Understanding the significance of nutrition in your active lifestyle is crucial.
Let's together explore the importance of pre and post-workout meals, offering insights into optimizing your energy levels, supporting muscle recovery, and achieving your fitness goals.
Pre-Workout Nutrition: Before engaging in any physical activity, it's essential to adequately fuel your body. A well-balanced pre-workout meal can enhance performance, boost energy, and improve endurance. Consider the following components:
Sample Pre-Workout Meals:
Post-Workout Nutrition: After a workout, your body needs nutrients to recover and rebuild. A well-designed post-workout meal can expedite recovery, reduce muscle soreness, and replenish glycogen stores.
Sample post workout snack suggestions:
1. Protein: After a workout, aim to include around a palm size of almonds or walnuts, or consume a Fuel for Fire smoothie pack work well here.
2. Drink some Coconut water. It’s full of potassium and natural electrolytes; it’s superior to sugary electrolyte drinks.
3. Hydrate. Our bodies are made up of 66% water and we lose it when we exercise. Water also helps keep our metabolism from becoming sluggish and keeps us alert (our brains are made up of 95% water).
Exercise nutrition and personal trainer Dr. John Berardi, PhD created the following Precision Nutrition Infographic to demonstrate the perfect post workout meal. Note the balance of proteins, vegetables and fruit with a smaller portion of starches.
Sample Post-Workout Meals:
Incorporating well-balanced pre- and post-workout meals into your fitness routine can significantly impact your overall performance and recovery. As each person has different needs and goals, I'm here to help you personalize your nutrition plan based on your preferences, dietary restrictions, and fitness goals.
Your key takeaways however, are to stay hydrated, listen to your body, and enjoy the positive effects of mindful nutrition on your journey to a healthier, active lifestyle.
Sleep. Just hearing the word can have many different connotations for people. The CDC states that ⅓ of Americans do not get sufficient sleep; raise your hand if like me, you're one of them?
If asked, most people can tell you their ideal number of hours of sleep in order to function well. For me, 8 hours is prime time; I put on my imaginary cape and tackle the day with energy and enthusiasm. On the other hand, fewer than 6 and I might be mistaken from a zombie from TWD. A lack of sufficient sleep and I feel spacey and have difficulty concentrating. I spend the day dreaming about being back in bed where I am hopefully, blissfully unaware in a deep sleep.
I definitely suffer when we change the time to DST, which to me and many health experts (the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Doctors) agree is harmful to our health. Now that we are back on standard time, I sleep deeper and sounder all winter and I dread the change come March.
Understanding the Benefits of Quality Sleep:
1.Cognitive Function: quality sleep is a catalyst for enhancing cognitive functions such as memory consolidation, creativity, and efficient problem-solving (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke).
2. Mood Regulation: sleep serves as a cornerstone for emotional regulation, stress reduction, and overall mental equilibrium (American Psychological Association).
3. Physical Rejuvenation: quality sleep supports immune functions, fostering cellular repair, and contributes holistically to physical health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute).
The Consequences of Insufficient or Poor Sleep:
1. Cognitive Impairment: insufficient sleep leads to cognitive impairments, reduced concentration, delayed reaction times, and compromised decision-making abilities (Sleep Foundation).
2. Health Ramifications: chronic sleep deprivation heightens the risk of diverse health issues, spanning from obesity and diabetes to cardiovascular ailments.(Harvard Health Publishing).
Guiding Principles for Optimal Sleep:
1. Establishing a Sleep Routine: try to go to bed at the same time every night to create a consistent sleep schedule, understanding that our bodies thrive on rhythmic patterns.
2. Creating a Sleep Sanctuary: ensure your sleep environment is dark, quiet, and cool. A ChillPad (https://sleep.me/) is a great way to keep your bed at a temperature that allows you to sleep and won't wake you up. Use room darkening drapes to make your room dark and use a color changing lightbulb for your nightstand light that can be turned to red, which will help stimulate melatonin production.
3. Minimize screen time before bed: blue light from screens is detrimental to melatonin production, an important sleep hormone. Keep smart devices out of the bedroom, if possible, or at minimum, turn off notifications and keep them face down to avoid being woken up unnecessarily.
4. Do some meditation, restorative yoga or yoga Nidra before bed. You want to quiet the mind and body before bed to keep racing thoughts at bay. Keep a pad of paper by the bed and pencil to help jot down things as they come up.
5. Use an app to help you sleep. Some people prefer nature sounds, or white noise, but others might enjoy having a story read to them in which the reader's voice gets slower and softer, helping you drift off to sleep. Sleepiest (https://www.sleepiest.com) is a great app for this.
6. Don't eat heavily before bed or consume too much alcohol. Try not to eat at least three hours before bed and when possible, keep the meal light. Acid reflux is a real problem when lying down (prop up your pillows or elevate your bed to help prevent it) and it puts a lot of strain on your digestion during sleep. Alcohol can create middle of the night wake ups, hot flashes, and dehydration. Keep consumption to one glass a day, when possible.
7. Drink tart cherry juice an hour before bed. 2 ounces of tart cherry juice mixed with 4 ounces of water an hour will increase tryptophan, a naturally occurring amino acid in foods and it will help you get sleepy (it's also partially why you feel dopey after a turkey dinner).
Sleeping well takes practice and dedication. If you want more tips to help you sleep, I'm here to help. Sweet dreams!
My name is Stephanie Segretto and I’m the owner of Inspired Living LLC. I’m a veteran teacher turned Integrative Wellness, Fitness Nutrition and Life Concierge Coach who has had her own long term health challenges and refuses not to thrive. I now help people create their personal wellness blueprint for a healthier and happier life.
How many of you, like me, were raised to believe that you need to go to college, graduate and get a 9-5 job with full benefits and pension, rinse and repeat until it’s time to retire? How does that notion make you feel?
I’ve always been the salmon swimming upstream and career-wise, I tried to conform initially before following my own path.
Along the way, I did many jobs that all had a similar theme: they were all people-oriented. From summer trip leader, to bartending to teaching to educational leadership, it was clear that I ultimately wanted to help people.
I love talking to people and really listening to the underlying message of everything they say. Few of us realize that our subconscious has a way of expressing itself through even our daily conversations. Our regrets, our joys, our worries-they come out not necessarily in the words we say, but in their inflection, our tone of voice, and our body language.
I’ve been an empath my whole life and I fought my intuition (my “spidey sense,” if you will) for a long time. In many ways, as much as I enjoyed being a rebel, I really tried to be “normal,” i.e. mask, versus just find a better tribe. That caused an internal struggle until I came to terms in my early twenties with who I really was and who I wanted to be.
I spent ten years as a bartender. I was initially excited to have all these regulars; as I got to know them, however, I realized they all had one thing in common: they were self-medicating. We had many great conversations about life and we learned so much from one another, with the main conclusion that everyone is going through something and empathy and kindness are both necessary and free. I found myself wanting to help each one of them and in time, I realized that I was meant to do more, be more.
During my 17 years as a middle school and high school teacher, I taught more than a mere content area; most former students say that I taught them life lessons and skills they hadn’t learned anywhere else. I found ways to incorporate real-world application into my lessons: nutrition, health, social justice issues, environmental implications, etc. I wasn’t just a “French and ELL” Teacher: I was their counselor, their health coach, their parent, their older sibling. I have maintained many relationships with former students and I love that they still reach out to me for advice, invite me to their weddings, visit me, tell me about their breakups and their divorces.
In 2007, my world was rocked to the core. Due to a debilitating autoimmune situation caused by numerous factors: a missing cold air return and overexposure to PFCs in my home; toxic mold and a sewer gas leak at one of my schools, and Lyme disease (the latter of which would not be diagnosed for another 15 years), I realized that I needed to put on my own oxygen mask before trying to put one on everyone else. It was the much needed catalyst to end my not-working-for-far-too-long marriage (which was hard while also a relief; I didn't have to bend over backwards trying to make someone else happy anymore. My focus would now be on me). It also meant working on eliminating PTSD, co-dependent relationships, and self esteem issues. In other words, I had a lot of work ahead of me on every level.
I thus became my own health advocate. In addition to doing different forms of mental and physical exercises, I poured over specialty diet cookbooks, peer-reviewed scientific research, and eventually earned several certifications in integrative wellness and fitness nutrition.
In April 2013, I did the unthinkable. I called my parents and told them I was resigning at the end of the year from my high school where I was loved, had the pick of classes and on my way to a solid retirement pension...to move to full-time salaried at my contractor remote job for an educational software company that only paid half of my teaching salary and oh, yeah, I’d be focusing more on my coaching practice. I thought my dad was going to fall out of his chair; this was way out of his parental comfort zone. I decided to ignore any projections of fear and go my own way, as I had initially intended many years before. I knew in time my parents would see how much happier and more fulfilled I was and that in itself would make all the difference. which it did, changing our relationship for the better, too. Within two years, I was in a new Ed Tech company with a remote leadership position making a lot more money and back in graduate school to earn a certificate in leadership. Leadership is all about mentorship and coaching; it was a perfect fit.
So, what did I learn from all these experiences?
I learned that there's a difference between an ego's desire and a heart's desire. The ego is all about fear and keeping you safe from perceived harm. That's why we have one; it's the reptilian part of our brain (oldest part of our brain) that is all about survival and instinctual, flight or fight response. Vulnerability is not a weakness. As I Iearned to trust my instinct, to see my own worth and embrace my authentic self, I was able to make the decisions that have allowed me to create the amazing life I have today. I can assure you that I have no regrets. Everything that happened pushed me forward and made me internally stronger for it. I know now that I can handle anything. No exceptions.
As a result of everything I went through, I can genuinely empathize with those who suffer chronic health issues and/or difficult relationships. I have made it my goal to help others find relief through meditation, nutrition and exercise, advocating for them when dealing with doctors, lawyers, and anyone else they need to deal with.
When I work with clients, no two people are the same, so each person’s wellness blueprint will be different and requires personalized tailoring. What is the same are the tools used to inform, to engage and to help each client reflect on who they are, where they want to go and who they want to become.
To achieve these goals, we will use monthly sessions to see how things are going, looking for both successes and areas of struggle. As we work together, we change what no longer serves in order to seek out what does.
I help clients to reflect on their desires and current habits and to make incremental, two-week dietary, lifestyle (and if desired, fitness) changes in order to attain life-long, sustainable habits. There is no specific dietary plan; we discuss easy to follow visual food portions (which is easier to follow them calorie counting and macros) using the Precision Nutrition(c) PN Plate, adjusted according to a client’s personal needs and level of activity. Your hand, in essence, becomes your built-in portion control.
As a coach, I support clients by answering their questions, offering encouragement, and track their progress. This means that although I only meet with them live once or twice a month, if they email me, I try and reply within 48 business hours (often within same day), hence why it's concierge coaching.
Clients choose to work with me because I am intuitive, kind but frank. I seek to get people on their chosen path as quickly as possible, acting as their mentor and cheerleader the entire way.
As an Italian, food is life. I have always strived to make healthy, nutrient dense but still flavorful meals. I learned to cook, can, etc. at a young age from my grandmother and I have learned to cook numerous dishes from other cultures. I can show you how, too.
My superpowers are intuitive empathy and grit. Those that work with me find it refreshing to be truly seen and heard. I do not shy away from the difficult.
What’s your super power? If you don’t know, let me help you find it. If you do know it, let me help you harness it.
I identify with the phrase, “Nevertheless, she persisted” and I’d like to help you have the energy to do so, too. To have the energy to fight for your best life, one day at a time.
I look forward to hearing from you.
It's officially the last day of 2011 and as I look to the new year, I felt I should tackle one of my goals which was to begin my blog. It feels great to check that box! What are some of your goals for the new year? How can I help you achieve them?
In a world filled with a variety of dietary trends and fads, it's easy to get stuck in the quagmire. Let's delve into why incorporating a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods is a key pillar of a healthy lifestyle.
Understanding Nutrient Density: Nutrient density refers to the ratio of essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein) to the calories in a given food. In simple terms, it's about getting the most nutritional bang for your caloric buck. Nutrient-dense foods provide an abundance of vital nutrients without excessive calories. These foods empower your body to function optimally, supporting your energy levels, immune system, and vitality.
Incorporating Nutrient-Dense Foods:
For further reading on the subject, I recommend checking out these resources: