Sports Drinks vs Water — Which is better for you?

Fitness experts remain undecided about the effectiveness of sports drinks after exercise. Some experts believe they’re too full of sugar to do any good, while others claim they’re an effective way to replace bodily fluids lost while working out. What do we think? Well, it depends. Let’s dive deeper into what sports drinks are and let you decide what’s right for you.

Sports Drink Defined
What is defined as a sports drink? A sports drink, or “energy drink,” is any beverage meant to rehydrate, boost energy, and replenish electrolytes lost in sweating. All sports drinks contain water, sugar, salt, carbohydrates (sugar), and potassium. Some drinks contain extra ingredients (like amino acids) to help build muscle mass. (1)

Side note: Beware of the hundreds of “energy” drinks on the market. Many of those drinks claim to be sports drinks, but actually contain more sugar and caffeine than is necessary for anyone trying to lose weight through a workout.

What are electrolytes?
Electrolytes are essential to ensuring that your body’s cells are working properly. In the world of nutrition, we use the word “electrolyte” to refer to minerals dissolved in the body’s fluids, creating electrically charged ions. The electrolytes that are the most important in nutrition are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. (2)

Unless you’re exercising vigorously, you lose only a few electrolytes when you sweat. Normal electrolyte loss can be replaced by drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced diet. Yet when you have a really hard workout and sweat a lot, you may lose too many electrolytes. If you are doing moderate exercise in a very hot environment, you may also lose electrolytes that can’t be replaced by drinking water alone. This is where sports drinks come in.

Since sports drinks contain sugar, they can help replenish electrolytes lost during a workout, and can also give you a boost of energy. But that doesn’t mean you should guzzle them down before and after each exercise, because like we said above, one concern with sports drinks is that they deliver unneeded calories. Some contain 150 calories, the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar.(4)

Conclusion
Experts recommend drinking up to three cups of water for every pound of weight lost while working out. But that may be difficult for some people because they don’t like drinking large quantities of water at once. So if you’re one of these people, opting for an energy or sports drink is going to lead to better hydration.

But you don’t need a sports drink to recover from a workout. Drinking water along with edible sources, like energy bars or fruit, contain just as many carbohydrates as sports drinks. If you choose this option, you can drink plain water to hydrate.

Sources:
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_drink
2. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-are-electrolytes/
3. https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/sports-drinks-and-exercise.aspx
4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/trade-sports-drinks-for-water-201207305079

Importance of sleep after BootCampSF wakes those muscles up!

BootCampSF utilizes a wide variety of exercises resulting in a satisfying total body workout. This means you will need to take special care in training-recovery which includes getting a good night’s rest. Sleeping well after you exercise makes your muscles and tissues stronger and helps prevent fatigue and injury. Your muscles learn to adapt to training, but rest is actually when those adaptations are taking place. Plus, with adequate sleep, you’ll perform better as an athlete. And on the flip side, there is solid evidence that exercise helps you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality.

To get more out of your sleep, try these tips:

Power Down the Electronics
The glow from electronics pass through your eyes and delay the release of melatonin which is the sleep inducing hormone.

Turn In a Little Earlier
Get as many hours of sleep before midnight as you can (there’s an empirical belief that an hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours of sleep after midnight).

Stretch Those Muscles
In addition to relaxing you, stretching releases built-up tension which is great before trying to get some shuteye. Stretching can help you fall asleep fast, as well as help prevent sore muscles in the morning.

Enjoy a Hot Shower
Taking a hot shower 90 minutes before bed can help you sleep better reports Men’s Fitness. After you’ve been in the hot water, your body temperature then cools down which is a signal to sleep.

Create a Sleep Routine
Get in a regular sleep-wake cycle. In other words, go to bed and wake up the same time every day. Then keep to it! When you change this pattern, even if you actually get more sleep, it can negatively affect the impact on recovery.

In Conclusion
World renowned sleep expert, Dr. Mark Rosekind, says, “There are lab studies that show that if you’re an eight-hour sleeper and you get six hours of sleep, that two-hour difference can impact your [athletic] performance so that it equates to how you would perform if you had a 0.05 blood-alcohol level.”

To get the most out of your BootCampSF workouts, the proper amount of recovery and sleep is imperative. Along with a balanced diet and our intense exercise program, getting the right amount of sleep may be the last ingredient to help you decrease body fat or increase muscle mass and strength. We suggest you strive for seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

Importance of Good Balance

We’re all searching for balance in our lives. Balanced minds. Balanced diets. Balanced work lives. But have you thought about the importance of having a balanced body? A good sense of balance is critical to preventing injuries and accidents.

At BootCampSF, we carefully consider the types of exercises used in our programs to make sure your muscle groups stay in balance. We also build core strength which is crucial to good balance. In addition to the abdomen, core strength includes strong hips, ankles, and gluteal muscles.

Sometimes you may not be aware you have weak balance, so in addition to BootCampSF classes, we also recommend you doing balance and core exercises a few times a week.

Flamingo Stretches

Hold back one leg and balance on the other foot for about 30 seconds, then switch. Repeat three times. Try moving as little as possible while doing this stretch. Focus your eyes on an object in the distance while standing on one leg to help keep you balanced.

Leg Swings

Stand on left leg and raise the right leg three to six inches off the floor. Then swing your right leg forward and backward, while keeping your arms at your sides, touching the floor for balance, and keeping your upper body straight. Next, repeat without allowing your foot to touch the ground. Lastly, swing the right foot to the right side while extending the left arm. Switch legs and repeat.

Keep Up The Core

You can do sit ups, crunches, and other ab exercises to keep your core in shape. By doing so, it will support your weight when you’re trying to hold still and balance.

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!

How To Become A Morning Person

Morning

Are you the type of person who enjoys waking up early? Do you feel energized and productive in the morning?Or are you a snooze-5-times and don’t-talk-to-me-for-30-minutes type?

If you struggle in the mornings, there are some proven ways on how to become a (happy) morning person.

1. Get Fresh Air:
The famed “breath of fresh air” actually has some science behind it. This study shows that breathing outside air truly does lower cortisol, leaving you feeling more relaxed and calm. While you might argue that one could get fresh air later in the morning, we think that it’s simply the association we make between mornings and feeling calm that makes, this tip a keeper.

2.  Take Your Time:
What’s your favorite thing about sleeping in? It’s that lazy, leisurely feeling, right? Instead of associating early mornings with rushing, leave yourself enough time to move slow. If you can, find a moment to be alone. Sit with your coffee, watch the sunrise, make a healthy breakfast, lay in bed for 10 minutes before getting up, say a prayer, take a warm shower. Even if it means setting your alarm for just a few minutes earlier, those few moments can make early mornings your favorite time of day.

3. Get Some Sun
There is something about seeing the sunrise in the morning that makes us feel awake and accomplished.  A study notes that exposure to orange light (like the sun’s) can increase brain activity and boost alertness. When you first wake up, immediately open the blinds or curtains to let any natural light in. Summer is the perfect time to start establishing these early morning habits since it’s bright early. During winter months, try to get outside or to a room where there’s sunlight as the sun rises.

4. Have a detailed plan:
The best thing you can do to inspire you to get up is to know exactly what you’re about to do. As that alarm goes off and your thoughts start to rush in, you’ll be much more likely to hop out of bed if you have something to look forward to. The more specific the better. For example, your plan could look like this: sit up in bed and take 10 breaths, put water on for coffee, open the blinds and splash water on your face before and enjoy coffee for 5 minutes.

5. Workout:
For most non-morning people, it’s hard enough to get up for work, let alone a workout before work. However, if you struggle with mornings, changing your workout routine, might be what helps.  Research shows that those who workout in the morning (vs. evening) are more likely to sleep better and reduce their stress. Once we start to consistently feel better (from all that good sleep and reduced stress!) waking up early and exercising will be a habit worth keeping.

Ready for  a way to do all 5 habits in one easy step? Register for our summer session! You’ll get fresh air, see the sunrise, workout, and have a morning routine you love.

Check out our schedule here.

 

How To Stay Healthy With A Busy Schedule

School’s back in full swing, the holiday season is looming, and the leisure of summer is long gone. This time of year can be one of the busiest as we all  adjust to new schedules.

Isn’t it true that one of the most common comments we hear in our day-to-day is “I’m just so busy right now“? Whether it’s to a fellow bootcamper after missing a class, a close friend or an acquaintance we run into in the grocery store, we all say it.

A full work schedule, kids, social lives….it all takes time. So where does healthy eating fit in when it feels like there aren’t enough minutes in the day to sit down, let alone eat a healthy meal?

You already know that signing up for bootcamp and scheduling those classes is the best way to fit your workouts in. So we’d like to give you some tools to help you manage a healthy diet with your busy schedule:

1. Meal Plan: When you feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, taking 20 minutes to plan your dinners for the week will be the best investment of your time.  If it’s 6pm and you don’t know what you’re having for dinner yet, chances are you’ll choose a meal based on convenience. Not always the healthiest choice, right? Meal planning takes all the stress out of “what’s for dinner tonight?” and avoids the guilt you’d feel after inhaling a big bowl of cheesy pasta just because it was quick to make. To get you started, you can download Trainer Molly Molofsky’s meal planning template and guide here.

2. Cook Once, Eat Twice: As much as a big dinner salad is a healthy choice, it’s hard to pack for leftovers the next day. Instead, choose dinner options that will make good leftovers. Soups, chili’s, roast chicken, ect. are all good choices. If you’re cooking for a family, you can double recipes or amounts and use leftovers for lunches. If you’re cooking for one or two, you can pack the leftovers for lunch or eat the same meal two days in a row.

3. Forget Recipes: Instead of spending an hour in the kitchen cooking an elaborate meal, stock your fridge and pantry with easy to assemble proteins, vegetables and sides. Then, create meals from what’s already ready to-go. For example a lunch of sliced turkey, avocado lettuce wraps or a dinner assembled from chopped tofu or tempeh with sauteed vegetables.

4. Meal Prep Days: Taking 2-3 hours during the weekend (or another evening when you have more time) to batch cook a couple recipes and/or sides is one of the only ways to manage a busy schedule without buying all your food out. Here’s some ideas for a meal prep day:

  • 1-2 proteins (roast chicken breast, sauteed ground meat, hard boil eggs,  baked tofu)
  • 1 whole grain like rice or quinoa
  • Batch of baked sweet potatoes
  • Wash and prep greens
  • Chop vegetables and fruit for snacks and pack into single servings

5. Crock Pot: Dust off that crockpot that’s gathering dust in the bottom shelf. It’s a secret weapon when it comes to preparing healthy meals on a tight schedule. Coming home to a ready-to-go warm dinner? Yes, please!

6. Go-To Snacks: Sometimes we all have days where just getting food on the plate or even remembering to eat can be a challenge. Make it a rule to keep your home stocked with healthy snacks so that if all else fails, at least you have something to grab quickly. Fresh fruit and a handful of nuts or veggies and hummus are quick options. Check out Thrive Market to stock up on healthy packaged snacks like veggie chips, jerky and trail mix.

7. H.I.I.T: When it comes to nutrition and fitness, doing something is better than doing nothing. If you miss your workouts because your schedule gets busy, remember that even a 10 minute workout still counts.

Bottom line: Just like scheduling those BCSF workouts into your week, schedule time to grocery shop, prep and set yourself up for success – you won’t regret it.

What are your favorite ways to stay on track during busy times? What are your go-to meals for busy nights?

12 Healthy Ideas For Breakfast

With school back in session and those lazy summer mornings coming to an end, we want to give you our best ideas for easy and quick breakfasts.

Breakfast can be the hardest meal to make healthy choices as we’re usually looking for something quick and easy. Here are 12 creative ideas to get you inspired to try something a little different.

We made sure each of these breakfasts are:

  • Balanced in macronutrients (containing protein, fat and carbohydrates)
  • Whole foods based (no processed ingredients or packaged foods)
  • Quick and simple for busy weekday mornings

1. Mini Green Frittatas . (Make ahead, perfect for busy weeks)

2. Savory Oatmeal. (For mornings when you want a savory meal)

3. Protein Smoothie. (Here’s how to make a macronutrient balanced smoothie.)

4. Chia Seed Pudding. (Quick, simple, nutritious)

5. Almond Butter + Quick Chia Jam  + Ezekiel Bread Toast. (Think PB&J with a healthy twist for adults)

6. Baked Eggs in Avocado. (Low carbohydrate, filling and easy)

7. Sausage + Vegetable Hash. (For when you’re burnt out on eggs)

8. Shakshuka .(For when the pantry is bare)

9. Banana Oat Blender Pancakes. (Pancakes without the clean up mess!)

10. Smoked Salmon + Avocado + Ezekiel Bread Toast. ( Quick, balanced and high in Omega 3 fatty acids)

11. Breakfast Salad (a healthy, travel friendly breakfast)

12. Leftover Soup (While some dinner leftovers aren’t usually appealing in the morning, try a simple chicken or lentil soup for dinner and have the leftovers for breakfast!)

What are your favorite weekday morning breakfast? What do you do to prepare healthy meals for busy mornings? Tell us on Facebook or in the comments below, we’d love to hear!

Revealed: What Your Trainer Eats

You might think your BootCampSF trainer eats, sleeps and breathes burpees. And as much as we do #eathillsforbreakfast…we do actually eat. And no it’s not burpees.

So we asked around to see what our trainers are eating for breakfast and post workout.

Turns out, these trainers are one healthy bunch. Check out what they choose to fuel their day and workouts:

Katy
Favorite go-to breakfast:  Egg white veggie scramble with a slice of whole wheat toast.  I love that the scramble is easy to make and I get my day started right with veggies.

Favorite pre or post workout snack:  Protein shake because it helps my body repair after an intense workout. Or a handful of almonds since they help keep me full without being too heavy before a workout.

Lee
Favorite go-to breakfast: Oatmeal with peanut butter, banana and jelly plus an all-greens smoothie. Fills me up for a long morning of personal training and still gives me the energy to workout.

Favorite pre or post workout meal: Vegan tuna mayonnaise with baked potato and a huge salad with teriyaki dressing.

Tracy
Favorite go-to breakfast: Oatmeal with berries and banana. Simple and quick.

Favorite pre or post workout snack: Toast with peanut butter makes the perfect snack after a workout.

Rebecca
Favorite go-to breakfast: Greek yogurt with fresh raspberries, sprinkled with chia seeds. Good source of protein from the yogurt and amazing benefits from chia seeds to start my day.

Favorite pre or post workout snack: Small handful of almonds. The protein and good fats give me an energy boost.

Paul
Favorite go-to breakfast: Oatmeal! It’s heavy enough but light enough at the same time and gives me an easy breakfast option to incorporate fruits and grains together, leaving me with a satisfied stomach.

Favorite pre or post workout snack: I prefer to workout on an empty stomach and save my hunger for after the workout. My favorite post workout meal has to be any vegetable, rice, and meat combo. Its a very replenishing meal after a strenuous workout that digests easily and tastes great.

Molly
Favorite go-to breakfast: A protein smoothie with berries, leafy greens, kefir and a whey or pea protein and a hard boiled egg. I make my smoothies the night before and always keep hard boiled eggs on hand so I can have breakfast on-the-go!

Favorite pre or post workout snack: Green vegetable juice, fresh fruit + pumpkin seeds or a rice cake with almond butter. It’s always something small and light, there is nothing worse than feeling full during workout.

What To Eat Before And After Your Workout

If you’re spending time and money working out, we’d guess that you’d like to be getting the most out of your nutrition as well. If you’re wondering what to eat before or after a workout, you’re not alone. It’s a common question here at BootCampSF.

And you’re right…your nutrition is an important aspect of your fitness. What we eat has a huge impact on our health goals and how we perform in our workouts.

Let’s give you some info on how and what to eat right before and after your workout so you can get the most out of every last push up and burpee.

First of all, you should be familiar with the macronutrients. The three macronutrients are protein, fat and carbohydrates. The most common to approach pre and post workout meals is by playing around with these macronutrients.

Before a workout

What:
Simple carbohydrates + protein + little/no fat

When:
Meal 1-2 hours before
OR
snack less than 60 minutes before

Why:
To fuel your workout you want to eat a meal or snack prior to working out with enough time to digest. Carbohydrates are the easiest food for our bodies to convert to energy so it makes sense that that carbohydrates that are easy to digest is what we want to eat right before a workout. These are called simple carbohydrates.

What is a simple carb? Fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains are healthy, whole-food simple carb options. (By “whole food” we mean non processed. For example, cereal is a carb but highly processed one. Try to choose carbs in their whole food states).

We also want to include protein in your pre workout meal. Protein will help balance your blood sugar and help prevent muscle breakdown for after the workout.

If you’re eating a snack less than 1 hour before a workout, too much fat might make you feel nauseous or slow you down. Avoid proceed foods, sugars, coffee and other stimulants right before working out.

In general, think light and easy to digest foods.

What to reach for if you’re snacking:

  •  banana or green apple + nut butter
  •  berries +  organic cottage cheese or organic full fat yogurt
  •  hard boiled egg

What to reach for if you’re eating a meal:

  • egg scramble with onion, tomatoes and black beans
  • steel cut oatmeal topped with nuts, seeds and berries
  • leafy green salad + serving of chicken, salmon or steak + garbanzo beans + quinoa + vegetables like bell peppers and cucumber + olive oil and vinegar.

After a workout

What:
Protein + Healthy Fat + Carbohydrates

When:
Meal 1-2 hours after
OR
Snack less than 60 minutes after

Why:
Post workout nutrition is all about balance of our three macronutrients. We need protein for recovery and repair. Protein is also the nutrient that enables us to grow new muscles. However, no need to feel guilty if you didn’t slam down a protein shake. A balanced regular ‘ol meal or snack is all you need.

Regardless of in the intensity of our workout, we use up our stored carbohydrates. Replacing these carbohydrates “re-stocks” our energy stores to be used in our next workout.

Including a healthy fat (avocado, nuts and seeds, virgin oils) will make the meal a “balanced” meal and keep us feeling satiated. The key here is balance and nutrient density.

Bottom Line
If you regularly workout 3-5X per week for 1 hour or less just remember a balanced and unprocessed diet with sufficient protein and vegetable intake is all you need. Choosing quality foods will trump when you eat every time. And choosing foods that make you feel best trump any “rule” or “should”.

Actionable Step
Next time you eat, think about the three macronutrients. Ask yourself: does this meal/snack have…

Protein?
Fat?
Carbohydrates?

Pretty soon, you’ll be eating balanced meals like a pro and feeling so energized you just might do an extra burpee…just because you feel like it.

 

 

 

But Boot Camp Sounds So Scary…

I moved to San Francisco from Boston in May. At that point I was coming off a seemingly endless winter of snow, sleet, and stuck indoors-ness. It would appear that most of those long cold months I lounged on my favorite chair watching television and football games while drinking wine and eating very very bad things. So I arrived on the West Coast in the absolute worst shape of my life. Go me!

My new apartment came equipped with two lovely gyms full of fancy exercise things so I figured I’d hop on the elliptical every day for an hour and all of that booze, cheese, and pastry I’d packed onto my thighs would disappear in a few weeks and the eight pair of jeans (I diligently packed even though I couldn’t fit into them) would then welcome me back with open arms.

Not so much. Working out made me feel better but obviously participating in the same thing every single day simply wasn’t doing the trick. The jeans still languished in the closet untouched and I still really enjoyed Wheat Thins. Then, one evening my boyfriend came home from work and excitedly told me all about the boot camp classes in our neighborhood that he’d read about online.

But the more he told me the more anxious I became. He seriously wanted me to sign up for a six-week session with him. Instead of agreeing, I laughed in his face. Boot camp? Me? Be serious! I’d never even played a sport before. The extent of my workout “regime” involved walking, the elliptical, and yoga. I certainly couldn’t run a mile. I hated being dirty and I really wasn’t a big fan of the outdoors in general, plus, I couldn’t stop picturing scenes from Full Metal Jacket in my head. What if someone yelled at me like that in front of other people?! I’d dissolve into tears. No way was I subjecting myself to anything that could possibly be that unfamiliar and unsettling.

So I told my boyfriend in no uncertain terms that I would rather be eaten alive by a raptor than exorcise outside in front of other people.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and the more freaked out I got over the possibility of actually having to step out of my safe (and let’s face it very ineffectual) gym-based comfort zone, the more I realized that the irrational fear I was feeling meant that I absolutely had to sign-up. It sounds silly to me now, but honestly that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

Unfortunately, it’s not like I hit the submit button, Bootcamp SF charged my credit card and then I went to my zen place. Some part of me was nervous about the first boot camp session every single day until I attended my first class in July, but I’ll tell you all about that day next week.