is the perfect opportunity to engage your kids in something new, as they’re likely to be looking for ways to avoid boredom. So seize the opportunity and sign up for a fun, new activity with your kids!

4. Bike! Bike! Bike!

Teaching kids to cycle, biking with kids in tow, or going for a family bike ride, are all great ways to stay active in summer. Getting out and about on two wheels will also help give your kids a sense of independence and freedom!

5. Make Yard Work Fun

No, seriously. Chores may not sound very fun, but it’s all in how you frame it. Ask your kid if they’d like to build a new pond in the back yard, or set up a picnic bench. What about planting a new row of their favourite vegetable, or building a basketball net, treehouse, or obstacle course? Yard work can be a lot of fun with kids!

The beauty of exercising with kids is their ability to turn everyday things into playful, bonding activities. Their constant state of wonder, and their willingness to try new things, allow them to find the fun in just about anything.

Have you found any ingenious ways to shake up your routine and stay fit with the kids in summer? Let us know in the comments below!

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A 5 step Routine for a Great Beach Workout


A 5 Step Routine for a Great Beach Workout

If the warm summer days mean you’re spending more time at the beach than at the gym, don’t worry, exercise and fun at the beach are not mutually exclusive! Lazing around in the sand with a cool beer is certainly tempting, but how about squeezing in a quick workout before you enjoy that R&R.

First things first, whenever you’re exercising in the sun remember these rules: use adequate sun protection, stay hydrated, stick to beach rules and stay in sight of lifeguards. The latter is especially important if you’re working out at the beach as you can quickly become tired in the water when you’ve already been pushing your body.

Without further ado, here is a 5 step routine for a great beach workout:

1. Sand Lunges

Aim to cover a 40-yard stretch of sand by doing basic lunges but with the added difficulty of balancing on and pushing against the sand.

Start by standing with your hands on your hips, feet shoulder-width apart, then take a normal stride and bend your forward leg at a 90-degree angle. This should cause your back leg to also end up at a 90-degree angle. Make sure to keep your core muscles (canister) engaged and your hips in line with your shoulders as you then step forward with your back leg. Repeat for 40-yards then turn and repeat until back to base.

2. Water Jog

After working up a sweat by doing sand lunges, wade into the water until you’re waist-deep. Jog parallel to the shore for 40 yards, the jog back out of the water and sprint back to base.

3. Shoulder Push-Ups

Now that your legs are burning from all that water jogging, give them a brief break while you work your upper body.

To do a shoulder push-up simply bend down as if you’re picking something up from the sand and spread your hands hip-width apart with your feet together so you form a tripod. Do a push-up and try to touch your nose to the sand. Do two sets of 5 reps to start and try to build to three sets of 10 reps over the summer.

4. Dune Treadmill

Sand running offers a great workout, without the expensive gym membership fee! Running on sand is also easier on the joints, but is harder work, so it burns more calories and is a great way to tone the lower body. Moist, firm sand is best –  and don’t forget to wear good running shoes! Find a decent sized sand dune and run up and down it for 5 minutes, alternating between a sprint and a jog every other ascent to help improve your anaerobic fitness.

5. Swim!

OK, so this one is pretty obvious, but you’ll be thankful for it after all that jogging and running up the sand dunes. Pick a couple of shoreline markers that are about 40 yards apart and head into the water until you’re at a good swimming depth. Swim back and forth between your markers, doing a breaststroke, butterfly or backstroke – whatever works for you!  Just 5-10 minutes of swimming is excellent cardio that works all your major muscle groups while keeping you cool.

If you find it hard to motivate yourself to work out alone, it should be pretty easy to convince a friend to head to the beach (just make sure to tell them you’ll be exercising!).

Bonus Idea: Beach Volleyball

Consider signing up for beach volleyball. This a fantastic way to stay active in summer while making new friends and getting your fill of vitamin D. Head down to your nearest beach on the weekend and see if there’s a tournament or game going on and ask someone how you can get involved. Or, check online for local groups that have a regular indoor volleyball practice and see if they’re inclined to turn the beach into their gym for the summer!

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Body Weight Training: Getting Started


Body Weight Training: Getting Started

There are plenty of barriers and obstacles we can encounter when trying to get fit, but a lack of equipment shouldn’t be one of them. All you really need to start working on improving your health and fitness, is your own body and a bit of imagination.*

Body weight training is perfect if you’re looking to exercise on a budget or maintain your strength and fitness when traveling. The basic principle of body weight training is that you put your muscles to work against gravity and your own body mass – think lifts, squats, push-ups, etc –  for a quick, challenging workout you can do anywhere.

*Always consult with your physician before beginning any fitness program, particularly when you have a medical condition.

The following are a few moves to get you started with body weight training:

Power Burpee

Let’s start with a power burpee – a great way to get your heart rate up, work your core, and activate those hamstrings.

Begin in a standing position, arms by your sides and feet shoulder width apart. As with a traditional burpee, you want to drop quickly into a push-up position, then jump into a squat position, and follow that with a vertical leap into the air before dropping back to a squat.

To make this a power burpee, after dropping back into a squat, go for an explosive tuck-jump, pulling in your knees and jumping as high as you can. Do two sets of five to start out.


Now that you’ve got your circulation moving a little faster, switch your focus to your upper body to give your legs a bit of a break.

Go for a simple push-up and do as many as you can without stopping. Take the number of push-ups you managed and cut that in half, then do three sets of that number next time. Push-ups work the pectorals, deltoids, and triceps and really help tone the chest and arms, but good form is essential.

For a proper push-up, lie face down with your shoulders bent and hands flat to the floor about shoulder width apart. Keeping your body straight, push against the floor with your hands to extend your arms and lift your body. Imagine a line running from the top of your head to your ankles and try to keep this line as straight as possible.

Break-Out Push-Ups

The next body weight training exercise works your arms, legs, and core. It’s also a great excuse to bust out your breakdancing moves! A break-out push-up stretches out your chest and activates your oblique muscles.

Begin in a traditional push-up position, raise your body as usual and then, when your arms are fully extended, rotate your body to look to your right while kicking out your left leg to the right underneath your body. Drop back into a push-up and on the next lift, kick out your right leg to the left underneath your body. Do two sets of five reps to start.

Caterpillar (Prone) Walkout

Now that your arms and legs are feeling the burn, take things down a notch by doing your best impression of a caterpillar. The prone walkout helps with pelvic stability, and total body dynamic flexibility, and it’s pretty fun to do.

Start by standing on your tip toes with your feet hip width apart, then bend at the waist to touch your hands to the floor directly in front of your feet. Keeping your core muscles engaged, walk your hands forward until you’re in a push-up position, then walk your feet in towards your hands (while still on tip toes). Repeat this until you bump into a wall, or for about five walkouts.


Next up, dips. You’ll need a chair for this, although you could also use a bench in the park or the edge of a bed, depending on its height. This exercise works some of the same muscles as a push-up, but also works the rhomboid muscles in the back.

To get into position, stand with your back to the chair, bend your legs as if you’re going to sit down, and place the palms of your hands on the front edge of the seat. Walk your feet slowly out in front of you so that your arms are supporting most of your body weight.

Now you’re in position, inhale and slowly bend your arms, keeping your elbows tucked in, and lower your body until your arms are parallel to the floor. Hold that position for a half second, exhale and push slowly back up into your starting position. Do two sets of five to begin and increase as you get stronger.

Benefits of Body Weight Training

These are just a few great resistance exercises you can do in a small amount of time, in a small amount of space, using (almost) nothing but your own body. Adding these into your exercise regimen, alongside regular cardio, is an excellent  way to build strength gradually without needing to buy expensive equipment.

Try adding a PGX protein shake* and some of these body weight training exercise to your workout schedule and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your fitness goals!

* Drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX®. If you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PG

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