Before the new normal, we all had reasons why we couldn’t fit exercise and eating well into our schedules. When the pandemic hit, we began spending more time at home. Cooking became a necessity, but some people turned to comfort food and packed on the dreaded COVID 15. Others, began a fitness regime at home and began to eat healthier and better. As life slowly returns to normal, we wanted to find out how to maintain some of the positive habits that we picked up or even try to get back to the eating and exercise habits that we had pre-pandemic.
We once again turned to Val Desjardins of PUMP Fitness MTL for her insight. If you didn’t read our article on “How to Balance Work, Family, Fitness and Nutrition”, check it out now and learn more about Val’s background and motivation.
Val’s Take on a Holistic Approach to Wellness: Eating Well, Rest and Exercise
There is so much fun in training or working out at the gym. There is community. That’s why it’s easy getting people to go to a spin class. The hardest part has been to get people to understand the holistic approach of how it all goes together. Food is an easy emotional crutch with an instant pay off because it can be so delicious. I understand that primal use of food as a boost of feeling good.
People used to go to the gym to look good and get their summer body. That’s always going to be a by-product of eating well and being committed to exercise. We are now more aware than ever that you need a strong immune system. That includes sleeping well. Sleeping well includes eating a good dinner that is easily digested so that when you do go to bed, you can actually rest, sleep and recover versus digesting all night, having heartburn and waking up because of it. The new reality is that if we are going to show up to our lives in a healthy way, and be able to cope with any type of illness, we have to be healthy from the inside out, not just have a sexy-summer body.
Resting is important. Then, nutrition fuels your energy, and you can use that energy to have a good training session. Without proper nutrition before and after your workout, you’re just stressing your body more by training hard. For me, nutrition comes down to two main things:
- Really understanding that your well-being, energy and mood is affected by what you put into your body.
- Understanding that it will, in turn, help you in all of these other ways to show up for your life. It’s about thinking that way instead of nutrition being a burden, a hassle and a depravation because you are on a certain diet.
I’m hopeful that we are starting to understand and believe that more.
Eating Well With Easy Meal Prep
We are often in a hurry in the morning. Adding hot water to instant oatmeal takes literally 5 seconds. That’s an easy on the go breakfast and a good way to get your carbohydrates. For me, egg white poppers or anything that you can prepare in advance that’s grab and go works. Make them in muffin tins so that they are prepared and you have them in the fridge ready to go, instead of frying an actual egg. It’s a good source of protein. Nuts as a snack are easy and a good source of healthy fat. You always looking at protein, fat and carbs.
Anything that’s plant based, like prepared vegetables are great too. Frozen vegetables actually contain more nutritional value often than the vegetables that we are getting from the produce aisle that have been sitting and traveling*. Pre-made soups that you have prepared may be an easier option than chopping vegetables for a salad during the week. You just have to pop soup into the microwave. For me, it’s about finding ways to get the same nutrition and maybe there is a bit more preparation on the day you make it, but during the week it’s easier because it’s grab and go.
Fitness: Saving Money and the Digitalization of Exercise
I launched my Digital Studio and I’m doing a monthly subscription. There is a whole discussion around accessibility right now – both financially and also in terms of being at home. For me, going digital was a no-brainer – I created an online following during the pandemic because people needed the coaching. At first, I was doing this free through Instagram Live, but then decided to create a platform for the content. The platform gives people more content that’s on-demand and accessible 24/7. The training content that I have on-demand uses three pieces of equipment. These are all easy to find and are inexpensive:
- Mini Bands – These for me are #1 and they always have been because you can do a full body workout using them.
- Gliders/Sliders – I love gliders – they give your body an opportunity to move differently. If you can’t find or afford them, you can always use socks or a towel. Take an old towel, cut it in two and you have two gliders.
- One set of light dumbbells – You can use these to do lower body, upper body and abs. Right now, we just need to move properly. I don’t think it’s safe to lift heavier weights unsupervised. There is only so much that we can do over that screen, so go with the lighter weights for now. It’s about amplifying movement that doesn’t load the body more, especially for women who may want to be lean and long. We combine high reps and stretching. You can jump and do plyometrics if you want more of a burn. There are ways to do that without loading the body.
Also remember to look for coaches online that you like and that inspire. We need to be coached and inspired right now. We are lacking community and the collective experience. Yes, digitalization of fitness has been catapulted but the need of what that content is has changed. A lot of coaches like myself have figured that out. I’ll speak directly to the user while my wife or another trainer is doing the workout next to me and showing a physical example of what we are doing while I coach.
*This is corroborated by Healthline as long as they aren’t stored for more than a year: “Fruits and vegetables that will be frozen are generally picked at peak ripeness, when they’re the most nutritious.”