How Your Boot Camp Workout Also Builds Your Mental Toughness

One of the attractions to boot camp fitness is the element of drill that is built into the very name “boot camp.” People love the fact that this is not some namby-pamby, fluffy, “follow your dreams”-style workout. It’s a workout that kicks serious butt in a way that may leave you gasping for air and sore, but that also builds that empowering, transformative attitude that only comes when you’ve pushed yourself past the limit that you previously thought you could go.

Turns out that this is the same recipe that helps to build your mental toughness. In a world of people who are increasingly soft on themselves, mental toughness is increasingly rare. But it’s the kind of people who show up to boot camp who are raising their hand and saying, “Bring it on. Make me mentally tough. I intend to be built into a winner. And I do not intend to look back, fail, give up, or chicken out. I’m in this because I want this. I want this because it will do me good. And I will reap the benefits of the investment I’m making NOW all the way up into my old age.”

There’s just something about having another person to force you (encourage you) to perform above what you would have naturally done that brings this sense of empowerment. By ourselves, we would have stopped at the last rep and not gone any further, but when someone calls out, “One more! You have it in you! Come on!” you suddenly gain grit to try.

It’s when you win at a string of these small tries that a very subtle shift takes place in your mind. No longer do you think, “I’m dying. I’m going to be so sore. I can’t believe I got myself into this.” Suddenly, you find yourself saying to yourself, almost with wonder and admiration, “I’m ALIVE! I’m going to be so STRONG! And getting myself into this was the best thing I have ever done.” Breaking through that wall happens to all our long-term boot-campers, and that feeling is so addicting, you’ll never want to let go of it.

However, it takes someone who sees your potential, who knows how to take you there, and who is trained how to tread the fine line between motivation and defeat, to bring people to that place of transformation. This is where our trainers at Boot Camp San Francisco come in. All our trainers at BCSF have their own unique style, approach, and interpersonal communication methods. No, you won’t necessarily be yelled at like a new recruit in army boot camp, but yes, you will be pushed. You’ll be pushed with expertise and skill, and your achievements will taste all the sweeter when you know how much you overcame to get to that point.

The fitness you gain from Boot Camp will have effects for years, making you age more gracefully and retain more muscle and bone mass as you get older. But the mental toughness that you developed will also stay with you for years. Furthermore, it can overlap into other areas of your life, giving you an edge in your studies or at work. The attitude of pushing yourself one more step beyond what you thought was your capacity can easily set you apart from your peers, who are still measuring their strength by what they currently perceive.

Join BCSF today to become physically—and mentally—tough.

Beat Your Best Workout With The Right Fitness Nutrition


When you are committed to working out and building your strength and endurance, a successful outcome will depend on a multitude of factors, from your willpower and mental toughness, to the quality of your training, to the persistence and dedication that you devote to consistently pursuing your goals. However, even when all of these factors are at 100%, there’s still one more factor that can present a barrier to you attaining your best workout. That is your fitness nutrition. How you fuel your body can play a big role in whether or not you’re able to meet your fitness goals. In this blog post from Boot Camp San Francisco, we’d like to take a brief look at the importance of your fitness nutrition.

1. Fitness Nutrition Fuels Your Body With What It Needs (Not Necessarily With What It Craves)

When you are trying to beat your best workout and running into obstacles, it’s a good idea to look at the fuel you’re giving your body. Just consuming a protein shake (and keeping everything else in your diet the same) may not be enough to give you the energy breakthrough that you need to be able to smash through your goals. When you’ve given it your all, it feels good, but what if your “all” could become even bigger, stronger, and longer-lasting? It can with the right nutrition. Beware of giving your body what it craves. If you’re craving junk food like donuts or other sugary carbs, eat a protein-based snack instead, and you’ll find that the munchies go away—and stay away.

2. Up With Live Enzymes and Probiotics; Down with Sugars and Artificial Ingredients

When you consume a diet that is high in fresh and raw fruits and veggies, you’ll get a constant supply of the live enzymes that these plant-based foods contain. And when you take probiotics, either in capsules or in fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, or tempeh, you’ll get beneficial microorganisms that live in your gut and help to reduce inflammation and boost your well-being. On the other hand, consuming lots of sugars can feed the multiplication of yeasts and other harmful colonies of microorganisms, making you feel blah and lowering your immune system.

3. Increase Your Mental Clarity With A Nutrient-Rich Diet

Winning the mental game is a huge part of working out successfully, and you’ll be able to play harder when your brain is clear. The great news is that the same diet that builds muscle, reduces inflammation, and increases your overall well-being also helps your brain to be in tip-top shape. If you’ve suffered from bouts of brain fog, lack of motivation, or mild depression, your diet may be partly to blame. Eating nutrient-rich foods can help to improve your mood, increase your focus, and boost your brain’s executive function (the part of the brain that says, “We’re going to do this now,” and then follows through).


Here on the Boot Camp San Francisco blog, you’ll find a ton of recipes that are designed to make it tasty and quick for you to make a habit of great nutrition. Fuel your body with fabulous, nutrient-rich foods, and come to a boot camp workout with us today!

Indoor vs. Outdoor Fitness: Why You Should Try Boot Camp


If you have heard of boot camp workouts but have never given them a try, you may be wondering if outdoor workouts are for you. It’s a fact that most people live an increasingly indoor lifestyle, making outdoor fitness seem a bit foreign. We tend to avoid what is foreign and stick with what is familiar, but we’d like to encourage everyone not to let the great outdoors be a stranger. In this blog post, we will look at just a few of the advantages that outdoor fitness has over indoor fitness.

1. Increase your balance and proprioception

Proprioception is the understanding of where your body is in space. It’s how you can raise food to your mouth without looking, walk with your eyes closed, or avoid inadvertently whacking hard objects when you swing your hand. However, when we are indoors, we always walk on perfectly level surfaces and encounter perfectly-placed objects. Therefore, our brains don’t have to work as hard to make the micro-adjustments in our poise and balance when we navigate these safe, predictable objects. When you walk on sand or grass, your brain is constantly telling your feet and core muscles to making extra mini-adjustments to keep you from tripping, and these things improve your overall stability as well as boosting your proprioception.

2. Breathe phytoncides and negative ions

There’s a concept in Japan called “forest bathing” that has caught on in recent years and involves taking trips to the forest to be around the trees. Trees emit oils called phytoncides, and breathing in these particles has antimicrobial health benefits. And it has been well known for centuries that there are benefits from breathing in sea air. This air is charged with negative ions that actually help to increase our oxygen consumption.

3. Let the sun shine on you

While it’s true that too much sun exposure can have negative effects on our skin, a balanced amount of exposure to the sun builds Vitamin D and has a beneficial effect on skin disorders like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and fungal infections. Exposure to bright sunlight can also reduce your chances of having Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

4. Reduce your stress and sleep better

Going outside comes with many benefits, from reducing stress to sleeping better. The complexities of the outdoors affect us in ways we don’t even realize, in all our senses. We’ve already looked briefly at the benefits of the smell of the forest. Our hearing and sight play a role as well. The sounds of the sea and the wind in the trees is relaxing and soothing, and studies have even looked at the way the color green helps exercise to feel easier.

All these benefits of going outside point to the logic of making Boot Camp your regular workout. Why confine yourself to the sterile indoors when the great outdoors is waiting for you? Join us today at Boot Camp San Francisco and you’ll see why so many people are raving mad fans for this style of workout. We look forward to having you join us!

Meal Plan Like A Pro

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What do you think of when you hear the phrase “meal plan”?

Is it a stack of plastic Tupperware filled with identical meals of chicken and sweet potato? Is it a tattered page out of your notebook with words like “salad” or “oatmeal” on repeat? Is a confusing app on your phone that you downloaded but never use?

Does the whole idea of meal planning make you feel a little bored?

We so get that.

At BCSF, meal planning isn’t a diet scheme or an unbendable set of rules. Rather, it’s a constructive tool to help design a healthy diet. It’s a system put in place to make healthy choices, save time in the kitchen, spend less money at the store and reduce waste.

So, you’re on board?

Great!

Now, let’s make you a pro.

Here are 5 steps to plan your meals like a nutritionist:

#1 Start with dinners: Dinners are the easiest meal to plan in advance. We usually know our favorite go-to meals and are more likely to have the time to cook at home.

Turn it pro: Plan your dinners for making lunch leftovers. All of the dinners you make, make enough for leftovers for lunch the next day. Dishes like soups and stews are easy choices. But even dinners like fish and vegetables can be doubled up too. If you can get in the habit of cooking once and eating twice, you’ll never be tempted by  greasy takeout for lunch again.

#2 Modify recipes: It’s easy to lose interest in meal planning when you feel the pressure to only plan your healthiest meals. I don’t know anyone who wants to eat a salad 3 meals a day. Instead, try to include some of your favorite dishes, but with healthier substitutions. Try zucchini noodles with your favorite pasta sauce, wrap your favorite enchilada ingredients in a collard wrap instead of a tortilla, try a socca pizza crust for your family pizza night. Get creative and choose foods you enjoy.

Turn it pro: You’ve probably heard that you should always “make ½ you plate veggies”. But that can be a hard goal to wrap our heads around. Try re-framing that statement to “make ½ your recipes veggies”. Adding in extra vegetables and leafy greens to your go-to recipes is an easy way to sneak in those daily servings of vegetables.

#3 Don’t forget your PFC!  A balanced diet is made up of proteins, fats and carbohydrates (PFC). While the amount of each of these can change from person to person, we all need all 3 everyday…every meal and every snack.

Turn it pro: If your meal is missing a healthy fat, some go-to favorites are avocado, olives, chia seeds and olive oil! Keep your pantry stocked with these staples and use them to balance your meals and snacks

#4 Plan for snacks: We’ve all been there. It’s in-between meals, you’re starving…so you reach for that pastry or sweet just because it’s what’s around. Instead, plan to have 1-2 different choices for snacks per week, so you don’t have to turn to whatever’s convenient.

Turn it pro: Always have one savory snack and one sweet snack on hand to satisfy your cravings (extra points if you make your snacks meet the PFC rule too!)

#5 Add a to-do: Putting it on paper is one thing, it’s a whole separate task to make it happen. At the bottom of your planner or on a separate piece of paper, make a list of everything that you need to do to in advance to prep your snacks and meals. Do you need to set aside a couple hours on Sunday to batch cook? Do you need to chop vegetables for Wednesday dinner that morning since you get home late that day?

Remember: meal planning doesn’t have to feel like a drag. Be flexible about it. At the end of the day eating a healthy meal is something we will never regret.

Now it’s your turn. We challenge you to take the next 5-10 minutes to jot down your meal plan for the next 5 days. 

P.S. We’re in love with this meal planning notepad!

Healthy Dinner’s Your Kids Will Love

 

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One of the more common challenges we hear about when trying to eat well is managing picky eaters. It can be difficult when you’re trying to stick to your healthy foods, but all your kids will eat is warm, buttery pasta.

Instead of trying to either make two meals (salmon and Brussels for you, pasta for the kids) or only eating what your kids will eat (frozen pizza for all), try meeting in the middle. With these healthy, yet kid friendly recipes, you can enjoy dinner as a family.

Here are our top 10 family friendly dinner recipes:

  1. The Ultimate Better-For-You Butternut Squash Mac N’ Cheese: Skip the butter and orange powder in this plant based comfort food dish you kids will love. Pair with a veggie or salad and a protein like roast chicken for a complete meal.
  2. Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup: Top this slow cooker recipe with a dollop of Greek yogurt and avocado and you’ve got  hearty dish you can all enjoy.
  3. Turkey Sloppy Joes Over Zucchini Noodles: A healthier take on spaghetti and meatballs for the pasta lovers in your family.
  4. Breakfast For Dinner: While you can do breakfast for dinner 100 different ways, we love these eggs fried in a bell pepper for a fun shape you kids will adore.
  5. Mini Meatloaves: Mini anything and your young ones will be requesting seconds. We love this recipe with simple, whole food ingredients.
  6. DIY Burrito Bowls: Meals that allow for customization without extra prep work mean everyone can “have it their way”.
  7. Baked Paleo Chicken Tenders: This version of a kid favorite uses almond flour and coconut for a more sophisticated take on chicken fingers. Pair with a veggie and salad and dinner is complete.
  8. Pesto Spaghetti Squash Pasta: You can hide greens and veggies in a pesto sauce and call spaghetti squash “pasta” and no one will complain about a plateful of vegetables.
  9. Sweet Potato Pasta with Almond Butter Sauce:  All the noodle-y goodness of a bowl of pasta without skimping on the vegetables.
  10. Coconut Red Lentil Peanut Soup: Sweet and warming, kids and adults alike will love this recipe.

What are your favorite, healthy family meals? We’d love to hear! Head on over to Facebook and let us know.

3 Tips For Making Resolutions That Stick

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If you’re the type of person who keeps making the same resolutions year after year, then this post is for you. Here are 3 common problems that keep your New Year’s resolutions from getting accomplished and how to fix them.

  1. They’re too general: How familiar does “get healthy” sound when Jan. 1st rolls around? The problem is that this goal is way too general. It’s much easier to set (and maintain) a goal of eating 2 servings of vegetables before lunch than it is to “get healthy”.

The solution: You must get specific about your goal. Not only what the exact end result be, but also what it will look and feel like to get there. For example, if your resolution is to “get fit”, set a goal of being able to do a certain number of pushups and squats or run a specific distance. Then, ask yourself what it will look and feel like to get there. What will it take on the day-to-day? Do you need to start with 1 push up and 1 squat and add on each day? What does your running schedule look like? The more specific you can be not only about the goal, but about the path to your goal, the more likely you are to succeed.

2. They’re too specific: However, there is the other side of the coin…the issue of getting unrealistically specific. For example, planning to “lose 10 lbs in 4 weeks” is certainly specific, but if we don’t meet that exact goal, we can feel unsuccessful and abandon our efforts all together.

The solution: Make a backup plan. After you give your goal a good, hard look in the eye and determine if it really is realistic and achievable, then make a plan for if you don’t meet it. What will you do if you don’t lose the weight / do 80 pushups / complete the race? Will you try again? Set a different goal? If you have a backup plan in place, then you’ll be able to avoid the all-or-nothing trap of specific goal setting.

3. Clashing goals: Why is that we feel the need to set so many New Years resolutions? Have fun. Sleep 8 hours. Travel. Save money. Relax. Lose 10 pounds. Hang out with friends. Spend more time alone….it goes on, right? The problem with this is that we don’t realize how often these goals can clash. When you have two opposing goals (i.e. save money and travel) it can make us feel like we didn’t accomplish either.

The solution:  We encourage you to try setting just one resolution. Then, commit to 3 different ways to accomplish it. If your resolution is to travel more, then your 3 goals could be 1) set aside a certain amount of money each month, 2) to sign up for flight alerts and 3) to set a calendar reminder to request the time off work.

This single tip makes your goal specific and achievable, sets you with a backup plan and avoids the problem of clashing goals.

Now, we’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite ways to set intentions for the New Year? How will you be using these tips to set powerful resolutions that stick? Let us know!

Healthy Holiday Cookie Roundup

Holiday Cookies

Office party cookie exchange? Kids’ gingerbread decorating party? In-laws holiday dinner? Chances are you’re going to be making a batch of cookies at least once this season. Instead of dusting off The Joy of Baking Cookbook for a dated chocolate chip cookie recipe, why don’t you try one of these festive and healthy recipes?

We’ve pulled from our favorite bloggers and recipe creators for our top 15 healthy holiday cookie roundup.

Short on time? Here’s 5 easy, no bake options: 

  1. No Bake Pecan Snowballs (Paleo, Vegan, Raw): With only 7 whole food ingredients and 2 steps, these festive cookies make the top of our list.
  2. Dark Chocolate Truffles (Paleo, Vegan, Raw): Roll these superfood packed bites into matcha powder and pulverised dehydrated raspberries for red and green truffles that no one will know are healthy.
  3. Gingerbread Bites (Paleo, Vegan, Raw): Easy almond gingerbread bites were our holiday cookie feature last year. Check ’em out.
  4. Chocolate Bark (Paleo, Vegan, Raw): Homemade chocolate made with just a few simple ingredients and topped with any toppings you like would make a great dinner party dessert or host gift.
  5. Raw Double Chocolate Macaroons (Paleo, Vegan, Raw): Shredded coconut sweetened with dates and dipped in homemade chocolate. Need we say more? (You could easily, skip the chocolate coating to save time and ingredients).

Looking for a healthy takes on holiday classics? Here you go:

  1.  Gingerbread Cookies (Vegan, Paleo): Using almond flour and maple syrup, these are a healthier alternative to the holiday classic (especially with this coconut sugar frosting).
  2. Sugar Cookies with Naturally Colored Frosting (Vegan): Subbing coconut oil for butter and dehydrated raspberries to make red frosting, make this recipe is a winner.
  3. Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies (Vegan, Paleo): Take the extra step to sub the filling with this 5 minute chia jam and you’ll wow all your friends.
  4. Magic Bars (Vegan, Paleo): A cookie exchange favorite with squeaky clean ingredients…these are a must.
  5. Peppermint Fudge (Vegan, Paleo): 4 ingredient peppermint fudge made with coconut butter. Check out the recipes link to easy DIY coconut butter.

Feel like trying something new? Check out these creative recipes:

  1. Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies (Vegan, Gluten Free): This recipe has us drooling by adding eggnog to the batter. And with only 1/4 cup sugar for the entire recipe, we can’t wait to try.
  2. Secret Ingredient Blondies (Vegan, Gluten Free): These are so good, we promise you’ll never notice the healthy secret ingredient.
  3. Peppermint Brownies (Vegan, Gluten Free): We couldn’t resist throwing in these peppermint black bean brownies too!
  4. Pistachio Crusted Chewy Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies (Vegan, Gluten Free): One of the prettiest and healthy recipes we could find!
  5. Cranberry Chocolate Chia Cookies (Vegan, Paleo): With an ingredient list that you could eat for breakfast, these holiday cookies are a great healthy alternative.

Portion Size Guide

Imagine you’re at the salad bar of your local grocery store. You’re serving yourself from the healthy variety of leafy greens, vegetables, whole grains and proteins.

But how do you know how much?

What’s “1 serving” of vegetables? How much protein should you be adding? What’s the right amount of olive oil to use?

For most of us,  measuring or counting our food is just not sustainable. But that doesn’t mean that being aware of your portions isn’t an important part of eating a complete and balanced diet.

There’s an easier way to estimate measurements and servings sizes.

Check out the guide below to see how you can use your hand to estimate proper serving sizes for each of your food groups.

A balanced meal should contain all the major food groups: protein, fat and carbohydrates. Follow these guidelines to build balanced and portioned meals every time.

Pssst…here’s why this method might actually be a better way to manage portion control than calorie counting.  

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Chicken Zoodle Soup

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Comforting and healthy. Makeover your homemade chicken noodle soup recipe with these 3 simple swaps for an upgraded version of this classic, cozy meal.

  1. Swap zucchini noodles (a.k.a zoodles) for traditional pasta noodles. Replacing flour noodles with a vegetables makes a lower calorie, nutrient packed bowl of soup. We suggest this spiralizer to turn everything from zucchini to sweet potato into noodles. You could easily use parsnip or turnip noodles in this recipe too.
  2. Swap homemade bone broth for store bought.  Traditionally, chicken soup is made with bone broth. (Bone broth is made from simmering bones in water for a long period of time until a broth has formed). This broth is higher in protein, beneficial collagen and lower in sodium than any store bought variety. Read more about how bone broth has been shown to inhibit infection, promote strong bones and fight inflammation. If you’re new to making bone broth, try using a crock pot and following these tips from Bon Appetit. The easiest way to make homemade chicken broth is to use the leftovers from a whole roast chicken (that way you don’t have to pre roast the bones).
  3. Add herbs and aromatics. A squeeze of lemon or garnish of fresh basil can turn a simple recipe into a bright and flavorful soup. Most herbs, spices and aromatics are packed with vitamins and minerals. Adding them to your cooking improves both flavor and nutrition.

Ingredients
2 organic chicken breasts (or about 3 cups shredded chicken)
2 tablespoons organic butter (or sub olive oil)
1 tsp herbs de provence
1/2 onion
3 carrots
2 cloves garlic
4 cups homemade chicken bone broth
1 cup frozen peas
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 zucchini

Instructions
  1. Chop onions, carrots and garlic
  2. Heat pan and melt butter in large soup pot or dutch oven.
  3. Saute onions, carrots until onions are clear, then add garlic and herbs and sauté until fragrant (few minutes)
  4. Add broth and chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked through. (If using chicken that’s already cooked and shredded, add to pot and skip to step 6)
  5. Remove chicken and shred with a fork.
  6. Add peas. Simmer until soft (5 minutes)
  7. Meanwhile, use a spirlizer to make the zucchini noodles
  8. Add shredded chicken and zucchini noodles
  9. Let simmer for 10 more minutes
  10. Add lemon juice, zest
  11. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh herbs

Recipe and photo: momowellness.com

5 Tips for a Healthy Halloween

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Whether you’re under 10 years old or over 30, Halloween = candy overload.

I mean, who can resist that pillowcase full of bite sized butterfingers?

Instead of  feeling like the holiday got the best of you, we’ve got some tips to help you (and your kids) avoid the Halloween sugar hangover.

  1. Make a festive meal: Instead of sweets being the center of attention, get festive with savory foods. A healthy meal before trick-or-treating can make a big difference in late night snacking. Here are some ideas:

2. Try a candy inspired smoothie: Blend up one of these nutrient packed smoothie for an afternoon snack. With recipes like peanut butter cup, caramel apple and almond joy, they’re sure to leave your cravings feeling satisfied.

3. Make a splurge plan: If you know the Reese’s will be calling your name, make an agreement with yourself to only have a set amount. Be specific. When you know you only get 1 or two, you’ll enjoy it more and set yourself up to avoid binging. Before Halloween night, it’s also smart to set up expectations with your kids too.

4. Try this sugar hangover meal: protein + healthy fat + probiotics + water. Excess sugar can throw off our hunger/fullness signals and we can often end up with intense cravings. Eat a balanced, protein rich meal with a healthy fat to get your metabolism back on track. Refined sugar can also mess with your gut bacteria, so including a probiotic rich food like kefir, yogurt  or sauerkraut is a bonus. Example breakfast post Halloween: egg and vegetable scramble with avocado and sauerkraut or Greek yogurt and berries.

5. Stock up on the health(ier) stuff. For kids, Thrive market is a great online resource for stocking up on additive-free candies and treats. For the adults, choose dark chocolate or these better choices when it comes to the sweet stuff.