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!

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.

 

5 Hacks For A Healthy Week

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When it comes to feeling (and seeing) the results from our health efforts, it can be hard to wait. You’re not alone if you want a little immediate gratification. Try one, or all 5, of these healthy hacks to help feel your best THIS week.

1. Plan and make your breakfasts for the entire week. Check out these 12 ideas.

2. Stretch or foam roll while watching T.V.  The best way to start a new habit is to associate it with a habit you already have. Since many of us enjoy our favorite T.V. shows at night, use that time to stretch or foam roll (even if it’s just during commercials).

3. Put a full glass of water next to your bed at night. And drink it before getting up in the morning. With up to 75% percent of us dehydrated (1) and since we’re most dehydrated after a night’s sleep (2), drinking a glass of water first thing in the A.M. is a great way to start the day.

4. Set a “move” reminder on your phone or calendar. Sitting for long periods of time can physiologically affect your muscles and metabolism (3). And not for the better. Gretchen Reynolds, NYtimes Well columnist and The First 20 Minutes author, suggests standing up every 20 minutes for 2 minutes. Try setting an alarm on your phone to go off every 20 minutes during long work stints. Check out her interview for more on how sitting affects your body.

5. Try a new healthy recipe. Take some time to scroll through the recipes we have shared on the BCSF blog, dust off your favorite cookbook or find a new food website you like. Pick ONE new recipe to try. Just like one unhealthy meal can make us feel like we’ve fallen off track, one healthy meal can make us feel inspired to eat well all week.

And of course head out and join your BCSF class for a workout! Nothing like a good sweat and workout with your friends to make you feel accomplished for the day.

 

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.medicaldaily.com/75-americans-may-suffer-chronic-dehydration-according-doctors-247393
  2. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/27704531/ns/health-behavior/t/wake-up-call-sleep-deprived/
  3. http://www.npr.org/2012/05/09/152336802/stand-up-walk-around-even-just-for-20-minutes

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!

3 Things Your Fitness Tracker Is Missing

Do you track your food intake with an app like myfitnesspal or loseit?
Do you have a wearable tracker like a fitbit or jawbone that tracks your fitness for you?

If you said no to all of the above and you’ve never tried tracking your activity and food, we suggest giving it a whirl.

Why? Because, it can be one of the best ways to educate yourself on what you’re putting into your body.

However, it’s important to remember to take these tools are just that. Tools to help us get more in tune with our bodies so we can make healthier decisions.

But you’re not alone if you’ve been using an app like myfitnesspal for weight loss and are left scratching your head as to why the numbers and what you see in the mirror don’t match up.

These trackers are missing a couple factors that can leave a huge gap between what they calculate and what’s actually happening.

So before you start taking those “you’ll weigh x amount in x days” alerts too seriously, take a minute to consider these weight loss factors:

1. Quality and timing of food: According to food trackers, you could get 100% of your calories from fast food restaurants and as long as you used more calories than you consumed, you’d be on track for weight loss. This is a major fault in the belief that counting calories is the only way to lose weight. From a nutritional perspective, this type of thinking can lead to eating too many low calorie, low nutrient foods (popcorn, rice cakes, crackers, diet sodas ect.) As a nutrition counselor, I know that eating more nutrient dense foods (yes, even if they are higher calorie) can be the better choice for supporting metabolism and long term weight loss. Also, timing of food intake isn’t taken into account. Are you eating 3 square meals a day or are you starving yourself during the day and eating 80% of your food right before bed? You can see how these reports could quickly get very misleading. Remember to pay attention to what you eat and when and to listen to your body before you consider to your “stats”.

2. Intensity of exercise: Intensity of exercise matters. Sprinting up a set of stairs is going to have a very different effect on your metabolism than going for a walk or lifting weights. Most trackers only take into account total calorie burn, not the metabolic effect. Remember that most of these programs are estimates and take them as such.

3. Overall health and happiness: There are so many other factors that can affect health. Sleep, stress levels, hormones and nutrient deficiencies can all have an effect on weight loss. Remember that these programs and platforms aren’t made for you, they’re made for the masses. If you need or want specialized recommendations, it’s important to speak with a trainer, nutritionist or doctor.

So should we use these trackers?
Are you using this technology to help educate yourself and make better choices? If yes, then keep it up! Like I said, these tools can be a great way to learn about our bodies and our habits. With that said, if it’s making you feel stressed or overwhelmed, then it’s not the tool for you right now. Try journaling about your food choices, creating a simple weekly meal plan or find another way to get in tune with your food and fitness.

At the end of the day, put down the phone, the app, the stats and remember only you can make the best decisions for your health.

Savory Oatmeal: Your New Favorite Breakfast

Do you like oatmeal for breakfast? We know that it’s a favorite both for us here at BCSF (check out what our trainers eat here) and for you at home. It’s quick, satisfying and the ultimate comfort breakfast to come home to after a brisk morning workout.

But we have a way for all you oatmeal lovers to mix up your flavors and boost your nutrition without saying goodbye to your go-to breakfast.

If you’ve never tried savory oats, we think they will be your new favorite thing.

Here’s why:

  •  Adding an egg to your oats gives a  boost of protein (oats alone don’t have much) which will also help balance the carbohydrate rich oats.
  •  Eating savory flavors in the morning can actually affect your cravings later in the day. When we eat a lot of sweet flavors, we crave more of them. By swapping oatmeal  for a savory version, your telling your brain savory = fuel. You may even be less likely to crave dessert.
  • Choosing steel cut oats over regular rolled oats increases the amount of fiber and lowers the glycemic index of our breakfast. This means no crash of energy at 11am and reaching for that (maybe not so healthy) mid morning snack.

Here’s how:

Ingredients (serves 1)
1/4 cup quick cook steel cut oats
Olive Oil
1 egg
Parmesan cheese or sharp cheddar
Salt and pepper

Directions
Cook oats according to package
Meanwhile poach egg
Serve oats, topped with egg, cheese and seasonings

Optional additions / swaps:
Add sauteed greens
Add steamed vegetables
Swap oats for another grain (like quinoa or amaranth)

If you want more savory oat ideas, we love these.

These savory oats are the perfect choice for busy weekday mornings or for weekends when you need food fast, but want something a little more fancy. Heck, we’d even eat them for lunch. Give this healthy, balanced breakfast a try and we’re sure it will become one of your new favorites.

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.