Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Benefits & Perks, Confidence, How to Become a Fitness Instructor, Personal Growth, What It's Like to Be a Group Fitness Instructor

Haters Gon Hate: When People Say Your Job Isn’t a “Real” Job

Not too long after I’d first become a group fitness instructor and personal trainer, I had a strange experience with an old friend. It’s 3:00PM on a Friday afternoon. We made plans to hit the beach for happy hour cocktails and he’s running several hours late. No text or call, presumably because of his busy schedule. Since I know he’s pretty flaky, I decide to go alone. It’s an hour long drive to the beach and if I get there early, I’ll have a nice view of the ocean from the bar patio.

As I’m driving, I get a call from you know who.

I pick up with my car’s bluetooth. “I already left.” I smiled. He is not amused. He huffs and haws trying to convince me to turn around. I won’t. “Sorry friend. The bus has left the station.”

“Some of us have to work real jobs in order to pay the bills,” he says.

I did a double take. Hater much? This was the first time I’d heard anyone say something like this about the work that I do and it surprised me. What I wanted to say was…

  1. I woke up at 5:00am to prepare for my day and show up for my 6:00am shift.
  2. I worked continuously without a break, serving 4 small group training sessions, 1 cardio class, responding to client emails, and making phone calls till 12:30.
  3. I do this same work 5 days a week then when I go home I plan, create, and schedule content for my blogs and social pages.

Instead, I said “Enjoy your day!” then hung up. Later that day, as I sat by the beach, sipping margaritas, I thought about it some more. I could see why my job might feel “unreal.” Getting out of work before 1:00pm on a Friday to hit the beach is one of the many perks many people never get to experience. But here’s the truth:

It is no mistake that I chose a career path that is both fulfilling for me spiritually and beneficial for my well being. I took the time to explore what I love, what I am good at, and what will ultimately pay the bills. I put in the WORK to find the path I am on now.

Being a fitness professional is physically demanding and can often be emotionally taxing too. I had to work at becoming an skilled, engaging instructor.

And I am so grateful to be able to say that I love what I do. I wish for everyone who is dissatisfied with their jobs to find a path that creates happiness, not only in their lives but in the lives of others too. But for now, I don’t fault anyone for feeling a little jealous. I’d be jealous too 😉 

Mwuah,

Nadia

Advertisements
Posted in Books and Podcasts, Personal Growth

Alternatives to Music: What I Listen to While Working Out

I’m gonna get straight to it. Although I love creating playlists on Spotify for the classes that I teach, I don’t actually listen to music during my own workouts. As an entrepreneur, a lifelong learner, and a yogi, my workout time is an opportunity to grow. Here’s what I listen to while working out.

Audio Books & Podcasts

I’m a sucker for a good life or business lesson. Since it’s a little challenging to read while lifting weights, I sneak it in with audio-books and podcasts. A few of my all time favs include:

  • The Bitch Switch by Omarosa
  • Goals! by Brian Tracy
  • It’s Called A Breakup Cause It’s Broken by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt
  • Promote Yourself to CEO with Rachael Cook
  • MBOM with Amanda Kingsmithh
  • Side Hustle with Soul by Dielle Sharon

My Breath

This will probably sound strange to anyone who is not familiar with yoga, but in the studio, it’s common to practice:

  • Focusing on your breath
  • Manipulating your breath with structured practices
  • Linking your breath to movement

Research has shown that pranayama (or breath practice) can help to balance your nervous system, reduce stress, improve focus and aide in managing conditions such as insomnia or depression. 

Affirmations & Mantra

If you’ve got any type of goals and/or a vision for your life that you’re determined to see through to fruition, the perfect time to affirm your aspirations is during your workout. Your body is already sending out feel good hormones that pump you full of energy. Capitalize on that with a few words or phrases that will motivate and inspire you to believe in yourself and take action. Some of my favorites are:

  • I am strong
  • I am capable
  • I always stay true to my values
  • Love lives inside of me (from India Arie)
  • I got this!
  • I am already on the path to greatness.

So tell me… do you listen to music while working out? Have you ever tried one of the strategies I mentioned above? Tell me your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Nadia

PS – Want to learn more about how to live a happier, healthier life? Join our community on Facebook.

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Audition Tips, Get Hired as a Group Fitness Instructor, Group Fitness Audition

How to Choose the Right Studio to Work For

When people think about finding work, they start to worry whether or not they’ll measure up to the company’s standards. For fitness professionals, this can bring about a lot of stress during the first interview, the audition, and (if applicable) the initial trial period. But what I’ve found over the years is that not every company is worth working for. It’s worth putting in some extra time and effort to make sure you choose the right studio to work for. Read on to find out how.

Do Your Homework

Any time you consider applying for work at a new company, the best practice is to learn as much as you can before you submit any documentation. That includes:

  • Their mission statement
  • The types of clients they serve
  • The size of the gym/studio
  • How they treat their employees
  • How much they pay (if available)

Nowadays, most of this information can be found from a simple Google Search, by going to their website, or by checking out studio reviews on Foursquare or Yelp. You can also drop by the studio, check out the space, attend a free class, and chat with their employees. There’s nothing like actually BEING in the physical environment to give you a feel for a place.

Know Their Values (and Yours Too)

I’ve witnessed time and time again employers hiring people whose values don’t align with their own. Generally speaking, a great fitness company will be dedicated to

  • Helping clients/students achieve their goals
  • Great customer service
  • Employee growth and satisfaction
  • Cultivating a safe, positive, healthy environment for everyone

Specific companies will have additional values they seek to uphold. It’s important that you know what they are, so you can figure out if they align with your own. Note: If you don’t know what your values are, take some time to reflect on that. Scott Jefferey, founder of CEOSage has a great list of values and instructions for how to uncover yours on his blog.

Get Clear On the Employer’s Expectations

If you’re new to the fitness world or just becoming a group fitness instructor or personal trainer, you should know that instructor responsibilities vary from studio to studio. At some fitness centers, you are expected to show up only a few minutes before class and vacate the room promptly at the end to make way for the next session. However, others may require one or more of the following:

  • Arrive 10-15 minutes early to greet students and check them in for class.
  • Unlock the studio
  • Take out instructor supplies, such as mic headset, and audio cables
  • Attend to cleaning duties during the day or at the end of your shift
  • Shut down equipment, turn off the lights, and close the studio
  • Complete administrative tasks, such as making client/prospect calls, sending emails, completing client intake forms and measurements, etc.

Pro Tip: Don’t assume that employers have written out all responsibilities on the job listing. Always ask. Also, be candid about any tasks you see to be outside of the scope of the position. Although they may not always be flexible, it’s better to have the conversation up front than to have it come up later when your needs or the companies’ aren’t being met.

Inquire About Pay

Pay is a strange thing in the fitness industry. How much you make as a group fitness instructor or personal trainer varies from one place to the next depending the size of the center, their business model, the amount of experience you have, and where you live. Here are the questions to ask:

  • Does the studio pay hourly or by student?
  • What is the base or hourly pay?
  • Is there a different rate for administrative tasks?
  • If no one shows up, do you still get paid?

That last one is super important, especially if you’re working for a brand new studio or in a low traffic time slot. Make sure you know the details before you sign your contract.

Consider Your Commute

It is rare for group fitness instructors to gain a full time schedule (30 hours in the fitness field) at a single studio. Even the instructors that teach the most engaging classes, end up working at two or three. It’s easy to reason the commute time when you’re just starting out, but as you continue to add classes to your schedule, make sure you’re not spending a good chunk of it on the road. Here are the rules I’ve implemented for accepting classes:

  • 30 minutes max commute (20 minutes ideal)
  • Two classes back to back unless I’m subbing
  • Pay must be worth it. For example, if I’m making $30 for a 60 minute class, but spending 30 minutes getting there (and 30 minutes back), I’m actually only making $15/hour for your time… minus taxes. That’s a recipe for burnout, which we want to avoid at all costs!

These are the main things I consider when choosing a studio to work for. Questions? Comments? Additions? Thoughts? Leave a comment below!

Happy Job Hunting!

Nadia 🙂

PS – If you happen to be a blogger, in the fitness, nutrition, or wellness space, join my blogging group on Facebook!

Posted in Healthy Eating, Immunity, Nutrition, Recovery

Life of An Asthmatic: My Lung Power + Immunity Boosting Regimen

There have been many times as a fitness instructor that I I had to dial back my training and teaching because of asthma. Having been born with it, the fact that I’ll have good days and bad days is simply a reality for me. But I’ve learned through my own research and experience that there are practices I can put into place to give myself the best breathing capacity possible. I know I’m not alone. So if you suffer from allergies or you’re also living the life on an asthmatic, you may also benefit from my lung power + immunity boosting regimen:

Oils, Herbs, & Bulb Veggies

There are a pluthera of herbs and oils that are not only help open up the airways, but also naturally kill and stave off bacteria.

  1. Nettle Leaf – Stinging nettle is a natural antihistamine that contains vitamins that are beneficial to your body. It keeps allergens at bay and in my experience immediately opens the airways. They come in pill form as well as loose leaf, so you can brew your own tea.
  2. Coconut oil – Coconut oil is a natural anti-fungal. It is great for use in baking at low temperatures and can be added in place of butter to toast, veggies, or your coffee (bulletproof style!). You can also simply grab a spoon and eat a small chunk or use it as a pre-toothpaste mouthwash.
  3. Grapefruitseed extract – I use GFS extract almost as a cure-all. When I start to feel sick, I start taking doses around 2-3x a day. When I recommended it to my mom (who was skeptical at first), she called it a “miracle oil” that has helped in reducing her own ailments, as well as those of my nephews. Like coconut oil, GFS extract is an anti-fungal and can additionally be used for soaking produce.
  4. Bulb vegetables – Bulb veggies include some kitchen staples, such as onions, garlic, and fennel. To put it simply, not only do they make everything in your meal taste better, but they are also antiviral. Add raw onions and fresh garlic to your meals whenever possible. Fennel is filled with vitamins, is a decongestant, and can help with digestion.

Dietary Shifts

I’ve learned a lot about nutrition since becoming a group fitness instructor. Probably the biggest lesson has been the fact that everything you put in your body either helps you or harms you. Ouch. That was a harsh reality check. Most of us fill our bellies with things that are NOT quite good for us. If something you eat causes even mild bodily distress, such as bloating, breakouts, or sleepiness/lethargy, it’s probably doing some harm. Here are some common culprits:

  1. Breads, pastas, and grains
  2. Dairy
  3. Soy
  4. Candy and other added sugars

Pro tip: Make it a point to start noticing how you feel after you eat or even the morning after. That will tell you what you should reduce or cut out entirely.

Supplements

I recently consulted a nutrition coach who highly recommended adding supplements to my daily routine. Here’s what I take daily:

  • Greens Powder – I use Amazing Grass Green Superfood Alkalize and Detox
  • Vitamin C
  • Probiotics
  • Wheat-grass
  • Organic Matcha

These supplements give me an energy boost, aide in digestion, and provide my body with the nutrients it needs to nourish me from the inside out. Quick note: these exact supplements may not have the same effect on you as they did on me. If you are thinking about adding supplements to your diet, consult your dietitian or nutrition coach to see what the best options are.

Yes. I Really Follow This Regimen!

This may seem like a lot, but these are practices I now implement almost every day. Do you have a regimen like this that you follow? Share it in the comments below! And if you have any questions about what I shared here, let me know.

Nadia

Want more tips on how to improve your nutrition, fitness, and wellness? Join the community on Facebook!

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Body Fat Loss, Fitness Advice, Fitness While Traveling, Weight Loss

My Go-To Travel Checklist for Fitness Professionals & Enthusiasts

If you travel pretty frequently for trainings and industry conferences like I do, you know how being away from home can disrupt your regular routine. All of a sudden, you’re eating out instead of meal prepping, skipping workouts, and frazzled from a jam-packed schedule and very little rest. My solution is to plan ahead. Here is my go-to Travel checklist for fitness professionals & enthusiasts.

Tip #1: Book the Right Hotel

For the exercise inclined, a good hotel is made up of far more than it’s star rating and amenities. When I’m searching, I always look for the following options:

  1. A suite with a full kitchen. I got into the habit of booking suites while trying to maintain a food budget. Not only is it more affordable to buy your own groceries, but if you have as many dietary constraints as I do, it just makes sense to make it yourself.
  2. A fitness center. Sure, I CAN work out in my hotel room, but I’m more likely to get in the mindspace for a full body workout when I’m in front of dumbbell rack and cardio equipment.

Tip #2: Give Yourself a Travel Buffer

When I made the switch from pursuing that research life to a life of fitness, I made a promise to myself:

I will never compromise my health (mental, emotional, spiritual, or physical) for the sake of a man, money, or someone else’s comfort.

Nadia Santiago circa Fall 2011

Stress can take a huge toll on even seemingly healthy, happy individuals. We live in such a fast-paced society, that most of us are hard pressed to simply slow down long enough so that we can bring ourselves back to balance. The travel buffer is an easy way to take advantage of already scheduled time away from the normal grind. It’s simple really:

  1. Arrive a day early.
  2. Stay for an extra day (or at least an extra 6-12 hours).

“But that’s impossible!” you might think. Before you object, just know that this buffer doesn’t have to be all play. Research actually shows that a little bit of solitude and space in your schedule goes a long way in boosting productivity, creativity, and innovation. Bonus for my fellow introverts out there: You also get to mentally recharge.

Tip #3: Research Nearby Restaurants

There’s a good chance that you will have to eat out at least once, even if you booked that suite with a kitchen. The best way to navigate around this is to Google or Yelp local restaurants with healthy options.

  • Start by searching “Organic Restaurants.” More often than not, restaurants that are organic will have the MOST healthy options, along with options for allergies and food sensitivities. Find out why I (a self-proclaimed skeptic) made the hard switch to organic in my blog titled Top 5 Lessons Learned After Becoming A Nutrition Coach.
  • Browse their menus before you go. This practice has helped save me a TON of time and effort. The last thing you want to do is show up and find out you don’t want what they have to offer.
  • Ask if they deliver. I recently started doing this. To my pleasant surprise, I’m finding that most restaurants these days are available for delivery through services like DoorDash, GrubHub, and Postmates.

Tip #4: Pack Your Workout Gear

It’s only natural that you wouldn’t want to sweat in the formal wear you brought for work or training. Last thing you want is the excuse of improper clothing to keep you from getting a quick workout in. Pack the essentials:

  • Workout Top
  • Workout Tights, Shorts, or Sweats
  • Sports Bra
  • Sneakers

I personally bring one outfit for each day, two if I’m traveling for a fitness-oriented training. A good rule of thumb is to consider your weekly workout routine and do the math. If you’re staying for a week and work out three times a week, bring 3 outfits.

Tip #5: Bring Supplements with You

Last but not least, bring any regular supplements you take with you. This may include one or more of the following:

  • Vitamins
  • Greens powder
  • Probiotics
  • Protein/Meal Replacement Shakes

You don’t have to bring the entire bottle of pills or the giant jar of protein in your pantry. Just pack small portions in mason jars or a BPA free alternative. This aspect of your routine is important, so avoid skipping it if possible. Your body will feel better if it gets the nourishment it needs.

Which one of these tips was new to you? Also… Do you have your own travel checklist? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Nadia

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Body Fat Loss, Confidence, Weight Loss, What It's Like to Be a Group Fitness Instructor

Hard Truth: You’ll Never Feel Skinny

One thing I’ve realized as a fitness instructor is that bodies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Those who work out… specifically women who work out, want the perfect weight and proportions. But here’s the hard truth: You’ll never feel skinny. I tell you why I feel this way in today’s blog.

“I Just Want to Look Like You!”

As a group fitness instructor, people tend to idolize my shape, whether I’m carrying a few extra pounds (bingeing on pizza will do that to you) or I’ve slimmed to my skinniest (teaching high intensity classes will do that too!). I can’t tell you the amount of times a student has come up to me after class and said “I just want to look like you. Then I’ll be happy.” But here’s what I’ve actually noticed:

  1. Our bodies don’t work like most people expect them to. When it comes to exercise and dieting, you can’t predict where exactly you will lose the fat that you want. Sometimes it comes of the places that you want it in. Your breasts and butt first if you’re gifted like I am (note the hint of sarcasm in that one?), your tummy and thighs last. And PS – those bat wings may never go away!
  2. What you see in the mirror doesn’t fix deeper, internal issues. If you’re unhappy with your life, changing the way you look may make you feel better temporarily, but not for the long haul. I’ve seen women and men of all ages achieve their weight and body fat loss goals only to set new ones. Or they fall back into old habits, lose confidence, then struggle to make it all happen again.
The Lesson:  Most people are never happy with their bodies, whether they achieve their goal weight or not.

“Hard Bodies” Are Hardly Achievable

But why have we become this way? My take is that we’ve become so used to a steady stream of fitness media that most of us think there’s a RIGHT way for our bodies to look.

  • Toned yet curvy
  • Slim yet voluptuous
  • Strong yet glamorous
  • Sexy yet tasteful

Well here’s a little tidbit from someone who is not only a fitness professional, but also a content creator… those bodies are often over-worked, under-fed, oiled up, spray painted on, AND photo-shopped on top of all that. You can keep lifting and running toward that ideal, but unless you’re a body builder, chances are low that you will ever reach it. Don’t get discouraged, though. I’m here to offer up an alternative…

Stop Aiming for Skinny

I’m not trying to promote any specific physique agenda (even the “strong is the new skinny” campaign has it’s faults). What I’d like instead is for you to start thinking about what’s BEST for YOU.

  • Feeling healthy
  • Being happy
  • Finding a sense of fulfillment

Trying to force your body into a particular shape is like feeding yourself with empty promises.

Figure Out What Brings You Joy.

Are there things that you do once in a while or have done in the past that filled you up with feelings of excitement, peace, or gratitude? Find a way to incorporate at least two or three of those things into your life every week. It could be:

Chances are there are dozens of things like this in your life, but you haven’t taken the time to formally incorporate them into your routine. Make them habits so you can experience that joy regularly.

Take Care of Your Health.

There are a few things you need to stay healthy.

  • Eat nutritious food – Your diet doesn’t have to be perfect. Just taking a little bit of time out each day to learn about nutrition helps
  • Exercise regularly (not religiously) – engage in activities that are fun and make you stronger, even if it’s just nine or ten minutes.
  • Seek emotional/psychological stability – a regular practice of yoga or meditation can help get you started. Also, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Therapists are a hugely underutilized resource.

Healthy Habits, Healthy Life

Being skinny doesn’t equal being healthy. Nor does it guarantee that you will ever feel good about yourself. But treating your body, mind, and spirit right is a good step toward finding balance and fulfillment. So, to reiterate…

My advice: Stop trying to feel skinny.

Take it from someone who has been larger, smaller, and finally landed at feeling good. Skinny means nothing. And I’d rather put my time and effort into something worthwhile. Wouldn’t you?

Good Luck,

Nadia

PS – If you’re interested in learning more about building a routine of healthy habits, for a healthy, happy life, PN Coaching might be right for you. It’s a year-long deep dive into a sustainable lifestyle of healthy eating and wellness. Best of all, all lessons are online. Click here to learn more about this life changing program!

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, avoiding burnout

4 Tips to Maintain Your Energy & Avoid Fitness Instructor Burnout

I learned the hard way that it’s VERY easy to burn out as a group fitness instructor. When you’re teaching multiple classes a day, or teaching high intensity formats (like dance fitness) two or more days in a row, your body will naturally begin to fatigue. Pair that with the added work, auditioning for new studios, promoting your current classes, and other administrative tasks and, if you’re not careful, you’re brewing a recipe for knockout. That’s why today I’m sharing my top 4 tips to maintain your energy and avoid fitness instructor burnout. Make the following tweaks to your routine so that you can continue teaching engaging group classes AND stay energized.

Eat Strategically

If you want to maintain high energy levels, proper meal timing is essential. While many worry that an overabundance of grains can contribute to weight gain, carbohydrates act as your body’s biggest source of energy. Make use of this valuable resource.

  • Eat your starchier carbohydrates in small portions before your most intense sessions. You will feel stronger during your workout, and more capable of exerting maximum effort.
  • Make sure that this meal is 1.5 – 2 hrs before class. This allows for proper digestion. If you work out early in the morning, have your carb-dense meal the night before.
  • Make sure the rest of your diet is nutrient-dense, or filled with an array of veggies (mostly greens) and fruit. See my blog titled The Top 5 Lessons I Learned While Becoming a Nutrition Coach if you want more interesting tidbits about healthy eating.

Reduce Your Alcohol Intake

It’s probably no surprise that consuming alcohol can be detrimental to performance during workouts, since it is literally a toxin (but all in moderation, right?). Not only can it…

  • lower your body’s blood glucose level, stripping your energy, it also
  • acts as a diuretic, which can lead to dehydration.

While every body is different, a good rule of thumb is to avoid drinking the night before you teach or take a high intensity class. If you want to consistently bring your A-game, reduce your overall alcohol intake to less than 3 beverages per week or eliminate it entirely.

Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

Did you know that, if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated? Most people only begin drinking water when their body is begging for it. Unfortunately, you won’t magically become hydrated the moment you start sipping. You must drink consistently throughout the day in order to maintain proper hydration levels. What happens if you don’t? Dehydration can lead to:

  • Mood swings
  • Inability to Focus
  • Decreased Mobility and Flexibility
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Headaches and fevers
  • Lowered Immunity

Yikes! As you can see, for a group fitness instructor who needs to be in great shape at work, drinking water MUST be a priority. Aim for 50% of your body weight in ounces every day. This is especially important if you work out 3 or more times a week at moderate to intense levels. If you sweat heavily during workouts, drink even MORE. 

PS – This is the bottle MY nutrition coach wants me to use every day. It’s 64 ounces!

Plan Recovery Days

When you exercise, to put it simply… your muscles tear and your body becomes inflamed. That’s why you feel sore after a tough workout. It’s a natural part of the process of getting fit. However, your health suffers if you keep your body in that state for too long. If you often feel fatigued or lethargic after a week or two of intense workouts, you may be over-training. Try this:

  • Take 1-2 days off from strenuous activity every week.
  • If you must to do something, active recovery is a great option. For example, go for a walk, get a massage, or take a gentle yoga class.
  • Get plenty of SLEEP, which… spoiler alert… I believe is The Most Important Habit for Group Fitness Intructors

Remember: Your Body Is A Precious Asset

One thing that I have learned in nearly a decade of teaching and auditioning for group fitness classes is that my body is a precious asset in my career. It is the main piece of equipment I use to lead my students. If I want to enjoy what I do on a daily basis and excel as a fitness professional, I have to make my health a priority. If you agree, start adding the tips I mentioned above into your routine, so you can live a happier, healthier life.

🙂

Good luck 

Nadia

Posted in Black People Doing Yoga, Uncategorized

Wanted: Black Identified Yoga & Fitness Enthusiasts

As a fitness content creator, I have been disappointed by the lack of available stock photos of black people working out and doing yoga. The wild popularity of the movie Black Panther and now all of the new shows and movies being released with black main characters displays the absolute importance of being represented in the media you consume. Hence, the Black People Doing Yoga project!

Join the Black People Doing Yoga Project

I’m looking for 15-20 women and men of African ancestry to volunteer for:

  • a 30 minute practice
  • a 20-30 minute photoshoot and
  • a 15-20 minute interview about your thoughts on yoga as a black/afrolatinx individual

In order to participate in LIVE practices and photoshoots, you must live in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. I also frequently visit Massachusetts/New Hampshire during the holidays and vacations, so folks in those areas can schedule something with me in advance. If you’re in one of these areas and would like to participate, please email me at letscreatecontent@nadiasantiago.com with the subject line “Black People Doing Yoga.”

Be Part of Our Instagram Movement

If you’re not in one of the areas mentioned above, we still want you to participate! Send your photos with your stories to the email address listed above or tag @blackpeopledoingyoga for a repost.

Thank you in advance for your help with this project. Please feel free to download and share this photo along with this message anywhere you can!

@blackpeopledoinyoga

Much Love,

Nadia

Posted in Body Fat Loss, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Weight Loss

Top 5 Lessons Learned While Becoming a Nutrition Coach

Many of us like to think that we know what healthy eating looks like, but after seven years as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer, I know the truth. Most people are NEVER taught how to appropriately feed their bodies to maintain and improve their health. Shoot… I didn’t learn the correct way to eat until AFTER I became a nutrition coach. That’s today I’m sharing the Top 5 Lessons I Learned While Becoming a Nutrition Coach.

Choose Your Foods Wisely

For many years, the weight loss community had us duped into believing that the most important element in any diet was HOW MUCH you were eating. Here’s the truth:

It's NOT about how much you eat, it's about WHAT you eat.

Put the right kinds of foods on your plate, and you often don’t even have to think about how much you’re having. What are the right kinds of foods?

  • LOADS of greens and other nutrient-dense veggies
  • Low sugar, high-antioxidant fruit
  • Balanced portions of healthy fat and high quality protein sources
  • Good quality fiber
  • Gut enhancing probiotics
  • Spices, which contain a variety of health-enhancing properties
  • Water, water, and more water!

Healthy Foods Are Not Always Healthy for You

Would you risk your life for a cheaper meal? If non-organic fruit and veggies are a part of your diet, you’re taking a gamble on your health. Let me explain. Non-organic produce contains pesticides, some of which are known to be carcinogenic to humans. While occasional exposure may not adversely affect you, regular consumption will increase the levels at which they remain in your body.

Skeptical about Organic Versus Non?

I get it. I was too… That is, until I recently sought guidance from Holistic Nutrition & Health Coach, Danielle Kutchuk from Samadhi Yoga Gruha. Without getting deep into the details, I needed help with a health issue that, if left untreated, could lead a much scarier diagnosis. Here’s how she explained the bottom line to me: Because pesticides are toxic, your body is constantly fighting them off. That leaves your immune system with less resources to fight off other threats, such as viruses that may turn into something much worst (i.e. cancer).

That certainly got my attention. I made the switch and will never go back.

Lifestyle Factors Affect Digestion

I can write entire blogs on the different lifestyle factors that effect the way your body processes food. But for now, I’ll simply list them:

  • Inadequate Sleep
  • Exposure to Stress
  • Working Too Much
  • Being Overweight
  • Lack of Physical Activity
  • A Diet Devoid of Vitamins & Nutrients
  • Poor Posture

[Was that last one a shock for you too? Me too!]

Timing Matters

When you eat throughout the day and what you have at any given time is determined by a few simple facts.

  • Our metabolisms are generally higher in the middle of the day, around lunchtime.
  • Drinking water and taking probiotics 15-30 minutes before a meal prepares your body to properly digest the food you eat.
  • Splitting your meals and snacks apart by approximately 3.5 to 4.5 hours allows your body time to process and begin eliminating food (not to mention burn fat) before you take in anything new.

There are more special tidbits that I’ll save for future blogs, but for now, just starting with these three can be a game changer.

“Boring” Is a Matter of Perspective

As a lifelong foodie, I can admit that healthy eating does not always seem fun. In fact, it can feel quite boring when you’re faced with saying goodbye to your go-to carbolicious favorites (i.e. pizza, pastries, etc.). I can also say from experience that at first, it’s super difficult. I’ve even gone so far as to ask myself “What else is there?” Not to undercut my clients’ all time fav: “I gotta live!” But I actually tend to become more creative when I’m on an eating plan. I tend to:

  • Scour the web for new recipes I can alter to fit my needs
  • Search diligently for restaurants in my area that offer options for me
  • Prep more meals at home, which saves me more money and time in the long run

But here’s the biggest takeaway, coming from somebody who has been a lifelong binge eater and candy lover:

No item of food is worth compromising my health over.

That lesson has come back to me time and time again. I used to experience lethargy even after sleeping 9-10 hours a night and mood swings that left me anxious one minute and supremely sad the next. After committing to a healthier way of eating, I feel more energetic, rested, and grounded than I ever have before. The temporary discomfort was worth the 10x in my daily levels of happiness. What is YOUR happiness worth? Click here if you’re interested in learning how to implement changes in your diet and lifestyle, so you can be healthier and happier.

Did any of what I wrote here surprise you? Let me know in the comments below! And remember to share this blog with your loved ones and friends.

Much Love,

Nadia

Posted in Free Workouts, Full Body Workouts, Strength Training, Workouts

9 Minute Legs and Arms Workout

Need a simple workout you can complete in under 10 minutes? Check out the first video in my 15 Full Body Workouts series (PDF included!)

9 Minute Workout Video

All you’ll need for this workout is a set of dumbbells. If you don’t have any, a pair of water bottles will work too! Simply hit the play button and follow along.

Want Results? Change Your Eating Habits Too.

If you’re looking to feel healthier, gain strength, and/or lose weight, make sure to pair your workouts with healthy eating habits. Even after I became an instructor, I struggled to find the best way to keep myself energized enough to teach without overdoing it on foods that didn’t have much nutritional value (i.e. pizza, rice and beans, pasta, you know, all the stuff we like…).

That changed when I found Precision Nutrition. I gained the knowledge I needed to buy foods that were better for me and cool meals for myself and my family that are both nutritious AND taste good. If you’re looking to improve your eating habits and love to learn like I do, Precision Nutrition may be the solution for you. Click here to learn more.

Nadia

PS – Did you like this workout? Leave a comment and SHARE this blog. Want access to more workouts you can do from home? Click here to join the Facebook Community! Fitness, nutrition, and wellness bloggers/vloggers, join my bloggers’ group.