Maintaining a Healthy Weight During COVID-19

Between an abundance of free time at home with snacks and the stress of living through a global pandemic and economic crises, many people have started calling COVID-19, the COVID-15, referring to worry about gaining unwanted weight.  With days that blur together and stress that makes you prone to junk food cravings, it’s not an unwarranted concern, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable. FitClub can explain why you might be eating more and how to reset your healthy habits.Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept.

  1. Controlling cortisol.  Cortisol is the hormone your body releases when you’re under stress. Certainly, stress levels have never been higher for many of us.  You may be home schooling children, worrying about your job, or facing anxiety about the future of the quarantine and COVID-19.  Cortisol causes your body to retain belly fat.  Belly fat can contribute to a host of dangerous medical conditions.  While cortisol causes havoc to your waistline, it also causes you to crave sugary junk foods.  Fortunately, you are not powerless over your cortisol.  Consistent, moderate exercise can reduce the amount of cortisol your body produces, lower your stress, and reduce the erratic cravings you might be experiencing.  Setting aside time to use the FitClub app, communicating with others on the FitClub app, and returning to your regular exercise schedule can help dramatically during this unprecedented time.
  2. Maintaining a healthy diet.  There has never been a more important time to snack on fresh produce.  Not only does a diet rich in fruits and vegetables better protect your immune system from a host of viruses and illnesses, but fresh fruit has been linked to a reduction in stress and cortisol in the body.  When the fresh fruit attacks the cortisol in your stomach, it reduces its impact on your physical and mental health.  Whether you’re bored or in need of a snack to curb a hunger pang, reach for nutritious, colorful fruits like kiwis, citrus fruits, and berries to prevent the COVID-15.
  3. Eliminate boredom.  Eliminating boredom right now might be easier said than done when many of your favorite activities are temporarily unavailable.  When boredom strikes, your body’s natural supply of dopamine may also drop.  Dopamine is the hormone that makes us happy.  Instead of doing the chores we know we could do around the house, the normal response is to try to increase your dopamine levels to make yourself feel better.  Eating increases dopamine levels.  Reaching for food, especially junk food, when you’re bored is an ingrained bio-chemical reaction to a reduction in dopamine.  Fortunately, we have evolved and understand that there are other ways to increase our dopamine.  Exercise, for example, is a proven tool that is available on your FitClub app to increase your dopamine level while actually reducing your boredom, making you feel healthier and fitter, and allowing you to avoid the COVID-15.  The next time you find yourself in the kitchen because you’re bored, try a FitClub app workout before you give in and let us know if it works!

How are you maintaining your healthy routines during this unprecedented time?  Share your tips with your fellow FitClub members.  We’re all in this together!

Maintaining Productivity During COVID-19 Social Distancing

Have you noticed a significant dip in your productivity during social distancing? Many of us had our lives disrupted when the social-distancing rules went into effect. If you find that you get far less done, even with far more time, you’re not alone. It’s completely normal to be struggling right now with maintaining a schedule or accomplishing what you used to be able to accomplish.Woman watching sports training online on laptop.

A study done in mid-march by the American Psychiatric Association found that as many as 25% of survey respondents reported a newfound inability to focus on tasks during social-isolation.  Thirty-three percent of test subjects worried that coronavirus and social distance was negatively impacting their mental health. If any of this sounds familiar, you are definitely not alone!

FitClub has tips to help you begin to function at a higher level during and after this pandemic.

  1. Make your health a priority. The more news we take in about the pandemic, the more we might be worried about our own physical health. Starting your day with a high-quality FitClub workout on the app can help you release the stress you’re holding while also reassuring yourself that you are protecting your physical health. Instead of saving your workout for later in the day when all of your other tasks are done, why not start your day by ensuring that your healthy goals have been accomplished?

    As a side bonus during these difficult times, exercise can improve your cognitive ability.  The University of Illinois found that even twenty minutes of exercise led to improved attention spans and increased comprehension. Can you afford twenty minutes of quality exercise for easier, more productive and healthier days?

  2. Set a timer. In a world where we are suddenly working from home and homeschooling children, we might simply be expecting too much from ourselves. Does all of the extra time cause you too much time on any one task? Setting an alarm reminding you to switch tasks may help you accomplish more in less time. Having too much time to accomplish a goal can actually hold you back. The next time you decide to accomplish a chore or respond to emails, try setting a timer that will remind you that you’ve done enough for one day and prepare you to move on to the next task.
  1. Learn to meditate. Even short seated meditations can have a dramatic impact on your mental health and productivity. Check the FitClub app for meditation sessions and set aside ten to twenty minutes to sit quietly with yourself each day or several times each week. A study done by the University of California at Santa Barbara found that meditation had profound and immediate measurable benefits in restoring memory, attention span and productivity to graduate students. There’s never been a better time to learn to prioritize your mental health and meditation can help.

How are you holding up during social distancing? Are you thriving or struggling to find a productive window in a long day?  Let FitClub know in the comments!

Five Easy Ways to Eat More Vegetables Everyday

A diet rich in healthy fruits and vegetables is key to a long, healthy life. Vegetables provide many critical nutrients and minerals, as well as healthy dietary fiber, with very few calories. Even when we understand how healthy vegetables are, it can be difficult to eat the recommended eight ounces of vegetables each day. If you’re struggling to ensure that your family is eating the recommended servings of vegetables, FitClub has a few tips you can use today! 500922429

  1. Opt for fresh vegetables whenever possible. Not only do fresh vegetables generally taste better than frozen or canned vegetables, they are also higher in nutrients than those you might find in the frozen food or canned section of your grocery store. Although frozen and canned vegetables are still a healthy way to get your vegetable intake, certain nutrients may be compromised during the processing. To ensure that you achieve the most nutrition possible, grab fresh produce whenever possible, or start a vegetable garden in your own backyard!
  2. Mix it up. As healthy as vegetables are, there is no one vegetable that can provide everything you need for optimal health. Instead, making a vegetable salad with multi-colored vegetables can ensure that your plate is as balanced as your healthy diet. 
  3. Sneak vegetables in whenever possible. Adding spinach to a fruit smoothie, for example, can be a sneaky way to add more vegetables to your diet or a child’s diet. The taste of the spinach can be hidden by flavorful fruit, but you can’t hide the extra boost of potassium, magnesium, and vitamins hidden in just a handful of spinach.
  4. Prep veggies in advance of hunger. Like any other healthy snack, having vegetables readily available when hunger strikes can help eliminate the risk you’ll choose a less healthy snack. Taking the time to clean, chop, and store your vegetables in readily accessible places in the kitchen will help you begin to eliminate excuses. With only a few minutes of prep work, you can eliminate guessing from your next snack break and help you take an easy path to a healthier diet. Add peanut butter to celery or enjoy fresh carrots the next time you feel the urge to raid the refrigerator! 
  5. Get creative. Adding vegetables to pasta sauce, meat dishes, or omelets can help you dramatically increase the servings of vegetables you eat each day without a tremendous effort. Experimentation with your normal meals can help you explore how the flavor of vegetables only adds to your culinary enjoyment while you also begin to eat a healthier diet that can benefit you for many years. Spring and summer are the perfect time to begin challenging yourself with new and creative recipes that pack huge nutrients and great taste. If you do get creative with veggies in your recipes, be sure to share those ideas with FitClub!

What new and exciting ways have you discovered to consume more vegetables each day?

Easy Tips for Healthy Eating During COVID-19

Have you found yourself thinking of food more often during COVID-19 shelter-at-home orders?  If you have, you’re not alone.  Without the normal routines and day-to-day structure we rely on to mark the time, mealtimes have become more fluid and your cravings may have turned towards comfort food.  If you’re ready to reestablish healthy eating plans for you and your family, FitClub has advice to help you get and stay on track!pre-post-workout-breakfast-1000x667-1

  1. Stick to a schedule.  Adhering to a schedule is essential for living a healthy lifestyle during this unprecedented disruption.  Just like work schedules and sleep schedules, meal schedules help to ground us and set the biological rhythms for our bodies.  Scheduling and planning your meals can also allow you to stop focusing on food and start focusing on other tasks on your to do list.
  2. Quit eating out of boredom.  Calories consumed during boredom can completely wreck your healthy weight-loss goals.  If you believe you might be eating out of boredom, rather than actual hunger, distract yourself with healthier activities.  Take a walk, jump into a FitClub video on the app, or read a book.  Any activity that distracts you from the desire to eat is likely to alleviate the desire to raid the pantry during a moment of boredom.  
  3. Manage your emotions and stress.  Most of us are under increased stress during the shelter-in-place.  According to experts, during times of emotional turmoil, people tend to have difficulty managing their relationships with food.  A change in eating patterns has been linked to an attempt to mitigate unwelcome emotions.  By better understanding our unique impulse to eat, we can start to correct the patterns we may be falling into.  If you notice that you reach for food when you are tired, bored, or scared, you can pause, divert your attention, and overcome the urge to snack on unhealthy foods.  This may be a good time for you to increase the length of your workouts, begin a journal, or learn to meditate.  Recognizing and regulating your emotions during this difficult time can improve your mental health and help you avoid unwanted weight gain during this period.
  4. Reevaluate your goals.  Is losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight a personal goal?  Now would be a good time to reevaluate why you hold this goal close to your heart.  Reminding ourselves of our goals can help us recommit to those goals.  What else can you commit to in order to meet your goals?  Could you commit to logging your food and tracking your calories and macronutrients?  Could you meal prep and stock up on healthy pantry staples, fresh fruit and vegetables?  You could, in fact, make each of these a mini-goal on your way to your larger goal, allowing you to see progress and achievement each day while also keeping yourself on track.

How are you managing your meals during this time?  Share your tips with your fellow FitClub members.  Now more than ever, we are in this together!

How to Find Motivation for Your Workout

f you’re accustomed to working out at FitClub, but finding working out at home to be a challenge, you’re not alone.  It’s hard to change routines and habits, even when we find ourselves forced to do so.  FitClub has tips to making using the app in your own space the right solution for you.ejercicio-por-la-mañana_1_780x462

  1. Write out your routine.  If you’ve been walking around with a fleeting mental game plan for your quarantined days, it’s time to start writing it down.  An agenda establishes your priorities, one day at a time.  Instead of hoping that you’ll get to your goals, physically write out what you want to accomplish and when you want to accomplish each item.  If maintaining optimal physical and mental health is a priority for you, ink it into your to do list and treat it like an appointment.
  2. Create boundaries.  Whether you’re sheltering alone or with your family, setting and maintaining boundaries that allow you to work from home, stay sane, and meet your needs can be challenging.  As you would during a regular work week, it’s crucial to allow the time and space that you need to reach your goals.  Tell your friends or family that you need this time without interruption to reset your mental and physical health.  Create a space in your house or apartment that serves as your FitClub-away-from-FitClub.  Dedicating physical space to your workout can help you create mental space to focus on your health.
  3. Mix it up.  If you’ve ever been interested in trying a new class at FitClub, this is a great time to take advantage of the app and mix up your daily workout.  Check the schedule on the FitClub app to find out what classes are going live on any given day and experience a FitClub class.  Yoga, Zumba, Meditation, and strength classes are all available and streamed live.  You may discover that you really enjoy the sweat from a particular class and when FitClub is able to reopen, you’re ready to dive right in!
  4. Dress accordingly.  Right now, finding motivation to exercise or work from home might be as simple as changing your clothes, brushing your teeth and going through the normal routine you might otherwise perform before a workout.  Habits and routines play very important roles in convincing our bodies to behave accordingly.  Get out of your sweats or pajamas and into your workout gear and see if the desire to workout doesn’t come almost automatically.
  5. Connect with fellow FitClub members.  Not being able to share space and group exercise classes right now is challenging, but while we all self-isolate, the FitClub app makes it easy to reach out virtually to announce your accomplishments or share in the successes of others.  If you feel lonely or isolated, or just out of your routine and a little lost right now, use the app to reconnect with your FitClub family.

What videos or workouts on the app have been your favorites so far?  Are you joining the live streams?  Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Easy Ways to Beat Insomnia and Get Better Quality Sleep

The unusual stress that we are all under right now can lead to sleepless or restless nights.  Even if you’ve been able to sleep well in the past, the sudden disruption to your normal schedule and concerns about COVID-19 may have you struggling to get consistent quality sleep at night.  Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is paramount to facing the unique challenges before us and maintaining a healthier lifestyle.  FitClub has easy ways you can beat insomnia tonight and look forward to better sleep during this new challenge.12775238_bg1

  1. Be consistent!  Without the normal workweek and school week schedules we are accustomed to, the days may blend together, with little difference between afternoons and evenings.  Maintaining a consistent bedtime and wake up time each day can help set your circadian rhythm for better, more consistent sleep.  Your body functions best when it knows what to expect.  This is particularly true with regard to sleep.  Now more than ever, be sure to turn the television off at your normal bedtime and prepare or your body and mind for sleep.
  2. Avoid oversleeping.  When you’re exhausted, it may seem counter intuitive to limit the amount that you sleep, but according to the Sleep Foundation, oversleeping can lead to feeling groggy or unfocused throughout the day.  Whether you’re working from home, homeschooling your children, or just trying to maintain productivity each day, limiting your sleep to seven to nine hours each night may help.  Eliminating unnecessary naps during the day can also allow you to be tired enough to fall asleep and stay asleep more easily.
  3. Prioritize exercise.  For many people, the added anxieties and worries of this strange time inhibit high quality sleep. Not only can exercise burn-off extra energy in both children and adults, it can also alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.  Exercise may be the outlet you need right now to burn off stress and anxiety or even just to step away from the disturbing news of the moment.  Tune into FitClub’s workout app to find the exercise that you enjoy most.  Scheduling exercise into your day can also help you break up the sense of monotony caused by being at home so often day after day.
  4. Cut back on screen time.  Many of us turn to the distraction of our phones during times of boredom, anxiety, or stress.  You might have noticed your own screen time creeping up the last few weeks.  Phones, computers, and tablets, though release “blue light” which interferes with the body’s natural stores of melatonin and can make it more difficult for us to wind down at night to get the sleep that we need.  At least an hour before bedtime, try to turn off all devices.  You can create several no-technology routines that better allow your body and mind to turn towards sleep like taking a warm bath, reading a paper book, or meditating for a few minutes before you turn in at night.

How are you coping with the changes to your life during COVID-19?  Share your tips or worries with FitClub and your fellow FitClub members in the comments below!

How to Maintain Healthy Routines During COVID-19

Whether you’re working from home or self-isolating as much as possible, it may seem as though COVID-19 has flipped the world on its head.  Suddenly, many of us have far too much free time and feel rudderless with the lapse of our prior routines.  Routines keep us on track to meet our goals, provide a sense of normalcy in our day to day lives, and help to keep us living a healthy lifestyle. They provide a framework and a sense of control over our mental and physical health; maintaining our healthy routines is important more now than ever.20200318073551.ejercicio

How can you maintain a healthy routine during COVID-19?  FitClub has easy steps you can implement for yourself or your family today.

  1. Maintain consistent bedtime and wake up times.  For some, without the structure of a school day or work, there is a tendency to stay up later at night and sleep later into the mornings.  Making an effort to go to bed and wake at the same time each day can help establish resilience against the stress that’s impacting our daily lives.  Ending the day with a pleasant, soothing ritual like a warm bath, cup of decaffeinated tea, or writing in a journal, can convince your body that it’s time to wind down.  Likewise, beginning the day with meditation, a FitClub workout on the app, or your favorite music can provide a positive, healthy start to your day.
  2. Keep working out.  Whether you have an established workout routine or you plan to start one during COVID-19, scheduling your workouts with the FitClub app and your day-planner can help keep you motivated, on track to achieve your goals, and help you balance your time indoors.  Whether you’re a morning exerciser or prefer a later endorphin blast, committing to a designated time each day can help you reclaim that sense of normalcy that has, for now, been compromised.  Maintaining your workout schedule also helps your immune system, sleep patterns, and mental health.
  3. Eat consistent meals at regular intervals.  With the loss of recognizable patterns, it may be tempting to eat irregular meals, or too often, or too much throughout the day.  Mealtimes are how we generally establish our routines.  We eat three meals at largely consistent times, each day, and our bodies and minds have come to recognize those meal times as essential components to our established routines.  COVID-19 and working from home are not reasons to divert from our tried and true mealtimes.  If you find your mind wandering towards your next meal, use that thought productively to prepare healthy meals, order healthy groceries online, or get creative in the kitchen.  With more time than usual on our hands, it can be easy to divert to comfort food.  Your mind and body function far better, though, on consistent and healthy routines and meals.

Have you created new, healthy routines for yourself during social-distancing?  Share your tips with your fellow FitClub members!

How Does Your Diet Impact Your Mental Health?

We all know that what we eat and drink everyday impacts our physical health, but now more than ever, we need to be conscious of how our diet impacts our mental health.  With many of us working from home and feeling more anxiety or depression than we generally might, maintaining a diet that promotes a healthier mental outlook has never been more important.f

Why it matters.
Just like any organ in your body, your brain runs on food that you eat throughout the course of your day.  How that food impacts your brain’s function may determine how well you think, work, feel, and cope with the stressors that exist in day to day life.  In the same way your muscles perform better with a high quality diet, so does your brain.  Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that regulates your emotions and moods and allows you to alleviate stress, depression, and anxiety.  While normally associated with the brain, the epicenter of moods and emotions, serotonin is actually produced in the gut and is determined, in large part, due to the ratio of good and bad bacteria in your gut.  

Put more simply, a happier gut translates to a happier mood.

What to eat.
Harvard University has found that diets rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats can reduce symptoms of depression by as much as thirty-five percent.  These diets leave little or no room for processed and refined foods (think junk food!).  There’s really no limit to the amount of variety you can achieve by combining your favorite fresh produce with your favorite lean proteins.  This is one of the reasons the Mediterranean diet is generally considered among the world’s healthiest diets.

If you’re already keeping track of your calories in and calories out, this is the perfect time to experiment with logging your moods and emotions, too.  Looking for patterns between what we eat and how we feel the following day can help us better understand our unique biochemistry and dietary needs.

What to avoid.
During stressful periods like social-distancing and self-quarantining, you may be more prone to reach for comfort foods or easy foods.  These foods tend to exacerbate feelings of anxiety and depression.  Harvard discovered that sugar, specifically added sugar, causes blood sugar spikes that mimic the effects of anxiety and depression throughout the body.  That sugar is hiding in places you might not expect.  While you’re stuck at home, check the labels on your food to better understand how much sugar you accidentally consume in one day.  The results might surprise you!

Other foods to avoid for a healthier mental makeup include caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.  Adding fresh fruit to your day can healthfully eliminate the sugar cravings you might experience.  Filling up on plan water or sugar-free sparkling water can also help keep you hydrated, maintain a healthy blood sugar level and alleviate the mental stressors you may be experiencing during a pandemic.

Do you log your moods and foods? What works for you?

Do More Than Just Survive Social-Distancing – FitClub’s Tips for Thriving in a Time of Social Isolation

Being told to stay at home and avoid friends and family has many of us reeling with cabin fever, anxiety and depression.  Suddenly, even self-proclaimed introverts are working from home and struggling to remember the day of the week.  Yes, right now the main goal has to be to stay in and stay healthy, or just survive.  That doesn’t mean that we can’t also thrive while the world takes a pause and tries to reset from this

  1. What would you do if you had all the time in the world?  The abundance of free time has suddenly left many of us feeling as though we have too much time on our hands.  Maybe you spent the first few days enjoying a Netflix binge or reading fiction to escape the twenty-four/seven news cycle.  That’s okay! We all needed a break.  But what about that list that you’ve secretly kept in the back of your mind of the things you would do if you just had more free time?  Whether it’s learning a foreign language, learning to cook, or finally organizing that spare bedroom, treating this as an opportunity instead of a reason to sit on the couch may improve our lives and mental outlooks during this time of uncertainty.
  2. Reconnect with old friends.  We can’t meet friends for happy hour right now or even pop over for a movie night.  Fortunately, the twenty-first century has created many ways that we can stay in touch and even see our friends smiling faces during a stay-at-home order.  Apps like Zoom, FaceTime, and Facebook Messenger make it convenient to check in with friends, share a laugh, and commiserate with the day to day challenges we are all facing.
  3. Stay fit and engaged with your FitClub family!  FitClub’s app lets you hit your workout goals, stay physically active and continue to communicate and share progress with your FitClub friends.  Login and share with the group the workouts you’re loving, the progress you’re making, and the creative ways you’re finding to entertain yourself and your family while stuck inside.
  4. Maintain a routine.  Even when many of us are working from home and avoiding unnecessary outings, maintaining a routine can help break up the days and provide a sense of normalcy during a crazy time.  Maintaining a regular sleep and wake schedule, practicing good hygiene, and dressing every day when you wake up are good ways to shape your day without leaving the house.  Even the simple act of making your bed when you wake up can help you set a positive, productive tone for the day even if you go no further than your home office or kitchen.
  5. Take a breath.  Whether you’re a lifelong student of meditation or you are looking for a way to calm your nerves and quiet your mind, meditation has proven benefits.  Check out the FitClub app for meditation classes or calming yoga sequences to not only survive this historical event, but to thrive at the same time.

Stay healthy everyone! What are you doing to brighten your days?

Stress Relief for Healthcare Workers

FitClub and the world are thinking of healthcare workers right now!  A stressful job has just become far more stressful.  Your stress management has never been more important.  While taking care of yourself may seem like a luxury right now, it’s imperative that you take even just a few minutes of self-care to remain your healthiest, most effective self.  How?  In a world that’s spinning very quickly, self-care and stress management may seem more difficult than ever.  FitClub has five tips that you can try from anywhere that only take minutes.covid19_g_1212922973-860x573-1

  1. Exercise.  Exercise can help you clear your mind and refocus on the challenges in front of you.  Carve out a few minutes to use your FitClub app and get the benefits of raising your heart rate, clearing your mind, and releasing endorphins that can make a world of difference.  Now more than ever, focus on the moves your body performs and your breath as you work out.  Taking your focus away from the crisis right now, will provide mental and emotional benefits long after the exercise ends.
  2. Sleep.  It might be next to impossible right now to finish a shift and fall asleep without your mind racing.  This is a scary, unpredictable time, but sleep is critical for all of us to remain operating at our healthiest.  Take the time you need to wind down before going to bed with a funny television show, a long, hot bath, or a book that absorbs your mind.  Refocusing ourselves on all that we are grateful for during this time can also help you ease into the sleep that you need.  While seven to nine hours of sleep is recommended, for healthcare workers that sleep can often be broken or short in supply.  It’s particularly important to aim for high quality sleep, even when you can’t control the quantity.
  3. Eat well.  Under times of stress and busy schedules, we often reach for comfort foods. With take out and drive thru still available, the temptation can be overwhelming.  While you don’t likely have the time it takes to meal prep, you can take advantage of pre-washed and cut produce at the local grocery stores.  Stocking up on quality foods like fruits and vegetables or ready-to-eat hard boiled eggs can save you time and save your sanity by properly fueling your body for a grueling shift.  Your body functions better on real, nutrient-dense foods and if you have to cut corners right now, let the grocery store do your meal prep and grab a healthy snack or meal when you can.

Our healthcare workers have always been critical, but possibly now more than ever.  FitClub thanks you all for your service during this trying time.  With the app in your pocket, FitClub has your back for all of your health and wellness needs!