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Health and Fitness Trends to Keep and Lose

Sometimes I feel like there are two separate camps: the health camp and the fitness camp. I've hung out in both.  In the health camp, I made green juice every morning, jumped on my mini trampoline, ate mostly raw vegan, preached the virtues of spirulina and spent every paycheque at Whole Foods.  In the fitness camp, I took fat burning supplements, avoided carbohydrates, ate meat on meat, watched my face flush after chugging down caffeinated workout drinks, and spent every paycheque at GNC.

Here's the thing: I love both camps.  Both have their strengths and weaknesses.  Bro, do you even lift?

In my quest to find a happy balance, I like to visit each camp (and then drink gin and eat steak frites somewhere in between.)

Here's a list of some of the top trends to keep and let go of from each camp.

Cheers to your health!

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HEALTH TRENDS TO KEEP

  • Lemon water first thing in the morningDrinking a glass of lemon water upon rising is a great way to hydrate, get your digestion rolling, and pump up your immune system.
  • Green smoothies and green juice - Green juice and smoothies, especially in the morning, can be more energizing than coffee and a great way to pack some extra greens in your day.  They could even make you more attractive.
  • Eating a veggiecentric diet - Like my old friend Michael Pollan likes to say, we should be eating "mostly plants."
  • Probiotics - Whether you get them in pill form, kombucha, or fermented foods, probiotics are great for your digestive health and have been proven to help certain conditions.
  • Meditation - Meditation has been proven to ward off stress and disease.  So get your Om on.

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HEALTH TRENDS TO LOSE

  • Following a restrictive diet- Not everyone thrives on the same diet.  One person could thrive on a Paleo diet, while another might feel their best on a raw vegan diet.  Most of us can benefit from a well balanced diet of nourishing foods that doesn't limit us or our social lives.
  • Replacing meals with juice - No fibre, no fat, no protein, no fun.  While I love a juice first thing in the morning or as a midday treat, it simply doesn't cut it as a meal replacement.
  • Detoxing - Scientists have proven us time and time again that the body detoxes itself naturally.  While I fully believe in taking a break from whatever feels toxic in your life - too much alcohol, sugar, stress - most strict detoxes are a waste of time.
  • "Healthy" desserts - A lot of "healthy" treats are overloaded with fat and sugar.  Too much fructose (agave!) and even too many healthy fats, can disrupt your leptin and insulin levels, two critical hormones in maintaining a healthy weight.  All desserts should be a treat, and enjoyed in moderation, but don't pretend it's the equivalent to a balanced meal or salad.
  • Overstressing what is healthy - Sometimes we can take our health to such extremes that it becomes unhealthy.  We become antisocial, anxious about everything we ingest, and locked up in our tiny safe world that feels "healthy".  Sometimes you need a glass of wine and a big piece of cake.

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FITNESS TRENDS TO KEEP

  • Not being afraid to lift - Lifting weights can help you balance your hormones, gain strength, lean out, and feel empowered!
  • Moving as much as possible - Most of us spend far too much time sitting at our computers.  Whether you're going to a class, the gym, or outside for some cardio, getting more movement is a great way to boost your spirit and improve your health.
  • Getting enough protein - All of our bodies have different requirements, but ensuring you get enough protein throughout the day can keep your energy, mood, blood sugar levels, and the "hunger hormone" ghrelin stable.  There are also great vegan and vegetarian sources of protein to support your workouts!
  • Pushing past the mental barrier - One of my favourite things about being fitness focused is that it forces you to constantly challenge yourself.  Pushing past the mental barrier of how much you can lift, how far you can run, and what your capable of can apply to all areas of your life.
  • Realizing you can tone up with a killer 15 minute HIIT - 90 minute yoga classes aren't for everyone.  While I love long, meditative exercise, sometimes my schedule demands something short and effective.  I am consistently amazed with how much you can work your body with 15-30 minutes of high intensity interval training.  Bless the burpee.

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FITNESS TRENDS TO LOSE

  • Replacing too many meals with shakes and bars - Guilty as charged.  Sometimes I'll overdo my beloved Quest bars and shakes and end up feeling terrible.  Not only are some protein bars full of sugar alcohols that can cause upset stomachs, others can be packed with high fructose corn syrup and empty calories.  I'm not about to give them up completely, but real food must come first!
  • Overdoing stimulants - A lot of products in the fitness and body building world are packed with caffeine to get you through your workout and get you ripped.  These can increase heart rate, blood pressure, make the kidneys working harder and put undue stress on the adrenal glands.
  • Thinking you need a six pack to be healthy - As women we need a certain amount of body fat for normal female reproductive function, and when body fat percentage gets too low, energy levels and exercise performance can decline.
  • All protein, all the time - A personal trainer once told me "Oh you like that hippie protein powder.  I ate steak on chicken for lunch."  Oh man.  We definitely need a balance in our meals, and there is such a thing as too much protein.
  • A one diet fits all approach - A lot of fitness diets are a one size fits all approach and fail to address different dietary needs and health concerns.

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At the end of the day, you gotta find balance, love yourself, feed yourself nourishing food and do what feels best for you.

What would you keep and drop from each camp? What would you like to see change in the world of health and fitness?