2018 Taranis Nutrition and Lifestyle Challenge

Join us!

The TNLC is a challenge over the course of 6 weeks. We will provide you with a weekly challenge in the area’s of nutrition and lifestyle designed to honour our Mission Statement:

“To provide an environment of education and support for all Taranis Athletes with the intention of guiding them to make educated, conscious choices for a future of sustainable nutrition and lifestyle choices.”

Start date: January 8
End Date: February 18

The goal for participants is to implement these challenges each week for the entire 6 week experience.

Your TNLC Leadership group is passionate about bringing health and wellness education and awareness to our community of athletes at Taranis. We will be in this with you for the 6 weeks. We will share our own experiences and do our best to give you the support you need. It won’t always be easy, but like a good day at the box, it will be satisfying to the soul. TNLC side effects include: feelings of empowerment, increased physical performance, and a growing fixation with mirrors.

Vanessa Sullivan: Co-owner of Taranis Athletics.
Dr. Marie-Ève Gagné: Owner of ReNu Wellness and WoD Nutrition
Reed MacKenzie: Co-owner of Taranis Athletics and Victoria City Firefighter

 

 

Register Now!

Healthy Habit #5

Here is our last Healthy Habit for you leading into our Nutrition and Lifestyle Challenge launch this Saturday!

Most people are ready to get going and make some major change at this point with holidays wrapped up for another year and dreams of warm summer days dancing in your heads while getting through this cold snap! Dr. Gagné has written this excellent information packed post for you so please read, learn, commit and shift your thinking to “I can. I will. I am.”  

 

FOCUS Avoid added sugars or sweeteners

AKA: Don’t put splenda in your coffee or honey in your smoothie!

GOAL/FOCUS

  • Learn to not rely on added sugars or artificial sweeteners for taste and recalibrate your palate to the taste of real foods
  • Focus on whole foods for added sweetness or flavour: e.g., 1/2 banana in smoothie, coconut milk in coffee

POSSIBLE REALITY

Many people consume an astounding amount of sugar on a daily basis, not aware of the fluctuations in insulin that it causes, which leads to energy roller coasters, mood swings, and weight gain.  Can your afternoon low, morning grogginess, or “love handles” be a consequence of too much sugar in your diet?

WHY

What is insulin anyways and why is it important to stabilize it?  Insulin is like the air conditioner in the blood.  This hormone, secreted by the pancreas when carbohydrates (“carbs”) are consumed (think vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, legumes, and sugars like maple syrup and honey), is responsible of many basics functions, including maintaining your blood sugar level, balancing the fat-burning and carb-burning metabolisms, and controlling hunger.  Once you ingest carbs, insulin is secreted in the blood to mobilize the sugar into storage, in the liver and in the muscles as glycogen, which is your body storage of energy.  Once needed, glycogen is broken down to produce ATP, your cells’ fuel!

When you eat a lot of carbs during the day, insulin is constantly secreted in the blood to reduce the blood sugar level.  Once the maximum amount of glucose (sugar in the blood) that can be stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles is exceeded, there is a problem!?!  The liver then converts the excess of glucose into fatty acids (read fats)!  When the system is regulated to burn sugar due to the excessive consumption of carbs, the metabolism does not use your fat storage as an energy source, but rather accumulates more fat in your cells while being too busy burning that excess sugar!

Hence, to prevent that vicious cycle that leads up to gaining fat mass and, ultimately, insulin resistance, you need to control your carb intake and the type of carbs you eat.  The Nutrition Challenge focus’ on this nutritional aspect by eliminating all sugar intake, as well as artificial sweeteners.  You therefore need to get your required amount of carbohydrates from whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, that contain fibre, which slows the release of insulin into the blood, as well as being packed with essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals!

HOW

Sugar is very addictive to the brain, and some studies have even shown that it is more addictive than cocaine!?  We recommend going “cold turkey” on this one!  Cut the sugar out now!  But what about artificial sweeteners Dr. Gagné?  Well even worse.  Not only did it fail at solving the American obesity epidemic since their insertion in the food industry in the 1980s, it is now considered to cause “diabetes of the brain” – by that I mean they increase the chance of developing neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis!?

The rules are simple:

  • No simple sugars like sucrose, fructose, dextrose
  • No natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, agave nectar
  • No artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, or acesulfame potassium

You might want to look at:

  • Sugar alcohols, for example xylitol, maltitol, sorbitol or erythritol: sugar alcohols are naturally occurring in fermented fruits and don’t raise insulin levels and might be beneficial for your good intestinal bacteria
  • Stevia: stevia is extracted from plant leaves and does not have any impact of insulin and it is about 300 times sweeter than table sugar
  • Fruit purees: make applesauce, berries compote, and dates paste to use in recipes as a replacement for sugar

Things to consider:

  • Check your workouts supplements!  For natural supplement brands, I suggest looking, for example, into Paleoethics or PVL essentials
  • Check your energy/protein bars!  For good protein bars brands, I suggest looking into, for example, Elevate Me or Quest Nutrition (the stevia-sweetened ones, not the ones with sucralose)

 

TRACKING

Looks at food labels and search for added sugars!  It takes some practise to get used to spot these easily!

RECAP

FOCUS/GOAL: Avoid simple sugars, and natural and artificial sweeteners

BONUS CHALLENGE: Avoid fruit and vegetables juices (devoid of fibre), and dried fruits (really just simple sugars!)

 

Good luck!! As always, if you have questions, please ask and get some answers,

Sully and Marie-Éve

Vanessa Sullivan, affectionately know as Sully, is a Coach and Owner at Taranis Athletics. She is passionate about helping people live healthier lives. “It’s not enough to get by, we should have the opportunity to thrive.”  You can read more about her here

Dr. Marie-Éve Gagné is a physicist who has taken her inquisitive mind into the world of nutrition. At first it was a life changing need for her own health and now she wants to share this knowledge with everyone to help improve lives. You can visit her site and find out more about her back ground and mission here

Healthy Habit #4

Happy 2017!

 

FOCUS N.E.P.A. or N.E.A.T.

Non Exercise Physical Activity or Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis

AKA: What do you do for movement outside of your gym or sport time.

 

GOAL/FOCUS is either A or B

  • A. Track Steps: Minimum 7500 – 10,000. Your number for this goal really depends on your current baseline and job activity. Will discuss further below.
  • B. Minimum 40 mins of NEPA added into your daily routine.

 

Possible reality

Many people work a desk job and don’t have the same opportunity to get large volume of NEPA in their daily life. We have given you the range in steps, 7500 – 10,000 to take this into consideration with the overall goal of time conditioning yourself to have a daily minimum of 10,000 steps. Start slowly by looking for small areas to get extra steps in. See the strategies below.

 

WHY

Working out 5 x a week for 1 hour, working a desk job, going home to take care of home chores, kids, pets etc followed by an evening in front of the TV is actually considered a sedentary lifestyle. You might say, “but I train at your gym 5 days a week Sully, I’m active!”. Yes you do and I am thankful you choose Taranis to get after building your strength, CRCV and General Physical Preparedness but we need more non exercise activity in our lives for balance and the overall picture of wellness.

Think about this equation for calorie burning: BMR calories + Calories spent digesting food +  WORK OUT Calories + NEPA = total calories used in the day. Science tells us that investing more time in non exercise activities (read low stress) adds to the benefits of the time we spend in exercise specific activities. So where is the easiest place to get that? Walking. And now you understand why we have a walking goal.

Walking is a great way to combat the hours we spend sitting at desks, on couches and in cars. You know how sitting in chairs has been tagged as the new smoking regarding our health. Low back pain, tight hip flexors, poor neck posture, poor breathing patterns… these all lead to chronic unhealthy movement patterns and then possible injury or chronic pain.

Walking is great for your state of mind and thus it helps lower your stress and cortisol.

 

HOW

Places you can add walking into your life are all around you. A bit of effort needs to be made but once the habit is formed, you will wonder how you ever thought it would be a hard thing to add to your routine.

  • Park further from the office or store entrance.
  • Pick a location to eat your lunch away from your desk
  • Take the stairs instead of elevators and escalators
  • Book walking meetings or coffee dates. I know people in the corporate world that use this strategy for meetings and i personally ask friends to go for a walk these days.
  • Fill up your water bottle from the neighbour’s house… hahah just kidding! But perhaps use a fountain at work that is further away or make a lap around the office 3 times before you fill the bottle?
  • Walking dogs and taking kids to the park are the norm for some people but if you don’t have either of these as a reason, borrow someone’s! Or just go for a walk yourself without any destination in mind.

You will be amazed at how quickly your steps increase when you look for these moments to increase them.

Here’s an example for you: In September I committed to walking to and from my dance class as a way to increase my NEPA. My studio is downtown so I park around the Delta and walk 15 mins each way. This gives me an extra 4000 steps in my day! Based on my heart rate while walking (I’m not going slow) my Fitbit tells me I’m burning an extra 225 cals just by doing that. It gives me mental time to let go of my work day, review my dance steps and then on the way home I get to walk and enjoy all the beautiful endorphins that are rolling from the 60 mins of flamenco stomping and clapping (additional 350 cal burn).

TRACKING

Fitness tracker

Smart Phone. Most phones these days have step counters built in. Of course you might not have your phone with you non stop. Perhaps for the next week see if you can make it happen just to have a look at the reality of your steps.

No tracking device? That’s ok, we have included the 40min goal for you! Break this down any way you like but the accumulated total should get you hitting a target. 

RECAP

FOCUS/GOAL: 7500- 10,000 steps per day as a minimum OR 40mins of NEPA in your day.

BONUS CHALLENGE: Surpass 10,000 steps per day! 

Good luck!! As always, if you have questions, please ask and get some answers,

Sully and Marie-Éve

Vanessa Sullivan, affectionately know as Sully, is a Coach and Owner at Taranis Athletics. She is passionate about helping people live healthier lives. “It’s not enough to get by, we should have the opportunity to thrive.”  You can read more about her here

Dr. Marie-Éve Gagné is a physicist who has taken her inquisitive mind into the world of nutrition. At first it was a life changing need for her own health and now she wants to share this knowledge with everyone to help improve lives. You can visit her site and find out more about her back ground and mission here

Healthy Habit #3

For those that are just joining us on the healthy habit chalenges, please feel free to jump in on any week. We do encourage you to go back to the previous Healthy Habits and bring them into your life. Our objective is to get people building some habits that will contrbute to over all wellness and help with goals during the Nutrition Challenge we will be running mid January. 

Dr. Gagné and I sat down for a coffee and a chat last week and recorded a video so we could release this healthy habit to you on Boxing Day, yet somehow I deleted to video and so here we are, two days late, no video but charging ahead anyway!

The focus to add to your health habits is a sleep goal: 8 hrs per night.

We know, this one is hard for most people because you often feel like you are doing just fine on you 5-6hrs a night or you think you simply don’t have time to get more sleep in. Are you still trying to fit into those jeans you bought on sale as motivation? Are you battling a building list of injuries, being under the weather and general lack of thriving? Would you actually rather watch Netflix than “watch Netflix”? Are you just a clumsy person? You might just need more sleep!

Play along with us and strive for 8hrs of sleep a night, you might love the results!

Possible Reality

You might currently only be sleeping 6 hrs a night or less and find the 8hr challenge daunting. Start by adding 30mins over the span of a week or two building up to an 8hr sleep. Simply adding 3mins a night will get you there and feel less daunting. Naps can count towards the cumulative time as well if this is a struggle for you but make the long term life goal to get the 8hrs in one shot.

Let us start with WHY

Research shows that less than 8 hrs of sleep per night(or day of you work shifts) will have a negative impact on the following:

  • Decision making
  • Mood
  • Coordination
  • Recovery Process
  • Weight
  • Sex Drive
  • Our Children’s sleep habits

Dr. Gagné had a wonderfully scientifically explanation for you (the video was awesome!) but my layman’s language translates it very simply for you like this:  Sleep deprivation impacts your hormone balance and this leads to the body having to borrow from a “line of credit” and if you are consistently short changing your sleep, you are driving yourself deeper into debt. Down the road this leads to bankruptcy in the body. Bankruptcy takes a long time to recover from people!

Here’s HOW to create a healthy sleep environment:

Light, get rid of it!

Your room should have the ability to be total darkness when sleeping. Invest in blackout blinds. Those little lights on the TV, smoke detector, alarm clock, charging cell phone, computer or other electronics have blue light that disrupts your melatonin production.  Take the devices out of the bedroom and cover up the nonnegotiable ones with tape, this will help your sleep quality and your love life!

BONUS CHALLENGE: stop all screen time 60mins before bed

Stay Cool

Keeping the temperature cool but comfortable in your room will help you stay asleep. Use blankets that keep you warm but not hot. It might feel chilly getting into bed but with the right blankets you will warm up soon enough and stay comfortable all night.

Set a bedtime to serve 8hrs of sleeping time!

Something that Dr. Gagné hears often is that parents get the kids off to bed and they end up staying up past what they intend because it’s “me” time and that usually consists of getting ready for the next day (laundry, kitchen tidy, making lunches etc) followed by sitting down to watch some TV and getting caught in the loop of repeat episodes. I don’t even have a kid at home anymore and I get caught in this trap! Use your phone or your fitness tracker to set a bed time reminder and commit to honoring it. Don’t treat it like the alarm clock and hit snooze repeatedly. Have your bedtime reminder pop up 60 mins before bed. Turn off the TV/computer/social media scrolling, get ready for bed and then read a book, meditate, do breathing exercises, listen to relaxing music or do a body scan. With the number of apps on the market these days it’s easy to find one that works best for you.

Trouble shooting tools

Phone in the bedroom – use airplane mode or I personally use Do Not Disturb and Night Shift(blue light adjustment) to customise my phone. I don’t have a landline and want my phone in my bedroom incase I get an emergency phone call regarding family or the gym. I also use my phone as my alarm clock.  So using these features I can silence all alerts after 9:30pm except phone calls. I leave all calls on because if you’re calling me past 10pm I’m assuming it’s an emergency. You can have it specifically filter for certain contacts or enable the repeated calls, a second call from the same within 3 mins will not be silenced. Anyone sending emails or texts past then will not get a reply until the next day and that’s ok.

Waking with a racing mind

Start with slow breathing and meditation. Having your body scan app ready to go with headphones is an option(make sure your phone is set up with Do Not Disturb and Night Shift for minimal disruption.

But I NEED to watch TV to fall asleep!

No you don’t. You like to watch TV to fall asleep. Stop it. Do any of the previously mentioned activities or find something else relaxing to do… Just stop with the TV. Did we mention less TV will be beneficial to your love life for several reasons?

Partner Disruptions

Sleep masks and ear plugs. Seriously. If your partner honestly can’t help disrupting your sleep then use these tools.

Noisy neighbourhood/neighbours

White noise. We are doing some more research into the kind of noise because there is some talk of having the right kind of white noise frequency. Overall I find my air purifier blocks out most things that would wake me up as a light sleeper.

Kids

Well… Perhaps if you can create optimal sleep hygiene for them they will sleep better too?? I know this is the toughest one to troubleshoot. Do your best to get them into bed at a healthy time so you can enjoy a bit of your own time before bed and get to sleep on time your selves.

 

RECAP

FOCUS/GOAL: 8 hrs of sleep per night

BONUS CHALLENGE: Stop all screen time 60mins before bedtime

 

Good luck!! As always, if you have questions, please ask and get some answers,

Sully and Marie-Éve

Vanessa Sullivan, affectionately know as Sully, is a Coach and Owner at Taranis Athletics. She is passionate about helping people live healthier lives. “It’s not enough to get by, we should have the opportunity to thrive.”  You can read more about her here

Dr. Marie-Éve Gagné is a physicist who has taken her inquisitive mind into the world of nutrition. At first it was a life changing need for her own health and now she wants to share this knowledge with everyone to help improve lives. You can visit her site and find out more about her back ground and mission here

Healthy Habit #2 – Mindfulness and Time Outs

This was originally posted only as a video on You Tube. Watch the video if you would like! 

Otherwise, here is a summary of the video. I didn’t do a full transcript of it because I figure if you’re skipping the video it’s because you want to get to the facts asap! 

This week we are looking at being mindful in our daily activities. Taking the time to experience life in the moment will bring a greater sense of calm and enjoyment in the small things.

When we are constantly on the go, multitasking, living in the future and 20 steps ahead, we lose the connection to our present experiences and miss all kids of opportunities to “smell the roses” and enjoy all we have worked so hard for. The hormonal response of being in the constant state of stress is taking away from your wellness and ability to recover, think, sleep, make good food and life style choices and to connect genuinely with people.

The challenge this week is to use the app called Headspace and complete the 10mins a day for 10 days series. If you miss a day, pls pick up in the sequence the following day. This challenge will help set a healthy habit of taking time every day to get quiet and reflect. We would also like you to be mindful during your daily activities. Try to observe yourself while eating, spending time with friends and family, walking to the office, driving, watching tv, doing mobility or other activities that it’s easy to multitask during. Are you present or does your mind wander, do your hands drift to picking up your phone and your social media sites? Don’t judge what you’re doing, just observe. If you find it hard to be in the moment, anchor into how things feel, taste, smell and sound to help you refocus.

The habits of multitasking non stop and living run off our feet busy are certainly big things to change. Small steps towards mindful living will spark the shift in your ability to reprogram, reduce stress and get more enjoyment out of life. After all, our lives are not only the big adventures, it’s all the small details in between that tell the true story.

Healthy Habit #1 – Hydration

First challenge: drink enough water 💦

Enough water should be the equivalent of half your weight in pounds in ounces of water. For example, I weigh ~128 lbs, so I need to drink 64 ounces of water daily or 2 litres (1 litre equals 32 ounces). This is the amount you need to drink EXCLUDING the water drank during exercise. Listen to this video post by Vanessa for some tips on how to reach that amount of water intake daily 😀