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Function and Fitness Blog
Function and Fitness Blog
Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Getting Through the Holidays

’Tis the season - of treats.

As we round the corner into the most festive time of the year it can feel almost impossible to stay away from all the treats. To help keep you in check, we’ve put together a little list of reminders to help you survive the holiday season. 
  • Eat two healthy, satiating meals before the “big meal.” For whatever reason, we all seem to starve ourselves the morning of Thanksgiving/Christmas/etc… so that we can “eat more” during the actual meal. Um… what?! Make sure you get some healthy in there.
  • Remember that most holidays are JUST ONE DAY. Think about this: if you limit your “splurge” to JUST Thanksgiving dinner, it’s really not that bad. Just because we’re going to “go big” at one meal, that doesn’t mean you need to eat poorly all season.
  • Eat a healthy snack before the party. Something about a buffet turns us all into plate-piling-monsters. Fill up on the good stuff at home before you hit the party, or just commit to only eating one plate of food… and not three.
  • Remember your last year’s New Year’s Resolution.
  • Wear tight pants. This one sounds a little silly, but wearing tighter clothes can help to remind you to not stuff your gullet at the holiday party.
  • Remember that you can still make macaroni and cheese/casserole/stuffing at any time of year. Sometimes we think “oh, I’m not going to have this again for a while so I’m gonna fill up on it now.” Remind yourself that you can make those foods at any time of year.
  • Bring the healthy option. Fear there won’t be anything “safe” for you to eat? Why not bring the “safety” food? You might just inspire healthy habits in your fellow party attendees.
  • Make a healthy meal. Just because it’s a “holiday” that doesn’t mean you have to eat badly. There are so many ways to create your favorite foods out of real ingredients that feed your taste-buds as well as your “feel goods.” Think: sweet potatoes without all the brown sugar on top, or actual cranberries instead of that gelatinous tin-shaped guck, asparagus that tastes like asparagus instead of a pound of butter, you get the idea.
  • Exercise. Sure, we want to see you in the gym, but we know how scheduling around the holidays can get tight. If you can’t make it to a team training or a semi-private because you're with family and friends, why not suggest a walk around the neighborhood that everyone can do?At the same time, remember that exercise can help keep you on track, or at least keep you in check.
  • Balance out your plate with the green stuff.
  • Remember it’s not about the food. Sure, the food is a really awesome part of the holidays, but it’s really about getting everyone together. It’s hard to stuff your mouth if you’re too busy catching up with everyone.

Getting through the holidays without gaining weight is hard, but it’s completely doable! And remember: we’re always here to help! For example, we’ve got our “Burn the Bird” workout at 8am on Thanksgiving morning! 

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

FUNction and FITness' REAL CHANGE Nutrition Coaching Program

I'm so excited to announce that we are launching a new nutrition coaching service at FUNction and FITness! 

Are you ready for real and lasting change? Rather than giving you a meal plan and sending you on you’re way, let’s get to the bottom of why you keep returning to “day 1.”


WHAT:

A weight loss program built around YOU!

Weekly accountability check-ins with a Precision Nutrition Certified Coach.

* We know accountability is the number one reason people are successful. We’ll

check in with you in whatever way works for your schedule - either by phone,

email, or in person meeting. We have to make this work for you!

6 weeks to as long as you need.

* We ask that you give us a 6-week minimum because Rome wasn’t built in a day.

3 (if wanted) InBody assessments performed Bi-weekly.

* We want to track measurable changes. That’s often done with numbers - aka

hopping on the scale. BUT this is not a requirement. If you want to go off of how

your jeans fit, then let’s do it that way.


HOW it’s different:

Rather than giving you a meal plan you'll never actually follow, we'll look at addressing the real reasons why you haven't lost weight or why you're on the yo-yo diet routine.

We’ll take a look at the food and exercise habits you already have and build from there. Yes, you'll need to change some habits and yes, it will be difficult, but you have to do what you've never done to get the results you've never achieved before.

It’s personalized. We’re going to look at YOU and what your goals are. Maybe that’s gaining muscle, maybe it’s finally achieving a responsible relationship with food, and maybe it’s just to look awesome in your skinny jeans. We’ll base your plan on what you want.


WHY:

Because you’ve been stuck in a loop of weight loss to weight gain and are tired of it.

Let’s actually get to the root of the problem so we can make some real and actual changes that will carry over for the rest of your life. This is the challenge to end all challenges!

Contact the gym for more details on how to get started! 

2833 Honolulu Avenue
Verdugo City, CA 91046
(818) 369 - 7775
info@functionandfitnessla.com

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

The Scale Mistake

Well, I did it. The same mistake I tell my clients not to: I got on the scale, looked at that number, and then I let that number define me for an instant before considering what that number even means.

And bottom line: it means nothing.

Unless you have a scale that runs an electromagnetic pulse through your body to measure the water in your muscles and fat, the number that appears on that screen means absolutely nothing. It’s a fact I forgot.

I think most of us have an ideal scale number. We know that at “X” weight we will feel and look our best. For most, it’s a number that was programmed years ago and remains stuck in our minds. With the invention of scales like our InBody body composition measuring machine, we’re now able to see what our body composition is. Body composition is exactly what it sounds like – what amounts of fat, water, muscle, etc… our bodies are made up of.

For women aged 35-55 years, the suggestion for body fat percentage is to be between 23-38%

For men aged 35-55 years, the suggestion for body fat percentage is to be between 10-25%

I encourage you to make your new goal “number,” or rather “numbers” based on your body composition because these relate more to body health than the number on a traditional scale.


Additionally, it’s important that you also evaluate how you feel. Do you have energy to get you through your day OR do you hit a slump mid-afternoon? Can you lift your groceries into the car OR do you struggle even lifting a bottle of water? There are a number of other ways to measure your fitness and I encourage you (and “you” also includes me) to take a look at those “definers” over the number on that scale.

 

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Should I "Sweat it out?" #fluseason

We’re entering flu season and that means one thing. Well, actually it means a lot of things. But the thing I’m talking about is the question of “Should I exercise when I’m sick?” For personal reasons (and for the sake of your fellow gym-members) I’m going to say “NO!” Ideally, we don’t want any germs spreading around the gym. If that doesn’t have you convinced, get ready for some convincing.

“Sweating it out” is something that has crossed all of our minds. And it makes sense. And truth be told, it can actually boost your immunity. In this instance, it’s important to define a difference between “working out” and “getting physical activity”.

Work Out
When you “work out” you’re breathing heavily, sweating, and experiencing a slight level of discomfort. This hard work awakens a stress response. Healthy bodies then adapt to this stress. This is what makes us stronger (and helps us fit in our jeans a little better). Add sickness to this “work out” stress and it might be more than your immune system can handle.

Getting Physical Activity
So now for “getting physical activity”. Let’s clarify the activity that would fall under this category. This list includes low intensity activities like walking, riding a bike, or gardening.

This type of activity has been shown to boost immunity and can help you recover faster because there isn’t an intense stress on your immune system.

It’s important to add this caveat – if walking feels like a heavy work out to you, 1. We need to talk ASAP, but 2. think about how your body would perceive the activity stress-wise.

Let your symptoms be your guide and just remember this: the gym will ALWAYS be there when you get back to feeling 100% again!

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Why Does Exercise Sometimes Taste Like Blood?

I was recently asked why exercising can sometimes cause a metallic or blood-like taste in your mouth. Seeing as I’d never experienced this myself (and since the question asker is NOT a vampire) I thought I’d get to the bottom of the question.

I’m not the only one to get the question. As Ryan Dirks, a physician assistant and director of team medicine at South Sound sports medicine clinic in Auburn, Washington explains, “There’s not always a simple answer – truthfully, we don’t always know why it happens.”

Luckily, there are some theories that might explain it. It could be because you are sucking in cold or dry air that causes inflammation and tiny cracks in the lining of the nose and throat. It could also be because of the increased pressure on the lungs the red blood cells in a person’s lungs can leak into air sacs and cause that taste. Luckily, this isn’t something to worry about, according to Gerald Zavorsky, PhD and associate professor of heath and sport sciences at the University of Louisville. Zavorsky’s research also suggests another reason: mild pulmonary edema caused when fluid leaks between the space between air sacs and capillaries.

While the exact cause isn’t known, based on what these experts have studied, it’s not something to worry about. But if you’ve coughed up blood or are having issues breathing you might want to see a doctor to rule out any major health issues.

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

“… but I have kids.”

Okay, I just became a new mom, so I’m not going to act like I know everything. In fact, I’m giving you full allowance to turn to me 10 years from now and utter those dreaded words: “I told you so.”

That being said, I’m going to address a statement (ahem, excuse) I hear pretty often: “but I have kids.” For some reason, we’ve allowed our children to take our healthy eating goals hostage. Sure, you would LOVE to get rid of all the unhealthy things in your kitchen but then what would the kids eat?

Could it be that they might actually eat something that’s nutritionally beneficial to them?

I grew up in a household that favored unhealthy foods. Most nights, before I headed to my gymnastics practice I would have McDonald's. Sometimes, that’s McDonald’s Happy Meal would be substituted with Carl’s Jr. or a microwaveable Kid Cuisine Meal. Snacks were cereal, slices of Kraft American Cheese, and Laura Scudder’s Peanut Butter sandwiches. All delicious, but nutritionally void. I don’t fault my parents for these choices. They simply didn’t know or just didn’t realize how unhealthy these items were. And even if they did know, I’m sure they were just trying to make sure I was fed.

That being said, I’m hoping to do better for my kid.

I can hear it now, the “oh, just you wait.” Yes, my son is far from being able to complain about the food he’s getting now. And no, I haven’t yet had to bribe him with food to get him to behave but I’m hoping that in addition to working through those things (with healthy options) I’ll also be able to encourage the following habits:
  • Knowing what healthy food is.
  • Choosing healthy options.
  • Teaching kids about where their food comes from.
  • Teaching kids about how their food gets to them.
  • Encouraging eating until full (and not just to finish a plate).
  • Understanding TRUE portion size.
  • Getting them involved in meal prep.
  • Finding different ways to get “5 servings of fruit and vegetables” every day.
  • Being a role model myself (perhaps the hardest one on the list)
Perhaps the hardest thing in enforcing these habits is/will be consistency, but I’m finding that’s basically a lynchpin of parenthood… and for healthy eating in general. 

So feel free to bookmark this blog and ask me about it 10 years from now. Fingers crossed I've held true to these words and "...but I have kids" hasn't interrupted my kitchen. 

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Glutes! Activate!

We talk about it a lot. In fact, you’ve probably heard us cue it a lot. “Let’s activate those glutes!” But like much of cues, if you don’t know how to actually activate your glutes, then the cue doesn’t really matter. So, let’s talk about what we’re talking about.

Butt Why?

As we spend more and more time sitting on our butts, it’s causing them to become super inactive. This is a problem because your glutes are the control center for a lot of the movements our lower body does. When your glutes are “shut off” that means other muscles are taking on the extra load. So many times you’ll do a ton of squats, etc… to just wake up the next day with sore quads and hamstrings, when really your butt should be the sore one. This can cause posture issues, muscle pain, and can also increase your chance of injury.

So what can we do abutt (sorry, last one) it?

We can activate those glutes with glute activation exercises! Complicated, eh? Actually, not really. Truth be told, we always build in a few glute activation exercises into our RAMPs (warm-up exercises). For example, glute bridges are something we always throw in. You can also do clamshells, as well as resistance band lateral walks. All of these exercises warm up the glutes so that when you’re moving onto deadlifts and squats, the glutes are like “Hey, I’m here! And I’m working!”

We also have to make sure that “mind-body” connection is working so you’ll need to actively think about where you should be feeling the movement. Ding! Ding! You guess it, you should be feeling it in your butt.  Sometimes even just thinking, “my butt should be doing the work” can help those glutes turn on and start working. You should feel an active tightening in your booty area.

Once we get your glutes firing working, your glute muscles should be handling a lot of the movement and load. This can help save your quads, hamstrings, and lower back – something we’re all looking to keep out of the equation. So just think “Glutes! Activate!”

As always, we’re here to help! So if you ever hear a cue or something that just doesn’t make sense or leaves you wondering, “Okay, so how exactly does that translate to my body?” never hesitate to ask. We’re here to help you make that mind-booty (okay, seriously, last one) connection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Strategies for Eating with Friends and Family

One of the things I hear the most is how hard it is to “stay good” when out with friends and family. How are you supposed to reach for carrots when everyone else is reaching for chips and salsa? What ends of happening to me is I go with the carrots at first and then end up reaching for the chips in the end anyway… thus resulting in me being wayyyyy fuller than I should be.

Knowing how hard it is, I thought it might be helpful to do a blog about strategies you can tap into when you know you’re going to be a social butterfly.

Order first. Studies have proven that a group of people will base their food choices off of what the first person orders. Consider it a form of peer pressure. If you’re out at a restaurant try to be the first one to order so that 1, you set the tone for everyone around you, and 2, so that you’re not swayed by the person that orders the extra cheese family portion sized lasagna.

Here’s my caveat to the point above: you’re going to get pressure from people. They’re going to say, “What? You’re ordering a salad?” You know what your goals are. Stay firm with them. Yeah, you did order a salad! And Yeah, you’re going to enjoy that salad and not feeling over-stuffed two hours later.

Be a part of the conversation. It’s a running joke in my family that we always know food has arrived because we all get so quiet. The food gets to the table and we all shut up because we’re stuffing our faces. Chances are when you’re out with friends or family, it’s because you’re visiting with them. So visit. That means listening instead of chomping down on your food.

Try to be the slowest one.

Put your fork down in between bites.

Order salad first so you stock up on a little bit of healthy.

Have a snack before you leave the house. Be careful with this one, because, for me, it always seems to backfire.

Split your meal with a friend.

Choose your dish beforehand by scoping out the menu online.

Dessert OR Drinks. Not both.

Ask for butter/dressing/etc… on the side. That way you can monitor how much you’re adding to your food.

Choose a healthy dining spot.

Plan an outing that DOESN’T involve food. Like a hike. Or shopping trip, which often means splurging in a different way, but we won’t go down that alley.


The truth is, you’re going to feel like a party-pooper. It’s inevitable. For some reason, going out to eat has become code word for “free-for-all” but it doesn’t have to be that way. Remember what your goals are. And know that if you’re friends and family are really rooting for your success, they’ll eventually give you a pass for being “the healthy one” at the table.

 

 

 

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Let's Listen

True story: I set up to write this blog and immediately fell back into bed and took a nap. And afterward, I was proud I did. I'm trying this new thing out it's called, "listening to my body". I think it's something we often forget to do.

For example, you might be familiar with these instances:

"My shoulder really hurts but I'm going to go to my workout anyway and see if I can work through the pain."

"Wow, I haven't eaten in like 8 hours."


Now, it's a given that a nap is not always an option. In my case, I was lucky enough that the baby had also passed out and the husband was working on something in the shed. So I took advantage of the time I had.

In many ways, having a baby has taught me to listen. During pregnancy, I napped when I could. I'm doing the same thing now, but mostly because I'm in survival mode. But in typing that I realize we do most things because we are in survival mode. We forget to eat because we're rushing around doing everything or because we got stuck in back-to-back meetings at work. We grab Burger King because we need food quickly. We work through pain because how else are we going to burn off that Burger King?

Pregnancy/ labor/ post-partum has put me on a forced time out to listen to my body. I actually can't NOT take a nap during the day because I won't be able to do the midnight feeding... or the 4 am feeding... or the crying in between. Before I might have pushed through the nap or worked through it, but there's no option for me now.

I actually can't walk the 15,000 steps I used to. Right now I'm averaging about 3-4,000... and that's on a good day. Because the rest of the day, my body is telling me "rest."

Obviously, this is a very special and different time for me than for most people's daily lives, but I encourage you to try and listen - maybe even set aside a minute where you close your eyes and really, truly check-in with yourself. Is your body saying "I need to rest" or "I need to eat" or "wow, I need some water"?

See what it says, and then, if you can, shut off the computer and take that nap.

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Yes, There’s an App for Mindful Eating!

Our lives are filled with running - and usually not the kind you do on a treadmill. Most people ping-pong from here to there, picking up kids, dropping off kids, heading to the gym, grocery shopping, and then, of course, we have to schedule in time to eat a socialize. It’s a lot. And somewhere along the way, we forgot what it means to sit down and really enjoy our food. What that’s led to is a lot of “what can I grab and eat quickly?” rather than slowing down and eating our food mindfully.

Luckily, there’s an app to remind us to slow down - well, at least slow down when we eat.

As the “Eat Slowly” app boasts: 

“Slow Down, Slim Down. Eat Slowly for the iPhone was created for those of us that eat too quickly. Scientific studies state it can take 20 minutes for our brains to acknowledge the food we eat to give us that full feeling. Eating too quickly can result in overeating. Eat Slowly has been created as a training tool to help you slow down, enjoy the taste of your food, and support a healthy lifestyle.”


Slowing down is just one part of eating mindfully…

There’s also that whole “mindful part.” Mindful eating means that you also try to give your food full attention. What that means is:

  • Noticing colors, smells, sounds, textures, and tastes
  • Feeling for physical hunger cues, distinguishing between actual hunger and non-hunger triggers and eating only until you're full
  • Eating to maintain overall health and well-being
  • Noticing the effects food has on your emotions
  • Appreciating your food
Eating mindfully, when practiced often leads to control of your eating habits which in turn can lead to weight loss, ditching the binge eating pattern, and feeling better. Now that's a concept (and an app) I can get behind!

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