Effective Immune System Boosters

Written by Liz Merrill

Now more than ever it's important to keep our immune systems strong. Give your immune system some love with these three easy ways to strengthen its natural abilities.

FUEL UP ON GOOD FOOD

Eating whole foods is the most effective way to get immune boosting vitamins. Choose wholesome, fresh, raw, real food ingredients as they offer your body the most benefit. When at all possible avoid processed and prepackaged food. Multivitamins can offset nutrient deficiencies but getting your nutrients from food is ideal. Utilize Sweat Equity's partner, Celproceo, to find out exactly what YOUR body needs to run optimally. One option is a simple hair tissue mineral analysis, click here to learn more!

RECOVERY

Rest is crucial. Get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Make sure to build in some mental rest time throughout your day. Meditation, float therapy, napping, journaling, and massage are good resets for your brain. Essential oils are quite common, and when used in a diffuser can be good at improving the air, calming the nervous system, and aiding in combating congestion and stuffiness.

BUILD IN SWEAT EQUITY TIME

Working from home is throwing us all out of our routine. Fitting Sweat Equity (either at the gym, or at Sweat Equity TV) into your day is important. Additionally, walking outdoors and getting natural light will help your circadian rhythm, metabolism, and sleep schedule. These tactics above will help boost your immune system, calm your nerves, and lead to an overall healthier lifestyle.

The Link Between Stress and Nutrition

Written by Liz Merrill

Just as we know that exercise has an effect on our mental health, nutrition has also been proved to greatly influence our mood (both good and bad). Here's an overview of some recent research, particularly for stress and depression. According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from being depressed. It's the world's leading cause of disability, and CDC data indicates that the illness is twice as common among women than men.

Inflammatory foods are tied to higher depression risk

Anti-inflammatory fats, including omega-3s from foods like wild salmon, and research, has long indicated that a typical inflammatory Western diet (commonly includes sugary drinks, refined grains, fried food, processed meat, high-fat diary, and sweets) is associated with an increased risk of depression. A 2020 study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, outlines several positive and negative associations between diet and depression. Monounsaturated fats from avocado and extra virgin olive oil, are also tied to a reduced depression risk, as well as lower blood markers for inflammation. Certain antioxidants, including flavonoids (found in berries, beans, citrus, and apples), are also linked to reducing inflammation and help our bodies cope with stress.

Certain foods help fight stress and keep depression at bay

Fish may also offer protection for women. In the 2020 study referenced above, women who ate fish twice or more a week had a 25% lower risk of depression compared to those who ate fish less than twice a week. People who are not getting enough magnesium, folate, zinc, and vitamins D, B12, and B6, are also known to have an increased depression risk. Magnesium is found in beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, avocado, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and dark chocolate. You'll find folate in leafy greens, raw beets, citrus, asparagus, and broccoli. Zinc-rich foods include oysters, vegetarian baked beans, pumpkin seeds, and cashews. Vitamin D is in salmon, sardines, eggs, and mushrooms exposed to UV light, although a supplement is typically required to achieve a healthy blood level of this nutrient. B12 is in animal-based foods and fortified nutritional yeast, and B6 is in chickpeas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, salmon, and tuna.

Dietary changes can make a difference

Eating foods rich in vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, and olive oil while limiting processed foods makes a huge difference. In some populations, simply eating more fruits and vegetables has resulted in a 19%-23% improvement in mental health. Kick off your day with some coffee! One 10-year study also found that among women, depression risk decreased with increased caffeinated coffee consumption. Researchers say the effect may be due to caffeine's stimulus effects, including improved brain function, plus increased sensations of energy and well-being.

Better nutrition helps everyone

The food/mood connection is unquestionable. Even if you aren't being treated for a mental health condition, upgrading your nutritional status can help you cope with stress—something we're all dealing with these days. And improving your diet for better mental health offers other positive outcomes, including potential weight loss, and improvements in immune function, blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure, as well as insomnia.

Rise and Shine Sweaters!

Written by Liz Merrill

I have always been an early riser. There is something about that predawn hour that is just magical to me. The stillness, the promise of a new day with all the potential it can bring, the chance to start again. Early morning has also become the most reliable, consistent and efficient way for me to get my sweat in. And while I do love the early hours, motivating to get out the door and blood pumping is not always easy. Here are some tactics that I employ to create a morning workout routine that will make your days better and your workouts more consistent. Think...no more last minute car pools or work meetings running late etc. that can derail the best intentions of an afterwork sweat session.

1. I always lay my gym clothes out the night before... saves precious time, eliminates any choices, streamlines process to get out the door

2. I go to bed early. Studies show most people function better with 7-8 hrs of sleep each night. Make sure you are in bed with ample time to achieve that goal.

3. I only set one alarm Don't be a snoozer Hitting snooze will make you late at best and cancel the whole workout at worst. A great trick is to count backwards 5,4,3,2,1 and make your feet hit the ground without hesitation.

4. I always make time for coffee Honestly that first slurp of coffee every morning is worth getting up for. And a little shot of caffeine is just enough to push me out the door and not look back. Warm and inviting like little hug, that mug of goodness gets me up

5. I enlist a buddy. This is CRUCIAL for people just starting a new routine. If you have someone waiting for you, you won't disappoint them by standing them up. They are counting on you! And together you will make great progress...and it's more fun.

6. I have my recovery breakfast ready and waiting A green smoothie, overnight oats, or your go to low sugar, high fiber, whole food option at the ready when you get home always tastes 10 times better after a good sweat! Join us at 5:30am at Sweat Equity!

Basics of Strength and Endurance

Written by Sweat Equity

Strength and endurance are the cornerstones upon which all movement is based. Whatever your activity - from working out to sports performance and even day-to-day life - strength and endurance dictate your physical ability. Therefore, strength and endurance training should be your number one focus.

What exactly are strength and endurance?

It's pretty simple. Strength is the amount of force you can generate (typically measured by how much you can lift) and endurance is how many times you can generate that force - or lift that object - before muscle exhaustion. So if we tackle both strength and endurance, we should be able to lift heavier things - and lift them for a longer time.

Why is training strength important?

Lots of endurance athletes - like runners and cyclists - focus solely on endurance training. Their objective, after all, is to generate sub-maximal strength for an extended period of time. For example, a marathon runner will be aiming to run at a moderate speed for the full 26.2 miles rather than perform a sprint. But strength training is also important for endurance.

Stronger muscles work more efficiently - that is, they can perform the same action with less effort. That, combined with endurance training, results in greater time until muscle failure. Stronger muscles also allow for greater strength output for the same amount of effort - increasing performance (like running a marathon faster). And building muscle also burns fat, boosting metabolism. So if weight loss is your goal, strength training should be a part of your workouts. Not to mention that being lighter can improve performance too.

What about endurance training?

Endurance training, on the other side of the coin, is often overlooked by strength athletes. But training endurance is extremely important for cardiovascular health and performance. Your heart is a muscle: when you train endurance, it gets stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood to your muscles, so in combination with strength training, endurance training will help you get stronger - stronger than strength training alone. Endurance training strengthens your lungs too, increasing their capacity - which goes hand in hand with getting fitter, stronger, and healthier.