Start With a Clean Slate

Happy New Year! The start of 2017 marks a new opportunity to wipe the slate clean. It’s time to hit the reset button and gain a more pleasurable approach to fitness. Turn the page, and get off to a good start.  Replenish your body and re-energize your life.

“Change your food to change your mood.”

You already know the way you eat is central to your well being. But you may not know exactly what meals yield the most satisfying and healthful results. The back to basics, old fashioned approach to nourishing our bodies is truly the way to go. Making meals from scratch with whole foods, eliminating processed foods, and enjoying all the colours of the rainbow is your answer. A simple clean eating and exercise plan incorporated into your way of life will be the catalyst to making 2017 healthier and happier.

If a desire to wipe your fitness slate clean is on your 2017 resolutions and you are looking for some direction, don’t miss our New Year New You Challenge launching next Monday, January 9th.

Wishing you a healthy and happy New Year!
Meryl

green-drink

Featured Recipe

Anti Inflammatory Green Drink

Combine everything in a blender:
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 stemmed and chopped large kale leaf
1 chopped apple
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3-5 cubes of ice
Enjoy!

My Christmas Wish

It’s really the only thing I want. And it’s what I want most for you too.

It’s the most important thing we can ask for. It’s the most wonderful gift we can have. And It’s the most critical thing we can focus on.

It’s not a given. It’s not to be taken for granted. And it’s definitely not something money can buy.

When we have it, cherish it. Be thankful for it. And do everything in your power to protect it.

What is my Christmas wish?

My Christmas wish for you and your loved ones, is HEALTH.

Wishing you and yours all the joy this season can bring.

Happy Healthy Holidays,

Meryl

So Thankful + Black Friday Deals

I love Black Friday. With a little organization, Black Friday allows you to get your holiday shopping out of the way, leaving time to focus on the real meanings of the season. All with the added bonus of bargain shopping!

I’ve got my Black Friday lists ready, thankfully a lot of this can be done on-line nowadays!

And because I would truly love to help you or your loved ones with their fitness goals in the upcoming year, I’ve got some pretty cool Just Feel it Fitness Black Friday deals for you too.

Head on over to my Promotions Page to check them out!

Give the gift of fitness. Get your shopping done. And let’s focus on the holiday season without all the stress.

So thankful,
Meryl

Featured Recipe

No Bake Pecan Pie Bars

pecan-pie-bars

In an effort to make it feel a little more like Thanksgiving on this snowy day in Canada…I didn’t make turkey, I opted for these yummy no bake pecan pie bars. You’re going to love this recipe.

Crust:
1 cup dates, pitted
1 cup pecans
1 cup shredded coconut
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp salt

Filling:
1 cup dates, pitted
1 cup pecans
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup water

Combine crust ingredients into a food processor and process until a thick dough forms. Press the dough into an 8X8 square pan. Put in freezer while making the filling.

Add all filling ingredients into the food processor and process, add more water if necessary. Spread the filling on top of the crust. I drizzled melted chocolate chips on top and sprinkled chopped pecans. YUM.

Enjoy!

Should you workout with a cold?

The common cold is coming. Tis the season! We all know the rules- wash your hands frequently, eat antioxidant rich foods, consistent exercise to help boost your immune system; nonetheless, the common cold can affect us all.

Should you still workout when you have a cold?

I like to use the following rule of thumb: if the symptoms are above the neck = OK to proceed.

When symptoms include sneezing, sinus pressure, or runny nose, then breaking into a sweat with mild to moderate physical activity is generally considered safe.

Symptoms below the neck such as chest congestion, hacking cough, fever, and muscle aches = give your body some rest for a few days until you are feeling better.

Remember, if you do choose to exercise when you’re sick, then reduce the intensity and length of your workout.  It’s not the time to be cranking out a HIIT workout. A light walk or jog and some core strengthening would be more appropriate.  Listen to your body, and scale back as necessary. You may even find that exercise will help you feel better by opening your nasal passages and temporarily relieving nasal congestion.

Don’t let cold and flu season get you down for long!

Have a great week,
Meryl

Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins

The first day the big pumpkin display was outside the grocery store I was excited to bring the kids. Snapped a few cute “pumpkin stack, hay bale, & kid” pics and entertained myself watching the boys pick the perfect pumpkin to bring home.

pumpkin-stack

Of course I said they could each pick one. Then we ended up with 4. Then the next week another 2. And now I believe we’re up to 8. And who would have thought the kids would fight over where to place them? Yep, full blown tantrums because one wants the pumpkin family all together and the other wants each pumpkin nicely spaced out.

But we’re oh so thankful. Yes, today and everyday, we are thankful and grateful there are so many uses for all those pumpkins! We can make pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin smoothies, etc. and luckily pumpkin is very healthy!

Joking aside, Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers today! I hope you are celebrating amongst the company of loved ones as we are reminded of so many blessings to be thankful for.

And in case you’re wondering what to do with your pumpkins, here is an easy recipe to make your own pumpkin puree. Try adding your own homemade version of pumpkin puree to soups, muffins, and sides this fall.

Enjoy,
Meryl

Featured Recipe

Pumpkin Puree

Smaller pumpkins work better for making the puree than larger ones.

Cut the pumpkin in half. With a spoon or a scoop, scrape out the seeds and pulp from the center. (Save the seeds to roast later too)

Place pumpkin pieces on a baking sheet face down and roast in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes, or until pumpkin is fork-tender. They should be nice and light golden brown when done.

Peel off the skin from the pumpkin pieces. Add the chunks into a blender or food processor, or simply mash it up with a potato masher.

Pulse the pumpkin until smooth. You can either use this immediately in whatever pumpkin recipe you’d like, or store it in the freezer for later use.

To store in the freezer, spoon about 1 cupful of pumpkin into ziplock bags.

An Apple A Day

apple-picking-1

“So what are you going to do with all the apples?” Said the Mom next to us on our way home from the apple picking adventure. As sure as back to school comes each year, so does the apple picking trip. Kind of like fair day in Texas, up here we have apple picking day.  And instead of turkey leg tacos, deep fried nachos, and deep fried oreos, there are warm apple donuts and apple pie. Mmmm. But that’s not what I’ll be doing with all the apples.

apple-picking

If you’ve got the 5 pound bag of apples (or 2 or 3 bags depending how many apple picking outings you got to go on) here are some of our favorite apple ideas:

  • Use a peeled, cored and chopped apple in your soup base along with the traditional carrot, celery, and onion. This adds a rich sweet flavor to puréed soups like butternut squash and pumpkin.
  • Peel, core and chop a large batch and toss in a pot. Simmer with a cup of water and cinnamon for a delicious home-made apple sauce. Add a spoonful of warm applesauce to your oats in the morning.
  • Julienne along with a cucumber for an amzing fresh and crispy salad.
  • Slice into 1/4 inch pieces and use as a crunchy base for appetizers instead of the traditional cracker or sliced baguette.
  • Toss slices with coconut oil and cinnamon and bake until soft.
  • Try this amazing (clean & gluten free!) apple crisp recipe:

Apple Crisp

Ingredients:
8-10 apples; peeled, cored, and sliced
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger

Topping Ingredients:
1/3 cup coconut oil, softened
1 cup raw pecans
3/4 cup almond flour
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. Toss the sliced apples with the spices and place inside a baking dish. Add all the crisp topping ingredients to a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Spread the topping on top of the apples and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the apples are soft and bubbly. Enjoy!

Have a great week!

Meryl

Running for a Reason

Some people run for exercise. Some run for therapy. Some run for the adrenaline rush, also known as runner’s high. Some people run for an activity to do with friends.

This Sunday, September 18th, we’re running for cancer research.

I am proudly supporting The Terry Fox Foundation in its ongoing work to fund innovative and progressive cancer research programs by taking part in this event. I will be leading the Town of Mont Royal race with a dynamic warm up before the race begins! If you are local, please join us for this family fun and meaningful event. Come run with us! You can run, walk, bike, or skate! There is a 5k and a 10k route.

terry-fox-warm-up-2015

Terry Fox had a dream that if everyone donated $1, he could easily raise $1 million for  cancer research.

Any donation helps. The Just Feel it Fitness team has set our goal at $500.

To learn more about this amazing event click here.

I very much hope you will consider sponsoring the Just Feel it Fitness Team in support of our effort, confident in the knowledge that your kindness will impact the lives of so many people living with cancer.

I certainly hope to see some familiar faces out there on Sunday, we’ll be running for a reason!

Have a great week,

Meryl

Do Sore Muscles = A Good Workout?

Maybe you took a summer hiatus from your training program. Good job for taking the step to get back into it! (you have started back, right?!) When starting up again, or starting an exercise routine for the first time, you will most likely experience muscle soreness. (I most commonly hear grumbling related to trying to sit while using the bathroom, trying to walk up stairs, or when picking up the groceries/kids after a workout!)

But does this muscle soreness represent the quality of the workout you performed? The short answer is NO! Delayed onset muscle soreness (aka DOMS) is most pronounced when you have introduced a new training stimulus. This could be from returning to exercises after a break, trying a new activity, or simply by increasing the intensity or weights of your workout. The soreness is felt most strongly 24-72 hours after the exercise. The technical reason for DOMS is the micro trauma to your muscle fibers caused by the eccentric (lengthening) of the muscles during training. As your body adapts to your training program and learns to distribute the workload across your muscle fibers more effectively, you will feel less sore. Nonetheless, there is a genetic component to our individual response. Some people are more sensitive to pain and soreness. Proper nutrition also plays a role in how your muscles respond and heal.

We often believe if we’re not sore after a workout, then we’re not doing enough. Some like to think of soreness as their “good job!” sticker, but it’s not the case. There are many factors that influence how significantly DOMS presents itself. And you can perform a highly effective workout while not experiencing any muscle soreness.

So does the old saying no pain no gain really stand true when it comes to physical fitness? No! And DOMS should not be feared or revered. It is a natural muscular response to training.

Looking for that new program to get you back into a fitness routine? Don’t miss our Back to School Bootcamp starting next Tuesday, September 6th.

Have a great week,
Meryl

My Top 3 Tips to get back on track after summer vacation ☀️

As summer comes to an end and the back to school zone starts, it is the perfect opportunity to get back on track with your healthy lifestyle.

Even if you stayed on track with your workouts, the all-inclusive vacations, pool parties, and one too many late night bar b q’s full of wine & desserts may have wreaked havoc on your fitness goals this summer. If summertime variables interfered with your weight loss attempts, don’t despair. It’s called life, and enjoying life is not something to feel guilty about. There’s a beautiful thing called balance and the ability to get back on track.
palm tree
Take this opportunity of back to school time to not only get the kids organized but to also get your nutrition back in line.

My top 3 tips to get back on track after summer vacation:

1. Re-haul  the pantry & refrigerator
Give yourself the chance to reach for healthy foods. Fill the fridge with plenty of salad and veggies. Wash it in advance and have snack size veggies easy to grab. Focus on adding lean proteins to each meal. Here are some of my favorites: cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, vegan protein powder, tuna, salmon, and chicken.

2. Meal plan for the upcoming week
The only way to truly take control of your diet is to be proactive. Plan out the next meal or even the next 5 meals. I’m not saying  you have to cook something on Sunday and microwave it all week. Sure, meal prepping helps. But what I am saying is make a plan. Write the plan down. Buy the groceries. Have the plan of action and execute at meal time. Don’t leave room for the option of eating out.

3. Commit to at least 3 weeks of clean eating. 3 weeks is enough time to feel the actual benefits and re-establish your healthy habits.

I hope you look back at your summer vacation and enjoy the memories. Think fondly of the times enjoyed with family and friends. No guilt, no self sabotage, forge ahead and get back on track.

If you’re looking for more guidance and one on one accountability through this process, our Back to School Bootcamp starting September 6th is exactly for you. Sign up by August 27th and get $25 off! More details here.

Have a great week!
Meryl

Get your Groove Back

Summertime, vacations, cook-outs, what’s your excuse? For me it was a bad landing on an exercise jump that left my knee in a big mess. Forget about squats and lunges, I was struggling to bend the leg enough to get in and out of the car. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) this happened right before taking the flight to our Florida family vacation. So initial plans of beach workouts, filming new videos for my online bootcamps, runs along the beach, and water aerobics changed to sitting in the chair, elevated leg, ice, and a good dose of patience. Maybe a little R&R isn’t so bad every now and then.

Despite billions of dollars spent on gym memberships, diet programs, etc., a recent paper published by the Mayo Clinic reports that fewer than 3% of American adults are living a healthy lifestyle.

Less than 3%. Wow! Just Feel it Fitness has a lot of work to do! 😉

The study defined living a healthy lifestyle as meeting these four parameters:

  • Being sufficiently active (150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each week)
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Being a nonsmoker
  • Having a recommended body-fat percentage (5%-20% for men, and 8%-30% for women)

The results of the study showed many people accomplished multiple healthy lifestyle goals. 16% met three of the healthy characteristics, 37% had two, but fewer than 3% met all four. Women were more likely to not smoke and to eat a healthy diet, and were less likely to be active, compared with men. Older individuals were more likely to be nonsmokers and healthy eaters, and were less likely to have a normal body-fat percentage and active enough.

Granted, this is only a study of 5,000 American adults, but the bottom line this study does an excellent job at providing four concrete steps anyone can take to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Things happen like injuries and vacations and busy periods at work. Life gets crazy. Getting back into a fitness groove can be tough. I know. But get your groove back. None of these steps are easy to take. However, even small improvements make a difference and any effort toward these 4 lifestyle goals can have a life changing impact. Become a nonsmoker, be sufficiently active, eat a healthy diet, and achieve a recommended body –fat percentage.

I’d love to help you towards meeting these healthy lifestyle criteria.  Do you need help getting your groove back?

Our next round of Summer Slim Down starts July 18th. This is a 6 week Challenge. For more details, click here.

Have a great week,
Meryl

Featured Recipe

Tuna Salad Boats

Tuna Salad Boats

Ingredients:
1 can tuna
1/2 very ripe avocado
1/2 cup chopped purple grapes
Splash of white wine or champagne vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
Large Boston or Romaine lettuce leaves

Directions:
Mash the avocado with a fork. Combine with all other ingredients. Spoon onto large lettuce leaves and eat like a taco.