You know the drill. Every time the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, people inevitably start asking you that dreaded question, “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” You’ve come to expect the question and likely something prepared to the effect of:(more…)
2 Tbsp almond milk (or coconut milk or your favorite dairy-free option)
1-1.5 tsp peppermint extract
Put the walnuts in your food processor and pulse until well chopped.
Add the dates and pulse again until mixed well.
Add the cacao, 2/3 cup shredded coconut, peppermint extract, and 1 Tbsp almond milk. Pulse until combined. Add 1 more tbsp of milk if needed (you should be able to roll into balls easily.) Add a little more peppermint extract if you want an extra minty flavour.
Vancouverites have all experienced – at one point in time – a lack of motivation or energy that might come after a streak of rainy, grey weather. Believe it or not, you may have been experiencing this low state of energy due to a lack of sun exposure and Vitamin D! Who knew that the sun could have such a big impact on your physical health?
Sun exposure, or more specifically vitamin D absorption via sun exposure, is immensely important for a number of reasons. North Americans (especially Vancouverites) are highly susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder that is characterized by symptoms of depression (fatigue and lethargy) mainly due to the changing of seasons. This is more prominent in the fall and winter seasons due to a lack of sun exposure – and it is here where vitamin D supplements come greatly into play.
Vitamin D Supplements to the Rescue
Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to decrease the likelihood of seasonal depression due to it’s mood and energy enhancing effects. The infographic above summarizes a study done on elite soccer players in Northern Europe. The players either took a large bulk Vitamin D supplement once a week or several smaller doses daily. The results showed that a daily dose of vitamin D was more effective at changing mood and energy levels than taking a bigger dose once a week.
Benefits and Daily Dosage of Vitamin D Supplements
Vitamin D is a key player in maintaining heart health, a strong immune system, strengthening bones, and binding calcium. Therefore, receiving a smaller daily dosage allows the liver to continuously process this vitamin, keeping levels high. Conversely, a weekly dosage would get processed by the liver within a day or two, causing the levels to drop back to what they were before. The daily recommended dose of vitamin D for adults under 50 is 400-1000 IU. In contrast, for over 50s, it increases to 800-2000 IU since the risk of osteoporosis increases after the age of 50.
So get out and enjoy the sunshine while you can! It’s not only good for your mental health, it’s good for your physical health too!
Professional Training Coach
Innovative Fitness Kitsilano
We can all agree that there are few better feelings than a good old-fashioned road trip right? Windows down, sun shining, warm air, music up. But don’t let your summer getaways derail your latest fitness efforts.
Yes, travel brings freedom and excitement with regards to discovering new yummy eats and treats and laying off the workouts. But, this freedom can also feel tempting (and possibly stressful) if you’ve been putting in the time at the gym and making gains.
The good news is that a little planning and prep will easily satisfy your munchy boredom cravings while also keeping your energy steady and your nutrition in check.
Healthy Road Trip Snacks: The Approach
With every choice you make, your efforts should be focused on foods that are high in protein and fibre and limited in added sugar. Think low sugar protein bars, your favourite powder in a shaker bottle, fresh fruit & veg.
Lookout for big bags of munchy foods that are tempting to grab and easy to mindlessly chow down multiple servings of (especially when you’re not paying attention like driving and chatting).
And don’t overlook hydration! Water is essential, but zero-calorie artificially sweetened electrolyte drinks, and carbonated waters can also be fun and help curb some cravings.
Healthy Road Trip Snacks: Our Top Picks
Our top recommendations? Grab a cooler bag and stock it with the following:
Here are our smart nutrition parameters: find a bar that’s going to kick your craving for a sweet candy bar to the curb but doesn’t deliver more than 10g of sugar. Look for at least 15 g of protein, and bonus points for choosing one with fibre and (or!) greens.
Fruit & Veg
Don’t be afraid to throw together a bag of fresh veg such as peapods, cucumber, mini carrots, etc. to munch on. Low in calories and high in fibre, you can munch for a while, feel good and keep your calories in check. Buying a container of prepared cut fruit or packing some apples is also an excellent way to hydrate and satisfy a sweet craving. Plus it gives you a boost of antioxidants which help fight off those damaging free radicals in your body.
Adding in some healthy fats (in addition to protein) with your snacks is ideal way to satisfy, curb cravings and resist temptations. Consider a squeeze pack of nut butter, trail mix (watch your portion, though!), or even an avocado.
Who doesn’t love a good salty snack to much on? Nowadays you can even find some options are better for you options, like having added protein. If you can buy or pack single portions, you’re in better shape and packing healthier options will likely be better than what you can find on the road. Our go-to choices: dry-roasted chickpeas or edamame, protein chips (yes, they are a thing!), kale chips and jerky.
Sometimes you just want some candy! Check out SmartSweets gummy bears (and sour gummy bears), a line of low-sugar, high-fibre candy that legit tastes like the real deal. With 3g of sugar and 28g of fibre per bag, they will help you #KickSugar (without feeling like you are).
Aside from the obvious water, we like buying single stick-pack powder packets for the road to add to any bottle of water. Top choices include single-serve protein powders (ideal to hold you over until you can get a quality meal), greens powders for a vitamin and antioxidant boost, collagen (add to your coffee order), and electrolyte sticks for hydration. Not only will these options keep your drinks exciting to your taste buds, but they might also help you skip some less-than-ideal choices.
Finally, we get it – sometimes it’s just not possible to plan ahead or pack your snacks. And while there’s a lot of junk in gas station marts and fast food stores, the good news is that there are an increasing amount of good options too!
When you’re in a bind and dying for food look for:
Single serve bags of nuts & seeds
Ready-to-drink protein shakes, a good rule is 15g – 20g protein and less than 10g sugar per bottle.
Protein bars, (consider our recos above)
Zero calorie drinks and electrolyte waters
Healthier Fast Food Options
Reach out to us if you’ve got more questions on how to keep it healthy on the road!
The North Shore, or “The Shore” as many of the locals like to call it, is a mountain bikers dream. It is the birth place of “free riding”, showcasing the extreme and exhilarating nature of the sport. With technical features, roots and rocks that will keep you gripping your handlebars to incredibly designed flow trails that will have you ripping through the trees, The Shore has something for every level of rider!
The Shore is predominantly comprised of two main mountains, Mt. Fromme and Mt. Seymour that are maintained and being expanded upon by the North Shore Mountain Biking Association (NSMBA) Whether you are new to the sport or a veteran rider there is no shortage of trails to hit up for an evening or weekend ride.
Got an hour or two? Here are some tried and true trails you must check out!
Distance: 759 m Descent: 118 m Average Ride Time: 4 min Description: This flow trail is the perfect ride for any beginner. With big berms, fun wooden features and smooth packed gravel, Bobsled is a great introductory trail that is fun for any level of rider. With its close proximity to the parking lot it will have you riding back up for a second lap!
Distance: 1.3 km Descent: 214 m Average Ride Time: 10 min Description: Kicking It up a notch from Bobsled, Espresso is a trail that flows through the forest with nicely designed berms that keep you cruising around every corner. With the mandatory woodwork spread through the ride, it is recommend for more experienced riders. Spice up the ride with the optional tables, roll downs and some pretty big but smooth rock rides!
7TH SECRET (Intermediate/Advanced)
Distance: 955 m Descent: 163 m Average Ride Time: 9 min Description: While the climb up mountain hwy is not for the faint of heart, this North Shore classic is worth the trek. With a variety of trail features from ladders, jumps, bridges and an iconic log ride, this trail is a mixed bag of flow and tech. Extend the ride through Lepprd, Crinkum Crankum, and Kirkford to round out this epic ride and will take you right back to the parking lot!
JOHN DEER (Intermediate)
Distance: 1 km Descent: 172 m Average Ride Time: 6 min Description: This flowy single track trail is a fun descent with A-frames, bridges, drops and jumps to keep things fun. With these optional features, it is a great place to work on your riding skills but also allows you to just cruise. John Deer can be accessed through Good Sir Martin which is a newer climbing trail that makes the ascent up the mountain an enjoyable but heart pumping ride!
Distance: Pingu – 481 m, Pangor – 1.3 km Total Descent: 228 m Average Ride Time: Pingu – 2 min, Pangor – 14 min Description: These trails kick it up a notch. With Pingu riding a little smoother, Pangor contains many difficult features from drops, rock faces and skinnies keeping you on your toes the entire descent. While there has been extensive work done on them over the years, these trails have kept true to the North Shore style of riding and are a fun lap for an evening on the mountain.
There you have it, a few of the must ride trails of the North Shore you will be glad you explored. If you are planning to head up the mountain, make sure you are prepared. Pack a small bag with an extra tube and bike pump (no one likes to walk their bike down the mountain) and plenty of water to keep you hydrated throughout. For any riders new to the area, make sure to download ‘Trailforks’ on your phone. Its trail maps and descriptions will keep you on track and help you plan your ride!
Sarah Van Noort
Professional Training Coach IF North Vancouver
It says so on all our license plates, and it’s undoubtedly the truth. At Innovative Fitness, we feel deeply grateful to live in such a beautiful province. As a community of runners and nature enthusiasts, we are extra thankful as the great outdoors provides a natural arena in which to engage in our passion… Running! (more…)
Delicious Christmas turkey, mashed potatoes, cookies and puddings are hard to resist! Setting boundaries on your diet especially at this time of year can be challenging. Overeating during the holidays is common. Let this article help you set a strategic game plan and avoid the “Holiday Weight Gain”. (more…)
We had the opportunity to chat with Sarah Van Noort, a Professional Training Coach at IFNorth Vancouver to learn more about health and wellness in the fitness world. She couldn’t emphasize enough on how internal health affects our daily fitness performance.
Let’s learn more on how to build and maintain strong internal health and how it can help you achieve your goals! (more…)
At Innovative Fitness, all of our coaches love fitness and are passionate about helping people achieve their fitness goals. What we don’t know is why they got into personal training in the first place!
Let’s hear from Patryk Zuk, one of our coaches at IF Kitsilano.