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Spice Up Your Routine: Jump Rope!

Jump rope is one easy thing everyone can add to their fitness routine today to up their game. 

Why should I start jumping rope? 

You don’t have to be a boxer to receive the great benefits of jump rope. It is good for any body type – strong and burly or lean and mean. It is easy to understand and cheap to get all the equipment, but also can be made much more complicated by incorporating new moves and experimenting. It’s easy to learn, and hard to master. You can do it when it is hard to get out of bed or when you are ready to get all fancy and try new things – it will meet you wherever your personality and mood is at. It helps create a toolbox of skills that are useful for all types of fitness – tempo, mental focus, endurance, and cardio. Anyone can start, receive what they put into it, and incorporate it into any of your fitness goals.

There is a misconception that jumping rope is bad for your knees. However, when you think of other cardio exercises (for example running) jump rope is actually relatively good for those with injuries. Jump rope takes a significant amount of core strength – if you aren’t able to land lightly and protect yourself, start by building up some core strength and then come back. Also a good pair of shoes and a forgiving ground help! It should be a low impact, medium intensity activity – which is great for building the heart and lean muscle mass. 

It’s also not a time-intensive activity – spend 15 to 20 mins jump roping and you will already feel like you have gotten a good workout in. Follow up with some strength training and you’ll be done for the day in 40 mins. 

How do I get started? 

The first step is getting yourself a rope (well duh), but not all ropes are created equal. Your first jump rope should be relatively light and high quality. It is one you feel comfortable with and can help build your confidence. If it’s too difficult right at the beginning, you will give up. Once you feel relatively confident, next will be adding a heavy rope to your set. Drastically changing the weight of the rope will require you to stay focused and on your toes – the best rope is the one you are not using, the one that takes you out of our comfort zone. Here’s a link to one on Amazon to get you started: 

Start with just 4 to 8 minutes adding on to your normal fitness routine. Start out easy and keep it fun! Use it as a time to tune out everything else and just tune into yourself. Make sure to tie your shoes and land lightly on your feet.

Where can I incorporate jump rope into my fitness routine and goals? 

There are many different ways you can bring jump rope into your routine. Using it for active recovery, either at the beginning or end of a workout, is great! It allows you to minimize your physical effort and control our heart rate while also still actively engaging your mind. It can be used as a warm-up – spend 5 minutes getting in the zone for your workout and signaling to your muscles it’s time to work! 

Once you are at a level where you can comfortably jump rope for about 5 minutes a great way to up your game is to jump rope with others! The action and motion of those around you force you to focus more on your own timing. You can also go for challenges and be more creative with your routine. 

Jump rope is an energy builder, not taker – use it to help you focus and be engaged in all the other goals you have for both your physical and mental fitness. So what do you have to lose? 

Dryft also offers private jump rope classes – for more information, please email [email protected]

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Why to Reconsider Skipping that Post-Workout Meal

As a nutritionist and a coach of competitive runners and cyclists, I’ve seen it all when it comes to different approaches to sports nutrition. But on top of that, I’ve LIVED it all. There have been many phases in my life — and particularly throughout my competitive running career — that shaped and informed my perspective on the role of food in training. 

Ultimately, I’ve learned what’s truly backed by science, not just because of my nutrition education, but also through making mistakes myself. And I’ve watched my athletes and clients make them too — of course, not without me doing my BEST to drill the science into their heads! That’s the other thing I’ve learned. Sometimes people just have to learn the hard way before they will try something new.

Well, here’s hoping that if you haven’t yet made too many nutritional mistakes, maybe this post will help you avoid them! And hey, if you read this and realize “OMG, that’s ME! She’s talking about ME”, then don’t fret — there is so much you can do to support your body and get back to a mentally and physically healthy place with food and exercise. 

Before we get too specific, and if you only take one thing from this whole post, it is that you should eat food after you work out. This is a prime example of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Just get in some food. Now, every person reading this post is going to have a different body and different needs, so we will keep it general here. If you want to dial in your unique nutritional needs, I can’t fine-tune that in a blog post 🙂

Key things to know:

  • The harder (or longer) you are working out, the more you are demanding from your body, and the more energy you need to provide it. 
  • Remember: exercise is a stressor. If you approach it with the right mindset, and fuel it appropriately, you are giving your body the tools it needs to recover and adapt from that stress, thereby gaining fitness/endurance/strength/health (whatever it is that you’re after!). Without proper fuel, that stress is no good — you’ll be effectively wasting your efforts, and in time putting your body in a chronic state of stress. Not good. Please don’t!
  • Carbohydrates and protein are what you should focus on with post-workout nutrition. Combined, they serve to restock lost glycogen in your muscles. Your muscles will be highly receptive to carbohydrates within 30-60 minutes after exercise. This is your opportunity to deliver nutrients directly to your muscles. 

If your workout isn’t particularly hard or long, then don’t overthink it. Just have your next regular meal within an hour or so. But when you’ve really sweated and pushed yourself, that’s when you need to be more timely and specific about replenishing what you’ve lost. There are plenty of opinions on this, but women tend to need fuel on the earlier side of that 30-60 minute window.

Finally, don’t skimp on those carbs. They’ve been demonized lately, much to the dismay of this coach who likes to see her athletes perform well in their races, feel good in LIFE, prevent injury, support their metabolism, and avoid hormonal or digestive issues. I’m here to tell you that carbs are your best friend when it comes to exercise. They are your body’s preferred source of fuel, and they go hand in hand with protein to help you recover faster, reap the benefits from your workout, and perform better. Not to mention, you’ll feel better the rest of the day (for example, feeling a little bonky or having crazy cravings that could have been avoided if you just ate some dang food earlier!).

So, what foods are good for recovery?

Here are some of my favorite post-workout carbs:

  • Roasted starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, white potatoes, winter squash, and parsnips 
  • Oatmeal (if you’re a smoothie eater, throw in a big handful of oats into your smoothie)
  • Rice (white or brown, whatever you prefer!)
  • Pasta (if you eat gluten-free, go for a rice-based pasta. I see a lot of folks eating the bean-based pastas, and that’s not quite as beneficial for this purpose)
  • Toast! Duh. Always toast.

Here are some of my favorite post-workout proteins:

  • Eggs! You had to know I’d say that. Not only are they delicious and nutrient-dense (hello Vitamins A, D, B12 & selenium, iodine, biotin, etc), but they are FAST and EASY. Two things I love after a workout. These go great with toast, rice, or roasted potatoes.
  • Yogurt (goes great with oatmeal)
  • A juicy burger. Grass-fed beef or turkey, both are delicious!
  • Salmon. I loooove salmon. Enough said.
  • Sardines! Powerhouse nutrient-packed food that doesn’t get enough credit. I make mine like a tuna salad and serve on toast.
  • Protein powders are good, but I’ll always suggest real food where possible! Whey protein (if you tolerate dairy) has been shown most effective for recovery.

Like I said earlier — if you take one thing away from this, I hope it’s just that you give your body some love and respect for all it does for you in your workouts — whether that’s a Dryft class, a bike ride, a walk with your dog, or a long run. If it wasn’t clear, that love & respect = food in this equation 🙂

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How to Become Less Distracted

Lane Kennedy, our resident teacher, guide and facilitator in mediation, relates to experiencing a colleague’s state of distraction. This colleague was complaining about the fact that lately, she doesn’t seem to be able to get as much work done as she used to, she nagged about all the distractions in her life.

The modern world is filled with technology that has made our lives so much easier, but has it? We can keep in touch with relatives from all over the world or use Google to find the answer to any question that pops into our head (I miss my encyclopaedias!). We no longer have to wonder where our loved ones are when they’re not standing by a landline because we can send them na instant text message (or in some cases, track their phones). 

Having so much information at our fingertips isn’t always such a good thing. Over time our brains are becoming more and more fragmented, finding it harder to concentrate on one task at a time and making distraction inevitable. Studies have shown that young adults tend to spend almost a third of their day in contact with their phone – almost as much time as we should be sleeping at night. Think about that, eight hours with their phone, it’s not natural. When I was growing up I wasn’t even shoved in front of a TV for more than two hours!

So what is mindfulness and how do we utilize it to tune out the distractions? Read Lane’s full piece here!

 

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Steps for Successful Recovery

Are you feelin’ it after your Dryft workouts?  Awesome!  As a Dryft instructor, I want you to wrap up class feeling empowered, challenged, anywhere from glistening to dripping in sweat, and renewed.  The goal is to feel good but not in pain….muscle soreness is to be expected, but I don’t want you to hurt.  Nobody got time for that!  

Proper recovery post-work is important, and incorporating these 4 steps into your routine will help you avoid injuries, feel strong, rested, and able to continue working towards your goals:

  1. Rest

    It can seem counterintuitive to take time off from your workouts, however, it’s crucial!  Rest days are just as important as your workout days.  Each week, give your body 1-2 full days off from exercise (walking, stretching, and gentle yoga are ok) so that your muscles and joints can recover, rebuild, and come back even better for your next training day.

    It can be surprisingly challenging to take a day off from exercise because when you feel good and have the time, you figure you may as well just get your sweat on, right?  Trust me though, your recovery day is actually part of your training, and you’re giving your body what it deserves with TLC.

  2. Stretch

    It’s easy to finish up a class and want to get onto the remainder of your day, but you MUST make time to stretch!  Even just 5 dedicated minutes of stretching will help to cool down, avoid unnecessary soreness, tightness, and pain.

    A useful tool to facilitate stretching and recovery is a foam roller.  They’re inexpensive and allow you to roll out cramps, fatigued muscles, and stretch…they’re even nice to lie on while meditating!  

  3. Low Impact Workouts

    I love to jump in workout classes. But as much as I dig trying to be like Mike, I understand that I can’t always be thrashing my body with high impact strength and cardio classes.  Regenerative workouts like mobility, yoga, Pilates, and swimming are great ways to complement the more intense other workouts I do throughout the week – plus my body AND mind love it.  

    I try to incorporate at least 1-2 low impact workouts into my weekly routine. The result is that I still feel challenged, but notice that I’m stronger, more flexible, energetic, and in no pain. A win all around!

  4. Fuel 

    What you put into your body is the cornerstone of wellness!  As a certified nutritionist, I always like to say, “bodies are built in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym.”  Some tips on what to eat and drink are:

                      • WATER!  Make sure you’re staying hydrated.  In fact, drink up now!  Cheers.

                     • PROTEIN!  Try a plant-based clean protein powder if you’re in a hurry, and if you can, try to eat protein-rich foods like beans, tofu, fish, or lean animal proteins.  

                      • CARBS!  Choose whole grain, high quality, complex carbohydrates like 100% whole wheat bread, quinoa, nuts, and farro.  Yum!

                     • TURMERIC!  This magical orange stuff is really powerful.  Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that assist in the healing of your body and can help prevent diseases.  Sprinkle this good stuff on your veggies, proteins, grain bowls, toast, and even into your smoothies!  The taste is mild despite the orange color, so don’t be put off by the way it looks 🙂

If you’re like me, you want to live a long, adventurous life of feeling good and able to exercise through old age.  So let’s make a pact to do that – show our bodies that we care for them by prioritizing recovery.  It’s so worth it.