4 Tips For a Healthy Workplace Over The Holidays

The holidays are here and this evening I’ll be attending my first work holiday party, my first of four!

During the holidays we tend to eat more and exercise less. Sometimes that means the only consistent in our day is our workplace, so to help prevent our healthy, active habits from taking a holiday of there own, here are 4 tips to have you moving more and eating healthy while at your workplace.

Keep the Focus on Fun, Not Food!

Many of our workplace holiday festivities revolve around food. It’s time to change that! How about a workplace “sweating working” event at a group fitness class? Maybe a noon hour walk through the community to check out holiday lights? Or through the team cutting and decorating a holiday tree. Moving more and sitting (and eating less) is the key!

Sneak Activity In!

This is a great idea for the workplace all year long. Taking the stairs, parking far from the door, and standing while taking a call. There are many ways to sneak movement in during your work day. Bring a pair of sneakers and get a move on!

Don’t Take A Holiday From Healthy Eating

The are lots of tips and tricks to eat healthy during all the holiday parties this season brings. A few of my favourites include eating a healthy meal before you head out, bring a healthy snack you love to a pot luck, or find that one dessert you really want and enjoy it! Healthy eating is all about balance, not about depriving yourself. Eat more of the good stuff and leave the unhealthy stuff there.

Start A Team Challenge

Accountability partners are a great way to stick your goals and make healthy, active living fun while at work. Get a team together and try using an app or pedometer to give a step challenge a try. Track your daily steps and see who can walk the furthest each day, week, or over the month. How about challenging your work colleagues to a squat or push-up challenge? Perform 5 of an on the spot exercise you can do in work dress at the top of every hour, ding a bell and get moving! Instead of a workplace gift exchange hire a fitness professional to come into your office and lead a yoga or group fitness class.

winter-workout-regime-to-beat-the-holiday-weight-gain-218476

What do you do to stay healthy and active at work or over the holidays? Share it in the comments below!

Wednesday evening I have the joy of speaking to the partners and clients of Wise Goodies, a company building healthy workplaces one fresh snack pack at a time. I’ll be sharing these tips and inspiring healthy workplaces. Check them out and get up and move!

Sweat It Out: Stott Pilates

A few weeks ago I was contacted by MERRITHEW, a Canadian company, and the parent brand of the renowned STOTT PILATES. I was very familiar with both MERRITHEW and STOTT PILATES through my involvement at Can Fit Pro and through their development of high-caliber Pilates Equipment, education, home workout dvds, and media worldwide.

img_5245

I was invited to attend a private Pilates session at the STOTT PILATES Studio at Yonge and Eglinton taught by their Master Instructor Trainer Wayne Seeto. Located in what appears to be a regular office building, STOTT PILATES has three group training areas and personal training spaces within the building on two different floors.

20110111-stott-590

Photo retrieved from BlogTO

I’m not new to Pilates, I’ve taken both mat classes, and reformer classes before (not here but at many other studios) however, I have never taken a class on the “trapeze” like machines, so when I given the option, the “cadillac/trapeze table” was what I wanted to try.

st01003

Photo retrieved from MERRITHEW

The studio was a very clean and calming space. I attended mid-morning and a few other private lessons were happening within the same space. When I left, a group fitness noon hour class was just starting in another group training space using the reformer machines.

Wayne started off highlighting the five basic principles of STOTT Pilates. These principles were then applied to every movement over the next hour. Proper starting position, connection to breath, and proper alignment of the pelvis, rib cage, shoulders, and head and neck were constantly referenced.

This class was very unique when compared to my usual training. While I appreciated the body awareness and grace of movement this class was slow, and calming, and that created the biggest challenge – slowing down. I enjoyed the low intensity, but don’t confuse that with an easy workout, it wasn’t easy at all.

I feel that I have great body awareness, movement and observing that of others is how I’ve spent my life, it’s my education, and what I love to share, however here, working small muscle groups in isolation became my greatest challenge. The Cadillac contains a variety of spring loaded straps and bars which are used to perform a variety of different movements which focus on mobility, strengthening, and stretching. I enjoyed the challenge of the progressive movements, but also the great stretch. My hamstrings were very thankful to be lengthened and stretched with my ankle fixed in one of the hanging spring loaded straps. It was just what I needed.

Now if you can’t make it to one of their 60 weekly classes or have someone special who loves to move on your Christmas list check out their Holiday Gift Guide. The gift guide has a little something for everyone who is interested in mindful movement and fitness, from top-quality Pilates equipment to massage tools to stimulate the fascial system, wedges and Stability Balls™ to encourage wellness at the office, fitness products that are perfect for travel and much more. They’ve also added a fun interactive element to the guide. They have hidden a snowflake on random pages of the guide, and those who find the snowflake are eligible to win a special fitness basket from MERRITHEW™, worth CDN$239.

If you can make it uptown, prices at the studio vary depending on class style and level of instructor. Single group classes will cost you $26 and a private class with their highest caliber of instructor is $95 for the hour. For all class rates, click here.

Sweat It Out: Orangetheory Fitness

At the end of October I was invited to check out Orangetheory Fitness in Oakville. I had seen this company popping up on my social from their Ottawa center and was excited to give their interval based training a try. After checking out the Oakville studio I was hooked and within two days I found myself at their Park Lawn location signing up for a monthly unlimited pass. Here’s what OTF is all about.

fullsizerender44

What is OTF?

Essentially, OTF combines intervals of water rowing with strength training and various treadmill running intervals for a killer one hour workout. Classes are designed to push you into the “Orange Zone,”(get it…Orangetheory Fitness) which translates to 84% or higher of your maximum heart rate, for 12 to 20 minutes of the workout.

Throughout the workout you are tracked through your heart rate monitor (via chest strap or wrist band) to TV monitors throughout the center and your metrics including heart rate, calories burned, heart rate zones, and what OTF refer to as “splat points” are displayed.

otf

The Science.

OTF is backed by the science of Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (or EPOC), where their heart rate monitored training workouts are designed for you to maintain a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. When you first enroll you give them your height and weight and this is used to give you specific metrics from anyone else. During the workout you are encouraged to earn 12 or more “splat points” (aka spend 12 or more minutes in their orange or red heart rate training zones) in order to experience what they call “the after burn”. OTF claims that their members “burn an estimated 500 to 1,000 calories in 60 minutes” and with this after burn “keep burning calories for up to 36 hours.” I have now attended 6 classes and my calories have ranged from 510-600, and I’ve seen the monitors of others displaying calories in the 1000 range. Here’s some data emailed post workout from my first visit:

fullsizerender45

A Typical Workout.

Now there is no one class, according to an instructor last week they have 364 unique classes (they are closed on Christmas day). The classes follow four themes—endurance, strength, power, or a combination of all three on the same day. So you’ll spend 20-25 minutes doing cardio, 20-25 minutes doing weight lifting or rowing which could include TRX, medicine balls, free weights, body weight exercises – in my six classes I have yet to do the same exercises twice.

The Draw For Me.

After attending this free class I actually purchased an unlimited monthly class pass. What I like about OTF is that it gives me my strength training which I’m often lacking with my busy training and work schedule. It’s competitive but it’s also not. In one class you’ll have ultra-competitive and experienced folks (like a guy last week in his Boston Marathon shirt) and then people who are clearly new to fitness, older, and just needing to move. Also having the heart rate monitor and seeing how hard you’re working, means for me, that I can’t slack off – but don’t think this means other people see you metrics – well the physically do, but no one cares. Typically you don’t know peoples names and people are so concerned with their own workout that I’ve never heard of anyone passing judgement on the results of others. We’re all in this killer workout together. Plus, the workout is always different and changes every day so that makes it fun too.

Top of the line equipment, great music, killer moves, if you’re looking for something different day after day this is definitely a workout you should check out. Studios are popping up all over the GTA and they have various priced packages depending on your goals and workout needs. Check out OTF online to find a center near you.