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

Simple Berry Breakfast for Gut Health: A Not-So-Guilty Pleasure

The people who know me best know what I’m like when it comes to breakfast. I like my go-to’s, which include eggs, gluten free toast, and chicken sausage. But when my nutrition coach asked me to lighten up on the grains and boost my morning fiber intake, I accepted the challenge. That’s how I came up with my simple berry breakfast for gut health: a not so guilty pleasure.

Ingredients & Directions

You’re gonna love this one, because it only requires 4 ingredients and it serves two!

  • 2 Cups Organic Mixed Berries
  • 1/4 Cup Organic cashews and walnuts (or nuts of choice)
  • 2 TBSP Organic Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Non-Dairy, No Sugar Added Yogurt

Place it all into a bowl, stir it up, then enjoy!

Note: I had mine alongside eggs and chicken sausage 😉 What will you have YOURS with?

Eat up <3

Nadia

Advertisements
Posted in Body Fat Loss, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Personal Growth, Weight Loss

Online Nutrition Challenge: Coming Soon!

How would you like to be given all of the tools that you need to create a healthy, happy lifestyle for you and your family/loved ones?

We say it every year… that this is the year we’re going finally start exercising and eating right. In 2020, don’t just SAY it. DO it with the…

#NutritionGoals! 90 Day Challenge

Think of the #NutritionGoals! Challenge as a 3 month adventure into creating a lifestyle that will help you feel motivated, energized, and happier than ever! Throughout this journey together, we’ll learn habits and skills that will:

  • Shift your mindset
  • Nourish your body with nutritious and great tasting food,
  • Transform your physical body.

More Than Just Weight Loss

In contrast to a typical diet programs, which require a ton of restriction and tend to be short-lived, in this challenge, you will learn to master small, digestible tasks one at a time so that each habit becomes an integral part of your daily routine. Bonus: This is an opportunity to create lasting change for yourself and anyone in your life that relies on you for guidance and support (kids, friends, your spouse, and/or family)!!!

More Details to Come!

I’ll be releasing more information on this exciting program in the upcoming weeks. If you want to stay up to date with this and other news, make sure to follow me on instagram @nslifeinfitness.

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 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