Burger on the Brain

Adherence is a word we hear tossed around all of the time when it comes to dieting.  The underlying claim of most fad diets is that they are easier to adhere to.  Who would not want to follow a diet that allows them to eat bacon and steak throughout the week?

While at the end of the day, a “diet” will only work if you are able to consistently remain in a caloric deficit, these marketing strategies are on the right track.  “Adhering” to a given diet simply means you are able to adopt it as a habit and incorporate it into your lifestyle.

I think we can all agree that the hardest diets to stick to are the ones that are most restrictive.  We are going to have a harder time maintaining a diet that forbids half of the foods we love to eat than one that asks us to control the amount of them that we eat.  Again, the key here is the ability to incorporate it into your lifestyle.

Once you have changed your eating habits, you are no longer “dieting,” you have become a person who eats healthy.  You won’t even think twice about your meal choices because you will have become so aware of what you put into your body!

For this reason, I am always looking for ways to transform my favorite “cheat meals” into healthy meals.  This requires a lot of trial and error (I once tried to make pizza dough out of sweet potatoes and it more closely resembled mashed potatoes with pizza toppings…), but it gives you the opportunity to experiment in the kitchen and achieve your favorite flavors through healthy means.

Ultimately, if you are able to create meals that taste good and satisfy even your worst cravings, you will be able to adhere to any meal plan you create for yourself.

This week I found myself craving a burger with an Asian twist.  Anyone who knows me knows that pretty much everything I eat has an “Asian twist,” it’s just a flavor profile I love.

Most burgers use an 80/20 lean to fat ratio.  To keep the fat content down, I found some super lean 93/7 ground beef.  

Next, I wanted to make a healthy and crisp slaw topping, so I found a package of shredded vegetables that included cabbage, brussels sprouts and kale.  This would provide some much needed micronutrients, and to avoid using mayonnaise in the sauce, I made a quick dressing with a little sesame oil, rice vinegar and a low-carb teriyaki sauce.

For crunch, I found some crispy rice noodles.  In moderation, these aren’t so bad, but if they are fried they could arguably be the least healthy ingredient in this recipe.

Depending on your carbohydrate goals for the day, you can opt for low-carb buns or just go bunless and eat the burger over the slaw or in a lettuce wrap.  Just remember to check the nutritional facts on the package to make sure there are no added sugars or unnecessary preservatives.

At this point, all that’s left is to grill up your burgers and assemble them with your toppings.  I would recommend serving up some grilled vegetables on the side, this will help you to feel more full and it’s always a good idea to sneak extra veggies into your diet!

See the full recipe here!

Like our post? Please leave us a comment below!

Follow us on Instagram at @cmpreevents or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CMpreeEvents

Sick for the Gym

Having just spent a long weekend battling this season’s offering of the flu, I thought it would be fitting to talk about when it is appropriate, or even safe, to train when you are feeling under the weather.

We’ve all been there, once you are in the habit of your gym schedule, nothing can stop you from getting through your workouts in the right order and on the right day.  This is a good thing, it means you have incorporated healthy habits into your lifestyle which is not easy.  However, there are situations where what is best for the body is taking a break and allowing for adequate recovery time.

Advice on this topic is mixed.  You are either instructed to stay as far away from the gym and any physical activity as humanly possible, or to continue your fitness routine as planned and to “sweat it out.”  Other advice will recommend you “listen to your body” which continues to beg the question as to whether or not you should exercise.

The first thing to consider is the type of sickness you are dealing with here.  Of course, if you are fighting something like pneumonia, bronchitis or strep throat you should 100% stay home and allow your body (and most likely some antibiotics from your doctor) to do its job of recovering.  Fever, body aches and excessive fatigue are all signs from your body to take a break.

Something like the common cold, on the other hand, may leave you with a little bit more energy to move around.  If you are questioning whether or not to work out, it is likely that you are in this “grey area.” To be more specific these are strictly “above the neck symptoms,” “such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or minor sore throat” (Laskowski, 2017).

In this case, a bit of light exercise may be beneficial, helping to clear out nasal passageways to promote ease of breathing.  The key here is light exercise.  This could be a brisk walk or bike ride, preferably outdoors so you can get some fresh air as well.  These activities “aren’t intense enough to create serious immune-compromising stress on the body” (Andrews, 2018).

This gives some credence to the “sweat it out” theory, however, it is important to consider the type of workout you are trying to do.  If you are headed to the gym for heavy weight training, or high-intensity intervals your body is going to prioritize recovery of the immune system before it begins recovery for the muscles you are breaking down in your workout.  So at the end of the day, you should consider whether it will be time well spent.

Another point to consider is whether you are contagious or not.  We’ve all seen someone coughing and sneezing all over the most popular equipment.  The last thing you want to be is “that guy,” potentially putting fellow gym-goers in the same position you are in now.  At the very least, if you do head to the gym, be sure to wash your hands before hitting the floor and wipe down all equipment after you’re done using it!

Heavier resistance training may also weaken your immune system (especially in males), due in part to the effects weight training has on testosterone levels.  The reasons why are not entirely clear, however immune responses to infections such as influenza have been known to be weaker in men than they are in women (Goldman, 2013).  Because heavy strength training has also been shown to boost testosterone levels, it would stand to reason that workouts of this nature would not be recommended while one is sick.

Finally, if you have been working hard in the gym, you may be worried that all your hard earned muscle is going to start melting away if you miss a day or two.  Fortunately, evidence shows that it takes about three weeks before muscle mass begins to atrophy and that taking a little break may actually put you at a greater advantage when you return (Fisher, et al, 2013).

If a visual check of your body makes you think you have lost muscle after just a few days of being sick, it is most likely due to changes in hydration and muscle glycogen levels.  You can combat this by trying to stick to your nutrition goals as closely as possible. Remember, just because you can’t make it to the gym doesn’t mean you should throw your whole diet out the window!

There is nothing worse than starting to feel better, overdoing it and then winding up sick again the next day.  Take things slow and hopefully after a few days you will be fully recovered and ready to continue with your progress in the gym.  Listen to your body, if you start with 10-15 minutes of light cardio and feel overly fatigued, that is your body signalling for more rest.  If you have given your body the time it needs to recover, you should be back to your normal strength and endurance in no time!

For our easy to follow healthy recipes, click here!

Follow us on Instagram at @cmpreevents or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CMpreeEvents

Like our post? Please leave us a comment below!