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

Can A Cheat Meal Ruin It All?

You’ve been eating clean and balanced all week - protein, fat, carbs at every meal - their correct proportions - and without dipping into the pantry for a late night snack. Then the weekend arrives and it’s three pieces of pizza, some wine, but just a small, okay maybe not really small at all, dessert. So the question is - can a cheat meal ruin all that good work you’ve put in?

Sadly, the answer is “yes.”

And it’s “yes” for a lot of reasons.

Number one: If that “cheat” means eating a day’s worth of calories in one sitting, guess what? You’ve just turned your 7 days of eating into 8 days of eating. And no, there are NOT 8 days in a week.

Number two: That one “cheat” often turns into two cheats, three cheats, four cheats, blown week. If that cheat meal is going to turn you to the dark side for the rest of the weekend and/or week, then it’s for sure going to ruin that past week of good work.

Number two point five: Just a caveat to the above note - turning on all the “bad cravings” can only trigger more. For example, a lot of people will say that once they stop eating sugar they don’t crave it, but even just one Cadbury Caramel Egg can turn on those cravings. While some lucky people out there are able to have one doughnut and then call it quits, the majority of us are apt to dive into the whole box - so just don’t start in the first place.

Number three: You’re most likely to “cheat” because you’re out with friends at a restaurant. The problem there? All the hidden things that are being put in your food. When you cook at home you know what ingredients you’re using. And if you’re a label checker, you know what’s really in those ingredients. At a restaurant, unless you’re besties with the chef, you can never be 100% of what’s going in your food or how it’s being prepared. What that translates to is a lot of hidden junk that you weren’t even calculating into your cheat meal dreams.

Now I’m not saying never cheat - that’s almost 1 million percent impossible! But if you’re going to cheat, try to be mindful about it. Is there a reason you feel compelled to have a cheat meal? Maybe a long week at work or you want to fit in with the rest of the people sitting around the table. Know the WHY behind that piece of pizza. Then put a limit on that cheat. A realistic limit. You can also make it a “not-so-cheat” meal - add a salad before that slice or two of pizza. Or have a glass of fizzy flavored water for every glass of wine. And lastly, finish off the “cheat” with a healthy treat as a way of resetting your mind and reminding it to return to the good stuff. An apple or a handful of vegetables after the pizza/pasta/deliciousness can often be a good way to “re-trigger” the clean eater in you.

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Putting the “YOU” in Positive Self-Talk

It might sound silly, but during that next workout try “YOU can do it” instead of “I can do it.”

According to a study that was published online in the European Journal of Social Psychology in 2014, talking to yourself in the second person when you are giving yourself encouragement in the gym may actually boost your performance more than using the first-person.

As the study’s co-author Dr. Sanda Dolcos, a researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, explained, “People are used to receiving and giving advice in the second-person, and they seem to prefer using the second-person pronoun to psych themselves up before engaging in action.”

How the study’s authors arrive at this conclusion? They asked 143 undergraduate students at the University of Illinois to write down advice for themselves before working through a series of anagram puzzles. Half of the 143 students were asked to use first-person while the other half wrote in second-person.

The students who wrote in second-person completed more anagrams and appeared to have a more positive attitude when working through the anagrams. “We were not surprised and had previous research showing people spontaneously use ‘You’ in situations that require high levels of self-control and action,” said Dolcos, “as well as situations following a negative event.”

So next time you need a little more encouragement try “You” instead of “I” - and also trust that all of your coaches will be encouraging “YOU” too!

PSST! Here's your chance for 5 extra tickets in our monthly drawing: mention the catch phrase "Positive Self-Talk" to any of the coaches!

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

What’s With These Single Leg Exercises?

As I’ve noticed in our gym, a lot of us dread doing anything on a single leg - our balance is thrown off - we fall - and generally, we just kind of feel silly or that we look stupid.

So if everyone hates single leg exercises, then why do we put them in all of the programming we do? Because, they’re super good for you, of course!

Single-leg training is awesome for developing balance, coordination, and even optimal for developing strength.

Here are some examples of the single-leg training we do in the gym:
Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts
Rear-Foot-Elevated (either on a bench or in TRX straps) Squats
Single Leg Cable Woodchops

Mike Boyle (one of our fave gurus in the gym because a lot of what he says just, bottom line, makes sense) believes, "You do almost everything in sports in a split stance, or by pushing off one leg from a parallel stance, so it just makes sense to train your body that way."

Training on a single-leg allows you to sprint, change direction, and produce force equally from both sides of your body while also developing stabilizers and small muscle groups that are critical for injury prevention. We love injury prevention!

Additionally, Boyle believes that "[Single-leg exercises] promote great muscle growth and great muscle strength because they work more muscles." For example, you engage three more muscles in a Single-Leg Squat than in a traditional two-legged Squat. Boyle notes that if you train one leg at a time, and then try a traditional Squat, you’ll most likely hit a new personal squat record.

So, while we know that you hate the idea of standing on one leg (especially when that other leg is in the TRX straps) it’s going to help your balance - and also make you stronger! And that’s something we can all stand behind.

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Playing the Accountability Game

It’s always a hard question to answer when people ask me about how I lost my own thirty pounds of “fluff.” For so many of us, we’re looking for that one size fits all “solve” - the “oh, I just ate grapefruit,” or “I started taking this awesome supplement.” I always wish I had “the magic pill” to just hand out, but the honest to goodness truth is I just committed.

And honestly, I know how annoying that sounds.

Weight loss is hard until it’s not hard. And I say that because truthfully, deep down inside we can all admit that we know what it takes to lose weight. Barring any health issues (like thyroid issues, etc…), weight loss comes down to what you are feeding yourself and how much you are moving.  If you put the good stuff in, in the right amounts, and you move often, your body is going to lose weight.

For years I yo-yo’ed between a size 6 and a size 14. I’d have three weeks of “good” and then weekends that devolved into weeks of bad.  Any progress I made was literally eaten away. And I did that - for years - until I finally (and fully and completely) decided I’m not going to do that anymore. Sure, I had said that countless times before, but I was just soooo over feeling and looking the way I did.

In the past, I had done Weight Watchers and been successful, so I knew writing stuff down would be important. There’s just something about having to “fess up” about what you’re eating that keeps you in check. Knowing that I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app. While the app will give you a calorie number to aim for (based off of your height and weight), I suggest you get an InBody Assessment that can give you an accurate number based on your body composition. You can do it at the gym! It’s easy! You just stand on something for like 3 minutes. Once you have that calorie goal number, make sure you track everything. The app makes it so easy - you can even scan the barcodes!!

Track Your Workouts

In addition to food, I suggest tracking the calories you burn during your workouts with a heart-rate monitor. The great thing about heart-rate monitors is that most of them can show you what level you are working in during your workouts. It’s a great way to check in with how hard you might be working. And actually - a lot of the time (or rather, most of the time) I see that I work the hardest when I’m lifting weights. Woohoo #girlswholift!

You might also want to consider wearing a pedometer - or something that tracks your daily steps. I actually burst through some of my plateaus by just making sure that I was getting in my 10,000 steps. It’s a great way to remind you to get moving!

For me, I found that keeping myself accountable was the only way I was going to be able to keep myself honest. As coaches, we can make sure you’re doing the work in the gym, but we can’t be there when you’re sitting in the drive-through line at McDonald's or standing in that freezer aisle at Trader Joe’s (that’s my downfall). In so many ways you have to be your own coach or ref when you’re out in the grocery/restaurant/real-life field. Finding a way to make yourself and keep yourself accountable (over the months and maybe years it takes to lose the weight) is the first step in winning the weight loss game!