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Like Life, Exercise Is All About Balance

Like Life, Exercise Is All About Balance

We talk about balance a lot at CKO.

In order to fuel your body, you need a nice balance of nutrients.

In order to execute powerful, tight strikes, you need to have a strong center of gravity.

In order to manage stress, you need a healthy work/life balance.

When it comes to health and wellness, balance is at the core. And just like your diet, your center of gravity and your life, your muscles need balance. Here is why paying attention to all your muscle groups and making sure they’re balanced is so important to a healthy lifestyle.  

Muscle Imbalance Throws Off Your Entire Body

Your body is this amazing machine. Each piece of our anatomy does its own part to make sure the body can do the simplest to largest tasks. There’s a reason why you don’t need to remember to breathe or deliberately think about every step you take. Your body already knows. That’s why, without balance, your body has to overcompensate for the weak areas. If you only work on abs and forget the rest of your core (back, obliques, hips, glutes, etc.), your posture is going to be off, which will lead to back pain. If you injured your knee and don’t rest it long enough, your other leg will overcompensate. Trust us, you will notice when something is wrong. To keep your body operating at peak performance, learn to read pain signals and understand when something is off. Work with a physical therapist to identify weak areas and incorporate exercises to strengthen them. These things will help your body be better in tune with itself and create harmony.

Your Muscles Need Time to Rest and Recover  

You may think that working a muscle every day will help it develop quickly, but that’s the last thing you should be doing. The way muscle growth works is that the strain put on your muscles creates tiny tears in the muscle fibers. In order for the muscles to strengthen, they need time to repair and recover. If you alternate the muscle groups you work, it gives every group a day to recover. Adding in three-to-four full-body workouts like the kind we do at CKO guarantees that every muscle gets equal attention. Add in at least one active rest day a week to make sure your muscles are getting the rest and recovery they need in order to get stronger.

Mapping Out Your Workouts Help with Balance

Creating a weekly workout plan will help you keep track of the muscle groups worked and give you the most balanced exercise routine as possible. Make each day’s focus a different muscle group, while incorporating full-body workouts into the weekly schedule. Sticking to a workout calendar will not only help keep you balanced, but make it more likely for you to stick with your fitness plan. There are plenty of fitness apps available for free to help you create and map out weekly workouts.

By keeping your body balanced, you will be able to get maximum results, reduce the chance of injury and feel all-around awesome.

Taking Control of Your Daily Diet

Taking Control of Your Daily Diet

Staying healthy is more than just exercise — you have to be wary of your diet, too. Though being active is an important component of maintaining a strong and healthy body, what embodies the whole of a person’s overall wellness is multifaceted.

While nothing gets us geared up like a hardcore, sweat-inducing HIIT session, we know paying close attention to diet is a MAJOR factor in a comprehensive healthy lifestyle. This doesn’t mean limiting or punishing oneself to get results. It just means making the right choices when eating – much of it is a lesson in moderation.

Meal Frequency

Skipping Meals: Skipping meals won’t help you lose weight. What it does is cause you to binge at your next meal because you’re ravenous. Instead of skipping meals, listen to your body and eat when you truly feel hungry. The body is our most important tool and by listening to it, you will better know what it needs.

Setting Satiety Points: Tied to this idea of eating when you physically feel your stomach is empty is eating to something called your satiety point. If you feel uncomfortably full, you went beyond your satiety point. Use that opportunity to think about how much you ate versus how much your body needed. To avoid overeating, slow down. Your body relies on signals that tell the brain that the stomach is full and stretched. It takes about a good 20 minutes for the brain to register that the stomach is full.

Manage these signals better by allowing yourself more time to enjoy the food you put in your mouth and perhaps to eat those smaller meals more frequently.

Portion Control

When you were a kid, were you expected to “finish your plate”? Many of us have been trained over decades to clear our plates, which established the habit of ignoring our sense of fullness. Adjusting your brain to stop at a point where you feel satisfied can reset your habits long-term, something truly important if you aim to lose weight.

Meal Prep: An effective way to pay attention to portion control is to read labels. Nutrition facts will list serving sizes, so if you pack a lunch, fitting containers to portions is an easy way to keep you from eating more than necessary and packing just enough.

Eating Out: One of the biggest challenges when it comes to portion control is knowing how much to eat when you’re at a restaurant. Many restaurants serve portions that are much bigger than what’s needed for an average meal. We suggest asking for a to-go box when your meal comes out and immediately putting a portion in the box. Out of sight is truly out of mind.

Dieting Don’ts

Avoid Crash Diets: There is always another popular diet popping up. Some are legitimate indeed, and those which are grounded in science are likely going to offer a well-balanced plan. On the other hand, typical fad diets will often promise instant weight loss without evidence or scientific support. Ultimately having a comprehensive understanding about your specific body’s relationship with food provides a healthier map for overall wellness.

3,500 Calories = 1 Pound: It takes about a 500 daily calorie deficit in order to lose one pound per week. For example, a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola is 140 calories. Decide to drink water instead of soda and you knock down calories in no time. If you particularly have a sweet tooth, replace candy and sugary processed foods with a handful of berries or other fruits and you’re making a healthier yet still satisfying trade. Tuning into the little things adds up.

The overall lesson in eating is to eat real food, not artificial, processed or out-of-the vending machine foods. Some additional key takeaways:

  1. Fuel your fitness by stocking your gym bag with healthy snacks which include good sources of carbohydrates and protein for an energizing pre-workout snack.
  2. Schedule meals with other people, so you’re talking and eating. Read the news or just take a break every few bites. You’ll feel more satisfied and more comfortable if you slow it down.
  3. Mindful eating will help you establish your satiety point, training your brain to push your plate away at the right time. This will in turn help you with eating only when you really feel a hunger pang.
Superfoods: What Are They and What Do They Do?

Superfoods: What Are They and What Do They Do?

Within the past 10 years, one word which has scored some buzz is “superfood.” You see it listed on menus, on packaging and in advertisements. So, what is it and what makes this food so “super?” These foods got their name from the high number of nutrients packed into a small serving. For people who struggle with reaching their daily nutrient needs, superfoods are helpful and versatile. The can be used as snacks, sides or complete meals.

Here are more tips and information about these awesome foods.

200 calories in a superfood are different than 200 calories elsewhere

Superfoods are proof that not all calories are created equal. For example, you could have 200 calories of peanut butter cups and 200 calories of avocado and have your body react very differently to each. The peanut butter cups are packed with sugar, which eventually turns to fat, and provide only short bursts of energy followed by a crash. The avocado, on the other hand, is filled with healthy fats. Diet trends of the ‘80s and ‘90s made “fat” a negative word. The fats in superfoods, however, are nutrients your body needs. The fats in an avocado are essential in the key nutrient absorption it needs to sustain health and to assist the body in reaching its maximum potential.

Eating more doesn’t always mean better

With all your daily food intake, you have to be aware of how much you put in your body per day. To maintain weight, your calorie intake must equal your calorie output. The amount of food you eat during the day – no matter how “super” it is – matters. Your aim is to replace less-healthy foods in your diet with superfoods in order to optimize your daily nutrition.

They are easy to incorporate throughout your day

There are a number of different superfoods out there from which you can choose. If you’re just barely reaching your nutrient needs and want that extra push, a perfect solution is raw almonds, blueberries, edamame, strawberries, or a banana for a snack. If you’re really struggling with getting daily levels, start small by adding a superfood to every meal. It can be as easy as switching to a whole-grain cereal with fruit on top or adding a superfood as a side dish to your lunches and dinners.

There are a TON

With superfoods, you’re not doomed to eat nuts and avocados for the rest of your life in the quest to be healthy. There are myriad options you can add into your diet. Not everyone likes the same kinds of food, so if you don’t like one superfood, just move to the next. The different kinds of superfoods also mean diversity in your meals. You don’t have to eat the same thing over and over. You can choose a different superfood every day and even mix up how you prepare each superfood to come up with recipes which will keep your palette diverse.

Luckily for those looking to venture into the superfood realm, the food’s high-profile status has made it more accessible. A simple internet search will bring up all the foods, recipes and uses you need to make your diet a little more super.